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B-Train Small Layout #2


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Slow going.   I seem to make a mountain out of every mole hill, over complicating everything...


Anyway, progress is being made.  Shown is the current state of play on my transportation box.



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Wow, what took so long!


Transportation box is finally finished.  Not 100% happy with the hasps, they are not very strong, but for this purpose they will probably do.


A couple of photos to show what all the fuss was about. 


Next up will be the extension...






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Nice work nick! Great crate for transport.


I've been working on the design a bunch of crates for the new jrm 3.0 layout with a similar design. We need to store 4-6 modules per crate so working on a rail system down the inside to slide modules in on. Also need to minimize space as need to fit them efficiently into hatchbacks between wheel wells. Quite a puzzle...



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I will take a close up of how I hold the layout in the box, I just use thin strips of wood a touch taller than the side molding wood on the layout, so it holds the layout in place, even if tipped upside down. Yes, I tested it...


The 1x2's on end on the top and bottom of the box allow it to slide on the floor and will also hold additional box on top of a layout I am considering of a similar size (different country, scale and gauge!).





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Slides are very smart! We did mini ones on our 2.0 module boxes and they worked great to slide easily in and out of the odd bottoms of hatchbacks, SUVs and vans!


All our modules are rectangles so the can fit snug in racks with some little spacer bits like you are using.


Our trick will be to keep the case work to a minimum to fit multiple boxes in the vehicles and so a rack system with minimal waste that we can adjust if needed.



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Have been busy lately with downsizing and preparing for a potential relocation from the midwest to the Savannah, Georgia area, which may happen soon and which has been my main focus of attention recently.


Restarting work on this layout ready for a show in 3 weeks time.  Mark 1 and 2 versions of the extension piece/control panel haven't worked out, and I have decided that in order to address the key issue, a change of approach is required. 


My first 2 attempts incorporated a control panel into the rear of the extension module.  While fine for display purposes when operated from the rear of the layout, when used at home the layout had to be set up with room for access to the rear which became something of an issue.  So, mark 3 of my design now includes a base section housing the control panel which can face forward or backward to allow operation at shows or home.  The scenic section will be separate and will sit on top of the control base.  Of course, this adds complexity to design and build, but then that seems to be the story of my life so I shouldn't expect anything different.


First thing being worked on is the "heart" of my control module.  I am building a box to house all controllers and this will then be surrounded by appropriate structure to support the scenic section on top.  The box will allow for control panel face to be removed for access to controllers which shall be directly mounted to the panel face.  I am using Medvend panel mount controllers for light weight and simplicity.  I am hoping a single small mains 9v transformer will be sufficient to power the whole layout.  Time will tell!  Another option I am going to look into is battery power.  Using an external battery pack designed for charging IPads etc. will be trialed to determine duration of operation on a single charge.  If this is successful, in theory I could operate with a couple of these battery packs and therefore not need to be located near a power outlet during shows.


Anyway, I will post photos of this latest activity through to completion.



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On 9/9/2017 at 10:48 AM, velotrain said:

Nick - thought you'd like the density and complexity of this.  I tried to find some other views without success, although perhaps one of the Japan-based members is familiar with it.




Not sure which layout you meant, but if it is the little one with 2 levels and the bridge on the upper level in the middle, yes I do like it, and have several photos of it I have managed to find by various means.  I even designed and started building my own version until I decided I wanted more than 2 trains running in that size space.





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Progress made over this weekend, though heavily sidetracked by obsessively watching the weather channel coverage of hurricane Irma since my daughter lives in Orlando. 


Following are shots of my control module base build.  6 medvend controllers in a gatorfoam box.  The scenic module will sit on top of this control module.  The holes on either side have duplicate connectors to allow this module to be connected facing forwards or backwards depending whether the layout is being operated at a show (backwards facing) or at home (forward facing).  The hole on top allows access for maintenance (the front panel can also be removed by undoing 8 screws) as well as for connecting power to the scenic module that will sit on top.


Only things to complete on this are adding the top support edging pieces (no photos of it, but the first strips are in place, just waiting to glue another piece on top all way around), the lower edge trim (wood l channel as on the main layout), edge trim (silver l channel as on the main layout) and install connectors on the other side wires.


Everything has been tested and apart from a bad connector on the layout side that had to be replaced, everything works as it should.


Photos of progress below.















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Control base is essentially finished minus a couple of trim pieces.  Not going to worry about that this minute, will get done if I have time prior to the show.


Focus has now turned to the scenic upper section of the extension.  Basic box has been built and landforms/track base carried over from Mark 1 attempt.  I have made some bridge piers out of 1x2 and small square wood dowels.  I just painted these in a thick coat of primer which I will then sand before applying concrete paint to and weathering prior to  installation.


Goal for today is to complete landform installation, install completed bridge piers and add in the track base.  This will all be glued in and left to sit for a few days as I go for a 4 day vacation...  Perfect timing.  When I get back I have 3 evenings to get things into show ready condition, so unlikely to be finished but will be most of the way there.


Photos to follow later.



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Here are photos of most of the work done today.  Things are now on hold for a couple of days as I take a quick trip out of town.


Basic scenic base is done, doesn't look great but will all be covered so not very important to make this any prettier.  Main thing is track is down and glued, basics of the scenic section is complete and the control base has had lower trim added.  It will take a while for glue around the base of the bridge piers to dry so probably a good place to leave things for now. 


More in a few days.









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Here is the current state of my extension module.  Still more work required but starting to finish up the scenic base, after which I will start adding ground cover, stream bed and water, etc.



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Current status of extension module.







I repainted the bridge since the plastic had some strange surface to it which bothered me.  I will weather the bridge girders later.  Track and ballast has been weathered now.  I also added the road.


If you look carefully you will see some shiny areas and some pink foam peeking through the rock faces in some small spots.  These and joins will be hidden by vegetation.


As I look at these photos I can't help but feel this could actually be a pretty interesting micro layout if the other end of the loop was included...  Maybe I will do that as an alternative layout one day???  If I added curves to the other end it would bring the footprint up to about 18x12".  I must not get more ideas.....



Edited by nickhp
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The effects are quite good.  I need to diffuse the light to avoid shadows and underexpose a bit further to give a better atmosphere, but I love rain and so see myself using this quite a bit...




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And just to show how simple the set up is, here is the module with a piece of $2 hobby lobby project board behind it as my sky backdrop.  Photos taken with a little Olympus camera.


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The lights and rain effect were added on my iphone using an app called "Werble".  I bought the weather and light add-ons for $1 each.  The sucky thing is that you have to crop the photos quite a bit, they are limited to pretty small size output, and the file sizes are huge.  A 530x530 animated .gif file is 9mb!


More of an instagram type usage but thought I would post here anyway.  Had to reduce the dimensions and run an optomizer to reduce the files enough to post here within the 4mb file size limit...





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