Lots to learn!

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Dave1980
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Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:42 pm

Hi all,

I'm new on here... a complete newbie... much to learn! :shock: :shock: I have many questions, too many for this post!

Currently, I am converting the loft in my garage for my layout. It's a truss roof (or was) that I've adapted by removing the central up/down pieces to make room... I did brace underneath from wall to wall to stop it caving in!

My layout will have to be a horseshoe type as the most head height is central of the room and this is where I will work/play from... But, I am unsure about how far out the base board should come from the wall. After reading other posts on here, I gather track more than 2ft away from the edge of the board is awkward to work on. And this is where I learned something already....

I was convinced my board would have to stick out 43" (110cm) so I could have a loop and either end of the horseshoe.... because... I took the four bends out of the set my wife brought me and measured the diameter... 104cm... "thats what my base must be".... or so I thought!

So, a bit more research on here and I discovered that the bends I have are not the only ones you can get... Genius!! My set is supplied with R609's... standard with most sets I would imagine... so if I use R605's, my board need not be so wide! Who's a clever chap, eh? :D

I know, I know.... complete beginner stuff here!

The length of my layout will be 2.5 metres along the first wall, 2.8 metres across side wall and 3 metres back down the other wall.... but how far out from the wall, that is the question!?! Far out enough to accommodate my loops!

I guess the layout I have is ideal for shunting and switching, but I would love to have a loop in the layout to keep things mixed up a bit.
The theme I'm thinking will be 1960-70's diesel locos and associated industrial yards.

So what do you think folks, anything I need to consider before I continue?

Looking forward to hearing your vast wealths of knowledge, thanks in advance.

Dave, located in Essex.

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luckymucklebackit
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:50 pm

I think that this first thing you should be doing before you start building a layout is to get a professional builder in to confirm that the structural changes that you have make are in fact safe and does not go against any building regulations that will be in force for your property, removing structural members for a roof is not a good idea, I would certainly never attempt it!

Jim
This Signature Left Intentionally Blank, but since I have written this and I intended to do it, this Signature is intentionally not blank. Paradox or What?
My layout - Gateside and Northbridge
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Dave1980
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:55 pm

Absolutely.... I am a builder by trade, worry not my good man. It has been carried out properly...

Dublo
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Location: London

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dublo » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:00 pm

Hello Dave
Welcome to the forum there are many excellent model makers in this group who will be only to happy to help you with modern track geometry. What ever your question is I'm sure somebody here will know the answer. My interest lies in vintage models so I'm not in a position to assist here. But it sounds like you have a good size available and should be able to produce an exciting layout. I will be interested in following your progress.

Dave1980
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:08 pm

Thanks guys...

I had a look at downloading some track laying software... xtrkcad. I downloaded it on a mac but I couldn't open it, so that was the end of that :roll:

I do have a windows computer too, any software that stands out above the others?

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BrightonMan
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby BrightonMan » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:22 pm

Dave1980 wrote:I do have a windows computer too, any software that stands out above the others?

Welcome to the group Dave. I use SCARM software. There is a free download from their website which is fine for small layouts, or you can buy the whole package (not sure how much as I've only ever used the free version). Very easy to use and includes all the most popular track systems - Peco, Hornby etc. Hope this helps.

Dave1980
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 5:38 pm

Indeed it does.. thank you... I shall look it up! :D

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alex3410
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Location: Essex

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby alex3410 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:26 pm

Your right the set track has different radius curves, the R605's you refer to are first radius with each one getting larger (taking up more room) from there

The big issue/warning with this is most locos need a minimum of 2nd radius curves to run, if you go to tight the wheels wedge and the loco details.

Because of this 1st radius is a bad idea, it will limit your selection of locos to small 0-4-0s, I would suggest getting the largest radius curves in you can to ensure the best running experience.

1st = no
2nd = if you really have to
3rd = decent compromise
4th = ideal

That being said if he area forces the use of say 2nd just be careful when buying locos to check minimum radius they will run on

Dave1980
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:36 pm

Some excellent info already.. I would have gone straight out and bought 1st radius... so i'll stick to 3rd radius i.e, the R609's.

Where would be the best place/s start looking for track? I've already been looking on eBay to see what people are selling... but then I don't want to buy other peoples crap too.

Dad-1
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:11 pm

Pleased to see Alex3410 has pointed out that 1st Radius curves are not a good idea.
I can't think of much that won't run safely through 2nd radius curves, which is the
usually recommended manufacturers minimum.
This link may be of some use showing a selection of locomotives that in my experience
will safely pass over 1st radius.

viewtopic.php?f=34&t=51816


For longer locomotives the more open a bend the better it looks and runs, but for yards
where smaller motive power is used there is some flexibility.

The best of luck - all loft areas can be freezing in winter and something of a sauna in
summer. I know because I have one !!

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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End2end
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby End2end » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:04 pm

Welcome to the forum Dave1980. :)
Dave1980 wrote:Where would be the best place/s start looking for track?

Peco. Many of use prefer Peco track over Hornby. The track pieces match Hornby track in terms of dimensions. The only anomoly I've found is crossovers. I'm having to use Hornby crossovers in what is basically a Peco set track layout.

As far as software goes, I've found a way to get more out of the free version of SCARM with it's limited track piece count.
Once things are starting to line up, swap any long straights (made up using set track straights) for long lengths of flexitrack. I think 1 long flexitrack piece (in a straight line) is the same as 4 mid straights of set track.
You can even then go on to actually using flexitrack (in a straight line in this case) on your layout instead of just using it in the software to save track count.
Hope it helps
End2end2
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TimberSurf
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby TimberSurf » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:43 pm

Hello Dave

Welcome to the forum :D

You have come to the right place for lots of answers

You might find some interesting stuff on my website to help kick you off!

Here is all the Track planning software available to choose from.

Peco flexitrack works out cheaper than set track and allows more flexibility, it's one of the two "best practice" that most will recommend, the other being 'live frog'.
This Hornby pdf will give you an immediate set of dimensions as a guide, but once you get your head around some track planning software, come up with a layout plan and share it on here and we can point out any pitfalls or improvements.
Hattons or Track shack or Sheffield rails will probably offer the cheapest track.
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Dave1980
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 9:35 am

Thanks Geoff... interesting points there, I watched some of the videos too... good info!

So Peco seems the way to go as End2End has pointed out, cheers! A question regarding flexi track... is that track you would use on a 180 degree turn at the end of a loop or is it more for making slight bends here and there... would the loop ends be made out of pre made bends?

Also just had a look at your site Timbersurf, lots of software there... again thanks to you too! I have downloaded Scarm on my windows computer upstairs and RailModellerExpress on my mac that I'm using now. Had a play with both for 5 mins only, both look good! Checked out Hattons too, will look at the others this evening....

I have not even decided on digital or not yet... deep down I think it will be digital. Will this impact on my track layout?

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TimberSurf
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Re: Lots to learn!

Postby TimberSurf » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:19 am

Flexitrack can be used for everything (except points and crossover), it will do long straights (use a meter rule or wood batten as a guide) and ANY radii curve (look up Tracksetta, for radii guides), loops, kinks, short or long.
Droppers and DCC bus will also need some research, best practice is to have a common bus under the layout for power, with a lot of connections to the track, see this guide, but its not necessarily needed for analogue DC.
DC vs DCC is a whole other conversation! :cry:
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Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

Dave1980
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:47 pm

Re: Lots to learn!

Postby Dave1980 » Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:26 pm

Well that’s a good starting point.... much info there already in just these few posts.

Yes I’m sure digital or not has been debated on here no end!!

Thanks all... I’m sure I’ll have many more questions!


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