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How do I construct cassette staging/storage

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How do I construct cassette staging/storage
Posted by ChrisNH on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:38 PM

Hi,

 I am building a small 3x5 n-scale "practice" layout that will utilize cassette staging/storage so I can have a little fun with operation and so I can try out techniques I will be using on my larger 9x16 down the line.

 I bought some aluminum angles that seemed the right size based on things I have read, but I have not really found much reference on how to construct the cassette itself. I plan to support it using a drop down shelf on a piano hinge. I saw some about the subject in Ian Rice's small layout book, but not really enough. Any pointers would be helpful. I am especially concerned about how to fasten the angles while maintaining correct gauge.

 Thanks,

 Chris

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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 3:16 PM

In my opinion there are two major concerns with casettes:

1. The potential to drop it

2. The potential for the 0-5-0's to cause catostrophic earthquakes in the casette when moving it.

So what can be done?  For item 1 just be careful when handling.  For item 2. construct the cassete with a removable roof with some form of finger attached that extends down between the cars when moving it to limit the ability to derail the cars.  Include some device to keep cars from rolling off the ends also.  you will also need some form of foolproof docking mechanism.  I think I would look into mounting the drop portion with two outside rails and the casette with two bottom rails (read 1x1 lumber)  that would be outside the fixed rails of the dropshelf.  That would take care of side to side allignment.  For the end closest to the railroad I would then slide the casette to a point that required the insertion of a pin on each side perhaps 1/2 of a hinge mounted on each part so they engaged and the hinge pins installed to hold it there.  Contacts if needed could be mounted on each piece so they connected the circuit when the hinge pins were installed.  Use two hinges and each one could be the contact points.  Whatever you do keep the casette a manageable size.  I've been known to think I could move 4' x 8' sections of railroad if the need ever developed.  It did and I couldn't. 

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Posted by ChrisNH on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 3:35 PM

Using some kind of rails is a good idea. If I had a 1x2 between 2 1x1 rails that would do the trick.

The idea of spilling all my cars onto the floor is kinda scarey. Some kind of sliding door on the ends might be in order.

perhaps I would be better off just having a drop leaf with a single track stagin yard. It would just be hard to turn the train.

I am planning to make it around 36". The single siding on this little layout can only handle 4 cars.. so more then 8 or so 40' cars would be kind of silly. THat would mean 24"+ 6" for locomotive + 6" for a little extra space at each end.

Chris

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 6:34 PM

As a long-time user of cassette storage/staging, my My 2 cents [2c].

Since you are dealing with a small layout, your cassettes can be smaller than mine (my large size is 48" long.)  Handling them is no big thing; if you can carry a cup of coffee without spilling it, handling a cassette without dropping it or spilling the cars is well within your abilities.

My cassettes are lengths of narrow steel stud, handled like a rain gutter, with a length of flex track fastened down the centerline with latex caulk.  The unused ends are plugged with a piece of plywood held in place with screws driven through the (very thin sheet) steel into the wood.  The rail overhangs the end of the stud material, and mates with rail joiners on the "ferry slip" layout track (main line on a detached module, end of a short yard track on the main layout.)

The "ferry slips" have brackets at an appropriate height to support the open end of the cassette.  Since I remove the cassette unless it is being loaded or emptied, I simply support the plugged end with one of those 0-5-0 thingies - an aged, arthritic one, at that.

When moving a full cassette, keep the open end elevated.

Since you are working in a scale half the size of mine, your cars won't escape the cassette unless you deliberately turn it upside down or hold it (vertical) by one end.  A layer of WS foam roadbed would be more than sufficient padding to protect from derailment/rollover damage.  (I don't even bother to use it)

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964 - with cassette staging)

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Posted by ChrisNH on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:08 PM

Ok.. what I had read about before used aluminum angles for the actual track. That sounds a little easier on the engineering. I will take a look at doing it that way.. I could put a piece of flex track between the two angles and glue it all to a 1x2. 

I would want to be able to enter or exit off both ends.. I want to be able to turn the train with the cassette. I could rig up something to handle blocking one end, I am sure.

Thanks Chuck!

Chris 

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:10 PM

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, September 13, 2007 12:32 AM
 ChrisNH wrote:

Ok.. what I had read about before used aluminum angles for the actual track. That sounds a little easier on the engineering. I will take a look at doing it that way.. I could put a piece of flex track between the two angles and glue it all to a 1x2. 

I would want to be able to enter or exit off both ends.. I want to be able to turn the train with the cassette. I could rig up something to handle blocking one end, I am sure.

