Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Kiran

Garage layout

Recommended Posts

Kiran

I took a bit of a hiatus because I was buying a house, etc. But I have been acquiring trains. I now have a house with a 2 car tandem garage (12 ft x 45ft). No cars for this blind couple and so this will be used for my N Gage layout. I still don't have a plan for a full layout but I would like to start with some modules.

 

I have been so far using 4ft x 8ft pink foam on 2 long tables. But I am looking to find something that is easy to assemble and can be higher. I am reasonably tall 6"2 and so would like to have the layout at a comfortable height.

 

There are some blind carpenters but yours truly isn't one of them. So are there other options for stands that I can use to hold my modules? I can probably ask for help from folks but I would like to minimize that as much as possible.

 

You folks have given me fantastic suggestions in the past and I am ever grateful for that. I would like to get into a more semi-permanent layout now and I am all excited...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,
 

Congrats on the house! Wow, double wallet suck a house and trains! Both can be insidious!

 

sorry, don’t know of something more off the shelf for Your modules. There are some companies with laser cut systems to make layouts and modules to your specs. But this can get expensive. A local carpenter may be a solution and using something off the shelf like ikea cabinets or shelving could be a solution.

 

what height are you thinking? What size and shape a layout are you thinking. 
 

if you do find a local carpenter I’m happy to talk to them about approaches to simple fabrications that have worked well in the past for layout of the club and club members I’ve worked on.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
keiichi77

I mounted my layout high enough that the lid on my washer (which is under the layout) opens fully. It has the bonus of being about neck height so its a ground level view, which I am really starting to enjoy. My layout isn't deep, 18 inches maximum so it is very easy to work on.  Simple large L brackets from the hardware store can be used to mount it to the wall with a plywood top.  For terrain I use foam insulation sheets for different elevations.  N scale is much more forgiving with simple bench work then HO scale, I would never get away with this style of construction in HO. Here is an old yet still current picture of my simple benchwork...lol   I have to start working on my home layout again.

 

IMG_4640.thumb.JPG.0f10a59e551110b2554aedb21953ed0d.JPG

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran
On 12/4/2019 at 11:08 PM, cteno4 said:

Kiran,
 

Congrats on the house! Wow, double wallet suck a house and trains! Both can be insidious!

 

sorry, don’t know of something more off the shelf for Your modules. There are some companies with laser cut systems to make layouts and modules to your specs. But this can get expensive. A local carpenter may be a solution and using something off the shelf like ikea cabinets or shelving could be a solution.

 

what height are you thinking? What size and shape a layout are you thinking. 
 

if you do find a local carpenter I’m happy to talk to them about approaches to simple fabrications that have worked well in the past for layout of the club and club members I’ve worked on.

 

cheers,

 

jeff

Hi Jeff,

 

Height: I am thinking around 4ft. Might be a comfortable height to work on the layout.

 

Layout: Don't have anything specific yet. But some rough thoughts. I will attach pictures of the space soon. I could use one end of the narrower side (about 12 feet). I am thinking I could make this a staging yard. I can realistically use about 35 feet of one of the longer sides. That will give me a good stretch for the shinkansens and I can swap modules. The layout can then curve back and come back towards the staging yard. The other longer side has a door in the middle and so I can only use part of that wall. So something that resembles a right triangle.

 

I should be able to find a carpenter. I have to decide how wide and deep the modules should be. Does anyone use T-Track specs? I am thinking that since a lot of my track is Kato, I could possibly use those.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,

 

ok at 48” I would definitely suggest it be modular so you can pull modules down to work on them at a lower height. At 48” you can reach in to work on things like 18” to 24” or so comfortably for short periods as you will be working with your arms raised out in front of you.

 

there are modular electrical connectors you can use to connect power busses up between modules.

 

i would think sectional layout rather than a very set modular layout. Sectional is where you plan out a layout to fit your space and layout ideas, then slice it into modular sections where it works well in the track plan. This gives you the best of both worlds. The problem with a uniform modular system like Ttrak for a home layout is it really puts you into a pretty plain roundy roundy design. It does let you go out and play with others if you want though.

