Taking the Plunge...Finally

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by 2-8-2, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    After many months of research and deliberation over countless track plans, I'm finally ready to get started on my layout. Please...hold your applause until the end. [​IMG]

    I find myself feeling like a newbie again, because I'm not sure what materials to use for my layout. I'm building a 3x6.5 ft layout (roughly door sized) with grid 1x construction. Now for a few questions:

    1) I assume I should use plywood. What thickness do you recommend? 1/2" or 3/4"? Other? It's important that this layout be mobile, so weight is definitely a factor.

    2) Should I screw the grid to the plywood or just nail it? The reason I ask is because I'm likely going to build shelving/storage, and the layout will rest on top of them. The opposite end will be supported by two legs, and I hope to build a rolling toolchest that will wheel out from underneath. I'm concerned about the overall strength of the unit.

    3) Given what you've read above, I hope I've given a general idea of what I'm hoping to do. Think of a computer desk, and you're on the right track (no pun intended). I even want to make a slide out tray, where most people have their keyboard, and use that for my controls.
  2. Tad

    Tad Member

    Just curious, Why don't you just use a door?
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If it important that the layout be mobile, why not build the top deck out of 2" styrofoam? Over a 1x grid with spacing no more than 2 feet apart, it should be plenty strong.

    I belong to a modular club, and we build all our modules this way (although we use paint-grade 3/4" plywood instead of 1x). Here are a few links:

    www.hotrak.ca (the club)
    www.railwaybob.com (a club member who has extensive "how-to's" on his web site)

    Hope that helps.

  4. I agree with Tad.

    Just Use an actual hollow-core door. You can add handles on the sides for portability
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    My fault, I should've been more clear on the mobile issue: I'm an apartment dweller. The layout will be in a permanent position, and won't need to be moved out of the way on a regular basis, but I do want to be able to disassemble it and transport it should I decide to move.

    I don't want to use an actual door either. Part of the fun in this is building things myself, and I'm trying to create an operations/workshop area all in one.
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well, even if it is a "semi-permanent" installation, hauling stryofoam up to your apartment probably beats hauling 3/4" ply... ;). Plus no major power tools required to cut it... :)

  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I've been considering using the styrofoam. Where would I get this stuff?
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Buy sheets of styrofoam at your local hardware or builder's supply store (Home Depot, Menards, Lowes's, etc). Look for the pink or blue stuff that cuts nicely w/o a huge mess as opposed to the white stuff that pebbles and sticks to everything because of static electricity.
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The pink and/or blue foam is also much stronger. Look for at least 2" stuff. It comes in 4" as well, should you have a lot of brass ;) :D

  10. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    Wherever possible, do your wood to wood attachment with screws. Don't bother with "wood screws" which are usually tapered, simply get either high quality screws (www.mcfeelys.com) or regular drywall screws. Also, there's no reason to use 1x for the grid, you're better off using cabinet grade 3/4" plywood ripped into strips of the appropriate width. The plywood will be much more stable than 1x, and stability is a good thing. Then use the foam for the surface, with a 1/8"-1/4" plwood skin directly on the grid. The skin allows you to mount anything to the underside of the layout easily, but it doesn't need to be very thick.
  11. Kim Paynter

    Kim Paynter New Member

    I just started my first layout and built a 4X8 setup by first building a frame out of 1X4 spruce and spaced braces at 16" centers, toped that off with 1/2 in exterior grade plywood. And then used blue foam to build things up for mountains and cut depresions for a lake and I am very happy with it. But maybe 4" of foam would be enough suport things. My father inlaw has built some stuff on just a sheet of 3/4" plywood and got those fold away legs for it. But didnt suport it with a frame and it has a 1/2-3/4" bow in it (Not good) after a year or so.

    What is this 1x stuff you guys are talking about? I havent hear that term before


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