Need ideas for small switching layout

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by Hookups, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    Hi all,

    We all know that space can be a problem. I have no way of building the layout of my dreams right now, but I want to have a small layout that will give me alot of switching.

    I belong to a local R/R club, and they have given me alot of info. Looking to see what some might say on here.

    What I am looking for:

    A small layout that I will be able to set up on the diner table, and then be able to store. In the new issue of "Model Railroader" there was a write up for this kind of layout. They are saying to use 2 inch thick foam board. Will this last over time and being moved around?

    I am thinking about doing a 2X7 layout. Any ideas?

    Thanks,
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The foam in the article has a wood frame around the perimeter. I have built a similar layout - 46" x 60" using a similar technique. It is quite sturdy. However, the foam can be gouged or dented without reasonable care and storage. I ended up covering my foam with 1/4" plywood to give the Lionel track screws something to "bite" into. Most folks in smaller scales use latex caulk or white glue to glue thier track and roadbed to the foam. There is a whole series of links within this particular forum on easy ways to build foam modules.

    yours in foaming
  3. Tap

    Tap Member

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    so does the foam serve any use now? does it deaden the sound?
  4. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    I would really like to stay away from foam. What thickness of plywood should I use? I don't plan on making benchwork since I will store the layout when I am not using it. When sat up, I will run it on my kitchen table.

    I finally figured out a trackplan that I am happy with. Once I find out what I am going to put it on I am ready to roll.

    Thanks,
    Jerry
  5. Tap

    Tap Member

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    1/2 inch works great, i got a 4X8 sheet got two modules out of that sheet.
  6. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    Thanks Tap,

    I am going to stop by and pick up the plywood for it tonight.

    It is going to be along day at work, I'll be thinking about trains all day! LOL!

    Jerry
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Tap

    The 1/4" ply would sag and bend without a lot of supports under the middle. The 1.5" foam, when laminated to the plywood, is exceptionally rigid and needs no interior support over the 5ft and 4ft spans. The edge frame protects the foam, and adds even more rigidity. No noiser than my traditional 1/2" plywood supported on 18" centers.

    yours in framing
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    With only 1/4" ply, the foam still provides some structural support. With 1/2" ply, you will need a traditional frame with cross members on 16" to 24" centres.

    Don't underestimate how much work it is to move a module. The foam-based benchwork/module will definitely be kinder to your back in the long run!

    The local NMRA club has a 2x6 foot "timesaver" layout that is used for PR at train shows. It is constructed of 3/4" ply with storage underneath. The thing weighs a ton! It takes two very strong people to move it - and would be easier with four. By comparison, one of the guys at the modular club has two 2x6 modules boxed together, and one person can handle the lot (although it requires two to set it up on its feet).

    Anyway, that is an idea for a small table top layout - the "Time saver". There are many other small track plans available. Google "mike's small trackplans" or "carl arendt" to find the links.

    Andrew
  9. Tap

    Tap Member

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    on my layout i have a cross member in the middle, and im using 1/2in. ply
  10. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    Hey guys,

    So what you are saying is to take the foam, and lay the plywood over it? If so, what is a good way of keeping them together, glue?

    I am going to go 3 wide by 7 long. Can I get foam that long?

    I have a good layout plan done for alot of switching, I will take a look at the link above to see if I can get anymore ideas.

    Thanks for all the help guys, keep it coming!
    Jerry
  11. abutt

    abutt Member

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  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Jerry,

    Fred's note about laying plywood over the foam is a bit unusual. It will make a lightweight structural member, but a few 1x4 stringers are much less expensive.

    While the foam is quite strong, and becomes extremely rigid when bonded to even 1/4" ply, Fred specifically said:
    For HO or N scale modules, the track and roadbed can be glued down in a variety of ways (I use adhesive caulking), as there are no screws/nails required.

    You can find foam in 1/2" to 4" thicknesses in 2x8 or 4x8 sizes, but it is highly dependent on where you live. Check out the module building tutorial at www.railwaybob.com for more information. Go directly -> http://www.railwaybob.com/Modules/MRIndex.htm

    Can you post your track plan?

    Andrew
  13. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Andrew is correct - I would not cover the foam with plywood for anything except the Lionel track and accessories. 2" foam by itself is plenty rigid. Latex caulk appears to be the preferred method for mounting roadbed and track. Patches of plywood can be glued underneath for mounting wiring blocks, switch machines, etc.

    On my next shelf layout, which will have 6-7% grades, I have yet not decided whether to use 1/4" plywood underneath with 1" foam to bend it to the grades, or go strictly with 2" foam (multiple layers where needed) and carve grades into it. The all foam is lighter and easier to wire (punching holes is much easier without plywood underneath), but I'm more likely to get smooth grade transitions with the ply/foam combo.

    The module building tutorial link Andrew gave is the best I have seen.

    Hope this makes things a little clearer.
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Thanks Fred. It was put together by one of the guys in our modular club (www.hotrak.ca) who has built and/or supervised the building of a number of the modules in the club. He is currently helping me and another member build 6 new 4-footers. Thanks to his guidance, our efforts are still salvagable... ;) :D

    Andrew
  15. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    MasonJar-I will try to get a track plan on here this weekend. I have had a busy week, and have not done much with it. Plus, I have a big R/C race coming up this weekend as well.

    Thanks,
    Jerry
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Jerry,

    It will be great to see a track plan. And good luck with the race... :)

    Andrew
  17. Cadillac_SD9

    Cadillac_SD9 Member

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    I would recomend at least a 3 foot wide board it would give even more industries and you can run a six axle loco on that radius. I had 2x4 layout and the six axle locos go around but in that case you would need to make wider tunnels because of extra lenght of an six axle loco. It will also look funny going around that curve. Also in a couple of the modle railroaders they show how to build this 4x8. What they did was build a wood frame and then lay the foam inside the frame to make quiet opperations. You can also stick trees in the foam without drilling into the board. Is this an N scale modual?

    Cadillac_SD9
  18. Cadillac_SD9

    Cadillac_SD9 Member

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    Iam an R/C racer as well. I race 1/10th scale offroad trucks I own a t-maxx.
  19. Hookups

    Hookups New Member

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    Cadillac_SD9-This will be a HO layout.

    I am only making yard to play with for the most part. I do not intend to have a oval layout. I just want to do some swithing here at the house.

    I love racing trucks. As you can tell I am a Losi guy. Have been since '89, no turning back now!

    Jerry
  20. Cadillac_SD9

    Cadillac_SD9 Member

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    Well we have two great hobbies.