Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Any questions about designing a model railway layout or problems with track work.
User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Dec 20, 2015 12:03 am

As I am about to start laying track, I thought I would do some research into methodologys, as I will be running "Sound" on this layout. If I ignore the old "I want my trains to be noisey" brigade who advise track straight to board, as I have 6mm ply as my top, so is very "reverberant", I need to deaden the running sound.
My research leads me to several new conclusions, all against my oldschool experience!
Solid baseboard adds mass to deaden sound, add wood underneath along track path, (or add rubber foam below basebord). Could do as later addition
Cork underlay does not absorb sound, too dense and simply "connects" track "Accousticaly" to board. Use Depron foam or wood floor underlay instead.
Dont use track pins, as they too connect track "Accousticaly" to the board. Glue track to foam.
Dont use PVA glue for ballast! It again makes a solid mass that conects track to board (side gravel touching board defeats the foam). Use Copydex diluted with water and meths. (stays flexible when set)
So, glue Foam to board with PVA (does not move over time)
Tack glue, track to foam, with spots of evostick (holds track in position, even when wetted when ballasting)
Use diluted Copydex for ballasting (potential can allow track to move over time but evostick spots will stop this)
Please add comments if you think I am wrong! :oops:
But my question is, were do I get Depron from? I can buy 1200x800x3mm sheets from numerous sources on net, but they all have minimum order of 40 sheets at approx £2.25ea! (ensures transit as a pack does not damage boards)
There is one source who sell cut down sheets in smaller quantities, but they are white and I want the grey type!
I might consider buying a pack and sell on here, in smaller numbers, if there is an interest!
Any suggestions welcome :D
Last edited by TimberSurf on Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

RFS
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:09 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby RFS » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:06 am

I would not recommend Depron foam. It's very brittle and any deformations remain permanent (eg drop a tool on the surface and it quickly dents). I have now used a closed-cell foam called Plastazote which is very similar to the much more expensive stuff made by Woodland Scenics. You can get it from here in 2m x 1m sheets - http://www.thamesvalleysupplies.co.uk/plastazote.php. I used LD33 density, 5mm thick.
Robert Smith

Ex-Pat
Posts: 1821
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:51 pm
Location: Dundalk Ireland

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby Ex-Pat » Sun Dec 20, 2015 8:35 am

I have used 3mm closed cell foam bought in various stages at exhibitions from C & L, Nairnshire Models and maybe others as well (Wizard Models stopped doing it).

"Dont use PVA glue for ballast! It again makes a solid mass that conects track to board (side gravel touching board defeats the foam)".

Your comment suggests you intend cutting strips of foam with the potential for overspill of ballast on to the board.

I laid down the sheet of foam (across the whole board where there was a lot of track, and in strips wide enough to accommodate single or double track width plus say half an inch either side and then used PVA glue to both lay the track and ballast ("N" gauge ballast on "00" gauge track) at the same time in one operation. Any potential overspill is controlled by using masking tape either side of the track (say a quarter of an inch either side of the track).

Track was held in position whilst glue dried by either using pins or weights on blocks of wood.

Each to their own of course!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:06 pm

RFS wrote:I would not recommend Depron foam. It's very brittle and any deformations remain permanent (eg drop a tool on the surface and it quickly dents). I have now used a closed-cell foam called Plastazote which is very similar to the much more expensive stuff made by Woodland Scenics. You can get it from here in 2m x 1m sheets - http://www.thamesvalleysupplies.co.uk/plastazote.php. I used LD33 density, 5mm thick.

Why 5mm and not 3mm?

Ex-Pat wrote:I laid down the sheet of foam in strips wide enough to accommodate single or double track width plus say half an inch either side

So how do you "disguise the edges of the foam?

Ex-Pat wrote:Any potential overspill is controlled by using masking tape either side of the track (say a quarter of an inch either side of the track).

How does that work? rip up the masking tape when partially set with the excess ballast still on it?
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

RFS
Posts: 882
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:09 pm
Location: Derbyshire, UK

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby RFS » Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:55 pm

5mm is the same thickness as the Woodlands Scenics and DCC Concepts stuff. It provides a proper ballast shoulder and also allows me to purchase a small amount of WS if I've run out. 3mm sheets are available too, if that's your preference.

For the hidden storage yard, which is 16 tracks wide, I just laid it in sheets. For the scenic side I again used large pieces to more than cover the area needed. Once all the track was laid, I then created the ballast shoulder by holding a Stanley knife at an angle against a wagon pushed carefully along. The foam cuts easily and cleanly like that.

When ballasting I first laid masking tape up to the edges of the foam. I then applied neat PVA with a brush to the ballast sides up to the side of the sleepers, and then covered with ballast. After 10 minutes or so the excess is vacuumed up for re-use. I then dry-laid the ballast before gluing with PVA in the normal way. The masking tape was lifted before the PVA had set to prevent its lifting pulling chunks out.
Robert Smith

Ex-Pat
Posts: 1821
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:51 pm
Location: Dundalk Ireland

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby Ex-Pat » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:19 pm

TimberSurf wrote:
Ex-Pat wrote:I laid down the sheet of foam in strips wide enough to accommodate single or double track width plus say half an inch either side


So how do you "disguise the edges of the foam?


