Author Topic: N Scale layout in a week?  (Read 3725 times)

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NS-CRE

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N Scale layout in a week?
« on: May 07, 2007, 06:47:19 PM »
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I have been handed the task of building a small portable N Scale layout for a show display. The challenging part is that I've been given a week to put something together. Yes, a week!

I hit up Lowes tonight in search of the hollow interior doors that many people build such layouts on. At 80" long, this might be a bit too long for what is allowed at the show that the owners will be displaying at. Has anyone had any experience cutting the end off of such a door and reasonably patching to create a finished shorter layout?

Other ideas I have had have been on a smaller scale, a simple 2X4 sheet of plywood built on a 1X3 open grid framework. What I like better about the door option is being able to go a little wider, as a two foot width means I'd probably have to squeeze to the minimum 9.75 curve radius to allow for a bit of space on the front and back of the layout (for those curious hands of children and others who just have to touch the merchandise.)

I should add that this will be a simple oval, perhaps with the addition of some sidings eventually. The owners basically want visitors who stop by their show booth to see a train running and they want to keep it running continuously during the show. There will be scenery and buildings, how much of which will depend on how quickly I can get it all done. The display layout will have to be transported in an SUV or something with a hatchback and back seats that lay down. It is essential that no more than two people would be needed to transport it.

It's been a long time since I've thought about doing something in these size limitations, so any help anyone could offer would be much appreciated.

Marcus
Norfolk Southern CR&E Division
Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway
www.kntower.com

John

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2007, 07:05:05 PM »
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BANTRAK built a display layout this year for the B&O museum .. It was basically a wood frame with luan top, covered with pink foam, and used unitrak ..

I would go with maybe 3x5

tom mann

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2007, 07:09:09 PM »
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I would build a 1x3 frame (spacing at 16") with two sheets of 1" foam on top.  This way, the structure is lightweight and you're not confined to "door dimensions".  I've come to the realization that a plywood top is not necessary for n scale and just adds needless weight.  Seal the frame with Polyurethane to prevent warping.

Are you retired?  This is a big job if you worked during the day! ;D Keep us updated with photos - like time lapse photos with the camera in the same position. 

John Burkush

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2007, 07:42:23 PM »
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Buy one of those plastic molded layouts, I purchased one at mountain trains in NH when the original
owner was getting out of N. It is designed for standard sectional track and is easy to scenic and
put you light years ahead in construction time.
Downside- it is expensive, the only reason I purchased it was it was about 1/3 of the original price.
DANGER ! DANGER! WILL ROBINSON; MY SENSORS INDICATE THE PRESENCE OF CHROME PLATED WARBONNET SANTA FE
F UNITS ! DANGER ! EXTREME DANGER !

Nelson

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2007, 08:55:22 PM »
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Has anyone had any experience cutting the end off of such a door and reasonably patching to create a finished shorter layout?

Marcus


Hollow core doors are very easy to cut down. Score the veneer with a sharp utility knife on your cut line to prevent splintering and then cut with a circular saw, keeping the saw cut to the waste side of your score line. You can then take a sharp putty knife or chisel and split the veneer off of the cut off end and then re-glue the core into the new open end. The webbing inside the door will be corrugated cardboard and you can simply knock it out of the way by tapping the new core piece in with a hammer. Be sure and sand a bevel on the cut edges to prevent splintering.

NS-CRE

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2007, 09:07:38 PM »
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Thank you for the suggestions so far. I am going to see if I can get approval on the 3 X 5 size, and I believe that I can.  At this point I'm leaning toward the 1X3 frame (with bracing) with the foam insulation top for lighter weight. The open grid bracing will allow me to attach some fold-up legs and I am hoping to build a small shelf for a power pack underneath as well.

The Atlas Right Track Software I downloaded tonight gave me an opportunity to play with some ideas. I appreciate the info about the BANTRAK project, as I was able to look at the layout online doing a Google search. 

