Saturday, December 12, 2009

Getting Into The Closet!

Things are still progressing steadily on the spare room layout. I've got the week after Christmas off so I'm trying to get a lot of the tedious stuff out of the way, and hopefully the weeks holidays can see some real progress made. The aim is to at least have some track laid by the end of the week off and have run a train, however this may be a little optimistic.

As previously mentioned the corner units were made and mounted, and the centre module has been built and mounted as well. I used some small pieces of aluminium angle to join the modules together as they each step up (or down) from one another, and this proved to be an easy, simple, light and effective way to do it. Down the track I may have a better idea but this works for now.

The fascia boards of the corner units will curve around with approximately a 650mm radius, and with the track being around 70-80mm away from the edge, I should end up with a minimum track radius of about 740mm (about 29") on the layout which is fairly good considering the overall size restrictions. Fascia boards top and bottom are going to be painted black, and all going well, the following link shows the effect I am aiming for, although I do not with to insinuate that my modeling skills are equal to this ........

As well as getting some more module work done, I decided that if I was going to turn the wardrobe into a built in modeling nook, I really should give it a nice fresh coat of white paint before I start putting a desk, shelving, layout modules etc in there. After taking a shortcut and not masking the cornices when I painted the room I got a little yellow paint on them, so I figured why not just do the wardrobe in ceiling white, and what's left over I can touch up the cornices with. I'm nothing if not budget conscious and if I can make something dual purpose then all the better.

With a fresh couple of coats of white on the walls and ceiling it's certainly a lot neater, and much brighter in there as well which is handy. I had contemplated not bothering doing it but I'm glad I did and now think I would have seriously regretted not doing it. Definitely another case of taking a bit longer, spending a little more, and doing it right the first time.

The only thing that's had me a little bit puzzled was how was I going to run the top and bottom deck of the layout into the wardrobe, with the small problem of there being a door in the way? I considered cutting two tunnel sized openings in the door, but then realised that to open the door up, they'd need to be quite wide as once the angle of the door increased the track wouldn't fit through it, so that idea was out. The other option was to simply remove the door, but then you'd be able to see everything on the modeling desk, which knowing me will quite often be in a mess! Being that the room is still the spare/guest room, a degree of neatness needs to be adhered to.

So after contemplating the problem for a few day I hit on a solution. What if I unhinged the left hand door that was the problem, and instead of it being hinged to the frame around the wardrobe, hinge it off the other door, creating a single folding door that once open takes up almost no more room than the single right hand door takes up anyway. The doors are hollow so are not particularly heavy, so a decent length piano hinge should do the job.

So off to the local hardware store I went, and upon finding the hinge section, was slightly put off by the price of piano hinges. $49.00 for a 914mm piano hinge wasn't absurdly expensive, however I didn't think one would be enough to hold a full door. 600mm ones were about $29.00 but once again I'd need two so would still be up for about $60.00. There were some 1,800mm ones there which were perfect, but I was scared to look at the price.

After finding the hook they should have been hanging on instead of just laying against the wall, I was slightly confused to see it was priced at $19.50. Less than the 600mm ones and less than half the price of the 914mm ones. So I walked up to the counter and asked the guy if he could just check the price first, and after scanning it it came up $19.50. He couldn't explain why these ones were so cheap compared to the shorter ones, but kindly offered to charge me a lot more for the one I had if it made me feel better about it all!

Once home, the left door was removed, the piano hinge mounted to the right hand door with half a dozed screws initially, and the other door was lined up and also attached with about half a dozen screws to make sure it all lined up and opened and closed like it should. Once that all seemed ok, it was on with drilling the rest of the 72 1mm pilot holes needed in total for all of the screws! Thank goodness for cordless drills is all I can say!

So I now have a pair of doors that still look exactly the same, take up barely anymore room than one door when open, and it will be a lot easier to get trains into the wardrobe now. All I will need is a couple of 100 - 150mm lift out sections that can be removed to close the doors, and replaced when the doors are open if I want to run trains into the wardrobe branch, which is not necessary anyway. I will rig up some form of micro switch that kills track power around the bridge sections so that no trains take the sharp 90 degree turn towards the floor if the lift out sections are not in place.

All going to plan I'll get some more module work done this weekend and progress will continue at a steady rate.

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