Build #02: Lots of Measuring and Cutting for Module Parts

This year’s weather was rather unusual. It was a relatively “warm” winter, between 5C and 12C, and occasional shower. The last 2 weekends were wet; thus, disrupting my plan to work outdoor. I do not have a proper workshop (note to self: make sure there is a small room for workshop when looking for new house) so I have to be satisfied with a makeshift workshop under 5C.

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In 3 hours, I managed to measure and saw module parts for Segment F, G and H and base for Segment A. This was my second time using Dremel DSM20, still more practices will be needed. This tool worked well for making straight and precise cuts. I will need to learn more about the cutting blades and how to make I more accurate cuts.  The two pieces of wood above and 2 C -clamps were good aid in guiding parallel cuts. Dremel DSM20 comes with attachable parallel guide but it did not work as well as I wanted.

The end results after 3 hours under 5C were module parts for Segment F, G, H and base for Segment A. A sketch of the first half of my layout will help you get oriented with the terms I am using.

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Segment A got its first (lower) base today, so I could now technically say, the ground breaking for the construction of germaN160 layout has started. This base is 134cm x 58cm. It will receive the side panels at a later stage.

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Segment A (lower base) consists of a few set of bypass tracks underneath the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof). The top end with 4 diamond crossings are from and to the staging yards at the other end of this layout (at Segment E). The bottom end is also another bypass track, which I intended to use as a S-Bahn (commuter train) station.

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I have marked the track positions for transitioning from Segment A to Segment H. I have left 1cm margin from the side of the base and from that point measured 8cm inwards. This 8cm width will serve as the width of following sub-roadbeds. Why 8cm? The track spacing is 3cm (CL to CL: CL stands for centre-line) and with extra spacing for cork roadbed and position of signals and overhead masts, you need a minimum of 8cm width. For some spots, more than 8cm may be needed. So play by ear as you go along.

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So far it looked good.

I am using Peco code 55 flex tracks and Electrofrog turnouts through my layout. I found the turnout templates helpful. These are 1:1 scale, so it is safer to use them before actually buying a real one. It helps you to decide whether a particular turnout is suitable – too large or too small. Peco turnouts go by small, medium, large; I think it translates to #5, #7 and #10, if you are using Atlas RR code 55 (please correct me if I am wrong). In fact I printed all the turnout templates I needed for my layout (Correction: Peco small, medium and large code 55 turnouts are ALL #6!! See this link)

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I tested out the 4 diamond crossings with these templates. It received Chinese acupuncture treatment while I worked on the rest of the base.

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In addition, I got this 1 metre long, 0.3mm thick cane, which served as my easement or transition stick.

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I found this easement/transition stick useful especially when you do not have space to make a wide radius line. The pivot point of this curve would be outside the base. In addition, I would not be able to get a smooth curve with other method(s). All you need to do is draw the centre-line (CL) at each ends, pin one end of the stick and make sure you have at least 1-1.5 inch of straight track before the curve part begins or ends. Then you trace along the curve slowly and without exerting pressure on the stick. And, because the stick is very flexible, you can adjust or bend it up to its breaking point. So far, it survived in its original 1meter long piece. I have not completed the rest of the markings but will do so once I get all the Segment E to H up. Then, I would be able to ensure that all tracks and curves from one end to another have smooth transitions.

In the meantime, I worked on the end profiles of Segment F, G and H. All the measurements for screws and a 10cm oblong hole for wiring connection and carrying have been clearly marked. As I learned from my diorama project, orientering the face of each end profiles is important. No matter how careful you are, you could mix up the profiles and directions. Hence, I marked each profile “Top” and “West/East“. The positions of the screws would be opposite of each other for West and East end profiles (at least in my case).

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Finally, I clamped the end profiles together and checked for squareness. Of course, it was not. So I will need to do some sanding with coarse sandpaper next week, just to remove some unevenness.

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I am happy with my achievements for this weekend. After losing some precious time due to the weather and some personal events, I got myself moving again. In fact, the lost time allowed me to think more about my layout constructions and talking to a few modelers from Model Rail Radio and seeing their layout constructions. Thanks Andy Dixson and Tom-C!

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3 thoughts on “Build #02: Lots of Measuring and Cutting for Module Parts

    • Hi Tom,
      Yup, a busy weekend for me and I am glad with the results thus far, despite working under a windy 5C.

      A table saw would be a nice tool to have to get a precise cut. I had to content with Dremel DSM20 and a piece of long square wood and some C-clamps as guide. I improvised and it worked well for me.

      Looking forward to see your results. 😀

      • Well I am still a ways off building my workbench come table saw but hopefully not too long I brought table saw some time ago and used in once, when weather gets better and I can get outside i will get started as all that saw dust is not to helpful inside. I have checked out some youtube vids on making one and am now just trying to find ply and timber to start. Plenty else to be getting on with 🙂

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