Starting my NTrak modules

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by Bill Pontin, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Finally got around to starting my new modules. Two four footers that will include a mountain division.

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  2. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Found that if you edge the top of your skyboards they will not get beat up during transport and handling. Here I used some 3/8" channel.

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  3. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    In the process of laying out a track plan and scenery details. These are the modules that I want to switch-back from the blue line up to the mountain division. The large upright ends, with the holes cut in them, are primarily for support for the skyboard. Figure on putting in a harbor on the right module. Tight squeeze for all the details I want to include in the eight foot. Hope to get it completed to participate in the Springfield, MA Northeast NTrak convention in January.
  4. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

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    I have Quick-Grips just like yours ;)

    I've been wondering, is it not necessary to put plywood under the foam to keep it from sagging?
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    On a four-foot module (2'x4'), you should only need one crossbrace near the middle. Our modular club recommends a 1x3. I have not seen any modules with sag, but you need to use the 2" foam for strength.

    Andrew
  6. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    I chose to eliminate the cross member because the 18" skyboard is an integral part of the frame and therefore will not sag. My only concern would be racking of the frame but with the styrofoam solidly adhered to the frame that will also, I hope, be no problem. I utilize all the underspace of the frame for leg storage during transport. Still deciding on what type of legs to use, leaning towrds the use of PVC pipe.
  7. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

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    Looks great, Bill. Nice workmanship on the modules.
  8. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

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    I had thought about using PVC pipe for legs. There are certainly lots of fittings available to attach them to the layout and to cross-brace them.
  9. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Got to do some more work on my modules today. Decided to go with 1 1/4" PVC legs.
    Mounted a female threaded fitting to the top of the leg and will mount the male part under the module. I know that if the male fitting was on the leg the threads would probably get damaged somewhere during transport or setting up.

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  10. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    For the leg adjustment I used a 1 1/4" union and plugged one end with a 1 1/14 x 1/2 " reducer. Playing with all the hardware in our local Orange Box (Home Depot) I found that a 1/2-20 nut was a very tight jam fit into the 1/2 part of the reducer. Great! - so I will use a 1/2-20 x 2 1/2" long carriage bolt for my required plus or minus height adjustment. Very critical that you add all the leg measurements correctly. Also, even though you cut the PVC pipe to the correct length a fitting not seated fully will mess up the overall length.

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  11. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Mounting the male fitting provided a little challange. I thought that the fitting would sit secure enough into bored blocks. Too loose and wobbly for my liking. Back to the Orange Box to play with more hardware. Found that a 1 1/4 x 1/2 reducer filling the fitting could provide a secure method to bolt the leg onto the module ledge support. A large fender washer did the trick. Much better support with very little wobbling even at the 40" height.

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  12. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Satisfied with the legs and their adjustment I then went on to provide alignment dowels. Since these two modules will always be used together I wanted an easy alignment of the two when setting up. Here I secure dowels on one side to align the second module for clamping.

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  13. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    I am now ready to start planning the scenery. Have several ideas in mind but I need a picture that I can reproduce for a backdrop. Looking for a fjord like scene with water and pine trees. Looking to create a small lake that will wind behind several mountain tails and then give the appearance that is flows into the backdrop. Been to several libraries, done enough google and ask searches to last a lifetime. Closest thing I've found so far is Arcadia National Park, do-able, but too many hardwood trees in the picutre. Any suggestions? :rolleyes:
  14. RidgeRunner

    RidgeRunner Member

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    I never thought about using threaded PVC as legs on a module... nice idea! I may copy that in the future...
  15. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

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    Instead of using a carriage bolt as an adjustable leveler try using an eyebolt. Lot easier to make adjustments by hand and if needed you can stick a screwdriver in the eyebolt for leverage.
  16. Connor

    Connor Member

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    Can you give a little more detail on this part? I don't understand how you did the 1 1/4x 1/2 reducer .. The picture didn't really show enough I guess..
  17. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Hi Conner, Basically all I did was fill the 1 1/4 inch opening of the male fitting with the smallest reducer I could find. What I wanted to do was bolt the fitting to the cross member. I used a fender washer because the thru hole in the reducer was too large for the nut and bolt. It worked great as I was able to sock the fitting securely to the cross brace. I hope this answers your question. If you are making an NTrak module, - One word of caution is to carefully total up all the dimensions of your components so you wind up with the 40" plus/minus required track height. The rule; measure twice, cut once - in this case it's measure thrice, glue once.
  18. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

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    When are you going to have them in a show? I am looking forward to seeing those in person.
  19. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Good question NYNH&H. Just finalized my track plan, (blue masking tape) and applied a dark paint wash to all the rockwork. I was real carefull, made a very thin wash and applied it to all the rockwork, put it on heavy, letting it soak into the rocks and sculptamold. Thought I did a thorough job until I cleaned the brush and put the paint away. Yikes those white areas bothered me so bad I opened the paint and touched them up. Ya sure, I look today and there are more:curse: I'll try and attach two pictures of the proposed track plan as it switchbacks up to the mountain division (Green Line).


    :oops: Sorry the pictures were too big, will edit them in my picture program and come back
  20. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

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    Okay, I'm back, here are two pictures with my track plan.

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