Using soda straw as conduit

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by ezdays, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I tried to post this in the "Tips & Tricks" forum, but my pics show up there as inacessable links. I'll post it here until I find out what's going on.
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I working on the wiring on the new section of my layout and things are going relatively easy. I had to make some changes to a part of my old layout and now wiring wasn't so easy anymore. I had to feed the wires for two new turnouts through a layer of plaster, two and a half inches of foam and a hollow-core door. Four inches total, and getting the wires lined up through the door just wasn't going to happen until I remembered a trick we used to line up LEDs that protruded through a panel… a drinking straw. Yes, I used a common soda straw as a conduit. I don't know if this has been mentioned here before, I can't find it if it has, so in case anyone else doesn't know about this trick, here are a few simple steps to less frustration:

    Attached Files:

  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Neat trick Don. I think you have solved you rpicture problem...

    Couple questions though...

    Could you leave the straw in place in case of any other wiring needs? Is it worth leaving?

    And most importantly, is it a bendy straw or a regular straw? ;) :D

  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    Yeah, uh, Mikey uh "fixed" the problem... I'll not mention that he was the one that caused it in the first place though.......:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:, he'd rather I didn't.:wave: :wave:

    I found it was easier to feed the wire through the straw before I stuck it in the hole since they were like #26 stranded. I guess you could leave it there in case you wanted to feed more wires through. In that case, I'd probably use a fatter straw.

    And I cut the bendy end off since it restricted the opening a bit and the straw was plenty long...:D :D
  5. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    neat idea Don being a profesional wrench i have a tool from Mac that is used to run wiring through a body grommet looks like a round screw driver that has a hole all the way through the handle woulden't be too hard to make one out of a section of brass tube and a old screw driver handle if i can rember i will bring mine home and post a pic of it .:)
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, that's a good way to go as well. You can make one as long as you need, just that you have to remember to start with it at the underside, my way you start at the top.

    When I started this layout a few years ago I fished all these wires using a piece of coat hanger and taped the wires to it. I could have saved hours using the straw technique.:rolleyes::rolleyes:
  7. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    Line up LEDs? what about that trick?
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    We built graphic annunciators. Think of a control panel with hundreds of LEDs and switches all mounted on a very large printed circuit board. Most were made of smoked glass and the LEDs were hidden and would only show when lit. When we had a metal panel, we'd drill holes where the LEDs and switches were and then we'd have to line them all up so they'd got through the holes all at the same time. We would position the panel a few inches above the circuit board and put straws throught the holes and onto the LEDs. For small (T1) LEDs we would use plastic coffee stir sticks. Once we pushed the panel together, all the LEDs would line up and go through their holes together. Usually we could jocky the switches to line up without straws.:thumb::thumb:

    That could be worthwhile if someone was building a control panel with a bunch of LEDs on it.
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Don: the bendy bit of the straw makes a piece of corrugated piping -- outlet pipes for drains or the culverts that go under roads. Paint black and add rust or silver highlights.
    Just run the plain end into the foam scenery.
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Hey, that's a cool idea, I've got a spot that I can use that on. Thanks...:thumb::thumb:

    I was over Vern Niner's house a few years ago and saw how he made N scale corrugated pipe loads. He took aluminum foil and wrapped it around a machine screw to imbed the threads, then just unscrewed the foil. Very carefully I'll bet.:D I don't know what size screw he used, probably a #6 or #8, but I'm sure the same thing can be done for HO using a 1/4" or 5/16" bolt.
  11. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    That's a cool idea, Don! :cool:

    What I've always done to get the wires through all those layers of material is to use a length of very heavy gauge copper wire, with a loop at the end, drill the hole, & then use the heavy wire to pull my feeders through, just like using "fish tape" to pull wires through walls in a house...

    The straw thing sounds interesting, though...I'll have to try that sometime! :cool:
  12. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Yeah, as I said, that's basically what I did when I first started my layout. This worked so slick that I'll never go back to fishing feed wires through again.:D

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