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Sheffie

Looking for a ground board or mat, ~5mm thick

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Sheffie

In order to build things like a container yard, and maintenance areas, I really want to find a material that I can put on the base board next to the track, paint it, and perhaps add decals like 1mm road marking tape.

 

I'm looking for the following:

  • Thickness roughly 5mm, or the height of the ballast in Kato Uni-track. This is so that when I put the material next to the track, it lines up perfectly.
  • Easy enough to cut. I'd like to be able to slice through this material bot just at 90º but also 45º angles, so that it can butt against the edge of Unitrack ballast.
  • Paintable. I want to be able to paint this with acrylic paints to get a finish that resembles concrete, tarmac, or asphalt.
  • Non-biodegradeable. I don't want something that's going to age badly in a real world environment with moisture in the air, etc.
  • Not too squishy. I've had bad experiences in the past with corrugated cardboard. I don't want things that will permanently dent or take damage in a light accident.

 

I don't really mind...

  • what colour it is
  • how expensive it is, within reason
  • whether it's rigid or flexible

 

Does anyone have recommendations for this?

 

Edited by Sheffie

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railsquid

I swear by Tamiya Foamboard: https://www.amazon.com/FOAM-BOARD-5mm-2pcs-Tamiya/dp/B002DR3H8A

 

Also available in 3mm, 2mm and 1mm thicknesses.

 

I use it for all my roads and other flat surfaces representing tarmac. Surface is lightly textures, so even a simple application of grey acrylic paint makes it look quite plausible.

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cteno4

Sheffie,

 

Foamcore is what you are looking for. It’s 3/16” and goes to the height of the track spike heads. It cuts easily with a matte knife or matte cutter. It’s in most craft stores and art supply stores, black or white (I usually like to use the black). 20x30” sheet about $5. Foamcore is paper outer surfaces and extruded styrene core. Unfortunately painting the paper surface can cause warping.

 

But the solution is to top it with 020 styrene. Over to the side of the rail just on top of the spike heads and a tad below the railhead. 020” styrene is like $15 for a 4x8 sheet, call around to your local plastics supply place or sign making shop. Cuts easily with a hobby knife or even sharp scissors. You can paint with spray lacquers or acrylics as you like.

 

there are some more exotic materials you could use in place of foamcore like Syntra, but they get expensive. You could also use 2 layers of corrugated cardboard or 3 ply corrugated cardboard.

 

search ebay for “nail tape” for 0.5-1mm pin tape for road markings.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Cat
7 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

But the solution is to top it with 020 styrene. Over to the side of the rail just on top of the spike heads and a tad below the railhead. 020” styrene is like $15 for a 4x8 sheet, call around to your local plastics supply place or sign making shop. Cuts easily with a hobby knife or even sharp scissors. You can paint with spray lacquers or acrylics as you like.


I've picked up some good sized sheets of styrene at Michael's craft store, I think I found it in with the big poster boards.  With the weekly 40-50% off coupon, it's cheap.

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Sheffie

I'm a little bit nervous about getting the height just right. I want the sleepers and rails to be above the road surface. I *think* it's exactly 5mm. But it's not an easy thing to measure. It certainly doesn't look like any sane fraction of an inch.

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railsquid

5mm sounds about right, I can check later against some Kato track.  Dunno why you'd expect it to match some fraction of an inch though,

 

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katoftw

1mm styrene sheets. Then build up in layers.

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Tony Galiani

Sorry for the delayed response - busy music weekend.

 

One technique I used was to lay cork roadbed next to the Unitrack.  If you place the beveled section upside down, it mates pretty well with the Unitrack.  Then I used Strathmore board or Bristol board to build up to track level.  It is pretty sturdy and does not compress and is relatively easy to cut and paint.

 

If you want to experiment inexpensively, you can go to the Scrap Exchange in Durham as they have all types of scrap pieces available for very little cost.  Foamcore board, balsa wood offcuts, sign board offcuts and so on.  Last time I was there I purchased four or five different types of material for less than US$2.00 which can't be beat.

 

It can be hit or miss but I usually find some stuff I can use.  (BTW - it is in the original Scrap Exchange building, not the Scrap Exchange Thrift Shop across the parking lot.  Then down the road to Foster's for coffee and cake!

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

 

 

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cteno4

Oh man do I wish we had a scrap exchange here in dc! One of the large plastics suppliers in the area here use to have a large scrap selection as they also did fabrication. It was wonderful as all a set per pound price. The front room had a 30’ Long set of 2 vertical shelves full of plastic scraps. For $10 you could walk out door with an arm full of misc sized pieces of all sorts of plastics. Sadly they stopped it as it recycling prices for it, while even small, beat out the staff time and paperwork costs needed to sell it. 
 

even earlier when this supplier was located in town (they moved out to a warehouse farm in the burbs 7 or 8 years back) they use to let me paw thru the few 55 gallon drums of small scrap they were tossing. New space you were no longer allowed near anything anymore. Old one was good and funky and to get to the sales desk you had to go thru the shop and got to see all the fun things they were building for clients.

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

Jeff - maybe there is something similar under a different name.  I found  SCRAP in Baltimore - https://baltimore.scrapcreativereuse.org/ - which seems to be pretty much the same thing.  I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't similar shops around the country.  Not sure if this idea has taken off elsewhere in the world.

 

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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cteno4

Yep there are. There’s one down in dc, but it’s a bit of a schlep and doesn’t look like it’s got stuff I usually use, but I plan to check it out if I need to head down to that corner of dc. May try the one in Baltimore, it is on the way to a friend’s house. Maybe next annual meeting of the club we should organize a swap meet of scraps and extra train stuff...

 

jeff

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