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Building a layout on a rotisserie

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, March 16, 2020 2:16 AM

I have been playing with the benchwork design and after studying my drawings I have decided to use all 1x6s instead of a mix of 1x4s and 1x6s. I looked at the 1x4 drawings from several angles and it just seemed to look flimsy to me. I know that 1x4s are fine for regular benchwork that is fixed in place and for 2'x4' modules, but my benchwork 'table' will be 5'4" x 12'. For a few dollars I'm not going to risk having it flex too much. That would reek havoc with the track and the scenery.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, March 15, 2020 10:43 AM

Hi Randy,

As I mentioned, I have been able to simplify the design of the end supports. I got their widths down to 48 " and the plywood only needs to be 30" tall. Hopefully Home Depot can cut the two pieces reasonably close to those dimensions. I will take Dianne along so the two of us should be able to handle a piece that size without problems.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, March 14, 2020 1:35 PM

 For cuts where the accuracy isn;t too important, they will cut it for you. Sized down to strips, you can probably handle it. I got some 3/4 delivered Thursday - laminate core good birch. Had to take delivery since the 5x5 sheets it comes in won;t fit in my truck. I helped the delivery driver carry it into my garage, the can't go inside a residence. So when I got home, I carried it myself into the basement. Not a good idea, and I don't have the back issues you do. The 5 foot size is too wide for me to comfortable grip, so I actually used a furniture dolly I have, which avoided having to lift the full weight of a piece. I'm still paying for it in my knee. The only problem with using a furniture dolly for transporting large sheets of things is that every wobble threatens to send it flying off to one side or the other. And after the first single sheet went OK, I got greddy and tried 2 at a time. 

 Laying it up to saw, again I won't have to lift the entire panel weight in one go, just lean it against the sawhorse, flip it up, and slide over onto the second one. 

 After doing this, I'm going to say you do not want to handle this yourself. There's no way I would have been able to even tilt up the peices to slide the dolly under if I had any sort of back issues.

 The good thing about 3/4 ply is, it's heavy. The bad thing about 3/4 ply is, it's heavy.

                                      --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 14, 2020 5:21 AM

Okay, I finally made it to the garage to contemplate what can stay and what has to go. It's really not as bad as I thought, but we will have to have a yard sale or consider putting some stuff for sale on line. My son uses Facebook Marketplace all the time and has had no problems. I have heard horror stories about Kijiji. I will have to move either the freezer or the radial arm saw. Either one would work.

The next question is how to control the dust and critters. The garage stays reasonably clean, that is except when I am using the RAS, but we have a healthy population of those spiders with the long slender bodies and extremely long legs. I don't believe that we can get insecticide bombs here in Canada so I will have to make do with regular applications of good old Raid. I'm going to design some sort of cover that can be supported above the layout so it doesn't damage things.

I also took a long look at the track plan to see if I could fit a narrow gauge HOn30 loop or a trolley line in, but it just didn't make any sense so I'm going to leave my critters as shelf queens for now and forego the trolleys. The added complexity of having both DC and DCC on the layout kind of turns me off too, not that it would be all that difficult. Just getting the HO stuff working will be a big enough challenge for now. Once this layout is up and running I might consider an extension to house the narrow gauge railway.

In the next week or two I will go looking for wood, but I'd really rather have the garage cleaned out before I start putting more stuff into it. I would like to wait for predictably dry weather before having a yard sale.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 14, 2020 2:46 AM

I found the hardware that I need. I have ordered the casters and swivel plates from Amazon. I will use slide bolt locks to hold the table at whatever angle is appropriate. I found some decent 8" slide bolts at Home Depot. They will have enough travel to reach through the gap between the table and the end supports.

I have modified the end supports to make them much simpler and easier to build. The only downside to the revised design is that it involves 3/4" plywood so I might need help with that. If Home Depot can cut the pieces to size I can probably handle them.

