Starting over... Again...

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Dougget

Member
Here we go again.
First layout started was a 6x10 donut that got as far as bench work and foam. No roadbed and no track.
Second layout was 6' x 12' with two 1' x 4' staging extensions... also benchwork and foam. But that time I also got started on foam mountains and a tunnel.
Moved again, this time for the last time and needing to start over from scratch.

I have less space to work with this time around, and I think that will be better. I'll actually get to make some progress by concentrating on a smaller area.

The plan... 6' x 8' donut that I can hoist up and out of the way when not in use.

I have a plan to use 2x3 stud boards to frame the table. Then 1 or 2 layers of 1" foam board as the main surface.
This platform will have 4 hoist points (2 along each of the 8' sides) with cables, turnbuckles, and a small boat trailer manual winch to raise and lower the deal. When lowered down, it will rest on 4 detachable legs to provide support and stop it from swinging around.

Question... What size cable should I use to support the layout?

Of course, I'll post some pics as I make progress. Very excited to get rolling.

Thanks,
Doug
 

new guy

Active Member
"Overbuild" it and use at least 1/4 inch cable at each anchor point. I'd go 1/2 inch just to be sure. Try laying the track first this time and you can run your trains while planning/doing scenery.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
Use lightweight materials. L-girders of 1X4 spruce: you make the vertical components a full width 1X4 and rip another 1X4 to make the cross members for two of the L-girders. Butt joint them at the corners, use joists, including angled ones if necessary. Try extruded foam board, the insulation type, as your top surface and lay roadbed onto that.

Hardware stores carry twisted filamental cable. One quarter inch cable will be plenty strong. You'll need several decent quality pulleys. If you care to, invest in a boat-trailer ratchet type crank with detent pawl for safety.

You will either need legs for it so that it can sit on the floor, or you keep the cables tensioned and support it that way, but on wall-mounted wooden guides that don't allow it to move much, say when you lean against it.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Another light weight and very strong framing method is to use 1/2" or 5/8th" thick plywood, ripped down to 3" or 4" wide strips to build it with internal crossmembers @ 24" spacing. You could, because of plywood's sheet availability and ability to be cut to any width within that, make your frame with sides deep enough to allow for say 3" deep crossmembers within the frame, or even 2 X 1 or wider built up by gluing and nailing strips side by side, drop the foam into the tray created and provide your fascia as well.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
1/4" cable would be more than enough for that size construct. If you look at the load carrying capability I think you'll find it's actually overkill. One thing that could reduce the weight is to use aluminum angle to create the frame rather than 2x3 or 2x4. Same strength, much less weight. And, of course, much more cost. It probably wouldn't be worth it unless you're worried about the effort it would take to crank the layout up and down. You might also consider that a 1x4 would have very nearly the same support for that size construct as a 2x4 would, at half the weight, and you could add several other support beams at 2' intervals without increasing the weight beyond what an empty 2x4 rectangle would be.
 
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Burlington Bob

Well-Known Member
You've been given some good advice. The biggest factor I would recommend is the use of lightweight materials.

As to your plan to raise and lower your layout with cable and a winch...........good idea! The absolute biggest cable you would need is 1/4", with 3/16" being plenty strong unless you use concrete instead of foam for scenery. According to IPT's Metal Trades Handbook, 3/16" 6x19 regular lay cable used with 6" diameter sheaves (pulleys) will allow you to pick up your car if you did it properly.

You will need to figure the way you need to reeve the cable through the sheeves and pay attention to the anchor points to make sure that they will be strong enough. 3/16" cable will need sheeves of 6" diameter to maintain the (D/d) ratio. That is the diameter of the sheeve to the diameter of the cable to prevent crushing of the wire strands. Also, use any cable clamps properly, using them backwards will have a tendency to cut the working end of the cable. There is info on line that will explain what you need to know. If I'm not working, I can answer questions you may have. The motel I'm staying at now has iffy WI-FI sometimes so I may not be able to answer quickly.

