Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by mrcedar, Aug 18, 2006.
I read the table height should be about 4o". Why?
It's a relatively comfortable height to work at, being that most chairs have you sitting below that, plus it's around 'waist' height for 90% of the population.
What sort of table are you going to be working with? Are you building your own or using something pre-made?
My first ever layout was built on a solid-core door, complete with pre-existing hole for the hardware .. set up on a pair of saw-horses .. it worked well, for the most part..
Though, personally, I wish I still had the trains I remember from under the christmas tree .. 'twas an unusual guage, being 'S' Guage...
I would make it comfortable for you to work with. That's my rule! I make mine about 2 foot.
So far this is what I am thinking.
Instead of using 2x4s I make deep chest of drawers, cabinets, and shelves to support the table say 40" or so off the floor. I space them out and put lights under the top so the halflings can play underneath. We would put down carpet, pillows, and little chairs or tables with games, their own trains, trucks, dolls, books, colors, etc. The table top would be like a horseshoe with the right hook being 4'x4' joining a 3'x6' leg going up to the center table of 6'x11' then down the left side with another 3'x6' and ending in another 4'x4' table section.
At this time I think I would still like my setup to be a toy train. I Thought the Flyer S gauge would work out best as it is smaller than the 3 rail O and the grade would be less for 3 layers of trains It also has more realistic track. http://www.walthers.com/exec/productinfo/641-259 The kids like pushing buttons any watching working cars and accessories. http://www.lionel.com/Products/Findex.cfm
Above the upper cabinets I could run a couple O gauge and below and in-between them I could do the HO.
How does that sound?
Aye, comfort is the most important part.
Measure how high / low you feel comfortable working at, plus working while in a chair.. plus remember you most likely will have to be on your back underneath it to run wiring..
So, measure before you build / buy .. you'll save yourself a lot of grief if you're happy with how comfortable with your workspace.
When I want to answer a question from posting do I use this quick reply button?
Um, MrCedar, if my memory isn't faulty, I thought S guage was larger than O.
You could use the 'quote' function, like I did here..
Don't forget viewing pleasure
I like to look at model railroads from the same perspective as I see the prototype - down low. This stinks for a working height though. My current project has a planned table height of about 50 inches. I question the logic though since the vast majority of time spent on the railroad is working on it - not looking at it. Perhaps adjustable legs that can go up to optimal viewing height once the work is done?
Not a bad idea, Rusty.
When I have time to set my layout up, I'm going to be actually suspending it from the ceiling, as I have very limited floor space.. and have it be able to be drawn up to the celing to get it out of the way.
You can use the "quick reply", use the "quote" if you want to quote the message you are replying to, or you can go to "post reply" or "advanced". The disadvantage of using "quick reply" is that you cannot use smilies and you cannot upload pictures into your post. Also, if you are using IE as your browser, you cannot use the spell checker on "quick reply" whereas you can on the other three options..
As for table hight, there is no set number. Whatever is comfortable to work with for you. The higher it is, the more realistic the prospective. Too high and you can't reach or see everything, too low and you wind up with backaches. I've got mine set at 42" which works fine for my needs.
I tried the adjustable legs thing, the first time it was a disaster, no stablility, especially since the legs were on casters. I redid the adjustable legs completely and that didn't turn out too much better. I needed the casters and adjustable legs since I had my layout in my garage and had to move it around on a sloping floor. I now have a permanent place for the layout and abandond the ajustable legs and the casters. My life and my layout is so much more stable now.
S is smaller than O.
In my woodworking shop I like to work where my flat hands meet the workbench 38".
When I want a different angle I have this great rolling swival chair with no back and adjustable height.
I think you have to aproach this with the future expectation of the project. Are you building it for guests to come and observe trains or are you building it for your own benefit and 'play time'. If you are building it for guests are they primarily children or adults? For children you need it to be lower, 3' table top, for adults it probably need to be 4' to 4.5' table top hight.
If you're building it for yourself and you want to 'play trains' it needs to be accessible, comfortable, and pleasing to look at for extended periods of time. This means you'll most likely be sitting in a chair or on a stool, getting up and reaching across the layout, and occationally stepping back and watching the trains just run. A lower hight might be apropriate because even the tallest adjustable chair isn't at standing hight. 3' to 3.5' would be comfortable.
My old layout was at 4'. It was just a little bit too low for standing and a little bit too high for sitting. But it was good for walking around and being able to reach the middle parts without crushing something under my belly
There is no rule for benchwork height. It is entirely dependent on a number of circumstances. #1 how tall are you? I'm 6 feet tall, so my comfortable table height will be different than someone who is 5'5" tall. #2 Will you use a central control panel, or walk around control? My layout will have no central control panel. It will be impossible to operate it without walking around to follow the train. Using a chair to operate from would be impractical for me. #3. How do you like to view trains? Do you want them high enough to view them from a low angle, or do you want to be the "eye in the sky" over your miniature world? Finally, the problem of making it at a suitable height for children is probably not really an issue. Children grow so fast that a layout that fits a child today, it going to be too low in a year or two. I would suggest that if children are to operate a layout, build or buy some sort of stool or platform for them to stand on.
My layout, when it's completed, will vary from 36" to 59". The lower height is less than I would have liked, but was necessary to accomodate the part which is 59", which will form a wide shelf over top of the lower section. As it is now, I use office chairs on casters to follow the trains around the room, although the layout is still well below eyelevel. The upper level, when built, will still be below my standing eyelevel, but will at least allow manual uncoupling of trains, as per my operating practice. The layout, an around-the-room design, is generally in the form of a very convoluted "Y", with the stem of the "Y" at about 44" height, with fairly long grades up or down to the other levels. There are stacked staging yards at 36", 44", and 59", with operations from any point of the "Y" to any other point. There is also a very steep run-through between the 36" and 44" levels, useful for locomotive break-in running, or when somebody just wants to see trains running. My Grandson, who is four, has been viewing the trains (and running them) since he was about 2 1/2, using a small step-stool. By the time the upper level is built, he should be tall enough to view it without assistance.
Good idea Russ about the children. they do grow fast and it would not be a problem to make them each a footstool. When you speak about hand held I assume you are talking about DCC. This may be the best option as we have 6 grandchildren and 5 son inlaws that love to play. Given the 140 sq ft of space on the lower table one's vision of the train you were running may be difficult otherwise. I have read about it a little but wonder if my currant AC American Flyer could be outfited with it.
I saw a layout with a couple O gauge trains a little above eye level. They were very impressive with lights, sound and smoke.
I've been thru this dilemma myself...should I build at 30"? or 36" or 42" or 48" or what? Each has advantages and disadvantages.The closer the layout is to table height, the easier it is to build and work on from a comfortable seated position. But I've discovered that I get the most realistic view from nearly eyeball level. Placing the layout at a higher level allows for much workspace, benchspace, storage below. Unfortunately this means a normal comfortable working chair no longer works for railroad running. I've found that I can work pretty comfortably at the 48in height if I use a tall barstool for running and scenic-ing., and for those wishing to stand it is still at an acceptable viewing level. ...I just had another brainstorm. Since I am using hollow door bases, I essentially have my own bizzare modular setup..hmm...I could have a temporary lower workspace for scenery work. have to think about that some more.. anyway, that's my 2 cents, and I think it works for me.
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