Foamboard update...

O.K., I've been all over town (Home Depot, Lowes, OSH, and independent stores) and can only locate the white foamboard insulation made of the
ice chest type pressed together foam balls. It finally occurred to me to call the hobby shop and ask since they specialize in model railroading. The owner has indeed used the better foam material (the pink or blue stuff) for a layout base but explained it's not available here. I'd have to travel long distance to another city to buy it. Since I'd rather use material I can get locally, I need to go to plan B.
Plan B would be to use the white board but for extra support, I'd first attach a 1/4" (or thinner if I could find it) piece of plywood to the frame, then glue about a 1" thick piece of the foam solid to that, and of course have wood side boards come up even to protect the sides of the foam. And I would use extra foam board to do hills or whatever. I'd either use a hot wire or file to carve features, which might be messy but I'll just keep the vacuum at hand.
I'm thinking this could work, especially after looking at a finished craft project at Michael's the other day: I don't know if it's popular everywhere but here in the southwest some schools do these kits of old Missions which consists of the same type of foam board in pre-cut sections that are glued together on a base, then painted and detailed. The model on display has been used for a few years (and handled by many a curious person) and has held together well. An employee explained that "tacky glue" is used for the foam (a type of white glue but is designed for a wider variety of materials). I also asked about a rough stucco like material on the outer walls, and this turned out to be plaster of paris (which I didn't know would stick to foam but seems to bond quite well and can be textured). I liked that idea because not only could I fill any separations in foam sections but I'm pretty sure I could press actual rocks along half dry material coated over parts of the foam board and create exposed "rock" sections in the hillsides or even just mold it with tools. And it's compatible with glue and paint so no problem there.
My question is; is there any serious flaws anyone can see in this plan or anything I should watch out for with these materials? I already know about the fumes from a hot wire going through foam so would do that outside with a fan, but is there any thing else? I think I recall someone else mentioned they had used the white foam but don't know if they had any unusual experiences with it during construction or over time.
Any advice?
~Brad H.
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Have you called Owens-Corning to see where you can get the pink foam
1-800-get-pink
www.owenscorning.com
This is there store locator
http://owenscorning.com/around/locator/SearchAreaStore.asp
Eric
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Brad H.:
The fumes from hot-wire cutting styrene foam aren't a big deal. Open some windows and don't work in a surfboard factory when pregnant. :) Now I imagine a fireman will post to contradict me, based on experience with cold-storage warehouse fires, but the dose is /ever so slightly/ higher there.
It is probably best NOT to use the white expanded foam, as I am not sure it is fire-retardant (the extruded foam, IIRC, is usually treated). For a test of the flammabilities of the two foam types, see here: http://www.scaletree.com/foamsafety.html
Cordially yours: Gerard P.
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Maybe check with a contractor or home builder and see if they either have a sheet or would pick up some for you? They would need to make the trip at some time, plus you might wind up with their leftover scraps to use in scenery.
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For imformation I'd get woodland senics foam instruction book from your local hobby store...or online.
I'am using large blue sheets of insulation foam for my model railway ...but heres the difference..
I've found that wooden shipping pallats work well and once you put legs on them and use 2x4 across the bottem you have a good wood surface to glue your blue foam too and you can add sections of pallats to your railway to make it larger..by bolting them together with carrage bolts...
the wood gives you something to screw your electrical stuff to underside of your railway...I'am in the process in the next few weeks to move one of the tables from my living room to a spare bedroom once my roomate moves out...Living in a condo has limited space but it can be done.
Currently the table sits on two large sawhorses in the living room amd next month I will buy the wooden legs and addtional 2x4 at home depot.
Its going to be an intresting way to build a ho scale model railway over time...I've alreday got a plan in place..roughly :)
Brock Bailey Victoria BC Canada
snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca

