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Jimbo

Leveling tracks??

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Jimbo

as some of you may or may not know my table is somewhat warped!!   I'm try to figure out how to level one end?? (the road bed)  Shim it to level??   I also replaced my double track with single track,,, Trains are much happier now,  This is all Kato track,

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cteno4

Layer thin strips of cardboard (inexpensive chipboard or even cereal boxes) under the track can build things up once the right levels tape them to table. You can cut curved sections like 1/4” or so wider than track.

 

how about putting down a layer of 1” extruded stryene foam board (insulation board you can get at big box or building supply stores) on top of the table and level that up with cardboard shims so your top surface is level. Easier to level the big sheet than a lot of bits of track. You can put some sewing pins in along the side of the track then if you want to hold track in place. Foam also lets you carve troughs for the wires to run in and then just cover with some tape. Cover foam with sheets of art paper or cloth.

 

jeff

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katoftw
Posted (edited)

If the table is the problem. Wouldn't it be better to level the whole layout, not just the tracks?

Edited by katoftw

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railsquid
4 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

how about putting down a layer of 1” extruded stryene foam board (insulation board you can get at big box or building supply stores) on top of the table and level that up with cardboard shims so your top surface is level. Easier to level the big sheet than a lot of bits of track. You can put some sewing pins in along the side of the track then if you want to hold track in place. Foam also lets you carve troughs for the wires to run in and then just cover with some tape. Cover foam with sheets of art paper or cloth.

 

I did that once, to provide a built-up level for excavating lower-level scenery from.

 

However I found the foam tends to compress slightly and becomes uneven, and digging channels for wiring probably doesn't help.

 

Currently my layout consists of an uneven series of baseboards (no, they aren't easily fixable) with the track resting partly on a complex of cardboard shims of various thicknesses which work quite well.

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Jimbo
3 hours ago, katoftw said:

If the table is the problem. Wouldn't it be better to level the whole layout, not just the tracks?

 

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Jimbo

one end isn't bad an took very little work,,, the other end like the last foot an a half of it is way off Cars freewheel!!! its a 4 by 8 table,,   Yes I know I ask some really dumb ass questions,, Sorry

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cteno4
1 hour ago, railsquid said:

However I found the foam tends to compress slightly and becomes uneven, and digging channels for wiring probably doesn't help.

 

The extruded polystyrene used here in the states for insulation board is very stiff and hard to compress, so works great for an underlmainent and is actually pretty tough. You’d have to step on the track to compress it into the foam. It’s a very common modeling surface here as you can dig out when needed for scenery. There are some polyurethane foam insulation boards you can easily press your finger into, I wouldn’t recommend using those! I’ve seen O scale clubs make 2’x8’ modules out of 2” extruded polystyrene insulation foam with a small underframe of glued on 1” foam. Very light and stiff!

 

We used it for 5 years on the club portable layout with jsut simple wooden frame around the outsides and it took a big beating. I still have 4 of the modules noted together with some plywood sides to make some vertical strip wood storage racks.

 

jeff

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railsquid

I see, evidently I've never come aross that then. The stuff I've come across in Japan, including the big blue sheets used for insulation, does compress with a press of the finger, only slightly but a mm or two but is enough to make track uneven.

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cteno4

They may make a very expanded version that is like the foam meat trays in the supermarket where you can push your finger into easily. Our insulation board is pretty hard, you can push hard and dent it a bit but I takes a big push. Any normal modeling work or tracks, buildings etc never dent it though. 

 

Jeff

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railsquid

This is the stuff in question, certainly not something I'd like to see meat packaged in ;). To the right of the "B" you can see a circular depression from my thumb, and two parallel lines from a section of Tomix track; both achieved with moderate pressure of the sort one might inadvertently exert while laying track etc.

 

insulating-foam.thumb.jpg.6c7695210e2a49fca823c99acf56a971.jpg

 

I assume the stuff you mean is different, but this is my experience with what's available in Japan. I do still use it as it's handy for raised sections, but there I put a layer of thin plywood on top.

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cteno4

Yep that looks close to the very light/expanded polystyrene that’s used for meat trays here. They are little trays that then is wrapped in clear plastic to seal in the meat. At like 3mm thick t’s just sturdy enough to make a minimal bottom tray to package the meat. Folks use this stuff here to make stone walls as you can take a blunted point like a burnisher or sharpened dowel with a slightly blunted tip to draw the stone lines in then paint.

