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"US methods"

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  • Charles Hansen
    Trevor - I take some exception to this, as I have several modules that travel to exhibitions regularly with no physical ailments. I don t know just what US
    Message 1 of 14 , Feb 25, 2006
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      Trevor -

      I take some exception to this, as I have several modules that travel to
      exhibitions regularly with no physical ailments. I don't know just what "US
      methods" your friend advocated and what made him think he was an expert on
      such matters, but it is foolish to build an exhibition layout using
      inappropriate guidelines, no matter whose design they theoretically are. It
      would be much more appropriate to attribute the layout falling apart to
      shoddy design by your friend than "US methods", whatever that might
      represent.

      You are also amiss in making such a broad general judgment about the
      difference in modeling styles in Britain and the US. While there is some
      general truth to this, there are hundreds of US clubs and groups with
      modular layouts which regularly travel to shows, which you would soon
      realize if you were ever at a US show. In fact, layouts in N, HO and O
      scales are regularly assembled at US shows which are only equaled in size by
      the European Fremo layouts. What we do have far less of is the individual
      exhibition layout that is so common in Britain. While I realize that space
      issues - notably the lack of cellars - are the primary reason that so many
      British modelers have small exhibition layouts instead of home layouts, it
      is not true that all American modelers have home layouts.

      Charles


      > I speak with some experience. In our model railway club, we have a
      modeller who, until recently, never modelled anything but US HO or N
      gauge. He persuaded us to build an American Sn3 layout. He wanted to use
      US methods. This we did and found that the first time we took the layout
      to an exhibition, everything fell apart. This is a major difference
      between UK and US modellers. We make portable layouts for exhibition.
      You make layouts intended to stay at home and be shown to visitors.
    • hunslett
      I was surprised by the comment about US methods . I was a member of Eastern Loggers for many years. This 9 X 20 sectional layout set in Pennsylvania
      Message 2 of 14 , Feb 25, 2006
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        I was surprised by the comment about "US methods". I was a member of
        Eastern Loggers for many years. This 9'X 20'sectional layout set in
        Pennsylvania features excellent modeling including hundreds of trees.
        We visited shows and two long trips one to Cass and one to the
        Pennsylvania Logging Museum. The only failure I remember was due to a
        member plugging the DCC unite in upside down and blowing a transitor.
        This sectional layout was built with pink foam and wood facia. I would
        still be at it but my interest moved to O gauge with two permanent
        layouts which have followed me around the country during house moves.
        It is my experience that Americans build most things robustly.
        Take care,
        Vincent Bradley, Cincinnati Ohio
      • blair_hobson
        Pink foam and wood facia? Could you expand (!) on that, Vincent, or is there a link we could look at? It sounds like a really light method of construction!
        Message 3 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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          Pink foam and wood facia? Could you expand (!) on that, Vincent, or
          is there a link we could look at? It sounds like a really light
          method of construction!

          Blair

          --- In 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com, "hunslett" <vince@...> wrote:
          >
          > I was surprised by the comment about "US methods". I was a member
          of
          > Eastern Loggers for many years. This 9'X 20'sectional layout set
          in
          > Pennsylvania features excellent modeling including hundreds of
          trees.
          > We visited shows and two long trips one to Cass and one to the
          > Pennsylvania Logging Museum. The only failure I remember was due
          to a
          > member plugging the DCC unite in upside down and blowing a
          transitor.
          > This sectional layout was built with pink foam and wood facia. I
          would
          > still be at it but my interest moved to O gauge with two permanent
          > layouts which have followed me around the country during house
          moves.
          > It is my experience that Americans build most things robustly.
          > Take care,
          > Vincent Bradley, Cincinnati Ohio
          >
        • David J. Elliott
          I think what is being referred to is the use of solid foam insulation as a baseboard. This comes in 2 by 8 foot sheets up to 2 inches thick. Cut to the size
          Message 4 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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            I think what is being referred to is the use of solid foam insulation as a
            baseboard. This comes in 2 by 8 foot sheets up to 2 inches thick. Cut to the
            size needed and faced with thin ply round the edges and a light weight but
            strong baseboard is produced.
            David

            -----Original Message-----
            From: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com [mailto:7mmnga@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
            blair_hobson
            Sent: February 26, 2006 01:02
            To: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [7mm NGA] Re: "US methods"

            Pink foam and wood facia? Could you expand (!) on that, Vincent, or
            is there a link we could look at? It sounds like a really light
            method of construction!

