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Author Topic: Askham Battersby MKII - NE / Midland Modular Layout  (Read 6718 times)

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Offline RichardBattersby

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Askham Battersby MKII - NE / Midland Modular Layout
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:21:34 pm »
 :hellosign:

My new layout is starting to take shape so I thought it time to begin a thread on the Construction board. The history of the layout so far, in brief, is that MKI met its untimely demise in the shed during its first winter. Original thread HERE. It was difficult to know whether to repair both layout and shed or start again or even stop altogether. It has to be said that starting again is working out to be the expensive choice but also very much worth it.

Having learned a lot from MKI, I decided that the shed wasnít the best place for my models and designed a new layout around the same theme to go in the loft. HERE.  is the thread used during its design. I really enjoyed designing a layout from scratch with different aspects to consider such as space and operating potential. The finished track plan is below.



There is no set time period or region to the layout. Late Big Four, BR steam and early diesels are catered for in the LNER / LMS regions. I suppose there will be an air of the Settle Carlisle about it. That being said, Rule 1 will very much apply to my layout. Trains will include express passenger / freight and local passenger / freight. The layout is obviously Ďroundy-roundyí with a non-scenic fiddle yard at the back. Operation will be inside and outside. Mainline station, shed and goods yard were the main three areas I wanted to include.

I decided on a modular type baseboard so that the whole thing can be taken apart and transported in the back of my car. The dimensions are 9' x 6'. It won't be going to exhibitions or anything like that, I wouldn't have thought, since I'm not a member of any clubs, but I do want it to be exhibition quality if at all possible. Mainly with regards to running / slow speeds but also scenic if I can manage it! Iíve also decided to try a board-by-board approach to building it as Iím still a novice. I didnít want to take on too much to begin with so only half of the baseboards have been ordered so far. After some research I decided to go with Model Railway Solutions and plumped for the birch frame and 9mm birch ply top. As theyíre so busy I had to wait a few weeks to get the kits but the customer service was good and they kept me informed along the way. Each module comes flat pack with copious screws and glue and reasonable instructions on how to put them together.



The individual boards came together nicely and, once the glue had set, were good and solid. For the quality, theyíre worth the money. They looked so good I didnít want to lay the track!



I bought a number of adjustable wooden trestles from IKEA to lay the entire layout on. Not very tall but not an issue in the loft. Theyíre strong and sturdy and the shelf under each one is useful.





The next step was to get the fiddle yard boards screwed together. I made sure that the upper surfaces were flush and level then clamped the two boards together and made four pencil marks on the inside end panel so I knew where to drill the pilot holes. I bought some M10 bolts, washers and wing nuts for securing the boards together. The inner two holes are for the 10mm bullet baseboard dowels I bought from Station Road Baseboards (ebay) to help with alignment.







The alignment dowels took a lot of hammering in but at least they wonít drop out. I was pleased with the results once screwed together.



Finally, the track plan for the fiddle yard was printed, guillotined and stuck together. 



Thanks for reading. Hopefully the next post wonít be too long away. Iím going to use this thread to discuss the layout but also, as above, explain how Iíve done things as Iíve found others that have done so on here to be a huge help. Disclaimer: Iím not claiming to be doing anything right / the best way! Just explaining what Iíve done. :P  :ngauge:
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 01:22:19 pm by RichardBattersby, Reason: Moving images onto own server »
Richard
Askham Battersby MKII - NE/Midland Modular Layout

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

Offline railsquid

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 04:12:18 am »
Looks good,  :greatpicturessign: , more  :photospleasesign:
"Eigatani Tetsudo" - Japanese and other trains (planning), featuring:

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 04:55:49 am »
Looking good so far :thumbsup:

I bought a number of adjustable wooden trestles from IKEA to lay the entire layout on. Not very tall but not an issue in the loft. Theyíre strong and sturdy and the shelf under each one is useful.

I have almost identical trestles but not from Ikea, they're more than tall enough on their highest setting ;)


Paul

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 05:18:11 am »
This looks verses interesting. Love the plan! You have a fan following along here in Australia. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

George
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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 10:00:33 am »
Looks a really good start. It certainly looks to be to exhibition standard (probably better than some).  :thumbsup:
I am very jealous of those baseboards.

Please keep the thread going as I am very keen to see the progress.

