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Adjustable legs

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Adjustable legs
Posted by Maurice on Thursday, October 9, 2014 4:30 PM

I am looking for a better idea for adjustable legs for my free standing layout. The t-nut & bolt idea isn't working. It is very difficult to adjust especially over several legs. The floor is uneven. I cannot attach to the walls.

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:01 PM

 I use these:

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-Beige-Round-Felt-Threaded-1-in-Stem-Glides-4-Pack-49908/203661113

mainly because when i started my previous layout, I was in a palce with hardwood floors, and T-nuts and carriage bolts were definitely out.

However, I'd think t-nuts and carriage bolts would actually be easier to adjust, because with those, you can just clip in an open-end wrench and turn. All of the modules for our club layout have carriage bolts, and getting everything set up and level for a 14x140 foot layout takes about 2 hours from start to being able to run a train.

                       --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 bogp40 on Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:18 PM

I don't see the difficulty w/ adjusting numerous legs to level. If the floor (assume you have an uneven concrete basement floor) is really that far out of level and w/ those humps and dips, you may need to get a close reference to level before cutting the leg. Actually if done propery each leg can be cut to sit solidly on the floor and not need any adjustment at all. Legs can be tempararily screwed to the benchwork and minor adjustments made to raise/ lower and final fastening can be done. Adjustable legs are great for movable layouts, if yours is permanant, set the leg to level and be done w/ it. 8 ft straightedge w/ 4 ft level, stringline all will do the job.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, October 9, 2014 5:57 PM

Search for "leg levelers" on eBay.   Lots of choices.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by BATMAN on Thursday, October 9, 2014 6:40 PM

I have mentioned this before as a system that has worked well for me. I put carriage bolts through hockey pucks. The head of the bolt is counter sunk, with a washer and nut on the other side.I then screw them into "T nuts" in the base of the leg. The pucks enable me to adjust by hand quickly and won't mark the floor or dig into cement. Depending on the type of floor surface, the pucks help prevent sliding of the legs on most surfaces.

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

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Posted by tedtedderson on Thursday, October 9, 2014 7:51 PM

I'm not sure what your legs are made from but this is how did it. Actually my dad gave me the idea- I was having a really hard time trying to figure it out. 

The following is a pic of my layout so far.  The idea was to build a layout that I could take apart and fit up the stairs when we decide to move. You can see the three sections- the middle is the longest. The last thing my basement floor would be accused of is being level. The other pics are how I dealt with it. 

My legs are made from 2 1x4s screwed together in a "v"  type of setup: 

Leg on the high part of the floor- Shims were enough: 

On the low spots I screwed a short 1x4 on the inside of the "v" to get the surface up to level:

  

Table is still level after several months and sturdy. I'm curious to find out what you go with. I know this was a considerable road block for me.  I'm sure the threaded systems work great but this gave me less anxiety and was fast and cheap. 

Ted

 

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Posted by farrellaa on Thursday, October 9, 2014 10:50 PM

I use this type (leveling mounts with 5/16-18 thread and 2" adjustment range) and after leveling I attach wood brackets to each leg and screw to floor. It makes a very stable bench structure.

   -Bob

http://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-levelers/=u32czo

Life is what happens while you are making other plans!

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Posted by cmrproducts on Friday, October 10, 2014 7:47 AM

BATMAN

I have mentioned this before as a system that has worked well for me. I put carriage bolts through hockey pucks. The head of the bolt is counter sunk, with a washer and nut on the other side.I then screw them into "T nuts" in the base of the leg. The pucks enable me to adjust by hand quickly and won't mark the floor or dig into cement. Depending on the type of floor surface, the pucks help prevent sliding of the legs on most surfaces.

 

Brent

That is a great idea with the Hockey Pucks!

I don't know why I never gave them any thought - I guess I don't play enough (or at all)! ;-)

BOB H - Clarion, PA

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Posted by BATMAN on Friday, October 10, 2014 9:28 AM

cmrproducts
Brent That is a grat idea with the Hockey Pucks!

