MY (CRAZY?) LAYOUT IDEA

We dismantled our 33x16 layout about a year ago and we might move to a new house in 2-3 years. We have a 7' straight test track but I'm going through withdrawal and want to set up a small layout.  My criteria:

1. can be moved around, 3. Minimize footprint when not in use, 4. keep 072 and 081 curves, and 5. a "decent" straightaway so that a large steamer and perhaps 2 passenger cars can all be in a station together.  

I gave up several times on my dream, thinking this was too tall an order. And then I thought about a layout that is on casters and in two long pieces that fold down on both sides.  I came up with the design shown in my chicken scratch drawings below. It would be approximately 7x12 when set up. The center "table" would be approximately 1 foot wide and the outer legs would be the folding type you see on portable rental tables.  The reason for the narrow center is because I plan to make a birthday cake type layout that will be about 1.5' high, so even when folded down, it would be 3' wide without any center. Again, trying to minimize the footprint when not in use.  Let me know what you think. Thanks! 

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Very interesting idea, I've never seen or heard of a "butterfly" style or double drop-leaf folding layout before. You might be able to same some weight or materials if you found some locking cantilever hardware instead of the folding legs.

Tuscan Jim

Good idea for saving space.  However, I'm not sure I understand the "birthday cake".  In your sketches, when the sides are folded down, the center will be lower than the edges of the folded leaves.  The center looks to be about a foot wide.  What is the reason for the "butterfly" idea ? 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Greg Nagy posted:

One possible alternative to folding legs would be gate legs that swing out when the table is raised.

Are "gate legs" the type that come on the rental tables I described?  You know, those tables with the chippy dark brown wooden tops that are often set up at outdoor events?  Those with the metal leg assembly on each end that fold up toward the table middle and then you drop them down and lock into place?   A photo of what a gate leg is would be good. Thanks. 

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Tuscan Jim posted:

Very interesting idea, I've never seen or heard of a "butterfly" style or double drop-leaf folding layout before. You might be able to same some weight or materials if you found some locking cantilever hardware instead of the folding legs.

I'd like to save as much weight as I can but was thinking the outer folding legs would add stability and prevent the whole thing from tipping over should someone bump into it while open and I  operation. Maybe i don't understand what a cantilever leg is?    

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Maybe you need to think about folding "up" instead of "down".

A better quality ping-pong table would give you a 5' X 9' area when folded "down".

REDLINE 4pc Table Tennis Table - image 1 of 3REDLINE 4pc Table Tennis Table - image 3 of 3

When folded "up" it's movable. You could permanently attach track and structures to the top. As long as no two structures inhabit the same "air space" and were no taller than the gap between halves when folded you'd be OK. You'd also need to be able to remove track sections at the table joint for folding. You could temporarily attach two tables together for a larger layout. Access to wiring would be easy with the halves folded up giving you an easy place to work w/o laying under the layout on your back. Add a skirt around the perimeter and you're good to go! 

The model shown is ~$300.00.

Mark

 

 

banjoflyer posted:

Maybe you need to think about folding "up" instead of "down".

A better quality ping-pong table would give you a 5' X 9' area when folded "down".

REDLINE 4pc Table Tennis Table - image 1 of 3REDLINE 4pc Table Tennis Table - image 3 of 3

When folded "up" it's movable. You could permanently attach track and structures to the top. As long as no two structures inhabit the same "air space" and were no taller than the gap between halves when folded you'd be OK. You'd also need to be able to remove track sections at the table joint for folding. You could temporarily attach two tables together for a larger layout. Access to wiring would be easy with the halves folded up giving you an easy place to work w/o laying under the layout on your back. Add a skirt around the perimeter and you're good to go! 

The model shown is ~$300.00.

Mark

 

 

Thanks for this post.

We actually started with that idea because we have almost the exact same ping pong table. But it's really more trouble than it's worth and why I switched to the design I'm proposing. You've hit on several of the key reasons already - special track considerations that are a nonstarter given the current layout design and layout building height restrictions.  On top of that, my basement ceiling height is 6'8" and having a narrow middle table as per my diagram with leaves that extend almost to the ceiling would seem to create a high probability of the need to shout "timber!"  

But to your point, I'm still very much considering having a two piece layout (two 3.5x12 pieces) that bolts together and can be laid atop the ping pong table. 

 

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"But to your point, I'm still very much considering having a two piece layout (two 3.5 x 12 pieces) that bolts together and can be laid atop the ping pong table."

 

All things considered, this may be the easiest and simplest way to go.  And doesn't necessarily have to be a ping-pong table either.  Could be any other suitable table or combination of tables.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

Every time I try and make snow angels in the fresh snow, I get struck by lightning.

Is someone trying to tell me something?

Cantelever could be a few things I'd think; I'm guessing and inverted T.  Like this- ⊥  but two uprights or a wide single board as an upright. The end result would be an H on it's side when things are extended... and a thin crate structure when closed. (A bit of storage? A shelf or two would be possible between the uprights.)

The extensions could also fold to thirds of the short length for storage. Clasping open/closed by numerous hardware's; hook & loop to box latches.

The added leg weight down low adds to a lower center of gravity.

As a table topper, if you build it right you could opt for the folding crate frame as well; for a "storage rack" to hold the leaves off the floor for ping pong night..... Like on like a TV tray rack, or glass truck rack.

Building longer than the table along the seam would allow C clamp use on the halves if they aren't hinged (You'll want to use location pins of some type, dowels, inserts, ) etc.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Mallard4468 posted:

One issue with the "fold down" or "fold out" concept is that it would be easy for a passerby to get caught on anything that protrudes from the surface.  Also, would need to be very conscious of items on the surface when moving / storing the layout.

Thanks, this is exactly what I was hoping for - comments to ID possible concerns. This will help determine up front if I can/cannot find a way to mitigate the issues in order to see if proceeding with this type of layout makes sense.  

I think I have one of those two issues solved. I was thinking last night that the fold down leaves should lower just inside the static middle table ends. By doing so, I can put a solid piece of plywood on each end. And I can maneuver the thing from the ends rather than touching the layout.  Another bonus would be I can go narrower on the center table (6"?), but much wider at the base for additional stability.... I think. 

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AlanRail posted:

id use hollow core doors for the fold ins.. reason  light weight   

I assumed I'd use either 1/2" plywood or 2" dense foam on top of 1x3 framing.  I assumed the hollow doors might sag under the weight they'd be supporting in terms of scenicked layout levels and the trains themselves? 

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PJB posted:
AlanRail posted:

id use hollow core doors for the fold ins.. reason  light weight   

I assumed I'd use either 1/2" plywood or 2" dense foam on top of 1x3 framing.  I assumed the hollow doors might sag under the weight they'd be supporting in terms of scenicked layout levels and the trains themselves? 

The hollow core doors will work.  I would try to go with a 1 3/4" thick door, instead on a 1 3/8" door.  Also if you do use the doors, be sure to paint them on both faces and all four edges.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Dan Padova posted:
PJB posted:
AlanRail posted:

id use hollow core doors for the fold ins.. reason  light weight   

I assumed I'd use either 1/2" plywood or 2" dense foam on top of 1x3 framing.  I assumed the hollow doors might sag under the weight they'd be supporting in terms of scenicked layout levels and the trains themselves? 

The hollow core doors will work.  I would try to go with a 1 3/4" thick door, instead on a 1 3/8" door.  Also if you do use the doors, be sure to paint them on both faces and all four edges.  

Ok, this would take out some height in the substructure which translates into a width savings when closed, so thanks for this great idea.

What would you recommend for length?  I went online and see that they make 42" wide doors, but I'd like a layout length of 11-12.'  Thinking if I have to marry doors for length, then I'm into it for at least 3 doors (cut one in half for the additional length) and the thickness savings likely goes away with the plywood marrying plate to connect them?

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PJB posted:
Dan Padova posted:
PJB posted:
AlanRail posted:

id use hollow core doors for the fold ins.. reason  light weight   

I assumed I'd use either 1/2" plywood or 2" dense foam on top of 1x3 framing.  I assumed the hollow doors might sag under the weight they'd be supporting in terms of scenicked layout levels and the trains themselves? 

The hollow core doors will work.  I would try to go with a 1 3/4" thick door, instead on a 1 3/8" door.  Also if you do use the doors, be sure to paint them on both faces and all four edges.  

Ok, this would take out some height in the substructure which translates into a width savings when closed, so thanks for this great idea.

What would you recommend for length?  I went online and see that they make 42" wide doors, but I'd like a layout length of 11-12.'  Thinking if I have to marry doors for length, then I'm into it for at least 3 doors (cut one in half for the additional length) and the thickness savings likely goes away with the plywood marrying plate to connect them?

Good point.  I wasn't thinking of the layout's length.  But there's a solution.  Let's say you buy 6'-8" doors which are pretty standard.  To marry two doors end to end, add a 1 1/2" x 1 3/8" piece of lumber to each long edge.  In the sketch below, the fist sketch is a section through the assembly showing the door with the lumber reinforcement attached.  The second part of the sketch is a plan view of the two door sections end to end with the lumber pieces running along each side.  

 

IMG_6892

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

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Dan - thanks very much for the reply and the drawings.  This is very helpful.

I was playing with the width today, trying to determine the actual width 081 (Atlas O).  Once I figure that out, your marrying method will work so well, as it help decide how thick the lumber on each side of the married doors should be to attain the overall width needed.  

 

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I'm planning to bus wire and with the 2 leaves, do you think I should run 1 set of bus wires (per loop) that have extra play at the pivot point and can extend across the gap when the leaves are down?  Or have 2 independent sets of bus wires (per loop) coming from each Lionel brick, with one running under one leaf and the other set running under the other leaf? 

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Also keep in mind that, with a total of 5-6 independent loops on 3 levels, the double bus per loop is going to become a lot of wires, but looking for what you think would be better from a no-issue operating standpoint 

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