Building The CMMR

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#1
Over the winter I finalized the track plan for the CMMR (Central Manitoba Model Railroad). It is designed around a basement bedroom that became available when our youngest daughter moved out. Here is the plan that I designed with help from forum members in Mixy's great FREE software SCARM:





The next step was to repaint the bedroom. Here's what it was like before I started (she used the skeleton for her kinesiology course training).





I painted the room a very light blue and airbrushed some clouds and jet contrails. They are very subtle but add a little background.





After the plan was finalized I set to work designing the benchwork in SolidWorks, which I use at work. I designed it to be modular so that when we sell the house the layout could be disassembled and moved if necessary without destroying it. This will also allow me to work on it as time and money permit. There are 6 modules in total. I am going to start with the central module, which also has a shelf for the booster and any other electrical equipment that will be required. I have an NCE Power Cab DCC system, and intend on getting an SB5 smart booster to power the layout. There will be a bus panel mounted on this module, as well as additional panels at each end module.






Each module will be bolted to the next, and have levelling legs at the bottom of the 2 x 4 legs to ensure they line up with each other. There will be terminal strips mounted at each end so that the modules can be wired together. All the intermediate cross-members will be drilled out to run the wiring.




I am on holidays for a couple of weeks so hope to get started on the first module soon, but I am sure that yardwork will take precedence!
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#2
Gary,

Looking forward to your construction. Love seeing how others have built their layouts. I've seen just about every type of construction used to build a layout. From one here in town where the smallest piece of wood is a 2x6, to others seen on NMRA convention tours, that looked like they were so light that a cool breeze could blow them over.
 
#3
Did manage to hit Home Depot today and pick-up most of what I needed for the first 2 modules. They didn't have any of the adjustable feet, so I will have to find them elsewhere. Got a good start on the cutting and drilling this afternoon though. Hopefully tomorrow I can finish up the framing, cut the plywood and start assembling!


 

Rico

BN Modeller
#4
Nice job on the paint there Gary!
You'll need an engineers cap for "Bonaparte".

I started one of my modules but I'm having a hard time getting back into it.
Might have to stop by for some insperation! ;)
 

Motley

Active Member
#5
Is thats whats gonna happen to you, after your wife finds out how much your spend on this layout? (hehehehe refering to the skeleton).

But seriously, looks like you've designed a great looking layout, and also very detailed on your benchwork. I just threw up benchwork as fast as possible. Measure once cut twice.
 
#6
Got back around to the modules yesterday. Here is all the framing material cut and drilled.




First module pieces laid out.




I applied glue to all the ends and used a corner clamp to hold them in place before screwing them together.




Both modules framing assembled.




I drilled holes in the bottom of the 2x4 legs and installed the threaded inserts for the adjustable feet.




Here is the first module completed with the legs and shelf framing installed. I just put the plywood on loose to check the fit.




No matter how well you think you plan something there is always an oops! I guess I didn't check the location of the wall outlet before I laid things out. The only outlet on this wall and it is dead even with the leg. I guess I will be running an extension cord to the shelf from one of the other outlets.




Here are both modules finished and bolted together.




I drilled Ø5/8" holes for the Ø3/8" bolts that join the 2 modules together, and used fender washers. This allowed me plenty of adjustment for lining them up. If need be I will screw them together later on to keep them from shifting.




First 2 modules completed! Now to start laying out where the track is going to go and cutting the plywood to allow for some elevation change running up to the creek. I am going to be using Atlas code 83 flex track and turnouts, and it appears they won't be shipping any turnouts until September, so I guess when time permits later on in the summer I will start the next 2 modules.

 
#7
Central Manitoba Model Railroad

Gary, real nice job with the bench work. I do like the idea for modules. Check on line with a company called "Woodcraft". They will have the feet you are looking for. I use #27P30 u-brackets which work out nice for my Free-Mo modules. I tried Scarm several times but my computor skills are limited so I was not successful. Keep us informed of your progress.
Thanks
Wayne
 
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#8
Gary, real nice job with the bench work. I do like the idea for modules. Check on line with a company called "Woodcraft". They will have the feet you are looking for. I use #27P30 u-brackets which work out nice for my Free-Mo modules. I tried Scarm several times but my computor skills are limited so I was not successful. Keep us informed of your progress.
Thanks
Wayne
Thanks for the link Wayne. They have some pretty interesting hardware. I do have a local source for some levelers, just haven't gotten around to picking them up yet.
 
