Just starting

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Cobalt027, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. Cobalt027

    Cobalt027 New Member

    I am just starting to build a layout for my O27 set. I have just completed a 60"x80" wood platform. My questions are: should i put a piece of styrofoam on top in case i want to cut out a hole for a lake or something? Should I use track-bed? if so, what kind?
    I haven't laid any track yet, or done anything to the wood surface yet. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
  2. RaiderCTE

    RaiderCTE Member


    Oh man are you going to get it! I mean all the info you could want. :) From my limited experince. I would use at least 1/2 foam or bigger, not only if you want to have some water but for the noise. Running on just plywood will be 2 to 3x of noise going on the track. I don't remember right off hand road bed that used but I used a cork roadbed for the elevation and angles of decline around the track. Now back to plywood, cutting holes. What you do is if you build your layout and get "finished" and you decide you would like a lake but you didn't allow a way to do one, you just do a new layout. :) I would say don't plan way too much on your first and plan to do a couple. After all I'm on my first and I planned a lot, changed a lot, not anywhere near done and already thinking about building another one. :)

    Welcome to "The-Gauge"
  3. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Welcome to the Gauge Colbalt 027

    There are a few ways of building a L/O, If you have already built the base you have the choice Of a foam top our if you have a 4 or 5" base you could still cookie cut for some depth.
    I personaly have never used road bed.
    Happy modeling.
    There is sure to be a few more Ideas for ya.:D
  4. Matt Probst

    Matt Probst Member

    Welcome to the big BLUE BOARD Cobalt!!!
    My advice is hit up your LHS and buy some good books..there are all kinds....books on benchwork, books on wiring, books on trackwork, books on scenery, books on structures....you name it.
    Then sit down and do some serious reading.!!!
    Once you have gotten the jist of the basics, do as Raider says and just dive into the project. You will make some mistakes; learn from them and keep on plugging away.
    Remember , come back to the board here often and you will learn alot this way as well. (IMO much more than a magazine can offer).
    Plus you have the benefit of some extremely talented and knowledgeable modelers here that are glad to help out ...all the time!!

    Good Luck!!!( and post some pics as soon as you can!)

    Matt--Hershey, Pa.
  5. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Cobalt,
    Welcome to the gauge. I assume that you do not want to cut a hole in your tabletop for a layout. I would cover the tabletop with a 2" thick sheet of foam board insulation. It comes in blue, foil covered beige and I think pink. If you do want to cut through the table then you could use 1" and cut thru the foam and wood if you want a deeper lake.
    Have you decided on your type of track? If not, look at Atlas O. They have a great product and the overall price is reasonable. If you need any help with the wiring let me know. Steve
  6. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Welcome to the Gauge. I agree w/ Steve. Lay down some foam, not just for the ability to do recessed scenery, but for the sound insulation. I laid cork roadbed on plywood for my "S" modules and there is still a lot of "table noise". Of course, at a show, it's so noisy you can't tell, but at home, i'd find it distracting. Since the “O” stuff is heavier still, I think it’d be a good idea to try to isolate the track from the plywood table with the foam.
  7. Cobalt027

    Cobalt027 New Member


    Wow! Thanks for all the pointers! I am actually building a set with my Dad @ his house. But after reading some magazines, and the positive responses i got here, i think ill go out and start my own set in my house! I'm sure I'll be back here for advice.

    *sigh* now i have to build _another_ table. Oh well, things could be worse...

    P.S. Where can i get the 2" form suggested? I shudder to think what it would cost at a hobby or craft store.

    - Cobalt027
  8. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Try any home improvement store ie: Lowe's Menards,Home Depot.etc.A 4' x 8' x 2" thick should be less than $20.00.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi cobalt!
    If you're in a region with a reasonable amount of snow or cold in the winter, any lumber or home improvement store will have the foam in the insulation section. If you're in Columbus, Georgia instead of Columbus, Maine, you may have to search harder for it.
    DO NOT use the white, beaded foam.
    Do any of our tinplate users have suggestions for holding the track down? The screws we use in wood will probably pull out of the foam board.
  10. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    Fixing track down

