# ??? for you guys that use foam...

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ozzy, Nov 23, 2006.

1. ### ozzyActive Member

i got my bench work here, now this weekend im going to get foam for the base. how think should i get? 1", 2", 1/2" whats the best and why?

how high of an incline will i need to clear an N-scale train safley?

im looking at the woodland scenics inclines, it says it comes in 2,3, and 4 % grade inclines.

one piece of 2 % incline will lift the track up 1/2 an inch, one 3 % will go up 3/4 " and 4 % 1", am i right so far?

so if they are 24 " long and lift the track at a 2% grade, i would need 6 24" pieces , and 12 feet of room to get to 3", then 12 feet of room to come back down.

am i still on the right track here?

ok, now do you think its ok to use the 4%, ? if i have to make the incline on a wide sweeping curve?

see im waning to make a mountan, but have the train in the middle, have a wall on one side and a cliff on the other, but i dont see how i can do it on a 4 X 8 table

one thing i thought of was to have all the track up higher, so i would not have to go up as high to het to the mountan, but have the "gound" go down hill to table hight at the foot of the mountan. to give the effect that its higher then it is.
2. ### AgatheronMember

I'm at the same stage you're at Ozzy... just laying down my foam. Given that you have a 4x8' table, you probably won't need to go as steep as 4% grades. When I was doing some test fitting on my yard, I put a locomotive on a piece of unitrack beside 2 layers of 1" foam. The 2" easily gives clearance for a bridge over top of that particular locomotive, even with high-cube boxcars, autoracks or even double-stack containers.

I'm building mine in 1" layers, which will rest on top of a foam base that is 1"+1/2" layers of foam glued together. (pink foam in my case). I will be using the WS risers to be sure, especially in that my inclines will be for a branchline that runs up the central part of the layout. My intention is to use 2% or 3%, depending on how the layout comes together.

Your idea of having the track "off the floor" of the layout is a good one. I'm planning to do the same, of mounting my track on 1-2" risers from WS, before even getting into the inclines.

Do you have a track plan, or even a picture of your layout you can share with us?
3. ### ozzyActive Member

well i know what i want, but dont know for sure how im going to lay it out, to many unknowns at this point. with the inclines being a big one,

what i want is a train running on the cliff, then when it comes down to the table/base i want it to go into a tunnel under the track on the cliff.

on the cliff i want the train to get up there, then turn out into the center of the table a foot or so then back out to the edge again, then start back down, and at the foot of the mountan i want that train or another one to go into a tunnel where the mountan sticks out that foot or so. and i want a working yard, and turntable and roundhouse, and a few indistries, would like to lines running non stop if i can fit it in, and have it so i can run the yard and move cars around getting the trains ready to head out to the main line, , make a few laps then then stop at differant places droping cars off, and picking up more. i want the mainline to weave in and out, not just have a circle.
4. ### ozzyActive Member

i will beable to walk around 3 sides of the table to reach stuff,
5. ### cidchaseActive Member

Keep in mind the thickness of the bridge structure under the rails. Prototype clearance is
around 21-22' depending on location and era. (About 1-5/8" in N.) This is clearance, not
rise. With 2" rise, this leaves about 5 feet under the bridge for structure and bracing.
Should be fine, but just depends on the type of bridge construction.:thumb:
Takes 50" at 4% grade to rise 2". Vertical transition stretches this out a little. There is a
recent thread on vertical transition distances.
6. ### TrainNutDitat Deus

Heya! I'm well into the foam stage on my layout. I also agree with what others have elaborated on already. I've used nothing but 1" blue foam and above the benchwork, I've used only one layer of 1" foam as my base. With my bracing on 12" centers underneath, this seems to be plenty strong. I also went with WS inclines and all of my grades are 4% with the exception of one stretch which is only 2%. I am trying to cram as much as possible into the space I have. Just recently, I completed enough track to have a continuous loop around the bottom and have discovered that 4% is pretty steep and you won't be pulling very long trains up them UNLESS you double head. Then you should be able to pull plenty long enough trains for a 4X8 layout. I also left 2" of clearance where needed in between levels of foam for tunnels as this seemed to leave just enough clearance for my tallest cars (double stackers). Where possible, I left 3" as that was a more comfortable space for my hand for cleaning track when needed. Check it out here if your the least bit curious for lots of in progress photos! ... http://www.the-gauge.com/showthread.php?t=22333

I know it doesn't look like it but it does clear! Also, when you are test checking for clearances, don't forget about the height of the cork, ties and rails!