 

standard Ttrak makes loops that are 30” wide by however long you want. You can make modules full depth so that there is not open area in the middle of the loop to have scenery all the way across. You also can make S curve modules that let you run the two tracks to the back side of the modules to basically flip the straight modules around with the big scene area on the front and tracks at the back to make it not a total oval loop. You can also make 90 inside and outside corners to make L or T shaped.

 

at 48” high i would suggest you tie it into the walls for stability. You could do a frame system tied into the walls the modules just sit on and here the wiring cable busses live. You can do it free standing away from the wall but at 48” high the legs will need to be strong and well braced as you will get more wrack at that height.

 

if you don’t think you have a great plan in mind I would suggest you set up what tables you have in the space with the track you have to play with ideas.

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
toc36

Kiran,

 

A few questions.....

 

1.  Do you plan on building a free standing or against the wall.  You easily have a 30" reach, so you have the option of having 5' wide islands.

2.  How many lines do you want to have?  Is DCC in your plans?

3.  Do you want to walk around your layout?  If you build a 40'x5' island, 60 laps is a mile!

 

You might want to consider using HDX shelf kits ( https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-72-in-H-x-36-in-W-x-24-in-D-5-Shelf-Plastic-Ventilated-Storage-Shelving-Unit-128974/100006678 ).  Kleins / ModelTrainStuff used this as abase for their store layouts.  They used electrical ties to anchor / stabilize the platform.

 

Best wishes.  you have a problem we all wish we had!!!

 

Toc

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran
On 12/10/2019 at 4:23 PM, toc36 said:

Kiran,

 

A few questions.....

 

1.  Do you plan on building a free standing or against the wall.  You easily have a 30" reach, so you have the option of having 5' wide islands.

2.  How many lines do you want to have?  Is DCC in your plans?

3.  Do you want to walk around your layout?  If you build a 40'x5' island, 60 laps is a mile!

 

You might want to consider using HDX shelf kits ( https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-72-in-H-x-36-in-W-x-24-in-D-5-Shelf-Plastic-Ventilated-Storage-Shelving-Unit-128974/100006678 ).  Kleins / ModelTrainStuff used this as abase for their store layouts.  They used electrical ties to anchor / stabilize the platform.

 

Best wishes.  you have a problem we all wish we had!!!

 

Toc

 

1. I prefer free standing as I can move them around if needed.

2. DCC only. All trains are now DCC. I am thinking a double track mainline with some sidings and a branch line somewhere.

3. I would like to be able to walk around.

 

That shelving unit is interesting. I will go check it out in Home Depot. If I can take off the top shelf, it might be at the right height. Otherwise 72" is probably too high.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,

 

those shelves just stack with legs between each shelf so you can take off levels as needed. They are wide enough a 24-30” wide module could sit on top with the shelf longways for easy access, but best to have some simple system to clamp the module to the top shelf. Nice thing is the holes in the shelves allow wires to pop down where needed. Could just sew some fabric up with Velcro to hide the shelves.

 

if you want wider modules you could do 38”+ wide modules like 4’ Long and use these shelves sideways at the module junctions. Wider like this up to like 48” is fine if you can get access from each side for working on things. Not as convenient to get to the shelves for storage. But using shelves for support will eliminate one of the biggest headaches on a structure like this, legs! They are a pain and can look pretty ugly easily. For something like your concept the ntrak leg system would work, but they tend to look ugly. Individually they are kind of flimsy, but when you clamp a series together and bend a corner they get pretty stable.
 

Good woodworker could then just make modules of reasonable size to move around if need (and transport if needed) that could rest on the shelves. Again happy to talk to your woodworker to give them some tips of how to design these.

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

I do like the idea of these shelves especially since I can also use them for storage. There is one challenge that I am trying to wrap my head around. If I have them in a triangle/rectangle, how can I reach the inside? I guess I have to unplug one of the modules/section to go in.

 

The other interesting thing with these particular shelves is that they are only available in 36" width. There appear to be choices for depth (18" or 24") but not for width. May not be a big deal. If I want to make an end loop with Unitrack double track curves, they will probably need that 36" anyway.

