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Kallaroonian

Styrofoam Baseboards ?

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Rather a long time ago I started some threads on the previous forum about restarting this hobby and fixing up my loft space to do so. That has all now finally happened and I have the whole layout designed in XTrkCAD and should be ready to go.

 

The layout is not going to be small and the subject of baseboards is both a concern and a major heap of work.

 

I was previously thinking of the plywood beam with spacers approach and made a quick small prototype – this just confirmed my concerns that getting a good result would be difficult and time-consuming. I would also prefer to keep the weight in the loft space to a minimum and I think properly engineered boards out of plywood strips are still going to weigh a lot. I had also been thinking about using standard doors for all of the flat areas.

 

Reviewing previous forum posts and talking with Gordon S – thanks – led me to investigate the use of doors yesterday evening. It seems that a lot of people think they are a bad idea and they can present very viable reasons why this is the case. On the other hand there are others who have used them and find them to be fine. My nagging concern is that the flat areas are the station and there will be a lot of points – I suspect the structural strength of the door will be badly compromised by too many holes for point motors.

 

So much for the back ground. Then I read about the use of Styrofoam. This looks potentially ideal – quick to build, easier to build, not expensive, can adopt unique shapes if required, warp proof, moisture proof and lightweight. Everything I want. The only drawback seems to be that it dents easily and the edges need protection from some thinnish ply.

 

I found various bits of feedback on different sites including RMWeb. I’m starting this new thread to ask for feedback from anyone who has tried this method and to ask some specific questions about Styrofoam and baseboards in general.

 

Questions :

 

1) Is the recommended method to use Styrofoam blocks encased in 6mm sheet ply on four sides? No top sheet is required?

 

2) Views on the use of doors still welcome

 

3) What is the best way to fix the sheets around the block? If glue, which glue type – just No More Nails building adhesive or equiv? Are there glues to avoid (ie solvents) Is there value cutting corners out of the blocks and gluing in a length of 1x1 that the side sheets can also be screwed to?

 

4) I don’t have too much idea of the consistency of Styrofoam – is it best cut with a hacksaw, a hot knife..or…?

 

5) The Styrofoam sheet comes in thicknesses from 25-100mm. I assume 100mm is the way to go for the baseboards (which might be 1.8m long each)

 

6) How are other items best fixed to the Styrofoam block? I’m sure if things were screwed into the block directly this would not be very secure

 

7) What is the best way to align a baseboard to the next one along. The layout will be permanent but I’d prefer to build it in a way that can be relatively easily dismantled. Unless there are other rebated sections of 1x1 at the ends there would be nothing to fit a locating dowel or bolt through ?

 

8) Some parts of the layout might still be plywood girder framed depending on circumstances. Generally I want to use the Styrofoam as the whole board but I’ve read of other cases where it is used more like a surface treatment on top of a wooden baseboard. Is this viable? I’m specifically thinking of a long section where the track will rise from the lower level to the top level. Or can I build up the incline using more Styrofoam glued on top and then profiled?

 

9) The layout will have two levels – will these baseboards be strong enough to support a higher level of the same construction? I am thinking that if the level above was supported by legs that then sat on plywood pads on the lower level the weight would be spread and the lower level Styrofoam would not deform.

 

10) Can track be laid straight onto the Styrofoam block. If so how is it attached? If not what is the alternative - a cork sheet on top or something else?

 

11) Is Styrofoam flammable

 

12) What is the best way to build baseboard legs? Given the uncertainty of floor heights around the loft I was thinking of box kite / lamp table shape/size supports rather than “2D†supports. What is the best way to fix the legs to the Styrofoam baseboards? Or is gravity enough?

 

13) Due to parts of the loft space having a suspended floor and others not, are there any views about the best way to level the legs? I might be better off levelling at baseboard level rather than floor level ie between the legs and the baseboard rather than between the legs and the floor

 

14) What do people use to level baseboards- shims, threaded feet?????

 

15) Does Styrofoam have noise absorbing properties?

 

16) In a scenario where the permanent way is on an embankment is it plausible to shape this from the baseboard so that for example the styrofoam block is 10cm thick, the ply side panels are say 8cm deep and the block is sculpted such that the track sits on the full 10cm thickness but then falls away to the 8cm sides?

 

 

A crazy number of questions but it would be even crazier to split across multiple threads. To deal with this – especially if you have only comment on some paras – perhaps prefix info with relevant Q number.

 

All advice gratefully received

 

Thks

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I assume that you've probably read this thread Check out my post (no 5) for links to the blog.

 

Perhaps I can help you with one or two of your questions.

