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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Tools | Workbenches
Module Stand


For those of us who are model railroaders, but have very limited space available to display our works, we have to be creative. The room I have available is also my home office, so certain concessions have to be made. Floor space is at a premium. Dedicating floor space for a layout is an option (which I exercised in my previous version of the layout), but made the room very crowded and cramped. So, I decided to look up. Vertically-speaking, there is quite a bit of unused space available. As you can gather from the rest of my web site, I work on one module at a time. I want that module to be displayed so that I can work on it at any time. However, we also have 5 cats, most of whom enjoy laying on the layout. So, I wanted to come up with a design that both reduced or eliminated the need for taking up floor space, and that would discourage or eliminate the cats from jumping up on the layout. I decided to build the stand, shown here in a CAD drawing, that sits on top of my office desk, which is roughly the same size as my module.

The red part represents the module. The yellow parts are the horizontal surfaces of the stand, and the blue parts the vertical surfaces of the stand. The top of the stand is at 27" above the desk, so plenty of clearance for my computer monitor and my head. The yellow surface that the module sits on is the same size as the module (2' x 4'), while the legs were positioned such that they fit tightly around the desk's top.

And here it is built. I made the whole thing out of 3/4" furniture-grade plywood. The pieces are all connected using biscuits and wood glue. The four squares in the corners of the legs are what rests on the desk surface. Nothing is attached to the desk itself; the whole unit can be lifted up. The way I designed it, the stand cannot move around on the desk. The three horizontal spans between the legs (bottom) also act as a great stop for things rolling off my desk. The module, currently, sits loose on the stand. I plan on making some small vertical blocks along all four sides to make sure the module cannot slide, but it will never be attached to the stand. Other future enhancements are to paint the stand the same dark green color as the module's sides. I even thought about putting in some shelves on the inside of the legs to store desk-related items, such as pens, the calculator, notepads, etc.

The layout "ground" level winds up being at 62" above the floor, but since I am 6'4", that is right below eye-height for me. This is what I see when I stand next to the desk.