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47137

Compact Fiddle Yard for 16.5 mm Gauge

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I hate “woodwork”. I can, with a dose of necessity, cope with the bigger projects where you can wedge and haul things into shape against an immovable object like setting up a door frame. And I enjoy small, unstressed projects like model making which need some wood in them. Unstressed wood and unstressed me. But there is an in-between size where my woodwork descends into absolute misery. This size is “model railway baseboard size”.

 

I bought a plywood kit for a baseboard a few years ago and the parts have been acclimatising in my living room since then. Bad move - they had started to curl up. Also the intended site of that layout no longer exists. So to try to make something from the investment I have used some of the parts to make the baseboard for a compact fiddle yard. The fiddle yard will be for a layout with very short trains (loco + two wagons) so it seems best to post it here in with the micro layouts. It’s mostly for home use so I expect I will give it a small scenic treatment.

 

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Trains will enter at the rear left and go onto a Peco turntable. From here they will go onto one of the sidings, two full length and two short ones. The long siding at the back is for a bogie vehicle (perhaps a small dmu), a rerailer, some kind of cassette system, or even an extension to another layout.

 

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For what it’s worth, I found the baseboard murderously difficult to put together. I wanted a workbench to do the job but the only large flat surface I had was a spare sheet of ply on the living room floor. The four cross members are not symmetrical and although I knew this when I started I still ended fitting two of them back to front and so I ended up with a dog-leg along the ‘spine’ section in the middle. Some of the joints needed a mallet to put them together and some of the joints fell apart.

 

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At the end of the day, I managed to get the top flat and I suppose this is the main thing. The completed frame with its top in place could twist very easily, so I put in the diagonal strut from a length of softwood. I got the frame “square” (both diagonals equal), but I failed to pull the long sides of the frame straight and these both curve about 2mm along their lengths. Next time I would want to open out all of the joints to make some room for the glue. I would also knock a panel pin into each joint to hold the alignment, then fix down the top and then finally screw the joints up tight. However, I would also want to use 6 mm ply throughout. It took me most of fours hours to trim the pieces and another three hours to assemble them, and another hour to sort out the diagonal. I get the feeling, for me at least, it would be more satisfying and probably easier to get a timber merchant to cut some strips of ply and then make the thing from scratch.

 

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I have drawn the track plan to use a Peco Setrack point because the geometry fits nicely, I don’t suppose anyone knows of a simple way to convert these to a live frog?

 

- Richard.

 

 

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It looks pretty good woodwork to me, far better than I could manage. I have got a timber merchant to cut a kit of parts for a baseboard with great success, he even got carried away and asssembled it free of charge once. Otherwise, one of my friends builds baseboards for me

 

I like the idea of using a turntable for tahe fiddle yard; I might try that on my next 0-16.5 layout

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Hello, Richard,

 

 Congratulations: you just completed the base board for a micro layout MPD. :O :no:

 

Best Regards, Christian

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 Congratulations: you just completed the base board for a micro layout MPD. :O :no:

 

Hmm. I've tried to play down this aspect because the turntable is very large compared to most of the locos I have. But it's very true.

 

I am trying to build this up from bits and pieces I have at home, bought and never used, these include the turntable, the Gaugemaster controller, the baseboard ply and various bits of track. Supposing the entry was to a Peco code 100 streamline point, and I took code 100 across the back in the long siding, this would run "anything" which might be useful one day. But the roads off the turntable could be some C&L stuff with bullhead rail, so I could have "British" track without having to make any points to go with it.

 

If I closed up the two long sidings a bit closer together they could go to the front of a dummy engine shed. I could even put a Peco ash pit  / inspection pit in front of the shed. I've got one of these lying around somewhere. The entire new expenditure could be limited to the one Streamline point.

 

The next step would then logically be to build a fiddle yard to continue the tracks inside the engine shed. That is, build a fiddle yard for the fiddle yard. Hmmm.

 

- Richard.

 

Redrawn with a Streamline point and some MPD features

 

post-14389-0-67289300-1420234607.png

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Hi Richard,

 

Looking good so far!

 

I've had some success making set track points function as live frog by painting the frog with silver conductive paint.  Over here in Australia it is available from Jaycar Electronics so I'm sure you would be able to get it in the UK.  All I do is paint the plastic frog and let some of the paint flow onto the rail.  The only issue I have had with this is that everytime I clean the track with a track rubber, I need to touch up the paint and let it dry before running anything over it, but that doesn't take too long (needless to say I'm careful cleaning around the frog now).

 

Ian

Edited by leadie69

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Nice idea, you can run H0, 00, 0-ng, or Gn15 on there without much trouble. :)

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I've had some success making set track points function as live frog by painting the frog with silver conductive paint.  <cut>

Hi Ian,

 

Yes. I read about this stuff many years ago but I've never seen it in use. It seems to be widely sold in the UK, so I can give it a try. I've bought myself a Peco Setrack point, the geometry of this looks and fits a lot better here than a Streamline one and will help to lend a narrow gauge flavour to the thing. Although, as I keep telling myself, this is a fiddle yard.

