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Your Layout and Models => Layout Construction => Topic started by: DarrwestLU6 on October 29, 2018, 11:57:09 PM

Title: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on October 29, 2018, 11:57:09 PM
OK folks, it's time to start a thread and get your advice as construction starts in earnest.

I've built a base board that was originally to go on a table top but I now need to convert to a folding, wall mounted design. So I need to do two things:
1) Brace the baseboard with some frames to give it rigidity (I'll research the other topics on the Forum to get tips here,  then post some pictures and diagrams of what I'm planning); and
2) Create the tilting mechanism.

For the latter, I built a model in Meccano  - see the video: https://youtu.be/688-0mB1jv4 (https://youtu.be/688-0mB1jv4) This shows how it should fold up and down.

I have now drawn up some plans (side on) for how big this would be in real life, and am about to source the bits I need (bearings, pivots). I think I might build this in wood as I won't have access to any welding gear! 
   
(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/70/6745-291018235647.jpeg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=70753)

I envisage building a frame in timber, which I can then box in with some pretty oak veneer, and is screwed solidly to a wall on the left side. The long black arms at the top of the diagram connect from a central pivot at top of the frame to a pivot point on the layout, and they hold the weight. The arms shown red, at the bottom of the diagram, pivot at the bottom of the frame and are connected to the back of the layout. This should make the folding up and down nice and smooth. I anticipate perhaps I'll need some folding legs at the front also to hold the layout in position and for stability. I'll probably need some counterweights somehow, perhaps pulleys and weights on wires? I'm open to ideas!

The right hand diagram show dimensions in millimetres using a free CAD program (Solid Edge 2D). The left hand diagram shows different positions of the layout baseboard as it folds- this should all make sense if you see the video. 

All suggestions welcome. I'll add more photos and diagrams as I proceed.


Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Snowwolflair on October 30, 2018, 12:48:35 AM
The problem you will have is that its fine in 2D but in 3D if the two sides are not exactly aligned when you move it it will immediately twist and sheer or jam.

Can I recommend a rope on both sides pulling up together to move it and better still wind them simultaneously with a hoist removing the need for a counter balance.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: GreyWolf on October 30, 2018, 06:37:16 AM
My immediate thought was something along the lines of a folding chair. We have wooded garden chairs that fold quite well for storage ... a bit of research on google might give you some ideas?

Cheers  :beers:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Stuart Down Under on October 30, 2018, 07:40:53 AM
Wow! That mechanical stuff is scary!

I think that Snowwolflair is correct - you need to be sure that the baseboard is rigid enough, and/or the two side mechanisms work in perfect harmony. Rigidity will only come with a deeper framework - ply girders? On the up side, fantastic access to the underside of the baseboard. I have a stiff neck from lying under mine, trying to wire up the droppers and point motors!

 :beers:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: AlexanderJesse on October 30, 2018, 09:13:42 AM
No chance to put 4 pulleys into the ceiling and hoist the layout into the air, when you need the space it usually occupies?
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: ntpntpntp on October 30, 2018, 09:55:16 AM
No chance to put 4 pulleys into the ceiling and hoist the layout into the air, when you need the space it usually occupies?

Haha - that's what I had when I was a young lad in the 70s, I had a 6x4 N layout that hoisted up to the ceiling. Still got the pulleys somewhere.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on October 30, 2018, 10:52:02 AM
The problem you will have is that its fine in 2D but in 3D if the two sides are not exactly aligned when you move it it will immediately twist and sheer or jam.

Can I recommend a rope on both sides pulling up together to move it and better still wind them simultaneously with a hoist removing the need for a counter balance.

Snowwolflair - Very good point about the twisting and jamming, so yes a hoist seems an excellent plan. I will try and draw this out tonight (working today but Wednesday-Friday on holiday so I can put in some hours on the build).

StuartDownUnder - I agree, I think I need a stiff frame and had some ideas about the support arms which I will draw up also tonight and see what you think.

AlexanderJesse &  ntpntpntp - Sadly the pulleys and "raise to the ceiling" idea is out as it is our main hallway where the layout is housed. It has to fold up onto a cupboard on the wall. (Although that would have been much easier!)
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Snowwolflair on October 30, 2018, 10:57:52 AM
Strong and rigid does not mean weight, think box girder bridge.  A very strong layout can be made with 5mm ply if it is cross braced.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: The Q on October 30, 2018, 10:59:15 AM
Personnally | think you've gone too complicated, a simple bottom hinge with support stays to the top would do.


