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Open Grid Benchwork for the D&RGW Project Layout

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Open Grid Benchwork Plan
platform plan

This simple open-grid design is the foundation for the Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge project layout.

©2011 Ryan C Kunkle, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The first element of the Denver and Rio Grande Western narrow gauge project layout is the benchwork for the platform itself. The basic platform is built in an open grid pattern. This type of benchwork offers relatively simple construction, strong support and ample flexibility for many designs.

You could fasten a sheet of plywood directly on top of this frame to start with a flat and sturdy train table, or elevate the track surfaces as will be done with this layout. See the train table article for more information on building a basic design with an open-grid like this.

The plans for this particular project layout are for a portable design. The support legs for this layout double as a container for storage and shipping. Since the platform must fit inside that frame, and that frame can be no more than 4 feet by 8 feet, the size of this platform has been reduced by 2 inches in each direction accordingly.

You can easily modify this design for whatever size space you have available. Multiple units could also be combined for larger or different shaped platforms.

Note that the spacing between cross-braces as given are on center, not the actual space between boards. The shortening of the platform is split between the two end bays. Additional cross-braces in these bays will be useful for supporting track and add strength at the ends where the platform will be handled most.

Tools and Materials Required

  • Power drill with 3/32 drill bit, countersink and No. 2 screwdriver bit
  • Miter Saw
  • Circular Saw with Guide
  • Jig Saw with Guide
  • Builders Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • 3/4 AC Plywood (4x8 sheet)
  • Wood Glue
  • Drywall Screws (1 5/8 inch)
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