I actually have a couple of short (longest is slightly less than a meter long, to fit a length of Shinohara flex) double ended cassettes.  When I built them I fitted them with swing-up gates rather like those on Great Lakes car ferries.  Later, when I realized that I always had powered equipment aboard (either locomotives or DMUs) which prevented the cars from rolling, I removed the gates.

Those gates were made from thin steel strapping, bolted to the sides of the cassette trough, with a drawer pull knob centered on the end and a pad on the inside to protect couplers.

 

Thanks Chuck!

Chris 

Glad I could help.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by ShadowNix on Thursday, September 13, 2007 12:55 AM
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

Dave, what month is that article in...  I may have to put it on my "to find" list for my next swap meet.

Others, please post pictures of your cassettes...I would love to see them (my winter project is staging....)

Brian

"That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"
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Posted by marknewton on Thursday, September 13, 2007 6:27 AM
 ndbprr wrote:

In my opinion there are two major concerns with casettes:

1. The potential to drop it


There is no more or less potential to drop a cassette than there is to drop an individual model carried in the hands. If you have a problem with dropping things, then handheld cassette staging is not for you.

 ndbprr wrote:

2. The potential for the 0-5-0's to cause catostrophic earthquakes in the casette when moving it.

So what can be done?  For item 1 just be careful when handling.  For item 2. construct the cassete with a removable roof with some form of finger attached that extends down between the cars when moving it to limit the ability to derail the cars.  Include some device to keep cars from rolling off the ends also.  you will also need some form of foolproof docking mechanism.  I think I would look into mounting the drop portion with two outside rails and the casette with two bottom rails (read 1x1 lumber)  that would be outside the fixed rails of the dropshelf.  That would take care of side to side allignment.  For the end closest to the railroad I would then slide the casette to a point that required the insertion of a pin on each side perhaps 1/2 of a hinge mounted on each part so they engaged and the hinge pins installed to hold it there.  Contacts if needed could be mounted on each piece so they connected the circuit when the hinge pins were installed.  Use two hinges and each one could be the contact points...



What you have described is, in my opinion, unnecessarily complicated and over-engineered. My cassettes are simply aluminium channel with flex track glued to the bottom. There is a small length of angle attached at each end to which the patternmaker's dowels attach. These are insulated from the cassette, and feed power to the flex track. The female sockets on the layout are wired to the track power bus. I place a Kadee coupler height gauge at the free end of the cassette to prevent over-runs. Otherwise, as Chuck has already noted, the loco or power cars will stop the train from rolling out of the cassette. Any other bits and bobs are superfluous.

I'm using a similar arrangement to bridge the gap between the fixed and portable sections of my new layout. The only difference is that one pair of dowels slide in a bush, to allow their removal from the sockets.

Cheers,

Mark.
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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, September 13, 2007 8:24 AM

What you have described is, in my opinion, unnecessarily complicated and over-engineered.

 What else would you expect from an engineer?

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Posted by marknewton on Thursday, September 13, 2007 8:53 AM
You're an engineer? Fair enough, I should have guessed! Smile [:)]Smile [:)]Smile [:)]

Cheers,

Mark.
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Posted by dknelson on Friday, September 14, 2007 7:58 AM
 ShadowNix wrote:
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

Dave, what month is that article in...  I may have to put it on my "to find" list for my next swap meet.

Others, please post pictures of your cassettes...I would love to see them (my winter project is staging....)

Brian

Model Railroad Planning is an annual, so the Dolkos article was in the 1996 annual.

I know Peco makes a prefab cassette (Loco Lift they call it) for HO, but they do not seem to make one for N.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by ChrisNH on Friday, September 14, 2007 8:13 AM
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

Unfortunately I dont have either one. I will keep my eyes open for those. 

Thanks,

Chris 

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Posted by BRJN on Friday, September 14, 2007 9:37 PM

For my HO scale layout, I am planning to build wood cassettes.  Measure some flextrack for length and width (how long is a "standard train" for your layout?  What is it about to become?).  Measure your tallest car for height.  Add a little bit at every end (to give fingers somewhere to grab at cars inside).  Then go to Home Depot or wherever and ask them to cut a big board into strips for you.  Glue two sides to each bottom piece and clamp the thing together until the glue dries.  A handle can be put over the top, if desired.  Glue an endcap over one end.  The other end - where the train goes onto the layout - will require a hinged endcap (plus a latch) and some sort of alignment device.  I will be using a short (3"?) piece of sectional track for alignment.