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Nice idea, you can run H0, 00, 0-ng, or Gn15 on there without much trouble. :)

And Sn3.5, Sn3 or Sm. Or 1:55 scale narrow gauge. Just about anything of the same gauge.

 

So it I can keep the model free of structures, and let the trains set the scale, I shall have somewhere to run and even display my unruly collection of trains, and a short test track for ancient models (the code 100 bit), and the fiddle yard for the next layout project.

 

The turntable well is a bit too deep for 1:76 scale, so if I finish the sides of the well with brickwork at a nominal 1/64 scale, it will become a 64-foot deck in a scale well. Only an HO loco would look really out of place, but I haven't got any of these, only coaches.

 

- Richard.

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I doubt the respective manufacturers ever had this in mind, but C&L 00 track fits nicely into a Peco LK-56 "code 100" inspection pit. The track will need a few drops of glue to hold the gauge. The gauge is actually adjustable from about 16.3 to 17 mm, so it encompasses everything from 00-SF to the 'wide 00' used on commercial radius 0 curves.

 

(Following on from my post above, the C&L sleepers are at the manufacturer's spacing. Anything wider was too much of a contrast with the Setrack elsewhere on the layout.)

 

- Richard.

 

post-14389-0-87080500-1420816071_thumb.jpg

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I've added a built-in rolling road. This makes a use of a spare controller and an unused corner of the baseboard. The rollers are from a rolling road made in Germany which I bought at the Alexandra Palace show a few years ago. It seems to work and having the ammeter in front of it might help to find binding side rods and other problems.

 

The Peco bi-bloc track behind is an experiment, the idea is to ballast it to look like the grass seeded track on some tramways.

 

- Richard.

 

post-14389-0-36347200-1421273983_thumb.jpg

 

post-14389-0-56085400-1421274005_thumb.jpg

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I've added a built-in rolling road. This makes a use of a spare controller and an unused corner of the baseboard. The rollers are from a rolling road made in Germany which I bought at the Alexandra Palace show a few years ago. It seems to work and having the ammeter in front of it might help to find binding side rods and other problems.

 

The Peco bi-bloc track behind is an experiment, the idea is to ballast it to look like the grass seeded track on some tramways.

 

- Richard.

 

attachicon.gifDSCF2196.jpg

 

attachicon.gifDSCF2195.jpg

Richard - I'd be interested to see how you wired that

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With pleasure! I tried to make it as simple as I could. A mod to the controller to fix its output polarity, so the meter always moves the right way:

 

post-14389-0-59956600-1421323058_thumb.jpg

 

The output from the controller arrives on the twisted pair at the top of the next photo. The +ve goes to the negative terminal of the meter, then through the meter coil and a shunt resistor to a DPDT switch to control the direction of the train. The -ve from the controller goes straight to the switch. The pair going out from the switch goes to two copper dropper wires.

 

post-14389-0-87685100-1421323105_thumb.jpg

 

The dropper wires are soldered onto the ends of the two rails. These are nickel silver code 100 ones, the tallest/strongest ones I had.

 

post-14389-0-84382900-1421323079_thumb.jpg

 

When I tackled a similar exercise many years ago, I modified a controller to get at its controlled output before its own reversing switch, took this out to the meter and back to the controller again, and then went from the controller reversing switch to the train. Nowadays I know there are easier ways :-)

 

- Richard.

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The model is mostly finished now. Here are some photos. I'm very pleased with the result. In the past I have built fiddle yards as the last part of a model, and they have always been dedicated to a particular layout and a bit basic. Now I have a fiddle yard I can use with my next layout, and reuse for another micro or any layout with short trains. Or dress it up as a MPD.

 

post-14389-0-12663700-1421856680_thumb.jpg

 

I layed the track on 1/8 inch cork, partly to make conversion into a layout easier but mainly to help with laying a mixture of thin- and thick-sleepered track. In the end, the track includes Peco code 100 and code 75, Hornby code 100, and C&L bullhead. I put in the inspection pit now because it is so much easier than trying to add it later.

 

post-14389-0-39238900-1421856699_thumb.jpg

 

The turntable works really well. Hand operated. I've added an "indexing arrangement" by fixing two small magnets under the bridge deck (one at each end) and four more under the well. These are 7 x 3 mm Neodymium magnets bought on eBay, twenty for £2. I'll try some more when I make a lid for the model. The magnets let the deck find its own position at each entry track.

 

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The point is driven by a Tortoise motor. The motor is fixed with two layers of foam board to try to cut down the noise. Otherwise the baseboard would act like a drum and amplify everything.

 

post-14389-0-21150800-1421856743_thumb.jpg

 

This bit of track is un-powered. It might catch a train which overruns the turntable, and it might be useful to hold a wagon.

