Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Folding baseboard idea

Folding baseboard ideaRegular readers of this blog know I've got a couple of layout ideas bouncing around in my head - something Manx and another in On30. What has stopped progress is planning the baseboards. The traditional 2X1 wood with a chipboard top hasn't been our style for over 20 years and each layout has been put together in slightly different ways.

The new layouts will be similar in look to the Hellingly Hospital Railway. That is they will be a 3D picture with the scene tightly framed by a fascia board. That layout arrives as a scenic section with fiddle yards bolted on the ends. This format was forced on me by the overhead wiring which couldn't easily be joined to allow a longer scene. Trouble is, this limited the length to 3 feet as it had to fit across the back of a Peugeot 306.

Neither new project suffers from the problems of tramway wiring but we have liked the idea of carrying in the model as a lump which is quickly erected and dismantled. Whilst setting up at a model railway exhibition is often a leisurely affair, getting out is something to be done as quickly as possible. No exhibition manager wants to be standing around watching a display fiddling around packing up when everyone else has gone home and quite frankly I want to be on my way to a Little Chef as soon as possible after the death.

So, what we need is an all in one display. The limiting factor this time is a Citroen Berlingo*. While this is a fabulous car, the back is limited to about 3 1/2 feet in length as the rear seats don't fold completely out of the way or come out. But we want a scenic display a bit longer than this. That means either several boards of getting clever.

Well clever is what I think I have done. If I fold the baseboard then we can get 6ft in the back of the car. Folding it complete with fascia is the tough bit if you want something structurally sound. For a while I've had the idea bouncing around in my head - yesterday I finally got around to drawing it up.

Basically there is a front board which flaps up over the scenic area and bolts to the fascia. This makes the boards structurally sound enough to fold using (this is the clever bit) hinges from past table. Then and end board completes the box. Using captive nuts everywhere I expect this packing up to take about 10 minutes tops.

Obviously there are a few details to finalise - some sort of locating pin to hold the top board to the bottom seems like a good idea. I haven't considered legs either yet but hey need to be tall so trestles are out. The basic idea is there though - click on the picture for a bigger look and let me know what you think.

*Yes I know I have a VW Camper which would take a 6ft board. It only returns 20mpg so I prefer to use the 50mpg+ Berlingo if at all possible. The camper is also quite a bit slower and more prone to breakdown. More importantly the mileage limit on classic insurance is 5000 and I'm not about to waste any of that thundering up and down motorways if I can help it.


stephen said...

I like the idea. I built something similar, using the same type of hinges, for a CDT project at school but it was a much shallower box and relied on small "towers" at the joint to support the front hinge which forced a scenic break and wasn't particularly robust.

This way looks good though, if it works I might pinch the concept!

Phil Parker said...

Pinch away ! I'd be really flattered if someone else beat me to trying this out in real life.

Jack aka Shortliner said...

Two suggestions - if you are going to leave the flaps attached to the front, use the inside (outside when open)for any info displays.If not, use piano hinges with removable wires. No reason at all that it wont work - when closed and folded use suitcase clips to lock the "solid" ends together. I have a design for a completely removable paste table hinge. I can send it if needed

Jack said...

Should have added - for legs Broomhandles are cheap and work well - fit a tee-nut in the bottom of each with a bolt and locknut to each for levelling - I have yet to find an exhibition hall floor that is actually level!. Cut a flat surface on each at the top and bolt to the layout - see my L shaped layout in the current scrapbook http://WWW.carendt.us/scrapbook/page85a/index.HTML - they just lay on the floor of the car

Phil Parker said...

The front board is a vital part of the construction - if it wasn't there when the boards are folded then the front corner of the fascia would have no support.

I have a similar flap on my Model of the Hellingly Hosptial Railway (http://www.pagenumberone.co.uk/layouts/hospital/index.htm) with loads of info for the public to read. I'd envisaged something similar with this - construction photos etc. Alternatively the flap could be bolted to the front of the legs to provide important horizontal bracing. On this layout we'll be using everything twice I hope - no spare packing bits in the back of the car !

As for T-bolts on the bottom of legs, I've not had problems with flat floors in over 100 shows. A little card packing (beermats) usually does the job for me if required.