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Author Previous Topic: Installing Tan Valley SwitchWright switch machin Topic Next Topic: De-Bonding Gorilla Glue
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Brunton
Crew Chief



Posted - 12/01/2016 :  12:11:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Brunton's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm Ba-a-a-a-ck!
Much sadder and little if any wiser, but I'm back.

As it turns out, I'll be moving back to my house in Merchantville NJ in either a couple months of about a year and a half (I'll know in a couple weeks). I just know I will be moving back.

With that knowledge comes early planning for a new layout.

I thought briefly about rebuilding the version of the Q that I was originally constructing in the house, but that is probably way too much railroad to tackle at this point (thinking back, it probably always was. That's where "little wiser" comes in).

Just a couple weeks ago, as I was first contemplating a new layout, I saw the "Country RRoads" modular layout at a train show in Charleston SC. I was blown away - I've never seen modules that assembled into a really cohesive layout before. I've seen great modules, yes, but never a whole series of them that "seamlessly" assembled into a great layout.

Here's a link to their website.http://www.countryrroadsmodular.com/

I'm going to try to apply many of their techniques in constructing my new home layout. My new layout will be much different than my old, massive earlier versions were. It won't be portable, I think, but it will benefit greatly from the modular approach.

I still really like the operating potential of the older layout versions, and will try to capture a great deal of that in the new.

There will be much less working under the layout in the new version (an advantage of the modular approach), and there will be no behemoth helix this time around (Hmmm... maybe a nolix...).

This approach to layout design and construction is virgin territory for me, so as I progress in both planning and construction, please chime in and point out areas where I may be shooting myself in the foot, and areas of missed potential as I go.

Ready...
Set...
GO!

Edited by - Brunton on 12/01/2016 12:13:58 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 541

George D
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 12/01/2016 :  1:25:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good to see you're back at it, Mark. Modules are a lot easier to work with, particularly underside wiring. I'm looking forward to following your progress.

George



Country: USA | Posts: 14565 Go to Top of Page

Jeff Compton
Engine Wiper

Premium Member

Posted - 12/01/2016 :  1:29:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark,
Hopefully this new layout will help ease some of your pain or at least take your mind off other things while you are working on it. I am also in the process of building a layout and have used a somewhat modified modular concept so that it can be taken apart a little easier when the time comes. Rob, who posts in layout design, has helped some of the Forum members with layout planning and might be able to help you if you desire. My condolences on the passing of your wife.
Jeff



Country: | Posts: 282 Go to Top of Page

David Clark
Fireman



Posted - 12/01/2016 :  2:19:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think modules are the way to go, as well. You can add to them as you go without committing a whole lot of resources at one time. Best of luck!
Cheers,
Dave



Country: Canada | Posts: 1082 Go to Top of Page

Brunton
Crew Chief



Posted - 12/01/2016 :  7:32:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Brunton's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, guys! I'm looking forward to actually making some progress.

Here's a diagram of the floor space I have for the layout. The six circles in the plan are columns supporting the house above.



There's quite a bit of prep work to do before I can start the layout. Unless it's totally cost-prohibitive, I'll be lowering the floor to match the new basement area under the addition we built almost fifteen years ago, mostly to provide adequate headroom (with the existing floor, the ceiling is about 2" above my head). This will also allow me to install a French drain and new sump to keep the basement good and dry. There are occasional water problems as things are now. I'll also be installing a ceiling and interior walls, and vinyl tiles on the floor. No more bare concrete and dust drifting down from above!

The floor will be lowered about 15 inches. I'll step in from the walls the same amount the floor is lowered, which will prevent any shifting or settling of the footers - the ground under them will remain undisturbed. The sides of the step-down will be concreted. I'll have an engineer review that before I have it done, of course. The resulting step around the edges (except across the door, of course) will be mostly hidden by the around-the-walls portions of the layout. I created a diagram of this years ago, and of course now that I want to share it, I can't find it. Hopefully the explanation isn't too unclear.



Edited by - Brunton on 12/01/2016 7:34:48 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 541 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 12/01/2016 :  10:15:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sounds like a good plan; layouts and water hardly ever go well together.


Country: USA | Posts: 5620 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 12/01/2016 :  10:23:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark! It's great to see you on the forum again! I saw your last post on your old thread and then this one and am thrilled to see you back at it. And your coming back to join the south Jersey gang? Oh boy, now your in trouble! I'm looking forward to following your progress here, and hopefully someday soon seeing it in person.

Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13725 Go to Top of Page

BN_Fan
Section Hand



Posted - 12/01/2016 :  10:48:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome back to the Forum Mark. We look forward to your return to the 51st state.


Country: USA | Posts: 94 Go to Top of Page

Brunton
Crew Chief



Posted - 12/11/2016 :  07:02:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit Brunton's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all the comments, guys!

Jeff, would you care to share some of your "modified module" approach?

I'm finding that it's rather difficult to switch to a module-like approach to designing a layout. I keep thinking in terms of large L-girder based benchwork.

First thing I did to try to get a feel for the size of the area and the number of modules I might be looking at is to fit a bunch of them into the room. Here's a shot of the first arrangement I developed:

Module sizes are 2X8, 2X6.5, 2X6, 2X4 and a few 1/2X8 and 1/2X6.
Minimum aisle width is 30 inches, with most being 36 inches or more.

After I put this mess together, I changed directions somewhat. Yes, I can get a LOT of modules in my space, but the arrangement will depend more on track routing than anything, so I developed a system schematic.

