2017 part 1 – Building New Layout – Plywood for Lower Level

See also the pages about the plans for the new layout:

Landscape and buildings (including semaphore signal)
Wood work, wiring, extended feedback etc.

January 1

Up early. Out for a walk. New Year Concert and Ski-jumping in the Television.

But I also spent time ordering components for decoders etc. from Reichelt and servos for the new turnouts from NiceLED.

January 3

The goods from Reichelt have arrived already.

January 8

This takes time. I have spent the entire day on very little:

I spent all morning buying and collecting a board of 6 mm plywood. For transportation, I had to borrow a trailer. And while having the trailer available, I used it to get rid of the Christmas tree. And then I had to deliver the trailer back again.

I spent the afternoon sawing pieces of plywood for the front shadow station and for the visible track at the front as well as marking the arched pieces for the sides:img_0148I am not good at arches. So I have been using my ruler for ever centimeter to draw a dot 4 cm away from the track. But now I am ready for the saw.

January 9

The 4 arched pieces are ready.

NiceLED has still not sent the servos. They are caught in customs after arrival in Denmark.

January 14

It is Saturday, which means a couple of hours for model railroading. So I am back to being the carpenter. I have been cutting the visible track piece from the front shadow station. The plan is to make the visible track detachable:imageThe arched pieces that shall connect the rear shadow station with Skive H are temporarily stored in the hallway. Same thing with the visible front track.

Skive H is supposed to be cut from the piece of plywood that can be seen up against the wall:imageNow I have come to something where I am unsure how to do it. It is my first time joining two pieces of plywood. I am beginning with the joint between the front shadow station and the arch towards the rear shadow station:imageI suppose I first have to cut the two pieces so that they exactly fit together:imageThen join them via a small piece of board on the rear. I am first cutting a piece of board from the old layout and then I drill holes in the plywood for screws:imageThen i glue and join the pieces using 3,5 x 15 mm screws. The board piece is overlapping the plywood with about 9 cm. It seems fine. I just hope that it is not going to be neither to stiff or to weak. I finished joint looks like this:imageNext joint is worse. Here, I will join 9 mm plywood to 6 mm plywood, i.e. rear shadow station and the arch to wards Skive H.

I don’t know if I should simply do as with the first joint and then align the difference in thickness by adding plaster or whatever on top of the 6 mm plywood. Or should I put something with a thickness of 3 mm underneath the 6 mm plywood and will that become strong enough?

Again I start by cutting the two pieces to make a perfect fit (except for the difference in thickness:imageNote that the rear track shall go down towards the front shadow station while the other 4 are going up towards Skive H.

January 15

Continuing the carpentry.

I have assembled the entire lower oval now. It took a lot of time to adjust the arches so there is room for both the upwards and the downward arches at the ends of the rear shadow station.

I ended up joining the 9 and the 6 mm plywood exactly as the other joints. I then have to adapt the thicknesses by adding something on top of the 6 mm plywood later on.

Next project is the crossing between the two shadow stations. Here I want to try out the Piko flex track. I have been cutting the ends of two pieces of Märklin track and putting Piko joints on them to join the Piko track with Märklin track. Here is the result:imageBesides, I have made 4 strips of MDF, 7 cm wide. They are going to be the foundation of the crossing. The 4 strips are going to be joined in the center:imageThe height of Märklin track is 10,6 mm and the height of Piko track is 4,6 mm. I.e. the height will be exactly the same if I add another layer of MDF underneath the Piko track.

January 16

Even though it is Monday, I managed to get home early enoughto get on with the crossing. I have gotten it all to fit together and I have glued and screwed small pieces of plywood underneath the 4 “corners” where the crossing shall join the rest of the layout:imageThe center is cut to fit and a piece of board has been prepared for the assembling:imageAnd the “corners” er as mentioned even more ready:imageBut now it is time for watching TV. It is a hobby and there has to be time for other activities as well.

Last message from NiceLED is that he has been clever enough to ask the customs which documents they need. So now there is hope to see the servos within a week or so.

