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Author Topic: Baseboard questions  (Read 457 times)

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Offline Thebaz

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Baseboard questions
« on: September 11, 2019, 01:09:05 PM »
Aye up

As a first-timer I'm trying to get a basic model up-and-running. I've bought a few trains and now need to get some track and a controller! I've picked up lots of useful tips reading this and other forums; one of which is how to stop my trains from falling to the floor - which is something that had previously never crossed my mind :goggleeyes:! So my thoughts have turned straight away to baseboards with a bit of edging. I didn't realise quite how much was involved in just getting started! I've seen a lot of talk about using insulation board due to its light weight and durability, so I'm thinking this is probably the way to go for an initial 2m x 1m (ish layout). The aim would be to be able to put it on the dining table (for both work and "play") but for it to be split lengthways so I could get it through the lot hatch out of the way if needed. So I have some questions..

Some questions: :D
Would the 25m thick insul board board be too lightweight? Should I go for the 50mm board instead?
Suggestions where to buy this stuff cheaply (
As an alternative have people tried styrofoam? Or is that too destructible?
What type of ply is the best? and what thickness would be fine for the edging?
Should I edge with ply between the lengthwise split (in essence creating two separate 2mx 0.5m boards? My initial though would be to do this as it would prevent the foam from getting damaged an make for a much more sturdy join. If so what would be a good way of getting a tight join between the boards?
Any tips for track good track joinage at the split?
Should I cork the top of the insul board as well or is that overkill (I'm thinking noise reduction), or maybe just use cork for raised track shoulders?

I'm sure I've forgotten something.. anyway any advice greatly appreciated

K



Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 01:30:10 PM »
You'll get loads of differing opinions and recommendations on this one!   

Personally I wouldn't use "insulation board", the stuff I've encountered that goes by that general description is pretty fluffy stuff and doesn't take pins securely.   

I've not played with styrofoam board etc., I think some on here have? 

I'm a bit traditional in my approach, I use 9mm ply for the baseboard surfaces - and actually also for the sides as as I make my baseboards as open "boxes" and only use the ply for the track bed and under buildings etc. The rest is left open so tha scenery can go below the track height as well as above, and later filled in with polystyrene to form the contours etc.. I have a pet hate of totally covered flat top boards except where necessary to support the scene, but I will admit they are easiest when starting out. The good old traditional board with 2x1 or 3x1 timber framing has worked fine for many people starting out.

As for providing an edge, well I would argue that a better approach is NOT to have the track laid right on the edges in the first place!  Try and introduce a little height to the scenery round the edge (even if only a couple of cm or so) to make it less easy for something to fly right off the edge.  You could also consider putting perspex or similar clear sheet around the edge, but it does tend to affect the view of the trains!

This is what I mean about constructing each board from ply sides as an open "box":


Oh, if if you're planning on your layout having two or more boards which join together and which have tracks across the joins, it's vital to ensure that the boards align accurately and securely. For alignment I use Pattern Makers' dowels like these, set into the ends of the boards:



« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 01:41:40 PM by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Philip.

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2019, 02:02:32 PM »
Another vote for 9mm ply, cheap as chips from your local builders merchant

Offline Thebaz

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2019, 02:32:58 PM »
I really like the idea of being able to put scenery below track level but I feel that is something best left for when I have more experience and build something a bit more permanent, especially if made from ply. Then again I could maybe manage this kind of thing by contouring styro and elevating the track. He says.

Offline The Q

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2019, 05:23:45 PM »
I use 50mm extruded polystyrene, this is stiffer and more solid than the  expanded  white bubbly stuff...
You need at least 50mm  without digging land scape into it. So some of my boards are 50+50 with the top one carved..

If you are  using this method then only 5mm cheap  ply is needed  as it's only protecting the edges. This might have  to be doubled at the ends depending on your joining / alignment method.  1inch square battens are let into the foam corners to screw as well as glue the ply into.  Oh use a " just like nails" type non solvent adhesive..  I use the cheap screwfix type..

My favourite connection method is  to use adjustable latches.  Just type that into amazon you'll see them. Even if you don't buy them from there..
Then for alignment dowels as above..
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 05:28:44 PM by The Q »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2019, 08:22:55 PM »
A great source for all things baseboard and good service from experience. Check out their 'Baseboard fittings' for dowels and latches etc.......

https://www.stationroadbaseboards.co.uk

You could also consider putting perspex or similar clear sheet around the edge, but it does tend to affect the view of the trains!


Not sure I agree with that. Check out my 'temporary' edging using a product called 'Liteglaze' but it's the 2nd pass of the class 26 that shows best.

Dapol class 26 on Kimbolted by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr


Offline PostModN66

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 09:32:14 PM »
Hi Thebaz

There are two main schools of thought for lightweight baseboards, the foam approach as you have described and the flush door approach.  Both have one main disadvantage, that it is more difficult to mount point motors as you can’t just fix them under the board.  If you can get round this they have loads of advantages; stiffer, lighter and quicker to build than conventional boards.