Thanks Bob

I first used it when we had a table on a ceramic floor that was free standing. The pucks would straddle the rather large grout lines which prevented the legs from dropping into them if the table got moved at all. It also took a bigger bump from the kids to actually move it as the pucks would not slide easily. It was a 5" x 10" table for their Thomas setup.

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, October 10, 2014 11:21 AM

I have also used pipe caps (2" or so) with a Carriage bolt in them threaded into a T nut in the end of the leg.  The caps are easy to grab.  Glue a felt pad to the bottom of the pipe cap for hardwood floors to keep from marring it, just the plain cap on carpet, the cap inverted (open end down) on floors subject to dampness that might rust the carriage bolt.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, October 10, 2014 2:32 PM

Bob H commented:

That is a great idea with the Hockey Pucks!

As a goalie, I would eventually give in to the instinct to kick them into the corner.

I put adjustable glides on my layout legs:

The ones I use have carpet pads on the base, and they're larger.  This distributes the weight.  We have carpet in the train room.  These give me enough range of travel to fine-tune the leg length after I've measured and installed the benchwork.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by fwright on Friday, October 10, 2014 3:54 PM

Maurice

I am looking for a better idea for adjustable legs for my free standing layout. The t-nut & bolt idea isn't working. It is very difficult to adjust especially over several legs. The floor is uneven. I cannot attach to the walls.

The Near-Sighted Narrow Gaugers (HOn3 Free-mo-like modular group) had been struggling with uneven concrete floors at many of our setup venues.  Adjustable feet on the legs were always part of our modular standard.  Almost all used bolts or eye bolts set into T-nuts on the bottom of the legs.

But these were a literal pain for most of us that are no longer "spring chickens".  One or two of us would have to get down on the floor and adjust each leg using a wrench or screwdriver while somebody else was checking out the level(s) on top of the module and giving directions.  The up and down on the floor for 30+ modules was taking the fun out of setup and was thought to be a contributing cause in one or two back and shoulder injuries.

The answer the club came up with was to move the adjustment to the upper part of the leg by making a 2-piece leg.  The upper leg screws on a threaded rod mounted to the lower leg.  The module has bearing plates where the circular top of upper leg rotates against the bottom of the module.  Full details are in an article in the 2013 HOn3 Annual.  Now, the same person can adjust legs by reaching under the module while standing and viewing the levels. 

The only bending over required at setup now is to connect the wiring between modules - and there is no need to get on the floor unless one prefers to connect wires from that position.

If you are not constantly taking down and setting up your layout, the extra effort to make the 2-piece legs may not be worthwhile.  But I will never build even a moveable layout without the 2-piece legs again.  Just being able to make the adjustments by myself without having to ask the wife for assistance makes it worth the extra labor in making the legs.

my thoughts and experiences, your choices

Fred W

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Posted by mobilman44 on Friday, October 10, 2014 5:08 PM

Hi,

On my last 3 layouts I cut the legs to the same length, and fastened the horizontal "joists" so as to be level. 

I'm not knocking adjustable legs, but for a permanent layout I just don't see them as absolutely necessary.   But of course others will think differently.

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, formerly modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, October 10, 2014 7:14 PM

 I agree, not really needed with a permanent layout - just level the joists before screwing to the leg.

 My layout was made to come apart and move - one 2x8 section has now made 2 moves, and the rest of it is currently piled up in my basement after making a move.

 I made all the legs the same length, and attached them in the exact same way - the way I built each section meant that each leg extended the same distance down from the top of the table. And it's a good thing I put the adjusters on the bottom - by the time I got from one corner of the room to the other, I ended up with the adjuster screwd all the way out AND a piece of scrap 1x4 under it to bring it up to the sme height! Talk about a not-level room - and this was an upper floor, not the basement slab which I can understand being slightly sloped if there's a floor drain.

 New layout will be permanent - well, when armed with a Sawzall, nothign is 'permanent', but I will not be designing this one to be moved. In the mean time, I'm working on a 8x12 L shaped switching layout using 2 of the old sections to keep me busy while designing a track plan and clearing the basement down to bare walls and re-finishing it. The adjusters on the legs will once again come in handy.

                          --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 rrebell on Saturday, October 11, 2014 1:11 AM

When I did my layout I shimed the legs to close to level and then used the leg levelers to fine tune.

