Author Topic: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?  (Read 4505 times)

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wcfn100

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N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« on: June 01, 2013, 07:31:05 PM »
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So 10+ years ago I came up with an idea for carrying my cars to shows.  I wanted something customizable and not hard to make.  So a designed a pattern that my dad had made into a cutting die and I made a few to see how they worked.







The tray fits into a regular Banker Box.  The foam pieces have adhesive backing and are mostly the 'T' shapes plus some 'L's depending how it fit the pattern.

Basically I have 6 boxes of cut foam in my garage I want to find out if I should toss it or maybe pursue this project again.  Where the project initially stalled was I needed to find a foam piece to cover the tray and never could off the shelf.

What do you think?

Jason


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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 12:24:29 AM »
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Assuming that the Ts are well glued to the Masonite this should work ok. But it could use some cushioning on the bottom (so the car sides aren't rubbing against Masonite). Same with whatever sits on top (needs some cushioning).

The other problem is that this arrangement seems inflexible (as far as the car length goes).  When I go to N-Trak shows I have a box compartments which are the length of the box.  That allows me to store any length cars in any compartments.  Granted, there is no car-end protection but they are so well cushioned that in the 30 years of my N-Trak participation, I never had any cars damaged.
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wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 12:54:39 AM »
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Assuming that the Ts are well glued to the Masonite this should work ok. But it could use some cushioning on the bottom (so the car sides aren't rubbing against Masonite). Same with whatever sits on top (needs some cushioning).

The foam sticks fine - or at least it did 10 years ago.  And as I mentioned in my post, I had started looking for some foam to cover the masonite but was unable to find anything that would cover in one piece.  I don't know that the top needs covering as the foam is deeper than the width of a freight car.  The only concern could be the bottom tray perhaps as I believe I can get 6 trays in one Bankers Box and there is some compression of the foam.

The other problem is that this arrangement seems inflexible (as far as the car length goes).  When I go to N-Trak shows I have a box compartments which are the length of the box.  That allows me to store any length cars in any compartments.  Granted, there is no car-end protection but they are so well cushioned that in the 30 years of my N-Trak participation, I never had any cars damaged.

It's flexible to some degree.  One of the ideas behind this was that you could arrange trays to fit whatever cars you want to associate together and then take whichever trays you wish to a show.  Also, any 40' box car will fit any 40' box car slot (and so on for others cars) so it's not like each spot is unique to one car.  With that said, in a big layout setting, it's not always bad to have spots labeled to make sure you're not missing any cars and if so, which ones.

Jason

basementcalling

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 04:34:11 AM »
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Not all of us tote 40 foot boxcars. Mine are fifty and sixty feet. Most hoppers are shoter.

Can you add a felt or thin fabric covering to the Masonite?
Peter Pfotenhauer

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2013, 09:23:09 AM »
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Have you checked any fabric stores for the foam rubber? I know JoAnne's used to stock thin sheet foam rubber (hope they still do as I need some for my totes).
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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2013, 09:38:50 AM »
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Hit the craft or fabric store and look for a product called Funky Foam. Foam sheets in various colors and thickness, even some with an adhesive back. Cut it into 40' box car rectangles and place in the pocket just under the car. This would protect the car and make eaiser to pick them up out of the tray as you could grip under the car a bit. Cutting in car sized rectangles would conserve the foam also and make it go farther that laminating the whole masonite sheet.
Tony Hines

wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2013, 09:39:33 AM »
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Have you checked any fabric stores for the foam rubber? I know JoAnne's used to stock thin sheet foam rubber (hope they still do as I need some for my totes).
At the time what I found was the Funky Foam sheet which were a hair too small to cover a tray.  I had contacted them but don't remember anymore how that ended up.

Jason

wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2013, 09:42:52 AM »
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Cut it into 40' box car rectangles and place in the pocket just under the car. This would protect the car and make eaiser to pick them up out of the tray as you could grip under the car a bit. Cutting in car sized rectangles would conserve the foam also and make it go farther that laminating the whole masonite sheet.