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wrote:

snip --------------
Considering all the time and money that will go into what you put on top of those pallets , I don't understand why you would use something made from trash lumber.....probably oak at that. If Oak , it's hard as a rock and usually still green. Most will likely warp like crazy once it dries out and is also VERY heavy and hard to get a nail or screw in. There are some exceptions to that . but not in the construction end of the business.
I'm aqquainted with a fella that runs a pallette business.and they use whatever they can get their hands on , cheap...and usually green. There are a few exceptions on his special order business.
A pallet is usually in the neighborhood of 36 " to 48" . You can buy choice 1 x 4 material to build that same size table , including legs , for less than $ 15 US.
Your's is a novel idea and I don't mean to be abrasive , but considering all the time and money you can put in a layout , I'm sure you want something with substantial support and a base that will stay true and level. Also , typical open grid or L girder benchwork is pretty light , easy to wire , and cut if need be. Once you get the trackwork laid and scenery on it would be one HE** of a job to replace the benchwork .
Good benchwork is a MUST for a nice layout and you can not get it with pallettes. Been in this hobby and the building , architectural business longer than I care to think about. That certainly does not make me an expert but it does make me experienced. I have seen some very disappointed folks who pinched pennies and took shortcuts on their benchwork.
I love to see people get in this great hobby and have fun with it , but I've seen way too many get started with poor equipment , benchwork etc only to get disgusted and quit before they really find out how much fun and how rewarding it can be.
I'm really just trying to help. Don't mean to offend in any way.
Ken Day
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says...

Jeez if the benchwork stays stable how in the world can you schedule regular roadbed upgrades and track relocation projects for prototype operation? UP, CSX and NS have all figured out how to ruin almost everybody's rail experience by shutting down major sections of trackage (that's gotten no attention for years) in order to perform upgrades.:-(
Bob
--
The goal when driving is to miss the maximum number of objects.

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Hmmm ! Never thought about that. And no cracks opening up in the ground , maybe no derailments. Got me there :-) And all this time I could have been having more fun .
Ken Day
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On Wed, 5 Apr 2006 20:55:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

Go to the DOW (blue foam) web site and there wil be contact information and a store locator. The DOW product is Styrofoam (tm) and is extruded polystyrene http://www.dow.com/styrofoam/na/contact.htm
Owens Corning is the pink stuff , also extruded polystyrene. I forget who makes the white extruded polystyrene.
What you're talking about using is expanded polystyrene (bead board) It has very little strength compared to the blue or pink stuff , makes a terrible mess and doesn't cut as well. I could go on but I feel thats enough said. I would certainly forget about using the bead board and find some of the DOW or Owens Corning. I don't know where you live , but I'm sure it can found closeby no matter where you're located if you live here in the US.
Ken Day
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Thanks all for thoughts on my plan to use the beaded white board for a base. I'd be looking at over 215 miles (and that's as the crow flies) round trip (plus not counting inner city distance) to reach the nearest store with the extruded foam. It might be worth the time and gas money but I'm not sure. I'll check around with homebuilders too.
I'm not too worried about a fire hazard but otherwise the main argument against seems to be the strength of the material. I would think that being glued to plywood would solve that, but there may be some aspect I'm missing on the subject. As for the mess, once vacuumed and sealed (paint, glue, and foam terrain, etc. applied) I would hope that issue would be solved as well (but again, being new at this I may be missing something).
So I'll think it over and make a decision soon. It's still 7 months till Halloween but need to get the foundation done, track laid and test some stuff (plus the lower cabinet it will rest on and the plexiglassed box frame to cover/protect it from being touched by the kids). Will probably start right after Easter.
Also Bill, if you're reading this, got that Basic Trackwork book from Amazon. A thumbs up. Lots of good tips and text+pictured instructions. Thanks for recommending it. Amazon can be strange: I bought another book (Halloween Merrymaking by Diane C. Arkins -excellent for those wanting to see how Halloween used to be celebrated in America about a hundred years ago) in order to get the free shipping and agreed to the notice this might cause an extra 3-5 days for delivery. No problem. But as it turned out, one item wasn't qualified somehow for something and the 2 books would have to be shipped separately (?) (and yes, both were in stock). I still paid nothing for postage but they shipped 2 boxes about 3 days apart, and lost profit on postage not once but twice.
Brock (from Canada): Thanks for the pallet idea. I should have mentioned my layout has to be easily portable and will probably hang on a wall for storage. We get pallets at work sometimes and the good ones are indeed sturdy (usually some sort of hardwood) but heavy. You're sectional plan reminds me of our local hobby shop owner who is in a HOn30 group in which each member as I understand builds an equal size section of layout and then when they meet at a convention, they attach them all together to make one large layout and they all run their trains on it. I may get into sectional layouts myself later.
And for the record, I'm in Bakersfield, CA, USA. -where in the last couple weeks we've laid to rest one soldier killed in Iraq, and Buck Owens. Where for 3 days hundreds of hispanic teens ditched high school to march in protest that illegal aliens are illegal, while waving Mexican flags, holding the U.S. flag upside down, flashing gang signs, and espousing the beliefs of Mexican supremest groups that southern states should be returned to Mexico. And where the day after Saint Patrick's, there were radio warnings of a Christmas tree in the middle lane of one of our highways, and warnings of a loose bull charging at autos on another. That's what's been going on here anyway. :)
~Brad H.
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On Thu, 6 Apr 2006 21:02:37 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