I never made it to the garage to look at all the crap. Maybe tonight, or more accurately, this morning since it is 3:45 am.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 14, 2020 12:24 AM

carl425
I use a rollator (walker with 4 wheels) with 8" wheels.  I've been stopped dead in my tracks by an unpopped popcorn kernel.

Ya, I don't like popcorn either! I guess I'll have to keep the floor clean.GrumpySmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Seriously, the floor has a few minor dents which might snag smaller caster wheels so that's why I'm going with 4" units. If I have a problem with them I'll just have to get my son to patch the holes.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by carl425 on Friday, March 13, 2020 10:14 PM

hon30critter
The larger casters should roll over them without getting hung up so there will be less likelyhood that the whole assembly will twist when it is being moved. At least, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it until proven otherwise!

I use a rollator (walker with 4 wheels) with 8" wheels.  I've been stopped dead in my tracks by an unpopped popcorn kernel.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 5:49 PM

I haven't had rotisserie chicken for a long time. We will have to get some soon!DinnerBig Smile

After doing more calculations, I think I can get the layout height to +- 35 1/2". That includes using 4" casters (overall height 5"), and the design is still simple enough. I thought I would have to get fancy with the end support framing in order to accomodate the larger casters, but it dawned on me that all I had to do was make the end support frames shorter. Duh!!

My revised design also looks to be sturdy enough that I might be able to eliminate the gusset plates for the U channel. That would allow me to keep the table corners square instead of having to angle them to clear the gussets when the layout is tilted on its side. I'm much happier with not having to trim the corners of the table. My garage floor has a few small depressions but nothing serious. The larger casters should roll over them without getting hung up so there will be less likelyhood that the whole assembly will twist when it is being moved. At least, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it until proven otherwise!

I'm off to the garage to figure out what we can sell and what will have to go to the dump.

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, March 13, 2020 2:25 PM

 Not sure on rotisserie layout but rotisserie chicken is plenty good... hope they have some because now that's what I want for dinner! They may be out of toilet paper but hopefully they still have chickens.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, March 13, 2020 12:20 PM

hon30critter
Please don't use the term "roast"! That suggests having the layout go up in smoke some day!!

If you want me to do the wiring, that´d be not unlikelySmile, Wink & Grin

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 12:13 PM

Mike,

Thanks for posting the link to this thread on the old one. It totally slipped my mind.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 12:10 PM

snjroy
I also like view blocks, but it may rub on the floor when Dave turns the roast...

Please don't use the term "roast"! That suggests having the layout go up in smoke some day!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaughClown

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 12:07 PM

joe323
Seems to me that you could prewire your buss lines on the workbench and then install them on the rotisslrie after the holes are drilled 

Hi Joe,

I'm not sure that my wee brain could keep all of that straight.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughDunce I think I would be better off to install the wires one at a time.

Something that I want to do with this layout is have the wiring as neat as possible. That means that every wire will be run in straight lines instead of taking the shortest possible route. I believe the only way to do that is to place each wire one at a time in the desired location in order to get the lengths and positions correct.

I'm also considering using something like RRMel's Telco wire hangers that he showed earlier in the thread instead of drilling through the crossmembers. The layout will be close enough to the ground that nothing will show, and pulling wires will be much easier.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 11:54 AM

rrinker
If you need help soldering, I'll come visit - I've only ever been to Toronto. It was nice, but I'd like to see more of Canada. Bucket list is the train across the Rockies to Vancouver, but that's a bit pricey.

Soldering is something that I can do reasonably well but be careful what you are offering. With all of your excellent suggestions why don't I have you come and just build the whole thing!Smile, Wink & Grin

Cheers!!

Dave

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 11:38 AM

rrinker
 Even if not, if both sides are accessible, you couldrotate it clockwide and work on the underside of one half, then flip it counterclockwise and work on the underside of the other half. 

