HO Scale Noise Killer Roadbed
HO Scale Noise Killer Roadbed
This one came out of left field. Just for fun, we wondered if we could make HO scale roadbed that would reduce track noise so you can hear your beautiful Rapido sound locomotives. We think we’ve pulled it off.
Our new Noise Killer Roadbed is available in both ‘main line’ (3.5mm depth) and ‘branch line’ (2mm depth) profiles. It is made of a dense foam product that feels more like rubber and can be curved down to broad curves without being split into two halves. If you have tight curves you can easily cut it down the centre with a sharp Olfa or scissors.
Like all foam roadbed, it’s best to use Noise Killer Roadbed on layouts made from extruded foam insulation or another smooth surface rather than directly on plywood. Whatever your base, you’ll see how our roadbed drastically reduces wheel noise.
Main Line roadbed MSRP: $9.95 for 25 feet
Branch Line roadbed MSRP: $9.95 for 25 feet
Laying Noise Killer Roadbed – A few hints and tips
By John Hill
Despite the notes on the box of Noise Killer Roadbed, I found that to lay the Noise Killer Roadbed through a 30″ radius curve I had to split the roadbed into two halves length wise. Once this is done, you can treat roadbed the same as cork roadbed with one caveat, as this is a type of foam, I found that if I pressed hard with the razor blade that the roadbed would stretch a bit and throw off my cut, so several light force cuts is just the ticket.
The ECO underlay has 6mm poly backing which is bonded to the foam. If you have loads of time on your hands, try to peel the poly backing off. Don’t expect to get very far with layout construction before your number comes up for the seniors residence though, so I just trimmed off the poly at the end with scissors.
The underlay should be cut into strips of your choice of length. I used a couple pieces of scrap Noise Killer Roadbed as a guide, place each piece at the left and right corners of the underlay, line up the edges, carefully place your straight edge on the roll side of the roadbed, and proceed to trim off a length. Trim off the poly, ignore the adhesive strip at the other end.
To get ECO to conform to curves it is necessary to cut it length wise into two as even widths as possible. Taking your scissors, cut at roughly evenly spaced intervals along the outside edge of the curve, how far you cut the width is up to you, after a couple of curves you’ll get the hang of how deep and how closely spaced the cuts should be.
Apply the caulk along one side of the centre line of your curve, spread out thinly, lay the ECO on the caulk and press home. Repeat for the other half of your curve. The inside piece of ECO will be slightly longer than the outside piece, trim it even, if required, and secure with the push pins. Carry on with the straight sections.
As the ECO has a poly barrier on one side, the caulk will take a day or two to setup then cure, during this time, the caulk will still be workable to some extent so this means the ECO can be moved. It takes a long time for the caulk to cure because there is only a small exit for the moisture to evaporate, take this time to do something else like document your layout wiring.
Once the caulk has cured, proceed with the roadbed using a similar technique to curve the Noise Killer Roadbed. Just don’t do all those cuts as the roadbed will bend quite easily after being split. Use the caulk to adhere the roadbed to the ECO. If needed use push pins to hold in place.
That’s about it, have fun!
Holding track in place
Assuming that you will be ballasting your track, you would be wise to use some sort of vehicle to hold the track in place so the ballast adhesive will adhere to the Noise Killer Roadbed.
Enter ‘Mod Podge’ matte, I tried the gloss and the matte, they will both hold the track in place and the ballast adhesive should have no trouble sticking to the Mod Podge. I prefer the matte as it dries matte. Both hold the track in place well yet the track can be pried off the Noise Killer Roadbed with very little damage to the roadbed so track adjustments are easier.
Mod Podge matte should make a good ballast adhesive too, I haven’t tried though… yet.
Noise Killer Roadbed is just shy of 1 3/4″ wide, so a roll of ECO yields 25ft x 12 = 300″/1 3/4 = 171 pieces x 3 = 513ft of underlay, enough to do a good sized layout.
Rapido Trains Inc. Noise Killer Roadbed
ECO brand laminate flooring underlay, sourced mine from Home Depot, 3ft X 25ft, approx $65 CDN less tax
Latex caulk of your choice
Single edged razor blades (buy a box of 100)
Straight edge, preferably metal
Scissors (not your wife’s dress making ones either)