using styrofoam

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by farmer ron, Nov 9, 2003.

  1. farmer ron

    farmer ron Member

    I have two modules to build for my layout, 5 ft x 30 inches, I am concidering using blue/pink foam. I will make a rectangular frame using 1 x 4's. I am concidering using foam set inside the frame instead of the plywood top to make them lighter so I can move them to the work bench or barn for painting. For those that have used this method before which way do you do it and are you happy with it..
    do you glue your cork on top of the foam or do you put a product like homosoate on top of it all??
    thanks ..Ron..
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I've seen it done both ways, but don't use homosote unless you are handlaying track. The foam will be so rigid that a sheet of luan door skin material is all the covering you would need. We have one module of a West Virginia coal tipple in our club that is made just the way you said, except is has a 1x4 cross member about six inches from each end to mount the legs to. The rest of it is a framework with a few 1x2 cross members to support the foam and scenery, cork, and track glued directly to the foam. That module has been going to shows regularly since before the NMRA National train show in Long Beach in 1996 or 1998. I don't remember the exact date.
  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Ron!
    I would just glue the foam onto the framing...thwere's no need to use plywood.
    Yoyu can glue tour cork to the foam, & then glue the track to the cork.
    You're right...this makes for very light modules & they're quite sturdy.
  4. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    I'm With You, Ron!

    That's exactly how I'm building my current layout.

    My benchwork consists of 1 by 4 joists, set 16 inches apart, covered by 2 inch blue "styrofoam". By all accounts, this looks to be strong, rigid, and lightweight. :)
  5. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    This is exactly what I'm about to do. I plan on making framing out of 1'x4's with 1'x2' cross braces, and the foam will set inside the frame.

    I have a page bookmarked at the house where someone went step by step on how they did this... Maybe I can find it tonight and post the link.
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I've gone even lighter with a portable and use 1 x 3's on the longer sides, outer edges only, with 1 X 1's glue to the foam every 12 inches. A hollow raised center of blue foam offers support somewhat like an "I" beam does. Heavy duty carpenders glue holds the 1 X 1's to the foam. The same glue holds cork road bed in place and liquid nails holds the tracl to the cork. The carpenders glue holds foam to foam in the raised center, and drywall screws were used to hold it while the glue dries. I also used drywall screws through the foam into the wood and to hold wood to wood. The screws can be removed after the glue dries or left in place.
  7. ddavidv

    ddavidv Member

    Blatantly obvious newbie Q:
    Why can't you just glue the track to the foam board? What's the need to have the cork roadbed in addition?

    Yeah, I'm that clueless, but I want to know! ;)
  8. billk

    billk Active Member

    Take a look at the prototype - the tracks are higher than their surroundings.
    In yards, etc. this isn't the case so you might want then to secure the track directly to the foam, or you could still use roadbed and build up the areas between the roadbeds to make a level surface.
  9. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Hmmmm.....interesting....I was planning to use a 2x6 around the perimeter and either 1x4 or 2x4 joists...using drywall screws to hold it all together. I was thinking that should make it plenty sturdy. Then I was going to use a 1/4" hardboard directly on top of the frame to keep it all square and sturdy...with a couple of layers of 1" foam on top of that to use for making creeks/lakes/etc. Am I overbuilding??
  10. billk

    billk Active Member

    I'd use 1 bys everywhere - 2 bys are overkill. Also, I'd use plywood instead of hardboard (masonite?). Using drywall screws is a good idea. If you can get it, use a single layer of 2" foam instead of two 1" layers.
  11. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    I just figured 2 bys because they were better at taking screws in the end. I suppose 1x4's would work too though. Regarding the plywood vs. hardboard....a 1/4" sheet of plywood would work just as well (better actually), but I figured the masonite stuff would be cheaper. My only reason for wanting something there besides foam was just to keep everything nice and square and for a little more stability. I'm not sure if I can get 2" foam in my area or not. The only place I have seen it was at Home Depot in 4x8 sheets (house insulation). I thought the stuff they had was 1", but honestly I didn't look at it that close. It's hard to find the thick stuff down here since it doesn't get that cold.
  12. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Liquid nails irreversable holds track directly to the foam for the yards. You can also look good doing so in a lot of cases such as small branch lines, NG, loggin', industrial areas, sidings, team tracks, and the likes.

Share This Page