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Modular Station Project


gavino200

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gavino200

The goal is to build a station that's somewhat modular. Two reasons. I want to be able to remove individual parts of it for detailing and cleaning from time to time, without having to unwire and dismantle the whole thing. I also want to be able to dismantle the layout without destroying it, in case I have to move sometime. 

 

Basics of the station:

It's about 8 feet long (13 Shinkansen cars)

3 island platforms and 6 tracks

An expanded Kato suburban station. 

LEDs in station and platforms. 

I plan on adding more features later. Lights and sound. 

 

I think it's probably too long to put on one board, though I haven't ruled that out. Likely it will be on two or three boards that will fit together like T-track modules. 

 

I'm planning to use cteno4's idea to use magnets connected to wires as electrical connectors, so that the buildings and platforms can be simple lifted out to work on them without having to worry about wires. 

 

The whole piece should end up having one simple electrical connection for all the LEDs. 

 

Station house mostly assembled

 

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Length of the station.

 

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Track plan

 

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LED of the station in it's previous slightly smaller form.

 

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gavino200

Current state of affairs

 

Track plan, buildings, and temporary location. I still need to acquire some more platform islands. 

 

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Some tracks in place. I ordered some of those single concrete slab tracks. For the junctions and small pieces, I'll paint Kato wooden tie pieces. 

 

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This will be the biggest challenge. The station is already a mess of wires. 

 

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Pots, connectors and magnets. 

 

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The main concept will be to use these tiny magnets as electrical connectors, so that the platforms and buildings can be individually lifted out when needed. 

 

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JR 500系

Wow it certainly looks massive and beautiful! that length is great for running full 10-car consists where many of the commuter trains are consisted of (Keihin-Tohoku, Saikyo, Keiyo, Chuo, Keikyu, Odakyu etc.) and even 15-car suburban trains (Ueno-Tokyo line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Yokosuka Line etc.) 

 

Not sure if you need some one-sided platform sets but Ami has them on sale

 

Side note: I like how you sort out the tracks with those divider boxes, pretty neat and professional!

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gavino200
13 minutes ago, JR 500系 said:

Wow it certainly looks massive and beautiful! that length is great for running full 10-car consists where many of the commuter trains are consisted of (Keihin-Tohoku, Saikyo, Keiyo, Chuo, Keikyu, Odakyu etc.) and even 15-car suburban trains (Ueno-Tokyo line, Shonan-Shinjuku Line, Yokosuka Line etc.) 

 

Not sure if you need some one-sided platform sets but Ami has them on sale

 

Thanks. I may need them somewhere else on the layout. I'll have to think about that. But for this station I think the islands are enough. I should look at some prototypes before deciding that for sure. I'm short on island platforms, and the old ones that match what I already have are becoming hard to find.

 

13 minutes ago, JR 500系 said:

 

Side note: I like how you sort out the tracks with those divider boxes, pretty neat and professional!

 

It saves a lot of time. I used to just use a couple of big bins and it was a nightmare trying find the right pieces. Never again!

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gavino200

I had a go at soldering magnets as I still have no conductive glue. It's quite hard, and I ruined a few, but it's doable. Hard to say if they're equally magnetic after soldering. What's clear is that my magnets and, much, much, too small. I'm going to look for some that are quite a bit bigger. Probably about 6mm

 

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Yeah and then it’s a lot harder to locate magnets with wires attached,

 

you might look at much smaller gauge wire. 30g wire has no issue lighting up a dozen leds. The 30g wrapping is tiny and so easy to strip and manipulate. It’s also stranded and then tinned so holds up better than just stranded wire but is more flexible than solid core. Kind of the best of both worlds and tins super easily and heats up quickly. I never tried using soldering paste and then hitting it with the iron or rework gun. The nice thing is that the wires is fine and bends up easily to tuck inside stuff well in very small spaces without stressing anything.

 

but discovering today that you can just make a simple loop and squeeze over a mounted magnet has been great! Very simple solution as magnets are the first step then can add wires as needed easily.

 

heating can depolarize the magnet and it can also make its nickel silver costing pop off as well. 

 

cheers

 

jeff

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You just need the metal contacts to be positioned on the layout.

Copper tape.....

