New layout in the works.

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by nolatron, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    YouTube - Staging Test

    It needs a little work still. Have to redo Track #1. You can see that it kinda kicks in a little at the very back. I apparently kicked it in a little too much and trains will overhang on track 2.

    The walls will be painted on the outside and inside, track ballasted, and some caboose industry ground throws installed. Because of the way it's constructed there's no room for tortoise control.
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

    Just watched the layout tour... nice! :thumb:
  3. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Got the fascia and the lower staging level all painted up. It's a nice black color, kind of a dull-ish black so it doesn't stand out so much as your typical flat black does. I'm pleased with how it all turned out. Also got other humpyard controller I had installed.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Not a whole lot of progress going on lately. I've been working on constructing 3 new buildings to add to the GERN Industries site, added the track for the crossing, and have been preparing to start work installing signals in the next few weeks. Mainly taking a financial break so I'm just working on tiny little projects on the side.

    In the meantime,just wanted to share the layout schematic I put together using Visio. I'll be using this to keep track of all of the Turnout DCC addresses, Block addresses, and Signal addresses.

  5. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Been a while since any updates so here's the latest:

    Finally, my order for plastic cement arrived this past Saturday so I was able to finish up some buildings. These two will be added to the GERN complex. They'll be painted the same color as the Craft building (the tan color).

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I also got the crossing foundation and track installed and the foundation for the road on the lower level:


    And then lastly, signals. I've been working with Richard at Custom Signal Systems on developing an N-Scale signal. He's done a great job building to-scale searchlight signals for a relatively good cost. All of my signals will be done by Richard, including two double cantilever bridges for the lower level. Here's some pics of the prototypes he sent me.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Wow, it's been a while since I last visited this site and boy have you made some progress. I especially like the schematic you came up with. Nice job using Visio. I'm also interested i working N scale signals for my next layout and found yours interesting. Thanks for the update.
  7. jesso

    jesso Member

    Nice job on the signals! I really like your schematic. Covers the layout without redrawing the whole thing. Also like that it will be labeled, so that others can figure it out quickly. So is Gern Industries an inglenook?
  8. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    A what-a-what? :confused:
  9. jesso

    jesso Member

    An inglenook ( is a sidings game where you have eight cars and you have to arrange the cars in order using the limited space available. The lengths of the tracks are 5 cars, 3 cars and 3 cars, with the lead holding 3 cars and the engine. Quite fun game actually. I have a link to mine in my signature. Puddlejumper build one in HO and my friend Mooreway is building one in G Scale. From looking at your Gern Industries area on your schematic, it looks you could do it there.
  10. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Ah, neat. I've never actually heard of that before. But yeah, it looks it would fit the bill perfectly for a siding puzzle.
  11. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    Sweet Progress Shaun!!!

    I like those new buildings you did!! And the signals are aweseome!!!! :thumb: :thumb: :mrgreen:
  12. Shaun,I love the progress of your layout and those searchlight signals the single and double headed ones from Custom Signals are terrific,hopefully those will be made a regular item,even the triple headed ones,that would fill the void that Sunrise left when they stopped making signals,great job.Look forward to more photos and updates.
  13. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    I decided to go ahead and redo my helix to a double track helix using an Ashlin Designs kit.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I've also started work on the 2nd wiring panel. My lower level signals will be arriving in a couple days so I need to get the control system for that in place. Here's the SIGM20 with some RJ11 jack ready for installation and wiring to each other.


    Otherwise, not much progress going on lately. Still haven't painted those new buildings. Being busy with side projects and playing with my other hobby, r/c cars.

    Sorry for the low-res pics. Camera is in the shop for repair at the moment.
  14. seanm

    seanm Member

    Thanks for the great posts! I have enjoyed this thread a lot! I am have just started construction on my 3rd large layout and have found your information very helpfull and thought provoking.:thumb:

    I was wondering what made you decide on purchasing a helix from Ashlin? I see you had built one previously. I have considered purchasing their products a few times but have not as yet pulled the trigger. Can you tell us more about the kit itself? I have had some concerns about their products, but over all they look really nice. How thick is the wood? I was worried it looked pretty thin and might sag after time. It looks like there are 1/4 turn? sections.... How are the sections joined together? Any other general impresions?

