#WarrenYard #RealisingaDream Realising a Dream - 12 - Basic Framework Sound construction of the baseboards and supporting framework is crucial to the success and long term enjoyment of your railway. The materials you build with must be suitable for the environment you are building it in, e.g. temperature and humidity ranges as well as portability requirements. Here I focus on building the layout within a controlled environment, but even so I build things to last, that is, outlast me! Wide swings in temperature and humidity can play havoc with running trains. The smaller the scale and the finer the wheel and track standards to be used the greater is the care required when choosing the materials and the method of construction. There is much already written on the pros and cons of different materials and designs for the supporting framework so I will not go into that here. What I will describe is how I approached the design and build for my railway and how it evolved because I did not find a conventional approach that fitted my requirements. Skill set I have a fairly good knowledge of constructing all sorts of things but that does not mean I am actually competent at any of them. Whatever we build for our railway, a challenge to develop our skills, of which many are required is a good thing. But as I mentioned earlier, severely underestimating what is required will be expensive and demoralising. Most of us will build our framework with wood, however when I started investigating the options generally used I would need to create a framework of very many joints, especially if an open frame design was to be used. Many legs would be required as the timber generally used was lightweight, but that's fine to a point, however I wanted minimal joints and minimal legs. This would allow the space under the railway to be used as storage, or so I thought initially, however it didn't quite turn out that way. But that's another tale for later. Having used structural timber for all the studwork I thought, what if I use that type of timber for the supporting framework, the legs could be well spread, but what about joints? Well there is a way and it just requires overlapping sections of timber and fixing them to each other with long screws. So what I went for was simple and solid. Construction This is probably best illustrated than written about, but first a word on timber dimensions. What is labelled as e.g. 47x75mm is often smaller because the dimensions include the width of the saw blade in at least one direction when it was reduced from a larger cross-section. In practice this timber was 47x70mm. It's typical of a lot of items e.g. hard drive capacities for PCs, often specified as unformatted capacity when to most of us it's only the formatted capacity that matters. Or being verbally quoted by tradesmen for jobs only to find out later when the written quote arrives they did not include the VAT, despite them knowing I was Joe public! I nearly came a cropper when ordering the foam insulation panels for the studwork, just as well I checked because the 75mm timber was more like 70mm, so '75mm' timber, 70mm insulation board. Back to the construction, note how simple and robust the construction can be, 48 inches high, topped off with 12mm marine plywood sheet, anchored to the wall studwork at intervals. The only tools that were essential for the framework was a mitre saw, a tough cordless drill/screwdriver, a spirit level, and a can of elbow grease. Cutting of the plywood sheet really needs a circular saw or an extra large can of grease and a bucket of sweat. Trouble is I was heading towards flat earth which I did not like, but this substantial base framework with few legs and joints was still a good starting point for my railway. If on the other hand you want rolling landscape this is not the way to go, an open frame technique would probably be a better starting point. So I returned to AnyRail and planned some more and decided that a multiple level layout was the way to go, however that creates many more questions that need answers. Next I look at the implications of building a multiple level railway. Please feel free to comment, discuss or ask about any details you wish from any of my posts via the comments, Jim. Images show the main elements of the basic framework construction.

Posted by Jim Franklin at 2021-05-20 06:05:18 UTC