 

post-14389-0-56218600-1421856731_thumb.jpg

 

Hope this is of interest.

 

- Richard.

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Many thanks for posting this, a really innovative solution. I might try something similar for my next 0-16.5 layout.

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Some reed switches arrived in the post today - reed switches with changeover contacts. I have fixed one under the turntable, exactly opposite the magnet which aligns the turntable bridge to the track to the point.

 

post-14389-0-36245500-1421945278_thumb.jpg

 

When the turntable bridge is set to the track to the point, the second magnet underneath the bridge trips the reed switch. At all other positions of the turntable, the switch goes back to its normal state. The reed switch operates the point motor. So the model has no need for a point lever. Turn the turntable to point to the track with the point, the point blades move to suit. Turn the turntable anywhere else, the point blades are set for the "main line/long siding" at the back of the model. It works too, quite chuffed with this.

 

Thank you all for the encouragement in the posts above.

 

- Richard.

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The model measures 16 x 31 inches, because this fits the space available and I could make it from the materials I had. This is not an economical size if you are buying the raw materials! The sum of the lengths of the four sides is just too much to get a 2.4 metre length of beading or whatever to go round the assembly to finish the job off. Taking an inch or so off either dimension would let you use up one length without any waste. I discovered this today, when I bought some softwood beading for it  :no:

 

- Richard.

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I like these Neodymium magnets and I've used some more. I've used them in pairs to fix a bit of ply onto the model to protect the tracks during transit. There are three pairs of magnets (only two pairs in the photo) epoxied into the ply, and also two M4 machine screws in the detachable part which act like dowels.

 

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I think this little project is finished as a fiddle yard. Dressing it up as a layout would be for the future; I want to turn my attention to the layout it will work with. The new layout will be 72 x 18 inches, rather too big to be a micro, so I'll have to leave this pleasant little corner of the forum and take my chances with the general layouts area. Thanks for reading.

 

- Richard.

 

(Edited for clarity)

Edited by 47137
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The new layout will be 72 x 18 inches, rather too big to be a micro, so I'll have to leave this pleasant little corner of the forum and take my chances with the general layouts area.

It is a shame there isn't a sub section for 'small' layouts as well. Mass built modern houses only have small rooms.

 

How about a 'under 10ft long' description for a 'Small/Shelf Layouts' section, to compliment 'Boxfiles, Micro layouts & Dioramas'. (?)

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Yes. I have a magazine-style book by Cyril Freezer, "Compact Model Railways". (Model and Allied Publications, September 1982). In his introduction he dispenses with quantifying a compact layout by absolute dimensions, but rather writes about layouts which make good use of a limited space available. Models which let you work in your chosen scale/gauge, without interfering with the rest of a family home; models which are economical.

 

Defining a compact layout would be even harder than defining a micro. You know one when you see one, typically the smaller 00 and N gauge exhibition layouts with around six or eight points on view, typically built by the person showing them. They have enough track to let them show a larger chunk of railway than a micro, but do use a lot of selective compression to make something which is not, in geographical terms, very much like a scale model. Large enough to make you turn your head to see the whole model, but unobtrusive, perhaps a little unassuming in a nice sort of way. Able to fit into a modern house.

 

If someone set up such an area on the rmweb, there might then be a task of inviting the owners of these models, currently on the general layouts topic, to let the administrators move the topics across. Quite a job, would take a while to do. Food for thought.

 

- Richard.

Edited by 47137

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I think further to that, the majority of personal layouts (not built by a club / syndicate) prob fall into or close to the 'under 10ft shelf' bracket (no pun intended), like you say that being the only space available for the majority of modellers. It would probably be quicker to move the big exhibition layouts or 'layout of a lifetime' builds to a separate area, rather than the more numerous smaller types.

 

That said I quite like the lucky dip variety available in the main layout topics folder rather than purposely hunting down specific types of layout. I keep gravitating back to micros though!

Edited by Saddletank

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I consider 16ft long by 2ft deep to be a size that most households can accomodate. The standard car garage is anywhere up to 20ft long, and a single shelf on one wall should be not unreasonable.

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16ft long by .......

That is the total width of my house!

 

Biggest/longest wall is 14 feet, but the width is only 7 foot 10 inches, so that does't leave much room for a bed & furniture.

Edited by switcher 1

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I consider 16ft long by 2ft deep to be a size that most households can accomodate. The standard car garage is anywhere up to 20ft long, and a single shelf on one wall should be not unreasonable.

My house is 45 square metres, including the space under the stairs but not the staircase itself, and the longest internal wall is 12 feet, measured into a recess. I own adjacent land to park two cars, but there is no garage and no possibility of being allowed to build one. A friend has a house with an integral garage 14 x 7 feet, too small for almost any modern car. I suspect building land is more plentiful in Australia.

 

- Richard.

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