 

(1) IMHO 4mm ply is sufficient. It's more for protection than anything else, and to give some depth if you plan to use 'Tortoise', 'Cobalt' or similar motors. You can fit a full top sheet if you need to if you're planning a lot of track to go down or you can just cut track/point profiles for the track beds from 4mm ply glued down.

 

(3) As you said a non solvent type must be used like 'No More Nails' or 'Unibond MegaGrip' . £6.03 from my local ships chandlery. This is particularly good IMHO as it's used by the shipwrights for marine applications. Just glue the side ply pieces directly onto the foam board and I would recommend the method on my blog which I found completely by accident! No need for a lot of expensive sash cramps. The foam is strong enough to screw a coarse threaded screw into it about 2cm and you have great difficulty trying to pull it out! So I wouldn't think that any extra woodwork would be necessary apart from cross bracing underneath which I only put in to counter any torsional twist. Even that might not be needed. Jury is out on that ATM!

 

(4) I cut it with a fine toothed normal carpentry saw. It can be cut with a bread knife but that tends to be a bit messy and inaccurate. I haven't tried it using a hot knife.

 

(5) I use 50mm thick with the aforementioned 100mm sides, which makes up into a very strong sag and twist resistant set up. The sheet size that I use are 1200mm x 500mm x 50mm . They're available from some DIY stores over here as 'Knauf Spaceboard'

 

(6) Glue. Same way as the sides. It all depends on how much 'railway' you want on the top as to whether you cover the top completely with ply.

 

(7) I use 6mm ply for the ends fixed in the same way. Since my layouts are portable I always use patternmakers dowels for alignment. If its a fixed layout I reckon you could just screw them together, if you construct them with the deeper sides/ends.

 

(9) The whole structure is very strong as long as the foam is protected. I don't think that any deformity would be an issue.

 

 

I'll try and answer some more for you, if I can, when I have a little more time.

 

Best

 

John

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There's another thread that I started: "New Baseboard Materials/Techniques" in Layout and Track Design.

I dunno how to linkrolleyes.gif but there's some good info in that thread.....

 

Best, Pete.

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Pete - Right click on first post of thread-> select properties -> highlight the address that appears-> select copy-> return to the post you are making-> click paste to insert it-> add post

....and no- it isn't snowing!!!:unsure: :rolleyes: :D

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I don't think you need to go to properties, the page address is at the top of the page, as per any other web page....Just right click on that and then copy/paste as normal.....:)

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Answer. It will be. How can I right click I've got of them furny Apple things.................

Seriously I'll try be right back.

 

Best, Pete.

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Here is the link to my original thread:http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php/topic/13410-new-baseboard-materialstechniques/page__p__119945__hl__trisonic__fromsearch__1#entry119945

 

See if this works.

 

Best, Pete.

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Yes and no. The details are there Pete, but it's not shown as an active link.

 

Maybe you have do something different on an Apple?

 

Opening up your page and using right click/copy/paste on the address line, gives this in Windows,

 

http://www.rmweb.co....__1#entry119945

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That G's way.

 

 

Tried Jack's way. Where do I click on the post? nothing happens?

 

Best, Pete.

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Right click anywhere on the post and that will bring up the menu. Last item is Properties. Left click on Properties and the address is halfway down the page. Try copy/paste on that address...

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Gordon: OK I can't right click on anything neither can I find "properties" anywhere

 

Jack: When I click on "your" link it just takes me to the start of this thread.......

 

sorry to appear so stupid......

Best, Pete.

 

Never mind; the original thread is in this same section and is dated 12 April 2010

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sorry to appear so stupid......

Best, Pete.

 

You aren't stupid. I'm not and I couldn't see all the other bits Jack and Gordon are referencing. I suspect they are using Internet Explorer and you and I are not. Every browser isn't the same. Perhaps one of the other Mac users can help. I don't have a Mac but I don't normally use IE either.

Best wishes

tony

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You aren't stupid. I'm not and I couldn't see all the other bits Jack and Gordon are referencing. I suspect they are using Internet Explorer and you and I are not. Every browser isn't the same. Perhaps one of the other Mac users can help. I don't have a Mac but I don't normally use IE either.

Best wishes

tony

 

 

 

As I said I don't have a Mac but I've just tried a way with only a single mouse click that may work. On the top line of each post is a number eg #13, click on that and a forum generated box comes up asking you if you want to paste the link to your clipboard. Perhaps it will do something appropriate on the Mac?

 

 

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On a Mac shift-click is one way to do the trick in Firefox or Safari. One or more of the modifier keys, shift, alt, ctrl, flowery thing, etc usually make up for what others can do with multi-button mice. Mind you, my Mac has a proper keyboard and mouse as it shares them with my Linux box :lol:

 

Nick

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And there was I thinking there were multiple posts in response to the original question......../sigh. ;)

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Just look up my thread in this same section date 12th April 2010 - it had a ton of responses, incl. photos.