 

 

Inobu

 

 

Edited by inobu
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I played with copper tape way back but with some buildings (especially the little tomytec shops) sometime one contact doesn’t quite walkway make contact. Magnets are a twofer of locating and locking down the structure and gives a nice positive electrical connection. Magnets are so easy to place, just glue some on the base and then once dry just pop on one more magnet on each glued magnet, add a drop of glue on each, then just place and let dry. 
 

lots of the smaller buildings I want to keep in place on Ttrak modules or club layout while they are transported/stored. Bigger building can also be held in place with appropriate sized magnets but usually start to take up too much vertical space so best if they come off.

 

thing I also like about the magnet connection is it’s enough to hold the building in place spot on to where it lives and if brushed or bumped it stays in place, but if you really snag the building it just pops loose it doesn’t snap it off if screwed or glued down!

 

jeff

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If you are going to use magnets place them in the inside of the building. With the the tape on the bottom.

Solder the wire to a metal contact. The magnet will attract the metal to the copper tape. 

 

Inobu

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Way simpler to just do two magnets and good positive lock. Easy to just loop 30g wire around the magnets and done. This way you can also use very small and inexpensive magnets.

 

ive already used the magnets a lot in the past to just fix buildings in place for easy removal like this. It’s so simple, just glue 3 or 4 1x2mm magnets to the bottom of the structure and let glue set. Then pop a magnet onto each glued magnet. Put a tiny drop of thick ca Ie epoxy on each magnet and set in place how you want it. Done. Ultra simple.
 

Then just come back and attach wires to magnets later if you want to run power to the building. Again making a little loop on the end of the lead around a rod takes 2 seconds and just pressure fit it around the magnet and tack in place with a drop of ca or epoxy and then route wire thru a hole into base or layout.

 

Instead of the wire loop you could use copper tape over the magnets to make your electrical contacts to solder to, but then need stronger magnets as the two pieces of copper tape will separate the magnets more. Or could use nickel silver lead strip material as contact layers stuck to the magnet you could easily solder to, but again it will separate the magnets more but at least won’t diminish field as much as copper. Also ends up hiking the building up another mm or so. But a good option if you have used magnets that are not metallic coated.

 

I like the loop as one less part to fiddle with and I love the direct magnet to magnet lock from even the tiny magnets to hold stuff down. I can create looped leads easily while just watching tv!

 

main thing I’m going to start doing now is have a template for magnet placement in a rectangle so I could swap around tomytec shops with the same footprint on a Ttrak module or layout if I want. Only other issue here is you then need to standardize the polarity of all your magnets, which is a little bit of a PITA, the other way you never hace to worry about polarity as it’s self selecting when you pop on the second layer of magnets to make a second location mounting. Not sure how much of this I’ll do, but easy do to standardize. Paul has got me thinking more it may be fun to mix up scenes now and then and a lot of the buildings fall into a few major footprints. We did years of set up on the fly and were always mixing up the building locations each setup.

 

im also looking into using some really thin gauge steel sheet under roads so I can put magnets on vehicles to hold them in place on track modules in transport but easily remove or mix up the scenes now and then. Adding a busy road of vehicles can be the most costly square inch scenery cost and nice to be able to share.

 

jeff

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gavino200

A quick look at magnets shows that you can get them in almost any shape or size. Disc shape does seem the mosts suitable. 1/8 inch thick by 1/3 inch diameter would be ideal. 

 

But I came across grade as a criterial. The higher the number the higher the magnetic field, and also the price. 

 

A small, highest grade magnet has a pull of 5 Lbs. For two of them that's a 10 Lb pull to remove the structure. I leads me to wonder. How much is too much? Hmmm.

 

https://www.magnetshop.com/neodymium-disc-magnets-p-15.html

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For small tomytec buildings 4 of the little, cheap ebay 1x2mm magnets are more than enough. Magnet to magnet is strong. I did a couple of like 5 or 6 story tomytec with I think like 1x4mm cheap discs and more than enough, again you don’t need it to be a super grab, just enough to prevent little nudges from moving the building and just keep it centered well on location. Breakaway is good when a big crash or yank happens as without good breakaway the building can really get damaged. you also don’t want to have to do the Kung fu grip on the building to pop the magnets loose and crush the build or damage detail bits. Even in transport small buildings don’t need a lot of hold to keep in place except for very tall building and then I would pull those buildings for storage and transport as they end up greatly increasing your storage/transport volume of the modules and better transported in a custom storage box with very efficient storage. What I’m planning for new Ttrak cases, having one slot be a storage box for taller buildings. You can even use the magnets in the storage boxes for larger buildings, just use larger magnets on the storage box to lock down the larger building (but not too much so they are hard to get off).
 