Ways round the point motors issue:

Use “wire in tube”
Use Kato track with built in motors
Surface mount the motors

My approach is the Flush door approach (used on both Deansmoor and Lofthole, see links below.) As it happens the 78” by 30” of a typical door is not so far away from your proposed size of 2m x 1m.

Lofthole is so called because the size allows it to be shoved up my Lofthole!

And yes, you can create track raised above scenery by using an extra layer of foam, on top of either type of board ( this is approximately what I have done on Deansmoor).

Hope this is helpful!

Cheers Jon 😀
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 09:41:34 PM »

You could also consider putting perspex or similar clear sheet around the edge, but it does tend to affect the view of the trains!


Not sure I agree with that. Check out my 'temporary' edging using a product called 'Liteglaze' but it's the 2nd pass of the class 26 that shows best.

Dapol class 26 on Kimbolted by Mick Hollyoake, on Flickr

Nah, I'm afraid that would really irritate me - the obvious line at the cut edge plus all the reflections. 

I've only ever used it in one place, where the "water" of my harbour meets the edge of the baseboard, to keep little fingers off the surface at shows, and then only an inch or so high so as not to obstruct the view of the trains.



Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 10:04:37 PM »
Any relation?

David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.
If a friend seems distant, catch up with him.

Offline Merrylee

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 11:12:28 PM »
If going down the door route, Howdens do 2040 x 526 flush lightweight plywood doors.
Joined on the length will give you 2040 x 1052, slightly bigger than your 2000 x 1000.
They also do 1980 x 458, 532, 610 so plenty sizes to play around with.

Ron

Offline The Q

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2019, 07:48:23 AM »
Providing there are only a couple of them in a sheet of foam, then you can excavate a 4 inch square hole into the bottom sheet of foam, glue a ply square beneath the point and mount the point motor as Normal under the point.
 I believe this is the method used by Gorden Gravett..

My own preference is, to mount the point motors on the back of the layout (front if at home not exhibited)  and use wire and tube to the point, it's easy enough to carve a slot for the wire through the foam...

 It keeps most of the wiring on the back , no more grovelling underneath for repairs.., a couple of full width battons above and below the point motors act as a channel for the wiring and motor protection.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 07:56:29 AM by The Q »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2019, 10:18:15 AM »
Any relation?



I bet they think they're the bees knees. Worst case of hives I've ever seen :-X

Offline silly moo

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2019, 10:30:08 AM »
Like The Q, I use styrofoam for baseboards. There are both advantages and disadvantages. I am presently building a layout that fits onto a plastic garden table. I think you do need something rigid such as a table for foam layouts to rest on.

The main advantage from my point of view is avoiding carpentry which I don't have the tools or skills for and the portability and lightweight nature of foam layouts. I can easily lift the whole layout up, move it out of the way and even turn it upside down for wiring.

I am building up quite complicated scenery using more styrofoam and lightweight filler. The foam is easy if a bit messy to shape but it is dry mess as opposed to wet mess. I have attached track using Woodland Scenics track underlay. My points will be wire in tube operated.

Woodland Scenics do a whole styrofoam based layout system https://youtu.be/FclA5ABnwPA you don't need to make use of styrofoam to that extent but it does show it can work well for smaller layouts.

Wiring that travels through styrofoam needs to be insulated because the styrofoam (apparently) reacts with the coating of the wires and degrades it, I've yet to come across this happening but feed my wiring through plastic straws as a precaution.

Cutting styrofoam with a wire cutter causes toxic fumes so you need to wear a mask and work in a well ventilated area. I can take my layout outside into the garden if needs be.

I think that styrofoam can be used very successfully as a baseboard for smaller layouts but once you start building a large layout some sort of wooden framework is needed.

 :NGaugersRule:


Offline The Q

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2019, 10:49:19 AM »
 My home layout which isn't being worked on all boards are effectively on worktops, with cupboards and shelves beneath.
Some have used struts across the bottom of the foam boards, but I'm not sure it's needed. All my scenery is built up from the bottom board, using more foam boards,  / pieces of,  if required the track base is not at baseboard level but above it, to get a down slope from the track.

If filing a extruded foam board wear a mask, the dust it puts out is not for breathing in.. If you are getting bubbles not dust, then it's the wrong type of foam for a baseboard.

I've experience of the mess putting polystyrene in contact with cables can cause. We unpacked a cable box that had spent ten years in Saudi in a un-airconditioned hanger.. the peanut poly bubbles had melted onto the cable surfaces what a mess..
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 10:54:52 AM by The Q »

Offline Thebaz

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Re: Baseboard questions
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2019, 09:28:31 PM »
Great replies so far - I've learned a lot already and have some good ideas how to proceed. There's so much more to think about than I ever thought, especially making the thing future-proof. At the start it will be a simple manual railway but I will definitely have to look into mounting point motors and wiring. Will also be looking to DCC in the future too.
 

 

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