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entry 12 Aug 2013, 19:18
There’s been a slight change in how the baseboards are going to be constructed!

It became quickly evident that using a full size paper plan glued to the baseboard as a template wasn’t an ideal solution. Unfortunately the paper just wasn’t robust enough at the edges. Although the glue used to hold the paper down was easily strong enough, the paper itself wasn’t. The layers of the paper actually started to come apart.

If this was happening now, with just the sleepers glued down, would this problem become worse once more scenery is glued to it?

The extruded aluminium also was starting to present problems of it’s own. Interconnections are required to pass power and data between the boards. While it is easy to drill holes into the extrusion to add the required plug sockets, they could only realistically be flush mounted on the outside faces (rather spoiling the aesthetics of the layout).

These problems can be worked around, but I didn’t want to compromise the look of the layout at this early stage. I really want the layout to have a sleek, crisp and professional finish. I also wasn’t quite ready to let go of the idea of using the latest technology to create the baseboards…

I’ve already been looking at laser cutting for various parts of the layout already. The contoured edges of the hills that run along the sides of the baseboard are a good example – once again the aim being to create a sleek and crisp finish. Also the turntable in the Paddington section would be created by laser cutting to achieve the precision needed.

It didn’t seem such a massive leap to use laser cutting to create the whole baseboard…

Laser cutting comes with other advantages too. The precise nature of laser cutting could give the same sort of alignment that the aluminium extrusion was providing. The boards could be joined by interlocking sections that when glued together would provide added strength. A different solution for the electrical connections could be designed. Finally, instead of the plan being printed out and glued to the surface, the whole thing could be laser etched into the surface of the wood(!) If that all wasn’t enough, the quote I got back from the laser cutters (a South London company that do all kinds of inventive things, including laser cutting into food!) was less than my old method of wooden tops attached to an aluminium frame.

I was sold!

The sides will have pre-cut hole for aligning the boards and for the power and data sockets. Instead of flush mounted sockets they will housed in a recess along with room for a little excess cable. This will allow the baseboards to butt up flush against each other, hiding the connections from view.

Read this post complete with pictures

 
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