Bend Track modules update

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by dannparks, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. dannparks

    dannparks New Member

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    Thought I would post some progress on my modules.

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    Here are all 6 modules crammed into the shop space. I probably won't have them all in here at once very often.

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    I tore up the old mountian module and rebuilt it so the entire loop is in a tunnel. This allowed more realistic mountains and a rework of the lumber run track to create an interesting (although not very prototypical) convergence of wooden trestles in the middle, as the run climbs up to the logging camp.

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    The mountain run so far. The bridges (under construction) are Walthers, widened to 1 1/2" track spacing. Facia board will be cut down to create valley for stream under bridges.

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    A small town coming together. Modifying the Bend Track standards to add a track down the center makes operating more interesting, but it doesn't leave a lot of room for scenery in a 2' wide module.

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    Corner module has a gravel pit, small lake, farm, and a few industries.

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    Intermodal yard and car shop.

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    The other corner has a lumber store, farm and grain elevator.

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    Carving foam and mocking up the Micro Engineering trestle kits for the trestle/waterfall module.

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    Trestle so far. None of the bridges are glued in place so they can be removed to do scenery.

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    Yard track in place. Still trying to finalize the scenery and structures. I'll probably build up a cluster of large industrial buildings to cover the mainline on the back side.

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    Engine yard in development. Planning a 130' turntable and services for steam and diesel.

    Comments and ideas welcome.

    More pictures and comentary at my Picasa site:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/dannsparks/BendTrack
  2. wccrawford

    wccrawford Novice Papercrafter

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    Wow, very nice. I wish I had the time, money, patience and skill for such an undertaking. I hope you'll keep posting pics as you change it.
  3. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    That is coming along nicely....Interesting to see how you've done all of your trackwork & scenery on top of foam....How thick are the foam layers..? I'm "old school", built everything on wood frames and risers, but I've got a large section yet to do on my layout and might try my hand at his "new technology"...

    Question...What are "bend track" modules..?

    Keep up the good work and post updates...:thumb:
  4. dannparks

    dannparks New Member

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    The foam is 2" thick and glued to 1x2 framework -- no plywood. It's quite strong.

    Bend Track is a modular system like N-Trak, but it has a double main line on both sides of the module with a standard "connection" point at each end. There is a "balloon" module at each end of the group of modules which loops trains from the "front" mains to the "back" mains. A module can be any size and shape, it just to have a common connection at each end. This allows club layouts to have serpentine and curvy shapes (hence "Bend" Track). What you see in the pictures is 6 modules designed to fit into a room about 10' x 20', but these modules can be assembled in a lot of other configurations in a larger space. I can also remove 3 of the modules and make a small layout if I want to use more shop space. The minimum Bend Track layout is 2 balloon modules hooked together. Check out www.bendtrack.com for more details.
  5. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    Thanks for the info...
    That module system makes a lot of sense....I'd seen other types but were quite "simple". This one has a lot of potential for variety. Is there a minimum length of module that needs to be used..?
  6. dannparks

    dannparks New Member

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    There's no minimum length specification, but shorter than a foot would be a bit useless unless you were needing to fill in a gap or something. The average length that I have seen for a "straight" module (connection at both ends, but not necessarily straight) is about 4'. My balloon modules (connection at one end) are 4'x6'. The more variety in shape and size, the better.
  7. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

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    This is really cool! I've never seen bend track before. Could you do this with Unitrack?
  8. steve.i456

    steve.i456 New Member

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    You can use unitrack, but there are a few issues. They are mainly the spacing you get from using two #6 unitrack turnouts. If you never plan on using your modules with others, then this is no problem. One work around would be to use atlas turnouts to get the 1-1/2" spacing called for in the manual.

    Another issue is the balloon (end modules). The manual requires 16" and 14-1/2" curves. But I won't say anything if you use 15" and 13-3/4". I once jokingly told Allen Heimsoth, the bend track site owner, that I was going to rewrite the manual to use only Kato unitrack.

    Dan,
    Your layout is really inspiring. I really enjoy your work. Keep sharing your pics on your progress. As for me I keep wavering on whether or not to go back to the bend track system or continue on my unitrack shelf layout. Me stumbling back here may have just been the trick.
    Thanks,
    Steve
  9. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

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    Really great work and as been said quite inspiring.
  10. dannparks

    dannparks New Member

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    Great discussion, guys. One thing to remember about any modular system is defining what you are going to do with it. If you are going to be connecting it up with other club members, then you need to be strict with the rules. If you are doing it mostly to be able to change the size and arrangement of your home layout (like me), then the rules are really just guidelines, and the important thing is that it works for you and the kind of track and trains you like. The concept of bend track could be re-engineered for Unitrack, or maybe just a single mainline on the edges of an 18" wide module is what works for your space and needs. I'm not advocating modular anarchy, but If the strict standards won't work for you, then do what does. Having fun with a layout is always better than not having one at all. IMHO.
  11. steve.i456

    steve.i456 New Member

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    I totally agree with Dan.
  12. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

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    I've only got 10'x13' to play with so I might have to "bend" the rules a bit. I'll have to start playing around with some drawings. The 24" has real possibility for my small space.
  13. Ronson2k3

    Ronson2k3 Member

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    I surely agree with that too. If you ever move the layout to a new location or want to expand the layout or swap out a section for a different one. Modules are perfect for that. Can be pulled apart and rebuilt much easier then a solid benchworked layout. It's more work to build it that way but the payoff is pretty huge if any of the above situations occur.
  14. Trainiac77

    Trainiac77 Member

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    I didn't want to steal this thread so I've started another called bend track beginnings. No pictures or anything, just discussion as I build my bend track modules. :mrgreen: