I need some feed back on my layout thoughts. I have VERY limited space, and just two trains at this time (my old set and my sons new Santa Fe Flyer Lionel starter set. All trains are conventional control, at this time.

For track I have the Fastrack that came with the Santa Fe Flyer and a few more straight pieces, a bunch of O-27 tubular and a bunch of MTH RealTrax. (don't have specifics on quantities of O-27 & RealTrax).

Since I have such limited space I was thinking of a "fold-up" layout design like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcZIilzsOg0
though not quite complex, with only 2 loops for the 2 existing trains, possibly the ability to add a 3rd loop for a future train.

I was thinking the need to keep the table light weight yet strong enough, I will not be walking on the table. The table would be 1/4" ply with 2x2 in the middle for strength. When folded up, my wife suggested painting the bottom of the table with the chalkboard paint, I thought that was a good idea.

Size of the table would be 4x8 or possibly a little wider, depending on the final layout design.

Any thing in particular I would need to address before layout design and building?
Thanks in advance.
Ryan
Original Post
when I was younger my dad built my brother and I a fold down layout. It was one sheet of ply mounted on hinges to some 2x4's (might have been other type of wood, he was quite the craftsman)that were then screwed into the wall (this was constructed in our basement so the wall was cement/brick). The ply was stabalized by very small 1x1 hard wood. It was table height, he had attached two 2x4's at the front corners on hinges so when it folded down, those 2x4's became legs. When it was folded up they took up no extra room. He did not have any fancy pully system like your video. When we were younger he had to pull the board down for us.

Just a suggestion, hope you find a great solution!
Ryan,

When my kids were really young, like 1 and 2 (44 years ago!), I built an HO layout on a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood that folded against the wall. The frame was about 10 inches deep, and was mounted on the wall over a couch that could be used only when the train was folded up against the wall. The 10-in deep frame allowed for all the scenery we had to be permanently mounted on the layout, and only the trains needed to be removed to put the layout away.

For running the trains, the layout folded down and rested on a narrow set of shelves made out of 1” x 6” stock that doubled as the support legs for the side opposite the wall. The couch could not be used when the train was down, but hey, when you have limited space, some compromises have to be made Wink.

Good luck!

Alex

Happy O-Gauge Railroading!

  Alexander Müller

See My Mostly Completed Layout Here

YouTube: 03Patines

Latest Video: Passenger Trains

OGR Articles: Runs 256, 263, 267, 292

OGR  forum member since 26 January 2008

Ryan,

I don't know if you've tried it, but a Realtrax O31 loop does fit nicely inside a Fastrack O-36 loop if you don't have any really big trains. To get a little more clearance just put a 1 3/8" piece of Fastrack between the curved sections on each end.

The O36 Fastrack loop will need about 42" of width, adding the filler will need a few more inches... like a 44" or 45" width.

If you use 1/4" plywood, I would use ty-wraps to fasten the track to the table instead of screws. Works great. I did this on our club's 45" x 75" portable layout that has a Realtrax trolley line, inside a Realtrax loop, inside a wider Realtrax loop.

Have fun, keep us informed!
Ed

Home of the Union Eastern, Thomaston & Williamstown Railroad

I built a cabinet where two 4x8 sheets folded into. It stuck out from the wall so trains could be parked on the resulting interior shelf. Trains stayed on tracks on the shelf and buildings remained attached when folded into the cabinet. A remotely operated ceiling winch folded it all up. Additional storage was on shelves below. It was featured in MR a couple years ago. Perhaps too complex for some.
I had the same dilemma. Here are some photos from building the frame of my 6x9 that might provide some inspiration. I have a pulley system that helps raise and lower it, and screwed panels to the bottom to hide the frame work when it's folded up and painted it all white to match the walls.

Photobucket

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Photobucket

 

James
Santa Fe All The Way

James,
That looks like what I had in my mind. The only difference would be to cover the bottom with a sheet of plywood so that it can be painted with the "chalk board" paint.

Any problems getting to the wall side of the layout? Do you have any pictures of the completed layout?

Thanks to all for the tips.

Ryan
James,

That's an awesome fold up layout, love it!

My father built an HO layout similar to yours that was 4x8. He had his carpenter remove part of the wall, and the frame was built inside the wall so that it was flush when it was folded up. Fond memories of folding it out to run trains with my Dad.

Thanks.

-bruce
quote:

Any problems getting to the wall side of the layout?
Getting to the wall side only requires stepping over the frame work which is 18" tall. Sometimes it's a little bit of a hassle but for the most part it's not a big deal. One thing about the table height (22") is it's just right to sit in a chair and operate. Another upside is it's easy for the little ones to see what's going on. And the downside is it's easy for the little ones to grab what's going on. Smile

 

James
Santa Fe All The Way

Another style that people have done is to have it lower straight down from the ceiling on 4 pulleys. This is great if you have a high enough ceiling and it doesn't tip everything. If you do it right, you can even leave the trains on the track.

A little trickier to do and rig so it goes up by pulling one line, but you could probably find plans somewhere.
James,

The fold-up layout I mentioned above was very similar to yours except that I had it about three feet over the floor, and it worked fine. I think yours looks better than mine did.

But even though the pictures of your layout and its construction are great, the pictures of your children are priceless! I wish I had taken some of our fold-up HO layout and my kids way back then. Print your pictures, frame them, and they will be just right to hang in your train room. Especially 30 years from now . . . Smile

Alex

Happy O-Gauge Railroading!

  Alexander Müller

See My Mostly Completed Layout Here

YouTube: 03Patines

Latest Video: Passenger Trains

OGR Articles: Runs 256, 263, 267, 292

OGR  forum member since 26 January 2008

I thought that was funny.
I don't have it anymore but I had an N scale layout that I mounted pulleys on the table and in the ceiling .It was laced and connected using only one rope.

I had a small electric winch mounted on the wall called a Capstan .You just wrap the rope around the drum several times and it uses it's own friction to raise the table(You sailors out there know what it is)

The table had 4 post sticking up and there were 4 pads for those posts to hit on the ceiling so it didn't pull it up to far. Once it was up high enough I turned off the winch tied off the rope and you could walk under it all day you never noticed it . To lower it you just untie the rope and let the rope slip on the drum it'll lower nice and smooth.

I think you could do it in O scale but you'd have to build it Light to keep the weight down.

David
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