 

for the modules, I am thinking a wooden base and then a 1" rigid foam. I can do the scenery and lay the track on the foam. I guess the modules need some kind of side walls with holes for the wire ties or something. I don't have a wood worker Jeff but I will take up that offer to chat when I find someone.

 

What do folks think about using foam? I have tried the pink foam from home depot which seems pretty good https://www.homedepot.com/p/Project-Panels-FOAMULAR-1-in-x-2-ft-x-2-ft-R-5-Small-Projects-Rigid-Pink-Foam-Board-Insulation-Sheathing-PP1/203553730. But I also noticed that Woodland Scenics also do foam. I ordered a 1" foam from them as well. It does look sturdy but maybe not as dense as the pink foam above. https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/FOAMSH.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,

 

getting into the middle of a donut layout is always a challenge. Either have to leave a section with no shelves under it so you can duck under or you can make the hinged or lift out bridge section over the opening. Folks have these modules for big n trak loops and home layouts. You can pretty easily make a bridge section that has some pegs in each side to align tracks and hold things in place well. Little more work you can make it hinge out. Could make a simple cable stayed bridge to be dramatic as they are usually simple shaped and thick deck for the wood base. You cna put a pressure switch under each end of the bridge so power is cut to the approaching tracks when the bridge is out so no adam’s family scenes with trains plummeting to the cement floor!
 

alternative would be doing a big U layout. Take a look at what we made for Renato’s layout. It’s made in smaller sections so he can reconfigure it if he wants as well as easier to handle and transport sizes (don’t build a boat in a basement...). For his we just made two frames, each with 6 ikea screw on mental legs that the two sets of modules rest on and a connector module hangs between them to make a big U at 8’x10’

 


yep you can just do wooden frames for the sides and some cross pieces for support and to rest in your under support (ie a frame like Renato’s or shelves) and then have inset 1” extruded foam instead of a plywood top. Our clubs first show layout was a bunch of 2’x4’ modules just like this (made from 3/4” x 2” stock frame with 1” inset foam panels just pressure fit into place) and they held up great for like 6 years of abuse going to shows and some are still in use as vertical lumber racks in the shop to this day like 16 years later!

 

the thing that legs let you do is have your storage options on wheels so you can pull it out to get stuff rather than having to go under the layout for stuff. Also easier to get clear access under the layout if needed. Even just a piece of plywood with wheels on it to stack plastic storage bins on to pull out and shove under is really handy! The home despot shelves work as there are holes you can run  stuff thur, but if you want to be able to pull stuff off you don’t want to be running wiring thru the shelves or the modules will be attached to them!

 

bummer you are out in ca and I’m back here or we could have something whipped up fast! I think we spent maybe 15 hours making Renato’s layout. And we got fancy on his and put cherry veneer on all the edges to make it look pretty as in their red room and wanted his wife to think it looked like furniture!

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

I like the pink foam so far, and I know other users have recommended it. I will say that a train is noticeably louder, running on track sitting directly on foam, compared to my previous base which was double walled corrugated cardboard. 

Edited by Sheffie

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Yes the foam requires more cross bracing to stop it from vibrating and glueing it to the bracing. I had thought perhaps gluing some wood blocks here and there on the underside in the middle of open foam areas might help deaden noise some. But we usually ran the layout at shows which were loud to begin with so I never experimented with the old show layout.

 

also it helps once your track is fastened down to the foam as I think some of it is the track vibrating on top of the foam
 

Corrugated cardboard is probably the quietest thing you could run it on next to heavy fabric or indoor/out door carpeting (I saw someone do this as the ultimate in quiet sub roadbed material, also not as messy as homosote and such).

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

Jeff, how tall can you go with Ikea legs? I think I found this which can go up to 42" https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/gerton-leg-adjustable-chrome-plated-60261626/

Do you know Renato used these? Even the shelves might end up coming to that height anyway. &2" is too high and the gap between the shelves is 14.8". So I will have to take 2 of the top shelves to get it to around 44". I am leaning towards the shelves now as it would be easy for me to set up. One thing less for someone else to help!