            Blair

            --- In 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com, "hunslett" <vince@...> wrote:
            >
            > I was surprised by the comment about "US methods". I was a member
            of
            > Eastern Loggers for many years. This 9'X 20'sectional layout set
            in
            > Pennsylvania features excellent modeling including hundreds of
            trees.
            > We visited shows and two long trips one to Cass and one to the
            > Pennsylvania Logging Museum. The only failure I remember was due
            to a
            > member plugging the DCC unite in upside down and blowing a
            transitor.
            > This sectional layout was built with pink foam and wood facia. I
            would
            > still be at it but my interest moved to O gauge with two permanent
            > layouts which have followed me around the country during house
            moves.
            > It is my experience that Americans build most things robustly.
            > Take care,
            > Vincent Bradley, Cincinnati Ohio
            >






            This group is:
            1 - for people interested in modelling narrow gauge railways in 7mm:1ft
            scale or thereabouts
            2 - not restricted to members of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association although
            membership of said organisation is thoroughly recommended
            3 - moderated by current serving members of the 7mm Narrow Gauge Association
            committee
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          • Stephen Dee
            It is the use of inappropriate thin ply without proper structural considerations that has given this method of baseboard construction a bad name with those
            Message 5 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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              It is the use of inappropriate "thin ply" without proper structural
              considerations that has given this method of baseboard construction a bad
              name with those who are used to the more traditional heavy methods of
              construction.

              Poorly constructed traditional boards can be more forgiving and are easier
              to "fix" all be it with weight penalty. However I have seen boards made up
              with solid foam come apart and or warp/bow/twist in club use because proper
              consideration was not given to the structural aspects of facing foam with
              thin play.

              Stephen Dee, Shepshed, Leicestershire
              7mm NGA member 473
              -----Original Message-----
              From: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com [mailto:7mmnga@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
              David J. Elliott
              Sent: 26 February 2006 16:20
              To: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [7mm NGA] Re: "US methods"

              I think what is being referred to is the use of solid foam insulation as a
              baseboard. This comes in 2 by 8 foot sheets up to 2 inches thick. Cut to the
              size needed and faced with thin ply round the edges and a light weight but
              strong baseboard is produced.
              David
            • Charles Hansen
              Stephen - If someone was facing foam with thin ply, no wonder there were problems. The foam should act as the base for installing track (perhaps with
              Message 6 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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                Stephen -

                If someone was "facing" foam with thin ply, no wonder there were
                problems. The foam should act as the base for installing track
                (perhaps with additional roadbed, especially if not laid on the flat
                foam deck) and scenery, not the primary structural member.

                What you need to do is first build a strong box with sufficiently
                thick ends (for insuring squareness and clamping adjoining modules
                together) and adequate cross-members for structural integrity and
                supporting the foam from underneath, then this structure can indeed
                have 5 mil ply used for the sides/fascia.

                I know a fellow in Providence, RI, who has built dozens of these
                frames (with folding legs incorporated) that stand up to regular use
                in shows. I have seen at least one online site which demonstrates
                how to construct structurally sound but lightweight modules using
                these techniques.

                Charles



                > However I have seen boards made up
                > with solid foam come apart and or warp/bow/twist in club use
                because proper
                > consideration was not given to the structural aspects of facing
                foam with
                > thin play.
              • Stephen Dee
                I agree - you do need to have a strong box, particularly at the interfaces. However, with the right structural design you make a strong frame in a light weight
                Message 7 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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                  I agree - you do need to have a strong box, particularly at the interfaces.
                  However, with the right structural design you make a strong frame in a light
                  weight manner.

                  I can see the advantage of light foam, but I have not been convinced in its
                  capabilities for fixing tack etc, to, especially when installing point work
                  and using motors. Where I have seen it used is with wire controlled points
                  from surface mounted switches. Also I have yet to see it used to make a
                  truly 3 dimensional scene.

                  For my modules I have started I am using a cross between the traditional
                  frame with wooden top approach, but using 12mm ply for the sides, 6mm ply as
                  the top and 4 or 6mm ply as cross braces installed under tension to create
                  "T" girder effect. I reckon the final weight of the board will be not be
                  much different from a similar deep board made with foam and boxed, but a lot
                  lighter then boards I made in the past by the traditional 2x 1 frame and
                  cross brace method,.

                  Stephen Dee, Shepshed, Leicestershire, England
                  KLM - Knockerdown Lumber and Mining
                  Charnwood Lumber
                  CFNS - Charnwood Forest and Norwood Southern RR

                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com [mailto:7mmnga@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
                  Charles Hansen
                  Sent: 26 February 2006 19:04
                  To: 7mmnga@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [7mm NGA] Re: "US methods"

                  Stephen -

                  If someone was "facing" foam with thin ply, no wonder there were
                  problems. The foam should act as the base for installing track
                  (perhaps with additional roadbed, especially if not laid on the flat
                  foam deck) and scenery, not the primary structural member.