Hey, let'em have California from Madera on south. We won't send them anymore water, though. And if they want "southern" states, they can have the Carolinas and Alabama and Mississippi and Georgia and Tejas.
--
Steve

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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net, In a message on Thu, 6 Apr 2006 21:02:37 -0700, wrote :
f> I'm not too worried about a fire hazard but otherwise the main argument f> against seems to be the strength of the material. I would think that f> being glued to plywood would solve that, but there may be some aspect f> I'm missing on the subject. As for the mess, once vacuumed and sealed f> (paint, glue, and foam terrain, etc. applied) I would hope that issue f> would be solved as well (but again, being new at this I may be missing f> something).
One of the points of using (extruded) foam in the first place is not needing a *heavy* plywood base. If you are going to use a *heavy* plywood base, there is little point in using foam at all. Use the plywood, and attach subroadbed to the plywood and the track to that and use the 'old-school' sceenery technology: cardboard, plaster cloth, etc.
The extruded foam (eg pink or blue) is strong enough *on its own* to not need any extra supports. I built a static N-scale display for a holiday fair display with just a 2'x2' piece of 1" foam. I tacked and ballasted the track directly to the foam and glued ground foam to the foam. And that was all. Strong AND light enough to just carry under my arm.
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Deepwoods Software -- Linux Installation and Administration http://www.deepsoft.com/ -- Web Hosting, with CGI and Database snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com -- Contract Programming: C/C++, Tcl/Tk
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Brad H. wrote: *** Thanks for recommending it. Amazon can be strange: I bought another book (Halloween Merrymaking by Diane C. Arkins -excellent for those wanting to see how Halloween used to be celebrated in America about a hundred years ago) in order to get the free shipping and agreed to the notice this might cause an extra 3-5 days for delivery. No problem. But as it turned out, one item wasn't qualified somehow for something and the 2 books would have to be shipped separately (?) (and yes, both were in stock). I still paid nothing for postage but they shipped 2 boxes about
3 days apart, and lost profit on postage not once but twice. *** ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Thanks, Brad. Amazon has attracted a lot of customers with their free shipping and sometimes sending the items as they become available. Plus the discounts. Other merchants have picked up on the free shipping item. A bonus for buyers. Maybe Walthers will pick up on this idea someday.
"(Halloween Merrymaking by Diane C. Arkins -excellent for those wanting
to see how Halloween used to be celebrated in America about a hundred years ago)" You could have waited a few years and I'll be able to tell how Halloween was celebrated a hundred years ago!<G>
Expanded polystyrene (bead board)...I used this one time on a Lionel layout with pallets for support to save time and money. I wasn't totally satisfied with the outcome. As it was, the layout lasted less than a year (we moved).
Good luck with your search.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http://www.billsrailroad.net
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Maybe it's time Walthers started stocking extruded polystyrene board (pink & blue foamboard) in their catalog...
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That's not a bad idea. The shipping would cost more than the product and it won't fit in a mailbox. <g>
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Not to mention the actual price would probably be about $300 a sheet, and it would be "Out of Stock- Expected in 14 Days" for 11 months a year!
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On 7 Apr 2006 14:16:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

I'm getting in late here, but where is blue/pink foamboard supposedly unobtainable?
fl@liner
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That's a good point. Slightly more expensive than the regular off the shelf price of $15.99, available all year.
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Geez, where do building codes allow that?

I can't blame her. And please don't forget, this is a "G" rated group :)
j/k, Dale
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As far as I know this is not code anywhere. This has been on houses built out in the county where they aren't inspected. They did use ply or OSB on the corners, but that's all. Boca code requires some sort of solid sheathing a min of 1/2" thickness covering 100% of exterior walls.

I know it's a G Rated group , but I was talking about 4-8-8-4 :-)

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