Designing layouts for friends has several big advantages.
1. It let's me design layouts, which I love.
2. It forces me to think outside the box and makes me work in areas I normally wouldn't design in like passenger service or cattle transportation.
3. It let's me learn more about layout design.
4. Usually they are smaller layouts and its a bigger challenge to fit what is needed into a small space.
5. You make solid friends when you spend quality time picking their brains!
I've designed many layouts for friends and I get a great kick out of seeing them built! Its like having a child!
Let me introduce you to my buddy, the Mighty Paul Thorum. Paul loves his trains as much as I do and wants a layout. There is a catch to this one. He has some severe medical issues and currently resides in a rehabilitation center where the nursing staff is helping him get better. Even with his health issues the Mighty Paul doesn't sit still. So he needs a layout to fit in a 7' x 7' area in the rehab center. Oh, there are LOTS of issues with this one! I'll be glad to design it for you...I'm up for a challenge! The rehab center has approved the layout...but I'm not sure they know what is coming.
The Mighty Paul says "design me a shelf layout to produce steel and I don't want a tail chaser." That's all well and good, but he is only giving me a 7' x 7' space to work in. Ok, we'll see what we can do.
We have to pay very close attention to parameters. I've seen Paul's room and it is very big for a rehab room. It has big windows, a computer desk, and lots of floor space. The 7' x 7' space is mostly a corner, but since he has actually more room than that, my first thought is to make it mobile. Then push it back in the corner. That means wheels.
No round-de-round means we don't need loops, which is good. A 7' x 7' area is about what it takes for a 4x8 that we are so used to looking at. Throw all those plans out. But maybe we can be more creative with the space.
Paul was talking about N scale, but he really doesn't have the steady hands and fine motor skills for that, so I begged him to stay with HO. Actually, if he didn't want steel, I'd guide him to On30 since it is cheap and much larger.
The Walther's steel mill kits are what he wants to use. These are big and expensive kits. We need to make them go a long way. I've got an ap for that!
Moving layouts, as this one will be, will need some special consideration. This one can't tip over when pushed to be moved. It might need to lock in place. Wiring needs to be kept to the unit itself. Lots to consider.
So get your ideas ready! I'll need your help. Post comments!
For you future Layout Design Wizards, I'm going to start adding words of WIZdom to each post.
1. Designing for others is a great skill builder as it forces you into areas you wouldn't normally go, makes you listen to THEIR needs instead of your own, and it makes you attuned to their limitations.
2. Handicapped people or those with medical limitations have special needs that must be considered when designing a layout. Good evaluations and heart to heart chats lead to understanding of needs.
3. Steel mills are HUGE!