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Crandell's (Selector's) New Layout Progress Thread

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Posted by selector on Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:34 AM

It would be best in the Layouts forum, and I have felt that for the past couple of days.  Unless Mark objects, as the OP, I would be happy to see it moved.

Crandell

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:42 AM

selector

  In fact, I'll probably have to squat and work on my knees much of the time.  When actually running it later, I could sit on a wheeled dolly of some kind on that smooth floor to ease my viewing height and my back.

Crandell,

It looks like you'll have a nice layout.  I'm interested to follow how the 29" height will work out. Personally, I  think it will be an advantage to operate the layout while sitting on a wheeled dolly rather than having to stand.

I have a layout that is slight larger than what you're planning, and at 48 inches high, it requires me to stand most of the time when working on the surface features and while operating, which can get tiring.

I assume your previous layout was at standing height, so it will be interesting to hear the pluses and minuses with the lower height and which one you prefer overall.

- Douglas

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Posted by jwhitten on Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:00 AM

selector

It would be best in the Layouts forum, and I have felt that for the past couple of days.  Unless Mark objects, as the OP, I would be happy to see it moved.

Crandell

 

So be it, Alll Aboooaaaaard!

Captain

 

You know, I just noticed we don't have one of those smilie thingies with an engineer's hat.... funny thing, that, for a model railroading site, wouldn't you say??

 

John

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by dante on Saturday, January 21, 2012 4:36 PM

Doughless

 

 selector:

 

  In fact, I'll probably have to squat and work on my knees much of the time.  When actually running it later, I could sit on a wheeled dolly of some kind on that smooth floor to ease my viewing height and my back.

 

 

Crandell,

It looks like you'll have a nice layout.  I'm interested to follow how the 29" height will work out. Personally, I  think it will be an advantage to operate the layout while sitting on a wheeled dolly rather than having to stand.

I have a layout that is slight larger than what you're planning, and at 48 inches high, it requires me to stand most of the time when working on the surface features and while operating, which can get tiring.

I assume your previous layout was at standing height, so it will be interesting to hear the pluses and minuses with the lower height and which one you prefer overall.

28-30" is a common height for desks these days.  In fact, mine at which I am now sitting is 28-1/2" high. You don't need a dolly but an inexpensive secretarial chair with casters and the usual adjustable seat height.  Not a bad height for  working (perhaps raise the seat to improve reach) and a good height for operating (lower the seat).

Dante

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Posted by selector on Saturday, January 21, 2012 6:01 PM

I have had two accidents so far, one kinda not so bad, and the other not so good.  First the not so good: removing the 3/32 drill bits from the chuck (I pre-drill all holes in milled lumber), I broke two by spinning them and not holding the chuck firmly.  One of those times, it jabbed into my thumb and broke the skin in a couple of places.  It could have been worse.  I am more careful the last two days.

Second error was goofing on the heights of the legs.  I kept in mind the height of the 1X4 framing on the perimeters of the frames, but for some reason I subtracted them instead of adding that height.  So, the yard module, now complete minus bracing the 1X2 legs, now stubs, sits almost 4" lower than I had wanted.   Thinking a bit, I realized that this was not so bad because it will give me more clearance for the back corner of the roundhouse against the batter of the inner wall of the loft.  In fact, that one item is kind of important as a reference point.  So, I will install the TT and 'house from my current layout, since they are salvagable, and see how tightly I can push the two joined modules against the wall.  Means a lower layout, but still high enough for all the Christmas totes (we must have 68 of them at last count Tongue Tied).

Anyway, no biggie, no great loss, probably best for flexibility at this point, and I have my yard module erected. 

 Here is a photo showing the top frame of the next one on which the TT and 'house will be located.  Note that the joists are just for vertical support to prevent the surface 1/2" ply from sagging, and NOT for bracing as such.   Hence the butt joint midway along the one joist.  This is 1X4, plenty strong.

