Newbie question :) be kind...

Hi,
'N' Gauge only
1) I have a table I'd like to use as a train board. It's a plastic folding table, about 3'x6'. Nothing can be nailed to it, so everything
will be screwed in. I was thinking of putting a set of 1" roller wheels on the rear side so I can transport it by just turning the table sideways, as I'm a renter and know I will move.
http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId 001&catalogId051&productId3441&cmArea=SEARCH
Good idea?
2) Track cleaning. Is there a nickel type of track that doesn't have to be cleaned. I want all my track already mounted on trackbed.
3) Can I make my own buildings and/or cars? Laser color printer, Styrofoam. Stuff like that.
No money, just all day to do nothing :)
Thanks, in advance
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Rip wrote:

http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId 001&catalogId051&productId3441&cmArea=SEARCH
Rip,
I'm an HO-scale person myself, but since your questions are pretty much non-scale specific I hope you don't mind me throwing in my two cents' worth:
1) No reason why you can't use that table, but screwing down track of any gauge could be problematic. Lots of folks are using cheap acrylic caulk to fasten their track and roadbed these days. That might work on your table, and if not, screw down some thin (1/4") plywood first. Either way, use a *very* thin spread of the caulk. You should be able to see a heavy pencil mark through it.
2) Nickel-silver rail is generally considered the best in this regard, but over time virtually all rail will oxidize or otherwise accumulate environmental crud. Stay away from plastic wheels, that makes it worse by at least an order of magnitude. But get used to the fact that you will have to clean your rails from time to time.
3) Sure! It's your railroad, so you can do whatever you like. Look around on the Web, there are places where you can download images that you can use. Not sure about actual styrofoam cars, though. By the time you got done printing and assembling them, including all the parts (trucks, couplers, etc) you'd have to buy anyway, it might not be worth it. If cost is a factor, look for used cars at swap meets, etc. You can often pick up decent stuff for pennies on the dollar of what it sold for when new.
HTH, Stevert
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If you screw the track down, you run the risk of "denting" (for lack of a better word) the ties and forcing the track out of gauge. If you glue the track down, your ties and rail spacings will stay put.
Some like to glue the track down for the "sound" difference it apparently offers. The "noise" they refer to has never bothered me, however.
If you use an acrylic caulk, chances are it will come up nicely and allow you to re-adhere (sp?) the track later.
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper wrote:

Exactly!
Me either, but then again I've never used the track with attached roadbed that the OP said he was interested in. I tend to think the attached roadbed would have more of a tendency to vibrate against the table top.

Yup, that's the general idea. Use a putty knife or spatula to lift the track, and then just peel the dried caulk off.

Stevert
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Rip wrote:

http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId 001&catalogId051&productId3441&cmArea=SEARCH
Track will always need to be cleaned! Thereare ways to do this - you can ask later - meanwhile, buy quality track products. Wires to the track need to be soldered and rail-joiners are only temporary electrical connectors.

Of course you can! Assume in the meantime that you need to buy bogies/trucks for your rolling stock. It doesn't matter what they are carrying, so long as they are mounted in the same plane, so you can build whatever you like on top. Assume that you will get better at building as you gain experience so you'll toss your first efforts away a year or so on.

Greg.P. NZ
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Rip wrote:

First off, get a couple of books. One should be "layout from start to finish" type of book. You won't use the plan (though it may give you ideas), but you will use the methods. You can and should ignore scale: almost all methods and techniques are the same for all scales. See list at end of this post.
Use the table as a base to set your layout on. You don't need to fasten it permanently to the table - gaffer's tape (duct tape) will do to hold it in place. Make the layout base like this:
a) make a frame of 1x2 lumber (on edge), two long pieces for outside, two end pieces, and three cross pieces (which will have to shorter, to fit between the side pieces.) Make this frame about 2" narrower and shorter than your table. Use glue and nails. Do this on the floor, to make sure it's nice anf flat. After the glue dries, glue a piece of 1/4" or 3/8" plywood onto it. Onto this, glue 1" sheet insulation foam (Styrofoam). All the materials should be available at your home builder's supply store (eg, Home Depot). This will be your base.
Onto this build your layout, using 1/2" insulation foam for the subroadbed, and miscellaneous pieces of foam to build up the scenery, like a layer cake.
You won't need wheels, as the layout itself will be light, maybe even lighter than the table (the table has metal legs, which weigh quite a bit).

http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId 001&catalogId051&productId3441&cmArea=SEARCH
Yup.
Actually, all N-scale track is nickel silver these days. ;-) Three brands of track on plastic ballast are:
Bachmann (good fairly cheap), Lifelike (good, fairly cheap), and Kato (best, not cheap.) They are not compatible with each other, so make your choice carefully.

Model buildings are fairly easy in N, but it is a small scale, so making very small parts can be a problem. Cars are more difficult, mostly because a card or plastic car will be too light, and it's a trick to get enough weight into one. Manufacturers solve the problem by using metal underframes. You won't need much rolling stock to start, a loco and half a dozen cars will do. The cost of adding to the basic layout a few items per month is less than smoking, or regular attendance at your local hangout (where you will buy a beverage and a snack).

Hey, model railroading is one of the best ways of doing nothing that I know. ;-)
If there's a real hobby shop within a reasonable distance (they're not as plentiful as they used to be), do so. You should find friendly advice, and a look at the real stuff is immensely helpful. You should also be able to make contact with other modellers and maybe even a local club. If so, you'll find those people helpful, too, and some of them will become lifelong friends.

