Luke Towan
July 18, 2023
3 min read

Building Modular Benchwork

In this video, which is the first video in the series, we’ll be going over some of the basic benchwork for making each of the model railroad modules.

The video takes off with the main modules already constructed, the reason I’ve skipped over the initial construction is because each layout design will be different which means the dimensions between different layout built by different people will all be slightly different.

For that reason I’ve skipped over those steps and gone straight into the hardware side of the modules that will make joining them a simple job that is perfect every time.

Each module is open grid as shown in the video, the dimensions are all shown. Something that isn’t clearly shown in the video is the to fascia support. This is made using 30x19mm pine, I chose this thinner pine for the top because it is much lighter in weight and it is important to reduce the weight as much as possible for the top overhanging fascia so that it doesn’t start to droop down, especially once we attach the lighting panels and decorative fascia.

The top fascia comes out the same distance as the lower main module, which is 600mm. Because this is quite a long overhang for thin pine I made 4 braces in total along the length of the module, I did this for each module. In addition to having 4 supports I also cut 4 angle brackets to give extra support as seen below.

These help with the downward force that would be imparted on each of the supports. It also helps the each support connect to the vertical pine as well, I needed it to be strong because there will always be someone who will put a bit of body weight on the top fascia unintentionally, maybe just to rest their hand or even to put a cup or drink up there.

The top structure, which includes both the horizontal beams that will hold the fascia and the LED light panels as well as the vertical beams that hold the plywood for the backdrop are mounted to the main module structure.

I had the intention of having these be removable however after some consideration I decided against that!

A notch was cut in each of the vertical beams so that it could be drilled and screwed permanently to the lower module. I used Kregg screws for this, as I did where possible on the rest of the modules because it leaves a nicer and cleaner looking result. If you have the time and patience I definitely recommend using Kregg screws.

I also used wood glue to ensure nothing was going to break away. For the edge vertical beams I had a second brace piece so that I could get the edge to be flush, that way I should have no gaps between the modules.

As for the corner overhang, I basically did the same thing with the supports however I treated these similar to the base modules and made them as an open grid type design whilst also being connected to the vertical supports on both edges for added rigidity. The corner sections were larger than the centre sections and had a much larger overhang, being 1100mm.

The droop on these are a bit more noticeable compared to the middle modules however once they are all connected and bolted together they all support each other really well and any drooping is not noticeable.

The rest of the information is mostly found withing the video, however if you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment below.


Download the files associated with the project. All files are included in a zip for convenience.


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