Next time, I suppose I will order in a shop that has the servos in stock inside the EU. For example Hobbyking. It doesn’t mean that I would advice against NiceLED. On the contrary. He made it very clear on his homepage that the servos were not in stock and therefor the delivery time was unknown. So I could just have ordered elsewhere.

January 17

The MDF for the crossing is done. Only problem is that the MDF is so hard that screws do not go into it, but keep having their heads above the surface. We will see if it becomes a problem once I lay the track:imageThe glue will get time to harden until tomorrow. And then I am ready to rise the rear shadow station to elevation 5 cm. Or rather, I will have to find pieces of wood or similar that provide the right elevation. The final fastening will have to wait until I have been able to do test driving.

January 21

NiceLED has finally received the servos and has already sent them to me.

To do some initial test driving with something similar to the correct slopes, I have put a lath underneath the rear shadow station. It is thereby elevated 1 cm to much, but I will try something out anyway. Good old Märklin 3060 Santa Fe first:imageAs expected, it can do anything. But what happens if I attach 4 wagons to it? And what about the Heljan IC3 train? I also have a locomotive with low hanging snow plows that shall be tested with and without wagons.

Next test: 7 Lima B wagons after the Santa Fe locomotive. No problem. Both pulling and pushing the wagons:imageThe IC3 train seems able to “climb the mountain”. When it can do it, anything can:imageThe IC3 train has not become any more stable than last time I wrote about it. After a few successful rounds back and forth I found courage and increased speed. That made both drive shafts loosen themselves from the boogies. I may be possible to fix with Superglue. But it is not good enough, Heljan.

On the other hand, I don’t think it has anything to do with the layout, so I have just put the IC3 train back into it’s box. After having put the driveshafts back into place, of course. Then we will have to see about the future of the IC3 train. Maybe I will sell it. It is nice and new. And it will probably run fine on a bigger layout without R1 curves.

As mentioned, I have an other locomotive with low hanging snow plows. It runs fine both back and forth. Also with the single compatible wagon I own.

But it cannot pull more than this single wagon. It doesn’t have rubber tires and it only pulls on two axles on one boogie. I have two axles with rubber tires for the locomotive. And then everything is going to be fine, I am sure. There is not room for more than 3 wagons on my layout anyway.

All in all, I will conclude that 5-6 cm elevation is OK and I will attach the rear shadow station using pieces of the lath and a bunch of screws:imageAnd the train still runs.

During the evening, I corrected a small problem in JMRI: An other JMRI+ECOS user wondered why he could not transfer locomotive definitions, that he once had uploaded from ECOS to JMRI, back to the ECOS, where he had now by mistake deleted them. And that is of course a point. So now I have changed it so that a locomotive definition can be put back into ECOS provided that the DCC address is not already in use in ECOS.

January 22

I had to test the slopes again. And all of a sudden, the good old locomotive can no longer push 7 wagons. Not even 5. The derail. In return, I got verified that a Lima B wagon is durable enough to fall a meter down onto the floor without any damages.

It turned out that by switching two wagons, I managed to once again push 7 wagons uphill.

And still – with my layout, 7 wagons is without interest. 3 is maximum:imageI am in full progress to ensure the right elevation all the way round. I am not doing it as thorough as described on stahlbahn.de. So my layout is not going to be easily adjustable in elevation.

Instead, I have calculated where it fits with 1×15 mm, 2×15 mm and 3×15 mm round the arches:
imageIt fits with a57x388 mm lath at the high edge under the rear shadow station, where it is only the 9 mm plywood.

The same lath but on the low edge and supplemented by a piece of 6 mm plywood fits underneath the joints in the end of the shadow station:imageAnd the crossing has been raised a bit too:imageSo far, I have only screwed the wooden blocks to the base board but not the plywood to the wooden blocks. I have thought of only attaching the plywood very few places.

That way, it is easy to take everything apart again. And besides, to many screws may serve to transfer noise.