                  What you need to do is first build a strong box with sufficiently
                  thick ends (for insuring squareness and clamping adjoining modules
                  together) and adequate cross-members for structural integrity and
                  supporting the foam from underneath, then this structure can indeed
                  have 5 mil ply used for the sides/fascia.
                • blair_hobson
                  There was an article in Voie Libre recently where they made an HOm layout of one board 1200x600mm using a piece of expanded polystyrene with a sheet of 4mm mdf
                  Message 8 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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                    There was an article in Voie Libre recently where they made an HOm
                    layout of one board 1200x600mm using a piece of expanded polystyrene
                    with a sheet of 4mm mdf underneath and used same size mdf for the
                    trackbed - all scenery was in exp. poly - they did not face the sides.

                    Any comments, anyone?

                    Blair
                  • Michael J
                    Here in Australia, a method of construction for portable layouts and modules is to use aluminium framing and foam. Here is an article:
                    Message 9 of 14 , Feb 26, 2006
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                      Here in Australia, a method of construction for portable layouts and
                      modules is to use aluminium framing and foam. Here is an article:

                      http://www.nmra.org.au/Pages/framing.htm

                      Cheers,

                      Michael j
                    • hunslett
                      I see that the foam idea has been going on. Sorry but I have been away and therefore could not answer. Essentially we glue with Liquid Nails foam 2 sheets
                      Message 10 of 14 , Feb 27, 2006
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                        I see that the foam idea has been going on. Sorry but I have been
                        away and therefore could not answer. Essentially we glue with Liquid
                        Nails foam 2" sheets together and this is usually at least 6" thick.
                        The ends have wood imbedded in them for leg support and joining. The
                        sections are aligned with PVC pipe sections. The legs are free
                        standing and the sections slip over them. We use hardboard for the
                        all 4 sides. This is glued on. The switch motors are mounted on
                        plywood glued to the foam. We hand lay the track. This was written
                        up in Great Model Railroads sometime back. The track is laid on
                        Upsome Board but some was laid directly on the foam using Liquid
                        Nails again.
                        For my own layouts I don't use the foam as I have trouble imagining
                        hills and cuts in it prefering chicken wire and hard shell method.
                        Having followed many articles in the British press about baseboard
                        construction I am always surprised by the thin plywood used. Here
                        pine and other softwoods are cheap and readily available and
                        therefore 1" X 4" constuction is the norm for home layouts with at
                        least 2"x 2" legs.
                        Also, the vast majority of Shays were 3' gauge with standard, 4'8.5"
                        a close second. I can only think of one railroad with 2' shays and
                        they were small.
                        Take care,
                        Vincent, 1707
                      • Trevor Shaw
                        Via offline correspondence, I have been persuaded by a very polite and reasonable member of this group to explain my comments on US versus UK methods of
                        Message 11 of 14 , Mar 4 4:43 PM
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                          Via offline correspondence, I have been persuaded by a very polite and
                          reasonable member of this group to explain my comments on US versus UK
                          methods of exhibition model railway construction, which turned out to be
                          far more controversial than I had intended.

                          In particular, I was persuaded to say how we got our layout to work,
                          rather than how it didn't work using "US methods". So, I'll do my best.

                          The first build used MDF for baseboard construction. Nothing to do with
                          "US methods" but a big problem in our previous (very damp) clubroom. All
                          sorts of warping, twisting and swelling problems. That out of the way,
                          I'll talk about the "US methods" that also got us in trouble (and we
                          should have known better).

                          Shinohara Sn3 track proved to be too fragile for our purposes. This may
                          not apply to Shinohara On30 track (if such exists). The Sn3 track looks
                          very nice. It has code 75 FB rail spiked to the plastic ties with what
                          look like scale plastic spikes. The rail strips out of the spikes if you
                          look at it too hard.

                          Using rail joiners for electrical continuity on an exhibition layout was
                          again a disaster. Again we should have known better. Our normal practice
                          is that every piece of rail has two droppers soldered to it which are
                          soldered to copper busbars (stripped mains cable) beneath the baseboards
                          mimicking the track above.

                          For the second build via "UK methods", we used 9mm ply for the
                          baseboards, code 75 FB rail soldered to copperclad ties for all the
                          trackwork and 2 droppers soldered to track and sub-baseboard busbars
                          throughout. All now works well. Except for the problems of the
                          US-sourced Sn3 locos.

                          Sn3 is a fine standard. Much, much harder to get running faultlessly
                          than On30, On16.5 or whatever. All the locos we run are
                          American/Japanese brass. Beautiful to look at. They are supposedly
                          sprung. But the springs are so stiff that they might as well be
                          inoperative. The layout runs big 2-8-2 tender locos, 2-8-0s and 4-6-0s.
                          Effectively unsprung locos of this sort with Sn3-sized flanges don't run
                          well over slightly less than perfect switches and crossings. We
                          sometimes have problems. I think that in order to get Sn3 running
                          perfectly, you have to adopt standards not far short of P4.

