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Puzzel Yard - O gauge in 2.745m x 0.5m


Ray H
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I’ve been gradually accumulating track plans from the various publications I read in the hope that I might latch onto one that would be suitable as the basis for an O gauge layout. My mind had been straying towards either an Inglenook design or its cousin, the Timesaver. However, whilst searching the Internet for layout examples of these plans I came by pure chance upon Andy Peters’ St. Budoc layout in Peco’s Compact Layouts booklet.

 

One of the main attractions of the plan was that it so didn’t need re-scaling from 4mm upwards as it was already O gauge.

 

My initial thinking was that I’d need to trim it back a bit to fit the storage space I thought it would need when I wanted it packed away so that I could use my OO gauge layout. The image below attempts to show how much space the OO gauge layout takes up and equally, how little spare space there is left. The one limiting factor is that the OO gauge layout is to remain as is.

 

131019_1.jpg.71c09c1864054fc0e8f3592174af874d.jpg

 

I’d been thinking along the lines of having a layout spread over two boards that would be hinged thereby allowing the layout to be folded in on itself for storing. All my thinking was based around the said folded layout being stored vertically at the far end of the garage roughly where the chair can be seen in the image above.

 

However, because the OO layout is only three feet off the floor I didn’t want the length of the baseboards of any stored O gauge layout to be much more than three feet three inches so that it didn’t block out too much of the 4mm layout. I was prepared to accept something a little longer if the baseboards weren’t too wide – blocking the view of part of the layout with vertically stored 4’ by 2’ baseboards was a non-starter.

 

Therefore, I’d initially slightly re-sized the St. Budoc plan down from 9’ x 2’ to 7’ x 18”. It just about worked but it was a bit cramped – at this stage I’ve still gotten no further than churning out variations on a theme in AnyRail. However, the track plan seemed to provide so much of what I was looking for that I started tweaking the AnyRail plan(s) and putting more effort into trying to find storage space for the O gauge layout.

 

1564218508_StBudocin3v2.jpg.7db224c9304dc640af448194eaf2e6c6.jpg

 

The latest plan has gone back to the layout’s original size but uses three 3’ long baseboards which has an additional bonus that all three points are on the middle baseboard. I’ve had a more thorough look for storage of three 3’ x 2’ boards and think I have found a space.

 

I’m planning to operate the points with servos that will be screwed onto the underside of the baseboard. Therefore I don’t see why I need a frame that’s more than about two inches (50 mm) deep. Provided I keep the backscene to no more than six inches (150 mm) high the three boards can be stored one above the other in a purpose made frame to form an approximately 3’ x 2’ x 2’ cube. I shall probably fit wheels to the frame to make it easier to move it around.

 

And so thoughts turn to the baseboard’s construction.

Edited by Ray H
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I’m conscious – some may contest this fact – that baseboards may be harder to move around as I get older so I’m trying to make the baseboards as light as I can. There isn’t much scope in the plan for open top baseboards, especially if I want each board’s total height not to exceed eight inches including the two inch high baseboard frame so I think that the only option is to make the boards and their frames from the lightest material I can.

 

My present thinking is to make the boards out of 3.5/4 mm birch plywood. The frames will also be made from the same thickness material. The frame walls and cross bracing will all be about 2 inches high with the cross bracing having several one inch (25 mm) diameter holes to further reduce the weight and provide a means of routeing the limited amount of wiring that will be present.

 

I plan to use softwood blocks at the joins between baseboard frame sides and the cross braces and also between the underside of the baseboard and the frame components. I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to make the backscene an integral part of the frame or have it screwed on to the frame at the back of the board.

 

121019_1a.jpg.fb5709a17bcdde603ce60749658c3de7.jpg

 

I went to the Great Electric Train Show yesterday and made the above purchases. I’ve also got the points and have the promise of some track in exchange for some wiring work on another colleague’s new O gauge layout.

 

In theory I could order the plywood tomorrow but I’d prefer to hear reader’s views on whether 3.5/4mm plywood is too thin and whether I should target 6mm thick plywood or thicker instead before I commit myself. The cross braces will form twelve inch squares under the baseboard.