Crandell

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, January 21, 2012 6:37 PM

 That's why you're not supposed to hold the chuck and power on the drill to tighten or loosen bits. Of course, it's what we all do, at least with battery power tools.

 One lesson I learned - next time I'm getting a second power drill, changing bits from drill to driver and back constantly is a pain. It was ok until I broke the 3/32 quick change one I had. Too late now, with just one 2x8 section to build. But when I start that dream layout - 2 is a MUST.

                 --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 selector on Saturday, January 21, 2012 7:52 PM

That's precisely what I went to get about an hour ago, Randy, and for all those reasons.  For one thing, it really slows down production having to change between the drill bit and the Robertson screw-head bit all the time.  Also, it gets a bit dangerous because we tend to put our minds to other matters upcoming, or thinking back to what we did not long ago as a second guess, and not on what we are doing.  So, I now have a Makita twin-pack with 18 volt cordless drill/driver and an impact driver.

Except that now I can't get the duplicate Duplex from BLI that should be brought to the market in a few weeks.  It all went into the Makita drivers. 

Nobody said you can have it all.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:08 AM

My son-in-law asked if I would like some help over the weekend, so while the two ladies went shopping, he and I went at the work.  We got a lot done.  We built the helix frame and legs, and all the other top-frames for the rest of the layout.  My job over the next week is to place legs on all the appropriate places, invert the modules, and then fix them in place and against each other via carriage bolts.  I will work on the helix first since it is the diciest item for me.  Once it is in place as a helix, I can continue to lay track all around and do the wiring.

It has been howling in the Pacific NW for days, so we had to work indoors...by flashlight since we use cordless tools and the power was off for three hours.  The floor is littered with shavings and sawdust...another chore ere long.

This is what it looked like the next morning, Monday 23 January.

Crandell

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:08 PM

Boy!  You're moving right along, Crandell. YesCool  Always nice to have another pair of hands to lighten the load and speed up the work.

So, what's going to happen to the old layout room once you vacate it for the loft?  I got dibs. Laugh

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 2:08 PM

 Now that is dedication - building benchwork by flashlight because the power is off!

         --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 Tuesday, January 24, 2012 3:33 PM

Crandell, hope your OK, I feel your pain, have peeled the skin off my palm once when rushing to change bits w/ a Milwalkee holeshooter. I must have be an idiot to think I was going to unchuck that bit in reverse. Dah, I used the chuck key to put it in...

At least today w/ all the wonderful cordless drills and impacts along w/ the quick change bits it doesn't happen as much.

Work safe, and watch out for that chop saw too.

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

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 2:46 AM

tstage

...So, what's going to happen to the old layout room once you vacate it for the loft?  I got dibs. Laugh

Tom

Tom, my wife gets that corner of the basement back.  The overhead track lighting would be great for her quilting and sewing.  After I harvest from it what I can, and take apart the modules and cart them out, I have to prime and repaint the walls higher up where the backdrop shows, and also replace a length of baseboard that swelled when I had a perimeter drainage problem six years ago and the basement leaked in that corner.  Personally, having the train room just inches away from a very hot wood stove, plus the hot GU-10 lighting...it was just too much during the very months when running trains seemed like a good idea....but rarely was.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 3:00 AM

Bob, thanks, and yes I am fine.  The cuts show just a bit of healing and broken skin today.  I am trying to be careful.

Today I did a couple of things because I seem to be flat after the marathon that was Sunday.   I used a piece of scrap 1/2" ply as a sturdy base at the bottom of the helix on which I will anchor the foot of the first arc of spiraling roadbed.  I am doing this because I need to lever the curved ramp/spiral length upward along the vertical curve that will be the transition from level to grade up the helix.  Secondly, I measured out twin arcs on a sheet of plywood and use them to place two lengths of flextrack.  I wanted to figure out how wide my helical roadbed would have to be so that I wasn't wasting wood and also having the tracks too close and getting sideswiping of passenger cars and longer engines.  My worst engine for overhang is the Rivarossi Allegheny 2-6-6-6, and I grabbed a long Walthers CPR passenger car, the steel fluted side type.  Moving those two back and forth, and placing small scrap blocks of wood close to them on the outside of the tracks, I learned that 2.75" centers is fine, and I need about 13/16" clearance outboard of the tracks on either side.  I settled on 5" wide roadbed.

