From Guitar Case to Ceiling Rafters

I think in my last post I showed the construction of my Z scale guitar case layout.  I was going to add some scenery and a building or two, but I realized that having anything more than just the track and ballast would be damaged, loosened, or lost too easily.  That makes the guitar case layout officially DONE.

In recent weeks, I’ve begun formulating and constructing a new layout.  It is also in Z scale and uses foam, but it is almost all foam.  The entire base is the same blue 2″ insulation foam used in the guitar case layout.  The biggest difference and feature that makes it most unique is that is it to be a suspended layout that hangs from the ceiling of my basement via a pulley system.  It will have some pieces of plywood that connect the foam joints, and it will have to main bus wires running the interior length of the layout.  It wil also have sevearal stretches of grades that lead to a high grade loop.  It’s taken a lot of planning, mathematical calcuations, and messy foam and wood cutting, but I think it will look awesome!

Below are some photos of the layout’s early stages.img_6063

This is a sort of grid schematic.  I used basic notepad lines as units of measurements and basic mathematic X/Y axes to plan direction of travel.

This project took most of the garage and a few hours to start, but it was worth the mess and effort.

These are the products of my work.img_6069img_6086

I used a jig saw to cut everything so cleanly.  I would have thought my smaller and finer-toothed blade would be better for a clean cut, but it turns out that the big and jagged one worked far better.img_6065img_6108

Here is the basic shape.  it’s an oval with a side yard.img_6154

More to come!!!!!

The Things We Do for Our Craft

There is nothing quite like walking through a doorway to a trainset running far above your head, where your dreams ever fly.

I was called to repair an LGB G scale trainset that is elevated nearly twelve feet from the floor in a dentist’s office.  It is a beautiful set.  The little 0-4-0 is small but mighty, and it has a powered tender that is just as strong.  It has only five cars including a lighted caboose, but it could probably pull four or five times as many.  The engine and tender each are plenty heavy and have a traction tire, so they have plenty of tractive power for a long consist.

On my first trip, I cleaned and lubricated the engine units and rolling stock.  I did not have enough time to clean the track.  The set has been up there for three or four years, and it has all of those years’ worth of dust and dirt built up.  I took one swipe of the rails with my hand, and it looked as it did at the end of the Christmas rush.  Black and grey.  ’tis no wonder things squeaked and grated.  I pulled everything down for cleaning, and that worked pretty well.  However, the newly cleaned rails packed on the old dirt and grit, and the electrical contact was lessened.  The track was no less a problem than the condition of the engine.

I had to do some climbing and clambering to reach parts of the track that twelve-foot ladder could not.  It took me three hours to clean the damned thing, but I got it done.  I could have fallen and died at any time, but my trains needed me!

One of my previous jobs had me throwing forty-pound weights on and off theatre stage pulley systems sixty-four feed above the stage floor.fullsizeoutput_275b

Not bad for someone who is afraid of heights, eh?fullsizeoutput_275c

A nice view from one of the upper windows of the dentist office lobby windows.  Looks like a baseball stadium.IMG_2561IMG_2559IMG_2556IMG_2555IMG_2554IMG_2553IMG_2552fullsizeoutput_275aIMG_2549