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Thread: Has anyone tried this pre-fab modular units?

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    Default Has anyone tried this pre-fab modular units?

    This morning in MRR magazine I noticed an ad for the company KamKonnect. I think I have seen it before, but this time I gave the website a whirl.

    http://www.kamkonnect.com/index.htm

    Has anyone attempted to use these modules, and if so, what were your experiences?

    As people following my layout thread know, I have gone from an ambitious room-sized empire to a shelf layout for several reasons, but the main ones are that (1) the layout needs to be movable in case workmen need to get into the attic, and (2) I don't have any power tools or major equipment, nor anywhere to keep such equipment if I bought it, that I could use to make custom pieces. Now these modules are a bit expensive, but I've been thinking that they are mobile enough that I could maybe (perhaps) go back to the idea of an around-the-room rail empire, if I have modules I can easily break apart and move, without having to make them all with tools I don't have and skills that are probably beyond me as a carpenter (since my carpentry skills are at the beginner level at best).

    Within our hobby, benchwork is probably the thing that is least interesting (and fun) to me, so I don't really mind buying pre-fab ones. But I was wondering if anyone has tried them and whether they are as good as advertised.

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    Actually, those prices don't seem that unreasonable... when you figure material cost and time. Shipping would probably add up fast though.
    Maybe the end pieces for the "cam" would be enough... ED: you did say you did not have the equipment to build...

    Looking at MC Fujiwara's FreeMoN modules, he/they have eliminated the rail joiner issues. He give a pretty darn good description of his process here. A modular approach is very attractive for several reasons but being able to move them out of the way on short notice would be at the top of the list for me.
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    I don't have much in the way of building tools, so the expense is not so bad considering that (depending on what they charge for shipping, which they conveniently do not mention on their site -- I bet it is insanely high). But if I were going to try and build these things, and had to buy power tools and and all the associated stuff... it would add up so fast that the cost of the modules would probably not be that much, if any, more. (Plus I don't really have the room to keep large amounts of tools and equipment in my garage, etc). I still have to do more investigation but, I think that if I wanted to have something like a large around-the-room modular layout, this might be the way to go rather than trying to (as it were) scratch-build the thing.

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    Seems to work just as well as a FreemoN module, which are also way easier to build and like 1/100th the cost.

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    But are they 1/100th the cost and easier to build for someone with little to no carpentry skill and no tools to speak of? That's the real question.

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    Most lumber places will cut all your wood for you. Just go in with a basic plan and they'll cut, usually for free, sometimes for a tiny charge. Then you just go home and screw it all together.

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    It's the cam locking hardware that most interests me, as I have a large odd-shaped liftout piece where the wood shrinkage has ruined track alignments. I really need something like this to hold the joint tightly together; I had incorrectly assumed that the earphone jack plugs that I was using as alignment pins and power connectors would be enough. This has got me thinking about just buying the hardware, and re-building the liftout.

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    I was playing around with the hardware for expanding your dinning room table and they worked well. I would like to see more of how the track aligns up.
    Kevin
    RETIRED Model Railroader

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    Well... Maybe I will try some of these. I'm going to play around in XTC over the next couple of days/weeks/months (as time allows) and see what I can build with their basic module sizes.

    Also I want to find out how much the shipping actually costs. I will e-mail them and report the results here. Might not be till Monday since they have standard M-F CDT working hours.

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    So they answered me back already. They said shipping costs of course depend on the amount ordered and the shipping destination, but a typical 2'x4' table with 4 legs (their most frequent order) from their base in TX to NYC via UPS would be about $44.

    Obviously if you ordered more at one go, it would go up but not necessarily linearly. So if you ordered a 2nd 2x4 table and 2 more legs (you don't need 4 for the 2nd table since they hook together), it wouldn't cost $88, but would probably cost something like $60 (I'm guessing... he didn't say).

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    BTW, I priced this out... To do an "around the walls" layout with their modules would cost (with shipping) about $2,000. So clearly, that is not going to happen.

    The Woodland Scenics modular stuff is much less expensive. It also doesn't quite "snap together" as easily (bolts instead of the cams, etc) and the legs don't fold up... but for about $300 I could have basically the same configuration. The only drawback is, since it doesn't fold up, the corner pieces wouldn't fit out the door once assembled. If "moving them around" the room is not enough for some reason and I have to take them complete out of the room, I'd have to take the whole thing apart... which would be a headache.

    I'm going to keep toying with this modular stuff and see what shakes out. Maybe I will end up just with the shelf modules I was already planning.... but I'd love to do more if I can figure out a way to make it work.

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    There are several pre-fab benchwork companies out there. Compare prices and see what you get for your money.

    The Woodland Scenics Modular corner unit is only three feet square. Unless you top it with more than two feet of non removable scenery it will fit through any door. It's about the same size as a card table. Plus with each Modular unit you get a bunch of scenery stuff. The legs quickly bolt on and off. If built right each finished modular ill weigh less than twenty pounds. If you can get a box spring and mattress into a room, you can get a modular into there too.

    Just how much space does a Dremmel, hand miter saw, ruler, T-square and a screwdriver take up? That's all the tools you need to make light weight benchwork. If you make the benchwork out of just foam all you need is a bread-knife and a caulk gun and measuring tools.

    You are not building something that needs to withstand anything mors serious than a hip check. You can do it completely without electricity except for when you want to run trains.
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    Well the door is only 29" wide (30" if I take it off the hinges). I forgot about the angled side of the corner module. And as you say I could always take the legs off.

    I am going to keep thinking about this. I was also toying with getting 2 or maybe even 3 HCDs and building a layout by connecting them. Then with folding legs, they could be turned on their sides and removed from the room easily enough. And the only tool-work required would be putting the folding legs on.

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    You might be able to find some 2' door panels as well, like something for a closet door.

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    Chessack what route did you end of taking if all on this? Just curious as this modular/sectional concept is something I've really been entertaining.

    Ben

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