Beware, This Could Be Baseboard

The mock up representing the yard of a small engineering works has inspired me.

I’ve been in the garage sawing wood…

Could this be the frame for a new baseboard ? Hmm, I think it could !


Layout Installed in it’s New Home

I’ve built the legs for the second baseboard and installed the layout in place.

I’ve left some space for a fiddle yard at the right hand side of the layout.

I’m very pleased with the result. It looks like a layout  –  or at least the start of one 🙂

Layout Legs Eleven

My family are away for a few days and I’m using the opportunity to push on with some more woodwork.

I’ve made legs for one of the baseboards. The legs are 44mm x 44 mm timber and the bracing is 43 x 20 mm. They are joined together with 40mm screws.

Next I added some 8mm bolts and wing nuts. (I brought these from Bolt World on ebay. I couldn’t resist a shop with a name like that!)

I added a couple of horizontal pieces of 43 x 20 mm to create a frame.

One of the baseboards can be placed on top.

Yeah, it works!

Now I need to repeat the process for the other baseboard.

The Backscene Boards

This blog sounds like it’s about a boy band. Fear not, it isn’t. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been building the boards to form the backscenes for my new layout. They aren’t fancy. The boards are 3.5mm ply, glued and screwed to a soft wood frame.

I gave the layout side of the boards a couple of coats of white undercoat. I may paint them a light sky blue or I may glue a backscene paper to them. I haven’t decided. Either way the undercoat will stop the brown of the ply showing through. The lower part of the backscenes will be masked by the edge of the baseboards so there’s no need to paint them completely.

I screwed them to the baseboards. No glue this time. I may want to remove them in the future.

Here’s the ‘scenic’ section of the layout.

This is the ‘station’ section. I realise most people make the backboards before they lay track and add point motors. I laid the track first because I was keen to see if I could get DCC working. I had to handle this baseboard more carefully when I was fixing the back board.

Now, look at this. The two boards joined together!

When I finish a job I always stand back and look at what I’ve done. It’s the best bit!

It’s been quite a lot of work to make them (thinking how to do it, buying the wood, cutting it to size, constructing the boards, painting them and attaching them to the baseboards), but it’s very satisfying to see them in place 🙂

Fixing the First Track to the Baseboard

This week I’ve made a start on track laying.

To fit the points I needed to drill eight holes:

  • a hole for the throw arm from the point motor
  • four small pilot holes for the screws to mount the point motor to the baseboard
  • three holes for the wires connecting the point to the electrics (the two wires to power the rails and the wire to power the frog).

The photo at the start of the blog shows all the holes.

Drilling holes is easy, but it wasn’t a quick job. I must admit I spent ages measuring the positions to make sure I drilled the holes in the right places!

Cobalt provide very good instructions with their point motors. However, they don’t supply a template for where to drill the holes with the point motor (although they do provide one at extra cost). I made my own template from a scrap of paper, and it was a really useful to position the holes correctly.

After the measuring and drilling it was a straightforward job. I fitted the point motor underneath the baseboard.

The throw arm pointed up through the hole in the baseboard.

It was easy to lower the point into place, feeding the throw arm into the tie bar of the point and feeding the three electrical wires down into the other holes.

When I was happy everything was in the right place I glued the point, and the track for the head shunt, in position with a few blobs of superglue.

Creating a DCC Power Bus

We like beans in our family!

The beans are tasty and the tins make great weights to hold things in place while you are waiting for glue to dry.

This week I’ve been making the main ‘power bus’ for my layout. Essentially it is two wires running the length of the layout to carry power to all the track, points (called switches in the USA) etc. Smaller wires (called ‘droppers’) are soldered to each piece of track and each point, then connected to the power bus. This provides a direct power supply to each piece of track, ideal for DCC.

I started by cutting several small wooden blocks and drilling two small holes through each block.

I glued these to the underside of the baseboard and I waited while the cans of beans did their magic. Then I threaded two wires through each block. This gave me a (primitive) power bus.

It’s definitely not rocket science 🙂

Transferring The Track Plan to Baseboard

I have a baseboard and a printed 1:1 scale trackplan. I want to transfer the plan from the printout to the baseboard so that I can lay the track according to the plan. First, I stuck the trackplan in place using masking tape.

On the plan SCARM adds a straight line at the ends of the points (switches). I cut through the paper along these lines with a craft knife. Additionally, I made cuts along the rails at each end of the point. Then drew the position of the lines with a marker pen, drawing through the paper onto the cork.

To mark the rest of the track I pushed a scriber through the paper at the ends of each sleeper, then pushed the marker pen through each hole to create a dot on the baseboard.

This gave me the position for each point, and dotted lines marking the position of the rest of the track.

It sounds quite a bit of work but you soon get a rhythm going and it really doesn’t take that long to do.

I spent quite some time designing the track plan on the computer. I’m pleased to say it was really simple to transfer an exact copy of the plan on the baseboard and I know exactly where to put each piece of track.