Lesson learned: Build it where you run it..

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PrairieKnight

Active Member
My son and I built our 2 X 8 yard addition and got the track pieced together on the 3/4 foam sub-roadbed:
The yard.jpg


The above picture shows the new 2 X 8 yard section hooked up the 4 X 8 section. Everything was great until I rolled a car onto the yard section from the 4 X 8 to make sure that the track and turnouts were aligned. It rolled beautifully..... and then..... it started to roll back towards the 4 X 8 section. So now I have a problem. The picture below shows the level on the 2 X 8 yard section at the end where it connects to the 4 X 8 section:
Good bubble.jpg



The picture below is the level as it sits on the other end of the 2 X 8 yard section(the end with the two curved tracks):
Bad bubble.jpg



The problem is the uneven floor of the basement in my old house:
Uneven floor.jpg


The legs on the left side of the above picture are on a section of the basement floor that was filled in for some reason before I bought the house. I am guessing there was a coal furnace there at one time that had to be torn out when a new furnace was installed. You can see how the far legs in the above picture are on a smooth cement surface. When the car rolled back towards the 4 X 8 section, it only rolled back half way before stopping. I would like to hear thoughts on whether I should shim the legs/wheels higher where the 2 X 8 section joins the 4 X 8 section? Or, is there something I can do to shim the track as I am laying the roadbed. A couple things to note..... even though both sections are on wheels, this is the only part of the basement where this will fit. I plan on using Woodland Scenics foam roadbed. The 2 X 8 section was perfectly level when it was built and before it was moved to where it has to be.
 

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trailrider

Well-Known Member
It may be a tad late, but the best solution, unless you have to have the added section on wheels, would be to disconnect the addition, turn it over and remove the wheels. Cut a bit off each leg and install lag screws in the end of each leg. Reattach the addition to the layout, and screw the lags in or out until the table is level. You possibly could place shims under the wheels, but the lag screws are a better solution.
 

dennis461

Active Member
If you actually plan on moving it, build an adjustable wheel piece for that high end of the platform.
You could buy two each "Threaded Stem Caster, Swivel Caster " (google)
These would screw into inserts in the legs
"T-Nuts, Zinc Plated Steel, 3/8"-16 " (google)
add a lock nut.

FYI, my basement and current project have the same issue as you have. I also discovered it the same way:)
 
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Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
How about using some wheel shims as you mentioned.? The amount of being off level is minor and using sort of like wheel blocks under the layout's wheels, that would hold the layout in a level position.

My layout expansion will be similar to your configuration.

Greg
 
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Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
PrarieKnight I feel your pain....

Question: 2 part

1) What type of roller casters are those? Are they center posted in the wood legs or do they have 4 corner plates with 4 mounted screws?

2) What size are the rollers?

If you have a posted caster back it out a tad to make level or take out and add a washer.

If you have a 4 post plate mount with screws at each corner. Shim that or change the caster and go up one size. Example if the wheel is 1 inch go up to 1 1/2 size. This will increase the lift per size increase. Harbor Freight sells casters on the cheap.

Hope it helps.

I wouldn't want to redo the track by shimming it more laborious work.

My 2 cents.

Good luck!
 

PrairieKnight

Active Member
WOW... great replies... I appreciate the advice and suggestions. I am using casters with the plate and four screws. The rollers are two inch from Lowes. If I shim the two wheels on the 4 X 8 side of the new 2 X 8 section, it looks very uneven where the two come together. I am thinking that I may shorten the two legs on the curved track end of the 2 X 8 and reinstall the casters that I have on the bottom of the shortened legs. However, the idea of installing the center post casters on that end with the T nuts is very interesting. Again, I appreciate all of the replies.
 

MHinLA

Well-Known Member
I'm not understanding something, PK.. Unless I'm missing something about your aims, I don't savvy why you used casters to begin with..
Why not take them off (Are they under the 4x8, too ?) and either shimm up the short legs or replace them with legs slightly longer so as to make the 2x8 level w the 4x8. With someone watching the level gauge atop the stringer, lift the existing leg/s up to where the gauge shows the centered bubble and measure that gap, floor to leg. Say it comes out to be a 2+3/16" gap. Cut new leg/s that much longer and install them. Or replace casters with T-nuts (I guess that's what Dennis means). Then you'll be able to really get an exact leg length by turning them up/down later... M
PS, Did you know some 1:1 scale RRs call large yards 'the bowl'. The yard is lower in the center so lose cars won't roll back toward the switches of the ladder tracks or roll way out to the far end if their hand brakes haven't been set. I mention this as you might be into getting the 2x8 slightly dipped in the center to pos. cure your prob...Most of today's higher quality cars ( usually the ones with metal wheels) coast as easily and quietly as the real ones...

