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I built an overhead track with 3/4" plywood and 3/4" net thick pine boards.   I knew it would echo the train sound if I didn't do something.   I came up with 2 things to do.

1.  1/4" x 3" or  6 x 75mm closed cell neoprene foam.  I laid it under the track.  The neoprene foam I used is fire resistent and doesn't absorb moisture.   It was cheaper  a year ago when I bought it.   Still worth it I think.

2.  I held the track down with clamps that have slits that fit over the cross ties.  Screwing the track down directly can transfer the sound through the screws to the board.   I thought this indirect method would minimize sound.    The slit in the end slides onto the cross tie.  I used black, but this gray one shows better detail in pictures.

Attached to the track.

Clamps shown are made for 4" wide foam. I made shorter ones also for 3" wide foam, they are 1/2" or 12mm shorter.    On the overhead no one sees them. 

These clamps have a 3/16" or 4.5mm gap under them for the foam.  When tightened they push down into the foam 1/16" or 1.5mm.  This adds to the sound dedening, not transfereing sound through the clamp.  The screw area is outside of the foam.  Screws can get wrapped up in the foam and cause problems when scewed through the foam.

I made them to use up to #10 screws.   I can't easily find #4 or even #6 screws that won't strip out the head all the time.  Too much offshoring...

I am pleased with the result.  There is no "track noise" or echos.  Excluding the prewar 711 switches.  There is a noticeable volume when a steam engine runs over the switch.   The switches are echo chambers when a heavy engine runs over them.   That is a project for another day. 

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Although you're using a modern material, namely Neoprene (more generically known as EPDM), I could easily see your approach being one that early toy train enthusiasts would have tried way back in the day.

Why is that?  Because Neoprene is a synthetic rubber and back then, before all our modern materials such as urethanes and EPS (styrofoam) and EPDM, one of the few materials that our friends would have had available to them is good old-fashioned rubber.  So using modern (synthetic) rubber in today's day and age as a suitable replacement makes complete sense.

Glad to see that it works to your satisfaction.

Thanks for telling us about it, and the clips, and for pointing out a source for your EPDM.

Mike

@VHubbard posted:

I built an overhead track with 3/4" plywood and 3/4" net thick pine boards.   I knew it would echo the train sound if I didn't do something.   I came up with 2 things to do.

1.  1/4" x 3" or  6 x 75mm closed cell neoprene foam.  I laid it under the track.  The neoprene foam I used is fire resistent and doesn't absorb moisture.   It was cheaper  a year ago when I bought it.   Still worth it I think.

2.  I held the track down with clamps that have slits that fit over the cross ties.  Screwing the track down directly can transfer the sound through the screws to the board.   I thought this indirect method would minimize sound.    The slit in the end slides onto the cross tie.  I used black, but this gray one shows better detail in pictures.

Attached to the track.

Clamps shown are made for 4" wide foam. I made shorter ones also for 3" wide foam, they are 1/2" or 12mm shorter.    On the overhead no one sees them.

These clamps have a 3/16" or 4.5mm gap under them for the foam.  When tightened they push down into the foam 1/16" or 1.5mm.  This adds to the sound dedening, not transfereing sound through the clamp.  The screw area is outside of the foam.  Screws can get wrapped up in the foam and cause problems when scewed through the foam.

I made them to use up to #10 screws.   I can't easily find #4 or even #6 screws that won't strip out the head all the time.  Too much offshoring...

I am pleased with the result.  There is no "track noise" or echos.  Excluding the prewar 711 switches.  There is a noticeable volume when a steam engine runs over the switch.   The switches are echo chambers when a heavy engine runs over them.   That is a project for another day.

Do you think this is a better concept for tabletop layouts instead of homasote?

or the same?

During Covid I set up a temporary 4 x 8 layout in my kitchen / dining room with tubular track.

I used charcoal gray, but they come in different colors including grass effect green.

I used interlocking EVA foam tiles.  It was really really quiet.  Although 3/8 inch thick is more common try to find 1/2" thick foam tiles.  Quieter.



John

Last edited by Craftech

I used the more expensive 7 layer 1/2 plywood that is cabinet grade, just like the 3/4 cabinet grade we are used to.  It is more than strong enough to stand on since my table frames are 2x4.   I imagine 3/4 if you are ok with all the extra weight would be ever slightly better to reduce vibration/sound.   After that I glued/screwed (just a few screws) a layer of homasote.  It works well for sound and holding screws for when you need, just cut it outside as it makes a mess.  On top of the homasote I glued down the foam/rubbery track bed stuff I bought off eBay which is actually a very good product.   Then one 1" small screw every other length in a curve and every 4-5 or so on straights.  The screw stops in the homasote, and doesn't reach the plywood.  Anything  further past this would be a minuscule gain in my opinion, with the exception of adding a thick fabric skirt around the layout when I get closer to the "finish" point.   My layout is quieter than most I have heard.

@42trainman posted:

After that I glued/screwed (just a few screws) a layer of homasote.  It works well for sound and holding screws for when you need, just cut it outside as it makes a mess. 

It takes the right tools to cut Homasote without creating a mess.  These blades work wonders for me in my jigsaw:

  BOSCH T313AW3 3-Piece 6 In. Knife Edge Special for Soft Materials T-Shank Jig Saw Blades

It's the wavy knife edge that makes the difference.

With these a vacuum's not really necessary, but maybe still a good idea.

Mike

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