Really just an empirical thing to experiment with to see what suits you. Don’t think you need to go to ultra high cost magnets, probably a lot more economical to just add a few more cheap magnets if needed or slightly bigger ones to get to your needs for each building.

 

jeff

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gavino200

I totally agree about too much force. No layout Kung Fu for me. I wonder if a larger weaker grade magnet might be easier to seat in its place. I ordered a variety pack of diameters. All 3mm thickness. I want the extra thickness. My plan is to inset the magnets into 2mm styrene which will then be attached to the model. the wire loop will be wrapped around the inside 1mm of the disc that will protrude from the styrene one the non contact side. That way I'll be able to make standardized holes in the styrene without taking the space occupied by the wire into account. It should make a nice press fit, though I'll glue it too. 

 

I also, found disc magnets that have a hole and countersink for screwing them to wood and other material. I think these will be perfect for attaching a lower fascia to my layout if I chose to use one. 

 

I ordered some conductive adhesive too. A very small amount. These things are single use only and not cheap so I want to buy it in small amounts. I'll post it on the "modular structures" site if it works. 

 

I picked up some copper tape with conductive adhesive too. I bit I'll find a use for it sometime. Apparently the main market for that stuff is for killing slugs in your yard. Who'd have thunk it?  

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Yep those disc magnets with the countersunk holes are perfect for holding things like your fascia panels. Only problem is the polarities are all the same on them so you can only only one screwed in if you are paring magnets (the second magnet will have the countersink going the wrong way). Otherwise just screw or epoxy on metal plates for the other connection. I’ve used those over the years to connect a lot of things like panels and such in all sorts of exhibit stuff guts. Way easier inside an exhibit cabinet with wires and equipment to just pop dividers and panels loose than try to unscrew bolts or screws in there! I spent too many hours with my head stuck into a small cabinet. My design partner once noted that in all our install shots Im rather there with my head in a cabinet or way up on a ladder with wires going all over (usually where we have to route wiring in the ceilings).

 

it was funny my really cool fold out table saw extension (basically a 3’x4’ table that folds up from the back of the table saw to support longer pieces of wood) has two folding legs to hold it up but when you fold it up you have to hold them folded in place as you raise or lower it or it all flys apart. Two of those big disc magnets and voila, perfect hold!

 

I have a smattering of magnets from ebay from like 1-10mm in dia and 1 and 2mm thick and a few cylinders to always mess with to see what works best on the modeling stuff.

 

I love magnets!

 

jeff

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gavino200
31 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Only problem is the polarities are all the same on them so you can only only one screwed in if you are paring magnets (the second magnet will have the countersink going the wrong way). Otherwise just screw or epoxy on metal plates for the other connection.

 

That's a pitty. Still it might be cool to have some hole/countersunk magnets. I bet they'll be handy sometime. The other site could be a metal plate. 

 

31 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

 

I love magnets!

 

 

 

It's hard not to love magnets. They're like magic.

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you can still use them might think of countersinking into legs and then using the screw into the leg and you will probably have to epoxy the magnet onto the fascia anyway as maybe two thin material to screw into anyway. something like 5mm luan may work well for the fascia. or 3-5mm palight (foamed pvc) and paint it. only issue with using wood for the bottom fascia is that its a large area between those legs and little support so could eventually warp. foamed pvc will help with that. but might be best to use some small battens behind what ever you use to just stiffen things some.

 

jeff

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gavino200

I did a little work on this tonight. I simplified the mess of wires from the station house down to two wires, and I gave Jeff's magnet connector concept a try. The magnets do work. I'm not sure I'm loving the wire loop method though. It's a little tricky to make the loops. Making a basic loop first, and using tiny pliers helps. But the main problem is that they don't want to stay on at all. The magnet sides are smooth and the wire noose slips off easily. I know this is just for good contact and the adhesion is produced by the conductive glue and regular glue. I think it's probably just as good to glue the wire to one surface of the magnet. I didn't use conductive glue here as I want to do a lot at once. The conductive glue is no good after it's opened. I'll probably do a few of each kind to experiment. But I also think it'll be easier to press fit the magnet into a piece of styrene if the sides haven't been wrapped with wire. 

