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Foam track underlay - use/avoid? - Layout Design, Trackwork & Operation. - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Dec 30th, 2018 10:43 am
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Chubber
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In the past I remember foam underlay that perished, turned to grey dust and became useless for the purpose of holding up track to give a 'ballast shoulder' effect.

Given the myriad ways of ballasting available to the railway modeller, have the years produces a more worthwhile and longer-lasting version?

Doug



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 Posted: Sun Dec 30th, 2018 01:08 pm
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Briperran
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Hi Doug i have used the fibreboard which is a laminate flooring underlay which is available from differant outlets and is a very cheap way of doing it.
I have used it for many years outside in the sheds and indoors i have never had distortion problems with it at  all,
Somebody did say they did but that was probably because they painted the upper side when the paint shrunk it distorted it. I purely either staple or nail it to the baseboard.
It has the best noise suppression i have encountered far better than cork or even the special under track bachmann sell.
here is a link where its the cheapest https://www.screwfix.com/p/wood-fibre-underlay-boards-7m-15-pack/7824r

you can get the same at B&Q buts it dearer

Piccy



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 Posted: Sun Dec 30th, 2018 05:44 pm
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Chubber
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Thanks for this, Brian, it's one I am considering.

I have spent a frustrating hour trying to get the Peco site to give me Code 75 Electrofrog turn outs etc so as to down load the templates, despite 'filters' I just get the bull-head £32 l/r turn outs. I can get a list of all templates, but unless you know yourSL-E89s from your XYG- Whatevers, it's a case of click it, download the PDF, find it's the narrow gauge 32mm left-whanger, delete it, try another. Only 60-odd to choose from....it's enough to make me consider other brands of track....

What was wrong with the big list with piccies???  AAaaargh!

Doug



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 Posted: Sun Dec 30th, 2018 08:10 pm
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Ben Alder
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I've probably got a paper set of templates lying around if you need them, but the geometry is the same as the Code 100 range if you can get those.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 07:42 am
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TeaselBay
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I decided not to use the foam and went for cork. You can buy rolls for floor underlay a bit like how Brian has done it. It’s easy to cut to size. Works well if you are ballasting on top. 
Hope that helps a little!



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 08:18 am
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RFS
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The Peco foam underlay is "open cell" which is why it degrades over time. What you need is "closed cell" foam which is far superior and doesn't degrade. DCC Concepts and Woodland Scenics sell this type of foam but their prices are very high.

The alternative is to use a foam called Plastazote which is freely available in large sheets. LD33 density at 3mm thickness is a good choice, and I've used the 5mm density on my layout with no problems. You can Google Plastazote for suppliers, but here's a typical one - https://www.efoam.co.uk/zotefoam-plastazote.php



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 09:00 am
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Chubber
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Ben Alder wrote: I've probably got a paper set of templates lying around if you need them, but the geometry is the same as the Code 100 range if you can get those.

Thanks, Ben, knowing the geometry is the same helps agreat deal as I can download the Code 100.

Chris, Robert, thanks for your input, the 'Plastazote' looks very interesting. I do want to avoid cork, I found in the past that cutting long curves to be problematic, with a great deal of waste.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Doug



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 09:57 am
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RFS
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Plastazote is very easy to cut. I laid mine slightly wider to start with - no need to worry about proper edges at this stage.  I glued the track down and fully tested it first. Then I took a sharp knife in one hand, and held it at an angle while resting on a wagon pushed with my other hand.  In this way it was very easy to create a nice ballast shoulder that exactly followed the contour of the track. 



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 10:51 am
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TeaselBay
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Fair enough. I reused bits under the track if long enough. As they are hidden short strips aren’t really a problem. The rest pads out gaps in the hillside. Haha. Everyone has their own ways :cool:



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 11:28 am
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Briperran
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The plastizote is very good especially if you want to raised trackbeds as its easy to cut and trim with everything in place.
I did look at using this a few years back but i depends on your layout size if its a large layout and you need a considerable amount it can be quite expensive but with a smaller layout well worth considering.

Brian



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 05:18 pm
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Chubber
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RFS wrote:  I took a sharp knife in one hand, and held it at an angle while resting on a wagon pushed with my other hand.  In this way it was very easy to create a nice ballast shoulder that exactly followed the contour of the track.


That sounds ideal!

[Brian, regarding costs, SWMBO has spent the last 15 years developing my spending muscle, and now I can splash out as much as 17/6d without blinking...]