You're welcome.
Have fun!
Books etc (all by Kalmbach Publishing):
Building a Model Railroad Step by Step N Scale Model Railroad that Grows HO Layout for Beginners HO Layout from Start to Finish Project Railroads you Can Build
Easy Model Railroad series: Books on N Scale, tables, track, buildings, wiring, and scenery
Basic Model Railroading (compilation of articles on all aspects) HO Scale Model Railroading: Getting Started N Scale Model Railroading: Getting Started
Building Your First Model Railroad (DVD or VHS)
HTH
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Rip skriver:

http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId 001&catalogId051&productId3441&cmArea=SEARCH
No, I would defenitly god the "module" way insted http://www.ntrak.org/index.htm
Klaus
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Klaus D. Mikkelsen wrote:

N-Trak modules are a bit large if you want to carry and set them up without a second person. May be a problem transporting if you have a smaller automobile. Unless you make a non standard dock for your module a minimal N-Trak layout is six feet wide, a little large for at home.
A loop of T-Trak modules fits nicely on a 72" X 30" folding table. I've got two modules that I made on 1/2 inch foam core instead of wood. Because of the paper coating you NEED to be careful about high moisture materials scenicing the module though. I glued foam core ribbing on the bottom near where the track is to make SURE the foam core remained flat. You can combine multiple modules into a larger one (two corners to make a double corner or combine multiple straights) if you are concerned about the appearance of the joints between modules. http://www.t-trak.org /
With a few stiffening ribs across the bottom and around the edges a sheet of 1/2 extruded insulation foam would make a nice table top layout (peel the sheet plastic moisture barrier off). DON'T use the white beaded foam (like coolers are made of) since it crumbles rather easily.
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RobertVA wrote:

http://www.ntrak.org /
"The basic module is two feet wide, four feet long, and 40" high."
'Nuff said.
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If you wanted to turn the train around on an Ntrak module, you'd have to add more track. Assuming a "dock" that loops around behind the module, you could probably do it in 6'. The track plan for a 2x4 module is rather limited, I'd think for a single layout your 2x6 area (including the turn around track) could be better put to use.
You could, however, use modular design in your layout. For example, your loop could seperate in the middle allowing you to add more layout without redoing the original. Kinda like table leafs.
Puckdropper
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N gauge
Is there software that you can use to plan a layout and it tells you what parts (track) you need?
Thanks,
PS. Thanks for al the excellent help I just received.
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Atlas Right Track software comes to mind. It's easy to use, and will produce a parts list. You may even be able to give it an inventory list so it can tell you how many of what you need to buy.
http://www.atlasrr.com
Puckdropper
P.S. When you change to a totally different subject, you may want to start a new thread.
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Rip wrote:

Yes, but the learning curve is quite steep. Not worth it IMO for a small layout such as you envision. By the time you've learned how to use it, you could have sketched a couple of hundred layouts concepts onto squared paper.
Just buy a few pieces of the track you intend to use, and make lots of photocopies of them. Cut out, and try different arrangements. You can make half-size copies if you want to do this in less space.
BTW, for your space, I suggest a single or double track oval with two or passing sidings, and a half dozen or so spurs for industries. Build the track on 1" thick foam strips, which will raise it about 13 N-scale feet above zero level, so you can have believable scenery (eg rivers) below track level. Or use 2" foam subroadbed if you want higher bridges. For this kind of track plan, it's quite easy to estimate the number of track sections and turnouts that you need. A turnout is equal to a straight plus a a partial curve.
HTH
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XTrkCad. Available for *free* from Sorceforge.net

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On 1/15/2008 9:50 AM Robert Heller spake thus:

Actually, N scale, but that's a nitpick.

Yes, but what's the cost in learning it? As Wolf pointed out, it might be easier just to make a bunch of sketches on graph paper (unless, of course, one *wants* to learn how to use new software).
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*snip*
It's not too bad, but you'll need a few hours to figure everything out. If you're used to software design and learning software, you can be producing usable layout designs in about 15-30 minutes. (Note: These statements are based on past experience. Way in the past. I've used both RTS and XtrkCad for many years.)
Puckdropper
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Rip wrote:

Puckdropper already mentioned the RTS freeware that Atlas has available. The price is right, and it doesn't have nearly the learning curve that some some of the other layout planning/CAD programs arguably have. On the other hand it's not nearly as powerful, but for a beginner it's a great learning tool.
Atlas also has some N-scale books with layout plans:
<http://www.atlasrr.com/books.htm
HTH, Stevert
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certainly http://www.flickr.com/photos/17882179@N05/1976619920/in/set-7215760310234 3621/
I used styrofoam, covered with foamcore, covered with printed 100 lb. card stock.
For smaller buildings, you could use just use 100 lb. cardstock by itself.

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Jason Davies wrote:

What's "100lb cardstock"? It's normally graded by thickness.
Greg.P.
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On 1/15/2008 6:08 PM Greg Procter spake thus:

>

Not in the US, and now where you live either, I'm pretty sure. "100 lb." is an equivalent to your "g/sm" measure.
First of all, there's no such thing as "cardstock". There's *cover stock*, in many varieties, made for printing (uncoated, coated, vellum, bristol, laid, Kromekote, etc., etc.) Printers measure paper thicknesses by weight (per "basis weight", or the weight of a ream--500 sheets--of the paper at its "basis size". Confusing, but that's the way it's done.
(Actually, a very few cover stocks, like gloss-coated C1S/C2S (coated one or two sides) stock is measured by "caliper" or thickness, in "points", but most other paper isn't measured this way.)
I imagine he's talking about something like 100 lb. uncoated smooth offset cover stock, at least here in the US. Called something different in the UK.
(I used to be a printer, so I know whereof I speak here.)
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