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Posted by yankee flyer on Saturday, October 11, 2014 10:41 AM

Maurice

I am looking for a better idea for adjustable legs for my free standing layout. The t-nut & bolt idea isn't working. It is very difficult to adjust especially over several legs. The floor is uneven. I cannot attach to the walls.

 

 

See my comments on the one or two piece legs thread.

For strength, stability and regidity I will propose the two piece legs and two by two ajuster.

Just a thought.

Lee

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Posted by Maurice on Monday, October 13, 2014 10:50 AM

Thank you all for your replies. You have given me a lot to think about. I should have noted that the floor is carpetted. I have found that the concrete underneath was not poured in one piece but in sections over many years and, hence has settled differently. The majority of the basement was originally dirt when the house was built with just a small pad for the furnace and water heater. Later a small laundry room was added, then later storage and finally the rest of basement was concreted. Eventually a waterproofing system was added. 

Two main things I have learned from your replies: 1) I need to map out exactly where in the room the legs will be. 2) I want to be able to adjust the leg while standing and lookng at the level(s). As Fred W mentioned, I am no spring chicken.

I am leaning towards a two part leg. An upper 2"x2" that I can attach cross bracing to  and a lower furniture style round leg that screws into the upper. I plan to have a deck height of 52". Will this be stable enough is the question?

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Posted by NeO6874 on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 6:58 AM

Maurice

I am leaning towards a two part leg. An upper 2"x2" that I can attach cross bracing to  and a lower furniture style round leg that screws into the upper. I plan to have a deck height of 52". Will this be stable enough is the question?

Kinda depends on what you mean by "free standing" in your original post ... and the overall "base size" of the completed table-top.

Around the walls will have the walls (and perpindicular tables) helping support it, so any instability in a single tabletop will be taken care of by the mechanical connections between it and the rest of the layout. A shelf style will be similar, though you might find that they want to wobble more. 

On a shelf layout (that's now in pieces, due to moving), I found 18x36 was relatively stable (free-standing in the middle of the room -- though their final place was against a wall.), and coupled with shelves 1-2" off the floor (weighted with whatever I needed to store down there), they were fairly solid. 

-Dan

Builder of Bowser steam! Railimages Site

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Posted by fwright on Friday, October 17, 2014 6:43 PM

Maurice

....As Fred W mentioned, I am no spring chicken.

I am leaning towards a two part leg. An upper 2"x2" that I can attach cross bracing to  and a lower furniture style round leg that screws into the upper. I plan to have a deck height of 52". Will this be stable enough is the question?

If you only have 4 legs on a 2ft x 4ft (many are only 3ft long) module, the stability is going to depend on the stability of your threaded joint between the upper and lower leg sections.

Our modules (50" nominal rail height) go the other direction.  The upper part (about 12" long) of the leg is not braced.  In some cases, a short 1" dowel was inserted into the top of the leg and into a socket in the module frame.  But many modules just had a plywood pad attached to the frame sitting directly on the top of the rotating leg section.  Under these conditions, a single module is OK stability-wise, but can easily be moved or bumped.  But 3 modules clamped together are rock-solid, and even just 2 are pretty good.

In our system, there is a bolted-on 1/2" plywood frame running around the lower leg sections on which a free-sitting plywood shelf is set (about 24" off the ground).  This frame provides real nice stability for the 4 legs.  The module is simply lifted up and set on top of the leg assembly during setup.  The modules have a velcro strip along the bottom edge to attach the black curtains which hide the shelf (and anything on it) as well as the legs.  Pictures of the September 2014 National Narrow Gauge Convention show our modules when set up. 

As I said, full details are in the 2013 HOn3 Annual.  It took several guys in the club about a year and a half to perfect the system.  Its superiority to our old methods made conversion of all modules before the 2014 NNGC mandatory.

If you are making adjustable legs, I would not worry about mapping out locations in advance.  Our legs adjust about 6" in length, which accommodates almost any situation.