 

I was originally going to put the two magnets together like a regular connecter. However, if I put one on each end it'll help to line up the platform in position. 

 

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gavin,

 

just put a little dab of epoxy on the twisted bit and up agains the edge of the magnet, it will hold the wire loop in place when the cord gets yanked around. if you wanted to be ultra safe put a tiny dab on the wire on the opposite side of the magnet. i put the loop onto the already glued magnet also as use 1mm magnets so cant loop them before glued, too tin a profile.

 

i just twisted my wire around a drill bit end that was just a tad smaller than the magnet, that way when slipped off its a nice tight fit onto the magnet. doing it this way it was super fast to make the twist loop, just wrapped it and did a few twists and then used the needle nose pliers to twist to nice tight fit. like 15 sec!

 

jeff

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gavino200
12 hours ago, cteno4 said:

gavin,

 

just put a little dab of epoxy on the twisted bit and up agains the edge of the magnet, it will hold the wire loop in place when the cord gets yanked around. if you wanted to be ultra safe put a tiny dab on the wire on the opposite side of the magnet. i put the loop onto the already glued magnet also as use 1mm magnets so cant loop them before glued, too tin a profile.

 

i just twisted my wire around a drill bit end that was just a tad smaller than the magnet, that way when slipped off its a nice tight fit onto the magnet. doing it this way it was super fast to make the twist loop, just wrapped it and did a few twists and then used the needle nose pliers to twist to nice tight fit. like 15 sec!

 

jeff

 

Ah, I see what you're doing. You're gluing the magnet directly to the underside of the structure, and then adding the looped wire. You do the same one the layout. Magnet glued and then looped. I'm guessing you add thin layers until you get the height just right before gluing onto the base. 

 

I think that will work well for me with regular structures. But probably not for the platforms as they have a deep recess as an inside. Probably I'll make a styrene cross beam. My plan was to insert the magnet into the beam. 

 

Have you had any difficulty getting the heights just right so you make good contact without preventing the structure to seat properly. ie the structure isn't raised a tiny bit? 

 

I wonder if a little movement would be good with the bottom magnet, so that it can make good contact without creating a leveling problem. I was thinking of making an oversized hole and putting wire "spokes" across it like a wagon wheel. Then gluing the magnet to the wire spokes, That way it could raise slightly to make contact, but there would be some give in it so there's be no upward pressure on the structure. 

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gavino200

At lunch, pondering the issue further. I guess there's no reason why I can't place a beam under the platform with a magnet glued to the underside. That way the greater surface area is reserved for the main site of force application. 

 

I'm still a bit concerned about the contact issue. I don't want a flickering connection, and I also don't want a structure that doesn't seat perfectly. Have you gotten that far with your experiments?

 

Even If I end up using regular connectors I'll be very happy to reduce this to two wires per structure/platform. However I think the wire wagon-wheel idea should work. What epoxy do you use. I think what I have is some kind of "Gorilla" brand epoxy from the hardware store. 

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Gavin, 

 

most all my playing has been with tomytec building and 1x3mm or 1x2mm magnets. You don’t need a lot to hold a building in place. Of course larger building will need larger magnets, but you can get 1mm thick magnets up to like 12mm in diameter so plenty of holding with larger ones. for larger, especially taller buildings, I don’t intend to have the magnets hold for transport of club or Ttrak modules as usually they take up way too much vertical space in transport and to hold them firm enough (taller buildings can exert a lot more lever arm on the magnet base) for transport would require magnets that may make it quite a wrench to get off the module! I’ll just make a storage box for larger buildings they can pack safely and densely in and just slide into module carriers as another module.
 

There is just about a 2mm lip under most of them so the magnets go well just inside those. I don’t care if the magnets rise the building up some. Since going on a flat area usually any tiny difference in height can be taken up with epoxy. I glue the first layer of magnets onto the building and then once dry pop another set of magnets onto the glued building magnets, then put a dab of epoxy on the bottom of those and set the building in place and then let dry. of course if the inset is less than your double magnet height it will rise the building up a little but that can be hidden as roads and sidewalks, the building may need to raise up anyway. In this case I would just glue a chunk of the appropriate thickness styrene or paylite the size of the building base to the layout spot (shimmed if needed for an uneven layout spot) so it makes a nice flat spot for the building to rest and easy layout gluing. If raising due to the magnets is an issue then countersinking them into the base can work. If it’s a real uneven surface it’s going onto the layout then just add some styrene until the double magnet feet are stable, glue the shims down then the second layer of the magnets to the shims. That was my approach for just using the magnets to hold the building in place.
 

