Suitable height for a layout

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CheekyPaul
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Suitable height for a layout

Postby CheekyPaul » Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:31 am

Hey!

I'm planning a new layout and cannot decide whether to go for OO (using rolling stocks from my old layout, Welton) or to do a new challenge and go for N gauge.

The new layout will be located in one of the bedrooms. I plan to have a portable layout, so that I can perhap take it with me to exhibtions etc.

I need to have plenty of storage in the bedroom too for non-railway stuff, and I was thinking of getting some bookcases from IKEA with doors so that they could go under the layout and it'll keep the room tidy.

The bookcases from IKEA are 106cm tall and I was wondering if the height is ok when the layout goes above it, so say if the surface of the layout (60cm depth) was about 115cm from the floor, would that be too tall for a N gauge layout? Or is it still down to everyone's personal preference when it comes to the height of the layout, how it works for them etc?

I'm trying to think of pros and cons of using the 106cm tall bookcases to go under the layout and how the height may affect me for both OO and N gauges.

Any advices would be great! Thanks!

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Bufferstop
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:25 am

There are so many factors involved I find it impossible to give a definitive height for a model railway. For visual impact a little below eye level is great, you can almost walk into the scene. (shows up a load of faults too). It's also very difficult to work on! During the construction phase desktop height is pretty good. Another factor is reach, at waist height most people can work at up to two and a half feet in without crushing anything on the front edge. The higher you make it the less you can reach over. My layout was going to be on top of recycled bookshelves which would be cut down to suit. After some experimentation I decided on chest high, separable boards, (at least until the final scenic stages), a stepstool for any work once in place and a draughtsman's high chair (or simply standing up) for operating sessions. Seems to have worked well. If disaster ever strikes I can separate and move the boards by cutting through a few bits of scenery which cross the joints.

John W
aka Bufferstop.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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b308
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby b308 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 10:57 am

I strongly feel that for an exhibition layout it should not be shown at a normal person's eye level, it rules out all those who have to use a wheelchair or electric buggy, not to mention kids. What you do at home is up to you, at exhibitions a height of about 110cms is about right. The answer for the tall people amongst us is to have a folding chair so they can sit down and look!

The thing to remember is that we able bodied can always bend down, but a wheelchair user can't stand up!

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bike2steam
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby bike2steam » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:35 am

The height should be what is the most comfortable for you to work on, number one consideration being the scenic board(s) width.

CheekyPaul
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby CheekyPaul » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:58 pm

b308 wrote:I strongly feel that for an exhibition layout it should not be shown at a normal person's eye level, it rules out all those who have to use a wheelchair or electric buggy, not to mention kids. What you do at home is up to you, at exhibitions a height of about 110cms is about right. The answer for the tall people amongst us is to have a folding chair so they can sit down and look!

The thing to remember is that we able bodied can always bend down, but a wheelchair user can't stand up!


Oh I strongly agree with you, that the layout shouldnt be at a normal person's eye level because it'll push away from those who can't see it, ie from a wheelchair, a child, etc. You want to be able to attract everyone of all sorts to view it!

I wouldnt do that if I take a layout to an exhibition. What i was thinking was to have the layout resting on the bookcases in the bedroom, but when out at the exhibitions, it would be on some proper legs at the right level for everyone to see.

CheekyPaul
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby CheekyPaul » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:09 pm

Thanks for the comments guys.

I am aware of how difficult it may be to work on the layout if it was above the waist level, ie to be able to reach the back of the layout, but as I am planning to make the layout portable, I don't think it would be a problem, because I can take one or two boards down at a time to work on them and they would sit on something like folding saw horse pairs so they're within reach all way round to work with. That's just a thought.

I will look into this further and work out what I can do to provide plenty of storage under a layout in the bedoom, whether that be bookcases or something else.

craw607
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby craw607 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:22 pm

The bookcases sound a promising idea I used wardrobes on there side and supported any area extended by using
IKEA adjustable legs and the height is about 85cm width 120cm and find this a good height so I can reach
the back (if I breath in).
The only thing I would mention is that using bookcases remember to allow for the thickness of the wood as I
found when trying to fit under board points motors.
John

b308
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby b308 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:23 pm

At home I'd do what you want, I normally plant mine on top if the dining table (its now old and worn so it doesn't matter), the top of a bookcase may be a little high to work on it but it depends on the height of the person and what they are sitting on! Old kitchen worktops can be used as well!

Ex-Pat
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby Ex-Pat » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:18 pm

Just to reinforce what b308 says - at 34.5 inches baseboard surface height I seem to tower over it when standing. But when sitting down it seems almost high!

b308
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby b308 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 7:10 pm

b308 wrote: Old kitchen worktops can be used as well!


That should read "old kitchen units", not worktops! I took the old ones out when we had a new kitchen and stuck them in my shed, the layout is mounted directly on top with no worktop! Even has built in cupboards!!

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End2end
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby End2end » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:04 pm

Just an idea, but how about building 2 boxes to place on top of your "exhibition height" legs/trestles which can be added to bring the layout to a workable height.
Then just remove them to get back down to "exhibition height"
If the trestles have flat tops the weight of the layout means that the boxes shouldn't have to be screwed down.
A quick rough sketch....
legs.JPG
legs.JPG (6.65 KiB) Viewed 2285 times

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End2end
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby End2end » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:05 pm

Oops. Just relised this post is 2 years old.
Oh well, just proves what an excellent site this is, where I want to read EVERYTHING lol
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
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St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

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Bufferstop
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby Bufferstop » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:10 pm

Don't worry I think we've all done it a few times, spot something interesting jump in with a comment, then realise how old it is. If it's really embarassing an appeal to the mods and we might be persuaded to delete the embarrasing post.
John W
aka Bufferstop.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

b308
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby b308 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:06 am

Don't worry, e2e, what you suggested is a good idea as well!

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alex3410
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Re: Suitable height for a layout

Postby alex3410 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:52 am

I am forever off searching for something only to be redirected back to old posts on this site more often then not :lol:


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