The schematic wasn't hard to do, as I had a pretty detailed one for my older versions of the layout. Mostly it just involved removing towns and some elements to fit my no-double-deck approach. I sure hated taking anything away, but here's what I came up with finally:

I removed several towns and one entire branch line. I eliminated one of the Northern Pacific staging yards - the single one will represent both the east and west ends of the NP. There will probably be additional elements removed as I try to fit everything into the space available.

I've also begun developing some layout criteria:
HO Scale (of course)
30" minimum radius everywhere except some industrial spurs
Manually thrown turnouts unless access prohibits it
NO duckunders!
Minimize aisleway chokepoints (I know, 2.5' aisleways are tight. There is only one long aisleway that tight, with most being 3.5' or wider)



Edited by - Brunton on 12/11/2016 07:28:54 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 541 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 12/11/2016 :  12:24:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark, it's great to see you starting the planning process now. I think the time and money you invest into the room prep as you described above will be the best investment you could make. I spent a year finishing off my basement and am so glad I did.

With regard to the modular approach you are exploring, I did the same thing years ago in a previous layout build. I belonged to a modular club and really liked the concept so I tried to incorporate it into my build at home. For our club, we were 'portable', taking the layout to various shows. Also, in the club's infancy, we didn't have a real home at the time, so we were able to work on modules one at a time at member's homes.

What I found from my home layout though was that this approach can be limiting, and I realized that the few advantages that I thought I would enjoy did not out weigh the disadvantages. The advantages were (at least I thought) the ability to work on the underside (as you mentioned above), but in reality, once the layout is underway, it becomes too much trouble to disassemble modules just to mount a switch machine, run a wire, etc. So, that 'advantage' was never realized. The other advantage was that at the time, I knew I'd be moving into a bigger house and would eventually build a bigger layout and would incorporate those modules into that layout. Well, for a variety of reasons, that didn't happen either! The only thing I ended up saving was the module itself (the lumber), many of which are in my current layout!

The disadvantage that frustrated me at the time was planning the track arrangement. For example, you really can't have turnouts over the module joints, so this limited some of my track arrangements.

I'm not trying to talk you into or out of using a modular approach, but rather thought I would share some of my experiences with you to give you some food for thought about this approach as you move forward with your planning.


Mark

Edited by - MarkF on 12/11/2016 12:27:08 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 13725 Go to Top of Page

Jeff Compton
Engine Wiper

Premium Member

Posted - 12/11/2016 :  1:32:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark,
My approach is very similar to yours. I have various lengths and widths of modules. They are not all the same like the ones Dave Barrow introduced. My goal was to make the layout easier to take apart. Some of them I have placed side by side, to make a couple of larger areas that will hopefully contain some type of town. I can see some of the possible disadvantages that Mark mentioned above but hopefully I won't run into those problems. I envy the amount of room you have!
Jeff



Country: | Posts: 282 Go to Top of Page

Brunton
Crew Chief



Posted - 12/12/2016 :  07:13:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit Brunton's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You raise some interesting points, Mark. I'll have to mull this over a bit.

Maybe what I'm really looking at is more of a paradigm shift in my construction approach.
I tend to think in terms of big block benchwork sections, like two-sided peninsulas that are six feet wide and squared off on the ends.





The first shot is of the New Jersey layout, and the second is the Allendale layout.

Reduced width with round-cornered blobs at the ends would be far superior, but I never seem to design for that!

(By the way, here's where the benchwork finally wound up - the Berkeley County SC trash collection site. But it served me well...):



I also tend to work very linerarly (is that a word)? I do benchwork, then trackwork, then electrical, and finally scenery. On my first Cove Road layout, it took SIX YEARS to start the first bit of scenery! I don't want a layout where it will take that long again, and I want to be able to start operating within a reasonable period of time (2-3 years for simple ops, at most).

So utilizing a modular design philosophy may allow me to "compartmentalize" layout planning and construction, even if I don't wind up with modular layout sections.



Edited by - Brunton on 12/12/2016 07:16:58 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 541 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 12/12/2016 :  07:59:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I got to the 'build a layout now, already' point back in 2007. I drew a plan I was able to follow, adding basic benchwork details like L girder and leg locations once the track looked good. My benchwork goal was sections which could be gotten out of the attic if someone wanted them down the road. I used L girders where I wanted long spans between legs.

Your 'compartmentalize' process might be suited to 'one LDE per compartment'?



Country: USA | Posts: 5620 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn
Fireman



Posted - 12/12/2016 :  08:34:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I use a modular approach which allowed me recently to move whole sections out of the way when we had some work done to our house.

Inside corners can seem a problem by limiting track radius. I add triangular sections to take care of this problem.

Mike


_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me, as I go walking that freedom highway -- Woody Guthrie

Country: USA | Posts: 3936 Go to Top of Page

Steam Nut
Fireman



Posted - 12/12/2016 :  10:16:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mark, I used the modular design on my layout, I did not worry about track over joints. And you all know its filled with track. there is always some waste if you have to move a layout. And besides you are coming back to the world of anything can be done, Just ask the other Mark!!!!!


Country: USA | Posts: 1757 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 12/12/2016 :  11:22:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh boy, now you have SteamNut in the fold! Now your in good hands. Just plan it and he will come build it.

Hey Steam, now's your chance to build a helix on a module!


Mark

Country: USA | Posts: 13725 Go to Top of Page
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