Mind you I think It should be built, Diagon alley...
Cloak, broomstick ... gone...
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: AlexanderJesse on October 30, 2018, 12:18:17 PM
Personnally | think you've gone too complicated, a simple bottom hinge with support stays to the top would do.


Mind you I think It should be built, Diagon alley...
Cloak, broomstick ... gone...

I would say so too...

bottom hinges... and pulleys from the top to lift the layout. More stability, because you can use several hinges on the "lower" edge.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: The Q on October 30, 2018, 01:00:29 PM
I would use a piano hinge on it
A pack of 10 1Metre piano hinges from Tool station is under £20
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Pjlons83 on October 30, 2018, 01:19:15 PM
Personnally | think you've gone too complicated

I was thinking the same but there's nothing wrong with that if you enjoy an engineering challenge.

To the OP; have you considered something "off the shelf"? I'm not suggesting this specific one but there's lots of options if you can find something close to your required dimensions.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/70/6379-301018131712.png) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=70777)
This one is from a site called www.shaperinage.com (http://www.shaperinage.com) but there are lots of others and this particular one seems quite expensive.

edit: I've just spotted the dimension on your original post so it may be a bit big for off the shelf.... worth seeing how they work though? 
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on October 31, 2018, 12:12:41 AM

bottom hinges... and pulleys from the top to lift the layout. More stability, because you can use several hinges on the "lower" edge.


I have seen the light - I put the hinged idea to Mrs DarrWest and she likes the idea of a box on the wall , raised off the ground, so we can get to the floor. We do have enough room to do a simple box hinged at the back edge of the layout. It will still need to stand clear of the back wall by about 30cm to allow for scenery etc so I will need to put a sturdy frame together, that is solidly fixed to the wall (it is brick, thankfully, not plasterboard). I'll knock up some diagrams tomorrow for this proposed frame. In the meantime you can see the size of the hallway and layout in these pictures.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/70/6745-311018001020.jpeg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=70809)

The snooker cues markout the width it would be....as a rough guide. I just need to decide what height I should have the baseboard off the floor. I am thinking perhaps 84cm /33 inches - 92cm / 36 inches from floor to top of baseboard.

(http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/70/6745-311018001857.jpeg) (http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view&id=70810)
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on November 14, 2018, 08:03:31 PM
Sorry not been on lately to update progress, got very busy at work, but more news and pictures soon!
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Stuart Down Under on November 15, 2018, 02:08:48 AM
Yes, as a retired bloke, I really don't know how I had time to go to work!  :confused2:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on December 31, 2018, 01:29:09 PM
Firstly I hope you all had a nice Christmas break and got some fun with the modelling if you had any spare time!

AT LAST, I have now made some progress on the layout over the Christmas holidays and built a frame, mounted on battens, that will hold the layout slightly away from the wall and then can be folded up or down.

Step one - get the battens and cantilevers up with some chunky angle brackets:
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/72/6745-311218130640-727891184.jpeg)

Step two - fit the cross beam, sits on the cantilevers, this will hold the weight of the board and provide the support for the hinges...here you see it passing it's first load test! 
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/72/6745-311218130839-727902348.jpeg)
(The second load test was to have a 50+kg son lie down on the beam and it took that too!)

Step three - now I am fitting 2x1 inch battens roughly every 12-14 inches across the baseboard to provide support (this is all about face and being retro-fitted as originally the layout, dear reader, was going on to a table top).
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/72/6745-311218130950-727911802.jpeg)

Next step - I'll fit a few diagonal braces in 2x1 also to provide stiffness and ensure no twisting! (Allows me to play with a borrowed Mitre saw for a bit).

Once this is all done and ready, I am going to attempt to position the board up against the beam that you see in the pictures. The board edge has a long plank on one side that I think will hold the weight of the board, and I will screw this to the beam using six heavy duty ball bearing hinges designed to hold fire doors (which are pretty heavy) so should do the job.

I also need to build some fold down legs for the board, I will show you progress over the break as I get on! I've also ordered a pulley system with counterweights (designed for sash windows) so that it will ease the lifting and lowering of the board.

