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Thread: What can you do with a 4x8 sheet?

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    Default What can you do with a 4x8 sheet?

    The idea came from a discussion on the Model Railroad Radio Podcast. Several in the group were asking what can be done with a 4x8 sheet. Many guys posted track plans. I thought I'd draw a few ideas just for the bench work. Any of the angles could be smoothed to curves. With very little effort somebody probably could figure out some more ideas with the cuts I've drawn. I noticed that some of my ideas started to repeat after a while.

    Given 32 square feet of space there are a lot of things you can do with the sheet of plywood.

    It's just how you cut it and reassemble it. Each color is just a separate piece. All the designs are cut from a single sheet of plywood. The measurements are on six inch increments.

    What do you think?
    Can you come up with some more without repetition?
    Is your variation practical? Sure the sheet cut into two inch strips could be 192 feet long, but who has the space and its a boring layout design.
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    Great post!
    And for a lot of those designs, you can take a 6"x6" triangle off the outside & put it on the inside to ease the curves.

    Looks like that intense "Tangrams" training paid off!

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    Very interesting how a few well placed cuts can produce all sorts of designs!

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    Great post Chicago! It will probably open the eyes of a lot of readers! As has been suggested, I have made it a sticky.
    Last edited by BryanC (RIP); 6th Sep 2011 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Typo

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    Here is a quick CAD drawing I just did, to show how simple it can be. One jigsaw cut turns it into an elegant shelf-type layout with enough room for return loops of approx. 13.5" radius at each end.

    4x8tangram1.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    Here is a quick CAD drawing I just did, to show how simple it can be. One jigsaw cut turns it into an elegant shelf-type layout with enough room for return loops of approx. 13.5" radius at each end.

    4x8tangram1.jpg
    That's awesome!
    Nice curves.

    Of course, you still need to get the 4'x8' home in the car
    (& don't forget the 1/8" difference for the saw blade!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoNW View Post
    ... Sure the sheet cut into two inch strips could be 192 feet long, but who has the space and its a boring layout design.
    At 6" wide, you could do an around the room shelf layout on a 20'x12" room.
    Enough room for a little scenery (blended into a backdrop) and the occasional passing siding.
    Couple of stations, two terminals, and you could have a regular passenger service.
    A few freight sidings and you could shuffle the local freight from the interchange in between the passenger service.
    Bryan
    “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

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    WP&P
    That's nice but how many different shapes can you get from that one cut?
    One of the ideas behind this post is to show how may shapes you can get with a few simple cuts.

    Jigsaws are noisy and expensive, a tough one for apartment dwellers and student newbies to justify. Foam and a bread knife would be a better choice of material and tool.
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    Luke.... you can do a lot with 2" of space...

    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Has your boss said anything about the train in your office yet?
    Or is that your boss peaking over your "layout"?

    BTW: I've been trying to figure out how to get a 3"-4" shelf layout around the whole condo for the last couple months, but those darn doors, window & wife are in the way


    (If I mount it at 7'-8' height, maybe she'll never notice....)(she's 5'1")

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.C. Fujiwara View Post
    Has your boss said anything about the train in your office yet?
    Or is that your boss peaking over your "layout"?
    Nope. Not a word. We are encouraged to decorate our offices (within reason) to suit our personal tastes. That's actually a pretty mild example, compared to some of my coworkers. Of course, it's a STATIC diorama... he might think differently if it was wired...

    BTW: I've been trying to figure out how to get a 3"-4" shelf layout around the whole condo for the last couple months, but those darn doors, window & wife are in the way


    (If I mount it at 7'-8' height, maybe she'll never notice....)(she's 5'1")
    Windows could easily be bridged, unless they're huge... just put a shelf bracket on either side of the window frame and run the board across... curtains *may* be an issue - you'll have to choose whether to run in front of or behind them. Doors are trickier, but with sufficient engineering you could mount the track TO the door, in a sort of swing-bridge fashion.

    How to get spousal approval is left as an exercise for the reader...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    Running the train over the wife will cause derailments from uneven track. Not a wise move if you like your trains.
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    Great post on wise use of materials and space!!! Awesome illustrations as well!

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    I am in the process of making a room sized layout with 4'x4' modules connected by bridges. 1 cut and done, and no power tools. I'm actually using 2 1/4" thick pink foam (3x3/4" caulked together) hey, it's still a 4x8. I live in apartment so noise is a factor.
    Sean Barry

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    Thank you Matt for bringing us back on topic!

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    Nice.. Thats a new perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    Here is a quick CAD drawing I just did, to show how simple it can be. One jigsaw cut turns it into an elegant shelf-type layout with enough room for return loops of approx. 13.5" radius at each end.

    4x8tangram1.jpg
    That's the best use of a 4x8'.

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    Not really, that is only on possible layout design. It fails the LEGO principle. One design - many possibilities. That is a jig saw puzzle, many pieces - one solution.

    Sure it is nice, but it only lays out one way.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
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    Default An old 4x8 rearrangement

    One of the first cut/rearrange plans I ever saw for a 4'x8' sheet of plywood was in an Atlas book and I believe it was the Broad Horizons Railroad. It minimizes what might be "lost" space in corners, but still requires quite a bit of surrounding floor space.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    this is something I just might use.

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