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Thank you for that. Both the floor and wall mounted cupboards were home made before I exchanged my small selection of woodworking machinery for the model railway bits and pieces. The table saw might have come in useful for cutting the baseboard to size!

 

The other side isn't so posh - it is just a single shelf about halfway between the floor and the underside of the layout.

 

 

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Ray,

 

Good to see your progress with a compact gauge O layout. 9 x 2 ft is also for me the maximum size.

 

I am considering Grange & Hodder lasercut ply boards, 2 of 1200 x 600 mm, ie 8 x 2 ft

 

You are right to try and keep the weight down for portability. I'm not a baseboard expert but the bracing is more important than the ply thickness. You should not need anything thicker than 6mm ply so long as it is well braced. 

 

See Jim Read's blog here on bracing cheap ply  http://ogaugemicro.blogspot.com/p/baseboards.html

 

There are 2 Gauge O guild books on small layouts you may have seen 

https://www.gauge0guildarchive.com/gazette_archive/other publications/Small-layouts-1/offline/download.pdf

 

Dava

 

 

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Dava

 

Many thanks for the two links. I'm a reasonably new GOG member and have downloaded the first book you linked to and bought the other.

 

I was considering buying baseboard kits like you but I think that I can get all the material I need out of a single 2400 mm x 1200 mm sheet of plywood and its worth getting the timber merchant to cut it for me.  I can also transport it more easily when cut.

 

I hope I can't make too much of a mess of cutting the 34 mm x 34 mm softwood and i'm hopeful that I can make a decent job of drilling the holes in the cross braces.

 

I like the diagonal braces idea. It might use a little more wood which is worth it if the board won;t warp.

 

I'll also have to think about legs, something I've overlooked so far. I think they will need to be separate which will help to keep the weight down.

Edited by Ray H
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I shall have a look and see if that's an option locally Andy, I don't recall seeing anything that size and shape around here.

 

It could increase the overall height but in return would provide the ability to move away from the flat earth you get with a solid top.

 

I have also been thinking more about the backscene and whether I should leave it at a consistent height or cut it to follow the line of the ground at the back of the board. A downside of the latter is that it would be too easy to catch the scenery if leaning over the layout from the back.

 

I'm also re-thinking the use of 3½/4 mm ply. I think 5/6 mm might be a better idea. One of today's jobs is to work out the cutting list.

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15 minutes ago, Ray H said:

I shall have a look and see if that's an option locally Andy, I don't recall seeing anything that size and shape around here.

 

It could increase the overall height but in return would provide the ability to move away from the flat earth you get with a solid top.

 

I have also been thinking more about the backscene and whether I should leave it at a consistent height or cut it to follow the line of the ground at the back of the board. A downside of the latter is that it would be too easy to catch the scenery if leaning over the layout from the back.

 

I'm also re-thinking the use of 3½/4 mm ply. I think 5/6 mm might be a better idea. One of today's jobs is to work out the cutting list.

Amen to that. Whilst I appreciate that many modern homes do not lend themselves to serious carpentry, I fear that laser cut boards have set the hobby back 30 years creating a flat disc world.

My choice would be 5/6mm birch ply. A. Little expensive and available only from a proper timber merchant but lovely to work with and stronger than a thicker budget ply.

There is no reason to dismiss the thinner ply from your local store if you use 18mm ply for the joining faces  and perhaps 9mm for the trackbed. Whilst this lacks the convenience of a single one stop shopping trip it opens the possibility of sourcing low cost off cuts. 

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I am toying with building a layout in 7mm for the Gauge O Guilds 20 square feet layout comp. Having some mobility prob's I need to make it as light and easy to handle as possible. I've seen Gordon and Maggie Gravetts Arun Quay layout a few times and seen the way they have made the framing for the base boards. I have become a fan of ply wrapped foam and have done a test with some 4mm ply and 1/2" foam and was surprised at how rigid and light it is. Obviously some thought needs to be taken in joining the framing and boards together but for me, it is the way forward. 

I reckon 4" deep is adequate and drilling some holes to lighten it even further won't cause any problems.

 

Cheer's, Pete.

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Just to prove that I have been advancing this project, albeit slowly.