Steve
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Steve

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 10:44:06 am »
I can only echo what others have said, and look forward to seeing future updates :thumbsup:

Offline RichardBattersby

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2014, 09:48:07 pm »
Thank you so much for the comments! They make a novice very happy.  :D

Before I started with the track I decided to build the two side modules so that I didnít upset the track whilst drilling and fitting the dowels and bolts. The board on the left hand side of the plan is unusual in that it is the only one that is more than a foot wide. As such it came with a long central support that is supposed to go the length of the board with cross members slotting into it. I decided not to fit it as it would mean a redesign of the pointwork around the shed area (so point motors could be fitted) whereas the other supports should hopefully be manageable. The board is still solid and sturdy without this piece which is good news. I took the below photo so I knew where the screws were when it came to laying track.



The next step was to stick down the underlay to the fiddle yard. I decided to use Woodland Scenics black foam underlay which I know others on here have used. It handily comes in 1í x 2í pieces which will fit most of my boards perfectly. I applied blobs of Copydex to the two boards in the fiddle yard, spread it as quickly as possible and then placed the foam sheets on top. There was just enough time to square up the edges ensuring a flush fit with the edges that meet another board. I left these to dry for a couple of days.

I laid the paper track plan over the boards and realised that a couple of supports would be in the way of some point motors so I moved some of the points a few centimetres and reprinted. I drew, by hand, the thickness of the board sides and internal supports to help me lay the points. Placing the points on the paper, I lined them up with the track plan and pinned them in position with board pins. I drew on the paper where the tie bar would be, down the edges of the sleepers and also across the ends of the last sleepers between the rails. At this stage I also placed the DCCConcepts Cobalt drilling guide over the point and using the Dremel made some drill holes right through the board so I knew where to put the screws at a later date. I then removed the point (working one at a time) and drilled through the paper and board.





For the first point I drilled four holes. One for actuator bar, one below the frog for a polarity switch and one at each end of the diverging rails for droppers. In case I havenít already said so, the layout will be DCC and have droppers on every piece of track. Initially I thought this would be the easiest and neatest places to solder. I tried soldering the frog polarity wire to that little wire on the underside of the first point. For some reason I couldnít get the solder to take so ended up with soldering it to the ends of the rails at the farthest point of the frog. I avoided this place initially as I didnít think the insulating fish plates would advance fully onto each rail. I was wrong. So all the other points needed just three holes to be drilled. On the underside, all holes have been countersunk for a nice finish. Soldering to the ends of the rails has been fine, Iíve just had to be neat. The way I did it was to roughen the underside of each solder point, as close to the sleeper as possible, with a blade (I donít have a fibreglass pencil), a dab of flux and then a dab of solder. I had a pair of ratcheted forceps attached to the rail to take the heat away from the sleepers and help prevent melting. Iíd pre-tinned, shaped and trimmed each piece of wire and then soldered to the track. Green for the frog, orange and black for the droppers to be attached to the bus.





Once Iíd placed some of the points I decided to connect them up with small pieces of track. These were a little fiddly as it took time to get the curves right and cut them to shape. I obviously had more drilling and soldering to do at this stage. I decided to use pieces of wooden sleeper flexitrack and use concrete sleepers for the straights where it is safe for trains to stop. Currently, nothing has been stuck down but everything stays in place quite well with fishplates, board pins and the fact the wires are poking through the bottom of the layout.

Next is the exciting stage of laying some of the straights!  ;D
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 11:39:40 am by RichardBattersby, Reason: Down with Photobucket »
Richard
Askham Battersby MKII - NE/Midland Modular Layout

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 01:55:17 am »
Keep it coming, Richard! Most informative, and brilliant photographs!  :thumbsup:

George
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2014, 03:57:00 pm »
Hereís a picture of the 3í x 1.5í board that will form the shed area, currently being used as a bit of a work bench. I havenít stuck any foam to this yet.



With the entry points into the fiddle yard for the down main complete, but not stuck down, it was time to think about the siding straights. At this point it is probably worth mentioning how I positioned the points before fitting the straight sections. I didnít want to lay the points neatly on top of the paper track plan and then have to rip it up to get the paper from underneath. I also didnít want to have to draw on the foam as it wonít be painted afterwards. After some consideration I decided the cut a flap in the paper between the up and down sidings and flap the down portion of the plan back thereby keeping the up portion of the plan on the board and allowing me to flap the paper back over the board to aid placement of the down track. The main help with accurate placement of the points was the use of the pins. I noted where I had placed them, mainly at the corner ends and in the holes of the tie bar, and then lined up each point to the tiny holes the pins had made in the foam. This system seemed to work quite well.