Hi Randy,

That was exactly my point.

rrinker
Easy thing to test, if it's 64" wide, and let's sat the U beam across the middle has a 3" web, which should be plenty - the main reason I suggest a U beam is to keep a long piece of flat wood from warping, not because this has to be particularly strong, it mostly serves to keep the ends from spreading apart and the whole layout crashing down. So that makes 32" of layout, plus it has to clear 3". Let's say you and whoever helps with the benchwork is good enough at woodworking that you can go with a 1" clearance.(ie, that's kind of sloppy work, actually, even with cheaper brand tools). That places the centerline of the pivot at 36". Plus half the thickness of the table, if you use 1x4, we'll say 2" (naturally it's a little less - but then there's whatever you top it with). We're at a base level of about 38" now - so, can you sit comfortably in a chair that lets you work on something 38" off the ground?

I would have to add in the height of the casters because I want to be able to move it around, and I want decent sized casters so that could add 4-5".

I don't have to have the table clear the U channel. If the table butts up against the U channel it will still be rotated to 80+ degrees. The bottom won't be quite perpendicular to the floor but I don't think that will cause any problems.

rrinker
 With some good planning, any of these factors can be managed. Maybe it will have to be 5'2" wide instead of 5'4". Maybe it will be posible to locate the pivot point close to the surface layer and not in the middle of the vertical dimension of the side, saving another inch or so. 

Those are excellent suggestions. I chose the 5'4" width because I wanted a minimum 22" radius on the major curves and still have some space between the track and the fascia. Losing an inch on either side wouldn't be an issue. Raising the pivot point would be beneficial but it would also require that the layout be narrower. As I have it now, the table edge will be below the bottom of the end supports. I'll have to decide if moving the pivot point and narrowing the layout would be better than playing with the caster height as is explained in the next paragraph. The main point, as you suggested, is that there are several ways to reduce the height of the layout, and a combination of a couple of them might get it down by 3" or more. That would be great.

My calculations suggest that I can get a height of 36"-38" if the table is allowed to butt up against the U channel. That includes 4 1/2" for casters, and if I was to get really creative I could probably figure out a way to mount the casters so that they are up inside the end supports with just enough of the wheel left exposed so that the frame clears the floor by an inch or so.

rrinker
the main reason I suggest a U beam is to keep a long piece of flat wood from warping, not because this has to be particularly strong, it mostly serves to keep the ends from spreading apart and the whole layout crashing down.

The U channel is definitely a go. I'm considering using 1x4s on the sides with a 1x6 in the middle. I'm also going to add gusset plates to the ends of the channel to keep things aligned horizontally. I modified the benchwork design so that it will clear the gussets.

To keep the tops of the end supports in alignment I'm considering using smaller versions of the swivel bearings that are used for lazy susan kitchen cabinets. Theoretically they should prevent the end supports from moving very far. They are not intended to be used of their sides, but they won't be used very much so I can't imaging them wearing out or coming apart.

Thanks for the additional ideas. I'll have to put a plaque on the layout saying that "The only reason this thing works is because of Randy and the rest of the MR gang".

Dave

EDIT: Some of the above is a repeat from other posts. I wrote this before reading Randy's last post. Sorry if I am getting boring.

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 11:03 AM

mbinsewi
I guess if this were my track plan, I might play with the idea of having a view block down the middle.

Hi Mike,

I'm of the opposing school. I don't care for view blocks personally. I think that I will be able to achieve some depth simply by the fact that it will all be one scene that is 5+ ft. wide. Chatham, Ontario has two sets of tracks running through it with a fair bit of the town in between them.

If I was going to hide anything it would be the curves at the ends of the layout. I thought about mountains with tunnels but I don't think they would be very convincing.

mbinsewi
Other than that, I like the plan.  I am a continuous run fan, as sometimes, I just like to watch a train, and watch it run, from different areas of the layout.

I am exactly the same way! I think that switching will be an aquired taste.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, March 13, 2020 9:41 AM

Hi Simon,

snjroy
I would add a short strip of HOn30 track given your interest in these things. Could serve an industry or a mine.

