New Beginnings

PapaG Mar 1, 2021

  1. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    Andy,
    I built a frame around the bottom side of the HCD out of 2x2, so the layout wouldn't be resting on the wiring if I wire it under the deck. I also have a couple of boxes of plastic cable clamps that I'm using to secure wiring to the underside. Even with that soft, compressed paper (beaver board) cladding of the HCD, a decent little construction screw holds them pretty securely.

    I built the interior spurs just as shown, but the three-branch spur at the top, and in particular that branch that has the s-curve in it, will be used primarily by my switcher except when I have a train pulling into the station. And then, on the other interior spur, it's a straight shot into what will be the two-door engine house.

    I really like your idea of putting the foam panel on a framework on top of the door, creating a semi-open space between the foam and the door. I had no idea that was a 'traditional' method, but I do recall seeing many layouts built that way that weren't on a door. It just never occurred to me to incorporate that idea into my HCD benchwork.

    My foam isn't permanently attached to the HCD, so I could (theoretically) slide if off of the door and construct that frame... which is exactly what I think I'm going to do. I might use 1x4 (or 2x4... but that's going to add a lot of weight) instead of 2x2 though, so I have space enough to more easily reach into the cavity between the two.

    That may not be a 'solid, best answer', but it'll do brother... it'll do!

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2021
    badlandnp likes this.
  2. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,570
    4,909
    131
    Just a thought....

    How about making a simple 1x2...1x3...or 1x4 rectangular 'base' to attach the HCD on ? You wouldn't even need cross bracing as the HCD is sturdy enough to not sag. The 'base' would hide all the wiring and keep them all from being 'snagged' and being seen. You could use just about anything to attach the wiring to the bottom of the HCD. I used short pieces of velcro to tuck hundreds of feet of wiring from all my street lights up under the plywood base for THERR so that they where out of the way of drawers etc.. JMHO.


    *Disregard...George posted the same thing as I was typing my reply...LOL*
     
    MK, BigJake and badlandnp like this.
  3. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    I didn't intend to build a wood frame & strips between the HCD and insulation board, but use the frame & strips INSTEAD of the HCD.

    If you want to make spacers between the foam base and the HCD, cut them out of a foam sheet the thickness you want the strips to be (and however wide you want to cut them), that will be lightest weight. Glue them to the underside of the foam base so they lift up with it.

    -- Andy
     
    PapaG likes this.
  4. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,570
    4,909
    131
    If you wanted to get really weird.....but it does work !

    You could still put your insulated foam on top off the HCD. You could turn the HCD over...measure a couple inches in from each side and scribe lines. Use a box cutter with a nice new blade and cut on the lines. Pull the luan piece you cut out off and strip all the 'waffleing' out of the door cavity. *B A M *...instant hidden wiring cavity !!

    Yes...I think outside the box more times then not....LOL. :D:whistle:
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
    PapaG likes this.
  5. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    :D :D
     
  6. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    Took your advice and spread the single-crossovers apart where the dbl-crossover is, and moved the dbl-crossover in between them.

    I’ll have to rework the grading a little, but I see what you were talking about in having space to park a cut of cars and move around them.


    This is how that section of the layout with the dbl-crossover was built…

    D64F6614-2204-4A83-A19D-2C262D31E569.png

    This is how it’s built now…

    8EBEAC84-D0AB-42E9-9E17-8AE9E9555C13.jpeg

    I did the same thing in spreading out the other pair of single-crossovers on the other side of the layout too. Now I just have to finish working on the water features and I can test these modifications.

    BCB9E255-2D5C-4FD5-B9B4-DD2F1E6B5D7E.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
  7. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    I'd be a little concerned that disturbing the webbing inside the HCD, along with removing most all of one skin, would leave the upper skin unsupported and sagging. Also depends on the un-interrupted thickness of the foam board on top of it, and whether it is glued down to the HCD. Also think about resistance to twisting when moved, which could damage scenery topside. HCDs are engineered to be very rigid as a system, but start removing pieces of that system, and it changes dramatically. You could cut large circular holes in the bottom skin, as long as they don't overlap, and that would preserve a lot of stiffness and support (think about honeycomb structures). You'd probably have to cut them with a router (or Dremel) set for a shallow cut, just deep enough to cut the skin, to disturb as little of the cardboard internal webbing as possible. But cutting the internal ribbing to run wires around would destroy their ability to support the top skin.

    Proceed with caution...
     
    Shortround and MK like this.
  8. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    George,

    Looks good! I think you will like the new crossover locations for running (and parking) trains. You can also use the middle track in the curves to park trains or cuts of cars, while running around them on the outer (or inner) track. Or just display your favorite railcars and locomotives, parked on the layout...

    However, a new S-curve has been created: Look where the double crossover ends right at the curve for the inner track (in the 2nd picture). If the crossover is used to traverse from outer to inner track going into that curve, that represents a R781/R249(?) S-curve. If you can extend the internal loop with a 62mm section between them (and on the opposite side), that would work fine. I don't know what you have planned for scenery in between that end of inner and outer loops, and whether that might prohibit such an extension.
     
