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Old 02-01-2018, 10:02 AM   #1
Kiwi Steve
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Default Ceiling-suspended baseboard construction

So I've been looking at loads of places on the internet that talk about different locations for a model railway, and have come to the conclusion that suspended from the ceiling on cables is (for me, in our particular home) the best way to go. It's the only way I can have a layout within the house proper (so getting a warm, dry, cosy location).

I've also read a lot about how to suspend the layout and the perils and pitfalls it entails, but I'm sure I can cope with those. I work in construction management and have built a two-storey addition on to our previous house, so I believe I can handle the layout construction.

What I'd like some comment or advice on please, is the construction of the baseboard. The layout will be 1700mm x 1700mm (that's roughly 5'8" square) and be a 00 roundy-roundy.

It will fit between two 200mm deep steel beams, which support the floor above, so I was planning to have 200mm deep sides of 12mm ply, with baseboard framing and 12mm ply deck. That way, when the layout is hoisted to the ceiling, It should close neatly to the ceiling and keep dust out.

What I'd like thoughts on please are the following:
1. How many cable supports would be needed? One at each corner would be simplest, but would the 1700mm span between supports be too much?
2. Or should I move the four supports in (along the sides) say 250mm from the corners, so the span between them is 1200mm?
3. Item 2 above would make two sides supported by the cables, but what about the 1700mm span between supported sides? Would say 69x20mm framing at 400mm centres be okay that way?
4. Or do I need to go to six cables, and have a third line of support under the middle of the baseboard?

The driver really is that the more depth taken up by the baseboard framing, the less height I'm left with (out of the 200mm depth) for buildings, etc.
The layout will be an exercise in compromise, and I'll need to make-it-up-as-I-go-along to some extent, but would be keen to get the thoughts of those who have experience with baseboard construction.

Cheers.
Steven.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:06 PM   #2
brian1951
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I think four cables should be ok, the framing should be strong enough to prevent warping. The amount of weight added with buildings etc should not really cause any problems.
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Old 02-01-2018, 01:13 PM   #3
Mountain Goat
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I know there are kits designed to do what you are interested in doing. They should give details as to what you need to do and how many supports etc. I can't recall who makes these kits to suspend a layout.

If you dont have any stock for your intended layout, I'd suggest to model a scene with smaller locos. Either a little branch line or a small industry.
It is indeed an interesting concept. What can be done is to have an extra board on a cupboard or similar that can attach to the main board when it is lowered.

Last edited by Mountain Goat; 02-01-2018 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:27 PM   #4
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@KiwiSteve......have a look at this video, might be useful.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXZaUoMb-60 .........HB
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Old 02-01-2018, 05:05 PM   #5
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What stops the layout swaying about when down and in use? R-
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:03 PM   #6
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Could be lowered onto trestles Roger, like these or have legs pre-hinged to the underside of the layout........HB
trestles.jpg
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:33 AM   #7
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HI Steve , just an idea is it feasible to build the layout as a low ceiling with a panel in the middle that comes out -like a loft cover - the family can still walk under , as normal - buy a good set of low steps , with platform ( or make a box to stand on )- the opening for a round and round would not be massive - so you would not walk far ,just turn round - the light in the room could be an extension plugged into the light socket - would still work on the light switch - just my crazy ideas -we will do anything to test trains regards Dave
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadman View Post
Could be lowered onto trestles ......
Thank you HB. R-
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Old 04-01-2018, 01:15 PM   #9
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I looked at this idea, regarding a large garage suspended layout, I would have had to have a alloy frame made up, I know yours is not that big but have you thought about an alloy base frame?, apart from the cost, they are stronger, no warping, lighter etc, a small fabrication works should be able to knock you one up, in box, or channel section, the holes for the suspended cables can be pre-drilled and perhaps strengthened. Nos
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Old 05-01-2018, 02:20 AM   #10
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Thanks all.

Mountain Goat, I have only seen similar kits for hoisting bikes, and I don't think they will handle the width of a layout... unless I used two I suppose. Will look into that.

Cadman, thanks for the link. hadn't seen that one. He uses three lines of support, but his layout is about twice the size of mine, so maybe mine only needs two. He also has used proper 4x2 (in old money) framing, trading weight for stiffness i guess, so that's an option.

Good point RogerB. My layout will drop quite close to the back wall, so I could probably have some little sliding bolts to fix it to the wall and have fold-down legs at other end. Fixing to the wall would certainly provide some bump-resistance.

Interesting idea Whizzo, but I have structural steel beams on two sides of the layout and a wall along the other, so only one open end for viewing. The room is downstairs and was originally just a garage, so height is minimal as it is. That's why I'm really limited to the depth of the existing beams.

Nos, yeah, steel may be the best solution. Good suggestion. Could get something fabricated, or just buy some stock lengths and bolt them to the cross framing to stiffen the long spans. I'm happy that the 200mm deep ply on the sides should do the job, but making composite members with some steel bolted to the cross framing I like. Reduces the framing depth (to maximise modelling height) too.

Thanks heaps everyone. Some little gems have come out of the post. Will do some more research and thinking.
I may not have much time to put into this until the end of our summer, when the nights close in, but will post updates when I do.

Cheers.
Steve.
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