 

This is the underside of the first board before I realised that I meant to drill some one inch diameter holes in the bracing pieces to both lighten the load and provide a route for any wiring runs. Luckily I don't use glue -relying solely on screws - during baseboard assembly so I removed each cross brace in turn and drilled the relevant holes before re-securing the cross brace to the board. I must admit that the board is very light.

 

171019_1.jpg.2314538ea059cdf665163b72ba26087e.jpg

 

We've had no heating since Monday morning - the engineer is due early afternoon (hooray) - so working on the baseboard has kept me moving about.

 

I'm now about to head back into the garage to make a start on the next board. I doubt I'll get too far today as it's club this afternoon.

 

I have had an offer from the domestic management to be allowed to put the baseboards in the utility room if I need to work on my (fold-away) table that I intend to use to support at least one of the boards. I don't need to be told twice!

 

I'll need to be able to use the table when I'm building the wagon kits that I have otherwise I'll be limited to just four wagons (and six locos!).

 

I'm wondering what to do about legs for the boards. I think that they'll need to be removable otherwise they'll either widen the width of the boards - if they're on the outside of the boards - or decrease the overall height of the boards if the fold up under the board when the layout is on its trolley.

 

I had thought of using aluminium angle with a bolt through the top of the length and into the board in such a way that the leg could be folded under the board with minimal impact on their stored space. I finally discounted that idea because one board will need two sets of legs which could impact on how one set folds away and if I fit a tie bar between the legs it may impact on the ease with which the boards can be slid into their "shelf" on the trolley. The jury is still out on that one.

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I managed to get the outer frame of the middle board fitted to its top this morning.

 

I also decided to see just how much my lightweight board weighs - 2.5kg. That shouldn't cause too many problems when moving it around.

 

Oh, and by the way. Tremostyn is a small hamlet inland from Mostyn on the North Wales coast. It was where my wife lived before we were married.  Other than the Holyhead line the nearest lines ran to Dyserth and Holywell Town. It is highly unlikely that anyone would ever have thought of building a railway to serve or pass through the hamlet.

 

An odd job to do on my mate's O gauge layout (after my flu jab) tomorrow and then I should be able to resume work on my baseboards.

 

I'm still wondering what to do about the legs.

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1 hour ago, Ray H said:

I managed to get the outer frame of the middle board fitted to its top this morning.

 

I also decided to see just how much my lightweight board weighs - 2.5kg. That shouldn't cause too many problems when moving it around.

 

Oh, and by the way. Tremostyn is a small hamlet inland from Mostyn on the North Wales coast. It was where my wife lived before we were married.  Other than the Holyhead line the nearest lines ran to Dyserth and Holywell Town. It is highly unlikely that anyone would ever have thought of building a railway to serve or pass through the hamlet.

 

An odd job to do on my mate's O gauge layout (after my flu jab) tomorrow and then I should be able to resume work on my baseboards.

 

I'm still wondering what to do about the legs.

Yours or the Layouts?:D

 

I had my Flu jab almost 4 weeks ago and my arm still hurts, apparently it's different this year.

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Ray, I’ve just found your thread courtesy of Clive Mortimore’s Sheffield Exchange thread. I will be following this with interest, especially the baseboard construction as I approach my 67th birthday.

I work in 4mm EM gauge but the lightweight construction seems eminently suitable for my purposes.

Tim T

All packed up ready to move to Felinfoel

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I may regret saying this but like my chemo treatment a while back, I've not noticed any side effects from the flu jab. On the other hand my shoulder still hurts after my little trip in the street a few weeks back.

 

Board 2 is now finished and board 3 has all the cross braces cut to size and some are fitted. I am engaged with something non-railway related tomorrow and doubt there'll be any more progress until Monday at the earliest.

 

I did take note of Dolium's post earlier about using birch plywood which was my preferred option. An Internet search for local suppliers didn't reveal anyone so I took the easy route and went to B&Q where I bought an 2440 x 1220mm sheet of 5mm external plywood and got them to cut it which they did without charge.