Next step is to build the descending spiral ramp to the netherworld staging.  When building a helix, you have to 'pave as you go', meaning you must lay tracks before you turn the spiral over on itself and have no view or room to lay the nice curves.  You build most of a turn, and before you continue, while you can still stand over that much and work on it, you lay out the track segments and test.  Once you have it right, continue to cover that level with the upper spiral curves.

Crandell

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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 8:49 AM

Crandell, are you building your helix by blocking each section of roadbed or supporting w/ threaded rod? Of coarse the rod needs wider subroadbed as compared to 1x outboard supports. What are you using to "scab" the underside of the subroadbed sections?  If vertical clearance is a real issue and a thinner ply needed for the joint I would recommend using a biscuit joiner or at least cut a lap joint for the seams.  If you have sufficeint height scrap arcs of the 1/2" ply will do the job.

If you are having "fits" w/ cutting that but joint @ the TT/ house section, just double the joist at the plywood seam, This may make "decking" that module easier.

This is also the perfect time to start to get a feel for sw machine positions, especially for yard ladders, to move any interfering 1x4 joists. Having to notch or otherwise move joists or configuring offset linkage for the Tortoise latter will be tough. Esspecially doing this under such low benchwork. This became such a nusiance for all the benchwork layout for our yards at the club, that we decided to allow a double 1x4 "chase" for the yard ladders and throats. The remaining joists were just "crippled" to the angled 1xs. Has work out fantastic as all the Tortoises are within a clear chase.

This framing may be totally unneccessary in your case, we do have some extremely large yards and elaborate benchwork. May work for others though. Too bad I don't have pic of underside.

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

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:53 AM

Bob, I don't have a biscuit joiner and don't think I will use one anyway.  I will build support columns and risers, and use metal L-brackets to support the plywood subroadbed.  At least, that's the plan.   For me the trickiest part will be in the relative heights of the module to the south of the helix as the outer frame 1X4 will interfere with the path of the descending helix to staging.   I have already made the helix legs shorter to allow an unhindered path for the descent. It means building up that much more for the rising spiral tunnel, but it's no more than one turn, not several stacked.   However, the descending one must run under the southern module, and right now the 1X4 blocks the path.   I will have to notch the abutting 1X4's.

Crandell

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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 10:08 AM

selector

Bob, I don't have a biscuit joiner and don't think I will use one anyway.  I will build support columns and risers, and use metal L-brackets to support the plywood subroadbed.  At least, that's the plan.   For me the trickiest part will be in the relative heights of the module to the south of the helix as the outer frame 1X4 will interfere with the path of the descending helix to staging.   I have already made the helix legs shorter to allow an unhindered path for the descent. It means building up that much more for the rising spiral tunnel, but it's no more than one turn, not several stacked.   However, the descending one must run under the southern module, and right now the 1X4 blocks the path.   I will have to notch the abutting 1X4's.

Crandell

Do you already have the specs for the helix calculated (rise/ min grade to the elevation required for the no turns to enter/ exit the helix?

You may be able to "cripple" out that interfering 1x4 to gain clearance to lower staging. If your final scenery will allow, you may be able to channel the decending path into the base plywood even supporting eccessive span on the plywood top. This can only work if it can be disguised under scenery or under a building. I would have no trouble spanning the 1/2" ply up to 20-24" if it can be edge or top braced. The decending "channel" can also allow for 1x side supports to the upper "base" plywood. The decending subroadbed may need to be wider than the channel cut for those blocking supports.