#9
Now that fall is here and the yard work is done I thought I would get back to work on the layout. The first thing I did was to add a spacer to the leg that was covering the electrical outlet. Now, with the help of a 90 degree adapter, I can use the outlet again.




Next I bought, cut and assembled all the lumber for the 2 south modules. I made a separate frame for the area that fits in the jut-out, just in case I do sell the layout to someone who wants to remove it to fit it in a corner.






I placed all the plywood on loose just to test fit. I am going to have to add another leg at the inside 45 degree angle of the large module to stabilize it a bit.




Next I plan to build the last 2 modules before it gets too cold in the garage!
 

Motley

Active Member
#10
Aha! Yes I remember this layout, was wondering what happened with it Gary. Looks like your back to building. Can't wait to see how it comes out, I like the track plan.

Now get to laying some track already!
 
#11
Finished framing the last 2 modules today. Still need to pick up and cut the plywood to finish them off. Once that is done I can temporarily nail down all the plywood and start laying out the track!

 

Rico

BN Modeller
#12
Looking good Gary!
I'm not too far behind you, just started laying out frame parts yesterday.
Did you make the big train show, if so any good deals?
 
#14
Finished up the benchwork today by adding the junction blocks and tacking down the plywood. When I was building modules 3-6 I had a a few boards split, and after they were assembled I was out on the widths by 3/16 - 1/4". At first I thought I might have buggered up the tape measure, but while looking down to take a picture of the junction blocks I realized that all the lumber that I had bought for these modules was around 5/8" thick instead of the nominal 3/4" that the first 2 modules were. Of course it was too late to take it back by then, so beware when buying lumber. This came from Home Depot too, not some local lumber yard!





So I have my track plan all laid out with Atlas Code 83 turnouts, but after saying they were arriving September/October on their website Atlas doesn't even list them on their latest track shipping schedule for November/December, so I am going to revise the plan to either Walthers or Peco track. I am leaning towards Walthers, as Peco's turnouts are a little pricey. Has anyone had any problems with the Walthers DCC friendly turnouts?
 

Motley

Active Member
#15
Get the Peco insulfrog switches, they are pricey, but well worth it. I have over 27 Peco switches on my layout, and all of them run flawlessly, no modifications neccessary, straight out of the package.

However my choice for flex track is Walthers/Shinohora.

Are you planning on using pink/blue foam base?
 

CbarM

HO all the way!
#16
WOW! Nice job on the benchwork so far!!! Really makes me wanna trash mine, tear up all my track n start over! It just might happen as I used 2x3's and framed it similar, with 7/16" OSB overtop but its kinda heavy and I didnt add the adjustable feet. I like your ideas here MUCH MUCH better!!
 
#17
WOW! Nice job on the benchwork so far!!! Really makes me wanna trash mine, tear up all my track n start over! It just might happen as I used 2x3's and framed it similar, with 7/16" OSB overtop but its kinda heavy and I didnt add the adjustable feet. I like your ideas here MUCH MUCH better!!
Thanks CbarM, but in the end I actually got rid of the adjustable feet. The floor is actually pretty level, and the feet don't have much surface area, so I found that things were sturdier with the 2X4's sitting directly on the carpet. My framing is 1X4's with 3/8" plywood on top.
 

CbarM

HO all the way!
#18
My biggest issue is that I built my layout in modular sections 2x8' and it worked fine in the last place, but now I find that I cant expand my yard at all from the present 16'. The yard is the only piece that is useable from my old layout, but I would like to expand it as I run alot of 50+ car stack trains and grain trains. Im thinking that Rona is gonna get some of my cash tomorrow to start on new benchwork like you have done. Mine is going directly on a concrete floor in my basement so the adjustable legs might be a good option...I dont know. I also like how yours all integrate, whereas mine are built all free standing with 4 legs per module...makes it harder to line things up I find. I wonder if I could get away with 1/4" plywood?
 





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