                          So, this is my answer and my explanation of the problems I have seen.

                          Lots of mistakes made on the way. Some, but not all down to "US
                          methods". All done in Sn3 rather than 7mm NG. But I hope of use.
                          --
                          Trevor Shaw
                        • Alan Rogers
                          Trevor Very helpful, thank you. I found it especially interesting that you use an electrical network under the baseboards which mimics the layout above. I ve
                          Message 12 of 14 , Mar 5 2:58 AM
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                            Trevor

                            Very helpful, thank you.

                            I found it especially interesting that you use an electrical network under
                            the baseboards which mimics the layout above. I've only seen this to date on
                            Án Clar, an Nn3 layout here in the United Kingdom and I strongly suspect
                            that its trackplan is a lot simpler than your club layout. Have a look here
                            for a look-see (http://www.fielder-rowe.freeserve.co.uk/newproject.html)

                            A clever man learns from his mistakes, a wise one learns from the mistakes
                            of others too! Thank you again for plugging the gap.

                            Regards

                            Alan


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                          • Trevor Shaw
                            Alan, It might be helpful to add a little bit to the droppers/busbars story. We first used this system on Lofthouse, an O-gauge layout we started about 1989,
                            Message 13 of 14 , Mar 5 4:04 PM
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                              Alan,

                              It might be helpful to add a little bit to the droppers/busbars story.
                              We first used this system on Lofthouse, an O-gauge layout we started
                              about 1989, or somewhere about then.

                              We didn't get exactly right. For droppers, we used 1.6mm diameter brass
                              rod, bent into an inverted L shape, with the top of the inverted L
                              hammered flat and soldered to the underside of the code 100 FB rail. We
                              already knew that soft soldering a round rod to a flat surface would not
                              give a durable joint. However, we put the rods through 1.6mm diameter
                              holes in the 9mm ply baseboard tops. There was no allowance for the
                              expansion and contraction that occurs at exhibitions and many of the
                              dropper to rail joints failed the first time the layout went out,
                              fortunately at our own exhibition, so we didn't let anyone else down.

                              As a result, we're still bodging on Lofthouse 16 years later and I can
                              still be seen at the front of the layout a couple of times per weekend
                              "strapping" a dead rail with a few strands of copper taken from 7/02
                              layout wire by soldering it to an adjacent live rail.

                              Next time out was Dolores (Sn3). Two droppers per rail length, this time
                              0.8mm rod prepared as for Lofthouse but passing through 2mm holes in the
                              baseboard. Much more reliable and only the occasional fault.

                              Up to the present -- Whiteadder Jct -- EM gauge. 7/0.2 layout wire used
                              for droppers, 2 per rail section and passed through oversized baseboard
                              holes. So far (about 4-5 exhibitions) no problems.

                              As you suggest, we live and learn. And isn't it a good thing to be able
                              to share our experiences of both failures and successes via this
                              internet thingy?

                              Best wishes,

                              Trevor

                              In message <000301c64043$c2b5aaf0$0501a8c0@worker>, Alan Rogers
                              <post@...> writes
                              >Trevor
                              >
                              >Very helpful, thank you.
                              >
                              >I found it especially interesting that you use an electrical network under
                              >the baseboards which mimics the layout above. I've only seen this to date on
                              >Án Clar, an Nn3 layout here in the United Kingdom and I strongly suspect
                              >that its trackplan is a lot simpler than your club layout. Have a look here
                              >for a look-see (http://www.fielder-rowe.freeserve.co.uk/newproject.html)
                              >
                              >A clever man learns from his mistakes, a wise one learns from the mistakes
                              >of others too! Thank you again for plugging the gap.
                              >
                              >Regards
                              >
                              >Alan
                              >
                              >

                              --
                              Trevor Shaw
                            • hunslett
                              I have used H.O. Code 70 Shinohara track on my home layout in 7mm. I removed every other tie and sunk the ties in ballast. Yes it is easy to damage the
                              Message 14 of 14 , Mar 5 5:59 PM
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                                I have used H.O. Code 70 Shinohara track on my home layout in 7mm. I
                                removed every other tie and sunk the ties in ballast. Yes it is easy
                                to damage the spikeheads while laying the track but once down it is
                                fine. One note, the switches have a pivot rivit which I have needed to
                                tighten to maintain good electrical contact. For my On3 layout I am
                                handlaying the track using Kappler ties and ME spikes. So far things
                                have been going well with 8 switches completed but the time necessary
                                is about 5 times laying the Shinohara. I do find track laying very
                                enjoyable so I will shut up about the time.
                                Vincent Bradley, 1707
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