Roundhouse Door Mechanism Design

I’m on a sea cruise to Nanaimo today to visit some family. Not much will happen on the turntable, but the enforced downtime gives me an opportunity to refine and explore my thoughts on making the roundhouse doors operate.

The plan is to drive them with magnets beneath the layout; operating doors that need to be opened from above the layout, particularly those on a building that faces slightly away from the viewer, are asking for damage. I thinned down the area in front of the doors to 1/16″ so the magnets have a hope of affecting steel in the doors. A test showed that a small magnet can easily make a pin move around on the other side of the wood and PC board sandwich. So, it should work.

Today I mostly worked on the design for the mechanism below the surface. It’s based on a Z or C-shaped lever, depending on whether the door opens to the left or right. Each door will have its own pull-rod, as in real life you would have to open the doors one at a time too.

Roundhouse door mechanism

It will be crowded under the bench top with six pull-rods converging in a relatively small space. In fact, I think I’ve taken the design about as far as I can without resorting to Sketchup.


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