Author Topic: MR, benchwork, and the _other_ kind of "engineering"  (Read 978 times)

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Zox

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MR, benchwork, and the _other_ kind of "engineering"
« on: January 13, 2010, 07:41:03 PM »
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This year, Model Railroader is running a series of articles on building a 4x9-foot, N-scale layout with "easy-to-transport" benchwork. (How anything that big qualifies as "easy to transport" escapes me at the moment.) :)

The article is entitled "Benchwork with folding legs." And indeed the legs will fold--after removing twelve of the sixteen bolts holding them to the layout. You could take the same materials they show and, by just a slight rearrangement, reduce this to removing four of twelve bolts for exactly the same effect.

According to a picture caption with the article, "the legs need to be absolutely perpendicular to the L girders for the layout to be stable." In fact, legs are usually more stable if they flare out a bit, because they're already "falling over" in a controlled direction. At least they have some decent triangular bracing in place.

As an afterthought, they put tiny little casters on the ends of the legs, which (a) will only work well on absolutely smooth (and probably carpet-free) surfaces and (b) eliminate any possibility of leveling the layout without putting shims under the wheels.

Oh, and "the casters raised the layout another inch or so, but it [sic] made moving the layout much more convenient." Apparently there is some mystical reason why they couldn't cut an inch or so off the bottom of the legs, to compensate for the height of the casters.

Okay, rant over, but really--if you're going to do an article on benchwork, shouldn't some thought be put into the design of the benchwork?
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
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Big4Man

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Re: MR, benchwork, and the _other_ kind of "engineering"
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 08:30:56 PM »
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I probably won't be putting this "How-to" artical in my save folder either.
They should think about making the legs shorter. The entire series looks like they're presenting this as a gift to Kato.  :P

Dan

tom mann

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Re: MR, benchwork, and the _other_ kind of "engineering"
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2010, 09:39:12 PM »
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I had similar thoughts about that article, but the one thing that I noticed is that the girders look like 2x6s.  There is no way this thing is easy to transport, since it probably weighs 150-200 lbs.

Zox

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Re: MR, benchwork, and the _other_ kind of "engineering"
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 10:27:48 PM »
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...the one thing that I noticed is that the girders look like 2x6s.
According to the article, they're 1x4s with a 1x2 flange on top. It does appear to be a solid 2-by beam in the article-leading picture, but if you look at the near end of it you can see it's two pieces.

Even so, between the girders and the legs, we're talking about:

approx. 50 feet of 1x4 (girders and joists);
approx. 10 feet of 2x2 (legs);
approx. 40 feet of 1x2 (girders and bracing);
and most of a sheet of 3/8" plywood.

Plus fascia, backdrop, scenery...yeah, definitely something you don't want to pick up and toss around by yourself. :) (And quite possibly heavy enough to wreck the dinky little casters they used.)

Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
z o x @ v e r i z o n . n e t
http://lordzox.com/
It is said a Shaolin chef can wok through walls...