1/4" Foam Roadbed . . . What You Think

JFTaylor Jan 14, 2014

  1. JFTaylor

    JFTaylor TrainBoard Member

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    I'm planning my first in over 25 yrs. A 14x10 with a double main, small yard etc. Calculations put me @ 200+ feet of track. I plan a cookie cutter bench with plywood sub-roadbed. In flat areas I'll use Pink Foam. Like most I'm on a budget. :funny:

    A 1/4" pink foam roadbed is 1/5 the cost of cork or Woodland Scenic bed. Homasote is even less expensive but would require more/messier work and I'd have a 1/2" roadbed.

    What are your thoughts on the 1/4" foam Roadbed?
     
  2. rg5378

    rg5378 TrainBoard Member

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    I used a product called "Silly Winks". It is foam sheets that are 2 or 3 mm thick. It is sold at Hobby Lobby. Each sheet is approx 97 cents. It worked well for me. It made my layout a lot quieter than cork. The drawback is that you have to cut out the shapes you need and place each piece under the section of track you are working on at the time. You may want to get a sheet of it and experiment with it. If you find that it works for you, it can be a cheap way for making roadbed.

    I used the woodland scenics brand in the past. It worked but was expensive.
     
  3. Ironhorseman

    Ironhorseman Staff Member In Memoriam

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    I hand-lay my rail and use an adhesive poster-board on top of the subroad bed. I would think the poster-board is more expensive than what has been described above, but it works well and does not distort with the use of glue ... plus it reduces the sound of the wheels as they roll over the rails.
    I do not have a local hobby shop, but there is an art supply shop in town, which is about 25 miles away. The sheets come in 4X8 feet; available in varied thicknesses, and are easy to cut with a hobby knife. Scrap can be stacked to create or add to scenery items.
     
  4. JFTaylor

    JFTaylor TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Guys
     
  5. JFTaylor

    JFTaylor TrainBoard Member

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    Went to Home Depot today. I looked at a 50'x5.5" roll of 1/4" pink foam. It's a bit flimsy. A 4x8 sheet of Homasote was $7.80. HD calls is asphalt insulation board. I'm going Homasote.
     
  6. Texastailboard

    Texastailboard TrainBoard Supporter

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    I had found even with homasote there is road noise, my last layout I used homasote with a combination of others roadbeds. Each type of rolling stock seemed to have different results. I am curious to hear opinions on this. Since the old layout is out and the new is going to start soon.
     
  7. JFTaylor

    JFTaylor TrainBoard Member

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    Others have stated that gluing ballast contributes to roadbed noise. That makes a lot of sense to me. He suggested just gluing the roadbed slopes and leaving the center line unglued. I'm going to investigate using a less rigid type glue to help deadening the noise.
    I'm planning a cookie cutter 1/4" plywood sub-bed with a homasote roadbed. I'm convinced that any sub-bed, foam, homasote, or wood, will serve as a drum when vibrated. Others have stated that foam carries a lot of reverberation. Metal wheels carry vibration - Plastic a bit less. No one wants plastic wheels.
     
  8. ScottyB

    ScottyB TrainBoard Member

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    This is exactly what I used on my On30 layout, and what I'll use on my (and my son's) new HO layout. Love, love, love it. I use my wife's large paper cutter to cut it into strips. For curves, I cut it lengthwise in half again and it will take a fairly sharp curve. They sell 2mm and 3mm foam sheets, I believe 12x18 inches. I use the 2mm ones. If you are super cheap like me, once a month or so they are 30% off. I don't recall the exact math, but it ends up being something like 7 cents per foot for HO.

    The pick foam needs something underneath it obviously. Nice thing is that it can be carved. But my sound tests found the pink foam to be much louder than just plywood alone. It actually amplified the track noise. The Hobby Lobby foam is wonderfully silent.

    Scott
     

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