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Building a layout on a rotisserie

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  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 30,002 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 8:20 PM

 Greg's picture, or something somewhat along the lines of a free-standing hammock I think would be a better way to frame up the rotisserie itself. With eh supports at the outer edges, there's pretty much zero chance of rolling up close to the layout seated in a chair. ANd if standing, with the layout vertical to access the bottom, like for feeding a wire through from the top to the bottom, it's something to trip over.

 I'll have to draw it out, but I'm thinking something like a U channel (made like an L girder - just add another small side), with the verticals going up and being braces like the ones shown in Greg's picture. Possible one extra brace at each end, diagonally from the upright tot he U channel.



Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's


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  • Member since
    July 2009
  • From: lavale, md
  • 4,656 posts
Posted by gregc on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 6:41 PM

are you familiar with The One Module at A time (TOMA) approach to building a layout by fully completing each module before starting the next.   Each module is built on a rotisserie

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,683 posts
Building a layout on a rotisserie
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 6:25 PM

Hi Gang!

Several people have recommended that I start a new thread about building my new layout. There has been some discussion about what I propose in the last few pages of the thread below, but the thread just got way too long and convoluted:

I want to build something similar to the Milwaukee Road Beer Line railroad that MR first showed in the January 2009 issue, but without using modules:

What will be unique about my layout is that I will be able to do almost all of the work while sitting in a chair, that is if things work out as planned. Standing for more than a couple of minutes is painful thanks to a bad back, and getting under a layout would be impossible. What I propose is to build the layout on a rotisserie so that it can be rotated to allow me to reach both the top and the bottom of the layout while sitting in a chair. This is a very rough sketch of how the benchwork and supports would look:

The layout will be 12' long x 5'4" wide. The center of the actual layout frame will be a box, or spine if you will (not spline) made out of 1x6s and 1x4s. That should be plenty strong enough to support the 12' length of the layout without flexing too much. The cross members will be attached to either side of the spine and the outside framing will then be attached to the cross members. That will form the benchwork.

To support the benchwork, I'm going to build two end supports which will be linked at their bases by L girders using 1x6s and 1x4s. The end supports will hold the rotisserie bearings, which will be similar to those used on lazy susan kitchen cabinets and swiveling bar stools. The bearings are not designed to be used on their sides, but they will only be rotated very occassionally. I'm hoping that the end bearings will keep the proper distance between the top of the end supports so I won't need to use long angled braces.

The end braces will have solid plywood inside of the 1x6 framing so diagonal bracing won't be required across the ends. The primary purpose for the plywood is to allow for an indexing system that will allow me to lock the layout at whatever angle suits my needs. I still haven't figured out what type of mechanism I can use for the locking pins.

As it sits right now, the layout has a double track all the way around. I like to watch trains run so I'm hoping that I can run a train continuously while doing a bit of switching. I have yet to prove that the current plan will actually allow for that without fouling the mainline too badly. Here is the plan so far:

The scene will be mostly urban. I have all of the structures that I am showing on the plan except for the residential houses, and I am anticipating adding more structures to fill in some of the blank spots. I hope to scratchbuild a lot of the structures.

I haven't shown the roads but there will be lots of them. There will be a main street that will run down the center of the layout. The Atlas Middlesex Manufacturing buildings will dominate one end of the layout. I'm planning on combining several City Classics kits to create taller and wider office buildings downtown, and the Bachmann Ambassador Hotel will add some height to the downtown as well. There will be a passenger station on the bottom of the layout.

What's missing is a freight yard so I am still pondering that. I could add a couple of short tracks in the upper right, but I am torn between having a small yard or having another industry or two. Seems I need both!

Anyhow, that is where I am for now. I need to find someone who sells 1x4s and 1x6s in 14' lengths. I only need two of each for the bracing between the end supports. I know I can get them in poplar at Royal Woodworking but they won't be cheap.

Please comment!!




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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