4 x 8 suspended, raise & lower

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Floyd Lawson, Oct 31, 2001.

  1. Floyd Lawson

    Floyd Lawson New Member

    I'm very new to model RR, as my idea may indicate. I would like to make a 4 x 8 platform suspended by coated cables. Then hang it with pulleys, the block & tackle type, and run the cables over to a point on the wall, then down to a tie bar. This way the board can be raised out of the way, & lowered for use. It could be raised to within a foot or so of the ceiling, if the tallest structure/mountain is no taller than that. I would attach folding legs to it. Also, I would build a 2 x 4 frame under, that the cables/pulleys actually attach to, so there would be no actual lifting of the flat board. I plan on a couple of extra lights on the wall for the set anyway, and these would compensate for any light blocked by the suspended board when cranked up to the ceiling when not in use. What do you think, and where are my flaws? Will it work, what should I look out for? Have you ever heard of this? Please respond, thanks.
  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member


    Hi Floyd, and welcome to the gauge. Yes that idea of yours was in fact a feature article in Model Railroader magazine some years ago. If you email Kalmbach at http://corporate.kalmbach.com/kalmbach/magazines/mrr.asp
    I am sure they will help you in finding the article and year/month is was published.
    Best wishes with your project
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    layout design


    Is this layout for the garage or inside the house? Underneath a layout can get pretty messy and wiring dangling down and holes and paint and circuit boards and turnout motor solenoids etc.

    Have you got your other half's permission to have something like that hanging from the ceiling in the living room??? :) :) :)

    No probs with the concept otherwise.
  4. George

    George Member


    I suggest you install a flush flourescent lighting fixture in the ceiling above the layout, and another flourescent fixture on the bottom of the layout for times when it's suspended. I think you may be glad you did.:)

  5. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member


    I remember someone describing a similar arrangement. (Was it here, somebody? Or did someone tell me about it in person...) Anyway, the layout was in a bedroom, I think, and was attached to cables that ran through pulleys in the attic. The cables ended up in a laundry room, as I recall, attached to a counter weight. The layout and counter weights were set up so that the whole thing could be easily raised and lowered by hand.

  6. krskev

    krskev New Member

    I remember a cartoon in MR back around the late 70's that had the guy describing this type of a board to his wife and she was agreeable to use the idea, then in the next picture he had his layout all set up with the board suspended above it and on the board was the clothes washer and dryer.......laugh out loud.

    If MR can help you find it, I will be glad to help. I have every issue from MR in my basement.

    Just let me know which one and ill try to post it here or email it to you.

  7. RI541

    RI541 Member

    Im a firm believer that any thing is possible.If you use heavy enough cable(like heavy dog cable) you shouldnt have a problem.I woulnt leave any locos or rolling stock on it when your lifting/lowering it.
    You coulld run all your wiring through to frame work then put a piece of luan under it to hide the wires and maybe mount the light that George suggested to that.

  8. George

    George Member

    Just one problem with this scenario.

    They ALWAYS fall down at some point in history. Anyone whoever makes a "Pully-hoist" layout, only ends up making one for the lifetime.

    A friend had a large one running on a very large sheet of plexiglass, supported by chains. When moving it, KEEEEERAAK. The plastic cost an awful lot of money too.

    These layouts are as practical as the ones people make that run along the molding by the cieling. You can't see the train without craneing your neck, and if you have a derailment, the results can be catastrophic.

  9. BDC

    BDC Member

    In the book "N Scale Model Railroading" by Robert Schleicher, he devotes about half of a small chapter on a friends layout that retracts into the ceiling of his garage. It includes pictures of the layout, bracing system and cables & pulleys. It is in N scale, but the layout itself is 7'x11' built out of wood. The next time your in a LHS, grab a copy and read through the section in the store. HTH.
  10. choffman41

    choffman41 Certified Grump

    I just picked up a little book from 1962 that has a little bit about this subject along with a picture of a setup with 2 plywood layouts. Will scan and post if anyone is interested.......
  11. YakkoWarner

    YakkoWarner Member

    <--- is interested.
  12. choffman41

    choffman41 Certified Grump

    Sorry, this scan wasn't too good. Hope you can get the idea.........

    Attached Files:

    • rr.jpg
      File size:
      54.9 KB
  13. wireyanker

    wireyanker New Member

    pulley system

    search for similar question under my name and pulleys just did this with great success. use garage door cables they are cheap and rated for whatever you want i use 350 lb about 3/16 diameter. and use there pulleys cheap and regularly avaliable.wireyanker
  14. krskev

    krskev New Member

    Wow the last time I responded to this topic I had a big basement. Now a year later I had to sell the house due to a layoff. and last summer I built a 4 x 8 and it is hanging over my wifes car as I write this response. The one thing I will add to the list of ideas is to use eye bolts into the side of the layout and use "s" hooks for the connection. This allows me to lower the layout onto my ladder that is formed into saw horses, then I can unhook the cables and raise them up and out of the way when I am working on the layout. I also want to find a cheap garage door opener and mount it vertically to assist in raising and lowering. Ill let you know how this works out.

  15. Ravensfan

    Ravensfan Member

    If I may introduce physics into the equation: the more pullies, the easier to raise and lower the unit and avoid having to use counter-weights. Ideally, you would have all pullies tied into one so you can raise and lower wit one hand. Personally, I wouldn't do it. If I don't have the room for something, then I need to get another hobby. But, whatever trips your trigger.
  16. Steam Donkey

    Steam Donkey Member

  17. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Sounds like a good idea. But I think you are going just a bit wrong. You should not use 2"x4" for the frame. That would add to your weight. The best wood to use is 1"x4". This would be just as strong, even stronger, because you could use more cross bracing, say, every 2' for 1/2" plywould, or every 16" for 1/4" plywood. Also you would have an easier time running wires and mounting switching motors. You could glue 2"x4" blocks 6" long in the corners to bolt your screw eyes to. To help with the lifting part, you could buy a hand cranked winch. The type used on boat trailers. This could be mounted to the wall and you would never have to worry about dropping your layout. No need for counter weights either.

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