I have plans to do that but I haven't got there yet.

snjroy
The street scene could include a street car, if you have an interest for these. 

The only problem with running a street car down the main street is that it would be hard to reach. It would be 32" from the fascia. I could run a circular street car line around the outside of the town area. Hmmmm.

You also suggested simplifying the track plan. I've actually already done a bit of that. I'm the first to admit that I am prone to designing spaggetti bowls, but I do like track and lots of it.

As for turnouts, I have more than 40 Peco Code 100 turnouts that I had purchased for my first layout plan years ago. They have been modified to make them DCC friendly so why not use them? I also have tons of Atlas Code 100 track on hand. If I was starting out fresh I would use Code 83 but, given what I already have, going to Code 83 now would be a waste of money because I would likely get peanuts for the modified Code 100 turnouts.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, March 13, 2020 8:00 AM

Seems to me that you could prewire your buss lines on the workbench and then install them on the rotisslrie after the holes are drilled 

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, March 12, 2020 12:58 PM

Ah yes, I should have looked at the plan. If the view block is in the middle, there would be lot of space there. 

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Thursday, March 12, 2020 11:19 AM

snjroy
I also like view blocks, but it may rub on the floor when Dave turns the roast...

Only if the view block is more than 2´8" high!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, March 12, 2020 10:54 AM

mbinsewi

I like try to make things appear bigger than they are, and give the illusion of distance.

I guess if this were my track plan, I might play with the idea of having a view block down the middle.

Other than that, I like the plan.  I am a continuous run fan, as sometimes, I just like to watch a train, and watch it run, from different areas of the layout.

Mike.

 

I also like view blocks, but it may rub on the floor when Dave turns the roast...

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 12, 2020 9:58 AM

hon30critter

I decided to make some more accurate calculations, specifically with regard to what the layout height would actually be. My conclusion is that I can get the layout to +- 36" from the floor which seems to be an acceptable height for me.

Here is a drawing showing an end support with the benchwork rotated as far as it can go until it meets the lower U channel that will keep the end supports in proper relation to each other:

The casters in the drawing aren't particularly large so the height might increase by an inch or so.

I also looked at Randy's suggestion of having the height of the layout adjustable. I'll do a mock up at the 36" height and if I feel it is too tall then I will explore ways of being able to change the height.

Dave

 

 If having it spin all the way aroudn is not a requirment, then you should be fine like that and not need the added complication of adjustable height at the pivots - that would require a helper to do anyway, to lower both sides at the same time.

That also removes some of my heigh concerns from my previous post.

If you need help soldering, I'll come visit - I've only ever been to Toronto. It was nice, but I'd like to see more of Canada. Bucket list is the train across the Rockies to Vancouver, but that's a bit pricey.

Of course, I say that now, before I've gotten to that point on my layout. Betwene assembling my trnout controller boards and soldering the countless feeders I'll be using to fill my basement, plus the sub busses for detection...maybe even I will be completely sick of sodlering by tthe time I'm done. Laugh

                                --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, March 12, 2020 9:56 AM

When MR's Salt Lake Route was being built, Dick Christianson had trouble wiring from the floor.  His wife suggested tipping the table over onto its side, which he did, and did all the wiring sitting in his chair.

I should have followed that advice.

 

https://mrr.trains.com/how-to/get-started/2017/06/the-salt-lake-route-part-4---wiring-a-small-layout-for-dcc

York1 John       

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 12, 2020 9:48 AM

hon30critter

 

 
Tinplate Toddler
To be able to rotate the layout, the layout must be close to 3´ above the floor, which puts the top 5´8" high. Either you have to stand up doing all the wiring or you have to crawl on the floor. I would not be able to do either!

 

Your concern is appreciated Ulrich, but I have done some measurements and I can quite comfortably reach up to 5'6" above the floor when seated in my office chair. There won't be much wiring that close to the fascia, and things like control panels will be built on my workbench and their connections can be wired into terminal strips that will be within easy reach.

