Friday, December 14, 2012

Making the roadbed from gatorfoam

Making the roadbed from Gatorfoam

I built the module out of 1/2" Gatorboard which I got from  It is a truly excellent material to work with - strong and light.  I cut it with a utility knife.  For straight cuts I use a straightedge to guide a light cut and then cut it fully with a couple more strokes.
I put the pieces together with deck screws and yellow glue.  The pieces I used were smaller than my 4' x 6.5' base size so I laminated 2 layers of overlapping pieces held together with glue and 1" screws. The whole thing is light and strong.  I can easily pick up and carry the module by myself.  Since we put our modules on folding tables, there was no need for legs.  If I was to put on legs I think I would use some aluminum channel on the bottom to support them.  Also this being a dead-rail module, there is no wiring to put underneath so I didn't make a space for wires.

The tools I use to assemble the sections of 1/2" gatorfoam together.  I bought the gatorfoam in smaller pieces so they could be shipped UPS and saved considerable money.
Glue is spread where the sections overlap. I use Titebond II, a yellow wood glue.

The overlapping sections are screwed together to hold them while the glue sets.

The base is all glued up.  I made up the subroadbed which will be raised up over the base with risers by laying it on the base.

The plan has been printed out full size on paper sheets. These are carefully trimmed and then taped together.  For easier handling I made the plans in to 3 subsections - each town and the connection between.

The taped together plan is laid over subroadbed and the smaller sections taped together to make the final plan.

With the plan laid over the subroadbed, we are ready to punch holes about every inch with a sharp awl to mark the centerlines and the edges of the subroadbed where we want to cut it away.

Ready to lay track. It is hard to see but there are centerlines narked for the track in order to lay it accureately.

The track has been laid and we are running trains!

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