The first step for fitting the straight sections was to sort the rail joints between the two boards that form the fiddle yard. I decided to use the Ďbrass screw method.í Starting with the furthest most line and utilising the flap of track plan, I marked out where each rail would cross the join. After getting a rough idea I placed each piece of track on the board and using a straight Tracksetta made sure each piece was as straight as could be. Then I pinned the first one in place and, making sure the arrows underneath the sleepers pointed towards the bend, curved the end of the track round to meet the exit of the point. I could now see which sleepers needed to be removed over the baseboard joint. I think I removed about 7 sleepers to allow for soldering each rail to a screw head and also a dropper on each rail for each side of the joint. Using a board pin I made some more holes in the foam. One each side of each rail about 1cm in from the join, where I drilled a pilot hole for the brass screws, and one in front of the last sleeper before the gap in between the rails, for the droppers to pop through. Once I had done the soldering of the droppers and was happy with the track position, I used more pins to keep it in place and ran a wagon up and down to make sure all was nice and smooth.



Then came the soldering of the rails, which I was rather worried about! I eased off the wing nuts underneath the boards so once the rails were soldered and cut, and the nuts tightened, the resultant gap would be minimal. I then scraped the tops of the screws and sides of the rails, painted some flux on each part and soldered away! It wasnít the easiest process but became more so the more I did. I repeated the process for each piece of track and used Peco 6í way gauges to help with regular spacing.



Finally, it was time to stick some track down. I really wasnít sure how to tackle this as Iíd spent so long getting my track just right that to then pull it up just to slop some glue down didnít seem right. I thought I could maybe dribble some neat Copydex between each sleeper and then agitate each piece in sections by tapping at the rails above. The glue seemed to Ďsoakí through quite well. By some miracle the process worked. But would it be solid once dry? 24hrs later I was a very happy chap. Out of interest, you can barely tell that the Copydex is there at all once dry.







I used more glue near the ends of each of piece of track to try and give extra stability. I was careful not to get glue on the top of any sleepers and only touch the sides to help it bleed underneath. I also exercised great caution around the points.





A possible error so far is that I havenít thought about how Iím going to cut the rails at the baseboard joint. I have a razor saw that I will use but I probable ought to have cut one at a time. As things stand Iíve gone and soldered four roads to the screws and therefore canít be lifted. It looks like Iíll have to try and carefully cut all four together maybe or just try and do one at a time. Any suggestions welcome. I obviously want to try and minimise damage to track and foam.  :help:



Hereís a picture of the layout so far. Itís now nicely illuminated by two lights on tripod stands which I bought last weekend from Wickes and they were half price, just £15.



Next Iím going to try a bit of temporary wiring and doing some testing!
 :D
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 12:11:49 pm by RichardBattersby, Reason: Correction of picture links »
Richard
Askham Battersby MKII - NE/Midland Modular Layout

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

Offline Chris in Prague

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2014, 06:50:06 pm »
Excellent progress, Richard. Many thanks for the step-by-step pictures and detailed explanations.

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2014, 08:10:13 pm »
Some very neat work there, Richard :thumbsup:
Hope you've managed to miss any cross battens with the points? :worried:

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2014, 10:37:06 pm »
Some very nice work there look forward to seeing it develop

I used a cutting wheel on a dremmel type cutter to cut my tracks for separate sections as I could not easily get a saw into position to cut them.  It worked but it left a larger gap then I would have liked.  The cutting wheel was about 0.3mm but I still ending up with a gap of around 1-1.5mm.  But with care I think a smaller gap could be achieved and the trains cross it without problems so far


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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2014, 11:10:32 am »
I find using the Dremel diamond faced metal cutting disc gives a much finer cut than the carbon disks.

Offline RichardBattersby

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Layout
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2014, 01:34:23 pm »
Yesterday was a good day. I managed to fish out the NCE PowerCab and wire up a temporary bus. Before plugging it in, I installed the upgrade chip for the PowerCab which I had finally been sent out. Now I have a short length of track, I was itching to see something running. It was the first time Iíd been able to run something in at least 6 months. I got out a couple of favourites:



After punching in the 4 digit address and turning up the throttle, nothing happened. I checked the wiring, Iíd screwed in the wrong cable. I tried again, nothing. Scratched my head a few times. Iíd plugged the cab cable into the wrong socket on the panel. Lights were on, nobody home  :-[. Iím sure Iím not the only PowerCab user to have done that, hopefully. Oops  :dunce:. Finally, success! I just love my Dutch 37. It ran so smoothly over the curved points and on its way back, is travelling at speed 1, which is just so slow itís incredible. I could watch it all day I think.



Now for some action from the 03 which performed surprisingly well:



And then the LT Pannier:



Apologies for the quality of the videos. Iím no videographer and only have my mobile to use as a video camera.
After a successful play test session, I thought I ought to be brave and cut some track! Iíd only actually soldered the two furthest roads and so pulled up track 3 and clamped a piece of wood over tracks 1 and 2. This gave me a solid, straight edge with which to cut against. I decided in the end to use my razor saw as I donít have a diamond cutting disc for my Dremel and I donít have the right angle extension to get a nice vertical cut. Theyíre on the shopping list though.