I will also need to build some sort of a table to hold up the cassette.  And maybe a dresser / drawers arrangement to hold the cassettes I'm not using at the moment.  Hmmm...

P.S.  I haven't had to do carpentry since grade school Shop class.  If I can make this work out, ANYBODY can make it work.

Modeling 1900 (more or less)
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Posted by Zandoz on Friday, September 14, 2007 11:46 PM

I've been back and forth with the idea of trying to use some type of cassette for turning whole trains.  My focus has always been running a section of flex inside a channel made from a steel stud, with Kato Unitrack Snap Track Conversion Tracks (link below) on either end to make the connection to my Unitrack layout.  Where I've been unsure about the cassettes is in my ability to turn the cassettes without derailing the cars.  If I have to mess around rerailing once set, I may as well justturn the individual cars by hand.

I have a PDF file article on staging solutions that includes a bit on cassettes. If anyone would like a copy drop me an email at zandoz2@yahoo.com, and put "Staging" in the subject.

http://www.toytrainheaven.com/.sc/ms/dd/N%20Track--Kato/28393136/Kato%20N%20SNAP%20TRACK%20CONVERSION%20TRACK-2%2C%20LIST%20PRICE%20%242%2E5

Reality...an interesting concept with no successful applications, that should always be accompanied by a "Do not try this at home" warning.

Hundreds of years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...But the world may be different because I did something so bafflingly crazy that my ruins become a tourist attraction.

"Oooh...ahhhh...that's how this all starts...but then there's running...and screaming..."

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Saturday, September 15, 2007 12:04 AM

BRJN,

To quote Mark Newton above, WAY over-engineered!

By using pre-shaped metal trough (I use steel stud material, Mark uses aluminum) the basic 'open at the top' U shape comes pre-fabricated.  If there will be no loco, then one end needs to be plugged and the other end needs to be held slightly raised.  If a complete train ["Locomotive(s) - including MU or single unit powered cars - with or without cars, carrying markers."  Peter Josserand, Rights of Trains.] is to be cassetted, no gates are needed on either end, and the cassette can be attached to the main layout at either end.

I personally store cassettes, loaded and empty, on shelf brackets fitted to slotted rails screwed through the wallboard into the wall's wooden studs - the same system that supports the 'along the fixed wall' portion of my benchwork (and the bookshelves in my home office.)

Two other considerations:

  1. A cassette made of steel stud weighs only a fraction of one the same size made of any wood heavier than balsa.
  2. In the dessicated desert, wood does strange things.  Steel studs don't turn into compound bows and corkscrews, but wood does.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September 1964)

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Posted by ChrisNH on Tuesday, September 18, 2007 11:21 AM

I appreciate all the feedback.

I am going to try to constuct something on a 1x2 that will fit into a 1x2 slot in a folding shelf. This will let me try using the two aluminum angles I already purchased. If I have trouble with the track gauge, then I will go with some of the suggestions of using track instead. The layout side will also have a pair of short angles much like the system in Ian Rice's small layout book.

To place them I am going to fasten one down with liquid nails. After it is completely dry I will glue the other one and use my nmra gauge to set it before the glue dries. This is the best idea I could come up with.

If it doesn't work I will only have lost matierials I already have.

Chris 

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Posted by BRJN on Friday, September 21, 2007 11:16 PM

 tomikawaTT wrote:
To quote Mark Newton above, WAY over-engineered!

Nah, it's small-child-resistant.  (I hope.)  Smile [:)]

 tomikawaTT wrote:
Two other considerations:

  1. A cassette made of steel stud weighs only a fraction of one the same size made of any wood heavier than balsa.
  2. In the dessicated desert, wood does strange things.  Steel studs don't turn into compound bows and corkscrews, but wood does.

1.  I hadn't thought about that.  I have tools to edit wood; I do not have tools to edit metal.  So I prefer to work in wood.

2.  My Dungeons & Dragons character wants to know if you can make that happen on purpose - especially the compound bow.  <visions of piles of gold pieces dance in his head>

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Posted by Burbank Bill on Sunday, September 23, 2007 12:34 PM

I would like to see some pictures of any completed cassetes. This idea[and this is the first I have heard of it] intrests me. I have a small layout and I think this could help with staging.

 

Bill

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Posted by dknelson on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 8:24 AM

Here is a catalog picture of the prefab HO unit that Peco sells:

 

 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by Annonymous on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 10:49 AM
 Burbank Bill wrote:

I would like to see some pictures of any completed cassetes. This idea[and this is the first I have heard of it] intrests me. I have a small layout and I think this could help with staging.

