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Shelf Island

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Lightweight Construction




I am aiming for a lightweight layout because this will make it easier to move the model around the house. Construction happens downstairs in the living room, but storage and display is upstairs in the office. The close succession of gradients has discouraged me from trying to make the baseboard in two sections.


I weighed the basic framework of L girders with cross pieces using the kitchen scales and the weight was 3 kg 12 oz. Excuse the mixed units - I had to resort to some improvised weights. The only photo I have is in the car - ok for transporting a baseboard, but not a finished layout:



After I added all of the track supports (mostly 10.5 mm stripwood) the weight had increased to 4 kg 4oz, and adding the road bed (5 mm foam board topped off with 3 mm cork strips) took the weight up to just over 5kg.


I weighed a piece of chipboard shelving for comparison. The shelf measured 11.75 x 37.5 inches (and half an inch thick) and weighed 2.9 kg, giving 6.58 g / in^2. So a solid chipboard top 74 x 18 inches would weigh most of 9 kg. If we add in some softwood bracing of 2 x 1 inch PAR (say another 3 kg), and allow another 1 kg for the elevated sections, the total weight would be at least 13 kg, which would be 8 kg more to get this far.


I did not weigh the layout at the next stage, but a back-calculation suggests all of the track including its wiring, and the additions to the baseboard for the tramway (see my updated Baseboard entry) together weigh about 1.5 kg.


Incidentally there is an optical illusion in this photo - the whole of the quayside area (left distance) is all on the same level, the inset track isn't lower than the track on the right.


A Tortoise point motor weighs about 93 grams. This doesn't sound much, but adding the nine motors to the layout has taken the all-up weight on the bathroom scales to about 7.5 kg - a noticeable increase from the 5 kg of the baseboard with the bare road bed.


Edit 26 May 2015: Adding all of the cable forms for the point motors (motor drives plus frog connections) and a regulated power supply for the Bluetooth relay board has given me an all-up weight for a wired and working bare layout (no scenery or buildings) of 7.9 kg. My target weight of 9 kg total (one kg per square foot of model) now needs all the scenery and buildings to be less than 1.1 kg, which looks a bit challenging to me. However, at the moment, the layout is still reasonably straightforward to move around the house.

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