Luke Towan
October 23, 2023
3 min read

Dust Prevention

It’s a continuous battle for model railroaders to protect their layouts from dust, and for may of us it’s too late to really do anything about it because the layout has been designed without dust in mind.

In those cases it’s just a matter of dust maintenance rather than dust elimination. And I’ve made plenty of those style layouts. It’s just a matter of regularly cleaning the layout to avoid dust build up.

However, with this new layout I’m building dust was apart of the design process. I’ve designed the layout as a shadow box which means the layout has a roof, and I’ve filled in the gaps in the roof to prevent dust drifting down and settling on top of the layout.

That’s just one necessity to help avoid dust, but that doesn’t stop dust coming in through the sides, so as a second mitigator I’ve added some clear Perspex panels to the sides. This will stop most dust drifting in through the side.

Next is gap filling, I’ve filled in as many gaps in the baseboard and roof sections as possible.

These steps alone will certainly help stop most dust settling on the layout however, atmospheric changes between the inside and outside of the layout will mean the layout will ‘breath’ for a lack of a better word. As the outside pressure increases the lower inside pressure in the layout will slowly suck air in, thus dust will still work its way through the tiny gaps between the Perspex panels and any other tiny gaps.

This is where the final mitigator is implemented, adding positive pressure to the layout. This will be done in a similar fashion to how computer cases stop dust. Basically I’ll have 4 whisper quiet fans along the top of the layout, these will operate continuously to provide positive airflow to the inside of the layout, the air being forced into the layout will also pass through an air filter to remove any particulates from the air.

This should provide clean air to the inside of the layout and the air will flow out the gaps in the Perspex thus forcing any dust out and away from the layout.

Their is a lot involved in this type of setup, which is why this really only works for this specific type of design but in the end these steps could be applied retrospectively to completed layouts to at least help in one way or another.

Additionally, having a continuous airflow will also help prevent mould, where I live it is very humid in the summer and mould can be a real problem, especially inside a hot humid container! Thus the airflow should help limit that, plus I have a good dehumidifier I can use in the garage during the really humid days if needed.

Over the next few days I’ll be finishing up on filling in the gaps and also creating the fan assembly. The next tutorial video shouldn’t be too far away.

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