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Simonflj55
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I have just been completing the boards for a new layout, usual (for me) 9mm ply top covered with cork and softwood frame. However, I've been distracted by a couple of you tube videos using much lighter materials, 6mm ply and framework for example and even a very interesting idea using cardboard. Has anyone else tried these lighter materials and if so what are their thoughts and conclusions? 

The Q
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Simonflj55 wrote: I have just been completing the boards for a new layout, usual (for me) 9mm ply top covered with cork and softwood frame. However, I've been distracted by a couple of you tube videos using much lighter materials, 6mm ply and framework for example and even a very interesting idea using cardboard. Has anyone else tried these lighter materials and if so what are their thoughts and conclusions? Not tried card board,  but I've seen foam board used,  that's 5mm of foam sandwiched between two sheets of cardboard . It needed careful planning and used more pieces of the foam board than it would have being built in ply. 
I use 75mm extruded polystyrene,  framed with 5mm plywood,  as the baseboard,  then another sheet of the polystyrene on top which is carved into, lumps of polystyrene above that,   to produce a landscape above and below the track level. It produces a very light baseboard.. 

xdford
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When walking around my old location, I would sometimes see MDF boards on end stored in a shed, probably with a poorer quality track which would be quite heavy to manoeuvre around let alone set up and maybe the hobby would get too hard.
As a club President, I followed through with an idea for a portable layout which I outlined here - 
http://xdford.freeasphost.net/stag19.html  although this set of pages is not as long as the original. That layout is now in the possession of another small club but it was a good lead in for our junior members in particular at the time.

We went on to build another foam block in 2 halves in On30, mainly driven by myself and another member (I was not President by that time) and one of the other exhibitors was quite incredulous that when it cam to pack up time, I lifted BOTH boards and carried them out... The construction is a bit more obvious in the third pic with the foam shown at the side.

Attached are a couple of pics of that layout, I too was thinking of experimenting with foamcore modules in a similar vein to T Trak. The On30 stuff shown is all mine, bought to help out the club in its fledgling stages. It now does duty around the Xmas tree,

Cheers

Trevor


Last edited on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 09:30 pm by xdford

BCDR
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Lighter the better. I'm a great fan of Baltic birch ply, usual is 12mn and 6mm for the sides and top, although I have gone as far as 6mm and 3mm. 12mm allows the use of dowels for the frame rather than screws. Latest is 2 x1 inch nominal Radiata pine for the frame and 9mm for the top. Radiata pine is light and stable. I don't need the height as no underlying point motors.The lighter the baseboard the more support in the form of cross members is required underneath. I keep away from HD closed cell foam.

Nigel

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I use traditional softwood frames (or ply girders) and ply surfaces but then my layout isn't planned to be portable.

Yes, the ply surface does make them heavy but it is very strong and easy to work with accepting most things we'd want to knock into it, or glues we'd like to use.

I did experiment with this ply framed modular system that was both strong and much lighter but took an age to build.

This is the bottom panel, glued and pinned to give the rigidity:




This is what's underneath that "Union Flag" strengthening panel - again upside down, the top surface being ordinary ply:




My currently favoured "ply girder" framework.  The surface (ply) is fixed to risers allowing for both above and below scenic work:


Ed
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I cheated for my 009 layout and bought some Tim Horn 'Lite' baseboards kits with 6mm ply tops, which I found very good (normal disclaimer).

Bit expensive, but everything was cut a lot straighter than I could ever do, went together easily and they are fairly light.

His website is being redeveloped but the link is below anyway.

https://tim-horn.co.uk/




Ed

Simonflj55
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Thank you everyone for some interesting and thought provoking ideas. We have now decided to move house so I have been stripping down all my non portable layout boards - including the new ones (great!), means another bedroom exists again in the house too. I am going to just construct a portable and lightweight layout. What has amazed me is how badly warped some of the timber has become now its been released from the built in framework of the room.


                 

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