As for the schedule, no I am not retired and do have a full time busy job. This will be a nights and weekend (singular) project.  The people I am doing this for realize that it will not be  100% complete in a week. I am hoping for track, ballast, and basic scenery for now. Luckily the plot of land I'm trying to model is flat.

I will take some photos as I progress. Thanks again for the help and I'm open to more input, at least for another 12 hours! :-)
Norfolk Southern CR&E Division
Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway
www.kntower.com

wcfn100

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2007, 09:20:03 PM »
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I'll second the hollow core door, it's pretty easy.  I did find it a bit more work clearing out the cardboard (actually the glue) to make space for the end piece than posted above, but that could different from door to door. 

Jason

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2007, 09:30:44 PM »
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Yeah, for quick benchwork there is NO substitute for the good old door.

Stick some foam on top, glue the track down, and get to scenicing.

NS-CRE

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2007, 09:57:05 PM »
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Ed,

What size door did you use?
Norfolk Southern CR&E Division
Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway
www.kntower.com

Wlal13again

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2007, 10:03:03 PM »
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I agree with Ed,  I used a 80x32 door with Unitrack.
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2007, 10:08:47 PM »
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It's 80" x 36".


NS-CRE

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2007, 10:35:30 PM »
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Progress report so far (photos have been taken but I haven't uploaded them anywhere yet):

Monday night - research, determine materials required. Thanks for the advice!

Tuesday night (part one) - purchased Atlas Code 80 flex track, cork roadbed, power pack, locomotive and caboose, ballast, and some other materials.  Purchased 1X3's, pink foamboard, adhesive, metal folding legs, paint, etc. This involved trips to the LHS, Lowe's and Home Depot.  Lowe's cut the lumber for me, Home Depot helped mark the foamboard so I could cut it in the parking lot before driving home. These were time-savers for sure.

Tuesday night (part two) - assembled framework built from 1X3's.  Trimmed and attached foamboard top using Loctite foam adhesive.  The table size is 3 feet, 1-1/2 inches, by 5 feet.  Yes, I went the easy route by having Lowes cut to 3 feet (precision cuts are not done). For this reason, the width is an additional 1-1/2 inches. A small sacrifice for the time saved.

Wednesday night - Drew centerlines for track plan (an imperfect oval, since I just couldn't get myself to do a perfect oval). A slight S-curve and some angles will hopefully make the arrangement just a little more interesting.  Glued cork roadbed and track down using Elmer's glue and Atlas track nails.

Upcoming:

Thursday I will wire and paint the track. I'll be spray painting it using some ultra flat dark brown camoflauge paint I found. I tested the paint on scrap track tonight and it does fine. Will protect the foamboard from the attack of the paint solvents.

This weekend will be spent doing basic scenery, getting as far as I can before the deadline.

I think I can do it!

Thanks again for the advice. I went with the 3X5 size and the foamboard over 1X3 frame for weight considerations. The table is quite light, which is what they are aiming for.

Norfolk Southern CR&E Division
Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern Railway
www.kntower.com

wm3798

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2007, 07:33:39 AM »
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Careful how much overspray you get on the foam... Spray paint eats foam.  Consider using some 2" masking tape to protect it.

Sounds like you're slammin' and jammin'.
Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

mmyers

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2007, 10:59:33 PM »
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BANTRAK built a display layout this year for the B&O museum .. It was basically a wood frame with luan top, covered with pink foam, and used unitrak ..

I would go with maybe 3x5

There are some photos of the 2006 BANTRAK 3 x 5  (or was it 3 x 4/) layout construction here:
http://mysite.verizon.net/vze28hyy/generalphotoalbum/id1.html
1 x 2 frame with 1/4 inch luann top. Foam added to that. It really stiffens up after the foam is attached.

almost Finished shots:
http://www.bantrak.net/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=58&g2_itemId=465

There are some nice track plans here:
http://www.thortrains.net/nscale/nminis1.html

That reminds me, I have to get started on the 2007 layout.

Martin

John

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Re: N Scale layout in a week?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2007, 06:54:02 AM »
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That reminds me, I have to get started on the 2007 layout.

Martin

How about a coal mine