Much of my layout is station/yard trackage where there was hardly any shoulder as such in real life. So the sheet of foam will be a base for buildings/scenery etc.. RFS has supplied one means of doing it.

Ex-Pat wrote:Any potential overspill is controlled by using masking tape either side of the track (say a quarter of an inch either side of the track).


How does that work? rip up the masking tape when partially set with the excess ballast still on it?[/quote]

The method used is that on the now discontinued Activity Media "Right Track" series DVD "Terrific Tracklaying".

PVA is spread between the masking tape and the track laid on top, followed immediately by pouring the ballast on liberally and gently smoothing down, and after 10 to 15 minutes the ballast is hoovered up into a "Dustbuster" or similar for re-use. (Don't let the Dustbuster dwell too long - just sufficiently to take off any still dry ballast.) Then carefully remove the masking tape and allow the PVA to set. (Try a test thickness of PVA first - if too thick then it will protrude well above the sleepers, and if too thin then there will be no depth to the ballast with the accompanying possibility that the track is not anchored firmly enough. Also put a small piece of masking tape underneath the blade pivot points of Peco (and presumably other manufacturers') points so that the PVA cannot enter and gum up the pivot point - one learns by bitter experience!!)

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:25 pm

Well I bought the closed cell foam and have laid across most of the boards with PVA, it sticks well, but if you're careful, can be removed cleanly, once dry. It's been a long while getting all the track done, but finally finished tonight. Having had a few electrical issues, I had to take up some points, but that was not difficult. I have not pinned or screwed anything, just used neat Copydex to hold track down. The track is well stuck, but Copydex flexibility allows some latitude for side movement when mating the next section. To remove the points, I just slid a knife underneath and "rubbed" the glue to release it (its not cutting, more like scraping)
I have ballasted one area with 50/50 Copydex. Waiting for it to dry :( , may take a day or two.
Testing for noise and resilience to come. I may do one section with PVA, just to see if I can tell the difference in noise.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
NakatsuHime
Posts: 258
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:52 pm

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby NakatsuHime » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:37 pm

I'm of the old 'noisy is good' brigade, but mainly because I'm running old-style DC, without DCC-sound.

I'd love DCC sound, and if I did, I too would like to hear it over the track noise.

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3401
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby alex3410 » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:35 am

this would make a fascinating article, going into each method and testing the sound levels etc.

I am torn because i tend to like the noise they make running around, but my sound locos as NakatsuHime suggests get drowned out when running at high speed.

RodzRx7
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:04 pm

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby RodzRx7 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:13 pm

TimberSurf wrote:Well I bought the closed cell foam and have laid across most of the boards with PVA, it sticks well, but if you're careful, can be removed cleanly, once dry. It's been a long while getting all the track done, but finally finished tonight. Having had a few electrical issues, I had to take up some points, but that was not difficult. I have not pinned or screwed anything, just used neat Copydex to hold track down. The track is well stuck, but Copydex flexibility allows some latitude for side movement when mating the next section. To remove the points, I just slid a knife underneath and "rubbed" the glue to release it (its not cutting, more like scraping)
I have ballasted one area with 50/50 Copydex. Waiting for it to dry :( , may take a day or two.
Testing for noise and resilience to come. I may do one section with PVA, just to see if I can tell the difference in noise.


hi timbersurf interesting read there do you have pictures of the progress if you don't mind?
cheers
sean

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:28 pm

Yes Sean, pics in my layout thread viewtopic.php?f=22&t=44849&start=30#p622031
I haven't got round to ballasting all as yet, still sorting the 14 point motor servo's and then need to run trains, so all bugs are ironed out before I permanentise things with the ballast. I have done the three long sidings as a test, with 50/50 copydex/water as the glue.
So far so good, will report back about noise levels once the track is fully ballasted.
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:59 pm

Having ballasted the four station tracks last night, I now have one half of the layout ballasted. Without an engine, just running carriages along fast by hand, my observation is that it's very noisy! Its a high pitched metal to metal noise that is a right din! I may have to lay a test track of cork and make a direct comparison for myself. I am not particularly happy with it at the moment!
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:38 pm

RodzRx7 wrote:hi timbersurf interesting read there do you have pictures of the progress if you don't mind?
cheers
sean


Pics are here viewtopic.php?f=22&t=44849&p=622031#p622031
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2453
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:44 am

Now fully ballasted viewtopic.php?f=22&t=44849&start=180#p636384
The jury is still out on the Cork vs Foam debate, as I have not really run trains at speed in earnest (layout is too short)
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 12176
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Track laying/ballasting/Depron Foam

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:53 pm

If your points are glued to the foam which is glued to the baseboard, check your points thoroughly to make sure they are flat through the frog (crossing) then look out for any signs of the frog area becoming domed later in life. It may prove necessary at some time in the future to put in some fine pins in the sleepers around the frog. It's annoying but the problem has never been addressed by Peco.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions


Return to “Track/Layout Design”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests