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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few locomotives that are mainly "Shelf Queens" gathering dust. The problem is the dust. There is nothing wrong with the locomotives other than they are too large, metal, or otherwise unsuitable for me to leave them on my crawl space layout.

I would like to buy or make some Plexiglas display cases for them but I don't know what to look for or how difficult it would be to make my own.

There are a few different options I would like to consider.

1. Perhaps the ability to run a locomotive in place inside the case - roller bearing wheel mounts for the drivers and track for the rest. A smoking loco would create a separate problem. This idea is probably a non-starter because if the box blocked the dust it would also probably block the sound and smoke so probably a lift off top would make the most sense.

2. With or without a base. Since my primary concern is dust prevention, I would perhaps only need a cover that simply fits over the loco and the track it is on as opposed to a display case with a base strong enough to support the locomotive and tender. The base could alternatively simply be another piece of Plexiglas.

3. Home made vs purchased.


The simplest and cheapest solution would seem to be to go to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy precut pieces of Plexiglas and then glue the pieces together but...

A. They would probably only make major cuts and I would have to make the final (finished) cuts and I would not know how to make smooth and straight cuts in Plexiglas

B. I would not know how to glue the pieces of Plexiglas together so it looked nice when I was finished. I would also not know what type of glue to use.

What have others done and how satisfied are you both with particular brands of premade displays and also home made displays?

I am not looking for display cases to impress anyone however they would have to be nice enough to keep my wife from objecting to them. The cases would be intended to display only and would not need to be strong enough to transport the locomotives.

I think that I will need 5 or 6 sided Plexiglas boxes in 3 sizes large enough to hold a MTH Challenger, MTH Big Boy and LGB White Pass Mikado (all sitting on track - with or without rollers). I mention the particular locomotives because their length is such that thicker Plexiglas may be needed to support the necessary length of the boxes.

An additional function of the display cases would be to protect the locomotives from the flow of hot dry air from the home heating - to protect the wire insulation and electronics from drying out.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. The thickness of the Plexiglas would be important but I don't know how thick it should be.

It may be that it would not be practical for me to try to make my own cases. I just don't know as I've never tried anything like this before.

Thanks,

Jerry
 

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I go over mine with a "swiffer" duster when they look too awful, or the secretary complains. Only takes a moment and cleans them up nicely.
 

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Hey Jerry,

First off welcome back, it's good to see you back on MLS.  I hope you've been doing good.

On the display cases, I've opted to just buy them, both from the same place and have been very happy with them.

http://www.ccase.com/Trains/trainprices.html

I unfortunately can't weigh in any on making them yourself  as I didn't consider that very long as I wanted the curved corners and didn't want to attempt that myself.

In my case, the hassle I saved myself was worth anything extra that I paid for them.  Perhaps you could see if they(or someone else) would sell you just the plexiglass top?

Here's both in one shot but I guess you really can't see them that

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the comments.

I checked Tap Plastic, Hartland and Classic Case but because I need a case over 36" but less than 48" (36" is too small for the WP Mikado and pillars at the end of the mantel limit maximum length to 47 1/2") that doubled the price to about $200 so I'll have to look for a different alternative.

Regards,

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Unfortunately that is not even a remote possibility.

My wife would do some notching if I did. Just bringing up the subject would be a very bad idea. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif

Jerry



Posted By Road Foreman on 03/14/2008 12:28 PM
Jerry,

Notch the pillars!!

BulletBob
 

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Jerry,
Email me at: [email protected] . Tell me your dimensions and if they are inside or outside. I'll get you a price for the material cut-to-size and the solvent cement to assemble the case, with your talent you could glue it up yourself and save a bundle of cash.
Russ
 

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Jerry:

I have an idea you may not thought of.

I had the same issues - wanted to put the B'mann K27 on a bookcase against a wall so it would be seen when you come in the front door, and also when walking by. (Believe it or not the wife actually encouraged me to take her stuff off the top of the bookcase and put the K27 on - she likes the loco that much! I didn't argue.) I hesitated at the estimated $150 to $200+ price for a plexiglass-type case, but I wanted to protect the loco from dust.

In thinking about it I noticed that on the paintings on the our walls the dust got on the frames but not the paintings themselves, i.e. the dust drops pretty much vertically.

