2020-2021 Thirteenth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 11, 2020

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    GP30, If you are comfortable using a tighter radius (27 or 30 inch radius) at the start of your bottom loop and increasing the radius continually by 2 to 2.5 inches per loop to the top loop, you might be able to use a bowl-shaped helix instead of a stacked cylindrical helix in the same 36 inch radius footprint.


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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Hemi: Thanks for "sticky-ing" the Layout Party thread. I'm pleased we have so many folks joining.
     
  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    GP30,
    Using the Bowl-Shaped Helix Dimensions Calculator stickied at the top of the Layout Design Discussion forum home page, I plugged in a minimum radius of 27 inches, maximum footprint of 72 inches, 2% grade throughout the helix, ramp width of 3 inches, set 0 inches of rise before entering the helix, and set 0 inches rise after exiting the top of the helix. The calculator indicated it would take just under 3 full loops to climb 11 inches. By carefully tweaking how many inches of rise are made before entering the helix, it would be possible to exit the top of the helix 11 inches higher than the lower deck after only 2.5 loops (so that, climbing a little on the lower level and then entering the bottom of the helix at the back of the shelf going to the right, it would be possible to climb clockwise for 2.5 loops and enter the next deck at the front of the shelf traveling to the left).

    If you want to use different values for your minimum radius, ramp width, grade, helix footprint, etc., open the Excel spreadsheet, and plug in alternate values to see their effects on the helix dimensions.
     
  4. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    Looking really nice, Kevin & Brad! You had me at tunnels... :)
     
  5. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I found the thread regarding the bowl helix design and downloaded the excel file. I also played with the numbers, too.

    My goal is to keep all curves at 30” minimum radius. I have 8 or 9 auto parts boxcars around 86’ in length (ballpark 12” long) that I would like to use. Coupler overhang becomes extreme on curves less than 30” radius. But it wouldn’t be a deal breaker if I couldn’t use them, I have plenty 60’+ boxcars to pick up the slack.

    Anyhow, I haven’t seen a bowl helix before, but I have an image in my mind that may be incorrect. I’ll make a post in that thread as not to disrupt this one.


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  6. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I considered a helix for a long period of time before deciding against one for 'my situation' but I did come to the conclusion that if I was to build one the train would be visible at least part of the time and the train and cars would be accessible almost all of the time. I wouldn't necessarily have to crawl into a cave and reach between supports to do that. Here are pictures and a link to what I'm talking about. It would take up more room than a concealed more conventional helix like you often see but I felt it was much more functional and had the options for more visibility. Here is the link .....

    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/n-scale-layout.30638/

    .... and a few pictures from it.

    [​IMG]

    Above the train spirals on the outside always accessible. This could be mountain scenery with some tunnels.

    The next photos show the train spiraling on the inside and again regardless of if the train is seen or not it is easier to get to it.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    Sumner
     
  7. Atani

    Atani TrainBoard Member

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    You could also do a herniated helix, I made one on my old layout (link with pics) which had around 19in elevation to gain. The visible sections were spaced around 6in apart and the grade was around 1.5% IIRC.
     
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  8. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, what a bunch of good ideas in that link, thanks. I'll PM you about the handheld throttle,

    Sumner
     
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  9. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    You are not late at all, we just started. Love what you have done with your layout room since last year, that's a really nice setup. Your combination of track is the same as mine and I've been quite satisfied with it. Welcome !
     
  10. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    Sumner & Atani,

    I planned to build a stacked helix (only 2-1/2 rotations) to be able to have track (steel mill scene and coal classification yard) and scenery and partially hidden reverse loop above it on the lower level.

    Of course I’m remaining open minded about the types available. I also am planning on another one at the “other end” of the layout to reach the second level, but that will have to wait until I get benchwork close to that end (months away). That one in particular, I would be very interested in a stepped, pyramid-like helix when that time comes.


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  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    There are pics of my 4 helices taken in 2006 and 2007 in my Helix Album in TrainBoard's RailImages HERE.

    Here are some more recent pics from January and Feb 2020 when I added a turnout to also exit the Bartonville Helix from the second loop.
    1. Lower track is entrance to the Bartonville Helix; upper track leaves helix from second loop to cross the bridge. 2.View of new turnout from inside the helix. 3. Looking down on the loops of the helix. The turnout at the bottom edge of the pic is where the helix exits onto the upper deck at 65" from the floor. The diverging route of the turnout in the third track from the bottom of the pic is the track that goes under the bridge to enter the bottom of the helix at 48" from the floor. The newly installed turnout is in the upper right corner of the picture. The diverging route begins the 2nd loop of the helix and the straight route exits to the bridge. 4 Scrap iron loads exiting the bottom of the Bartonville Helix.The bridge support is (sort of) visible above the caboose.
    upload_2020-12-16_11-51-11.png
    5. This pic shows the upper and lower exits to the Bartonville Helix and the vertical tree flat view block that hides the helix. This pic was taken today. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
  12. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

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    FWIW, and this layout has since been dismantled and scrapped, a spiral helix can be assembled in a bowl or pyramid arrangement. I chose a bowl, flip it and you can run trains from the outside and have access too.