Doug



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 Posted: Mon Dec 31st, 2018 06:08 pm
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Barchester
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I've used the fibreboard mentioned by Brian, stuck down onto both hollow core doors and plastic ceiling panelling used for baseboards and track suport. Stuck down with a coat pf Pva and sealed on top with watered down emulsion paint. Its been out in a damp workshop for three years with no ill effects. You can easily scrape out a channel for wiring or shallow scenic features with a screwdriver or any blunt blade. 
If you cut several contour shapes in smaller and smaller sizes from any offcuts, soak them in watered down pva, then stick them down layer on layer over some sort of former ( nail ? Screw? Bit of wood ? ) you can form a hill or embankment etc, once dry use a flat blade to contour the edges and finish of with some plaster or grout mixed using watered down pva again.

Makes a fairly lightweight hill using up scrap pieces, so cheap as chips and surprisingly robust 

Matt

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 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2019 04:36 am
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Hi Doug,
IKEA cork placemats. About1/8" thick. Already flat. Cuts well, glues on with white glue, silicone caulking or contact adhesives. Rolled cork has a tendency to crack when laid out flat. I tried closed cell foam, tends to detach with time unless the surfaces are roughened. 

Nigel



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 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2019 01:19 pm
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Grandad
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Hi chubber,Grandad here, I am new to railway modelling.  So doing a lot of reading about layouts.  In how to build a model railway a model rail beginners special, it says on some products the foam will deteriorate after about 20 years.iamusing Gaugemaster foam, and hoping for 20 years use.  As I am75 years old that should last me out.
Just thought this might be of some use.
Happy new year.
grandad.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2019 07:13 pm
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col.stephens
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I just use card.  Cheap, cuts easily, sticks down with no problems.  Looks just like any other trackbed when ballasted.


Terry

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 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2019 11:00 pm
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Ben Alder
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The Gaugemaster underlay is to a different spec than the Peco one and has an unlimited life, apparently. Some Peco foam crumbles after ten years or so while others stay spongy for longer. If you are planning a lifetime layout then avoid it but you can expect a dozen years or more from it, and how many layouts last that long? Painted and a sprinkling of ballast on it and it can look rather good - there was an article on this in the Modeller a few years ago and I was impressed by its finish. It also gives a quiet bed and needs little fixing - a rub of Copydex along the base of the ballast here and there holds it in place and the track has a degree of movement that helps running.

Here are a couple of photos of Code 75 points with Peco underlay and a ballast topping. The close up is a rather crude sorting of electrical continuity problems with one  - coat of paint and it vanishes :cool: - and the other shows some in situ. The plain track is C&L on Tracklay underlay - a hard foam with a coated side that ballast adheres to - a length of track can be done in less than a minute.





These have been in place for seven years now and there has been no change in them.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 2nd, 2019 04:52 pm
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Chubber
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Thanks again to everybody w ho has replied, Ben, is it really 7 years since we saw you doing this lovely work? Tempus fugit indeed. I have decided on 3mm Plastazote and Copydex as I don't have a huge layout to build, 2 sheets will probably do nicely.

Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all,

Doug



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 Posted: Thu Jan 3rd, 2019 09:20 am
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For information I used some of the fibre board laminate floor underlay from B & Q in the spare bedroom around 5 years ago, when we replaced the laminate earlier this year it just crumbled away as we lifted it.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 3rd, 2019 12:56 pm
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BCDR
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Chubber wrote: Thanks again to everybody w ho has replied, Ben, is it really 7 years since we saw you doing this lovely work? Tempus fugit indeed. I have decided on 3mm Plastazote and Copydex as I don't have a huge layout to build, 2 sheets will probably do nicely.

Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all,

Doug
Hi Doug,

I think you might be better off with a synthetic rubber contact adhesive (that is usually the recommended one). Applied to both surfaces and allowed to dry type. Solvent based for preference.  Evo-stick or similar. Copydex is water based latex stabilized with ammonia. 


Nigel





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 Posted: Sat Jan 5th, 2019 07:56 pm
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Chubber
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BCDR wrote: Hi Doug

I think you might be better off with a synthetic rubber contact adhesive (that is usually the recommended one). Applied to both surfaces and allowed to dry type. Solvent based for preference.  Evo-stick or similar. Copydex is water based latex stabilized with ammonia.
Nigel

Thanks, Nigel,

Doug



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