Portable benchwork design?

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Been Nothin' Since Frisco
I am finally at the point where I've built enough railroad models to operate. Now I'd like to get to the layout building part of the hobby. I've built layouts before, starting with the typical 4x8, then the not-so-typical 4x8, then an around-the-walls design. I was never too happy with any of these, partially because of the design but mostly because I was stuck on making the scenery flow from one scene to the next.

So, my solution to this is what works for many other people: build a series of modules. Okay, so the idea is that these will be set up in my garage or the kids' playroom, but most likely will spend a significant amount of time being stored. I'd like for them to be portable, so that when the opportunity arises I can participate in a Free-Mo meet. I'll need to construct the modules to their standards, shown here: http://free-mo.org/standard.html.

I'm going to buy either a van or a trailer for my band, so I'll have the ability to build whatever brackets or cabinetry necessary to safely transport the modules. Now, this brings up a double edged sword. I want strength and low weight. What materials might you recommend? What should the design look like? The Free-Mo standards dictate a given height, width and electrical connection standard, but that's about it. The possibilities are wide open on materials. I read in another thread here that one fellow uses steel! I don't know how light that is, but I'll bet it sure is strong! Is there any place on the web where I can browse benchwork design?

Now, I can give just about anyone advice on custom painting or detailing locomotives but I'm essentially a novice at this stuff. I've got plenty of experience restoring antique furniture, so I have no doubt what I end up with will look good, but I'm worried about it surviving a drive or even the construction process if I design it! :eek: :D :eek:

Thanks in advance for your help.


Three years later.......

What did you come up with? I'd think 1X3 or 1X4 pine glued and screwed would provide a strong and light weight base.

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