Monday, 15 November 2010

Train Set - Part 1

With my little boy's 4th birthday coming up we thought it would be nice to get him a train set; a Hornbly Thomas set has been obtained from the bay of e's. However it won't last long being laid on the floor, nor is it likely to get played with often if it is a lot of trouble to set up. Really the track needs to be laid on a board which can be got out when required, but we have no where to store a large enough board.

The plan I came up with is for a folding board that should fit under his bed; it is 5'6" by 4' and folded it is 2'9" by 4' by about 9" deep. The board has to be strong in order to hinge, but not too heavy. I decided to save weight by using a double-skinned design of 34mm x 18mm timber (sold for door jambs) covered in 3mm ply. Yes, 3mm ... it needs lots of bracing (as shown, about 10' of timber was used) but even so the total thickness of ply is half that traditionally used. (Hint, get ply from a local timber merchant, they'll cut it to size which saved me the bother, and meant I could fit it in the car!)

It's not exactly light, but for the size of board it is manageable, and both much lighter and stronger than traditional board designs. As the frame has ply top and bottom it is incredibly strong - it will not twist! The concern was that the 3mm ply may not be thick enough to be leaned on, hence the extra supporting blocks seen in the first photo. In fact I can kneel on the board so it should be fine! A 6mm top would be stronger but of course, heavier ...

The hinges are of the paste-table type from a local hardware store, attached to uprights in the corners of the board, other uprights act as stops. The outer edge of the board is faced in 5mm foamed PVC, which was free from the marketing department at work, offcuts of advertising boards! This fascia reinforces the hinges and stops. The pictures should make it clear.




The last picture shows what could be fitted onto the board. The train set came with (surprisingly) 3rd radius curves, a second radius oval can be fitted inside. The outer oval is positioned to allow a platform to fit on the outside on one side of the board, with a siding outside the oval on the other, obviously plenty of space inside for sidings. There is space for a short straight between the end curve and a length of flexi-track over the board joint, a 6' long board would allow a double-straight (or two points) either side of the joint but that would be too big to fit under the bed. At one end the fascia is raised to allow for a tunnel.
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4 comments:

Phil Parker said...

That is VERY nice. Looks a lot my my childhood train set too !

CF said...

Not that you're getting in the slightest bit enthusiastic about it...
Love it! Can I come over and play?

Micky said...

When I was about nine my Dad built me a Triang TT layout with two ovals, a loop, siding and tunnel. It was, as you might have guessed, the start of a life-long hobby (with only one break really when I lived on a narrowboat for some years - min you, even a narrowboat has been used to accommodate a modest layout!

Well done! I bet he catches 'the bug' too!

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beautiful work..


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