Model railroad roadbed processing,ho scale slot cars size,diecast model shops in preston - Videos Download

When creating roadbed for your model railroad track it’s hard to beat plywood topped by foam insulation for track that runs at table level. Model railroad track that is elevated from the benchwork introduces several new engineering problems we have to deal with. One way around these problems would be to separate the plywood and foam, leaving the plywood at table level and putting the risers between it and the foam roadbed.
Luckily, we came up with a solution to both our problems: a foam and thin plywood sandwich bonded with a polyurethane glue that makes a remarkably strong yet flexible model railroad roadbed. But polyurethane adhesives also have some idiosyncrasies that must be taken into account to be used successfully.
First, however, as shown in Figure 1, we peeled off the thin plastic sheet on both sides of the foam. Next, since the 5mm plywood is so flexible, you have to have a very flat base for the gluing operation. Spread a bead of polyurethane glue evenly across the surface of the 5mm plywood, as shown in Figure 3. Lay the foam printed-side down onto the wetted, glue-covered 5mm plywood sheet, as shown in Figure 6. As shown in Figure 8, we used some bags of sand we had laying about for a landscaping project, but you can use anything- tools, lumber, cinder blocks, etc. On our Roadbed: A Solid Foundation for your Model Railroad page of our O Gauge Model Railroad Layout Project, we show how to cut curved and straight pieces of roadbed from the finished 5mm plywood and foam sandwich to create an over-under figure 8 as shown in Figure 9. A few years ago, I picked up a used 1999-built Lionel 4-6-4 Hudson steam locomotive at a price too good to pass up.
Well, I decided to get it out this year for a new holiday layout I built, only to discover CORROSION!
Something had caused corrosion on the floor of the tender, so I tore it apart to see what was going on inside.
I discuss the discovery and the thought process put into deciding whether to tackle the repairs myself on our new Tips and Tricks page Repairing Corrosion on a Lionel Hudson Tender. Lionel’s Polar Express 2-8-4 Berkshire rolls past the wharf in Christmas Town pulling the three original set cars, and three add-on cars on its way to the North Pole. A young couple kissing under the village Christmas tree doesn’t even notice the Lionel 4-6-2 Pacific roaring by with a string of K-Line and IDM freight cars in tow, capped with a Lionel Santa Fe illuminated caboose. A Lionel Pennsylvania Railroad Three Rivers Berkshire pulls a string of K-Line streamliner passenger cars through the winter night to bring everyone home for the holidays.
When I found out my grandchildren were going to visit, I decided to throw together a little toy train layout for them to play with. I went on eBay and found two Toys ‘r Us promotional Lionel train sets, one from 1982 with an operating Geoffrey car and one from 1992 with a nice illuminated caboose.
I used Lionel Fastrack for the outside loop and O27 tubular track for the inside loop (mainly resorted to the tubular track for accessory activation).
The Fasttrack loop has two O36 remote switches, and doesn’t have any operating accessories, but I added a K-Line whistling train station between the two switch routes. I’ve got a bunch of Plasticville buildings that the kids can place wherever they want on the table (although with two different loops, there are more buildings than will fit).
If you are modeling a turn-of-the-century railroad, our free plans of the Smith-Sherlock store in South Pass, Wyoming are the starting point of a perfect structure for the commercial district. Once the benchwork is complete for our O Gauge Spare Bedroom Model Railroad Layout, it’s time to lay some track.
If you look at the prototype railroads near where you live, you will notice they are usually slightly elevated from the surrounding terrain.
This elevated area on which the railroad track rests is created in two phases: a sub-roadbed of rock, gravel, or tamped earth, topped with a gravel roadbed into which the track is set. Our choice of roadbed material also serves an important secondary purpose: noise suppression.
Once you’ve found the center of the circle, you can use a homemade trammel (beam compass) to draw the track center-line and the inner and outer edges of the roadbed, as shown in Figure 22.
Once you are sure of the lines you’ve drawn, you can cut along the inner and outer roadbed lines with a sharp utility knife. When the glue is dry, you can begin shaping the edge of the roadbed to the angle you will see when you look at prototype railroad. Once you are satisfied with the bevel, mark the center line on the roadbed so you can accurately lay the track later, and paint the roadbed with acrylic paint.
Looking at prototype railroad track near where you live, you will probably notice that the most heavily used mainline trackage has a more substantial roadbed than less-used sidings and secondary trackage.
We used a jigsaw with a fine-toothed blade to cut the roadbed curves from the 4×8 sheet, as shown in Figure 32. Figure 36 shows our progress on our O Gauge Spare Bedroom Model Railroad Layout Project with the outer loop of track already laid.
We’ve also glued together much of the lower part of the inner loop roadbed that passes under the overpass. I need the cork to elevate a pad to match rail height for a lumber yard and container yard. For different thickness of cork sheeting check with your auto parts stores and or any of the industrial gasket cutting & supply companies. I am coming down the home stretch of getting the upper deck basic benchwork built and in place.
