Jul 22, 2006
It turned out fantastic! Thanks for the link.
Hey guys, about to build my first N scale layout, maybe using HCD as I have no room for a 4x8. Just looking for a good HCD layout I can use. (I want to run two trains at the same time and have lots of switching and routing possibilities.)
I see the posts awhile ago for table legs from HD, Lowes, etc. My question is since N is so small (I am used to HO), I would like to have the table (door) high enough off the floor to see it well. What is a good table height for N scale? I was wondering because if you use those table legs and a door, seems like the whole layout will be too low. Do you guys prop up the door first before attaching the legs?
Conventional wisdom right now says to have your layout about chest high so you have a good viewing angle but can reach across the layout. But that assumes you'll be standing while operating, typically for a larger, walkaround layout.
Depending on your reach and / or if you have a chair with rollers, you can put an HCD at desk height or a bit higher and sit while operating (my preferred mode of ops).
To raise the HCD height, you can slide the table legs into pipes for example, or you could put it on shelf brackets on a wall.
My layout is around 31" high, and I'm going to add a couple of inches of foam on top of that. I, too, like to sit while operating, but since my layout is in my bedroom, I sit on my bed. Comfy (it's also nice to take a nap with the sounds of wheels on rail).
If I were to go with off the shelf table legs, I'd go with something like these: http://www.metalkraft.com/viewproduct.php?id=12
Nice but $78 (plus shipping, I assume). Might be worth it to the OP though.
Random thought - anybody try making legs out of wide diameter PVC pipe? Might have to experiment a little - ought to be cheap to try.
Ok, back on topic!
These are early photos to give an idea of the legs/support system I used for the All Day & Night.
This was an idea I took and adapted from the Kalmbach book, "Basic Model Railroading: Getting Started in the Hobby." It is a sturdy and inexpensive solution for a hollow core door layout and is actually removeable and would make the layout easy to move/transport.
I used a sheet of plywood, a couple of 2x4's and 1x3's, and a bolt, a couple of washers and a wingnut. The base is actually easy to make and does not cost a lot. The book shows exactly how to make it.
I've made some progress since then, but not as much as I would like.
There are some nice layouts in here from the pictures that are still up that are giving me some ideas. I've been thinking of making my main layout on a hollow core door but I'm unsure as to how to wire the layout and to fastened folding legs to it.
I just had a thought about HCD layout support. Has anyone explored using stand alone bookcases / shelving units with, (or without), wheels? These could have removable cross braces for stability. It seems this would lend itself to storage quite nicely.
Bury the wires in the foam that you laminate to the top of the door or just run 'em underneath - attach with velcro loops or a glob of your favorite adhesive.
Attach two 1 X 4s across the door (screw them into the wood inside the edges of the door) and screw the leg screws into the 1 X 4 "slats".
No reason why that wouldn't work but consider the cost for the number of units you'd need. Depends on how cheap you want / need to go.
Possible Solution for temp Storage of Hollow Core Door Layout
* Could hang on the wall with shelving units under it
* Would have to be designed / built to endure hanging on it's side.
* Scenery such as buildings might be designed to be removable and stored on shelves
* Could be stored along a wall
* The shelving units would need some method to easily slide or roll on the floor.
* Could be bought unfinished or put together with 1x6 stock
* Would be bolted on with wing nuts for easy removal
* Could be stored on brackets attached to Hollow Core Door
* Would have to be adjusted to fit circumstances
* Could go under the table with more elaborate fastening system
OK, the legs wont be an issue. But I do have a question on ramps (grades) using HCD. With plywood I would just use a jig saw and cut a slot in the wood and raise it up to get my grades. Using foam glued to a HCD, what do you guys use to build up grades? Also, what is a good glue to glue the foam sheet to the door?
Excellent, thank you!
Can you cut a hollow core door slab with a jigsaw and still get a clean cut?
Cutting a HCD will compromise its structural integrity due to the way it is built. When I did my home reno and needed a small closet door I removed the bottom ( which will come of easily ), cut off what I needed to, and replaced the bottom. But that was only for height issues.
JOCATCH - HCD's are not the recommended plane for a cookie cutter type layout where you actually cut the door.
Again if you cut into the door for grades etc. It loses its strength. This is where you use a styrofoam top where you can gouge out inclines and reliefs. Or you can use storebought inclines ( Woodland Scenics comes to mind ) -
yes, you can cut HCD. I've done it alot being a carpenter. Taping the cut with masking tape pre-cut will leave a smooth cut line. Be sure to replace the " void " with the proper infill to retain structural strength.
I stand corrected on the subject of cutting a HCD after more research on the subject in hopes of not talking you out realizing your project.
Here's my layout, basically a 36x80 HCD with legs, ordering some track tonight to get started.
It's looking good Davejb.
Welcome on this forum.
The beauty of a HCD layout is that the benchwork doesn't require any sophisticated power tools and can be built in a few hours by anyone .As a matter of fact, Marty McGuirk's book " N scale model railroading getting started in the hobby" and his HCD layout Carolina Central is what brought me back to model railroading.
Unfortunately the 2nd edition completely dropped it.
Davejb...getting started is always the hardest thing to do.
You're on your way!