So I designed a simple railroad station roof that overhangs the track. It extends about 1.5" beyond the loco near side, 2" beyond both ends, the lowest point in the back is about 2" higher than the loco, and it angles up from the backside of the loco (so I can see it walking close by.)

I made this out of 3/16" foam board I got at an office supply place and it is glued together with clear caulking (comes out white but cures clear.) It is easy to cut with pointed hobby knives. I built the foam board station roof and roadbed on and to cover a 2"x8" piece of lumber that the loco sits on - a little higher this way - and under the track.

How's it working? Almost perfect. I get about 3% dust on the outer edges of the loco and just blow it off every two weeks as I walk by.

Did I paint or color the white foam board? No, it makes a great stark contrast to the black loco and highlights it well.

Been thinking about puting lights (like white xmas tree lights) under the near roof edge (with a valance), and maybe at the bottom of the roadbed and behind the drive wheels so the light would shine through. I'm thinking it would look cool, but I've not done this yet.

What was the cost? About $12 in foam board (had some waste left over,) 50 cents caulking, prorated $1? for the 2"x8"x36" lumber, and 3 to 4 hours time (design, draw, cut, glue.)

DougC
 

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Posted By Jerry McColgan on 03/14/2008 12:14 PM
Thanks for the comments.

I checked Tap Plastic, Hartland and Classic Case but because I need a case over 36" but less than 48" (36" is too small for the WP Mikado and pillars at the end of the mantel limit maximum length to 47 1/2") that doubled the price to about $200 so I'll have to look for a different alternative.

Regards,

Jerry

Jerry, I got some 42" x 24" pieces from Russ at a FRACTION of that cost.  
I used it in creating a large building. 

It's hard to see in this picture, but I found it VERY easy to assemble, and very strong.
 

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I wonder if a wall mounted (kitchen type) cabinet with glass doors may be a display option.  Get kind of a larger one for several engines.  Install some of those 12 volt lights inside and mirrors as someone suggested.  Big downsides are you need wall space and they are not mobile.  That would sure look nice tho.

With the way a lot of these cabinet shops operate now, they can add very nice touches to what is really a stock cabinet.

Take care, Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi Russ,

Thank you for your response.

I have sent you an email.

Regards,

Jerry



Posted By Russell Miller on 03/14/2008 8:33 PM
Jerry,
Email me at: [email protected] . Tell me your dimensions and if they are inside or outside. I'll get you a price for the material cut-to-size and the solvent cement to assemble the case, with your talent you could glue it up yourself and save a bundle of cash.
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As a follow up I ordered the pieces of acrylic precut from Russ at Tap Plastics and the materials arrived along with acrylic cement etc. yesterday. 

Last night I assembled the "custom" display case and both I and my wife are totally pleased with the finished display case, the materials and the informational video the Tap Plastics had available and with the prices of everything.







When I realized that a minor error on my part could have meant scrapping everything it became clear that if you really want guaranteed results it may not be a bad idea to buy a finished product where someone else took all the risks in building it.

For me the unusual dimensions I needed to be wide, tall and long enough to fit the loco yet short enough to fit between the pillars would have called for a prohibitively expensive custom model. Besides, I did not need or particularly want a base to set the case onto.

You can see that the loco fit on a 3' piece of track but a 4' piece would have been too long and would not have fit between the pillars.

Russ cut the pieces to the exact sizes I wanted so the finished case is 9" high, 8" deep and 40" wide. From any other source I was looking at double or triple the cost.

My thanks to Russ and to Tap Plastics as well as to everyone who contributed to this topic.

Gee, I actually built something. I hope it does not ruin my reputation.

Jerry
 

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It looks great Jerry. It seems to me that if the glue joints (which seems to me to be the most likely place to error) don't come out quite right one could always trim the edges with outside wood corner trim.
Nice looking mantel, made even nicer by the nicely displayed locomotive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi Greg,

I have to admit that the joints turned out far better than I expected. Apparently because a solvent rather than a glue is used the solvent seeps fully into the joints leaving excellent results.

When I started this project I was willing to accept amateurish results but now that it is done I am totally pleased.

On the other hand I can see how it would be quite easy to make a major mistake. I was lucky because my first effort turned out well.

Regards,

Jerry
 
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