If you want to put the building on a second place like a Ttrak module then you just pop the building off, and repeat from above at adding a second layer of new magnets and glue down in the alternate spot. Now you have the same magnet pattern that matches the building in two places. I’m thinking of using Paul’s concept of trying to make the magnet placement on the same sized module bottoms in a set pattern/stacking using a little jig to glue the magnets in place on the building bottom. this then let’s you freely mix and match where you put the building since all the magnet pattern matches on all the same sized buildings. This also requires always putting the polarity of the magnets in the same pattern (not hard but just a pain to set up a polarity jig and stick to it when first glueing magnets to the buildings.

 

adding the wire was an afterthought to the above when I realized the magnets could be the connectors so gluing or looping the wires then as needed to magnets to bring in power. Once the magnets are glued then 

 

most building should sit nice and flat with 4 small magnets if glued as above as the magnets all will glue to the layout at the proper height to make firm contact. If one ends up not gluing to the layout due to a gap, just add a shim and reglue that magnet. I seriously doubt you will get any flickering as the magnets are a pretty firm lock and should be all or nothing and not intermittent. If you did have one of the magnets not making firm contact then just pop that magnet off and shim or just move the wire to one of the other magnet sets for your contact.

 

I’ve used both epoxy and thick cad to glue the magnets. Bit work, but be sparing you don’t want a huge blob squishing out around the edges of the magnet as you want space to put your wire loop around the edge. One thing is to clean the magnet before you glue! I’ve found that metal does not glue well with ca or epoxy with lots of finger grease on the surface. The little magnets get loaded with grease as you squish them totally around in your finger tips a lot handling them and they are very smooth so any good bite can be filled with grease. Quick rub in a rag between your fingers and some isopropanol or contact cleaner is great and then handle. Then use plastic tweezers to place the magnets, usually putting a tiny dot of glue on the base and dropping the magnet on top of it is easier than trying to hold a 2 or 3mm magnet and  place a drop on it and drop the magnet in place. The second layer is easier as the magnet is held in place and then that layer you put a dot of glue on the second magnet to then place the building in location.

 

btw I don’t think the gorilla epoxy is any different than the usual 5 or 10 minute epoxies like jr weld except for a much higher price. Unless I know I’m doing a ton of epoxying I get smaller tubes of it (as well as ca glue) as they will go off on you with time. I never use those double syringe ones as those always seem to end up with some catalyst getting into the tips and setting up! Epoxy it’s usually just not setting up fully. Those little baby silicon mixing cups are handy as easier to mis the blob in the bottom and not end up all over a flat area trying to scrape it into the center. I also use the tattoo ink cups to mix small blobs with a small stick like a wooden swab end, only trick is just getting two equal sized blobs (I do this on a piece of cardboard and just wipe up with my mixing tool and transfer to the cup. Epoxy is also better at space filling and not flowing all over than thick ca glue, just takes a couple of minutes more to mix it up. I’ve thought of trying some of the all purpose glues that do well with metals as they may hold well enough and eliminate mixing epoxy, but get the space filling and lower flow, have to experiment on the hold to the magnets.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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gavino200
3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

 

most all my playing has been with tomytec building and 1x3mm or 1x2mm magnets. You don’t need a lot to hold a building in place. Of course larger building will need larger magnets, but you can get 1mm thick magnets up to like 12mm in diameter so plenty of holding with larger ones. for larger, especially taller buildings, I don’t intend to have the magnets hold for transport of club or Ttrak modules as usually they take up way too much vertical space in transport and to hold them firm enough (taller buildings can exert a lot more lever arm on the magnet base) for transport would require magnets that may make it quite a wrench to get off the module! I’ll just make a storage box for larger buildings they can pack safely and densely in and just slide into module carriers as another module.