I would be using my workbench chair which can be raised a bit higher than my office chair, and it is on casters as a bonus. This is the chair, but mine doesn't have arms to get in the way:

https://www.hermanmiller.com/products/seating/office-chairs/caper-multipurpose-chair/

As far as having to reach down to the floor, I don't think that would be necessary. In order to work on the lower portion of the layout I simply have to rotate the layout in the opposite direction and roll around to the other side. What was the lower portion on one side becomes the upper portion when the layout is flipped in the opposite direction. The U channel will prevent the layout from turning a full 90 degrees, but it will rotate far enough to make the underside easily accessible.

Please keep your comments and suggestions coming. Randy just saved me from having to do a lot of corrective carpentry!

Dave

 

 Even if not, if both sides are accessible, you couldrotate it clockwide and work on the underside of one half, then flip it counterclockwise and work on the underside of the other half. 

Easy thing to test, if it's 64" wide, and let's sat the U beam across the middle has a 3" web, which should be plenty - the main reason I suggest a U beam is to keep a long piece of flat wood from warping, not because this has to be particularly strong, it mostly serves to keep the ends from spreading apart and the whole layout crashing down. So that makes 32" of layout, plus it has to clear 3". Let's say you and whoever helps with the benchwork is good enough at woodworking that you can go with a 1" clearance.(ie, that's kind of sloppy work, actually, even with cheaper brand tools). That places the centerline of the pivot at 36". Plus half the thickness of the table, if you use 1x4, we'll say 2" (naturally it's a little less - but then there's whatever you top it with). We're at a base level of abou 38" now - so, can you sit comfortably in a chair that lets you work on something 38" off the ground? That requires a taller than standard chair, which means your feet might not touch the ground, or else raising your arms and resting other than your forearms on the surface while working. 

 Long winded, but this will determine your long-term comfort factor in working with what you are planning. It's rather pointless to design something that will exacerbate your back condition insteadof providing the relaxing hobby enjoyment you are really looking for.

 Some things can be handled with the layout tilted, but not everything, so being able to reach the top comfortably is going to be important even if the true deal breakers like having to crawl around underneath it are eliminated.

 With some good planning, any of these factors can be managed. Maybe it will have to be 5'2" wide instead of 5'4". Maybe it will be posible to locate the pivot point close to the surface layer and not in the middle of the vertical dimension of the side, saving another inch or so. 

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, March 12, 2020 8:23 AM

I like try to make things appear bigger than they are, and give the illusion of distance.

I guess if this were my track plan, I might play with the idea of having a view block down the middle.

Other than that, I like the plan.  I am a continuous run fan, as sometimes, I just like to watch a train, and watch it run, from different areas of the layout.

Mike.

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Posted by snjroy on Thursday, March 12, 2020 8:13 AM

A few observations:

The street scene could include a street car, if you have an interest for these. 

There are a lot of turnouts and short storage tracks. I would simplify the plan.

I would add a short strip of HOn30 track given your interest in these things. Could serve an industry or a mine.

Simon

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:59 AM

Does anyone have any comments about the track plan? I have studied it for a few days and I can't see any major screw ups, but maybe I'm being too confident.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, March 12, 2020 7:49 AM

Tinplate Toddler
You wouldn´t want me to do that! There is one thing I always had problems with and that´s soldering!

I'd still love to have you and Petra visit! The invitation stands!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Thursday, March 12, 2020 6:16 AM

hon30critter
'd be glad to have Ulrich come and do all the soldering

You wouldn´t want me to do that! There is one thing I always had problems with and that´s soldering!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, March 12, 2020 6:01 AM

I thought it would be prudent to add some gusset plates where the end supports and the U channel meet. Unfortunately doing so would restrict the rotation by several degrees, so I decided to trim the corners of the benchwork a bit so that they will clear the gusset plates. The benchwork will look something like this, that is if I can figure out how to round the corners nicely. This diagram also shows the roads:

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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