    PapaG likes this.
  9. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,570
    4,909
    131
    I actual did this on my very first layout. A 32x80 HCD. I imagine that if you had a ton of scenery on the top skin...yes...it might just sag. Most of our scenery is in fact things like light weight styrofoam insulation...light weight plaster over a lightweight framework. Trackwork is fairly light. Using a HCD means buildings of a smaller size...and lighweight. The 'skins' are glued (or laminated) to a 1x? framework. My original HCD suffered no sagging or any other ill effects from cutting the skin back and removing the waffling inside the door.

    I suppose cutting numerous smaller holes and leaving the 'waffling' intact might just have its advantages. One could just punch small holes thru the waffling to run wires thru. Now if you are going to have some larger after market external switch machines under the layout the above scenerio may not be a good idea...JS.

    And like you said >>>> "Proceed with caution..."

    .
     
    BigJake and MK like this.
  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    Good points... Both weight on the layout and the width of the door/layout play a role in how much support the upper skin needs (in addition to how rigid the layout (if it had 4+ inches of foam, glued together underneath everything, it probably wouldn't need an HCD at all!)

    I hadn't thought about poking holes in the cardboard ribbing to run the wires through, and keep them neatly tucked up in there, out of harm's way. With Unitrack there are no under-table switch machines, so they would be just fine. Great idea!
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  11. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    Yup! I noticed that, and I'm not decided yet as to what's going to go in that space between the mountain and that end of the inner loop. I was thinking about putting a camp ground there with some supporting business... convenience store/gas station, kayak and bike rentals, camp ground office, etc. if I extend the inner loop it might affect what I do there. A couple of inches may not have big enough impact to scuttle those plans, though it might change how I lay it out. In either case, I have time to work that out when I start testing track again.

    I can see the benefits of having a little more real estate between those single-crossovers though... I'm looking forward to experimenting what those spaces when I resume testing too!
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  12. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    8,570
    4,909
    131
    Thats the great thing about Unitrack....experiments......(y)(y)
     
    PapaG, BigJake and MK like this.
  13. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    1,816
    787
    43
    I have used hollow core doors for table tops with very little weight. One warped length wise, it was on file cabinets. The other was on a frame on the outer edges to support it and it collapse on one end. Making a depression were the computer printer sat near a window.
    Luckily I have five more of various widths. So at least I keep on trying. But won't be removing one face.
     
  14. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    Some HCDs have hardboard skins, others have plywood skins. Mine is the latter. I suspect they hold up better.
     
    mtntrainman likes this.
  15. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    Okay... I know that I promised that there would be no more pics of the "incremental progress" of my scenery work but... well... I lied! Lol!

    Here is water and effects having been applied to Four Falls Creek This is the first section of creek that ends at fall #1. The material for the falls themselves hasn't been made yet. In this first section I applied probably 6 or 8 individual applications of water material in order to get a good amount covering the rocks and pebbles I used as creek bed. The 'waterfall' itself will wait for later. That material can be a bit fragile and I don't want to have to worry about it every time I work on the layout.

    FFC 1st Fall.jpg


    This is the second section of creek leading to the 2nd fall. This section has a bit more white water in it. As this little pool will be receiving water from above, I thought some additional turbulence would be in character.

    FFC 2nd Fall.jpg


    The third section of the creek is simply more fast moving water. I used Woodland Scenics' "Water Effect" to create the splashing, which dries clear. I then took a wash of turquoise paint and water and applied this to the tops of all of my creek water and let that dry. I just wanted to have some hint of color so things weren't just either clear or white.

    FFC 3rd Fall.jpg


    The fourth section of Four Falls Creek curves around and divides around this mound resulting in two falls from this level to the gorge below. I imagined the water beginning to slow a little here, and you can see that the froth is reduced a bit and the white water is a little less extreme.

    FFC 4th Fall.jpg


    And, even thought Four Falls Creek only has 'four' falls, the fifth pic is of the creek dumping into the gorge at the bottom. Now, I've poured water into my gorge cavity, but there have been some serious problems with that pour. I'll get into that with the next set of pics and hopefully someone here can offer some advice on a repair. But that doesn't take anything away from this work, which I think turned our pretty nice, if I do say so myself :)

    FFC Gorge.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
    Shortround, Kurt Moose, MK and 3 others like this.
  16. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    Upon us all, a little rain must fall...

    My gorge pour didn't go quite as I had hoped. There were problems that are not going to be easily remedied, but I think (hope) that it is repairable.

    For my water pour in the gorge, I used Woodland Scenics' "Deep Water Pour "Murky". This is a two part epoxy product that is pre-tinted. I liked the idea of having something tinted by professional modelers, but I have to say that I think it's a bit dark. I installed some underwater features - some timbers and some static grass - but the 'murk' is too much to see any of that. Which is fine... I didn't spend a lot of time on that stuff, but it would have been cool if it had been visible from above.

