Monday, February 29, 2016

Construction Report: Feburary 28, 2016

If there's a section of this layout plan that causes me anxiety, it's the Adena wye area. I can finally say the cause of concern is not the track plan but the underlying benchwork that will support the wye.

For some background see the January 1st post "Mocking Up Adena Wye" which explains the function and planning for this area.

This is a really deep scene, much deeper than you might typically find on many of the multilevel "shelf style" layouts I follow in the model railroading press.  As you can see in the photo below, the section of wye track in the front spans over 6 feet from the NKP Caboose on the right to the lower left corner where the track rejoins the basement wall benchwork.

Adena Wye
Because there is a planned lower level which will follow the path of the Adena Railroad to St. Clairsville and perhaps Neffs, the wye track really does need to "span" the gap. It can't create too much an impact on the future level below with "conventional construction" methods.

 After spending a good amount of time brainstorming, googling ideas and browsing Tony Koester's "Designing and Building Multi-Deck Model Railroads", I found a solution.

Like others have done but in a different way, I would combine a metal track shelving system and the popular L-girder wood benchwork construction. I came across a formula from Lynn Westcott's "How to Build Model Railroad Benchwork" regarding l-girder maximum spans. I can't find the information to link it, but based on a L-girder built from a 1x3 with a 1x2 flange, I could  span the 5 to 7 feet needed with minimal deflection. Weight shouldn't be a problem anyways since my roadbed and scenery material will be pink foam, it really only needs to support itself.

A few weeks ago I built the L-girders and today I finally put them into action.

First was to attach the shelf track standard for the other wall around the corner from the Adena wye, as seen below. I bought a long standard to use for the lower level in case I wanted to create another span from that location as well.

The attachment points for the spanning L-girders were full 1x3 L-girders to partially wrap around a 20" shelf bracket. This piece in the below photo is 30" long.

Level again!
To pencil in the cuts I would make with my miter saw, I clamped the spanning L-girder to the bottom of the supporting L-girders.

Measure and double check 8 times, cut once.
 At this point in the below photo I realized I needed some different clamps, ones that can hold things at an angle. I made do with these cheap bag o' clamps from Home Depot.

Ugly but it got the job done.
 The finished product!

It's just as sturdy as I had planned and somehow everything turned out pretty darn level according to the 4' bubble level!

As an even bigger plus everything still lines up with the plans.

On target!
While I was on a roll I added some opaque window film to the basement windows. Since the backdrop will not cover these windows, this will help hide the spectacular view of my window wells from distracting guests from the trains.

For this phase building the L-girder span was really getting the hard part out of the way first. Everything else should be easy following conventional shelf style layout construction.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Not So Wordless Wednesday #64

Just a quick word on what I've been up to the past few weeks.

I've been on the brink of starting some measurable benchwork construction for what feels like since late December. In that time I've built the needed L-girders for part of the Adena wye that spans the corner area and figured out all the rest of the needed measurements, like the bridge depth in last weeks Wordless Wednesday.

What's slowing things down to a crawl is the sudden need to change careers from newspapers to Information Technology. While this was always my goal, the loss of a major account and the subsequent reduction in available work has greatly accelerated those plans.

Luckily my timing is good, as I finished a Associates Degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of Akron in December and recently passed my CompTIA A+ certification test right when I'll need them the most.

No worries, I'm pretty positive I'll find a fresh start somewhere in my chosen field. Naturally this process has taken away a lot of hobby time, but the moments I do get are a nice stress relief.

Isn't that what hobbies are for after all?

With more time to tweak the Adena scene, I shifted everything but the river space to the right 3 inches. This allows a 2-6-6-2 to fit in between the east wye switch and the bridge on the branch line. A planned water plug will now be able to reach an engine's tender while resting on the Adena branch.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday #63

This is what you do when you lack the measurements on a long since torn out bridge. I need to figure out the height of the trestle bridge to establish part of the benchwork in Adena.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Wordless Wednesday #62

On the Adena Railroad, Hanna Coal Co.'s Willow Grove Mine No. 10 near Neffs, Ohio 1930s

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Wordless Wednesday #61

W&LE SD40-2 6384 shining at the Brewster Shops on 3-23-2013. This engine would later get a large sticker applied on its sides for the 2014 Cleveland NMRA Convention. Chris Ellis photo