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Small layouts - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed May 30th, 2018 09:39 pm
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BCDR
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Hi all,

I'm doing some background research for a proposal to my local NMRA Division on a small layout challenge (4 square feet, defined by Carl Carendt as a micro layout). What I am looking for are the dimensions, whether there is an additional fiddle yard, and the scale of member's layouts.

I was able to get some dimensions from the search facility, but if you have or had a small, micro or plank layout I would really appreciate the data.

I thought a 3 square foot challenge might be pushing it a bit, given the fact that a small layout here would be regarded as large in most other countries.

Nigel




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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 04:57 am
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Genetk44
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I’m not exactly sure what you are asking Nigel? I’ve been a fan of small layouts for almost 20 years ever since I discovered Chris Ellis’ Model Trains International magazine and Carls’ site back in 2001 while recovering from lung surgery. As you know from Carl’s site the informally accepted parameter for a small/micro layout is 4sq. ft....but that’s just an informal parameter. I know Chris Ellis used to like to design layouts that he could transport by himself on the public bus, others would have diffrent parameters. My existing layout had to be light enough to carry by one hand...so it is a 6x1 fully sceniced shunting plank made of balsa and bass-wood with a foam core backsene. I just started a slightly larger and heavier layout using 30 inchx80 inch bifold doors...which gives me an actual baseboard of 15 inches x 80 inches...the other half of the attached bifold will be the backscene...which to my mind is still a small layout, although now it won’t fit in my mini.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 10:17 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Gene,

Thanks for the dimensions.

The local NMRA division members generally have layouts that are big (basements), small portable ones are hen's teeth rare. One proposal we are kicking around at the moment is a "four square feet" challenge, layouts to be shown and judged at our annual meeting next year. Working layout (not a cameo) in four square feet, HO scale, minimum one turnout, no restriction on shape. Other scales in proportion (O gets around 7-8 square feet depending on which scale, N around 2 square feet, you get the idea). This has a few issues which I won't go into details over (non-linearity for starters). Early stage at the moment, I'm looking for data to demonstrate that "4SF" is actually a challenge. Especially for modelers who are not used to the plank or small concept. I did one in 3 square feet a few years ago in OO, so it is really not too much of one.

The data I currently have shows "small" and usually portable layouts in OO are around 5 feet long, in O, 11 feet long. There is more to it than that of course, and I'll be developing the data set further as I get more examples.

Like you I find Carendt a real inspiration, and a real incentive to have at least one or more small layouts, in my case On30 and HO.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 07:25 pm
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Barchester
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If you wanted to throw in a bit of a curve ball Nigel, Instead of  4ft square ft go 16 cubic feet instead, So they could go 16ft x 1ft x1ft  or  8ft x 2ft x1ft  or 4ft x 4ft x 1ft etc  . . .  Any combination of  length x depth x height to = no greater than 16 cubic ft  ;-)
Cheers

Matt


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 Posted: Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 09:51 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Matt,

The major issue is how to accommodate the various scales (the three common ones here being in descending order HO, N, O). One suggestion being kicked around is that the square footage should be related to the scale. I had already given some thought to using volume as the relative differences between scales is best expressed as volume artio, not scale ratio per se. 16 cubic foot in HO (the datum point) is 29 cubic feet in 1:48 O.

It actually makes sense to limit the height as this would set the boundary for multi-level entries using ramps, helices, vertical sector plates, vertical turntables.... My friend who does G narrow gauge (1:22.5) would be ecstatic. 16 cubic feet in HO is 62 cubic feet in G. Now all of this has to be transported to the church hall and negotiate the stairs with 2 turns to the basement, so there are practical constraints.

There are lots of ways to skin this cat, a smaller volume multiplier would be better. I got volunteered into developing the rules for the challenge to make sure we have as many entries as possible, so I am trying to make them as equitable for modelers in different scales. And where do narrow gauges go? The relationship between area using the scale proportion is reasonably linear for N through O, outside that it is not. Using some of the dimensions of micro- to small layouts here I have OO ones being 5.6±1.4 feet long, O ones being 9.3±2.8 feet long (n=5 for both, mean±SD). Using plain vanilla scale proportions 4SF in HO is 7.25 feet in O. Based on the data so far from UK OO and O both would be a challenge. I need to look at width, area, ratio of size to scale, etc. Lots more research, analysis and data is required, although plain vanilla proportions with a height limit (2 levels only) is what I am leaning towards based on real-life evidence.

Nigel



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 Posted: Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 10:56 pm
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Barchester
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Hm yes I see your problem lol. I would use the 4' x 4' HO as the datum then make N = 2' x 4' and O = 8' x 4' and put your narrow gauge in between so 009 = 3' x 4'  and O 16.5 = 6' x 4'  and put G in the garden ! :mutley

Good luck working it out bud I'll be interested to see your solution :thumbs   I'm off on a canal barge for a week with limited or no internet but I'll try and drop in if I get the chance

Cheers

Matt

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