Good luck and know that you will not be the first person to build a layout this way.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
A cable system seems like a complicated way to go. Would you have 4 cables coming to a single winch; or, four cables going to four winches, two? Also, I think 1/4th inch cable would be way overkill! What I would use would be 7X19 stainless steel yacht rigging, .125" diameter http://www.westmarine.com/buy/loos-company--7-x-19-stainless-steel-yacht-rigging-cable--178063 . This cable has a breaking strength of 1350 pounds. Four cables X 1350 = 5,400 pounds, would your layout going to be that heavy? 7X19 is very flexible and is used on sailboats for raising and lowering sails (as Halyards). It can go around sheaves much smaller than 6 inches. A little search on the internet should get you all the information you need and locate everything you will need, too.

I would assume you would lower the layout down onto some type of support system to provide stability? I wouldn't leave any rolling stock on the layout as I would guess it would fall off during the raising and lowering process! Good luck to you! I'm glad I had the room to build a a layout that doesn't need to be put away!!
 
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Dougget

Member
Hi,
It would be 4 cables going straight up from 4 mounting points on the table top.
4 pulleys on the ceiling to turn the cables toward a center axis.
4 pulleys on the ceiling at the center axis to align the cables to a common direction toward the winch.
The cables would converge at that point each with a turnbuckle so that I could fine tune the level of the table top.
Then a common cable along the ceiling to a final pulley down to the hand crank winch located at a convenient height for cranking.

Ok, I'm good at the 2D design stuff, but not so great at 3D rendering. Basically the cables up up from each corner, turn to the center, turn along the center line toward the winch, then down the wall to the winch.

I'm thinking 1x4 pine for the table top frame with two layers of 1" rigid foam board for the surface. Then saw horse style legs that would not be attached. Just put them in place then lower the table top onto them. Lots of holes in the 1x4s to route wires plus a control panel area that would be inside the donut.

No dimensions on the table top, but it's 8' x 6' with a 2' x 4' hole in the middle.

I've looked into various cables and it seems that 1/2" would be way over kill. Even 1/4" is way more then needed. The 7x19 cable or even the cables used for garage doors would be appropriate options from a capacity and cost perspective.

This seems like a good approach to me. Sure would be great to have dedicated space, but I don't, so it's time to get creative.

Thanks for all of the feedback and suggestions. I'll keep posting as I make decisions and progress.
Doug
 

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MikeOwnby

Active Member
That looks like a good plan. I assume the hole in the middle is to be able to access all parts of the layout? You might think about reducing that to 2'x2', which is what I put in the middle of mine and works fine. That still would mean only a maximum 1.5' reach to get to anything and give you a bit more layout space. I'm also planning on putting a removable "plug" in the middle of mine eventually with some scenery. Currently planning an industrial pond with supporting buildings and a tower or two. Should look better during normal ops and can still be removed when needed for access. I'm actually planning a system similar to yours, though much lighter weight, to allow me to hoist the center plug rather than having to maneuver it around manually when I need to access the center.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
You do not need 1/4 diameter cable as .125 diameter is plenty strong enough! I would look for .125 diameter galvanized 7X19 or even 7X7 steel cable. You need 7X19/7X7 as it is more flexible than 1X19. I'm a sailor and was also a Marine Surveyor (Boat Inspector) for 10 years; so, my suggestions are sound! A Google search for galvanized steel cable resulted in many pages of suppliers of these types of materials.
 
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Dougget

Member
Wow, I just searched for 7x7 wire rope and found 250' for $15 plus $10 shipping. That seems very reasonable. It's only 1/16"... tiny, but rated at 480 pounds. That should do the trick.
250' is way more than I would need. I may double it up just for safety sake.

Can you split the end of a 7x7 cable to make a loop? Or is it best to just fold it back on itself and crimp it with a sleeve? Or is there a better way to attache the cable to an eye bolt or turnbuckle?

Thanks,
Doug
 

Red Oak & Western

Active Member
Yes, you can lace 7x7 cable but its a pain in the a**. If you go with crimp sleeves (the best solution in my opinion), use a true crimp tool designed for the specific sleeve. Last thing you want is a crimp failure. The easiest and cheapest is to use 2 wire rope clips per cable.
 
N

NP2626

Guest
I would use two crimp fittings sized to whatever sized cable you choose on each leg of your cable lift system, with a thimble in the loop of the cable to protect the cable from being warn through.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/The-Hillma..._clickID=3827c152-dff2-4292-b5d8-da9adcdf1a1c

The above shows the crimp fitting. You will also need a crimping tool to be able to crimp these fitting to the cable. I found all the things you need at Lowes, most Ace Hardware Stores probably carry everything you need.
 




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