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e2e in two laptop boxes

Postby msimister » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:32 am

Some time ago I posted a few pics of my first go at T gauge modelling, a U-shaped track from a station to a traverser ('In a laptop box'). Pics of my second T gauge layout, in the raw without the scenery, that fits into two laptop boxes are attached and in developing and building it some thoughts occurred.

Station end looking towards tunnel end.jpg
Station end looking towards tunnel end.jpg (44.89 KiB) Viewed 624 times

Start of cork underlay at station end.jpg
Start of cork underlay at station end.jpg (70.9 KiB) Viewed 32 times

Staton end.jpg
Staton end.jpg (94.47 KiB) Viewed 32 times

Tunnel end.jpg
Tunnel end.jpg (97.67 KiB) Viewed 32 times

end looking towards station site.jpg
end looking towards station site.jpg (44.17 KiB) Viewed 624 times

As you will see in the pics, my carpentry, electrical and modelling skills are limited but what I wanted was:

* To fit the boards into two ASUS laptop boxes so they can be stored away easily
* Of reasonable length
* End-to-end layout with no points. As others have suggested, points are an Achilles heal of T gauge
* Double track, with a station and a canal scene.

What has resulted is:

* A layout measuring 158 cm x 12.5 cm, excluding the cassettes at each end. In 1/450th scale, this is about 777 yards long, a bit over 4/10ths of a mile.
* Four baseboards, two fitting in each laptop box side by side
* 3.5cm height available for scenery. This is plenty for the station buildings I am proposing but limits other scenery (e.g. tall trees)
* The 12.5 cm width gives just about enough scope for some townscape and scenery, including a canal with a lock, as I've laid the tracks mostly towards one side of the boards rather than being in the middle.

It's already a bit of a nuisance having four boards with their electrical connections to cope with every time I put up and take down the layout, but that's a price I have to pay for compact storage and it doesn't take long.

The baseboards are lightly constructed, being 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm frames (of Tasmanian Oak as that's what the hardware store had but I'm sure that pine would be just as good) and 3 mm MDF board. My original idea was to just put the layout on a table so the baseboards wouldn't need to be all that strong. However, I neglected to take into account the space for the cassettes I'll need at each end so that led to another thought.

I've often wanted to be able to change layout from time to time, without getting rid of the previous one. On my Southern Region OO gauge layout I operate two eras, mid-1960s mostly with steam and BR's blue & grey era, with diesels and 3rd rail electrics. Apart from the rolling stock, nothing else changes, which isn't strictly correct but I don't have the space for two OO gauge layouts. And in addition to the Southern, I've also got a soft spot for the GWR but, similarly, I can't have SR and GWR too.

Leading on from what was going to be a T gauge table top layout and realising that we don't have a table long enough, I'm going to have to construct a framework on legs to support my new layout's baseboards. As the baseboards won't be fixed to the framework but will just rest on it will then enable me to have multiple layouts which can all rest, one at a time, on the framework. When I've had enough of one layout, I can put it away in laptop boxes and get out (or build) another, and another, etc. This is more difficult to do in OO gauge due to the space required for the storage of layouts not being used, but a couple of laptop boxes for each T gauge layout is no problem. The cost of the additional rolling stock may be, but over time...

By the way, the 'cassettes' for my new layout are about as simple as it gets - pieces of the 1.2 cm x 1.2 cm Tasmanian Oak cut to length with the track glued on top and with electrical connections also glued on. Apart from a prototype, I've yet to build these but have put the electrical connections on the baseboards ready. The cassettes will vary in length from a few cm to accommodate a GWR railcar to longer ones for the 2 + 7 HST.

These cassettes are the reason for the two tracks being quite wide apart at each end of the layout, which you can see in the pics. Needing a real life excuse for this, the station used to have two through roads which have been rationalised while, for some mysterious geological reason, when the track was duplicated it wasn't possible to widen the single track tunnel bore and has resulting in two single bores a little way apart. The line is a former GWR broad gauge so elsewhere the two tracks are a generous distance apart. While it's freelance, in my mind the line is that between Swindon and Gloucester. Stroud has a lovely station building and the Thames & Severn canal (being restored) passes close by.

When I've added some scenery I'll post more pics, but don't hold your breath.

Any comments and other thoughts are welcome.

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Re: e2e in two laptop boxes

Postby dkightley » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:23 pm

This is looking good...I do like the idea of restricting the size so that the boards fit into a carrying/storage box.

You must show some more details of how you're ensuring track alignment and power connections between boards. The integrity of the whole layout obviously revolves around these connections being good.
Doug Kightley
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Re: e2e in two laptop boxes

Postby msimister » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:52 am

Sorry for the delay. Pic of the board and electrical connections herewith. For the boards, while there is a little (I mean a little) movement, once the track is lined up exactly they work fine. With the electrical joins, I didn't leave much room so I had to remove the brass joins from their insulation (they were in a row of 12 in plastic insulation). They are held in place with BluTack. OK, shudder away, but, so far, it has worked fine and I can always use something more robust if that proves to be ineffective.

Join between boards and electrical joins.jpg
Join between boards and electrical joins.jpg (56.92 KiB) Viewed 575 times
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