That doesn't work because it reduces the depth of the pocket the car sits in to the point where having trays on top of it does become a concern.  And I used the thickest foam the die can cut.

Jason

wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2013, 09:48:44 AM »
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I think I have my answer but let me back up one time to clarify a couple things.

This is an idea for a kit to make your own customizable storage trays to fit into a standard Bankers Box.

What you would get is 5-6 masonite (or similar) trays with the hand holes cut out and lined with a thin foam sheet.  You would also get several bags of the foam pieces.





At which point, you can create your trays however you see fit to any combination of different cars you like.



The tray in that last picture is a half tray.  It allows for the other half of the box to hold locomotive boxes.

IIRC you're looking at 180 or so cars per box with the full trays.

Jason
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 09:52:04 AM by wcfn100 »

havingfuntoo

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2013, 09:53:56 AM »
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I use a fabric composite designed to used as head lining in cars, it is thin 4mm, soft and cushions the cars with out rubbing off the paint. I am not sure how well the foam would stick to it, if at all. It would require being cut to fit ….. if you were doing a base then a cover for the cars could be cut at the same time. The bonus is it is not hard to work with.

central.vermont

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2013, 11:43:37 AM »
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Jason,

Sounds like a good idea as a kit but you are not saying what size Bankers Box. There are several different sizes out there available.
Also was wondering if you would just sell the foam pieces to individuals? I store my cars in large size pizza boxes 16.5x16.5.

Jon

wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2013, 11:50:12 AM »
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Jason,

Sounds like a good idea as a kit but you are not saying what size Bankers Box. There are several different sizes out there available.
Also was wondering if you would just sell the foam pieces to individuals? I store my cars in large size pizza boxes 16.5x16.5.

Jon


It's made for this:



But obviously could be adapted to something else.

I could absolutely sell the foam pieces separately as long as shipping something so light isn't cost prohibitive.  I would need to find someone in CO who can get the foam and cut it with the die.  Next time I talk with my dad, I'll see if he remembers any of the costs (besides the cost of the die which he will never let me forget :)).

If I get a chance, I'll take an inventory of what I have.  If I can figure out what I would need if I never make any more, maybe I can offer some samples from the rest to those who would like to see how the foam pieces work.

Jason
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 11:54:24 AM by wcfn100 »

central.vermont

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2013, 11:59:22 AM »
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Jason,
OK so the Masonite tray you show the foam on is 15x10 right? So in the pictures of your foam you have a bag of foam with several pieces. Will one bag do one tray?

Jon

wcfn100

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2013, 12:14:39 PM »
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Jason,
OK so the Masonite tray you show the foam on is 15x10 right? So in the pictures of your foam you have a bag of foam with several pieces. Will one bag do one tray?

Jon


Honestly I don't remember.  It's really been over 10 years (closer to 15) since I looked at this project.  I know I have a couple trays built for 40' cars and can use that as a gauge and compare it to what comes in a bag of foam pieces.

Jason

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Re: N scale Storage Case - Good Idea, Bad Idea or No Idea?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 10:53:04 AM »
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An interesting idea. For me it doesn't have enough car-per tray density for me to abandon my current method. (Think heavy duty cases for oversized VHS tapes, and the cases are lined with head liner)

As an example, in my case which holds my reefers, All the 40' cars are in columns and the wheels of the previous car are against the roof of the next, and all the cars are well protected in the cases.
With my Kadee, PRR H31 hoppers, They have fox-valley low-pro wheelsets in the turcks (which need to be changed out for the more reliable "Std." type) and the wheels of the previous car fit into the body of the next, almost exactly up the the body of the next car. 12 of them fit in a perfect column.

For any type of storage product for N, it all comes down to car-to-space-density, size of the storage unit(s), and cost. The long white boxes that everyone is familiar with are far too big, and overly expensive.
I get as many reefers in my case (which they are no more than 15" wide and 12" long/tall, and probably 1.5" thick) as can fit in one of those boxes.

For the size of the product you have created, I think that it is far better (and certainly less cumbersome) than the long white boxes most are familiar with, but i'll suggest that if you consider altering the design of the trays i'd try to increase the number of cars per tray.


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