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Cutting slots in a baseboard


AndyB

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Due to galloping mold I've recently had to pull my N gauge layout to pieces and treat the remaining carcass with mold killer.The carcass was supplied from a professional baseboard builder, so it is definitely worth saving.

 

This episode has given the chance to redesign and rebuilt a new layout which is where I'd like your help. I'm keen to build an urban-themed layout which has the trains running on a viaduct into a terminus station. A fiddle yard would sit behind the station. There would be a scenic town/street scene to the front of the viaduct. See schematic, below.

 

post-4299-0-84116500-1353491549.jpg

 

I currently have two baseboards, each 6' x 18" ...

 

post-4299-0-30139900-1353491177.jpg

 

... and propose to cut one in half and re-glue to create a square 3' x 3' board to allow the turn around section of the scheme.

 

My question relates to how best to build the viaduct, specifically if one of my ideas below (Method 2) will weaken the carcass too much.

 

Method 1.

Put a deck of chipboard down across the whole baseboard and build a viaduct on top. This seems a bit daft as the viaduct and station are quite extensive and the end result would be heavier and need more materials and cost than necessary.

 

Method 2.

Cut a slot out of the front of the baseboard carcass, essentially dropping the street scene "down" as opposed to raising the viaduct "up". Essentially this is what is shown in the schematic.

 

The baseboard carcass is made from ply and is 3 3/4" deep. I'm looking to produce a viaduct that is roughly 1 1/2" tall (based on the Biltezi viaduct, ground level to trackbed). So I'm proposing to removed roughly 40% of the thickness of the baseboard carcass over the length of the baseboard.

 

post-4299-0-62866800-1353491206.jpg

 

The layout is portable and might be used for exhibitions. So it still needs to be fairly robust.

 

So, that's all a long way of asking, "Can I get away with cutting a slot in a baseboard carcass without weakening it so much that it will be useless."

 

Thanks for your time reading this and look forward to your views.

Andy

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Thanks, Mickey,

The board is ok for strength at the moment - maybe the photo doesn't do justice. The "beams" are probably deeper than many would use for their models. It's just really a question of how much can I reduce it by and still retain adequate strength.

Andy

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  • RMweb Gold

Without physically looking at the baeboards it's hard to give an opinion.

 

I don't think cutting a slot is the right terminology as a slot has four walls. what you intend to do is to remove a vast tract out of one of the front frames. This will lead to e serious weakening of the integral frame structure, and unless you are prepared to put in some effective bracing, will probably lead to flexing of the baseboard when you least want it.

 

As for cutting the boards in half and regluing them, I've always found that boards that are square are far more difficult to keep rigid. They somehow seem to flex more without do some serious bracing.

 

I'd give a lot of thought to building your own custom baseboards for this project. Were you to use L girder construction and open top construction with foam board inserts for the undulations, you'd get a much more rigid structure, that would be light and easy to move.

 

Regards

 

Richard

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Thanks, gents. Much to think about and it is early days re planning.

The original baseboards were made up from kits by Model Railway Solutions and are actually quite nice - so reluctant to bin them and start from scratch.

I think I can see how to brace them if I did go ahead, BUT, I am re-thinking the plan to see how best to take on board your good advice.

Andy

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Could you make the viaduct itself structural so effectively being a beam that replaces the front one you've cut away? If the arches are all occupied by businesses then it's even easier as it can be a solid member (in practice a box girder). Even if you need some open arches, so long as the base and top are appropriately substantial, the bending moments are concentrated at the top and bottom of a beam so the open arches would be equivalent to the lightening holes that you've already got in the cross members. You might find it useful to model the structure at a smaller scale in card to get an idea of where it would be weak.

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Thanks, David,

 

On Mk1 of my model the arches were occupied, although there were a couple of gaps where roads passed through.

I'm definitely moving away from the idea of major surgery to the board and favouring a box construction as you suggest.

 

Have to leave the bottom open, however, to allow access for point motor replacement.

 

All the best, Andy

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  • RMweb Gold

Andy, Try going along a different tack.

 

Why not leave the existing baseboards as they are and install a raised section for the trackwork, you can experiment with the height you want without ireversably cutting your boards, for the dimensions you've given you could do it for no more than half a sheet of 9 or 12mm ply.

 

Personally if you are happy with your existing boards I wouldn't chop them too much, I don't think they can take it, But they are quite adequate to add more structure too and could also give you more "depth" to play with.

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  • RMweb Gold

I think the baseboards look totally fit for purpose. One needs to accept that these proprietary boards do have some limitations to allow them to be batch produced at a sensible price.

 

I actually think that you would probably be OK with your original solution but raising the trackbed as Chris P (David) suggests is better and easier.

 

If, for reasons of storage space/transport, you don't want to make the boards any bigger, you might do the cutaway and then add in some strength using a combination of backscene boards and bracing concealed within buildings.

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Thanks, Dave, Joseph,

 

Appreciate your thoughts. One thing that might bias me towards not cutting the baseboards is that they could be re-used in years to come for a further project. If I cut them then it would really tie me to one very specific design. SWMBO did have concerns, as Joseph has suggested, about the additional storage space. However, it's worth remembering that the viaduct in N gauge isn't actually that tall and quite possible the back scene will be the bigger item.

 

Andy

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