    Unfortunately, the problems only begin there.

    I followed the instructions SCRUPULOUSLY! I set timers for all of the steps that required that I keep time, I used a thermometer in order to have the warming steps accomplished at the correct temperature, and I paid attention to every detail.


    The cavity was prepped using plaster to seal off the plaster cloth that forms the bottom. I painted it with acrylic paints, covered it with dirt, applied an acrylic wash of umber and water to darken the section that was to be the deepest, and applied some static grass and set timbers in place for 'underwater'.

    Gorge Water 1.jpg


    I installed my plexi dam, adhered that with a silicone caulk and let it dry for a couple of days. I then poured my Deep Pour Water into the cavity...

    Everything went pretty well up to this point. I didn't spring any leaks and the level of water in the cavity was exactly as I'd envisioned it. It was here that I realized that I couldn't see my underwater features, but I was still pretty pleased with the effort so far.

    Gorge Water 2.jpg


    After about 5 minutes I went back to the garage to check on the pour. This is what I found...

    Not only had the product bubbled, but it had heaved in ways that I found to be quite strange. Some small sections of the pour, maybe the size of a nickel or quarter, actually rose up above the level of the surrounding 'water', almost like a blister. And, of course the bubbles are horrible! Also, I wasn't expecting the kind of heat that this reaction generates. IT IS FORMIDABLE!

    The layout actually heaved and bound up from the heat. My bridges don't fit where they belong anymore, the bridge supports have physically moved closer together than where they began. Not much, but ever so slightly... that's all it took to change the fit.

    Gorge Water 3.jpg


    So, I decided to sand the surface to remove the bubbles and smooth out the imperfections. This is not nearly as easy as you might think. This material is HARD and does not lend itself to being easily sanded or shaped.

    My thinking is this... I'm going to attempt to apply a thin coat of Woodland Scenics' Realistic Water to this... this is their single part material that cures aerobically... and see if it will make my sanding marks disappear. The reason I'm thinking of using this is that Woodland Scenics states that both of these products, Realistic Water and Deep Pour Water, are compatible with one another to use in this way. So far I've used some 120 grit sandpaper and some steel wool... but I'm going to get some emery cloth on a small block and see if I can make some progress this way.

    If the addition of this material DOES cause my sanding marks to disappear (And I think it should work like a clear coat. When it fills the imperfections, they should disappear.) I'm going to pour a thin coat over all of it to fill the low spots and give the gorge a nice smooth surface for me to work with.

    Another problem I have to solve is that the sanding dust has filled some of the pinholes from the bubbles , and I'm not sure if I need to remove this material or if pouring the other water product will sufficiently cause that material to clear. If not, I fear that I'm going to have to drill those holes out in order to remove the material. I've tried blowing it out and scraping it out, but it's stubborn! But then, maybe drilling them is a good idea. Some of those pinholes are pretty small... and if I don't open them up a little I don't think I'll be able to get the other water product to fill them in. They may wind up looking like underwater bubbles if I leave them 'as is'.

    So, this is where I am... if anyone has some ideas on how to proceed, I'm all ears.

    TIA!

    Gorge Water 4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
    Shortround, Kurt Moose and badlandnp like this.
  17. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    3,112
    7,093
    72
    Them falls look great!
     
    PapaG likes this.
  18. badlandnp

    badlandnp TrainBoard Member

    3,112
    7,093
    72
    But having no experience with 'water' I have no suggestions for fixxing that pour. Am interested in what the other say.
     
    PapaG likes this.
  19. PapaG

    PapaG TrainBoard Member

    163
    382
    8
    I've had some problems every time I've poured 'water'... I'm beginning to think that its an overrated scenic element, lol!

    On the upside though, I think those falls look pretty good too! So, I'm going to celebrate the successes of Four Falls Creek... and ponder the failure of Christian Gorge for a while. Maybe someone here will have an insight *shrug*. If not, I'm moving forward with my plan to rescue the gorge! Lol!

    Push comes to shove, I'll cut the whole gorge out of the layout, insert a new piece of foam, and try it again!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
    badlandnp likes this.
  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    917
    848
    21
    I hear that "climate change" is in vogue... maybe a nice, arid desert scenic theme would do nicely! ;^)

    My mother had a needle-point (or was it cross-stitch?) that read "As ye sew, so shall ye rip!"

    But I agree, the falls look fantastic!

    On the constructive side, it seems to me that a lot of your submerged scenic material did not adequately "wet", and trapped bubbles, which eventually broke loose, but it was too late for them to break on the surface, and for the surface to subsequently heal. I wonder if there is some way you could pre-wet that material such that it does not trap bubbles (or releases them before it is too late?) What kind of thinner can you use with the water material? I'm not suggesting thinning it (yet), but could you use the thinner to wet the surfaces and materials?

    But I've never done water either, so take my suggestions for exactly what you paid for them.
     
    badlandnp and PapaG like this.

Share This Page