Tag: Helix

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Layout shape under construction

Hard to believe, but I have a layout shape I actually intend to see through completion. Granted, most of the benchwork is already built, but this last mile was a real killer for me (figuring out relationship between staging and my railroad, geometry of the staging deck, where to put an entrance to the layout space, and half a dozen other things). Not to mention that earlier this year I switched scales and went (back) to H0 from N that I have been planning to build.

I wanted to re-use as much, if not all of the benchwork I already have, plus stick with the layout shape that is in place (around the walls and a peninsula on the center). Stumbling stone was the helix location and how it ties into the layout plus available space for it.

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Helix materials acquired

It’s been a while since the last post here, partially due to Summer (house maintenance, etc.) and partially because I did not have a direction. That is not to say I did not spend a lot of free time trying all kinds of various way to squeeze a 5 ft wide square through a 2 ft wide circle, figuratively speaking. I did come up with what I believe to be final helix dimensions, among other things.

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Fine tuning the LDEs

After getting some feedback on the forums, I had to decide how to correct issues that have been plaguing the layout from the start. As the layout shape is an E and there’s only one helix, the lower right corner next to the door there becomes a dead-end for all 3 decks. Ideally, if there was another helix at the end of the other arm of the E, this would not be an issue, but I did not want to put a helix around the column, so…

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Dividing the layout into LDEs

I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do about getting to and from upper levels. That is why the section in the upper left corner of the plan (that nobody ever sees in the photos) is still undeveloped. Originally in my N Scale plan there was supposed to be a helix there, but now with H0 that helix is a bit bigger and that tipped off the scale for me, even though N scale helix was almost as big, square footage wise.

The helix for H0 is going to be a really modest one, barely adequate by any standard. A 24″ inner loop and 26.5″ outer, with an average grade of 2.3%. I wish that grade was 2% or less but there’s just no room to make it an oval or make it a bigger circle without sacrificing aisle and benchwork space. I might see if there’s some room for a triangle but knowing that I need a 24″ turn curve that might be out of question.

Another option is a gradual around the wall climb, a no-lix. Problem with that is I would either have to give up the walk-in aspect of the layout and put a swing gate at the entrance, or make trains turn back and go through the same scenery twice, on a different track. Either methods use more precious benchwork space all around the layout, unlike the helix which hogs the corner with its 20 sq. ft.

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How much does building a helix cost?

I’m at a point where I need to build a helix and trying to decide the direction to take. Whether it would be Atlas/PECO flex track + whole shebang; or KATO Unitrack, or even Tomix Fine Track (very pricey). Over at nScale.net forums, I made a post with some rough estimates of costs for my case and I thought to post it here on my build blog for everyone to see.

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