Track Levelling...

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Lighthorseman, Nov 20, 2002.

  1. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    Here's a useful addition to the 3 foot ruler with the inset level...a string level. I suspect that this is "old hat" to most of you experienced folks, but why not share anyway?

    I'm finding this quite useful for winding along my branchline as it curves its way through the as yet unfinished mountains.:)

    These are cheap, and I even got a set that included a grade indicator as well.

    I'm not sure if this is worthy of the "Tips And Tricks" thread, so I've put it here.
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    What's a string level?
  3. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    Hey Bill, Astring level is a small level, the one I have is about 2" long. You use a lenght of string stretched tight from on point to another and hang the level on it ( it has small hooks on top) then you can move either end of the string up or down till it is level. Comes in handy over large open spaces in track work where you can't fit a large level!!:eek:
  4. Railery

    Railery Member

    Steve how does the grade indicator work and what type is it (electronic)? Is there a minimum lenth and slope that it can only start from? For example would it measure the grade for a helix.
  5. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    A Photograph...

    I messed up, having planned to include a picture, then messed up again by double here is a shot of my windy branchline under construction.

    Attached Files:

  6. Railery

    Railery Member

    Thanks Steve. i thought maybe the grade measuring device was like a 6" level with gradients on it.
    Looks like your right into your layout. Looks good :). i like the looks of the On3 cars. This year i too have a small On3 Train Set. The cars are all decorated and lighted on the inside. i'm still waiting for the rest of the set to be delivered.
  7. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    So-Called "Grade Indicator"...

    Railery...the little black guy in the picture is a simple string level. The "grade indicator" looks the same, hangs on string too, but has lines showing increments of height. I will post a picture as soon as I can drag out the digital camera.

    I picked this up as a two-piece set from Revy for (I think...) less than three dollars.:)
  8. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    How About a Water Level?

    I suspect that the finest level one could use for layout construction would be a water level. What it amounts to is a tub of water with a hose out the bottom --- as long as is needed --- and a clear tube on the end of the hose, with markings (inch or otherwise) on the tube. You set up the tub with it's water level at your "zero" height, and use the marked end of the hose to check everything in the room. The only precaution is to not lay the tube down on the floor, or you'll drain the thing.

    A large version of this is used in boat building, and about the only effective way to find a level on something that has no strasight lines.

    The Lee Valley < > tool catalog has a dandy (on page 22) with a 25-foot hose (good enough for a 50-foot room) for only $13.95. But it wouldn't be much of a task to make your own.

    Bill S
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Water level

    We tried using a water level once for a layout. We had a long length of plastic tubing from the aeroplane section of the hobby shop. Found that the small diameter tubing didn't let the water flow easily; we couldn't see it too well so we put colour in it; it takes one person at each end bcause you have to make sure the water is still where you started.
    Not insurmountable problems but...
  10. Railery

    Railery Member

    i think i will check that gradient level out. i have a variety of bubble levels from 6" to 4' in length plus the string one. i won't be making any helixes but i do have a few grades to make. Lets see, a 1/4" rise over 12" = 2 % grade. Dang where's that calculator.:rolleyes:
  11. Bill Stone

    Bill Stone Member

    The tub on the zero end of the water level makes it a one-man tool, and I'm told that a little detergent in the water cuts the surface tension so it works better. Also, why not use garden hose so it will flow faster. You only need the clear tube at the end.

    Another solution, far more exotic, in the Lee Valley catalog, is a laser level. And it's only $16!

    Bill S

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