Plywood or foam?

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joem5127

Member
L girder and plywood, or foam? What are you using? Why? If your using foam what do you use under it for support? I'm going to build a 2 x 4 diorama to try out both and test my track laying skills. Do those of you that live in humid climates have trouble with wood moving around throughout the year? If so do you do to deal with it?
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
For my use, I chose plywood on an open grid frame. I knew that I would eventually be leaning on it and I even have some areas that I had to get on top of to do the initial trackwork and scenery. Another consideration that I wanted to include was the ease of mounting turnout motors, Turntables, and other accessories. Most importantly...I just wanted something that would standup to the bumps and abuse that I may give it.

I live in the heart of the South with very high humidity and haven't experienced any problems with the use of plywood. The most important thing to remember with plywood is: buy a good quality BC rated, 1/2" thick min., support it well with a good frame 16" centers max., use plenty of screws to hold it down.

I don't like the mess of working with foam, but I have seen some beautiful layouts that use it. A lot of guys like Homasote and I may have used it if I had been able to find it in my area.
 
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OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
I have a 4x8 layout and use a good quality piece of plywood with homasite layed ontop. It deadens the sound and also is a good base to do whatever you want to ontop of it. OLDGETTYSK
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
Foam or Plywood

I've used foam on top of spline roadbed and plywood with Homasote on top. For long term durability, the plywood and Homasote is what you want. The problem is that Homasote is not universally available. My buddies in the Southeast can't get it, and here in the Midwest it's there sometimes and not sometimes. Foam is OK for scenery, but I don't think I'd use it for a sub base. It can move.
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
Open grid, 3/8" plywood, foam on top of that.

Double-track shelf brackets agains the wall, haven't quite determined what I'll do for the "standalone" sections.
 

joem5127

Member
I built this 2' x 4' module to test my idea of using 1/4" plywood for most of the bench work. It has 1" x 1"'s in the corners and all joints are clued and screwed, it turned out very rigid. Next is to add the legs and then the fun part. I plan to model Hallsville Missouri on this module. Part of the Wabash branch that ran from Centralia to Columbia.
 

Larry

Long Winded Old Fart
I am a welder by trade & all my tables are welded together w/a mig & covered w/1/2"-4 ply plywood. I made all my tables 4 ft. wide & have a 2X2X1/8th angle crossmember about every 2ft. on an 8ft. long table. I could probably drive a car up on mine before it would try to collapse. On my layout I can walk all the way around the outside & inside of the tables. Otherwise I would only make the tables the depth I could reach. Even the table a long the wall where I'm going to put my RR yards is welded together w/a lot of shelving underneath. That one is 2ft. wide by 36ft. long.

larry
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I'm planing to go light on most of mine, 2x2's and 1/4" plywood to make the girders, and foam, and masonite roadbeds, with some plywood areas (yards) all depending on what is located and the scenery around it...
 

B_Kosanda

Member
Diorama

Here's what I used for my diorama. I built it this way because I carry it outside to get pictures in the sun.

Bill
 

joem5127

Member
Thanks for the advise! I added ½ foam to the top last night and hope to get some track down later today. I added the foam to make it easier to “plant” trees and the like. This diorama will represent Hallsville Missouri on the Wabash’s Columbia branch. This construction method looks like it will work well, it is very rigid, light weight, and cheap. I also don’t have to try and find straight lumber. No easy task at the lumber yards around here.
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
I am amazed at the responses on this thread. All were with a plywood base. I agree, my Parkdale Railroad is plywood with cork because I have not been able to find a source of Homasote. Foam is nice for some scenery but I believe the railroad should have a solid base upon which to build and that is typically plywood from my perspective.
 
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enjineerbill

Avid People Watcher
The new Madcow Route is being built on a 1 x 4 framework, but the layout is being constructed on 2" thick extruded styrofoam. As were all the dioramas.
R_cnw_822_1755_1.png

CNW_SD50_Tunnel.png

845_eb_dachsy_1.png


For me, the foam works fine, and requires a lot less benchwork framing. When(and if) it has to be moved it proves easy and durable. I figured at least 1 vote for foam was needed:D .

Johnny
 

Joe Daddy

C & SF, my obsession
Johnny

You do incredible work! No evidence of foam from what I can see though! :)

Those telephone wires are amazing!

JD
 

enjineerbill

Avid People Watcher
Johnny

You do incredible work! No evidence of foam from what I can see though! :)

Those telephone wires are amazing!

JD
Thanks JD. Almost everything in those photos IS foam. The quarry is carved from blocks, built on 2" thick base. The high bridge is again, carved foam, littered with some small rock in the crevices and built on 2" base. And the small town is built on 2 layers of 2"thick foam( the river required it ).
cnw822_littletiddle_1.png


The wires were a pain to do, but the result was worth it.

Give me some foam and a knife and I'll whittle something.....;)

Johnny
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
We've got a little of everything. I do like foam on plywood a lot. Actually, 2" foam layers on a 1x4 base without the plywood would be fine. That would save money and speed construction. If/when we add on, that's probably the way we'll go.

For a diorama, foam makes a lot of sense if it will be moved outside to take pics. Light is right in that senario.

The elevated track in this scene is on 4" of foam.
196768623.jpg
 
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