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

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Posted by cudaken on Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:48 PM

 Are you done yet? Whistling

 Over 2000 views all ready! Not that we are pressuring you Crandell. 

   Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Friday, January 27, 2012 12:32 AM

No, Ken, I am a bit flat at the moment with other commitments on my time.  I did manage to get four legs on one module yesterday, but that is as far as I could go.  Friday I hope to get working on the down ramp to staging.   I will have to ponder my way first...maybe as I sleep tonight.

Crandell

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, January 27, 2012 9:57 AM

 Still work faster than me, over 2 years and my layout still isn't 'done' (or done as alayout ever gets). Staging's not connected to the layout, a passing siding is needed (turnout are there, just not connected to anything) and I still have the whole cement plant penninsula to build - benchwork and track. No choice but to do some work this weekend, but that's all mainly just getting my show equipment ready to travel, weekend after is Timonium. I'm slow.

                --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 cudaken on Sunday, January 29, 2012 7:17 PM

 Hum, you work to slow! Laugh

 Just looking forward to see what you come up with. Your current layout is one of my favorites on the site. Plus I am looking forward to stealing some of your ideas! Whistling

                Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 10:44 PM

I have tried to keep it slow so that I can think a bit.  RRCanuck said to me in a pm that he had wanted to tackle a helix, but that they were a bit daunting.  I was much more cavalier, until I got to making the ramps and supporting them with risers and keeping it all at grade and level transversely.  Now I am with him...and find it is indeed daunting.  However, with fits and starts, some thoughtful pauses, I have come this far.

You can see the 2% ramp (yay, a real honest-to-goodness 2%er this time!).  I figured out how to make it all go right.  The half-inch ply crescents want to torsion downward at the end, but you can't let them do that.  So, as you try to twist the end back to level, you cause the middle to tilt downward at the outside of the curve.  Imagine a locomotive emerging from a portal along this middle portion tilted dangerously outward on the curve.  Yikes!.  So, trying to keep the grade constant, you use clamps to adjust the crescent's risers upwards and tilted a bit to force the plywood to be level across its axis, or across the centerline all the way up it.

Here is another view, this one more to the left showing the far tangent descending ramp that will eventually go around a left turn, over a lower level of my liftout bridge at the door to the loft, turn left again, and join a shelf comprising the staging yard under the large yard module, probably with about 10-12" of headroom.   Yay, I'm gonna have real staging this time.

So, I am still laying roadbed and tracks before I cover up the modules with plywood and since I had to make supports for the descending ramp...you can see at least one.  After the ramp in the helix is fully tracked, I will commence the rising spiral ramp atop it with about 4" spacing.

You can see the open box in the center of the helix?   It is actually split in two so that it can be uncoupled and moved as two pieces.  The central box will be a slide under and sit up access in the interior of the mountain if I need that access.  Otherwise, most of the mountain top will be a lift-off, probably in two pieces...not sure how I'll do it yet.

The roadbed is a plasticized natural cork granule underlay I picked up at Home Depot.  It is easily cut in strips wide enough for roadbed, I kerf it with scissors, and bend it to form curves when I must.  It is about 3/32" thick, so a nice sound-deadening layer.

This build is at about half the pace of my last layout.  I don't expect to be 'finished' this one until close to Christmas, but that's only because I have no real concept of how much it will take to get it looking and operating decently.  I can only say I am in no hurry this time, and want very much to darned well get the most inaccessible track bullet-proof.

Oh yeah, I am having a blast.  No major screwups, no major bleeds, the language isn't very salty...life is good.

Crandell

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Posted by Motley on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 11:04 PM

Dang! That is looking wonderful Crandell. I was wondering how you were gonna build the helix. That just looks awesome.

Great work so far, keep it up man.

