9.12.2008

portable ponderings, part 1

Over time, I've been involved in many discussions regarding transportable (and fixed) layout construction. This has, of course, generated more than a few pro-and-con debates over the various approaches that can be taken to create the displays.

It might help if the process of creating the display were treated in a more methodical manner than is often employed. Each of the factors listed below have an effect on the finished product. Some consideration should be given to each point in turn.

WHO will be building the display?
- expertise
- free time
- workspace
- fabrication tools
- vehicles
- budget

WHY are you creating the display?
- to promote your aspect of the hobby (scale, gauge, era,
  location, theme)
- to enjoy the fellowship of like-minded hobbyists
- to operate your equipment

WHAT would be desirable features of the display?
- quick setup
- reliable operation
- low maintenance
- easy to build
- easy to transport

HOW will these goals be obtained?
- thorough planning
- standardisation
- simplified electrical & mechanical connections
- robust wiring
- solid framing
- good trackwork
- minimum tool requirements

WHAT will you need to achieve the goals?
- jigs & fixtures
- setup diagrams
- setup checklists
- equipment checklists
- electrical connections either clearly coded OR
  only one mating plug per interface
- one type of fastener for everything
- spares!

Further thoughts and discussion points will be posted on each of the above items as time permits. You may wish to reference the Layout Design Primer for in-depth analysis of a variety of topics.

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