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Hi guys, new here, so be kind.

I'm sort of well into my build but wondered if any else had done a similar thing, and could share ideas.

You know the story, one of the kids leaves home, I want a permanent SSD layout, wife wants (another) spare bedroom. So we compromise, and I end up designing a 10' by 6' "table" that can be hoisted up to ceiling height. After a lot of playing around, this stage is largely complete, and the "table" can be raised and lowered on an electric winch. When down it has screw in timber legs, which straddle the bed. There is a solid edge around all four sides, so when up there is a 6.5" white box hanging down from the ceiling. One of the narrow ends is up against a wall I have unrestricted access to three sides of the table.

I've laid out a rudimentary SSD layout, but was wondering where to go next in terms of scenery etc. Primarily the track is meant for racing, but I proably won't be able to resist the urge to pretty it up.

The main obstacle that I can foresee is that the box must be able to sit flat against the ceiling above, which gives me a working depth of about 4.5" above the table base. So everything, track, bridges, barriers, scenery etc, must sit in a space no more than 4.5" high...... (no I can't raise the ceiling abouve the "box".....)

As for track layout, my gut reaction is to squeeze in as much track as I can. My uracer plans are up to 22 metres of track.

So any ideas? I'd be very interesetd to hear about any other ceiling mounted layouts, or to see layouts on something like a 10x6 table...

Thanks
 

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42 Yrs
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Hi.

Welcome to the forum.... nice to start off with such an ambitious first project...

What you are planning will work and give you a good space.... 10x6 is actually a big space but ensure you can have a racer both sides off the board and walk around at least one end... as long as the overall room size is 13 x 12 you should be fine.

All my layouts (click link below) have been only 4" deep including the woodwork so again what you propose is ok... from experience but you will need to ensure that the side and end runners are at least 6" deep... the baseboard can sit inside the runners by setting the baseboard in a well... but don't take the track too near the edge of the board, leave space for runoff borders as the rear of a car can get as far as 14cm from the side of the slot when sliding...

You will also need to ensure that the ropes that go through the "pulleys" hanging from the ceiling attach to "hooks" or "U bolts" that go right through a strong runner... but even with a 4" pulley and a 2" Hook it will be difficult to get the baseboard only 4 1/2 inches from the ceiling fully lifted...

Guide ropes to the outside of the frame will create more sway than ones fitted nearer the centre but what you propose is small compared to my local digital race club THE UFO! 3.5 x 5.5m.. that one so it can be done.

There are a couple of firms that make lifting systems for railways at around £150 and some can be motorised at extra cost!

Build lightweight... use aluminium box section to add ridgidity without weight... and because of the size it will need to be built in situ so a good support system underneath when laying track and building the framework because you cant "hammer" onto a hanging frame.

Lots of issues to deal with... but nothing insurmountable.... i would set a budget of around £300 for just the baseboard ropes tackle etc... it will soon mount up!

pre made Layout lifter! may find this link useful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input. The board is already built and in place. It's pretty heavy, as my engineer was more comfortable using steel than aly, and then couldn't get the nice thin 2x1 box we had agreed on. Without asking me he bought some substitute steel which was much heavier. Not a problem in the end as the winch can deal with it. The ropes (4) are attached to 2 lifting bars, and the bars are then bolted to the extreme inside edge of the "table", inside the lip. We did it that way to keep some tension on the hoist even when the table is down. Even with safety brackets and chains in place the whole thing sits nice and flat against the ceiling. I'd some piccies if I could find a way....
 

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42 Yrs
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You are way ahead of me man....

Nice work, what you have done is tough i'm sure there are many that would like to see pictures of what you have so far...

What you need to do is open a photobucket or Fotki (free) account and upload your pictures to them... your photohost will provide the "hotlink" to the pictures..

then click the picture button and a box will appear paste the link into the box and click ok... then when you "preview" your post you can check all is ok...

Do you have track down yet? If you are digital racing definately ensure you leave space for borders as 4 cars on two lanes crashed cars need space to "get out of the way" of people racing or loads of damage will occur... when you start running multiple cars with "beginners" super resistants are a real boon, can be picked up cheap from ebay already chipped like the little boxters... crashing those makes racing far less stressful.

4 1/2 inches is about 12cm which scales to scenery roughly 12ft tall so enough space for small trees and single story buildings... hope that helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Sean. The boxsters are already banging their way around it........... Along with cars from triple cup set. I'm not really into the higher spec cars (yet).

Borders.... yea, but they don't half eat up a lot of space, if you are trying to squeeze stuff in. I'll set up the photoacount some time this week. I've got a few bits of track due in early next week, so I'll probably squeeze that in and then let you see what a dogs breakfast I've made of it....

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Couple of pics as requested, sorry about the quality but it's tough taking picture of a 10x6 layout in a 13x11 room.....

The room with the layout fully hoisted to the ceiling...



The layout down on it's screww in legs...



Layout has changed a bit since I took the picture, this is the current setup

 

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Was going to suggest a Catalunya layout that has a low profile for your space, but it seems you already have a layout in place.

Check out Minardi's work as he also has a track that is ceiling mounted.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got the winch itself from these guys

http://www.chesteruk.net/store/electric_hoist.htm

I used the middle one, the HR400

Everything else was sort of bodged together from stuff I had lying around. The table is lifted on 4 6.4mm nylon ropes through some nylon pulleys. The four lines are brought together, in parallel in the loft, and pass to an aluminium coupling which is then linked to the winch by a 4mm wire rope. There are various turnbuckles to give me some fine adjustment. Happy to provide pictures if you want more detail.

