I’ve been pondering the roundhouse doors for a couple of days. Earlier this year, I came up with the idea to drive the doors with magnets beneath the layout. However, the tangle of rods and levers beneath the baseboard was hard to visualize. So today, I thought I would sketch it out. It still looks too complex to work nicely.
Unless the rods are quite heavy, I can see them twisting and bending, rather than pulling the doors open smoothly. This is similar to a problem I had with driving a couple of turnouts that overhang the window sill. There the solution turned out to be a heavy block of wood, riding in an equally heavy guide.
Applying the same idea here looks like it could work again. All the push rods turn out to be slabs of 12 mm plywood riding in slots like drawers. The drawers have holes in the middle to allow the vertical axles of the doors to pass through, and somehow engage with the ends of the levers that move the magnets.
The knobs to push and pull the drawers can then pass through the fascia and line up perfectly with a plan view of the roundhouse so the doors are easy to identify.
There are still some details to work out, like how to engage the ends of the magnet levers so that the drawer assembly can be pulled off if anything ever stops working (or to get it working properly in the first place!). Also, I need to sort out some scale hinges.
However, overall I am much happier with the drawer idea. They simplify the geometry substantially and they should have a nice robust feel to them.