Suspended Layout

A friend would like some insight into how to make a suspended layout - as in, from the ceiling, to be raised and lowered as needed.
I know I have seen this in MR but the on-line index is no help, or I am uing the wrong keywords. Any help? Many thanks. Ron
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Here's something I found with google (raising lowering model layout) :
http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/146796/1628467.aspx
There were other hits you may want to look at.
FWIW, I remember seeing an article about a suspended layout in a garage about 25 years ago, but I can't recall where.
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Ron wrote:

I recall a couple of articles, back in the 50s IIRC. I found them in back issues which I bought in the early 60s (and which I no longer have.) I read them carefully, as at the time the suspended layout seemed to me a possible solution to the space problem. But I didn't build one -- engineering a suspension and lifting mechanism that works smoothly and reliably is not simple. The basic principle (counter balance weights attached to cords running over pulleys and attached to the layout) is simple. The devil is in the details.
The more obvious problems:
1) The layout framing must be stiff enough not to buckle or sag when it is lifted or resting on its (temporary) legs. That means either extra weight, or egg-crate style construction of the frame.
2) Layouts are not evenly balanced, so that there must be access to the weights, to add and subtract chunks of whatever you're using.
3) Weights must move smoothly within their guides, without jamming.
4) When the layout is down, it must be stabilised, but legs must be detachable.
5) The layout must stay level as it is raised or lowered, otherwise rolling stock will, well, roll.
6) Aesthetics: Unless the layout is in a garage, it must be finished underneath so that it looks OK, when raised - and that adds more weight. The weight guides may need cabinet work around them for a finished look. Etc.
The above indicate why there hasn't been much reported on suspended layouts - very few have been built. People have found that shelf layouts are generally a better solution - they take little space, and provide an opportunity for storage space underneath.
HTH
wolf k.
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Many years ago when I was a teenager we lived in a house with an unfinished basement. I had a 4x8 HO layout on saw horses in one corner of the basement. I bought some pulleys, attached them to the rafters and the 4x8. I ran clothes line through the pulleys and ran the ends to one end of the 4x8. I could then raise and lower the 4x8 from one end pretty smooth. When it was down it rested on the saw horses and when up the saw horses could be stacked to one side making the space useable for something else. Worked pretty well. Obviously I didn't have any tall structures on the layout. I could have put something about 10 inches tall in the right place so when the table was raised the structure would be between the rafters. If I had to do again I would not attach the pulleys permantly to the table. I would put some eye hooks in the table and hook the pulleys to the eye hooks. Then when down I could unhook the pulleys and raise them up out of the way.
It is doable so go for it and have fun.
Karl
Ron wrote:

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Here's an example http://mysite.mweb.co.za/residents/grela/chessie02.html
A friend would like some insight into how to make a suspended layout - as in, from the ceiling, to be raised and lowered as needed. I know I have seen this in MR but the on-line index is no help, or I am uing the wrong keywords. Any help? Many thanks. Ron
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My first layout was a suspended one. Started with clothsline but quickly found that that stuff stretches! Replaced it with some of the finest aircraft cable (1/8") and things were a lot better after the cable got straight. If you wish to make the layout lift, you need to make a big drum where all of the lifting cables can go around without layering over previous turns. You also need to counterbalance the layout so that the forces on the drum are not high. Seperate lifting and counterbalance cables are most desirable.
-- Bob May
rmay at nethere.com http: slash /nav.to slash bobmay http: slash /bobmay dot astronomy.net
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