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Lessor Tufts - OO In the loft

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:44 pm
by Kentman98
Hi folks

Just really introducing myself as a newbie.....

My son, George, aged 8, decided he wanted a trainset for Xmas after banging on for weeks on end about wanting a roboraptor! Because we had already purchased the latter I thought I was safe from the menace of a trainset and all that can lead to......

However he was fortunate (or unfortunate???) to receive some money at Xmas and insisted on buying a Hornby Trainset (Smokey Joe). First problem was finding somewhere where he could play with it and so I cleared some space in the loft so he could run it on the floor up there. Things have snowballed rather dramatically in the last week or so after discovering this website and getting loads of great ideas. Hence when I am penniless and my wife has divorced me, I shall lay the blame firmly at your doors :D

I have decided to convert an area of the loft into a small room accessbile directly from the loft hatch. The area will be approx 10ft by 8Ft with a 4ft square centre with a basedboard taking up the rest of the space.

By now you will have realised that I am not even at the starting post where a layout is concerned!! The last few nights have been spent surfing the web accumalating ideas and as each minute has ticked by I have become more and more confused!

The first thing I have realised, and I wished I had done some research two weeks ago, is that DCC is a must for me (and ummm George!!) My other hobby is computers and software programming and I can see this is a great opportunity to combine the two. I intend, eventually, to be able to control the layout from a PC using home grown software (with some help from the web!) I have noticed Hornby have jsut released some DCC equipment which looks very reasonable (price wise) compared to other manufacturers. I was looking at the Lenz equipment as the xpressnet interface looks ideal for me. Seeing as Hornby provide the same interface it looks promising but there seems to be a lack of technical information. Hopefully this will be available soon on the Hornby website.

Well, that is all for now. I reckon I will be busy for the next month or so just sorting out the loft. Everything else can be put on hold until then.

Just like to say thanks for a superb website and giving me a new interest that hopefuilly the whole family besides me and George) will get involved in.



Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:28 pm
by joshing_man
Welcome Trev from another complete novice using a 9 year old as an excuse to get into this lark!

Keep us posted on your progress - I am at the planning stage (beginning to come together) but need to board and power the loft first. Take time to plan well and surf this forum for ideas and find what you like from it all. Best of all just enjoy!


Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:30 pm
by Kentman98
Hi Andrew,

Your planned loft layout made me consider my loft more seriously. Initially I discarded the idea without a second thought.

At first I didn't think I had the space but now realise I can use the centre of the loft and work round the trussed rafters. Part of the baseboard will wrap round the trusses (is that the right word :? ) but I have concluded it will not be a problem! I am planning to baiscally seal the area in , from the baseboard up to the roof and below the baseboard provide access panels to the rest of the loft area. The loft hatch, with retractable ladder, will be in the centre of the standing area but I plan to build a safey cover that will simply drop over the opening.

So, thanks for the inspiration and good luck with your layout.


Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:52 pm
by dynamite25
Welcome to the forum Trev and enjoy yourself in the wonderful hobby.

I have a cover to go my loft hatch opening so i could walk to each end of the layout without falling down onto the ladder,i do need to make a cover for the underside of the hatch as when we enlarged the opening we never made a cover for it.

Using the loft to house your layout is the best place really as it won't be in the way of other family members and is a good place to hide out in,before i moved to the loft with mine as i had one in my bedroom and i slept in the spare bedroom but then i changed rooms so i dismantled the layout and i built a new one in the room i use to sleep in.But then that got dismantled as my sister came home,and then with my parents permission i have started to build one in our loft which is alot bigger than my other layout i started but isn't as wide as the others.

I am looking foward to seeing the progress of you and your sons layout and you'll find alot of info on this site but if there something that you can't find an answer for just ask and we will try and help you.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:53 am
by Raider
I'm currently in the process of building my loft layout with the help of my 2 boys.

I have a 6' X 4' board in the middle section raised up by about 2'. This has a couple of loops on at the moment (but that will no doubt change).

On the right, where the roof supports are, I have got an 8' X 2' shelf-type layout which is joined to the main board by a return loop.

I am planning on doing something similar on the other side of the loft but higher up so that I can use the suspension bridge I have.

I can't have the loft hatch in the middle of the layout as it isn't in the middle of the loft. The water tanks are the the opposite side of the hatch to the layout, so can't really do much about that.

Just remember that you need to be able to reach all areas of your layout, not just for laying track, scenery etc but also for derailments.

