First post from a newbie

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ezdays, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Hi, I'm very new to MRR, just having made my decision of going with N scale. There are a lot of forums out there for this hobby and I think one would not have time to play if they spent all their time trying to soak up all the new information that is posted on each one of these forums. Anyway, I've been lurking around some of these, and even posted a few messages, so some names here are familar.

    I retired about two years ago and still do some consulting engineering work, but I find I now have time to do things that I want to do, not not just things that I have to do. Right now all I have is some rolling stock, a simple loop of track set up, some scenery that I'm learning to build, a lot of books and a burning desire to learn.

    I may ask a few basic questions that are obvious, or that have been covered before, but please bare with me. We all have to start somewhere.:D

  2. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Let me be the first to welcome you aboard, ezdays.
    The Gauge is, in my oppinion, the best forum around and you will find that we are a very helpful and fun loving lot.
    Don't worry about asking questions that may be "obvious" or that you might consider to be "dumb", as the only dumb questions are the ones never asked:D
    Njoy your stay with us and Happy Modeling!


  3. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    You definitely came to the right place. Just ask all the questions you want. I started in this hobby 2 years ago, and I'm still asking a lot of questions, so don't be afraid, just go a head and ask.

  4. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Welcome Don. You pick the right place with the Gauge. Also the right scale providing your eyes are still good and fingers not to shaky. I am 70 and don't have to much trouble with N Scale. There are also al lot of younger Modelers here with lots of know how.
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Thanks for all your warm welcomes. I'm not afraid to ask questions, I was just hoping that they didn't turn out too basic and that I appeared too lazy to find the answer before I asked. :rolleyes:

    I've also got to learn to netgotiate this forum since it is a bit different than others that I've been on.

    An no, even for being in my late 60's, I still have pretty good eyes and nimble fingers; althought the fingers are a bit scared up since I also like to do woodworking.:D

    I am hoping that I can combine that which I can do, with what I would like to do and wind up with a decent layout and have a lot of fun in the process.

    D:cool: N
  6. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Let me add my welcome too. A lot of us do model N and if you have been crusin' the pages you will see a lot of fine layouts in ALL scales.
    Questions don't phase the group and you will generally get your answer quickly. Even Jon is helpful most of the time if he comes out of a "med' trance:D :D

    Enjoy the group.:) :) :)
  7. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Welcome Don!

    C'mon in- the water's fine!

  8. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Welcome to The Gauge Don! :)
    Please keep us posted on how things are going, & what you're up to!
  9. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Climb on board Don! Make yourself at home and enjoy. :)
  10. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Welcome home, D:)n!!
  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks again for the warm welcome. Somehow I think I'll feel right at home here.

    Now, as I said, it have a lot of really basic questions, and the first one that I cannot find a real concise answer to is this. What is a good height for an N scale layout? I plan on starting with about 32" x 60", possibly a bit larger, dependent on what scheme I choose. I have read anything from 36" to 48" and everything in between, and I know that some even have layouts at coffee table height. I would also like to be able to move it since I may have to start it in the garage, but eventually bring it in the house. I know working in the garage is not the best place, but I do have part of it with A/C and it is fairly well insulated. The other spot I have may be cleaner, but it has no A/C and that is necessary in the Arizona desert.


  12. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    Hi Don,

    A "basic" general answer would be what ever height you feel comfortable with in your operation. You want to be able to reach your track and structures without disturbing the edges of your layout. You also want to be able to get under the layour for the wiring in a comfortable working position (i.e. not on your back (solder drips on the face and chest burn.:eek: ) I am working with a 42" table height and use a stool to sit under the layout to work and a short riser for the long reaches (30") in 2 areas For portability you may want to set up on braced sawhorses with the layout clamped to the cross members.

    That could work until you settle on a more permanent arangement.:) :)
  13. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Don!
    The height of your layout, just needs to be what fits your wants & needs best...
    Personally, I like for my track to be roughly chest-high (that's about 50-55" for me). This gives me more of an eye-level view, but is still low enough that access isn't a problem.
    But then again, there are good reasons to go with lower benchwork...portability & storage might be an issue...also, you may want to build it so that you can operate & work on it from a seated's entirely up to you...
    I'm currently working on a new N scale layout that's a simple oval plan, & measures 32"x66"...I'm building it to be portable, for taking to shows.
    I have a thread on it here in the N&Z forum, called "The Poor Fork Mining Co. Layout Under Construction". I've built it so the benchwork, & the layout itself can be seperated, for moving & storage. I also put it on wheels, which is one of the best ideas I've ever had! Now I can have it in the middle of the room to work on it or operate it, or I can simply push it into the corner if I need the room for something else.
  14. upguy

    upguy Oregon Western Lines, CEO

    Welcome to the Gauge, Don. I am currently working on a layout that has two layers. The lower layer is 40" high and the upper is about 52 inches high. Most N-Trak modules are built to be 40" high, so that was the height that I used for the lower layer modules. I have since decided that I probably won't be moving my layout modules, but I have kept the 40" height.
  15. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    Welcome Don

    like other people have said, there is no such thing as a
    basic question, we all need to re-visit the basics from
    time to time, so good luck and enjoy :)

  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Up to your neck in...

    Hi Don:
    My RR comes up to just below my armpit (for a lot of non-technical reasons) and I find that it's a touch too high to work on, but nice for running. My arm or the bottom of a sleeve tends to catch on things that stick up.
    For running and looking, eye level is nice; for working waist level is good. I would tend to put an N scale layout higher than HO or O, a matter of seeing too much scenery at a time.
    It will also depend on who's coming to see it, and what you plan to do with it. Height can be overcome with mini-steps.
    If you look at the Feb. Railroad Model Craftsman, Aberfoyle Junction (O scale) is set fairly low, but it's a display layout.
    (Note that I gave my heights ib terms of body parts. That's also a consideration.)
  17. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    One thing that I've learned after reading all your posts as well as some of the books and articles I've come across; layout height is a very subjective thing. I have gleened enough information and a few good tips so here's what I think I will do:

    If I make my table legs removable or adjustable, I can have a table height for all occasions. One for working over, one for working under (I hate to crawl under things and run wire flat on my back), another height for viewing and still another if I want to move it. I just have to make sure that I do it such that a 48" high "working under" height doesn't suddenly drop to a 36" "moving" height if I lean on it. :p

    And thanks Charlie, I really like the idea of casters. It would allow me to do some work on it outside and also make it a lot easier to move between the garage in the house.

    I can always put fixed, permanent legs on when I find what works best for me

    Thanks to all for your help.

  18. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Don if you do decide to work on it outside, do it in the shade or on a cloudy day as direct sunlight and temps in the 70's or warmer can quickly buckle up track work and cause major sagging in plastic structures. Also if you use products like E-Z water it will crack and split on you.

    BTW don't ask how I know this! :p :rolleyes: :D
  19. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Good points, I am outside Phoenix so I can guarantee you that temps in the 70's are not the norm here, even in the winter. What I was thinking about was for short periods to maybe do some spray painting or clean up, but even I sag, crack and buckle when it gets past 110. :eek:

    I have written a series of articles, for a friend who has a small newspaper in Ohio, on what its like living in the Arizona desert. We have to do some strange things to cope with temperatures that have gotten up to 122 in the shade. They are written in kind of a humerous vein, and I can post some of them if anyone is interested and it's not contrary to forum rules.

  20. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Post em' in the General Talk forum, I don't think anyone will mind and I'd like to see some! :)

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