Saturday, December 31, 2016

December 2016 Update

Well, this year has gone by quickly. I haven't posted as much as I would like as life has kept me plenty busy with everything but model railroading. For this post, I wanted to do a quick update before the end of the year just to check in on the goals I set for myself earlier this year. Click here for the original post from back in January.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to really meet any of the goals I set for myself. That's ok though as I'm not in any rush to get these things done. At least they give me something to shoot for with my model railroading. I'll put together a post for tomorrow that focuses on my goals for 2017.

As far as an update on the layout, I've actually taken a small step backward by tearing apart the center divider I built recently. I found out that the two long sides were actually different lengths and that was causing some warping. To fix this, I've decided to rebuild the center structure with a bit more sturdy design. Because of that change, the layout looks pretty bare right now. As soon as I have this thing built back up I can get going on some more layout specific projects.

Probably the cleanest the layout table has been in a long time, I doubt it will stay like this much longer.
The only progress I've made lately is adding the small extension to the one corner to accommodate the wye I've designed into the track plan. It came out nicely and just needs a leg added to it for some extra support.

The new extension for the wye. Just need to add a leg and it will be all set.
Another side project I've started is adding some light to the layout room. Currently, the side of my basement where the layout is at only has one overhead light. I've got the ceiling tiles removed and I plan to add at least two more light fixtures directly above the layout and possible three more along the other side of the room.

The lighting (or lack thereof) in my layout room. I plan on adding two more of these right above the table .
Now that 2016 is in the past, I'm hoping to spend a bit more time on the layout in 2017. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 2016 Update

It's been over seven months since my last post here. I haven't completely given up on model railroading, its just become a lower priority the last few months. I've been busy with summer household projects and we have another newborn at home to take care of. I've still been thinking about the layout occasionally though and have even reworked the track plan several times in SCARM and done some minor construction. 

Another problem was that because of all the work around the house, my layout room was completely trashed up until recently. Now that I've got it cleaned up a bit, I'm more open to spending some time down there planning and working on the layout. I'd still like to get a track plan nailed down this year and at least be able to start running some trains on it. I just need to find a way to keep myself motivated. Cleaning the room was definitely a good start. 

The reason for redoing the track plan is primarily because I made the table a little too wide. I thought the reach would be comfortable for getting to the middle of the table, but after messing around on there for a while it's just too much. To alleviate that, I've decided to block off a rectangular section at the center of the table. This reduces my available space a bit, but will make for an easier modeling experience. Plus I don't have to dismantle the entire table this way.

I also decided to go back to having a wye, rather than a turntable. This wouldn't fit the way I wanted to at first, so I decided I must add a small 1' x 2' section to one corner of the layout. 

Here is the current iteration of the revised track plan with the center blocked off.

Revised track plan with the center blocked off.
To block off the center of the table, I built a simple structure using some hardboard and 1x4's. Once I have the exact location figured out, the plan is to sink it into the foam down to the same level as the plywood.

A look at the basic structure for the new center of the layout.
As far as the goals I laid out back in January, I don't need to change any of them. I just need to actually work toward them a bit more. I've still got a good chunk of the year to work with, so hopefully I can be writing a post four months from now showing that I've completed at least a few of them. Only time will tell I guess.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Goals for 2016

Goals always help serve as motivation to get things done. Over on my hockey card blog, I used to put together goals each new year and would use that as something to work towards. They weren't anything set in stone, but at least a guideline to help keep my focused throughout the year. It worked pretty well there so I'm hoping it will help with my model railroading hobby moving forward into 2016.

Goals for 2016
  • Purchase and install the rest of the track and cork roadbed needed for the basement layout
  • Complete wiring and DCC system hookup for the layout
  • Be able to run trains and basic operations on the layout
  • Purchase and build another structure kit
  • Add some locomotives or rolling stock to my Detroit & Mackinac collection

While none of these are earth shattering, they are attainable and will give me a bit of a guideline for the next year. I've learned over the last six months or so that this hobby takes a lot of patience, but is well worth it in the end. I am giving myself the entire calendar year to just get the basement layout up and running, so hopefully I can meet these goals and then some. Just the fact that I am writing this post tells me I am in better shape than I was going into 2015.