Monday, December 11, 2017

Note(s) to Self Or How to Keep Progress Tracked, Live

As I've mentioned previously, tagging areas of the layout that are in progress makes it easy to remember what the heck you were doing when it is been a week or more since the last time you were in the layout room.

I've made it a point to keep up on this system, as it also makes it easier to manage work session since you can just point out the to-dos and keep your crew going.

A couple of snaps from before the work session in December to illustrate the idea.

Is the sun trying to tell me something?
Note, homasote is 1/2" thick from the factory. That's a guideline, not a standard, by the way...

Notes of all types. 

Plywood quality...

Friday, December 8, 2017

More Blue Backdrops

In a previous post, I talked about the progress in painting sky backdrops. I've made additional progress on that front, as well as working back to fix a couple of issues that, after some reflection, weren't up to snuff.

You can see the previous post here: Previous Post

Down the long aisleway.
You can tell this area of the room has its original lighting still.

 I'm going to just highlight a couple of things in this post so it doesn't get to loaded down.

Reusing some of the old backdrops meant scraping and re-mudding joints.
 Somewhat against my better judgement, I bought some drywall tape and a gallon bucket of mud. I promised myself it will be my ONLY gallon for the top level.

Center aisle, reusing again.
I did do some rework on places I already painted blue.

At this point, all these patch places have been hit with two coats of Kilz primer so they are ready for take two blue next time.

Additional photos galore are on the main site gallery.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Planning for DCC

One part of the planning process that can get overlooked is being able to wire the layout up so you can run trains.

You need to plan for a place for the wire runs, of course, but don't forget to have space set aside for where you DCC command station, booster(s), circuit breakers, etc are going to go.

Due to the size and nature of Version 2, I'm going to end up with 3 booster districts, broken into a couple of circuit breaker sub districts. Version 1 was powered by a single Digitrax DB150; the current plan calls for one addition DB150 if a good deal can be had on one, or the current generation booster, as well as the top of the line command station, the DC240.

Having three power feeds will allow me to avoid building any sort of bridge to carry bus wires over the lift bridge areas, as well as keep the buses to 50' in length or less.

The central location is inside the middle aisle. I didn't want to deal with trying to mount the various components to the drywall, so a wall field was in order.

An additional 1x4 was put in to complete the furring strips. I also took this opportunity to put in a spacer piece for the lower level backdrop in this corner.

Note the cut around the outlet.
Again, in a waste not, want not, solution, the scrap from building the upper helix approach from version 1 was reused here. That will explain my the curved sides. :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Another hole in the wall

Have I mentioned I hate Pink Floyd?

Anyway, showing this to my dear wife earned a comment about having to patch up drywall when we move, but nothing on how nice it it that I'm just about to complete the benchwork so track laying can start.

You can see the breeze through to the bedroom/staging yard at far right.

The main line track enters staging through this hole after running the length of the upper level; this will be the northern terminus of the modeled line. This particular track in this area is going to be hidden behind a small foam or masonite divider, as to not take away from the track just beginning it's journey on the upper level.

I used the cut pieces from the wall to fill in the gap so there wouldn't be an opening in the wall cavity.
Once I get a finish coat of joint compound on this, it will be time for another coat of primer and then time for the backdrop to go blue.

High level shot
The piece of plywood on that corner was cut from a scrap left over from a different section of the upper level. It was an odd shaped piece and took some figuring on how to best utilize it. It saved me another run to the lumber store and another $25 for plywood. I'll be able to complete the upper level with what I have on hand, which is a bonus for both the train funds, as well as keeping the construction momentum.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Work Session this Saturday, December 9th

Lunch at noon, then we'll work until we are sick of it.

Hope to complete the benchwork for the staging yard so track can start going down around Christmas.

Email if you are interested in attending.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Somehow the camera got set to take lower quality JPGs instead of RAW images.

Working through content currently and discovered this fact. Double grr...

Expect some additional posts over the next week once I can get back to the camera and take some better shots that can be used; even shrunk for the blog or website they aren't up to snuff.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Future Content - NMRA Orlando Convention

Just a friendly teaser as I get a chance to wade through all the pictures I took.