Saturday, September 14, 2013

ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 09.14.13

Earlier in the week, I was hoping to work on the layout today to make some serious progress.  Reality served up a different plan.  Although, I'm happy to report that I was able to do a lot in an extremely short period of time.  I was on the run most of the day helping my brother out, attending a 4 hour long birthday party for my daughter's friend (that was painful), but I had a few short 20-30 minute breaks.

I took this time to cut the OSB table top for the open grid benchwork.  I have all the pieces cut except for one 18" by 7.5' section.  Hopefully, I can get the last section cut tomorrow.

I'm not installing them yet, as I need to cut out sections for the creek and any other scenery features I choose to highlight.   I will need to lay out the track first before I can do that.

I did spend some time with my wife discussing options for the room including lighting, placing of frame railroad photos/artwork, placement and design of the family craft table/workbench and displaying various railroad memorabilia.  I believe we have a great plan.

Immediate Future Goals:

  • Complete OSB table top
  • Pre-drill holes in open frame benchwork for bus wires and loconet cable
  • Identify and cut the openings for the DCC throttle jacks
  • Clean the room and start placing wire shelves under the layout for storage.
If I could finish this all up within the next week, I would be very happy.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

ROCK 3.0 - Progress Report 09.13.13

This evening, I completed the 1x4 frame benchwork for the layout.  I also laid up two sheets of plywood and marked them for trimming.  Tomorrow morning, I will cut before I go to work.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 09.11.13

Tuesday morning, I started on the ROCK 3.0.  I left the 16" deep section along the right wall in place.  I cut and installed an eight foot long 18" deep framework along the back wall.

This morning, I installed the remaining section along the back wall completing wall two of three.

This evening, due to an unexpected opening in our schedule, I was able to cut and install another 8 ft long section for the left wall.  I have a six foot section to build on the left wall to complete the open grid benchwork.

All the legs are temporary for now until I figure out exactly where I want to place them.

Here are some pics of the progress (and the mess).

My daughter sees the new benchwork as an outlet for her creative juices. 

I love it!

Tonight, I was watching a NOVA special on 9/11 on PBS.  I clearly remember that day's events as most Americans do.  It really hits home and makes me visibly emotional when I saw the names listed at the 9/11 memorial on TV.  God rest those souls and peace for their families.

ROCK 3.0: A New Vision

In general, I have been dragging my feet with the rebuild of the layout.  I don't know why, but wasn't excited about the plan.  So, last week, I was working on the benchwork for layout 2.0.  I had the peninsula up, but the plywood not secured.  I laid out some track pieces to see how the layout would come together.  It was evident to me that the layout was still way to big.  I wanted a smaller, prototypical, but manageable layout.  This layout would be just as time consuming as the old layout.

So, I started thinking, what if I got rid of the peninsula, scaled the plan back, but tried to keep the same semblance of the 2.0 vision.  I started laying out track in the area of the 16” shelf along the back wall.  It would be tight, but it is doable.   So, I drew out a new plan that would be U-Shaped around three walls of the room.  The bottom of the U would be 18" deep, left side, 16" and the right side 18" but tapering off to 6" at the entrance of the room.

My vision would be for the bonus room to transition from a layout room to family craft/hobby room.  Our house is a descent size, but with the girls getting older, we are requiring more space.  I don't care to move anytime soon, so I need to better utilize the area I have.  I would like to place a sofa and flat screen in the room for the kids/family to enjoy.  Also, I would like to construct a custom craft/modeling table that the girls could use for painting and craft projects, my wife for scrapbooking and me for modeling projects.  

So, my wife picked up on the tell-tale signs that something was up (mainly benchwork coming down and new going back up).  I presented this idea to her and she looked at me like I was crazy.  Why?  Why?  Why?  We discussed and I have come to the following conclusions:
  • Simplify - 
    • Smaller layout - It was great building the double deck layout of the Rock: Illinois Division and we had great times running it.  It's a chore to maintain though.  I have offers all the time to run large layouts in the area to get my fill of distance running, but for home, I just don't want that anymore.  
    • I want a layout that I can tinker with when I want to, run trains anytime I want to (with little re-staging or preparation needed), but without the expense of a large layout, or time required to work on the layout, or the physical consumption of nearly 300 sqft of our living space when only operated 3 or 4 times a year.
      • Time - I have found over the last year or so that I'm heavily involved with spending time with my family, girls events, etc.  I just don't have the time to work on a layout as much.  
      • Space - A large layout is great, but it consumes a lot of space that is completely unusable the remaining 361 days of the year when not operating.  My wife has been gracious to allow me that space, but I can't be so self-centered anymore.  It's time to share the area.
      • $ - Money is the name of the game.  We have went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class a few years back.  It has changed my outlook on a lot of things.  I've made a complete 180 degree turn in my spending habits and control of money.  Instead of buying that next new freight car that comes out (and I don't need), I'd rather put the money toward paying off debt and saving so I can enjoy my retirement traveling all over the world with my wife.  All this stuff filling up the house doesn't bring happiness.  Spending time with my family does.
  • Operations -
    • As has been witnessed by my past layout and many others in the area, you can fit a lot of railroad in a little area with N scale.  I plan on doing that.  My favorite job on the railroad is running a big ol' hairy local.  With the preliminary design I proposed, I could still operate 2 Rock Island locals plus a 3rd CB&Q local.  So, there is no loss of entertainment value for running trains.  
      • Ottawa Local - works from the yard to Ottawa Silica and L-O.F.
      • LaSalle Local - works from the yard to Utica and LaSalle.
      • CB&Q Local - starts from the junction, working Ottawa Silica as needed.
Most of you probably think I have completely lost my mind.  You might be right, but I feel it's the best route for me to take in the future with my hobby.

So, I present to you the preliminary 3.0 track plan.