On Interface Plates

As long as I’m thinking about module designs in a general way I should pay some attention to the interface plates that serve as the mating surface between two modules.

Interface plates should provide a way to roughly align one module with another. They should also either provide the clamping mechanism that securely joins one module to the next or it should provide a suitable surface for an external clamping device.

Probably the most common way of fastening one module to another is the use of C-clamps on the interface plate. Now C-clamps are probably not the ideal choice of fasteners for a number of reasons. If we assume for now though that the fastener of choice is the C-clamp then you do not want to use a soft wood for the clamping surface. Pine and even most hardwoods would soon begin to have clamp marks that begin to interfere with proper clamping after awhile. For this reason, a good birch or mahogany plywood is the first choice for wood interfaces.

The interface plate needs to be sturdy but the main reason to use plywood is to hold up against the ravages of C-clamps.

The obvious question. Is there a better fastener than a C-clamp?

More later.

2 thoughts on “On Interface Plates”

  1. The Stanley “Quick Grip” clamps have non-marring plastic faces on their jaws but are much more expensive per clamp than a “C”. Large spring clamps should be suitable in most situations and are often on sale in lots of 4. A standard carriage bolt and wingnut would be fine except for the need to make quite a sloppy hole to accomodate differences in construction, and the possibility that a visiting module may not be drilled at a compatible location. The key is to localise the clamping effect to an area directly under the track bed. This may involve carving away the foam and/or notching the interface plate to accomodate the jaw depth.

  2. Forget RTR modules (Especially Domi-No’s)

    Any St@nd@rd focuses on the interface plates.

    – How they allign.
    – How they connect/clamp securely.
    – How the track(s) allign.
    – How the electrical connections are made.
    – How the legs are attached.

    So, forget about pre-fab modules, and focus on pre-fab interface plates.

    Have all the trackage, wiring and clamping pre-built into the interface plate. With an easy way to attach the rest of the module to the pre-fab interface plates.

    Built in electrical terminal strips and hermaphoditic electrical and track connectors built into the interface plates so that they snap together and lock…


    Happy Railroadin’

    The Tin Goat

    Ron Wm. Hurlbut (On30, Hn42 & UU)

    The West Toronto Junction

    Ontario, Dominion of Canada

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