Sunday, December 16, 2012

Terrain from insulation board - Part 3


To attach the layers of foam insulation board to the wood parts of the module and to each other I use the Liquid Nails product.

It does not take a whole lot of this adhesive to get the job done.  This photo shows how much I use to stick one layer on top of another. Notice that I also try to get some on the profile boards where they meet the edges of the foam board.  I used 1 tube of Liquid Nails for this project.

When the section of foam board is wide and flat enough, I will place something on it to keep some weight on it while it sets.  I normally allow it to set for 24 hours before continuing to the next step.  Since these three layers shown in this photo were all the same size and right on top of each other, they were all done at the same time.

The top layers are generally not going to be so flat on the top so to hold those in place while the adhesive  sets, I will pin it to the lower layer with some large nails as shown here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Terrain from insulation board - Part 2

Cutting methods

With the tools I showed in the last post, these are the techniques I am using to cut the foam insulation board into the shapes and sizes I need.

As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once.

After everything is measured and the lines are marked I just follow the lines with the blade of the utility knife, no need to go all the way through the board.

With the 1 inch thick foam insulation board the utility knife easily cuts half way through which is one of the reasons I buy that thickness.  Then it's easy to snap along the cut.

This is a similar technique that is used to cut drywall (sheet rock), foam core board, and of course styrene sheet.

To cut a corner section out of a large board, I first cut with the hacksaw blade along the shorter line.

Then using the utility knife I scribe along the longer line and then snap it by bending.

Any curved cuts can be done with the hacksaw blade.  Being a narrow blade it's not hard to curve it a it is moved along.

I like to cut and lay out several layers before gluing anything in place.  With a more complicated layout sometimes it can be helpful to label the pieces with a marker pen for placement and orientation.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Terrain from insulation board - Part 1

With the track sub roadbed in place on the Hot Springs Junction module, it's time to start filling in the terrain with foam insulation board.  The obvious advantage to using this material is it's light weight.  Styrofoam material is also very light but not as dense so can be more easily compressed if you happen to put weight on it later. Styrofoam is also much more messy to work with.  This will be the third major layout project I have attempted using this type of material.  The others being my current 2 ft x 12 ft home layout and another 2 ft x 4 ft Ntrak module.  I've also used this material in building scenery on a few smaller projects.  Like any material, one learns a few tricks and pitfalls of working with it and in this and the next few posts I'll share some of the techniques I've I learned.


The material comes in a choice of thickness and density and normally comes in a 4 ft x 8 ft sheet.  It may be a blue color or pink like the in this photo.  When I rebuilt another Ntrak module about a year ago I had purchased a sheet of 1 inch thick at Lowes and used about half  on that project.  Hopefully the remaining half will be enough to do this project.


To cut and shape this material I used the 3 tools shown in this photo.  I used to use a serrated kitchen knife but like the hacksaw blade better because it makes a finer cut.  For shaping the Stanley Surform tools also work well in place of the rasp I use.