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7. ### 60103Pooh Bah

ozzy: If you're using the home insulation foam for the base, I would use 1" or 2". It may be a bit more than N needs, but you will also be able to cut into it to go down, if you have to.
I would use the thinner grades for built up scenery. Depends on how you cut it. The WS hot wire tool won't make much of an angle on the 2" foam, and knives tend to wander off vertical.
Measure your 1/2" foam. I used the blue foam to raise the grade sections. Mine turned out to be 9/16 or 5/8 and didn't match the WS grades. Didn't notice until I was laying the roadbed.
8. ### ozzyActive Member

ok, now heres the plan, i been looking at all this N scale stuff online, i have decided to use two 4 X 8 tables. i already have them built, i have my O guage on them now, all it is , is track and cars, no buildings or anything, im going to but the lionel stuff on a shelf to run around my computer room, and have the 2 4 X 8 tables end to end. just so much stuff i want to fit into my N scale layout that just one 4x8 is not enough room. so now my layout will be 4 X 16 feet. they have plywood alredy on them both.
9. ### ozzyActive Member

just where do you get blue foam? i see it alot here, but have never seen it in any store, i looked at menards, is it better then pink? i think im going to get 3 or 4 sheets tomarrow of the 3/4 or 1" pink but if blue is better ill look for it.

trainNut,

i do like long trains, but now that i went from 4x8 to 4x16 layout, there should be enough room to use 2%

now for a new question,,, is the WS inclines and risers wide enough to have a double mainline for N scale?
10. ### TrainNutDitat Deus

In Arizona, I can only find the blue foam but I think it is the same as the pink foam and we find it at the home improvement stores (Lowes, Home Depot). Somebody up above mentioned to make sure to measure your foam and make sure it is a true 1" thick. I have brought some home to find out that the thickness does vary and boy it has sure messed me up. Nothing a little sanding won't fix but still.....
Yes. As long as you don't space your centerlines any further apart than 1 and 5/16"s. See photo.

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11. ### csxengineerMember

I am using the 2% risers on a big curve. I am also using WS foam roadbed.

Do you:
1.) glue the roadbed to the WS risers, then plastercloth the surrounding scenery
or do you
2.) install the risers, plastercloth, then glue the roadbed?

In the past, I've done the 2nd, but end up with a few bumps where the plastercloth bunched up.

12. ### ozzyActive Member

ok, ty, i will just get the pink then, i think its 7 or 8 bucks a sheet for 1" at menards, (same type of store as lowes). i may get a 2" sheet of the white to help build up the high points, i have never seen the pink thicker then 1".

im still not 100% on my plan yet, i have got some track on the way, should be here monday. i will beable to look at it, and see what i can and cant do then, did not order much, 15 pcs of flextrack, and a few kinds of switches so i can get an idea of how much room i need for curves, switches and what not, i have never messed with N scale ever, was HO when i was a kid and O now, never did what im about to do with them scales tho.
13. ### ozzyActive Member

id do #2, , if you dont have the cloth over the risers, you will see the "cut out" that are in the risers to let you bend them., if you dont hurry, you can get it to be smooth. use your fingers to smooth it out
14. ### TrainNutDitat Deus

As you can tell from my pictures, I use option number 1. Basically because, for the most part, I try to get the track finished (or at least get the cork laid) before I come back and mess around with scenery.
15. ### ozzyActive Member

i did not even catch that in your pics, , was to busy looking at the spacing of your cork/track.....lol
16. ### TrainNutDitat Deus

With this new table setup of 4'x16', are you still only going to be able to get to 3 sides of it? That is going to leave a lot of layout you will not be able to reach.
17. ### TrainNutDitat Deus

Well, I don't know what time it is where you're at but I'm off to catch some ZZZZZ's. It's been fun.
18. ### ozzyActive Member

ya, about have to, on acount of the way the room is, i can make an L shape, thats what it is now. but then there is less i can reach,

i think i may put wheels under the table to roll it out if i had to. or i may beable to leave a small space between the back wall to squeaze behind.
19. ### ozzyActive Member

its 11:00 here in Iowa. good night, hope to see ya on here tomarrow, im off work tomarrow, so im up for awhile,
20. ### 60103Pooh Bah

As far as I know, the blue and pink foams are only different brands. The pink is made from recycled flamingoes.