 

Strictly speaking, the only force my buildings will be exposed to is the ravages of Catzilla. I'm not going to take them anywhere. For me modularity is only so I can feasible move house sometime, and so that I can removed elements to work on them. It's going to take me forever to model my whole layout. When I get to the end I'll probably start redoing everything with my hopefully greater skills. Like a rotation. The old ones will likely be taken apart and the parts recycled. 

 

So mostly, I just like the "wireless" aspect of the magnet setup. But there are two specific places where I'll need to hold pieces in place. I plan on going back to my "visible tunnel interior" project to add removable window pieces to close the tunnel, so that when I pass my camera train through the tunnel it looks linke a closed tunnel. I don't want visible wires. 

 

Also, I can see the magnet fastening/conduction idea working for building fronts, so that you can remove one wall of a building to see inside. Or a mountain, where you lift one part and see a little mining operation inside. Things like that. 

 

So, while I probably won't use this technique for everything, I think it will be a handy technique to master. 

 

It's hard to know how much pull the magnets have. They give their hardest attraction when they're fully together and it's hard to hold them in the fingers when they're fully together.  But likely I'll use smaller magnets. I bought a variety pack and have some with smaller diameters, but they're all 3mm. I chose this diameter to be easier to work with. But if I glue them in your manner, I could definitely go thinner. I may even try out the teeny tiny ones that I had already have. In any case I know I'll eventually find a use for all these magnets. So, they're good to have. 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

There is just about a 2mm lip under most of them so the magnets go well just inside those. I don’t care if the magnets rise the building up some. Since going on a flat area usually any tiny difference in height can be taken up with epoxy. I glue the first layer of magnets onto the building and then once dry pop another set of magnets onto the glued building magnets, then put a dab of epoxy on the bottom of those and set the building in place and then let dry. of course if the inset is less than your double magnet height it will rise the building up a little but that can be hidden as roads and sidewalks, the building may need to raise up anyway. In this case I would just glue a chunk of the appropriate thickness styrene or paylite the size of the building base to the layout spot (shimmed if needed for an uneven layout spot) so it makes a nice flat spot for the building to rest and easy layout gluing. 

 

Ah, I see. You're making four, or more feet for the structure out of magnets, then fitting the roadway, sidewalk, scenery around it. That's a good idea. I was only thinking of magnets as contacts. So two magnets, per structure. An unstable construct. More magnets solve that problem.

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

If raising due to the magnets is an issue then countersinking them into the base can work. If it’s a real uneven surface it’s going onto the layout then just add some styrene until the double magnet feet are stable, glue the shims down then the second layer of the magnets to the shims. That was my approach for just using the magnets to hold the building in place.

 

I think I'd probably countersink. And likely stick to the contact only method. But I'm not fixed on anything yet. 

 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

This also requires always putting the polarity of the magnets in the same pattern (not hard but just a pain to set up a polarity jig and stick to it when first glueing magnets to the buildings.

 

I thought about this on my drive home. This problem can be solved with only a convention. No jig should be necessary. The magnets all form a column when you stack them. Here's the method. Pick up the column of magnets. Doesn't matter which end you choose. Take a sharpie and draw a dot on one end. Remove the magnet, then put a dot on the new "end magnet". Repeat until every magnet has a dot. 

 

Convention: all magnets to be placed dot side up. 

 

When you buy new magnets just place one on an old contact magnet on your layout. Draw a dot on the top. Use that to orient the other magnets in the same manner as above. 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

most building should sit nice and flat with 4 small magnets if glued as above as the magnets all will glue to the layout at the proper height to make firm contact. If one ends up not gluing to the layout due to a gap, just add a shim and reglue that magnet. I seriously doubt you will get any flickering as the magnets are a pretty firm lock and should be all or nothing and not intermittent. If you did have one of the magnets not making firm contact then just pop that magnet off and shim or just move the wire to one of the other magnet sets for your contact.

 

I agree. As long a the magnets are glued in place while connected (as you describe above), the connection should be perfect. But it wouldn't take much deviation from being perfectly parallel to cause a problem. 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

I’ve used both epoxy and thick cad to glue the magnets. Bit work, but be sparing you don’t want a huge blob squishing out around the edges of the magnet as you want space to put your wire loop around the edge.