I've had to put safety chains onto the assembly to try and convince the family that it is safe to sleep under it......

Paul
 

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Ok,

This shows one of the 2 lifting bars which bolt to the layout "table". There are three M8 bolts on each bar, and each bar is supported by 2 6.4mm nylon ropes which drop through the ceiling. The silver chains are a safety mechanism for use when the table is hoisted all the way to the ceiling. The chains are then attached to the black chain links just below the ceiling. If the rope were to break, the chains would stop the table from falling onto the bed below.



The ropes pass through the ceiling into the loft above. For each rope there is an assembly with two pulley wheels which directs the rope towards the concentration point. You can also see the top of the threaded rod which holds the black safety chain link. Each assembly is mounted on 1" ply on top of 2 3"x2" beams which spread the load across 2 roof timbers.



The 4 ropes all converge on a larger assembly which primarily feeds them back out (down the white half pipe) towards the hoist in parallel. This ensures that all four rope lift equally, and together.



The four parallel rope are then joined to the winch cable using this home made widget. Each rope is linked to an eyebolt, which gives fine adjustment on the rope length.



And from there, through one final pulley to take the wire rope vertical, to the hoist.



It took a lot of effort to get everything lined up. Key things were making sure that there was a straight run for the 4 ropes in parallel at least as long as the vertical lift required for the table, and keeping tension on the ropes at all times to make sure that they don't jump out of the pulleys.

With hindsight, I'd use thicker rope, or wire rope, but the pulley wheels I acquired a) won't handle more than a 7mm rope, and
are (mostly) nylon, so wire rope would destroy them. It was amazingly difficult to find cheap pulley wheels.....

Anyhow, have fun.
 

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Greg Gaub
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what I'm not sure about is how the lifting bar and table are connected. Since the table with it's walls are secured to the ceiling, wouldn't the bars have to be INSIDE the box? If so, wouldn't the track be in the way? Do you dismantle the track every time you take it up and down? Or do the lifting bars attach differently than I'm thinking?
 

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Hi Stricko,
I'm considering to do the same thing and after scouting around these forums for similar ceiling hoist systems ideas I consider this to be the neatest and best concealed one that Ive seen so far.

Further to MrFlippant's query and observing the picture of the table in down position on legs in earlier post #6, everything inside the track & below table edge would appear to not exceed the 4.5 inches that you've allowed.

My queries are in understanding from your details that the lifting bars are permanently bolt fixed to the inside edge of the table and when it is down do you simply unclip the rope/cables and retract them back to the ceiling? or do you disconnect the bar from the table to keep adequate strain on the ropes when not connected ?

Also to understand the complete hoisting operation I'm guessing that when raising back to the ceiling that you would need to stop and allow enough space to connect the safety chains before raising to meet the ceiling.?
Congrats to a well thought-out engineered system and thanks for the detailed pictures and commentary, highly appreciate your time & effort.


Cheers
Greg
 

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Hi guys, and thanks for the comments.

The bars do sit inside the box when they are secured. The bars are 1" box section so I keep the track just over one inch from the edge on the 2 long sides. I have had occasions during the track layout testing where the track came inside the 1" buffer, but as long as it did not obscure the three bolt holes (either end and the middle), it works fine. I just use small blocks of 12mm mdf as spacers and the bar sits above the track. The layout will be "down" most of the time, and will only be fully lifted when we want the room as a spare bedroom, so even if I did have to dismantle small sections, it would not be the end of the world. But the current track layout (above) sits within the 1" buffer, so there is no problem.

So Sandman, you are right, I disconnect the bars when the table is down, and yes, it puts a nice little load on the whole hoist mechanism. And also yes, I stop the lift 5-6" from the ceiling to attach the safety chains. Fortunately the ceiling is quite low, and I'm quite tall. I'll take a quiick pic of the bars in the down position to show you what I mean.
 

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Ok, this shows the bars in the down position, and bolted onto the table, inside the box. The table has a steel ladder frame inside it, so there is a 2" by 1" steel member (same gauge as the mounting bar) directly underneath the mounting bar as shown. There are rivnuts in the top of the ladder frame that the bolts drop into. If I was planning to have the table up at ceiling height for any length of time, I'd drape the safefy chains over the side of the box, so that I could grab them easily when the box is near the ceiling.

 

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Joel LeNoir
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WOW!!!! I believe that you will be seeing quite a few track layouts with your lift mechanism in the future. Thanks for sharing with us and a big welcome.

Joel
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Happy to help if anyone in the UK fancies a go, but Vancouver might be a bit far.......

Any comments on the track layout itself? Most of the other SSD layouts I've seen on here seem to to be simpler (ie less "dense"...) and with extra lanes around the pit/start area. Am I missing something?
 

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QUOTE (1 32 slotter @ 26 May 2010, 09:42) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>WOW!!!! I believe that you will be seeing quite a few track layouts with your lift mechanism in the future. Thanks for sharing with us and a big welcome.

Joel

Stricko
I will be definitely using your hoist setup as a reference for constructing mine when I return to Aussie. Thanks again for sharing some of your great ideas.

As for your track ideas It obviously appears that you want to make the most out of the available space and get as much track in as possible. I say play with your layout first and fine tune the layout before fixing it permanently. If you plan to add scenery just remember how much weight it will add .... no-one wants to hear about a flattened guest that may use the bed sometime if it does bring the roof down!


Cheers
 
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