One of the reasons that it took me so long to get going on actual construction of the layout this time around was because I worked very hard on a plan for it. I know what you’re thinking… time spent “planning” is often simply time that one sits around thinking about what they are going to do and how they will do it. OR… it is sometimes simply an excuse to put things off, as in “”I’m making plans” while you look for cracks in the ceiling from your favorite recliner. While most modelers think about the actual track plan, there are other considerations as well. One of the ones that I spent a lot of time on was the actual benchwork and how it would be braced.
A while back, I told you about my fiddling around with a drafting program called ViaCAD. It has been a real challenge to learn to use some of the many included drawing tools but I did learn enough to actually make a scale drawing of my track plan and the benchwork that would hold it. From there, I worked on the bracing that would be on the underside of the layout. This allowed me to figure out in advance where legs would be, stress points and things like that. It also allowed me to have access to the information that I needed to be able to cut the lumber without having to measure each piece to fit.
You will notice in the picture above that there are markings on the lumber (in this case, an “I”). When we were cutting the lumber in the garage, we marked each piece then taped them together in bundles. When we got upstairs, it was simply a matter of pulling the bundles apart then assembling the pieces. With few exceptions (including a couple of errors by yours truly), we were probably within 1/4 of an inch on most all of the pieces that were pre-cut using measurements from the scale sized plans. I didn’t think that was bad at all.
Because of angles involved, I don’t think it will be practical to work from the drawings to cut the plywood sheets that will cover the benchwork but having those scale plans sure did help with the benchwork.