 

A delicate balance I'm sure. 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

One thing is to clean the magnet before you glue! I’ve found that metal does not glue well with ca or epoxy with lots of finger grease on the surface. The little magnets get loaded with grease as you squish them totally around in your finger tips a lot handling them and they are very smooth so any good bite can be filled with grease. Quick rub in a rag between your fingers and some isopropanol or contact cleaner is great and then handle. Then use plastic tweezers to place the magnets, usually putting a tiny dot of glue on the base and dropping the magnet on top of it is easier than trying to hold a 2 or 3mm magnet and  place a drop on it and drop the magnet in place. The second layer is easier as the magnet is held in place and then that layer you put a dot of glue on the second magnet to then place the building in location.

 

Good to know. Thanks much. 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

btw I don’t think the gorilla epoxy is any different than the usual 5 or 10 minute epoxies like jr weld except for a much higher price.

 

I went glue shopping today. Nothing special about the Gorilla. Just a good name. It's exactly the same price as the other glues, like for like. I bought it because it was the only one that clearly said "Epoxy" in big letters. 

 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

Unless I know I’m doing a ton of epoxying I get smaller tubes of it (as well as ca glue) as they will go off on you with time. I never use those double syringe ones as those always seem to end up with some catalyst getting into the tips and setting up! 

 

Yep, mine is the two syringe type. It works ok but it's super messy.  I prefer two separate tubes. 

 

3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

Epoxy it’s usually just not setting up fully. Those little baby silicon mixing cups are handy as easier to mis the blob in the bottom and not end up all over a flat area trying to scrape it into the center.

 

Don't know what those are but I'll look out for them. I bet a yogurt tub would work. 

 

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5 hours ago, gavino200 said:

I thought about this on my drive home. This problem can be solved with only a convention. No jig should be necessary. The magnets all form a column when you stack them. Here's the method. Pick up the column of magnets. Doesn't matter which end you choose. Take a sharpie and draw a dot on one end. Remove the magnet, then put a dot on the new "end magnet". Repeat until every magnet has a dot. 


easy just make a jig with a magnet under it so you toss a tiny magnet on it and it flips the right direction, then pick up (magnet behind some styrene so it’s strong enough to orient the small magnet but weak enough to lift off with tweezers) and glue. Using a jig gives you a master standard.

 

5 hours ago, gavino200 said:

I agree. As long a the magnets are glued in place while connected (as you describe above), the connection should be perfect. But it wouldn't take much deviation from being perfectly parallel to cause a problem. 


this isn’t a problem. If your little double magnet feet sit pretty flat when put in place, then when you glue the second magnets with small dots of epoxy to the layout all the feet will dry set at the perfect levels for a perfect fit. The magnets glued to the bottom of the building hold the second magnets in just the right location and height. Easy peazy!

 

5 hours ago, gavino200 said:

It's hard to know how much pull the magnets have.


easy just do some tests with a couple pieces of styrene and glue 3 or 4 magnets to each to gauge the strength of the hold.

 

the tiny magnets are indeed good for holding all sorts of little bits together! 
 

I really hate heavy attachments of buildings as in the past it feels like every time I did I ended up needing/wanting to pull it up to do something, but just plopping them can be funky and I hate wires and plugs going to them. 
 

cheers

 

jeff

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gavino200

After the above conversation, and thinking about this for much of yesterday, I'm pretty sure the magnet connecters will work for me, and with the small magnets too. I'm continuing with simplifying the station building lighting. I just did the accessory station. I'm going to hold off on adding the magnets until I have a base ready, so as not to waste the conductive glue that I have. 

 

I'm thinking of making the station our to three parts. A central part with the station and one platform length on each end. The a separate module for each end. Looking at the materials on hand, foamboard seems to be the best option. It's stiff but still light. I was considering PVC, but it's heavier and actually bends more. 

 

My foamboard has been leaning against a wall and has a slight bend in it. I'm hoping that laying it flat with some boxes on it will flatten it out.

 

The accessary station. The adhesive putty is ugly but it holds well and is completely and easily removable. 

 

MOm4hPe.jpg

 

Template for the station center module. 

 

iqMrB3T.jpg

 

Central station module with buildings and platforms. This is big for a "module" but I don't want to have too many joins. 

 

3Ot0Syb.jpg

 

Uncut foamboard with a curve.

 

XV4n6lv.jpg

 

Hoping this will work to straighten the foamboard.

 

RhwH2JA.jpg

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