 

https://images.app.goo.gl/ygC28nNWKNKhBWVk9

 

our polystyrene insulation board is much stiffer, denser, tougher stuff. Probably a higher R factor (our measure of how good it insulates)

 

jeff

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Sheffie

Does anyone have a link to the extruded PS material?

 

I’ve laid my track on double walled corrugated cardboard. (That’s what you get if you go to a home improvement store and get Heavy Duty storage boxes.) The first layout seemed to go really well, but in the second version any rolling stock without an engine is prone to rolling around. So your mileage may vary. You can always attach insulating tape to the underside of a piece of track if it needs raising a little at one end 

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cteno4

Here you go

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Owens-Corning-FOAMULAR-150-1-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-R-5-Scored-Square-Edge-Rigid-Foam-Board-Insulation-Sheathing-20WE/207179253

 

FormulaR is the Corning brand name for extruded polystyrene foam insulation board. You don’t want expanded (the packed beads) as it’s not as tough and can flake beads easily. Also not the polyurethane or polyiso stuff as it can compress easily and usually has a foil sheet on both sides for heat reflection. You will also see it in blue and green and sometimes seems maybe a slightly different R value and thus maybe slightly different harness/density or jsut a different brand (I think Lowe’s has a green store brand). But all the extruded polystyrene I’ve seen in the various colors is good and stiff for these purposes. No worries about humidity at all and not much of any warping as long as not suspended w.o support with a lot of weight on it. It can be glued effectively with pva glue but takes a while to cure (can be days) as moisture needs to evaporate out the seams), caulking or they make a thick adhesive specifically designed to glue it to walls and such but you have to get that in a caulking gun tube size.

 

most big box stores (home despot! Lowers etc) have it, but some states or counties it’s not part of their building code insulation so can be sparse to find. For a long Time it was not carried at big box stores and I either had to go to independent builder/contractor supply places to source it or go the next county or state (we are closer to a state line than another county line here) to find it at the big box. The place of last resort can be walk in refrigeration room companies as they will sometimes sell folks some.

 

usually comes in 2’x8’ sheets that usually have rabit joints on each long end to lock together with glue. Some is sold in 4’x8’ sheets that have pre scored at 16” Long sections. Home despot sometimes has 2’x2’ panels.

 

its very stiff stuff and for a smaller layout sitting on a flat table you probably can get away without any frame. You could just glue on a wood frame of even thin plywood tomthe edges to protect them some and pretty it up. 

 

problem with corrugated cardboard can be moisture with time if your home is not well humidity controlled and it will slowly warp. One trick to make it very rigid is to cut a load of 1” strips of it and make a frame around the edge and an interlocking waffle pattern frame within this (like a 6” grid). Makes a convenient place to run wires and such as well. Downside is you can’t do any scenery technique on the cardboard that requires any heavy painting or water/glue soaking as the corrugated cardboard will warp, shrink, dissolve, etc. you might try sealing with several light coats of spray lacquer paint, but I expect flooding techniques may still cause issues.

 

You can make the waffle frame pretty quickly and easily with a hot glue gun (works fast and well with corrugated cardboard). Add some fillets on joints after glued it and they will be solid, fast cure and not messy. I use to make big bases for architectural and exhibit models out of 1 and 2 ply corrugated cardboard like this and they stayed Uber stiff and rigid with lots of schlepping around to meetings and such up to like 4’x6’ without any wood support in it.

 

cheers,

 

Jeff

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chadbag

My current "temporary" layout is a 4'x8' square frame (slightly larger actually) with a cross in the middle made of 2'x4' lumber.  I have two sheets of the extruded foam that Jeff mentions laying on the frame (overlapping half the frame member width so that I can put my acrylic walls outside the foam).   It is basically only supported around the edge and the cross piece in the middle.    (The foam is 2'x8' and 1" thick)

 

I have stacked a lot of stuff on the layout (tools, stacks of KATO train boxes, various other misc stuff) without damage.  It is very stiff.  Pressing on it with my thumb does nothing. I have to dig into it.  

 

I "glued" it down to the frame using silicone caulking like you get to work on your bathroom fixtures.

 

I got mine at Lowes and it is blue.   (Lowes is closer to my house than Home Depot).

 

Right now it just has a green table cloth on it and I am using it to experiment with and have a bunch of track (multiple loops of double track and a few loops of single track) on it.  I am (slowly) working on a "real" layout for the board, and when I do that I will probably layer it with  paper back foam board (3/16" or about 5mm), like you can get at crasft stores, to actually to actually build on as the foam is "contractor grade" and has a somewhat rough surface, with small imperfections, divots, etc from manufacture.

 

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