Model Railroad Helix Track Layout
A vertical helix shaped track for model trains made from Styrofoam with hot wire cutting tools.
I am working on a patent for my modular track system. For now I create layouts at train shows. I try and create a different layout at every show to demonstrate the versatility of my system. I demonstrate different aspects like large curves so I can run longer trains than many train clubs can do. I created an adjustable tripod so I can create a train layout on any surface including grass. I added multiple levels to the tripods so I can build helices.
I had 3 main challenges:
1) Keeping the cutting wire perpendicular to the foam surface. I intentionally cut in at a slight inward angle so the bottom is smaller than the top because a narrower piece leaves a gap, which is ok, while a wider piece would not fit and would not be acceptable.
2) I use a laser cut plywood wood template to cut the outline of the foam block. I have to use multiple clamps to make sure the template does not move.
3) The cutting tool needs to move at a constant speed. If I slow down more foam is melted/burned and it makes for an uneven cut. You can see waves as a I slow down and speed up.
Necessity! I wanted to build a train layout with my kids but I don’t have a basement. I started building parts at home that I could take to my mother’s house and set up in her basement. It was a lot of work building modular parts that I could easily transport and still be able to build a stable layout, so I looked for a modular system I could buy. I could not find anything so I built more and more pieces for myself. Since no one else builds anything like this I am trying to start a company and do it my self. So far no sales, but the train shows like the fact that I can build a nice layout that visitors like and I can build it in any space small or large. Most other mobile layouts need a specific rectangular size space. I can build any shape or size.