I was pleased with the cuts Iíd made. I think the further into the board I get the harder it will be so I may end up cutting prior to soldering perhaps. The only issue was that the solder on one screw came loose so Iíll need to redo that one.



And then a test run with another 37:



Now I fear I may not make anymore progress. There may be lengthy and frequent 'testing' to be performed.  :wave:

NPN: I've spent a lot of time adjusting the point positions so that the motors will fit underneath! I've learned from my last layout!  :doh:
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 12:26:16 pm by RichardBattersby, Reason: Correction of picture links »
Richard
Askham Battersby MKII - NE/Midland Modular Layout

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

Offline RichardBattersby

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Re: Askham Battersby MKII - Steam / Diesel Modular Loft Layout
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2015, 02:36:49 pm »
 :hellosign: Happy New Year!

The layout has been progressing slowly and surely since my last post a couple of months ago. There have been a couple of breaks so I could consider the electrics  :hmmm:. Below is a summary of my decisions:

  • No accessory bus - Iíd been confused with regards to the seemingly many definitions for the term Ďaccessory bus.í I had initially wanted an accessory bus to aid the quality of the DCC signal so as not to Ďcontaminateí it with commands pertaining to points and signals etc. A second reason was that it would enable me to use a completely separate power source for my DCCConcepts Cobalt Digital point motors which, on my previous layout, used to be unreliable due to the fact that the NCE PowerCab power adapter was not giving me the stated output voltage. Thirdly, if a short was to occur, then the motors would still be operational. However, after speaking with DCCConcepts about which power source would be best, I realised that by having a completely separate accessory bus I would not be able to change the points with either my PC or PowerCab (because the two would be completely electrically separate). It took me longer than it should have to realise this! In the end Iíve decided not to have a separate accessory bus but to instead have one that comes directly from the NCE power supply but have the DCC Bus' on separate circuit breakers (see power districts below), thereby achieving one of the above points. Iíve also found a transformer that the Cobalts should get on with (I have checked with DCCC) by using one from an old external hard drive. It wonít be until the whole thing is wired up that I will really know whether itís OK or not.
  • Two Power Districts Ė from my reading it is clear that having power districts is a good idea. It allows me to have some sort of accessory bus but also protects part of the layout from the other part when a short occurs because each sub-district has its own separate circuit breaker. It also goes some way to help with the diagnosis of problems. There is scope to change this later but I think Iím only going with two power districts to cut down on wiring and plugs between boards. I found the below article helpful; see pages 2-3 for power districts.
    -   http://www.amhobby.com/download/ncesys-techtips.pdf
  • No Block Detection Ė in an ideal world Iíd have this. But Iím going to be practical. The layout isnít big enough to lose trains and whilst the PC is very much going to be a part of the layout, I donít want to have computer controlled trains running around on their own.
  • ProCab! I eventually decided to upgrade my system by buying the PowerHouse Pro 5amp Box. This has many advantages that I hope to use but most notably, increased power, program track output, PC integration with feedback for point motors and route setting.



  • Program Track incorporated into revised fiddle yard. Previously Iíve just used ĎProgram on the Mainí feature, which is great, and whilst I have little understanding of CVs and what to do with them, in the future Iíll want to have a play with them and having a dedicated program track is the safest way of doing so. During my research I found out that the program track can be a pretty dangerous thing if connected to the rest of the layout and not isolated properly. Therefore, I followed this link http://www.brian-lambert.co.uk/DCC.html (final diagram in Program Track section) which gives me a section of track before the program track and protects both sides. By fitting a 4PDT switch I can drive a loco onto the program track (which to me is preferable) then flick the switch to activate the program track and at the same time kills power to the isolation section which acts to protect the program track whilst programming is occurring. Below is a diagram showing the latest, revised, track plan and some of the major scenery.


From the above plan you'll see that I've made some scenic changes. The upper right corner will be covered with manor house and associated farm extending down the side of the railway. There will be a gentle slope down the field.

Track laying is going well. Here are some photos of the progress:





I've also installed three Cobalt Digital motors. The red and yellow wires are just there as temporary power feed so I could program and test them:





This is how I cut the actuator wire - a fine cutting disc on the Dremel at about 45 degrees cutting with the direction of rotation towards the frog:



Hopefully I'll have another update soon.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2017, 06:41:56 pm by RichardBattersby, Reason: Correction of picture links »
Richard
Askham Battersby MKII - NE/Midland Modular Layout

"We don't stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing."

 

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