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Low-cost Cardboard T-Trak Modules


tossedman

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Yeah it will be an experiment to see what humidity does to these. When I made a lot of large exhibit models out of corrugated cardboard it was in Monterey right on the water and medium humidity but little surges daily with fog and such. Never had a big problem with warping of cardboard, chipboards, mat boards, fomecore or even ply and lumber.  But moving to DC that changed a lot! Going from hot swamp to cold and dry every year, I’ve found most everything warping eventually! I think I may do an experiment and leave one in the bathroom where showers steam it up and try some time acceleration tests.

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

Quick update on my progress.  I had planned to finish this over the holiday weekend but realized my propensity to rush things did not help me get good results and I really want to make this little module look as good as possible.  So just a bit of solid progress - I used some artist's cardstock to build up the flat areas - wanted to get away from a very flat look for the scenery.  Then I covered it with some lightweight joint compound making no effort to get it smooth but rather letting it stay uneven.  After it dried overnight, I did some painting and added a first layer of flock.  I had previously weathered the Kato track pieces so glued them in place as well.

 

Tonight I hope to add more flock to continue building up the scenic area.  I also have some ancient WS tree kits - they are actually soft white metal castings which really dates them.  I primed them when I primed the module and have started to dry brush them to improve their appearance.  So more work on them later today as well.

 

Ciao,

Tony

IMG_1325.jpg

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Tony Galiani

Once again I am falling behind my planned schedule and it does not look like my project will get done this weekend.  Which is okay - slowing down and taking my time seems to be producing good results for me so I can't complain.  Heavy music and work week coming up but I am getting close to completion and expect to finish it next weekend.

 

In the meantime, I have gotten the ground cover in place and have started adding trees - as you can see from the picture below, it is still pretty bare - only 26 more trees to go!  And then I need to complete adding the bushes - you can see a couple of trial bits on there now and I plan to add more today.  The card (especially with the additional layers of artist card I added to raise the ground level) is surprisingly strong.  I had to resort to using a drill to make holes to plant the trees.  (Or maybe I am surprisingly weak?)

 

I also have Kato catenary poles to add.  I painted them last night - just need to touch them up and weather them.

 

So two pics to show progress.

Ciao,

Tony

 

 

IMG_1340.jpg

IMG_1339.jpg

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Nice winter scene tony!

 

has the module stayed flat after you applied paint and scenery? Did you hit the top with any spray lacquer before doing the scenery?

 

have you tried connecting it to another module?

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

Thanks Jeff.

 

So far so good - it has stayed flat with no signs of warping or damage to the structure.  I did spray it with Krylon primer before I started any scenic work.  And I have not tried to connect it with another module - need to try that out at some point.

 

I am blown away by the design - great work by @tossedman and I really appreciate the opportunity to evaluate this.  I have not added any veneer to the sides at this point.  Thinking that the design could be a talking point if I ever take it out to a show.

 

Ciao,

Tony

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tossedman

Thanks Tony! Module's looking good. It'd fit right in here in Calgary. Woke up to a balmy -35°C this morning. Brrrr!

 

Got a few more mods coming to the module. Going to try it with three leveling screws instead of four. Worked really well on the last wood modules I made. Not sure why I didn't think of it for these cardboard ones.

 

Cheers,

 

Todd

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Tony Galiani

Todd -  I really appreciate the opportunity to test drive the module.  Feeling more confident that I can make something worthwhile with the wood modules I have but have been hesitant to work on.

 

And thanks for the weather update?  We are heading up to Fredericton for my mother-in-law's birthday next week and it looks like we are heading for similar weather.  Why are we doing this?  United had us booked on a Max 9 for the first leg of our trip - I should have taken the hint and told my wife we needed to cancel!

 

Cheers,

Tony

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So I did an experiment on the first gen module and put Arleen’s tacky glue (it’s a thick PVA glue) along all the top and corner exposed corrugated edge ends. It really stiffened up the top edge (and also did bottom corners as well) so they can take dings without creasing ends. Corners too are now pretty hard. Probably should have done it after a lacquer coat but been bit too cool here to spray the lacquer. Also adds a tad of heft to the module as they are extremely light.

 

one concern will be detaching modules from each other. This usually can put a fair amount of torque on the track. I almost always use a flat screwdriver to slip between the two tracks and just twist some. Pops the track apart with minimal stress on tracks. But can’t do this on the cardboard ones.

 

jeff

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tossedman
1 hour ago, Tony Galiani said:

Todd -  I really appreciate the opportunity to test drive the module.  Feeling more confident that I can make something worthwhile with the wood modules I have but have been hesitant to work on.

 

And thanks for the weather update?  We are heading up to Fredericton for my mother-in-law's birthday next week and it looks like we are heading for similar weather.  Why are we doing this?  United had us booked on a Max 9 for the first leg of our trip - I should have taken the hint and told my wife we needed to cancel!

 

Cheers,

Tony

Not sure the weather update will be of much help Tony. Don't think this polar vortex has hit New Brunswick. It is 2737 mi (4405 km) away after all. In Canadian distances that's about a 45 hour drive. Funny how we time for distance up here. "How far is it to Edmonton?" "Oh, about three hours." Now the Max 9 might have been a good hint. How good are you at checking bolts?

 

Cheers,

 

Todd

Edited by tossedman
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tossedman
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

So I did an experiment on the first gen module and put Arleen’s tacky glue (it’s a thick PVA glue) along all the top and corner exposed corrugated edge ends. It really stiffened up the top edge (and also did bottom corners as well) so they can take dings without creasing ends. Corners too are now pretty hard. Probably should have done it after a lacquer coat but been bit too cool here to spray the lacquer. Also adds a tad of heft to the module as they are extremely light.

 

one concern will be detaching modules from each other. This usually can put a fair amount of torque on the track. I almost always use a flat screwdriver to slip between the two tracks and just twist some. Pops the track apart with minimal stress on tracks. But can’t do this on the cardboard ones.

 

jeff

Good points Jeff. I'll have to try detaching modules and see if it causes any issues. The tacky glue is a great idea to stiffen things up. Looks like it's time for me to put some track on one of my cardboard modules.

 

Cheers,

 

Todd

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Yeah I was waiting to lacquer cost mine before tacking track on. My fear is the usual the pressure folks may put on the sides near the end to do the usual back and forth rocking to pull the modules apart may cave the sides some. If that’s a case maybe laminating 4 pieces into the sides may help this but complicate assembly a bit as they would need to be glued on the side before assembly as hot glue would get in the way of adding them after assembly with hot glue. But putting in etch lines for where to align them might make it easier.

 

another option would be to make small notches in the roadbed between the rails to pop a small screwdriver into and pop each track. But that’s a harder one for a newbie to do.

 

jeff

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Tony Galiani

I do not have any experience with these modules outside of this project but thought I would mention some of the construction I did.

After using the primer on it, I added a couple of layers of cardstock (each about 1mm thick) to the rear portion of the scene.  I would guess that helps with stiffness but my main purpose was to get away from the flat look of the original surface.  I then use spackle (or joint compound or whatever it is called these days) to cover the entire surface except for the track.  I had previously glued on two pieces of Kato double track in the appropriate location.  I then painted the visible surface with acrylic texture paint before adding the scenic texture material.

I also had to use a drill for the holes for the trees - the surface was too strong for me to make any holes with an awl.  I might have succeeded with that if I had used a hammer or really applied a lot of force but didn't want to take a chance on distorting the module.  I will say it help up very well to my initial attempts with the awl.

 

Ciao,

Tony

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