Good luck and have fun


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:04 am
by Puff the magic dragon
Good morning Trev, at this ungodly hour. I'm building my layout in the loft and although it's not really kicked in yet, the pics on my layout page may give you some ideas. Also there are loads of other photo's of layouts in various stages so you won't be wanting for inspiration :D May I also ask that you post pictures as your layout progresses? It's great to watch them grow.


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:06 am
by Kentman98
Morning all

Thanks for the feedback everyone, all ideas and advice is appreciated. I have already had a look at the layouts in question (probably 3 or 4 times already as I jump from link to link!!) Am very impressed with the efforts made and know I will not have far to go for any further advice or ideas.

The space I am using could be bigger if the water tank was not in the way. It is time's like this when you wonder what planet the builders were on. There is no reason why the tank could not be off to one side where there is less head room and it has crossed my mind to move it :? However I decided the area I am planning to use will be sufficient. I can always expand at a later date if the desire is still there!!

I have thought about the reach from the centre and it will be Ok for me. I will probably provide a step for George to be able to stand on if he needs to reach the corners!

Later on today I will try and put a couple of pics on here detailing the area of the loft I am using. Got to go now as other family duties call... :(

Thanks again everyone. I am glad I found this website, it is extremely useful.


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:15 pm
by joshing_man
Hi Trev

Glad to have been of inspiration - makes a change! I have made a further alteration to my track plan and am almost happy but guess when it comes to laying it out it will change again.

Again, take time to decide what you want and then go for it. There are a lot of us stuck in planing mode so if your loft is ready that will help move this on so you can see whether your ideas work!


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 4:10 pm
by dynamite25
Even though i have a final track plan when i start to lay track i always find some way of make what i have even better and i have done that with all the layouts i started to build and all never got any further than the track stage,as something changed and they all got dismantled to a new location or stored in my bedroom but now it is in the loft where it will stay.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:50 pm
by Dave777
Cool, another new member with exciting ideas! Good to see :)

Three quick points:

1) Regarding DCC, I'm not sure if Smokey Joe can take a decoder anyway (as it's quite a small loco) so you might not have missed anything.

2) Sealing the loft area in - may I suggest you do a good search on the interweb for this as I recently read some info about inadequate ventilation in loft areas due to people doing exactly what you're doing. Doesn't do the rafters very much good so I understand (neither this or DCC are my areas, we've pretty much reached the limit of my knowledge already!)

3) Keep us informed of progress!

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 5:58 pm
by dynamite25
Under my layout in the loft i will just have a curtain to hide the rest of the loft and above has just hardboard nailed to the rafters.

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:51 pm
by Kentman98
Good point regarding ventilation! I shall give it some thought. Might do somthing along the lines to what dynamite has done. My main aim is to try and have an enclosed area which will give it a 'cosy' feel. Curtains below the baseboard will achieve that just as effectively.

Ref DCC, I am just annoyed really that I was not aware earlier and hence could have made George hang on to his money and bought a DCC starter train set as a joint purchase. Still, not too much of a problem, as the DC controller can be used untill funds permit Have not investigated if Smokey Joe can be fitted with a decoder. However, some DCC controllers do allow one non DC C train to be driven.

Anyway here are a few pics of the loft area. I have drawn some lines to indicate roughly the location of the baseboard. Although the trusses are a pain they will provide the main framework for the baseboard to sit on!



To the left of this pic is the water tank, the vent pipe will be lowered and all the pipes boxed in (with access!). The baseboard will then be above the vent pipe to complete the loop. Between the baseboard and the water tank will be a plaster board wall from the roof down to the top of the board.


Going to make a start on some framework tomorrow. I also need to add some more flooring and do a bit of re-wiring.


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:53 pm
by Pete
Doesn't matter looks like you fixed it :lol:

You might want to make your pics a bit narrower, about 600pixels, stops the screen scrolling.


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:37 pm
by Kentman98
Made the pics a bit smaller :D

Been thinking, and it's all your fault Peter! I was going to plough ahead and try and get a baseboard down within the next couple of weeks. However after reading your posts the idea of an open framwork is food for thought. I certainly can see the advantages in doing it this way.

Only disadvantage I can see is if you are an absolute beginner like me. I would imagine the track design needs to be cast in stone before you start building the track beds. I am convinced, as dynamite has said, that regardless of the design, I will end up changing it once it gets to the stage of laying track. With this in mind do you think it is better for a complete novice, like me, to go for the flat baseboard which will allow more freedom for change.


Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:41 pm
by Pete

Set out with a normal flat board, but don't screw the board down, sort your track plan etc, when your happy, just cut round your plan with a jig saw to give you the raised sections.

It's well worth doing though.