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Layout in a box


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Thanks to a Christmas gift of a Scale Model Scenery BB017 baseboard (and the box to store it in!), I'm embarking on a new project. I'd love to be able to produce something that is of a quality that would enable me to exhibit it - although maybe I should walk before I run and join a club to get more involved behind the scenes. Now that my eldest has passed her test, Dad's taxi services are less called for so time may start to allow!

 

Toying with plans right now, but there are a few givens and a number of things I'd like to include...

  • This one will make it to completion 😀
  • Period is BR blue onwards, making use of my existing stock
  • Geographically, it'll be East Midlands - Notts / Derbyshire, again like my existing stock
  • Would like to have passenger trains, but also some non-passenger operations to keep things interesting
  • Operation will be DCC (sound), any points will be motorised with servos and I'd like to use Code 75 track, having used Code 100 on other layouts (that have to accept my HST formed of 8 Lima Mk3's!)
  • Would like to explore semaphore signalling if appropriate, the location being where colour light signals have yet to make it

 

Current plan I am toying with is:

 

image.png.e5a532130ad3c0a66f44069da688bbe7.png

 

The platform only serves the lower line, with sufficient space in the platform for a two car DMU. Although an island platform, only the lower side is used, the upper side will be fenced, but went for that arrangement so that the tracks had some curve to them and weren't all parallel with the edge.

 

Towards the back / top of the diagram is a low relief warehouse with platform allowing the non-passenger operations. On arrival, rains (either a loco + 3 VBA or loco + 2 BG if I want a parcel's theme) enter the middle line leaving the loco blocked in. A shunter will them emerge from the headshunt (end of top line) before pulling back the vans and shunting them into the platform, releasing the loco.  I did consider entering the warehouse platform directly, utilising a headshunt and run around to release the loco, was less keen on that idea due the space available - that would mean that when the train departs again you wouldn't see the loco, just the train disappearing!

 

Off-scene, trains will go onto cassettes, so keeping the train lengths short, that kind of drove me towards no through lines, as through lines might invite longer trains.

 

Be interesting in any opinions. Not sure it will be the fastest of builds if I'm honest, but we'll see!

 

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Each of the halves of the board have now been put together, just gluing the base for now, leaving the back and sides loose as I figured that would make construction easier for now.

20240113_115149.jpg.a255860215fb34bf58c2a203bb6f43bc.jpg

After putting the two halves together, does leave me wondering whether it's best to consider it two boards and break the track on the join, or make sure the whole thing is stable enough in one piece. Given that it is designed to go in the box in one piece, I'm thinking that route may be best, the size meaning I'm unlikely to ever separate the two halves.

 

20240130_212156.jpg.a351d90325265143848db68b1965e729.jpg

 

Plonking on trains shows that I need to udge the turnouts over to the right a bit to make sure that there is space for my albeit longest loco to bring in the BGs or van and clear the turnouts, plus leaving enough room for the shunter to clear them too. It does look rather busy but I guess that normally there will be only one train in the warehouse area so it will be less crowded.

20240130_214143.jpg.1a9f4cda1a916cec9a75a5737afb75ed.jpg

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The first turnout is now laid, I did say progress was going to be slow!

The turnouts are prepped to use a switch to alter frog polarity by cutting the links and bonding the stock and closure rails. The wires that form the bonding also then act as dropper wires for the feed. The spring is also removed to facilitate operation with a servo and once that is done, I like to mount them on a piece of cork so that they can be laid as a complete unit. I also remove the ends of the tiebar so that you don't have the plastic protrusions where surface point motors would connect.

 

As I said, I wanted to use servos, when I've done this in the past I've used the MERG 3d printed mounts but was a bit concerned with reliability as I've had issues with the wire popping out. So, I had a go with a 3d print from thingiverse which works really well. The servo just clips in and then the unit is bolted onto the board. The servos themselves are controlled by the Ezypoints MERG kits; on my round the room layout I use an Arduino controlled by DCC but that's overkill for this - a couple of switches on the back connected to the Ezypoints modules will do the job nicely. 

 

image.png.c3b8e3028699849a18726c18a3ad80b9.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

The track is now laid - because I wanted it to end flush with the end where cassettes will be used, I had to fit the end panel after first cutting out the aperture. Also a hole's been drilled for the Dapol semaphore signal. Not having the right drill bit, I had the choice of buying a spade type drill or the more traditional style. Not sure what the spade would have done to the MDF, so went for the traditional drill - albeit one with a smaller shank so it fit in the drill! Prior to laying the track I also fitted a Kadee magnet at the right location for incoming trains. 

 

The curves on the approach to where the station will be look less smooth in the picture than they do when you look along the track, from some angles I wonder if the cork underlay is making it look a bit less flowing. I decided to make the station platform slightly longer than originally envisaged, partly because it starts later that originally planned due to the curve on the approach and partly because I wanted to make sure it would accommodate my longest two car train - a 156 - as well as 1st Gen DMUs and 150/1 sprinters.

