Hollow Core Door Layout questions

Dave McDonald Oct 13, 2021

  1. Dave McDonald

    Dave McDonald TrainBoard Member

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    Good evening,

    I am thinking about getting a 36 x 80 hollow core door to use for a layout. I use Kato Unitrack. My question is in regards to sound; does the door reverberate sound and is it generally noisy? If it is noisy, what do you do to quiet it down? Any help would be appreciated.
     
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  2. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    My old HCD with unitrack had no 'reverberate sound'... nor any track noise at all. All I ever heard was locomotives and cars 'clicky-clacky' over rail joints. :D
     
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  3. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    If it is in the budget in general you may want to use a layer of 2" foam. It is great for all kinds of purposes the greatest of which is scenery.
    It comes in 2'x8' sheets so you would need 2 of them and cut one down for the extra space. You would a bit left over to use for elevation on the layou.
     
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  4. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    I had or still have the HCD in the garage empty, not in use. You will need either foam or at the least cork roadbed, that's what I had. Any bare lumber will make a noise, even my 2' x 4' did before adding foam and even a 2' x 4' sheet of cork under the foam. Had it already and did not want to pay $20.00 for a sheet of 2' x 4' pine! back in the Summer when lumber was out the arse!
     
  5. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    In2tech....

    Where u using Kato Unitrack ? I've used Unitrack on HCD's and even now its on 1/2 plywood and I never had to put any kind of 'noise dampner' under Unitrack.
     
  6. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    No, I was talking Atlas code 80 :) My bad! Should have said so. Also, what I still use. All Atlas for me! Well not sure who makes the 30" length's? Can't even use them on my 2'x 4'? But will on diorama. I have to make a decision in the future, N Scale roadbed, or a 2' x 4' piece and cut it out along the track. Not there yet.
     
  7. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    It will depend on the material used for the door. The harder layered paneling is quitter than the softer pressed board.
    You can tell at the edge and the layered is harder to drill than the pressed board. Also the inside bracing keeps it from vibrating. Cheap doors have little inner bracing. You can tell that by thumping like a drum. A hollow drum makes more sound. And is easier to punch through.
    Best wishes.

    Rich
     
  8. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    My current layout consists of two HC doors making a 14 foot long layout by 3 foot wide. The doors are set on cabinet base units giving me storage. Two sheets of pink foam each .75 inch thick are laid on using white glue giving me 1.5 inches of foam. Could not find the 2 inch at the time. The foam gives me a surface to put in streams and other features.

    It was much cheaper to go this route since I bought the doors and the unfinished cabinet bases on sale.
     
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  9. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    If this is going to be a portable layout that you would want to move sometime then I would not recommend using a hollow core door. Reason: Ever try to move a door through a doorway especially when it has scenery on it? Also, wiring is typically under the layout where it is protected; not so on a door. Then there is the problem of how do you handle the door when you do move it? What do you grab to lift it and carry it? Instead I would recommend building a modular layout that can be expanded as need or space allows. You will be far better off in the long run. That being said, if the HCD will be a permanent layout, then moving and transporting it ceases to be a problem. But 'permanent layout' is an oxymoron because all layouts get moved or demolished. One more thing, on a 30x80 HCD, unless this will be a switching layout, you will be limited to curves that are 14 inch radius or less. While N scale equipment can negotiate that curvature they don't look good doing it. However, as in all things relating to model railroading, MRR Rule #1 applies.
     
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I just completed the benchwork for my N Scale HCD layout and it'll be surfaced with 1/2" foam. It's my first HCD layout, using two HCDs cut to length and designed to be moved someday. The 1/2" plywood fascia is light and works well to aid gripping and lifting the tables, and everything is square and strong. The entire layout weighs just 70 LBS as you see it, sans the removable legs. My wife and I carried the tables upstairs around a dogleg in the staircase and it was a cinch.

    My previous layout was also movable, but was of traditional construction and weighed more. The mountain scenery was removable and the new layout will provide for that as well. @Inkaneer 's mention of wiring is a legitimate concern, but I have some notions in mind. There's 2" of open space below the HCD hidden by the fascia and it'll serve well to hide whatever I engineer beneath.

    2021-10-10 DSN Tables Set Up For First Time - for upload.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  11. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Are you sorry you asked? Each model railroader will have his own parameters and solutions which they / we happily share.

    Where I live 1/2" foam comes in 4'x8' sheets. That would be a great way to get a basic 'foundation' / 'base' with lots left over for levels of scenery.

    Hiding wires:
    Some folks drill straight down and feed them through.
    Some folks 'bury' them in the foam.
    In the short run using the 'bury' method works for turnout and power wires just to get them out of the way.
    The 'drill down' method is probably better in the long run. The hard part is finding just the right drill size to allow the Kato 'plugs' to fit through.
    Regardless of method make sure you lable them. Don't alsk me how I know or about that 20 car train that took a spur thrack way tooo short. ☻
     
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  12. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    I WISH I could get 1/2" extruded foam in CA. I need some for the land around a rather large river with a turning basin but while I can get 2" (at a premium price), the only foam that the big box stores carry around here is the 'popcorn' foam...yech and pass.
     
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  13. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Dave McDonald, As Grey One mentions above, ask 10 model railroaders and you may get 10 different answers :) But that is all part of the fun of sharing the hobby with others.

    My Long Valley Branch is built on a 24" x 80" hollow core door. The track is Atlas code 80 on N scale cork roadbed.

    End view of The Long Valley Branch 1024 x 768.JPG

    I've had zero sound issues with this setup. I'm old school so the cork roadbed is nailed to the HCD using Atlas Track Nails. The track was then held in place on the cork roadbed using the same Atlas track nails. For running feeder wires I drilled through the HCD and attached the wires to the underside of the door.

    Someday when I build The Long Valley Branch 2.0, I think I'm going to use the pink or blue foam on top of the HCD. This will allow for some below track scenery items like ponds, creeks, steams and roadways. Like others have suggested, you should consider placing the pink or blue foam insulation on top of your HCD to allow for these below the track scenic items.

    When you start construction, please start a new thread so we can all follow along with your new layout.
     
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  14. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I never thought about excessive sound transmission when I selected HCDs, but am glad to read of your experience with it. When I cut my HCDs to length, I found that the interior is filled with dozens of angled corrugated cardboard walls glued in place, more than I could count. They're there for strength of course, but they would also provide a significant dampening of sound.

    Thanks too for the photo of your layout. I never get tired of seeing shots of it. (y)
     
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  15. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    OP has stated he is thinking a 36" wide HCD not 30". He should be able to get somewhere close to 17" radius curves.
     
  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Remember that radius is measured to track center line. So 17" gets fairly close to the door's edge. He might also look at doing 16" at maximum.
     
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  17. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yup...its late and I forgot its measured from the centerline. 16" radius would be better. 16R is still better then 14" radius...;)
     
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  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    3 inch radius!!! Ha ha ha.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    3 inch radius? That looks like something John Moore would use ! (y)
     
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  20. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I resemble that remark.
     

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