BUILDING BASEBOARDS

A rigid baseboard is an essential part of a layout.  If it is intended that the layout be portable, say for exhibition purposes, a rigid but lightweight structure is required.

We have adopted the “L” GIRDER principle of baseboard construction as this type of construction fulfills this requirement.

Here is how we do it.

THE “L” GIRDER PRINCIPLE

This type of construction consists of a rigid frame to which is attached an open framework carrying the track bed and scenery.

The frame is constructed using two inverted “L” shaped girders, attached to each other at their ends with a cross spar, thus forming a rigid box.  This is the load bearing part of the baseboard.

 At various intervals along the frame, cross members are fitted to the top of the inverted “L” girders.  Uprights and/or formers are attached to these cross members to support the track bed and scenery.

The advantage of this type of construction is that it is rigid, light and not only allows almost limitless adjustment to the track levels, but the layout can be fully operational before landscaping.

This type of construction also allows the frame to be re-used, by the simple expedient of removing the superstructure and end formers.

CONSTRUCTION

Each baseboard is constructed from 95 X 12 mm dressed pine making up the “L” girder frame.  End formers made from 18 mm thick plywood are incorporated into the frame.

We make up a kit of parts for each frame we require, and pre-drill them.

DRILL JIGS
DRILL JIGS

Drill jigs, although not necessary, ensure consistency and speed up the construction process.

We also use an assembly fixture to ensure accuracy and consistency.  Again, this is not necessary, but helpful when building a number of frames.

FRAME ASSEMBLY BUILD BOARD
FRAME ASSEMBLY BUILD BOARD

LOCATION BLOCKS
LOCATION BLOCKS

The assembly fixture is configured to suit the particular frame we are to build by re-positioning the location blocks on the build board.

CONFIGURATION FOR 1500 X 500 STRAIGHT FRAME
CONFIGURATION FOR 1500 X 500 STRAIGHT FRAME

CONFIGURATION FOR 1500 X 750 STRAIGHT FRAME
CONFIGURATION FOR 1500 X 750 STRAIGHT FRAME

CONFIGURATION FOR 1500R X 500 CURVED FRAME
CONFIGURATION FOR 1500R X 500 CURVED FRAME

CONFIGURATION FOR 1500R X 750 CURVED FRAME
CONFIGURATION FOR 1500R X 750 CURVED FRAME

The parts making up the frame are placed in the assembly fixture.

STRETCHER BARS
STRETCHER BARS


The stretcher bars are used to hold everything in position whilst the frame is screwed together.

FRAME PARTS IN JIG
FRAME PARTS IN JIG


STRETCHER BARS ADDED
STRETCHER BARS ADDED


FRAME TURNED UPWARDS AND END BOARDS ATTACHED
FRAME TURNED UPWARDS AND END BOARDS ATTACHED


The end boards are shaped to the contour of the landscape on the completed layout.

FINISHED FRAMES LINED UP AND LEVELLED
FINISHED FRAMES LINED UP AND LEVELLED


LEVELLED FRAMES DRILLED FOR JOINING BOLTS
LEVELLED FRAMES DRILLED FOR JOINING BOLTS


Once the frames have been checked to ensure they are all properly aligned and levelled the holes are drilled for fixing bolts to hold them together.  Notice that after the holes have been drilled large washers are attached to the frames.  Doing this prevents washers being lost in transit and ensures the wood isn't damaged when tightening the bolts.

FINISHED FRAMES BOLTED TOGETHER
FINISHED FRAMES BOLTED TOGETHER


Notice the patternmakers dowels in the end of each board.  These align the sections perfectly when joining two boards together and make it much easier to put the bolts through.