 

image.png.e02221059c7ffd18c9adcac561392c63.png

 

 

All of the track wiring has been done including the frog microswitches. I went down the route of copper tape for local buses, but linked them with cable (spot the tight git who didn't want to shell out for two reels of cable of different colours!). The 3d printed servo motors are clearly visible and work really nicely. Quite pleased with how neat the copper tape has left the wiring, neat wiring is not normally my forte! I'd ready of a few concerns about the tape peeling, so all of the wires are secured with a blob of hot glue gun glue to make sure that they don't get snagged and pull at the copper. 

image.png.59023ecb175398a45045e310d4af2cdf.png

 

Next job is to paint the rail sides before fitting the back and other end boards as it would be tricky / impossible to do that once they are in place.

 

Edited by MartynJPearson
Grammar!
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  • 2 weeks later...

More updates, added the wiring for the non-track electrics - a socket for the 12v DC feed and then switches for the two servo controllers, a pushbutton for the Dapol semaphore signal and two more switches which will be used for scenic lighting. I had to recess the switches so that there wouldn't be issues getting the board in the box, although that does also mean they are less likely to be inadvertently knocked. The close up picture really shows off my wonky cutting out!!

 

image.png.1548c1ebe4030ec9438eab6080131b1a.png

 

I've used the copper tape to create 12v DC buses too, labelled with sticky labels. The servo controllers and the signals all connect via terminal blocks so they can be removed or replaced. I'm paranoid about damaging the signal so for now it's not been fitted permanently, will do that as late as possible! One hitch is that the underboard section of the signal is deeper than the space under the baseboard. I think I'll be able to get away with it by mounting the signal on the same thickness of cork that the track is laid on, but failing that plan B is to fit adjustable feet (purloined from some recently dismantled furniture). They might not be a bad idea anyway to deal with operating on an uneven or unlevel surface.

 

image.png.0a1ea9812b731db125fe846105c9b6e5.png

 

The backs and other end have now been secured on too, with the scrap of board that I cut out for the exit aperture being used to make a solid joined between the two back boards. All in all now that it is glued, the board seems nicely rigid.

 

image.png.7bdcd10eac397c9b6c159ff98f358f71.png

 

Don't really want to do any more around the trackwork (ballasting etc) until I've made sure we're all good on the running front, which is going to necessitate building at least one cassette. I spotted that B&Q do lengths of 6mm MDF of width 70mm which could be a possible route to getting some together nicely without having to saw in a straight line (as per the first photo, not my forte!!), my thinginkg being that three lengths could be arranged in an H shape. Online it the MDF was only sold in bulk, so will have a chat with the local DIY shop to see if they do something similar.

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  • RMweb Gold

You could ask SMS or one of the other laser cut baseboard suppliers about cutting a few bits of mdf to the exact sizes you want for cassettes. 

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi,

 

Liking your period/design and following with interest.

 

Can i ask if your scenic two boards are one BB017 kit? i.e. about 1110mm long? It looks that way, just want to confirm as they seem really good value for money.

 

Regards,

James

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2 hours ago, jamest said:

Hi,

 

Liking your period/design and following with interest.

 

Can i ask if your scenic two boards are one BB017 kit? i.e. about 1110mm long? It looks that way, just want to confirm as they seem really good value for money.

 

Regards,

James

Hi James, yes, it's just one kit. It's formed of the two halves which bolt together and the kit includes the bolts and spacers. It went together really nicely.

The fit into the really useful box is just right. Snug enough that it's making the most of the space but not so tight it's hard to get in and out.

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After engaging brain and thinking about the cassette storage, I realised that my thinking was flawed in that it would have required a stable space for cassettes and if there was levelling to do, I would need a base or have to level each cassette. So, instead I've created a "surface" on which shallower cassettes can sit, picture below showing a cassette in place.

 

The top is foamboard, glued all around so that it is firm with supports underneath, will see how durable it is. Next consideration is getting power to the cassettes, might have a go with my trusty copper tape again and see just having the cassettes lined up with the track will provide power.

 

image.png.29743ffe5f53d3966e0c0a2270fbf232.png

 

One thing I did find after getting frustrated with the fact that my cassette appeared bowed was that the cassette itself was perfectly straight; my trusty Ikea desk however has developed a hollow after a decade of use!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ahead of the buildings at the back being built, a backscene's been applied. The backscene is Peco, and it's applied using 3M spray mount which worked really well. I applied the spray mount to the back, folded the pieces so the folds aligned with the corners and then did one side of the corner at a time, pushing the fold right into the corner. It was a little fiddly but the adhesive allows for correction, particularly where the backscene just flopped against the back rather than being pressed down. Pressing it down with a cloth working along meant that there are no creases or bubbles (apart from one minor one which will be covered).

 

image.png.969fd7170780876189fed2c21b99b607.png

The backscenes were cut over height and width, and the overlaps were PVA's down onto the back and ends, meaning no exposed edges at the top or front of the board.

 

Biggest niggle is the join which is noticeably different in colour - think that was overspray of the adhesive but a tall building will cover that.

 

Next job in progress is the bridge which hides the entry to the layout, quite pleased with how it has turned out, needs priming and painting now. It doesn't go all the way to the back of the board, the intention being that it will join with a building, hence the gap at the back. I did wonder whether I should have made it deeper, i.e. with more road, but it does the job so I think I'll leave it as is.

 

image.png.cbeac806272af6bdf1b4fa3ca4742e81.png

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