Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Rolling Table

In order for the town of Billy's Island to look right, it has to be deep. In fact, a lot of the scenery is much deeper than the norm because of the scenery effects that I want to achieve. Scenery has been given a second place in model railroading lately as operations have become more important. I'm of the opinion that scenery makes the layout.

But deep scenery creates a problem. Just how to you work on it when you can't reach it? To solve this problem Bob, myself and the rest of the gang came up with the rolling table concept. The idea is that a section of the benchwork is mobile and can be moved out of the way in order to reach hard to get spots and for super detailing. The front area of Billy's Island, about 30" deep of it as well as 9 feet long will be removeable, meaning it will be on a rolling table. The table will be just wide enough to get through the door so that it can be taken out of the room. Heck, we can even take it to train shows! This area will have a concentration of structures and will need to be highly detailed so I can even move it to my workbench.

My first thought was to use my "pen knife layout" idea and fix it so that it dropped and folded up under the layout. Later I went to a hinged pull-out section. All of those blocked the path at one time or another to the back of the layout. Bob suggested a rolling table and I liked the idea. We can unhook it and move it back in the train room to work, or take it completely out of the room. Using his screw/solder/rail alignment system and the dowel locking system we can get very good alignment. We all cut up some track plans and tested the idea and believe it to be a winner.

It is not much different from a modular system, but it has to be VERY precise. There are six tracks that must line up perfectly. Actually, I'm more excited about taking it to train shows to exhibit. What fun!

So on to the design part. I'm a bit torn between L-girder and joist construction, and just plain old box grid. The fit between benchwork and module must be exact. I've already determined that the face plates that will hold the dowels will be oak or other hard wood. We ran into problems with the 2009 Raffle Layout trying to dowel the plywood. Just doesn't work well.

I'm throwing my sketches up here so the guys can review them and give me ideas.

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