Best, Pete.

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Pete

 

Thanks. I'd seen that thread and I just re-read it. There are still quite a few open questions though. My current thoughts are to use 50-100mm foam with 6mm ply sides to depth 75-100. Track to be laid on cork layer on top of the styrofoam. For the very flat areas I might use internal doors with a thinner layer of styrofoam on top. Jury is still out re : fixing the track down, legs, levelling and joining sections together

 

Rgds

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Hi Kallaroonian.

 

Did you get my PM re boards?

 

If not, please let me know and I will send the pics again via email...

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Gordon has some great ideas.

 

I think it is possible to to use the pink foam with the plywood surround or slender underframe with lightweight, contoured surround (incl. back scene), I wouldn't go with the doors, idea. That is one area where I disagree with Lance M., doors are too unwieldy and are not designed for strength when laid horizontal. Heck, if you do try that, though I would be very interested to hear what you think of it!

 

Best, Pete.

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Gordon - I did get your info and pics via PM thanks very much.

 

Pete - you are probably right about the doors. I was hoping they would provide a quick win but it may just be easier to bite the bullet with styrofoam for all areas.

 

On the one hand I think doors would be great for flat areas esp. with say a camping mat style top layer to deaden the sound. My concern is the holes for point motors - the use of underslung motors aka Peco would require a lot of holes and this might compromise the strength of the door. On the other hand if you could go with just a slot for the point arm it's hard to imagine the door would fail.

 

I am also imagining a nicely sound damped styrofoam section and then the train reaching the noisy door. So a couple of possible options are the mat per above or a top layer of 25mmn styrofoam bonded onto the track side of the door. This latter idea would create a composite structure where the door and foam provide sort of mutual support. You would have to go for underslung point motors or top actuated points though because there would be no arm long enough to reach through a 35mm door plus 25mm of foam. But.......the point motors could probably sit in the foam layer with just the wires going through the door - integrity maintained.

 

Whether all of that is more or less bother than just using much thicker styrofoam with ply sides I haven't really decided yet. My big self-inflicted problem is that the layout I plan is huge. See this thread :

 

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php/topic/22986-hatfield-part-the-second/page__p__230390__fromsearch__1#entry230390

 

Anything - anything at all - that makes construction easier will be very popular. Since the whole station area is flat the use of doors has an appeal.

 

 

A couple of things of other open Questions :

a) how is track fixed to Styrofoam? Do people use a track bed layer in between Eg plywood or cork. And even then, what method is used to secure the track?

 

B) what is a sensible clearance between two levels for access purposes?

 

 

Thanks & Regards

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Having seen the size of your proposed layout I'd take take Gordon's views very seriously as, even now, his is comparable.

 

The other problem with doors (apart from what we have already mentioned) is how do you join two or more doors together laterally? If you say "a subframe" then you may as well go with plain plywood...............

 

Over here people tend to use the adhesive "Liquid Nails" which may be the same as the British "No More Nails", frankly I would make sure at the store where you buy the extruded foam. By the way I always equate the term "Styrofoam" with "Expanded Polystyrene" - neither of these are the same as the rigid "Pink Foam" insulation boards.

 

HTH.

 

Best, Pete.

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trisonic, you can right click on a Mac by either holding down ctrl and clicking, or if you've a more recent trackpad or magic mouse, using two fingers when clicking.

 

Kelly

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I think plain plywood - if that is literally what you mean - is likely to warp or be very heavy in any thickness where it might have a chance of not warping. If you mean a plywood beam construction then the question is how much effort is required to build that compared with doors that might give some almost instant progress.

 

I agree joining two doors together would likely be a problem. But likewise, how do you join two styrofoam board sections together - since they are solid there's no inside surface against which nuts and bolts would clamp.

 

Perhaps once in position they could be literally screwed together. My current thinking on the styrofoam sections is thin plywood surfaces to the sides but thicker at the ends and notches cut out of the corners and the ends middle to provide extra strength.

 

What I really really need to do is get some extruded poly and confirm how rigid it is.

 

Regards

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I meant plain plywood on a subframe of either timber or more plywood.

 

 

Personally I'd go with rigid extruded foam with plywood surround as per the example in that other thread.

 

Cheers, Pete.

 

PS Thanks, Kelly. I'm an unrepentant Macophile because I'm a musician and all the best recording software is for the Mac without any right clicks required..........

 

Best, Pete.

 

 

 

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