 

The U-shaped layout is an option. But I will most likely explore the bridge. That will be pretty cool.

 

For the wiring, I am thinking I will have it part of the module in the underside. I can even put a power switch on the wooden frame.

 

What is a good way to fasten Unitrack to foam? Blue tack? There is quite a bit of gap under the Unitrack pieces. For my temporary layout at the apartment I was in before, I had the track on a Woodland scenics grass matt which was on a 4" foam board on a table. I was OK with the noise levels. Is it hard to make a square/rectangular home in foam for the power feeder wires? I know there are hot knife foam cutters but do they work for making a hole?

Share this post


Link to post
Sheffie

I just made a bunch of holes in foam board the other day. I used the standard blade on a Swiss Army knife. It goes straight down quietly and smoothly without much pressure. 

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,

 

nope we used the $4 28” legs and layout top was at about 36” as he didn’t want it too high.

 

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/adils-leg-black-70217973/

 

im sure there are some more like 40” screw on legs cheaper.

 

yes the shelves would be easier. Actually if you ditch the little feet you could end up using the extra shelves and legs and combine the units as needed. All the shelves and posts are the same. If you ditched the feet you could just put the shelves on some hunks of 2x4 to prop them up 1.5” If you wanted a little higher.

 

you can use zip ties to connect the shelf units together to make a very sturdy base.

 

luckily with dcc you can just use a single power buss for the dcc and even use that to throw points if you wish. Just use heavy plugs like powerpole connectors between your modules so you can take them apart easily. Just put a terminal strip near each end of the module to wire your connector wires onto and then internal buss line between the terminal blocks and feeders as needed from each terminal block to track locations.

 

easy to make holes with a drill. Hot wire cutter can cut depressions into the foam as needed. Noise will go down with tighter cross bracing grid and glueing the foam to it.
 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

I made a trip to Home Depot and got 4 of the tables. I think they could word with some modification. If I use 3 shelves, the top of the shelf is a little over 38" (a bit lower than what I wanted). If I use 4 shelves, it is 56" which is higher than what I am looking for. But I wonder if it is possible to cut the legs to get the height I want on the 4th shelf? Not sure how easy it is to cut these pipes. I will settle for 3 shelves and 38" for the time being.

 

Thinking about modules, what would be a good size to handle easily? Is 24" too deep for a double track main line? I guess this depends on the scenery, etc.

 

Considering I am planning to use Unitrack, should I keep the unijoiners like T-Track or just get rid of them?

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Play a while at the 38” and see if you like it.

 

the cheaper version of these shelves I have I think is a tiny bit bigger at the bottom of the columns that the top to orient them, but I down know where the taper starts. If the taper is just up at the small end then you should be able to chop off the lower end what you want.

 

pipes would be easy to cut. Hack saw would do it, just have to keep cuts square and consistent. Small miter box and hand saw would work and be handy for chopping off bits of wood needed. very safe, I started with one of these at age 4.
 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-14-5-in-Deluxe-Clamping-Miter-Box-with-14-in-Saw-20-600D/100034395

 

fancier

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Stanley-27-75-in-Adjustable-Angle-Clamping-Miter-Box-with-22-in-Saw-20-800/100197650

 

Power route would be a small power miter saw, but may not be wise with vision issues. They do have a blade guard and if taught properly it’s easy to learn how to check things well for fingers out of the way. With all power tools it’s learning the right procedures and following them to be safe.
 

on the depth of the modules it really depends on what scenery you want and your track plan. If you can get at it from both sides then you can have it even wider. Of course for your base structure the wider the better, especially the higher you go.

 

play some with the shelves you have (did you get the 24”?) and see how they work. Zip tying the shelf legs together on adjacent shelf units will also make it all stronger. 
 

play some!

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

I have the 24" shelves. I also have the 18" shevles try. I am finding that there is a slight height difference between 24" and 18" deep shelves. Not much but about 1/4". Don't think it will be a huge problem.

 

While I was unpacking my stuff from the house move, I found these T-track modules that I got from Master piece modules. http://www.masterpiecemodules.com/. I got them a while ago just to try. There is a the standard flat surface and another that is depressed.