 

I gave them a cutting list which included a requirement to cut several narrow pieces 2440 x 50 mm then trim the remainder to 2440 x 915mm only to find that they'd done it a different way and I got several short rather than one long waste piece - the width of which depended on the with of their saw cut. There's also a slight width difference between the long and short strips but I can manage that.

 

The job after the baseboard build will be to devise a way to support the three boards when in use. I have an idea that I'm going to experiment with early next week.

 

The trolley build is likely to be a little way off yet as I don't want to commit myself to a specific baseboard height in case I can manage something less or find I need something slightly taller.

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On 19/10/2019 at 21:56, Ray H said:

I may regret saying this but like my chemo treatment a while back, I've not noticed any side effects from the flu jab. On the other hand my shoulder still hurts after my little trip in the street a few weeks back.

 

Board 2 is now finished and board 3 has all the cross braces cut to size and some are fitted. I am engaged with something non-railway related tomorrow and doubt there'll be any more progress until Monday at the earliest.

 

I did take note of Dolium's post earlier about using birch plywood which was my preferred option. An Internet search for local suppliers didn't reveal anyone so I took the easy route and went to B&Q where I bought an 2440 x 1220mm sheet of 5mm external plywood and got them to cut it which they did without charge.

 

I gave them a cutting list which included a requirement to cut several narrow pieces 2440 x 50 mm then trim the remainder to 2440 x 915mm only to find that they'd done it a different way and I got several short rather than one long waste piece - the width of which depended on the with of their saw cut. There's also a slight width difference between the long and short strips but I can manage that.

 

The job after the baseboard build will be to devise a way to support the three boards when in use. I have an idea that I'm going to experiment with early next week.

 

The trolley build is likely to be a little way off yet as I don't want to commit myself to a specific baseboard height in case I can manage something less or find I need something slightly taller.

I found my birch ply by word of mouth. If anyone else is looking, can I suggest the use of internet to locate timber merchants and then the old school method of phoning round and discussing your needs. The price of sheet material does seem to fluctuate so ringing round might help. We paid £90 for two full sheets of 6mm and went armed with a much thought out cutting list. This might sound a lot but when the total spend probably exceeded £1500 including around £150 on unpainted figures and a similar sum on plastikard it makes a little more sense. The layout is stored in under less than perfect conditions in the roof space of an unheated garage and, five years on, has shown no sign of warping or delamination.

Houghton Street was designed from the outset to go to shows and incorporated everything I had learned about transporting layouts in 40 odd years. If the layout was a stay home in heated bedroom project, I might even use hardboard with 18mm ply end boards and 9mm track bed. My first attempt in 7mm used these materials and a hot glue gun and lasted much longer than intended.

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I thank you for your interest.

 

The layout will be in our garage where there is a radiator connected to the domestic heating so the temperature is generally static - the up & over door has effectively been sealed/insulated as has the roof.

 

I did set out with the aim of using birch plywood but couldn't locate any one on the Internet within a reasonable distance that sold 5/6mm thick sheets and I wanted to press on with the build.

 

This layout is largely by way of a test to see if I can accept the limitations of the larger scale in a limited space and whether I can - no doubt with guidance from the many - produce a layout to a quality that might be acceptable to exhibition managers.

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This is where I had got to at the end of play today.

 

211019_1.jpg.aa46224d427e47df77cf08231bb500ae.jpg

 

A couple of centimetres either end of the middle board overhang the sides of my home-made (MDF) work table/bench.

 

There are 2 metre lengths of best B&Q 38mm square softwood on top of the MDF at both front and rear. Both softwood lengths have bolts through them with wing nut/washer combinations to grip the undersides of the MDF. The holes in the softwood are positioned such that I've used a round file to produce an approx. 1mm deep notch on each side of the MDF thereby preventing the softwood from moving either back or forth or from side to side once they've been clamped in place. I've also positioned (and secured) a couple of small vertical pieces of plywood at the back of the rear softwood length which are tall enough to stop the back wall of the baseboard frame from moving forward - it's movement backwards will be prevented by the OO layout baseboard!

 

The ends of the softwood protrude about thirty inches beyond each side of the MDF and have 8mm diameter threaded studding reaching to the floor a couple of inches in from the softwood end to provide legs. The legs  provide added support to all but the last few inches of the two outer baseboards.

