This section covers the construction and installation of mechanical lever frames which are not prototypical in appearance but do move in a manner not dissimilar to the prototype. Also covered is the associated “Wire in Tube” (WIT) operation and installation. The photo below shows some lever frames in position near the proposed Carriage Works in the early stages of my layout. Four of these control single points and two control facing points (crossovers).
In this post:- “Point” = “Turnout” “Sleeper” = “Tie”The lever frames are two assemblies – the frame mechanism itself and the housing.
For this crossover (above and below) near the front fascia of the layout, there was no room to fit a WIT the normal way. The frame directly controls the rearmost point by the bottom wire on the frame and this wire runs directly under the plywood mounting for the bellcrank (white above) and come up through the throwbar as can be seen below.
There is a very short piece of tube to hold the wire in place near the point. I glue these in with PVA.
In order to throw the second point in the crossover, the top wire from the frame operates a bellcrank which changes the direction of the pull (so that it is parallel with the fascia) and operates a second bellcrank for the front point.
The photo below shows the setup for the other point. I had to drill a hole right through the fascia to get the short piece of WIT to the throwbar. Again, the bellcrank is mounted to a thin plywood plate which will sit above the throwbar wire. You can buy these bellcranks from Model Aircraft shops.
The normal method of installing facing points with WIT is shown below. In this example originally there was only a single point and the trench for the WIT is still visible to the left. In changing it to facing points the frame was relocated; swapped to a double wire type; and new trenches laid for the WIT.
In some ways I preferred the manual point operation as it is more appropriate for my 1960s layout where the train crew or shunters did much of the groundwork. However the change to servo control does allow simpler use of area control panels and some likeness to a signal box diagram.
These sketches were made as I trialed the method and they are pretty rough but they may help somebody using a similar system. I have better than average workshop machine tools including a lathe and machinery and power tools.
My plan has always been to use LED lighting above the entire running surface of the layout. This has been achieved with low cost products available on-line or locally.
The first step was to build a lighting pelmet above the layout with the front surface directly above the fascia board around the layout. This was attached to the walls (or window and door architraves) as shown below:
The complete surface which will be facing the walls has been painted gloss white for maximum light reflection. Back to the preliminary fitting:
This is the only corner which requires fitting to a wall. To facilitate this I have attached a mounting plate to the wall spanning a bit more than the distance between two (steel) studs. The right angle joins have been made using pieces of slotted gal. angle from Bunnings (Metal Mate Galvanised Heavy Duty Slotted Steel Angle 38mm x 38mm x 1.8mm angle x 900 long …$11 AU June 2018)
I used timber (hoop pine) which I had on hand to a finished size of 170 x 17mm but those dimensions aren’t critical.
The LED self adhesive LED strips were obtained on-line from Oatley Electronics at Ettalong Beach : Check the Website
I purchased 4 x (SB-5m long 24V -NW-PW) Pure white LED Strips at a total cost of $36 inc GST [so a 5m strip costs $9 excluding postage]
If you want to see the pics full size – Right Click on it & select “View Image”
OR Double Tap on an iDevice
For testing purposes I also bought a KC24 24V/1Amp power supply but it was not up to the task when I tried it on a 4m length of LEDs. The non ventilated plastic pack couldn’t handle the load and overheated as expected. This is explained fully in the PDF Oatley makes available on their website: PDF
Some of the strips they supply are 12v but they would not have been bright enough for my
The end result below is the effect I am after with most of the light restricted to the layout only. There is a problem visible here …
I suppose the question is DOES IT WORK?
What I was trying to achieve was something like a continuous “stage” effect. I think the pelmet should be painted Brunswick green, the same as the fascia. Here is trial run with Photoshop to see what it might look like then.
As is: “A”
How I think it should be:(it’s a shame I took both pics with the main overhead room light on. What do you think????
Since my layout uses foam sheets as a trackbed, there is a need to drill holes, often many of them, through the foam.
The drill used is made from a piece of metal tube. I use brass tube which does the job and is available in in a variety of appropriate diameters (eg. K&S). I use two main sizes:
6mm for track feeders and points (turnout) wiring.
12mm for mounting Servos in foam
+ 10mm for other odds and ends
You could use aluminium tube but it doesn’t hold its edge well. Steel tube would work well if you could get the size.
Not actually how to fix a hernia! but more about how to ease the problem of working under a fixed layout.
With advancing age it becomes increasingly difficult to work under the layout. There are some alternatives such as tilting or fold-up layouts but they have disadvantages. I didn’t want a portable layout so my layout is screwed to the walls and supports. The layout height is 1020mm (3’4″) with a floor to head clearance of 840mm (2’9″) under the layout. Having the seat close to the floor was mandatory.
So I had to figure out a way to work with at least some comfort under the layout. I tried a very low stool on rollers but on my lino floor it was just too prone to sliding around (rocketing around might be a better explanation) and had no back support. The back support is what I need along with a stable base.
A light weight lifting flap (entry panel) to make getting into and out of the Layout Room easier than ducking under. Especially for an around-the-wall layout and useful for geriatrics!
The panel has an electrical interlock which cuts all power some distance
either side of the panel when it is raised a few millimetres. That still doesn’t cater for person who attempts an “underpass” but rises a little early, distributing locos etc. onto the floor. I think a mechanical interlock is the next project!
Also see the section on “Laying Track Across the Join” Yet to be added.
This section explains the important step of reinforcing (or stressed skinning) the 1″ (25mm) foam sheet to give it tensile strength on the bottom surface. The top is not such a problem as the extruded foam seems to have reasonable compressive strength.
This technique borrows from bridge building and surf board building techniques – remembering that our loading is occurring primarily from the top. You can also use it on 2″ foam to allow increased distance between the supporting battens.
I am assuming that you are not going to be walking around on the top of the layout! Having said that, I have stood on the layout by placing strategic wide pieces of plywood on distributed spacers between the tracks and close to the edges.
No hi-tech tools here! You may need to thin the PVA with water just a little to help spread it. Re-coat if doubtful.
When it is completely dry, cut around the edges with a sharp knife. The reinforced surface will be the bottom!
Then glue the sheet in place with PVA. (No, this is not an advert for Valvoline!)
The reinforced side is down (up in the photo) and and the assembly rests on a flat surface to keep the top true. I then glued the battens and all the support timbers to the bottom of the foam and to the supporting structure so no screws were needed.
Shown below is a test run I did in 2008 when I lived at Bensville (I tend to live in places with strange names). It was a test track for both DC and DCC which fitted on the bar in our lounge room. It vaguely reflects the track layout (considerably condensed) used at Oberon in the Central West of NSW when I lived nearby at Hazelgrove. The latter was a station on the now closed/ suspended railway from Tarana to Oberon. A model of the mighty Hazelgrove station will feature on Kalrail layout (later to be re-named “Brolgan Road”).
I couldn’t resist adding this photo of Hazelgrove Station posed on a temporary diorama. Yet to be finished and weathered.
The underside of the test track shows that 1″ foam has been coated with muslin and fitted with a light weight frame. The ugly blocks on the right were added to help it fit on the bar which was a bit narrow. It is 2m long, 58cm wide and weighs 4kg. Could be made much lighter with thinner timber and no ugly blocks.
Could be a neat way to take a 2m x 1/2m layout to a display. Carry it in one hand.