    [​IMG]

    Helix supports:

    [​IMG]

    The longest scroll cut of my life:

    [​IMG]

    Before cutting:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    :ROFLMAO:"Herniated Helix" LOL! What an apt description!

    Great in-progress pics! Well Done.
    I found the pic that showed the start of some scenery near the helix...are there any pics showing more scenery on the visible portions of your Helix?
     
  14. Atani

    Atani TrainBoard Member

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    Sadly there are no more pictures of that layout as it was torn down a few weeks after the last pictures were posted in the album.
     
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  15. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    A little history on the Layout Parties...(other TrainBoard staff, please feel free to add comments, corrections and clarifications, especially about the Parties held before I joined TB staff in 2005).

    As the links in the first post in this thread show, Rick Nicholson started the first layout Party in Spring 2002, and named each of the next handful of Parties.

    0wen Kane and I were Layout Design Discussion forum Moderators in 2007 when Owen “upgraded” our parties to acknowledge the international status of the TrainBoard membership and switched the annual party from spring to winter.

    I try to start the annual winter Layout Party on a weekend between the middle of December and the first day of winter (December 21), and normally run it for 10 to 12 weeks. I’ve ended up most of our Parties on a weekend near the beginning of March.

    I see posts above by several members who have attended previous Parties, and I encourage anyone seeking inspiration to look back through the links to previous Parties in the first post of this thread to trace the development/growth of their fantastic layouts over the years.


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  16. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Ok I'm in as I need some motivation to get at least one aspect of the layout finished as I tend to bounce from one thing to another. I returned to model RR (N Scale) about 2 years ago. What have I got accomplished?

    Well no layout to actually run trains on :(. Two short test tracks and a couple short test tracks attached to my turnout tester that I run locos back and forth on to test the handlaid turnouts I've made. Also made over 40 hand-laid turnouts to use.

    Bought a lot of DC locos and a few DCC and have hardwired and installed some drop-in decoders for starters. Got an Arduino based DCC++ system with JMRI up and running (a lot simpler now with the work the 'guys' are doing with DCC++ EX.

    Bought an Ender 3 Pro 3D printer and learned Fusion 360 to some degree and have designed over 100 railroad related items with Fusion and printed them out with the printer. Fusion and the printer has pretty much halted actual construction for the past 8 months or so. It has been great but I have to start putting time into an actual layout also. So I'm hoping this party will help with that.

    [​IMG]
    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/UP Canyon Division/page-2.html

    I did make the benchwork for the staging yard area shown above but never laid track on it.

    I've bought quite a few locos and I need a small test track to run either DC or DCC locos on and test them out and program decoders. I decided to build the following one. It has casters on one end so can be wheeled out of the way when not in use under the layout in the future (staging benchwork now). As the following pictures show I got started on it a month or so ago but then went back to Fusion and the printer. So my goal for the 'party' is to finish it with track, turnouts, DC/DCC wiring and have it where I can actually put a loco on it and run it. Here are a few pictures to bring you up todate on where it stands at the moment....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After watching Joe's YouTube channel ( Central Jersey Conrail in N Scale ) lay down cork and then following that up with track and turnouts I decide to give his method a try. I love his videos and how-to's. He gets things done pretty quickly and that is important to me at my age. You can find his YouTube channel ( HERE ).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Turnout tester ( HERE ).

    [​IMG]

    So a little sanding and then onto track laying.

    Well with the printer humming in the background as I write this we will see where this heads to. I also have more info and pictures about the steps up to this point here if one is interested....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/UP Canyon Division/UP Canyon Division-Index.html

    Sumner
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2020
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  17. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    PSA that I'm dropping out of the Winter Layout Party.

    Matter a fact I'm dropping out of the N Scale altogether and will be selling all of my assets (have a boatload of new ME C55 track and turnouts, as well as some Atlas turnouts, not to mention the rolling stock).
     
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  18. Atani

    Atani TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry to see that you are dropping @TrainzLuvr but understandable.

    I'll jump in in your place though.. current state of the layout is more or less as the album shows above. My main goals will be finish off the staging deck, helix and get the main deck redrawn and get benchwork in place. Lots of small tasks as part of that.

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  19. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

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    It has been brewing for a while now - my heart is really not in N scale. I refused to acknowledge that until now, and I've gone deeper into it hoping that I would have a change of heart along the way but that did not happen.

    Maybe I could still stay in this year's party just so I have a focus and direction, except I do not know how far I can get or with what. It will be back to H0, for the last time I hope.
     
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  20. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Sumner, this turnout tester is awesome! And the links with pics and explanations were very impressive.


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