 

I estimate that I'll use all of the nine lengths of track that I've come by as I hope to have a two road sector plate in the fiddle yard - bottom left in the image. I'm also contemplating having a single coach platform at top right as this track needs to be generally kept clear of parked vehicles to facilitate access to the long siding (bottom right) in front of the fiddle yard. I then have an excuse to use my Derby Lightweight railcar to provide the passenger service. Mind you, I need to finish the railcar first!

 

Tomorrow's tasks will include ensuring that I can get two tracks on the sector plate and then deciding how to build and support said sector plate.

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They say the camera never lies (I think). Well, it lies in one respect - honest Guv, the boards aren't twisted - and it tells the truth in another - the cramped space between the new baseboards and the OO layout.


221019_1.jpg.7a348194a05e2a93e8006b86c6da0837.jpg

 

I knew the space was tight without measuring it when I packed up yesterday but I have just measured it and it is a cramped 21½ inches. The chair seen at the far end will just pass between the two sets of baseboards and I can sit on the chair whilst it does so but I'm not sure that I could breathe whilst seated! I certainly couldn't sit on the said chair and operate the layout even with automatic couplings.

 

I could remove the OO's DCC throttle (and pocket) - seen on the right around the middle of the new boards - so that I could push the (new) boards back just over an inch. I've already had to remove a four way mains extension lead - which was affixed to the OO layout supporting frame and can just be seen on the right at the far end of the new boards - because I couldn't access it with the new boards in position. Unfortunately I can't find a suitable place to relocate the throttle pocket to.

 

I can probably reclaim a couple of inches by removing some of the curves in the O gauge track work but I fear that would make the layout look cramped and more akin to an urban area - which would presumably require numerous structures that would inevitably increase the height of the tallest parts of the scenic section. I was aiming for a rural and minimalist nature to keep the overall height down when the boards are packed away.

 

I could remove one of the sidings off the sector plate and maybe replace it with another siding alongside the long siding seen on the right in combination with reducing the board's width.

 

Whatever happens I can't see a way to retain the present baseboard width of two feet.

 

At least with the boards now built and laid out I can move track around and see what other ideas I can come up with.

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That is true but its not something I'm planning at present.

 

I did a bit of brainstorming with a colleague this afternoon and we reckon I can get the original plan on boards  that are four inches narrower than they are at present - thanks Jim.

 

With a slight change to the position of the DCC throttle (& pocket) we can gain a further 1½ inches and that will make the overall depth narrower than the work bench.

 

We've also come up with some subtle changes to the use/arrangement of a couple of areas of the layout.

 

The modification to the first board are nearly complete and I'm hoping the other two will be completed by tomorrow evening although the changes to board three will be a little less straightforward than the changes on the other two boards.

 

All will be revealed in due course (I hope).

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10 hours ago, Ray H said:

They say the camera never lies (I think). Well, it lies in one respect - honest Guv, the boards aren't twisted .....


221019_1.jpg.7a348194a05e2a93e8006b86c6da0837.jpg

 

 

It's far worse than that mate - the camera shows your whole room is on the skew!!! :jester:

 

2 hours ago, Ray H said:

(Re going fully over to O) That is true but its not something I'm planning at present.

 

 

Oh it'll happen, planned or not. :yes:

You are now on the Slippery Slope - just sit back & enjoy the plunge!!! :D

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12 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

It's far worse than that mate - the camera shows your whole room is on the skew!!! :jester:

 

Oh it'll happen, planned or not. :yes:

You are now on the Slippery Slope - just sit back & enjoy the plunge!!! :D

 

I've been a member of a club that has a large O gauge layout for several years. I've bought a few locos to run there.

 

My OO gauge layout ideally needs at least a couple of people to get the most benefit from it.

 

I happened upon a few O gauge wagons a while ago (and bought a few kits as well) and that's what I plan to use at home.

 

I can't swear that the OO layout won't go in time but I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future.

 

Another option that I have actually considered is to reduce the size of the OO layout so that occupies one side and the far end and then have an O gauge layout on the other side.

 

Time will tell.

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