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Author Topic: Modular layout  (Read 17719 times)

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Offline ptopo

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Modular layout
« on: March 06, 2014, 09:00:14 pm »
Hi,

So, I've been steadily building the 4 initial boards refered to on the planning thread. Here's the story so far....

Construction plan -

44x18mm planed wood frame topped with 1.35x0.4m 5.5mm ply. DCC concepts baseboard dowels on each end... These are ok to fit but I used 4 bits of wood before I got it right...

1) clamp together
2) drill two 3mm pilot holes
3) separate boards and drill a 2mm depth hole with a 18ish mm spade bit on all four facing sections
4) Re clamp and spade bit 13mm through both bits of wood from the back side
5) drill two 8mm holes for retaining bolts
6) separate and fit all 4 dowels with wood glue to set
7) re-clamp now with bolts, washers and wing nuts and allow to dry



Frames built with some chagrin when I found one pair of sides were slightly warped but have straightened now. Note old track from previous layout...



The tops were then fitted and planed down the sides 'till smooth. I built two sets of L - shaped legs that are hinged to the wall and fitted with adjustable feet to make sure I can get it damn level even in an old uneven attic. One is in the middle, one at the far end (just over half of the floor is raised, see below) and there's a batten on the near wall.



Check to fit...



Then painted with undercoat, white on the frame and dark grey on top (learned the lessons from not painting the white away last time....). The two fitted boards are bolted lengthways and I then fitted clamps on each end and one underneath so it doesn't move. Ta da!



And pretty level. So far.



Next up - fitting the DCC bus and plugs/sockets then it's TRACK LAYING TIME!!!!

Cheers

PT

Offline scotsoft

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 09:08:00 pm »
You are making good progress and your efforts look very good, I hope fitting the DCC bus goes well and you get onto track laying quickly so you can play test run your trains

cheers John.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 09:54:05 pm »
I can't see any holes in the cross battens for the wiring to pass through :hmmm:
Is this too late to accomplish? :worried:
Or do you have an alternative fiendish plan?

Offline Bealman

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2014, 05:03:35 am »
Good point, but looking good! :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline Sprintex

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2014, 07:14:46 am »
I can't see any holes in the cross battens for the wiring to pass through :hmmm:

My first thoughts too, made that mistake myself but luckily twigged before it was too inconvenient to drill them ;)


Paul

Offline Bealman

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2014, 09:32:17 am »
I ended up putting cable looms UNDER the baseboard joins.  :doh:

George
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Online Caz

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2014, 09:34:22 am »
I can't see any holes in the cross battens for the wiring to pass through :hmmm:

My first thoughts too, made that mistake myself but luckily twigged before it was too inconvenient to drill them ;)

Paul

Likewise here, just didn't plan ahead when I asked someone to make my baseboards I didn't think of all the wires that need to go underneath.   :dunce:

Offline ptopo

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2014, 01:02:48 pm »
I can't see any holes in the cross battens for the wiring to pass through :hmmm:
Is this too late to accomplish? :worried:
Or do you have an alternative fiendish plan?


Well spotted.

The plan (tonight's the night) is to fit the DCC bus to all four boards. The front two are coming off again completely now I'm happy with the set up and the rear two just lift up at 90 degrees allowing easy access to the under-side which was one of the reasons behind having mobile boards.

The battens are very much deep enough to be drilled 2cm in from the base - it's how I did my old portable layout which only had 30mm battens and these are 44 so I'm not expecting a problem (famous last...). The plan is probably to drill the DCC bus conduits and some for the accessory power too but similarly I found that I could do that as I went along because of the access.

I'm just finalising how & where the bus will be connected but have read that a star config is better than a long straight cable hence I'll be planning to cross connect the two boards at the same end that they are connected to the DCC power supply and run parallel lines.

Temporary track will be laid on the rear board (just a broad, wide U- shape really, top half of the image below) then not move it again whilst I fully lay the front board (lower, goods yard).



I'll then switch the fully formed board at the front around to the rear and complete the second board (currently planned as a station) or maybe switch to extending the layout right across the room, depending on how I'm feeling at the time. I love flexibility and that's why I'm going down the modular route.... also it's ergonomically friendly to be swearing-whilst-sitting-comfortably rather than swearing-crouched-under-a-baseboard!

