First Layout Progress...Mountain Side Town

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by MinnMonkey, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    After 4 weeks with no free time, I am finally going to start my layout. As you may recall here is the basic design:


    It is about a 6'x3' layout with a small staging area in the back (top of the image).

    I am planning on posting pictures as I progress and hoping to get some feedback since I really don't have much of a clue about what I am doing (besides reading some books and reading a lot on this board).

    I started with a cheap $30 folding table I picked up at Menards. I used a folding table to minimize the amount of woodworking I need to do:


    I then constructed a wood frame to go on top of the table. I am planning on putting a couple legs under the frame to raise it 4-5 inches above the table, allowing me to run the wires on the underside. I am also planning on storing the control panel under the frame:


    I was hoping to use some 3x3's as legs, but Home Depot doesn't carry that size wood. So I need to do some thinking (any suggestions???).

    Next I put a sheet of pink foam on top of the frame. Since I was unable to get a 8'x4' sheet into my car, I had them cut it, and I taped it together with duct tape (it is suprisingly sturdy):


    My next step is to figure out how to raise the entire frame up 4-5 inches, and then I will begin laying the outer loop of track...hopefully I will have some more progress pictures tomorrow.
  2. Zman

    Zman Member

    Looks great! Keep the pics coming. I love to see a layout evolve.

    4 - 5 inches under the frame seems a bit much. An inch or two is enough to run wires. What's your thinking on that?
  3. Zman

    Zman Member

    BTW, check out my solution to control panels built into a small layout on this thread.

    I'm using 1 3/4" conduits mounted directly into the 2" foam board. I cut the foam board with a steak knife and fork! Mmmm, now that's good eatin'!

    Those plastic-top folding tables shouldn't be too hard to drill through for the wiring. My solution might save you the trouble of elevating the frame.
  4. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Since I have very limited space, I am thinking that the space below the frame could also be used for storage. I was thinking of getting a small pieces of plywood or particle board to mount the control panel on, and I could slide it underneath the frame when not in use (maybe even mount it on a sliding track). I am also thinking 4-5 inches will be enough space for when I feed the wires through the foam, there will be enough room to reach underneath and pull them to the front.
  5. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Looks nice!

    Any ideas on how I would wire up switches for the turnouts. I will be using Kato turnouts, and I belive they are electromagnetic. I have heard if you give them power for more than just a split second you can risk damaging them.

    There are two wires going into the turnout, and unlike other turnouts I have seen, they use 12V DC. You send a 12V DC burst to the turnout and it switches, and when you send a reverse polarity DC burst it switches back.

    I really liked the idea I saw about the pen and board (I don't remember what it was exactly called) were you tap the pen on the contact and the turnout would switch. I am not sure you can do this with DC power, at least I have been thinking about it for some time and cannot figure it out.

    The best idea I have came up with so far is to use DPDT switches that spring back to the neutral position, but I would like something a little bit more fool-proof since I would need to be very carefull and not hold it in place.
  6. Zman

    Zman Member

    I'm not familiar with the Kato turnout motors, but I'm sure another board member will be able to advise you. The Peco motors are basically just solenoids that run on a 16V AC input. There are three inputs, one common to both coils, and the second and third to the individual coils.

    I don't see anything wrong with using the spring-loaded DPDT switches. Any switch can fail, but turnout motors generally make enough noise so that you can tell when they're on, (at least the Peco ones do). If a switch gets stuck in the ON position, just shut off the power source until you correct the problem.
  7. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Made some progress today! I ended up raising the frame up using 2x4's. I mounted a set of drawer sliders on the underside so I can put a drawer under the layout, this will also hold the control panel. The entire layout is extreamly sturdy. I was really questioning the use of foam, but it really works well. Here is what the frame looks like now:


    Originally I was dreading the wood working, but so far it has surpisingly been my favorite part.

    I was also able to get the outer loop assembled, and it looks like this:


    I am hoping to get the inner figure-8 layed out flat to see what it looks like. Then I can visualize how I am going to install the Woodland Scenics inclines and risers I bought.
  8. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Lastly tonight, I layed the figure-8 portion of the track to get an idea where to put the Woodland Scenics risers and inclines. My standard grade will be 4% which for the few number of cars that will be pulled, will be fine. I was using 5% on my temporary layout with no problems.

    Here is the basic layout:


    Any suggestions on how and what I should use to glue the risers and inclines in place?
  9. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    This is when it really starts to get exciting MM. Nothing like seeing the first train running.
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Looking good MM.

    Probably the best thing to use is Liquid Nails, but... I've been working on my layout expansion and have been using white glue for everything so far, including putting down my cork roadbed. I just pin things in place for about an hour until it dries. The advantages are that I have a lot of white glue, and if I want to make any changes (or "adjustments"), I should be able to soak it with water and have it come right back up.
  11. Zman

    Zman Member

    I use Liquid Nails - it's great stuff. Whatever you do, don't get any airplane glue, or glue made to bond styrene on the foam. It burns a hole straight through.
  12. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    Looking good M. Monkey, you have a great start there. :thumb:

    I switched my layout to a foam base just recently, I was starting to lay the track and just had too much trouble on the type of wood I was using for a table top.

    Foam is great and can be manipulated so easily. :wave:
  13. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Made more progress tonight!

    Tonight I installed the risers and inclines. I ended up buying some of the Woodland Scenics foam tack, since no one at the hardware store could seem to help, and the people at the hobby shop were extreamly helpful (I would rather pay more and get good service then pay less and get poor service). The glue worked really well.

    I glued the bottom of the risers and inclines and shaped them to my liking and then put stick pins in to hold them in place.

    Here is what I have so far:

    Not sure what my next step will be. It will probably be working on the yard. Since Kato switches are kinda expensive, aquiring them will probably be a couple week project.
  14. belg

    belg Member

    Monkey, I can't really tell what scale your working in but it looks like N if thats the case I could make you a deal on some leftover turnouts and track I have, send me a PM or email. If your interested. Pat
  15. JBT

    JBT New Member

    Progress has been quick. Looking good :)
  16. Papa Bear

    Papa Bear Member

    Looks great, MM!
  17. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    I have been out of town for a week, so there hasn't been much progress on the layout. I did however remove all the uncoupler magnets from the track because I was having alot of issues with cars uncoupling themselves. I found a long pin, or sewing needle works just as well.

    I am thinking of redesigning the inner yard to allow for greater operation.

    Here is what the original plan looked like:

    I am now thinking of starting with this design (the shaded areas are what I am not sure about:

    One possibility might be this:

    Any suggestions on what I could do in the open grey spaces in the second picture? I would like to have 1 or 2 industries to support the rail line, and a place to store and sort cars.
  18. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Well after nearly a month of no progress, I have finally found some time to work on my layout.

    Tonight I Started adding a 3rd level. This was fairly complicated since the 3rd level is directly above the 2nd level inside the mountain. I ended up custom building a pier set using pieces of foam. I placed a pier every time 2 pieces of track met, and in the middle of each longer piece. Again I was truely amazed on how strong this stuff actually is.

    Here is an overhead shot of the entire layout:

    And here is a closeup of the piers I made:
  19. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    looks good so far! Keep the pictures coming.
  20. MinnMonkey

    MinnMonkey Member

    Once again, I have made some track changes. The outer loop and figure-8 have remained the same, but the inner yard is constantly changing. I don't have any photos yet, but this is what it is starting to look like:


    In the upper-right corner of the yard, I am thinking of putting some sort of factory (it will probably have to be custom built since there is limited space).

    But what I am wondering is how would I create the effect of having the tracks embedded into a concrete surface?

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