 

Here's a link to a German company that makes clear acrylic tubes for staging and as wall display cases:

http://www.train-safe.de/index_en.php?section=1

 

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Posted by ChrisNH on Wednesday, March 19, 2008 9:17 PM

After struggling with changing requirements I decided on building a drop leaf staging track instead. This provides what I need a little more easily. The down side is I cant turn the train by reversing a cassette, but thats life. Part of my problem was I just felt that the smaller track of N-Scale would require more precision then I was going to get.

I still like the idea of cassette storage and I will definitely revisit the idea in the future. For now though, this gets me moving forward which is a very good thing given how time challenged I have been the last few months.

Chris 

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Posted by steinjr on Thursday, March 20, 2008 1:22 AM

 marknewton wrote:

My cassettes are simply aluminium channel with flex track glued to the bottom. There is a small length of angle attached at each end to which the patternmaker's dowels attach. These are insulated from the cassette, and feed power to the flex track. The female sockets on the layout are wired to the track power bus. I place a Kadee coupler height gauge at the free end of the cassette to prevent over-runs. Otherwise, as Chuck has already noted, the loco or power cars will stop the train from rolling out of the cassette. Any other bits and bobs are superfluous.

I'm using a similar arrangement to bridge the gap between the fixed and portable sections of my new layout. The only difference is that one pair of dowels slide in a bush, to allow their removal from the sockets.

  I have a little trouble picturing the connection between the cassette and the layout part. Quite possibly because I am not quite sure what a Pattern Maker's dowel is.

  Ah - okay - found a link through google to a british shop for model railroaders that shows a picture of both a cabinet maker's dowel and a pattern maker's dowel:

http://www.stationroadbaseboards.co.uk/cart_dowels.htm

 Now it makes sense.

 So you got two male dowel parts on each end of the cassette and two female dowel parts on the layout ?

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by MECman on Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:39 AM

I've read about these "pattern maker's dowels" in Ian Rice's books but I haven't ever seen them in person. Is there a US source? What is a pattern maker anyway?Smile [:)]

 thanks,

David

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Posted by garya on Thursday, March 20, 2008 9:44 AM

Jon Grant has pictures of his cassettes in this older thread: http://cs.trains.com/forums/1240861/ShowPost.aspx

I priced aluminum angle once, and I thought it was really expensive.  Never thought of using steel stud channel--funny, because I built some of my benchwork with it (was given leftovers at a construction site).  I'll give it a try.

Gary

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Posted by WaxonWaxov on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 1:52 PM
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

First of all, I apologize.. I know this is an old thread, but I found it through Google.

Would Kalmbach have a back issue copy of that, and were would I go to order it?

Thanks

 

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Posted by ChrisNH on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 1:59 PM
 WaxonWaxov wrote:
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

First of all, I apologize.. I know this is an old thread, but I found it through Google.

Would Kalmbach have a back issue copy of that, and were would I go to order it?

Thanks

 

Kalmbach may still have it. If not, I got mine on ebay a bit cheaper then their back issues although quality varies. 

There was also a MRR I just recently read, so likely 90-92 somewhere, that had a multi page article on british layout techniques for staging.


Chris

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Posted by steinjr on Tuesday, August 12, 2008 3:12 PM
 WaxonWaxov wrote:
 dknelson wrote:

First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning.  He covers the topic quite well.   If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts.

 

Dave Nelson

First of all, I apologize.. I know this is an old thread, but I found it through Google.

Would Kalmbach have a back issue copy of that, and were would I go to order it?

Thanks

 

Model Railroad Planning:

http://kalmbachcatalog.stores.yahoo.net/model-railroading-model-railroad-planning.html

 

Model Railroader back issues:

http://kalmbachcatalog.stores.yahoo.net/model-railroading-model-railroader-magazine.html

 

Great Model Railroads:

http://kalmbachcatalog.stores.yahoo.net/model-railroading-great-model-railroads.html

 

Stein

 

 

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Posted by WaxonWaxov on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 7:51 AM

thanks, Stein.

 

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Posted by WaxonWaxov on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:17 AM

 dknelson wrote:
First if you have not already done so you should read Paul Dolkos's article "No Space is No Excuse" in the 1996 issue of Model Railroad Planning. He covers the topic quite well. If you have old issues of Model Railroader you might also have the March 1991 issue where Dolkos wrotes about British model railroad exhibition layouts. Dave Nelson

Are we certain it's the 1996 Model Railroad Planning? Could someone chek their copy to be certain? The description on Kalmbach doesn't include that article.

 

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