[I edited this on 2/26 as it was clumsy in places]
 
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deanej

Member
What Patrick said. Assuming you don't need them, I'd dump the casters and use screw adjusters on the bottom. I wouldn't think it would be a problem at that point adjusting for level.

I have a 15' x 20' layout, naturally with many legs with that size layout. Everyone one of them has what Patrick suggested above. I'd be in a mess without them.

This appears to be an easy fix.
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
When I constructed my layout which has a dog bone configuration, I couldn't find my four foot level and used a short 12 inch level instead, on a flat area of the layout. The short level didn't span enough of the layout to provide a true picture of the layout being level. As a result, a section of track is "slightly" down hill and cars can roll away if not blocked.

I can't correct this problem since the layout is attached to the back walls and the screws re no longer accessible.

It doesn't take much of a slope to allow free running rolling stock to roll away.

Greg
 

trailrider

Well-Known Member
When I constructed my layout which has a dog bone configuration, I couldn't find my four foot level and used a short 12 inch level instead, on a flat area of the layout. The short level didn't span enough of the layout to provide a true picture of the layout being level. As a result, a section of track is "slightly" down hill and cars can roll away if not blocked.

I can't correct this problem since the layout is attached to the back walls and the screws re no longer accessible.

It doesn't take much of a slope to allow free running rolling stock to roll away.

Greg
I've got a ramp for a siding where I park some hopper cars that dump sugar beets. The cars will roll down onto the main. My solution was to make a wheel block on one rail behind the last car. When I want to switch the cars, I simply pull the switcher up close to the car and pull the "derail" off by hand. The car(s) can roll a short distance before coupling to the switcher. Pushing the cars up the ramp is a little more difficult, as I have to place the derail and then uncouple the locomotive. Works, though.
 

MikeGTW

Signalman, ESQ
OK so you have a eight foot long addition and it shows level on the end nearest your original table
but not level on the far end To me that eight foot section is bowed down in the middle
take a string and run it from one end to the other and check it
 

PrairieKnight

Active Member
M: Yes, there are casters under the 4 X 8 section. The reason for the casters/mobility of the sections is do to the fact that my old basement does not have one large section for me to construct and keep a layout in one place. In the top photo in my original post in this thread, you can see where my L shape layout is going around the furnace/old chimney and in close proximity to my work bench. I move the sections when I have a project for the work bench and just in case I need a repairman to get to the furnace. Between all of us here... the next two sections to be built will complete the run around the furnace/old chimney and hook up with the other side of the 4 X 8. But the wife does not know about those plans yet. ...shhhh ;). I did not know about "the bowl". Very interesting and I appreciate the information.
P: I am thinking about using the T nuts with center post casters. That sounds like a real good idea at this point.
Jazz: I wish you well with your floor my friend..... I thought only old houses like mine had these issues.
D: WOW.. 15 X 20 ..... I am envious...and I can see where the T nuts would be a great help.
Greg and T: Please, tell me more about the wheel blocks... did you guys make these or purchase them online or at a LHS?
Mike: I did just what you suggested...no bow in the middle.
 

MikeGTW

Signalman, ESQ
Not possible it's simple geometry a straight line between point a and point b if it's level on one end and not level on the other end is not a straight line Just as you stated a car rolled halfway towards the middle
 

Greg@mnrr

Section Hand
I would take off the casters on the open end away from the layout and use shims, under the legs, when the casters have been removed. To transport the layout, simply detach the addition from the layout and now lift the end with the casters and roll the entire addition to the storage location.

Like before my suggestion would be to gently hammer a shim under a caster until the layout is level. It doesn't take much to may a layout off level.

Greg
 

PrairieKnight

Active Member
Mike: I would never doubt what you are saying. I would think that the level would look the same (off bubble) at both ends of the 2 X 8 if there was no bow in the middle of the 2 X 8, but for some reason, that is not the case. Perhaps I am doing things wrong with the level. So, I tried the line again along the 8 ft. span. There was no bow in the middle. I would point out that in the bottom picture in my original post in this thread, my basement floor is not level. The two legs on the 2 X 8 section attached to the 4 X 8 section is smooth and lower then the basement floor under the other two legs (open end).
Greg: that is exactly what I have done until I use a permanent solution for the issue. The cars do not roll with the casters off and shims under the legs on the open end.
 

Roadwolf

New Member
IMAG2286.jpg


The only thing level of straight in this room will be the benchwork, and the walls I put up, as well as the drop ceiling :D. Otherwise, this layout is being constructed in an old hay loft for a carriage house. The floor is not level, the ceiling slopes from 9ft on one end of the room, to 8.2 ft at the other end... The walls... Are half vaulted ceiling, at various degrees... Sometimes 30 degrees, other times 50 degrees, but usually 45. :)

Yup, build it where you run it. Unless you build in adjusters on the legs.
 




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