The Mittiki coal mine area was straightforward to construct because it was straight and right angle work except for the corner. Once the spline was completed, construction proceeded along the same as the other benchwork. I was just wondering about the weight the masonite helix will impose on the layout benchwork. It seems very labor intensive, but on the flip side I am a great fan of insane craftmanship. Of course, now it occurs to me that your suggestion would achieve the same thing structurally, and provide simpler construction and better protection as well.

If you made the outside and inside boards a couple of inches wider than the rest so that the first and last spline were a couple inches above the rest of the roadbed, that would keep engines from falling off the helix. If you find something of value here, please "pay it forward" and help us keep the site operating by a secure donation through PayPal (PayPal account is not required), or by shopping with our advertisers. The plywood creates a solid subroadbed that also strengthens the benchwork; the foam creates a sound-deadening layer that is also easily shaped for scenic purposes.
But, without the support of the plywood, the foam will sag if not supported by risers every three to four inches.
Most other adhesives would either chemically attack the foam, or not hold a bond when subjected to the twisting forces required to keep curved, graded track level from side to side. If you don’t do this, you may find it will separate from the foam later, destroying your sandwich.
If there are any depressions on the floor, the strength of the expanding foam can force the plywood into it and away from the foam.
Then, using a hard wallpaper roller, spread the glue out on the sheet of 5 mm plywood as shown in Figure 4.
To learn how to calculate the grade and risers needed to create the figure 8, see our Calculating Model Railroad Grades page. Without much of a layout to run it on, after testing all the functions, I put it in the same temperature- and humidity-controlled layout room closet with all my other rolling stock and structures. What I discovered put me in the position of deciding what to do: take it in for professional restoration, or take on the job myself. It exudes that old-west charm with its log construction on three sides and frame construction on the false-front facade. But just as a prototype railroad needs a sturdy roadbed to keep the track in place while heavy trains run over it, so does your model railroad.
This elevation, in addition to creating the solid footing the heavy trains require, provides natural drainage for water that could soften the roadbed if allowed to pool, and allows track to compensate for vagaries in the level of the natural terrain.
If you’ve ever attached O Gauge model railroad track directly to plywood, you know the tremendous racket a passing train creates. In Figure 21 we laid the tongue-and-groove sheets of 1” foam for the roadbed of our mainline loop on the table top and measured from the wall to find the center point of our 72” curve, and the minimum distance from the edge of the table – usually you want to leave enough room from the track to the edge of the table so that a derailed train doesn’t go plummeting to floor. This tool works just like the circle-drawing compass you used in drafting class, with a pivot point at one end and a drawing point at the other.
Start with a new blade, and change it as soon as it feels like it’s “dragging,” or it will begin to tear the surface of the foam. While you could just add a solid sheet of plywood like the surface of the end table, we opted to leave much of the framework open, mainly so we could access the back edges during construction without climbing on top of the table. We used our sharp utility knife to take off the corners and begin the bevel angle, and then used a Stanley Surform rasp to continue the beveled shape, as shown in Figure 25.
We marked the center line with narrow bits of masking tape, as shown in Figure 26, that could be peeled away later to reveal the bright blue foam.
We ended up using Gorilla Glue, which is a water-activated foam glue that can grip the smooth surface of the foam sheet.
From this corner, as shown in Figure 29, we used our trammel to mark quarter-circles of our 42” and 54” diameter curves we will be using for our inner loops. To do this we needed a series of risers (shown in Figure 35) that will, step by step, raise the track high enough to pass over itself.
Since railroad grades are measured in percent, 10″ spacing of the risers makes it easier to calculate their height. We have already placed the first half of our risers, and laid our inner loop roadbed from where it begins at the outer loop switch up to the figure 8 overpass. We’ve temporarily laid some track on the roadbed to try and determine the exact location we need to install the 45-degree crossing piece where the siding coming off the lower inner loop switch at the right of the photo.
The thickness represents a class 1 roadbed, and for the same price as HO or N gauge cork, you get twice the strips, since one half of the O gauge cork is wide enough for one full track in N scale.
How thick is the n scale roadbed?3mm and 6mm respectfully, I can even get 3mm sheets of cork. There are only two switches in the track work in this area so it was easy to set the cross members at evenly spaced intervals. The outer perimeter shape and location is fixed by the lighting valance so it needed to be constructed the same as all the other benchwork. All I had to do to match the backdrop shape was add hardboard spacers simulating the hardboard backdrop thickness. The hardboard spline is extremely rigid and strong although it is seriously heavy compared to plywood. During the assembly of the splines and use of the spring clamps (some of my 73 clamps can be seen in the distance), the glue squeezes out both the top (aka stalagmites) and the bottom of the splines (aka stalactites).
It is amazing how we now use laminated materials in almost all forms of construction and design.
As you can see on our Calculating Model Railroad Grades page, that’s a lot of additional calculating and cutting of risers. Activated by water, it turns into a foam similar to the expanding foam insulation available in aerosol cans. Add more glue where needed and roll it out until the 5mm plywood is entirely covered with a very thin coat of glue. Even if the period of your model railroad layout is later, the store would be great as an abandoned building harkening back to an earlier era, or a museum (the use for which the real building is currently tasked). The wheels of the train create a vibration in the tubular rails, which is transmitted to the plywood, which acts like the wood in an acoustic guitar, retransmitting and amplifying it. We used a nail at one end for the pivot point and drilled holes just big enough for a Sharpie marker to fit at each of the points we needed to mark for a 72”, a 54”, and a 42” circle, the three diameters of track we will be using for our layout. When you remove the foam for cutting, use the trammel to mark the table surface at the distance of the inside or outside edge of the roadbed so you know where to put the foam roadbed back after you’ve cut it.