 

If I want to use foam for my modules, would a flat surface be better or depressed? With the flat surface, I can just glue the foam to the wood and hope it sticks. But it might be easier to glue the foam and to cut any excess foam. With the depressed module, I am guessing I have to cut the foam exactly so that it goes into the depression. But then it might be more stable. Thoughts?

1-Just a plane module.jpeg

2-Module with 1 inche inset.jpeg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Kiran,

 

some simple shims will fix those issues. Floor will probably have some slant to it as well so overall leveling can get done easily.

 

on the Ttrak modules the flat one is at the usual 2.75” so you want the tracks flush on that as if you add an inch your module will now be 3.75” tall and may be too tall for playing with others (most get together layouts are running at about 3.5” high)

 

the depression module is designed to add foam into the depression area to carve a scene down into the depression.

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post
toc36

"I have the 24" shelves. I also have the 18" shevles try. I am finding that there is a slight height difference between 24" and 18" deep shelves. Not much but about 1/4". Don't think it will be a huge problem."

 

The shelves should be the same height.  You might want to pound down the corners.  

 

You can trim the legs if you want to get to a specific height.  It can get messy due to static electricity.  Also, if you have storage bins, be sure you measure before you cut.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

I found this archived thread about a station that can accommodate a 16 car shinkansen. I am thinking if the station can be can be made modular. While I don't want to use up 3 meters of my layout for a permanent 16 car station, it might be cool to have a couple of extra modules to extend a smaller station. I don't want to get into viaduct stations yet. So my station will be on the ground. I see that the Kato platforms are all 248mm (at lest the moddle sections anyway). So this should be possible if I also get the track lengths right. Just pondering. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

A quick update on the progress. A fellow forum member Paul was here this afternoon to checkout the garage and help with some of my trains. We also measured out some sizes for a 90 degree curve module and some straights. I am still leaning towards a right angle triangle for my layout. I am thinking of using 381-414 double track for the 90 degree curve and a 2ft x 2ft module for that. That will give me a chance for me to add

S62/S124 + C414-381 22.5 degree + C414-381 45degree + C414-381 22.5 degree + S62/124

 

And also leave some space for scenery.

 

For the straight modules, I am thinking slightly bigger. A module that can take up to 930mm straight track and 610mm (2 ft) deep. I can builder deeper modules for stations (if required).

 

I still have to figure out the angles for the other 2 sides of the triangle. I will have someone draw this out for you all folks so you can follow along.

 

I have to figure out wiring still.

Edited by Kiran
Putting the correct text.

Share this post


Link to post
Kiran

I was looking at the T-track standard http://www.t-trak.org/standards.html

 

It suggests a module length of 308mm for a track length of 310mm. I am guessing this is to accomodate some weirdness with unijoiners? So if I want a track length of 930mm, should I make the module 928mm? Does this actually leave a gap of 2mm between the modules?

Share this post


Link to post
Martijn Meerts

I think the difference in length of the track compared to the module base is just to have a certain amount of play, and it does make it easier to connect everything. If your module base would be exaclty 310mm, and you set up modules on an uneven service, you already have a good change of modules not fitting together.

 

For a 930mm module, you'd go with a 928mm base yes.

Share this post


Link to post
cteno4

Yes with modular you always want that 1mm play as not sure if folks are dead on in their module and track alignments. Wiggle room.

 

if you are doing your own sectional layout then you just connect up all your modules, lay your track down on the modules and attach it to the modules. Since they are only joining up one way you can have modules with no gap. You can replace a module with an alternate as long as it’s exactly the same size, just pop in the new blank module and lay your track and attach.

 

if you plan to be able to move modules around the layout a lot then put in the 0.5-1mm overhang to be safe. You can always make jittlemgap filler pieces or overhand scenery strips that fuse scenery all together.

 

triangle layout will be a bit of planning as you are either 45/45 or 60/30 on most curves. Also just a bit more complex angled construction on the corner modules but that’s not difficult if you get a decent wood worker to make them.

 

jeff

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...