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Author Topic: expanded styrofoam  (Read 1166 times)

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Offline johnsom

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expanded styrofoam
« on: November 02, 2012, 06:50:31 PM »
I have been given some large sheets of 70mm expanded styrofoam - I know that some Z scale layouts have used this as baseboards  - has anyone any experience of using this in N scale ??? (Rather than waste it I suppose can always put it in the loft !!)

Offline silly moo

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 09:11:30 PM »
I have used styrofoam with the baseboard edges protected by a light wooden frame for a 00 layout and will use it for my next n gauge layout. The scenery was done using more styrofoam carved using a surform shaver. This can be quite messy  :)  the glue used for styrofoam needs to be water based.

The only problem I could foresee is installing point motors. The main advantage was the light weight of the baseboards, I could for instance, easily flip them over to shake off any excess scenery material.

I have long believed that most baseboards are over engineered especially if they are for home use. They do need to be robust if they are to be flung into the back of a van but if handled with reasonable care styrofoam works well.

Regards

Veronica.


Offline Pengi

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 09:17:49 PM »
I use 50mm Spaceboard (extruded polystyrene) as my baseboard. I originally used it for OO, scraped off the layout and then built another OO before scraping it off again for my N layout. I have six Spaceboards glued together lengthways and it is robust enough for me.

I had fitted point motors when I did OO but this time I am using Kato so they are not a problem. Cocktail sticks are very useful for aligning the boards. I've found Copydex is the quickest drying glue but PVA will eventually dry out.
Just one Pendolino, give it to me, a beautiful train, from Italy

Offline barkfast

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2012, 12:07:40 AM »
I had originally looked at using extruded foam exclusively for baseboards - but as Veronica mentioned underboard point motors were any issue. My original intent was to carve out a hole in the foam for the solinoid motor to sit in, but in the event of overheating, considered it to be too much of a fire hazard.

I since used a hybrid approach using open frame style board, with the track sitting on conventional ply and scenery sitting on plaster covered foam. I found this to work quite well. Because I used a frame to provide support, I probably didnt need to cover the foam with plaster - painted and covered with sceneric material would have been more than sufficient.. I'll notch it up to a lesson learnt.

My mate has a On30 layout with a large section sitting on foam. His solution was to have long linkages between the point and the motor - with the motor attached to a timber frame below the foam.

The other use of foam as a baseboard is to wrap the entire piece of foam in plaster soaked bandages (mod roc, etc) to give the whole substructure rigidity.

Offline silly moo

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2012, 02:17:59 PM »
As far as scenery is concerned I found that a covering of plaster was not really needed, I did use plaster to fill in gaps but otherwise a coat of water based paint and flock applied with white glue seems to be robust enough.

 :NGaugeForum:

Offline johnsom

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2012, 03:33:16 PM »
Many Thanks everyone - I am using Kato track so no problem with points wiring. :thankyousign:

Offline E Pinniger

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 08:17:11 PM »
I've used expanded polystyrene for scenery modelling on my N gauge and (very small) OO gauge layouts. The latter has track laid on top of the foam - in the latter case I glued a layer of thin plywood on top of the foam to hold the track pins. I found it was virtually impossible to pin the track or point levers firmly in place without this, as neither the foam or the cork underlay grip the pins sufficiently. But if you're using track with integral plastic "ballast", like Kato, you'd probably be OK with just gluing the track onto the foam.

I covered all my foam scenery (except where it was already covered with plywood!) with a thin layer of Polyfilla. I'd recommend doing this for areas that are going to be painted to represent exposed rock/soil/sand etc. to hide the texture of the foam - but it's probably not essential for areas that will be covered in scatter or hidden under buildings. It does make the scenic surface harder and less vulnerable to damage, though!

PVA glue works very well for gluing foam, whether to itself or to wood. For large blocks of foam, I used a few pieces of double-sided sticky tape to hold the foam in place on the baseboard, then painted diluted PVA along the edges.

Offline johnsom

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Re: expanded styrofoam
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 07:01:41 PM »
I think Veronica is right re over-engineered baseboards  - my current baseboard is 9feet x 32inches and is made of surplus 4" floorboards !! on a frame !!
Elvinleys Black Sheep Lane is a good example of what can be done with a lightweight construction - again - many thanks for help and tips especially regarding foam scenic construction.

 

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