You will need an access hatch to reach these spots anyway once the layout is finished, so the more possible locations you leave yourself, the better.
We didn’t worry about cutting the outer edge of the curve in the roadbed because this part of the track will be hidden later when we create our scenery.

Keep your vacuum handy at this point, and suck up the foam particles frequently, or you will end up tracking them throughout the house. Later, we realized we could just draw over the center-line with a dull carpenter’s pencil, and the indentation in the foam was visible enough to keep our track centered during track laying, and abandoned the more labor-intensive tape strips. We laid the foam sheet in the driveway, applied of beads of Gorilla Glue on it, and spread them out with a hard rubber roller. We experimented with a couple methods to lay out as many of these quarter-circles as would fit while creating as little waste as possible. After the curves have been freed from the 4×8 sheet, the ends of each curve must be carefully cut square with a miter saw so when you assemble them later the curves are true. Many of these risers will be hidden later by scenery, or in some cases, removed and replaced by bridge abutments, piers, or trestles. In fact, it looks like I may be a few boards shy by the time I get to the end of the benchwork at Kitzmiller. But the wall board side was different from all others in that it needed to be curved into a six foot diameter half circle. No weight worries, it made a clean, effective solution to the curved wall benchwork problem. Our trains must climb a steep grade to traverse a large desert mesa before descending and passing beneath the upgrade track to reach vital industries and passengers located in the valley below. The rest of the track is on a grade – that is, it is either climbing from, or descending to, table level. While 12” of additional track length may not seem like a lot, on a layout the size of our O Gauge Model Railroad Layout Project, it requires more space than we have.
These adhesives can expand three to four times their original volume, so a strong bond requires clamping to keep the two parts being joined in contact with each other. Styrene insulating foam sheets (Styrofoam is the brand name of the Dow Chemical Company’s version of these) acts as a good damper to these vibrations, quieting the sound of your trains to a more tolerable level. Make sure to leave enough room for beveling the inner and outer edges of the roadbed later to match the angle of prototype railroad roadbed. The foam is glued to the plywood with carpenter’s wood glue which gives a pretty strong joint.
The particles pick up a static charge and will stick to you, your clothes, and especially your dog.
The small void shown in this photo is not a problem, unless it goes all the way from one side to the other. The best method we found, shown in Figure 30, was to move up and over 9” from our original pivot creating a new square corner to draw a second set of quarter-circles. Straight pieces of roadbed can be cut from the scrap left over from the 4×8 sheet using a table saw with the rip fence set to the roadbed width.
Once you are sure the joint is lined up correctly, weight it down until the glue dries, as shown in Figure 34.
The foreground benchwork in this photo is above the north helix so it is at the standard 53″ zero elevation. To go around the curve with stick lumber and angles would have resulted in a lot of very short boards with a lot of shallow angle joints. This type of plywood is used as an underlayment beneath flooring, so it usually has a rough side and a smooth side. However, when measuring to drill these holes, don’t make the same mistake we did, and measure from the end of your beam compass. The foam is clamped down using scraps of wood to keep the clamps from damaging its soft surface. Our German shepherd had blue highlights in her fur throughout this entire part of the project.
I would rather not mess around fetching and ripping more plywood in the middle of the winter if I can avoid it. To this I added a second spline liberally coated with Titebond glue and repositioned the clamps.
When the track climbs a grade while on a curve, the roadbed resists the twist required to remain level across the width of the track and won’t lie flat against the risers. Check out our Tips and Tricks page Creating Strong Roadbed for Elevated Model Railroad Track for an illustrated tutorial. Starting from the opposite corner, we repeated the process, and created two complete 42” and 54” circles of roadbed, as well as all the straight sections we needed and a few wider pieces to use under our switches. This is to allow for the beginning of the downgrade into the Potomac River valley at Kitzmiller. The laminating process was continued one strip at a time with an overnight’s dry time between strips. We originally planned our center hole to line up with the outside rail of our curves, as shown in labeling in figure 22a, but when we laid track on it after drawing the arc, we realized the line was actually where the center rail lay. Make sure you cut the plywood sub-roadbed where the tables join, or you will make it impossible to disassemble the tables later, if (or, more likely, when) needed.
As noted in Figure 27 above, we were not entirely successful, but the small voids we found when we cut the foam later were not significant enough to weaken our roadbed.
That’s when we went back and measured, and realized we had used the edge of the trammel, rather than the pivot point for the base of our distances. Here, Charlie Comstock details how he uses spline on his Bear Creek and South Jackson layout. Luckily for us the distance between the edge of the trammel and the pivot point was equal to the distance between the center rail and outer rail, so we just had to relabel our lines, and add a new hole in the trammel for our outside edge of the roadbed.

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