    Are you planning on including a construction thread focused on the helix?

    Thanks again for your great info pictures and time.
  15. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Thanks for the compliments!

    I was never really satisifies how the 2nd helix came out, so I decided to chuck it and start over. The first ashlin kit I did, I screwed it up by rushing. It was my own fault. The kit though is real simple to put together. Just take your time :)

    The wood I think is 1/4" thick. This new model they have now has 8 supports around the helix (compared to only 4 previously). So sagging shouldn't be a problem. Each piece of wood is a 1/4 turn, and they are inserted into angled slots on the supports. A little wood glue secure them in place.

    Yup. I plan to take photos and what not along the way of construction. I hope to get started in about 1 or 2 weeks, and expect it to take several weeks (maybe months) for construction. But I'll post updates along the way.
  16. Excellent progress Sean,I love the way the layout is coming along,and look forward to seeing the continued progress of your layout.
  17. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    After a delay, I finally got to work this weekend on doing prep work on the helix components before starting construction.

    As previously mentioned, I'm using a kit from Ashlin Trains for my helix. This saves me the hassle of cutting all my own circular parts and supports, etc... since I don't have the needed the tools. The one problem I've found though is some of the slots in the support columns are just a hair to small for the circular pieces. You can probably push and wiggle them in, but it can a be hassle and you risk breaking something.

    So I grabbed some metal files from the toolbox and started filing away at the upper opening in each slot that needs a little widening. This leaves me a nice sized slot that lets the circular pieces easily slide in for gluing later.

    I've also received my order of signals from Custom Signals Systems for the layout and they look fantastic! I can't wait to get them hooked up. Of course, I still need to finish the wiring panel for logic hardware. I'll probably get around to that in a few weeks once the helix done.
  18. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    The first level of the helix has taken shape. Here's the basic rundown of how I'm constructing it:

    1. Insert helix slates into each support to construct a single level.
    2. Using some sectional track, install a test loop just to test out the level.
    3. One support at time, glue the slates to inside support only with gorrilla wood glue. This allows me to remove the outer support to make inserting the next level's slates easier.
    4. Install roadbed material. I'm using foam as I can apply in one continuous piece easily through the whole the level.
    5. Install track. Attached to roadbed with silicone caulk. All rail joiners will be soldered, and every other rail joiner will be a terminal feeder.
    6. Repeat process for next level
    I'm out of roadbed material I found so I've got an order in for some more, so it'll probably end of the week or early next when I can go through and finish the first level to continue. But so far so good.


    And just a shot of my signals I got the other week. I've started doing some of the wiring on the wiring panel for the hardware to run these.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  19. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    AWESOME Shaun!!! I was hoping i would be able to do a helix on my layout im building right now but i took the easy way out cuz i had the room and just did a grade the takes up 3 walls and goes up 12" lol

    Cant wait to see some more :thumb: :mrgreen:
  20. nolatron

    nolatron Member

    Just a quick look at the wiring panel used for the signal system.

    I'm using CML Electronics SIGM20 Signal Controller for my logic system, coupled with a Digitrax BDL168 for block detection (in the other wiring panel). The main reason I like this system (other than it's DCC based), is that it's completely self-sufficient. The SIGM20 stores all logic onboard, so there's no extra computer or anything needed to be running in order for the signals to work.

    You can still setup software to address all of the signals by it's DCC address if you wanted for dispatch control, but I'm setting it up as a simple ABS system.

    This one board will control the eight signals on the lower level siding. I'll need two more for the upper level and other signals on the layout.

    I also only caught this when looking at the pictures, but the double targets I labeled as R/G and Y/G, should be R/G and R/Y. Whoops. I'll have to fix those labels now.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

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