If you like our ideas, feel free to use them.  If you don't, I for one would love to hear back on how your system turned out.

always looking to learn from others instead of my own mistakes

Fred W

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Posted by warhammerdriver on Saturday, October 18, 2014 9:07 PM

Any thoughts on lockable wheels threaded into t-nuts?  I'm kicking around using those so I can pull the layout away from the wall for maintenance and whatnot of hidden tracks.  Layout would be a 10 x 10 L-shape.

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Posted by woodman on Saturday, October 18, 2014 9:18 PM

I would not use wheels on the bottom of the legs, it would be very unstable. Now if you can get the type of casters that are usually used on stationary power tools, ie table saw etc. that bolt to the side of the leg and with a flip of a lever on the caster you can lower the wheel and then move that portion of the layout, flip the lever again and the layout settles down on the solid wooden leg. A permanent set of wheels whether they lock or not will be too unstable.

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Posted by Benjamin Maggi on Monday, October 30, 2017 7:26 AM

BATMAN
 I have mentioned this before as a system that has worked well for me. I put carriage bolts through hockey pucks. The head of the bolt is counter sunk, with a washer and nut on the other side.I then screw them into "T nuts" in the base of the leg. The pucks enable me to adjust by hand quickly and won't mark the floor or dig into cement. Depending on the type of floor surface, the pucks help prevent sliding of the legs on most surfaces. 

After just using carriage bolts and finding it difficult to adjust the legs, I tried the hockey puck idea after reading about it here. It works great! Thanks for the idea! 

Pictures here: 

http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/2017/10/finished-benchwork.html

Modeling the D&H in 1984: http://dandhcoloniemain.blogspot.com/

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, October 30, 2017 11:04 AM

Hi Benjamin.

 I am delighted it worked out so well for you. Your solution to the "T-Nuts" coming loose was a good idea. Over the years (of learning how to work with T-Nuts) I have on occasion epoxied them in as I thought they might not hold when I was using a softer wood. I didn't have to buy my pucks off E-Bay, I just went and picked mine up off the driveway.Laugh

You should submit your article to MRR for publication as I think the idea would benefit a lot of Model Railroaders. You have good pic's to go with it. 

When I was flying R/C planes as a kid, I couldn't afford a power starter (the kind that turned the propeller spinner) so I grind a puck down to the shape of a commercial starter head and put a shank in it so I could attach it to "Dad's"Whistling drill, it worked like a charm.  

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, October 30, 2017 2:33 PM

 Well for you Canuckians, I suppose hockey pucks are as common as leaves on the ground... Big Smile  We have them around here, too - except they aren't exactly hockey pucks....

                                    --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 BATMAN on Monday, October 30, 2017 3:08 PM

rrinker

 Well for you Canuckians, I suppose hockey pucks are as common as leaves on the ground... Big Smile  We have them around here, too - except they aren't exactly hockey pucks....

                                    --Randy

LaughLaughLaugh

As my Dad use to say "when I was a kid, we use to have to use.... to play hockey with". Just keep the train room cold enough Randy and they should work fine.WhistlingLaugh

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, October 30, 2017 5:56 PM

What is a hockey puck?

.

I could use coconut husks or seashells.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 7:40 AM

Maurice

Thank you all for your replies. You have given me a lot to think about. I should have noted that the floor is carpetted. I have found that the concrete underneath was not poured in one piece but in sections over many years and, hence has settled differently. The majority of the basement was originally dirt when the house was built with just a small pad for the furnace and water heater. Later a small laundry room was added, then later storage and finally the rest of basement was concreted. Eventually a waterproofing system was added. 

Two main things I have learned from your replies: 1) I need to map out exactly where in the room the legs will be. 2) I want to be able to adjust the leg while standing and lookng at the level(s). As Fred W mentioned, I am no spring chicken.

I am leaning towards a two part leg. An upper 2"x2" that I can attach cross bracing to  and a lower furniture style round leg that screws into the upper. I plan to have a deck height of 52". Will this be stable enough is the question?

 

THe T bolts work fine but your way going about leveling may be off. Start from your lowest point in the room and level out from there. level one side, then the other of each set of benchwork and work yourself out of the low spot. If you are lucky and the difference is not too bad, you won't have to cut any legs down.

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