My former N layout was built on a frame of 20*100mm planks, a 10mm plywood plate, and the tracks (Arnold flex) were NAILED through all holes on 3 mm plywood, it was supported every 20cm by a vertical piece of 10mm plywood ... and nothing got ever warped. And my next layout will NEVER leave its room. Perhaps You could answer that steel has a 30% lower coefficient for dilatation, but I think this made not a big difference. To Greg : on the french layout there is kork under the track in the visible parts, because this track has no own ballast ; with the old "M" (HO) Märklin track, the ballast was made of ... metal ! And all Märklin tracks are still made for screws : the proof is that they sell the screws themselves (7599, thanks zscalehobo) ! And look at this ; its by Rokuhan, and I wonder if nails would fix in foam. When I built my former layout in the 80's, foam was only used for the landscape ...
Last Edit: Aug 5, 2017 10:13:32 GMT -5 by alberich
To be clear, when I started into this hobby, I looked at wood as a base, specifically plywood. But I was told not to use wood as a base, but rather a frame to put Styrofoam sheets into because wood has a tendency to warp no matter how much bracing you do. I read an article about this in a train magazine several years ago and it said the same thing. Examples were given as to how to build modules using wood frames and Styrofoam sheets. Many model train clubs here do it this way. My mentor who got me started in Z scale told me the same thing. It is also much lighter if you are moving your layout from place to place as in shows and such. I know one person who build his layout on a solid wood door and regretted later because it warped. So laugh if you will, ridicule me if you will, but this is what I've been told and read about and it's how I've built my layout. How any of you do it, is up to you. I'm not saying it's wrong. Every method has it's pro's and con's. It's up to the individual to decide what's best for him.
BCW, I started out this way too. I recall reading an article about using Styrofoam sheets surrounded by a wooden frame. I think it was in a book that talked about different types of bench work. Boy that goes back a lot of years. My first layout as a kid was a 4 x 4 sheet of 5/8" plywood, and that was for my Lionel train. Tracks weren't fixed to the plywood which meant every time I had to move it, everything had to come off. In my teenaged years and dabbling in HO, I learned about the different types of bench work that one could use, and my dad and I thought that the wood frame with Styrofoam sheeting would be the best option. I've used it ever since. Like you say Willy, it's far lighter and easier to handle when you have to move it, which I've done twice now. I was told that the Styrofoam helps to deaden the noise of the trains over the tracks. I have to admit, I never thought of the idea of using straight pins to fasten the tracks down. Interesting concept. I've been using track nails which works the same way but it's harder to get the tracks up if you need to. I'd like to discuss this with you further if you don't mind. Can I email you?
Post by boxcarwilly on Aug 5, 2017 14:49:14 GMT -5
Greg: I understand about the glue, but wouldn't that present a problem if one wanted to change the layout of a track or install a turnout or something like that? On all of my modules I use a 1x6" frame with 1x4" support slats one at each end and then evenly spaced along the rest of the module. These are screwed to 2.2 blocks and these slats and blocks are below the top of the 1 x 6 at either 1 1/2 or 2" depth depending on the Styrofoam base I'm using, and that base is the same sheeting contractors use to insulate houses. I get it in 24" wide by 84" long slabs, then cut it in half at the 48" mark. Then drop it inside my module which is 24 x 48 ID and glue it to the slats. If all goes well, the top of the Styrofoam should be even with the top of the frame. Then I just build on top of that. For my 30" wide modules I just add a 6" strip of foam down one side and glue it in place. Then my rough ins for the mountains and all the riser are glued to that base. The tracks are pinned to the risers and so on and so on and so on.
Not completely on topic, but I've changed to a new formula for all my track work:
Open frame construction with Lauan hardwood flooring plywood for the tracks. IBL cork roadbed attached to the lauan with liquid nails construction adhesive. Atlas flex track attached to the IBL cork with Weldwood contact cement.
Both adhesives have excellent longevity, and retain some flexibility over their lifetimes. They also cure within minutes and allow exceptionally rapid construction. They are also adorable and easy to get at Home Depot or lowes.
The IBL cork is actually surprisingly affordable as is the atlas flex track.
After that I airbrush the tracks with dark brown paint, wipe the rails clean, and then ballast.
Dirk and I are now building Z-scale layouts for more than 35 years. If you want to build something durable, use an aluminium frame and layers of Styrofoam sheets ("Styrodur"). As Rob A indicated, make yourself a cork roadbed, glue the cork on the styrofoam. Then glue down your tracks on the cork only as little as necessary to fix them. After that airbrush the tracks, wipe the tracks clean, check functionality (!!) and then ballast. The ballast glue connects all the tracks with the cork, rock solid! Continue with your land scaping...... Best, Sven
1) Thanks, this glue is available in France too, I will test it. But on a German forum, I saw a post from a modeller who used 1 x 8mm full brass screws, smaller than Märklin. 2) For the wooden structure, a ship modeller friend said that I should varnish BOTH sides of all parts with a special "base varnish" (it is called "G4" in France).
I wanted to say that hydrocarbon sealer cannot be found in Europe (perhaps it's forbidden ? For example Tamiya Putty was forbidden a few months ago) ... G4 can ! It's expensive, but todays, what is cheap ?
I spoke with my carpenter in the morning ; due to the structure of the base plate, it's useless to varnish it, my cellar is not really "wet" enough to cause deformation : my carpenter is aware of it, he installed the insulation for the "railway room". So I will only varnish the platforms for the tracks (5mm, on four sides), when they will be assembled and fixed in their respective places.