    Glue the track down with white glue. That way if you want to move it later, all you have to do is wet it down and wait dor a while and off it comes. Hold the track in place with "T" pins that are commonly used for quilting, and remove once dry. Even after the balast is applied (with white glue) the whole works can be soaked with water and removed, and washed off the track even.
  11. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    Hi Cobalt,
    I forgot to mention a few things before. Thanks David for reminding me! I agree, don't use the white beaded foam. This is how I recommend mounting track onto foam covered plywood: 1.Use wood screws that are 1/4"-1/2" shorter than your foam thickness
    2.Use Liquid Nail or similiar adhesive glue on threads of screws
    3.You don't want the screws to touch the plywood under the foam, this will transfer the sound to the plywood below and increase sound
    This method will secure the track in place. Anchor the track every couple of sections of track and on curves. You can then glue the ballast as TrainClown has described.
    If you are going to build your own layout at home I suggest building an open framework and just use a 2" layer of foam for the table top. Cut 2" squares of thin wood to put under the tabetop. Anchor the track with 2 1/2" screws down through the track and foam into the 2" squares. This makes the anchors insulated from each other.
    If you can't find 2" foam use 2 layers of 1". Steve
  12. TampaTrainDude

    TampaTrainDude New Member

    And if you live in Tampa Fl, 2" foam board is almost impossible to find. :(
  13. Cobalt027

    Cobalt027 New Member

    So far.....

    Thanks for all your suggestions. Here is the final "base" we have come up with.

    (2) 30"x80" doors from Home Depot.
    A whole bunch of "L" brakcets.
    A whole bunch of 1x3s.

    We used the "L" brackets and the 1x3s to make legs (we screwed some 1x3s togehter to make something like a 4"x4"). We also ended up with a nice place for some shelving underneath.

    We elected these materials and design to keep the cost down, and to make the base lite. We might be moving it some...

    We then found some spare 1.5" blue foam insulation on the back room. Seeing as how this we free, and NOT the pellet kind, we used it. We hot glued it to the doors. Everything is very nice indeed. We then took a roll of fake grass and stapled that to the blue foam. We figured we'd start with a grassy plain, and go from there.

    Did i mention the nifty little shelf we made for the transformer and switches?

    Now we clean and polish the track, this stuff is 40 years old (any suggestions?) then lay some track. Where can i get some good O-27 track? Whats a good brand? Atlas? We're not going to have enough for the layout we chose. Its the last one

    Pics to come...
  14. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Cobalt:
    Looks like you're making great progress. Another way to attach the "grass" is to use the type of adhesive made for putting down carpet tiles. This stuff stays tacky so you can readily take up the "grass" and change it and then, without having to use any more adhesive, lay your "grass' back down, and it sticks. I used this on my modules two years ago and I can still pull up a portion of the carpet, do whatever work I need to do, and then lay the carpet back down and it sticks fine.

    Also, as you can see from the above, indoor outdoor carpet is another good material to use for “grass” on “O” and “S” layouts. Recon it’d look good on standard gauge too, or any tin plate for that matter. Got mine at Lowes, although Lowes no longer carries the #98016 indoor/outdoor carpet. It might be available with a special order. Home Depot has some that is similar but it has ridges. HD Emerald Green SKU 384-835 $2.96 LF 6' wide. Lowes nearest substitute is Stratos Emerald 98007 fro $2.97 LF in 6' wide.

    My first attempt at cleaning old tin plate track is with a silver polish, “Wenol”. It’s a little more aggressive than “Brasso” and seems to clean up most of the track I pick up. If this doesn’t get all the oxidation or rust off, I then try using a “brite boy” an dif that doesn’t do it I then I do a little sanding with very fine wet sand paper and then apply some “rust stop” to the area. Then I spray onto a rag some Radio Shack tuner cleaner and degreaser. This gets the Wenol off. Then I apply some Radio Shack Tuner cleaner. This has a lubricant in it that seems to keep the oxidation of the metal and in check for a year or so. Not a bad trick in the humid south.

    Keep us posted, I’ve used one of the Christmas layouts from the “All Gauge” site and it was a lot of fun.

  15. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Welcome to the-gauge Cobalt!

    :) :) :)

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