New Layout

Trains Dec 2, 2021

  1. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

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    I going to be starting a new layout soon. The last one was on 1/4 plywood and a 1x4 frame.
    It was pretty noisy. What's the best thing to use to keep it quiet?
    I'm thinking 1/2" plywood on a 1x4 frame with cork on the top.

    Thanks
    Don
     
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  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It also depends upon the amount of support through the framing. If you just use the four outside pieces of a frame, you have created a drumhead. Intermediate cross supports cut that down. (And make the table stronger.) Remember than sound is created via vibration, so the less possible, the better. Have you also considered foam insulation board? With or without plywood, it does tend to help dampen sound, if properly supported.
     
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  3. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

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    I was thinking of 1x4 frame with cross piece every 16". Then cookie cutter the plywood for roadbed.
    Also thought of 2" foam that would be a little harder to make grades.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Cookie cutting should actually help reduce noise, as the potential drumhead of a solid sheet is disrupted. 16" should be good. Plenty solid.
     
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  5. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    I would do 1x4 with cross member every 12" to reduce as much vibration as possible. I did a 3x5.5 using 2" pink foam and it worked out quite well. Not too noisy at all.
     
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  6. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    Outer frame of plywood with cross members for support and 2" foam inside. You end up with a strong but very light layout and it makes scenery much easier to extend below track level as well. It's now the only way we make modules for our portable layout.
     
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  7. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    I've posted this before but just in case you haven't seen it.

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  8. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    How big, 2'x2', 4'x8' 20'x32'? The size will dictate my answer.
     
  9. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

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    It's going to be U shaped 2 feet wide, about 8 foot x 16 foot. The old layout was 6x12 oval,got tried of climbing under it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2021
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  10. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Have you considered gluing 1/2" foam on top of the 1/4" plywood before you cookie-cutter it? Should still be plenty flexible for any grades you need, and the foam will both deaden the sound and provide some carving surface to blend in with terrain and scenery next to the track. The only thing is you will need to make sure you have glue spread evenly so that once you cookie-cutter it, the foam is still fastened to the plywood.

    Just a thought, and I should note that I have never tried it that way... But I've never done cookie cutter plywood before either.

    Disclaimer: your mileage may vary; closed course, professional driver; objects in mirror are closer than they appear; surface may be hot; contents under pressure; do not incinerate; do not look into laser with your other eye; etc. yada, yada, yada...
     
  11. Trains

    Trains TrainBoard Member

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    Never considered that will give it some thought.
     
  12. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    +1. Plywood will resonate and foam will resonate, but having both they tend to dampen each other. Any additional layers of differing densities, such as a layer of craft foam, will also help dampen the sound. I like to use wood (hollow core door), then pink or blue foam, then a layer of craft foam, then track.
     
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  13. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting... craft foam (an Ethylene Vinyl Acetate [EVA] foam) sounds like it is typically less rigid (depending on how much VA) than extruded polystyrene foam insulation board (e.g. the pink stuff from HD or the blue stuff from Lowes). I'm betting craft foam is more expensive...

    And then there's the roadbed, ties, rails, and don't forget the wheels, that also orchestrate the "song of the rails"! If I could find wheels that ran as clean as metal, but sounded like more like plastic, I'd be in heaven!
     
  14. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    Maybe you can cut out a test Cookie Cutter piece and try combinations too see how it sounds? If that's not too much trouble? Only you know how much sound is acceptable to you. I think there is going to be some sound no matter what you do? But that should be normal.
     
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  15. Inkaneer

    Inkaneer TrainBoard Member

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    Modular, sectional or "permanent layout"? Actually, it doesn't matter. Most NTRAK modules are 2 feet wide and either 4 or 6 feet long. Some are eight feet. Most are built with 1x4 frames and plywood base with both cork roadbed and track glued. Noise does not seem to be a problem. Then again, you can employ the car salesman's solution when a customer complained of a problem because he heard a noise coming from the front end of his car. The salesman asked him if the car came with a radio to which the man replied that it did. The salesman then said he knew what was the problem and the solution was very simple. All he had to do was turn up the volume on the radio!​
     
  16. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    It's good to see these again @MK . I see simplicity, strength and precision, and am in admiration. (y)
     
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  17. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Hardcoaler! Believe it or not, it was all cut with a $10 miter box from Home Depot. No powered tools. Didn't have any back then. :)
     
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  18. CSX Robert

    CSX Robert TrainBoard Member

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    By volume, much more expensive! I'm using the thin sheets. I'll often cut strips and use it as the roadbed, but I'll also use it underneath Unitrack.
     
  19. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    I have already posted, but now MK posted pictures similar of what we do (we just use plywood for the sides instead of 1x4s). I can't recommend this enough. You just bolt everything together and it is actually very quiet (we rarely make 2x4 modules anymore, sticking to 2x6s and 2x8s). If you ever need to move it, you just unbolt it and take it away since it is very light but still strong.
     
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  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    What kind/thickness of plywood do you use?
     

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