2" Foam?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Mike 86, Dec 19, 2000.

  1. Mike 86

    Mike 86 New Member

    I was told that using foam instead of plywood was better because it will eliminate the problem of moisture and wood warping. Is this really a good idea? If so what are some ways to build your layout table using foam? Any help or advice will be appreciated, Thanks

  2. watash

    watash New Member

    Mike, I'm getting winded running all over to keep up with you! Have you made up your mind what size rolling stock you want? The weight has a lot to do with how you make the tablework. Are you going to make foam mountains? Are you going to use plaster, real rocks? How many pounds of wiring, rails, engines, and all that will it have to support? Will it be modular, sectional, all one flat table, double decker+? Will it ever be moved to another house, or just scrapped? What happens to it when you grow up, get married, have several kids that don't like it, or you lose a job or get transferred to Irak, or you get too old to reach over to vacuum the dust off,,, can you lean on the foam? You are asking questions without staying put so we can help you. You have to tell us what you want, then we can tell you what it takes to do that. Then you can sell the house and car and buy all the stuff you need to do it! Buy it from us of course! HA! You'll see guys crawling out of the woodwork to help once you state a size.

    For instance, I have an HO layout, six and a half feet wide, eleven feet long, runns four trains independantly, at the same time, has a roundhouse turn table, yards, and a harbor dock with overhead crane, a town with working street lights, flood lights at the turntable, and all signal lights work when a turnout is changed, and two mainline tracks are elevated. The whole layout tilts over and is mounted on casters for ease of rolling through a standard house doorway. Almost all the scenery is complete, all track and control pannel is complete, and a complete step-by-step manual of operation teaches you how to run the whole layout from engines to the blinky light on the big oil storage tank by the harbor. It cost $6,000.00 to build, and I am putting it up for sale soon for $2,000.00 cash. If I don't sell it by the time I'm ready to wire the layout I'm building up staris, I'll scrap it out and junk the wood. Maybe that will give you an idea, The largest I have had was 28 x 36 feet, and the smallest, I still have is 34 x 42 inches, its on casters, and rolls under a bed. You can do anything you want, see, my dad started me out with a 3 rail toy lionel Hudson. He built a layout in our basement with the Royal Gorge bridgem the Grand Teton mountains and a flat Kansas plains with yards. I still have pictures of it.
  3. Catt

    Catt Guest

    I've never had a problemwith the foam. Unless you are doing tight curves the track nail should work just fine to hold track temporairly in place. [​IMG]
  4. mrcopcar

    mrcopcar New Member

    The big drawback I see with foam roadbed is you have to glue down the track instead of using nails. That makes it impossible to reposition the track after it is laid down. In my experience, it's almost inevitiable you will need to change something once you start test-running your layout. I haven't had a problem with plywood warping, but using exterior grade would probably help, and use plenty of drywall screws to secure it to the framing. I used Homasote over the plywood nailed the track to that. The foam is great for forming small hills. You can use Liquid Nails to glue it down and shape it with a loose hacksaw blade. Then cover with whatever scenery materials you like.
    Tom Turner
  5. George

    George Member


    Stick with the sturdiest benchwork you can make.

    Plywood and homasote are the only way to go.

    Leave the foam for the scenery, especially if you're inexperienced with a major project. If you make a mistake with track laying on homasote and cork roadbed, it's easy to fix. No cursing when you've discovered the problem after all that messy glue has set!

  6. wt&c

    wt&c Guest

    I had my old HO scale built on 2 inch foam board.(to george too) 2" foamboard is surprisingly quite durable. Yes you still have to glue down the track, but that should not be a big problem IF you take your time in doing the trackwork down pat first before scenery and glue. Trust me, I've learned the Hard way [​IMG]

  7. Drew

    Drew New Member

    I use a little white glue to lay my track, even on plywood & cork roadbed. It pops up pretty easily, if you need it to - a lot easier than pulling all those $#@! nails! Now after it's ballasted - you'll need dynamite to pull it up.
  8. Railery

    Railery Member

    Just like balasting track. Its glued. But some warm water on a sponge will realease the track. Than u can wash the track off later. i only use the foam for scenery but there is a video out there by Woodland Scenics that shows how to use foam. i only used dynamite on my plaster and mesh mountain [​IMG] there i should have used foam, but it was my first.

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