More pictures soon. Happy New Year to you all!  :wave:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Newportnobby on December 31, 2018, 04:11:07 PM
I always fit the cross battens when I know where the points will be above as, if fitting under board point motors, there's nowt so infuriating as finding a batten just where you want the motor to go.
Don't ask how I know :no:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on December 31, 2018, 04:44:46 PM
I always fit the cross battens when I know where the points will be above as, if fitting under board point motors, there's nowt so infuriating as finding a batten just where you want the motor to go.

Thanks NPN - an excellent tip, I will mark crosses on the back of the baseboard with a marker pen where I PM's might go, THEN fix the battens! Good advice as ever.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on January 10, 2019, 08:45:41 PM
Hoorah - Some real progress over the Christmas break!

So after Christmas festivities I managed to get some cross braces put on the board (it’s heavy chipboard but that was legacy from the table top idea of the past) using 1x2 timber across and diagonal.
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/73/6745-100119202925-73053469.jpeg)

I then got the legs on and lo and behold a level railway in both directions! (Happy camper)
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/73/6745-100119203435-730551113.jpeg)

However, after a few days I notice a bit of bending of the 1x2 timbers due to the weight of the stuff above, so enhance this with some 5*3/4inch boards around all the edges of the board, to provide stiffness – this did the trick without being too heavy – and some 90 degree metal support to hold it all together. No way now that was going to bend!
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/73/6745-100119202924-730451684.jpeg)

So now, I have the railway on the wall and it folds up neatly. I put in a batten each side with a felt pad so it can lean against the back wall, and put some bolts on it, so it won’t move accidentally!
(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/73/6745-100119202936-73054491.jpeg)

Now to do:
1 – reposition the legs slightly so they fold down completely flat within frame (ooops!)
2 – add some counterweights (I bought some steel sash window weights to counterweight the board, this will make lifting it easier).

You’ll see this in coming posts! But I have a business trip to India next week, so won’t be back online for a bit…
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Newportnobby on January 10, 2019, 09:45:35 PM
That should withstand a direct hit from a Cruise missile and, after lowering/raising it a few times I can imagine you'll be entering for 'The World's Strongest Man'. ;)
However, it all looks hugely impressive in that second pic and I look forward to seeing more.
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: Bealman on January 10, 2019, 09:50:39 PM
Everything he said.  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: AlexanderJesse on January 11, 2019, 09:48:16 AM
The next logic step would be to add some hinges at the top of the wall and add a box to it.

When the layout is folded down that box is folded up and contains the lights. When the layout is folded up, the box is lowered and protects the layout from dust. Plus a nice piece of art on the box to "hide" on the box ... to keep the govenrment happy...
Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: DarrwestLU6 on January 11, 2019, 12:31:56 PM
The next logic step would be to add some hinges at the top of the wall and add a box to it.

When the layout is folded down that box is folded up and contains the lights. When the layout is folded up, the box is lowered and protects the layout from dust. Plus a nice piece of art on the box to "hide" on the box ... to keep the govenrment happy...

@AlexanderJesse (https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?action=profile;u=6316)  - I was thinking along those lines. I like the box idea but can't hinge it from the top of the wall as there is a light fitting it will hit in the middle of the ceiling. However, what I am contemplating is a box arrangement with roller blind as shown in the picture below. I reckon if I have a 15cm clearance at the top for a pelmet I can fit in a roller blind and hide some nice spotlights in there. Would you go for mains powered LED flood beams? Warm white?

(https://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/gallery/73/6745-110119122653-730671282.jpeg)
(I haven't shown the underside of the box in this drawing but will rig something up, maybe a hinged access panel so I can pop up in there behind the layout and do some track cleaning if I need to.)

Title: Re: Hogwarts - A compact, folding layout
Post by: AlexanderJesse on January 11, 2019, 01:49:08 PM
I was thinking about a box because of the dust-protection that it would give.

About the lighting... Maybe a mix might be the way to go...

For detail work cold white might be better
For running the layout warm white is preferrably because it is more pleasing for the eyes.
For special photographs a programmable RGB might be interesting as it would allow you the create special effects

But I must confess: I have no experience with the light-aspects for layouts. These are just the thoughts I would consider for a layout.