technique or tip

Laying out track markings

I use a simple styrene template of a 90-degree track curve with an easement to tangent on one end. One side of the template is 580mm radius, the other 650mm.

Aligning track at sections, modules, lift-outs etc...

the Port Bonifacio layout employs several different techniques for aligning track at joins.

12V power supply

I can source from a recycler for about $15 large power supplies in a heavy case with front handle, fan, mains socket, switch, fuse, terminal strip etc etc

Mains safety

The only lighting I liked was mains power-saver fluoro bulbs. But this required mains wiring in the underside of the top deck.

Some 12V fluoro lighting looked OK but I wasn't happy about pumping 10Amps through the wooden framing of the top deck: the fire risk of the high-amperage 12V equalled the electrocution risk of the mains.

In New Zealand we use 220V AC. This means current to lighting is very low. You can run a kilowatt of lights and draw 4A! My 150W of fluoros are negligible.

But 220V makes you twice as dead as the USA's 110V, so safety is paramount.

Cheap quick lighting reflectors

Here's a source of cheap quick reflectors for mains power-saver fluoro lightbulbs


I know how to etch my own PC boards but I'm too impatient so for all but the most complex applicatiosn I use perfboard.

[more to come...]

Locking concrete blocks

I recommend using interlocking concrete landscaping blocks to build garden beds.

shelf brackets and steel girder strip

OK metal shelf brackets are gaining popularity for around-the walls layouts, but I combined them with long steel girders to span one wall that was all window.

camping mat subroadbed

I don't know the name of the plastic, but the rolls of 12mm dense foam sold as camping sleeping mats make great sub-roadbed.

latex caulk Tortoise mounts

instead of screws or copmplex brackets, I mount the Tortoise by gluing it direct to the plywood with latex caulking compouind, the same stuff i use for laying track.

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