Michael


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Posted by bogp40 on Thursday, February 2, 2012 9:00 AM

Very nice so far, yes this stage of the construction (helix) can really be daunting. I see you solved the clearance issues on that decending track. You're not in any "race", it pays to think it all through. Disregard "The Peanut Gallery"   Hmm, 1 person working and 10 looking over your shoulder, Sounds familiar, we tend to call this the "bleachers" @ the club. Keep up that outstanding work, we'll be peering over your shoulder, you know!

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

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Posted by cudaken on Thursday, February 2, 2012 9:03 AM

Yes Thanks for the update!

I hate Rust

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 2, 2012 10:33 AM

 The initial turn with the ramp is the hard part, after that, cut up a huge supply of spacer blocks all exactly the sme size - for a continuous grade, each point of the level above is exactly the same distance above the previous level. I would place at least 3 pairs of spacer blocks per segment - one at each end overlapping the joint to the next segment, and one set int he middle to counteract the twist.

 Just remember to lay the track on each one before adding the next level! Feeder drops I'd run towards the middle, and run a couple of heavy drops off your main bus to run up the 'chimney' and gather in all the feeders.

 Purely speculation, since I haven't built one yet. Perhaps my next layout will need 2 levels to get in all I want, I'm just not sure how I'd feel about the change in orientation (if the train goes left to right ont he lower level, as a eastbound, then comes back right to left but it's still an eastbound...umm.. However, if the second level is viewed as looking south and the lower level is looking north - then it makes sense. In fact that may solve one of my problems now that I type out these thoughts.

             --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 selector on Thursday, February 2, 2012 10:45 AM

Agreed, Randy, for me the first problem was how to initiate the decline into the true grade, but at the same time get the turn you see at left on the solid partial sheet of plywood.  I solved that by forcing the ply to dip midway using risers with tops just a bit lower than the ones closer to the top of the run.  But, as you can see in the first photo just now, I cut a stress relief line at one corner of the ply so that I could also torsion the sheet to begin to cant toward the right as we view it.   That cant had the effect of wanting to make the outer lip dip more, causing the same locomotive tilting problem with its boiler top leaning way outward on the curve.  I had to forcefully lift that outer edge and screw large risers with four screws to the frame to get it to get back to near-level.  All of this torsioning and tension sure makes for a rigid bench!

It appears to me, from the first image, that the grade might be somewhat steeper than my desired 2%.  I trust my eyes, but I know now to back them up with hard numbers.  So, I have measured the drop in elevation at several places along the spiral ramp, and it comes to within a tenth of 2% each time.  I can live with that 'standard error' if it is consistent.  I doubt it is, but even if the grade varies between 2.3% and 1.7% at times, it's no biggie.  It is better than what I had on my last layout.

Crandell

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Posted by Pruitt on Thursday, February 2, 2012 11:09 AM

Daunting? Helix construction daunting?

Mine was a piece of cake! I only spent a year on it...

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Posted by selector on Thursday, February 2, 2012 1:33 PM

Honestly, Mark, I would have abandoned it and rethunk my whole layout after maybe two weeks.  Heck no, one week.  I can't be stalled, or demure, or be stymied, or question myself for more than a couple of thinking days.  I just know I'd tear it all out and start over...six months later.  So, with some luck, brain power, and some good materials and tools, I hope I have something that will get me to layout #4, hopefully in 6-10 years.  Ideally, this would go forever, maybe incorporated in the next layout.

Oh, and I would bet good money your helix is a superior product, much more refined, a more consistent grade, etc.  You could probably sell yours in a few years and make a fortune. Cool

Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, February 4, 2012 7:15 PM

Heck Up.

I hate Rust

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Posted by gabeusmc on Monday, February 6, 2012 4:01 PM

What exactly are you modeling?

"Mess with the best, die like the rest" -U.S. Marine Corp

MINRail (Minessota Rail Transportaion Corp.) - "If they got rid of the weeds what would hold the rails down?"

And yes I am 17.

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