...hoping to be running trains on the first full run by easter... I've been building a full HST exec set and the buffet arrives today! Hope all my old stock still runs after 14 months in the cooler.

Cheers

PT

ps Just in case you've not seen - the current plan is to extend right across the attic with further identically sized boards (blue) and build in a reversing section disguised as a station (red). Maybe not though, based on my experience one always wants to try new things and is never quite satisfied with the current layout. Plan C or D is to extend the red portion over the blue and right out of the back part of the attic into the front on a further 3m run... which is where my wife will one day have an office. Or so she hopes. >:D





« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 01:32:03 pm by ptopo »

Offline Zakalwe

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2014, 07:20:15 pm »
Good plans, i like the concept of expanding when money, time and spousal permission is granted.

Star is better than long single run, will make it easier to modify as it grows and easier to split the arms of the star into separate DCC districts so you can spot errors quickly and not lose all DCC running on a short circuit.

You also need a layout name :)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2014, 07:23:11 pm by Zakalwe »
I just think people overvalue argument because they like to hear themselves talk.

Offline ptopo

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2014, 08:52:19 am »
DCC bus fitted, used much more wire than expected but it's terminal blocks linked by appropriate thinness wire.

My second 8 way accessory decoder arrived today so am tooled up to start laying track next week and have 16 motors for the main points on the lower board. I'm DCC (powercab) and will use CDU accessory decoders with seep + pm1. This was very light, easy to use and reliable on my old layout so am working on the same system here. Previously I used the accessory switch on the motors to drive signals, this time I'm using them properly for frog control.

One question I have is about dapol auto couplers (magnetic) - any experience or advice? I'd like to be able to shunt/run around on the yard and the rapidos are sooooo fiddly. They have long and short arm couplers and it's not obvious which is most suitable what the best bet, measuring to give a best guess then trial and error?

More photos soon once the track starts to go down (the wiring is a bit dull!).

Cheers, PT

Offline ptopo

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 09:16:17 pm »
Bus...



Power connectors from Maplins (kindly donated by dad). These are used to connect each board and the dcc power supply - this is nice because is allows all four boards to be connected to the power in isolation.

I'm going with brown and blue wiring because i) UK flex is this colour and ii) I've got 5m of dropper wire in these colour scheme. blue inside, brOwn outside.



First proper length down. 2x 3rd radius set track & flexi straights. Mostly held by screws at the moment and only one bit of track is wired. This part is temporary to provide a run around for the lower board so I'm not losing too much sleep except whether it runs ok.



Quick video, the testing 24 going nice and slow to check running. NB baby wipes are magic track cleaners, one of the short bits of flexi was a bit old.

http://youtu.be/VJionjaOE4A

Bit boring for now (sorry, a big moment for me after 16 months since running a train).

The initial thinking is that the lines are a bit straight so I might work in a sweeping curve through a station in due course, we'll see. Thanks for looking.

PT
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 09:21:21 pm by ptopo »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 09:28:01 pm »
Oh No! :smackedface:
The dreaded playingtesting locos stage has been reached :doh:
(from one who is serving a life sentence for doing the same :-[)

Offline scotsoft

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 09:35:08 pm »
Nice long straight and a lovely slow stop at the end  :thumbsup:

cheers John.

Offline Bealman

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 10:28:40 pm »
It is a nice long straight, but I like the idea of turning it into a sweeping curve as it does look better, I reckon. That Class 24 (I think that's what it is?) is a lot quieter than mine!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Vision over visibility. Bono, U2.

Offline ptopo

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Re: Modular layout
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 08:05:52 pm »
Thanks chaps - yes, it's a 24 and still runs really well, though hasn't seen as much action as some of my locos so perhaps that's why...

Whilst the bottom half is probably going ahead as planned, albeit with a minor deviation from straight, the station is going to be 2 through roads & two through roads / platforms and third and fourth terminal platforms, maybe, but the whole thing built on a curve. I'm also re- thinking the red bit of the full layout, it's going to be a single reversing loop along side coach sidings/depot. This allows the return points on the left to be proper electro frog. Images to follow.

Thanks again! PT

 

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