Baseboard/Workbench Support Structure For Your SCARM Layout

By default, SCARM is showing simple solid green-colored baseboard/workbench surface in 3D mode where the terrain and all other tracks and objects are placed. But most of the real layouts are standing on special tables with wooden legs and frames for structural reinforcement.

This article will show you how to represent the support structure of your layout in SCARM. The drawing of the structural elements is important, because it will allow you to see where is safe to place the turnout motors and mechanisms, holes for wires, signals and other below-the-surface items.

Let’s start with a sample layout which will look as showed below (click on the images to enlarge them).

This is a simple oval with just one branch – enough for our example. The scale is TT 1:120 and the dimensions of the baseboard are 1320mm x 640mm (52″ x 25″). This will require a small plywood table with four legs and simple wooden frame.

Let’s start with the legs. As our table is small and lightweight, I will use four 50x50mm (2×2″) slats, which will be represent with the figures in SCARM.

To display the Figures in the selection panel, open the Libraries list and click on Figures item, located at the bottom of the menu.

Select Rectangle figure and draw a square with 50mm (2″) sides somewhere on the plot.

To draw a Rectangle figure, select it, click and hold left mouse button on the plot, drag to form a rectangle and release the button when ready.
Look at the Status bar to see the size of the sides while drawing.
See How to work with figures FAQ topic for more info about using of the figures.

The height of our table needs to be about 700mm (27,5″) in order to be easily operated while seating on a chair. This value needs to be entered in the “Height” field of Properties window. To get the program to draw a figure below the baseboard in 3D mode, you need to set the “Vertical position” parameter to negative value of -700mm (-27.5″). And finally, select some color in yellow/brown nuances, which will be representing the wood. Let’s summarize the Properties:

Vertical position = -700mm (-27,5″)
Height = 700mm (27.5″)
Color >> click to open Color selection dialog and choose some brown shaded color

Now, let’s place the leg in the top left corner of the drawing. Click over the leg figure to select it and then select “Objects” > “Align” command from the menu – Alignment window will appear. Select both “Left” and “Top” buttons and then press OK – the figure (leg) will be placed in the top left corner of the baseboard as showed below.

Now copy and paste the leg and then align it to the top right corner. Do this again for the bottom left and bottom right legs and you should have a track plan like below.

If your layout is flat like the sample one, you will probably see some parts of the legs on top, if their color is different than color of the terrain. To hide the top part of each leg in the 3D viewing mode, you need to place the legs with 1mm (0.05″) lower. Select the four legs, then open the Properties window (“Objects” > “Properties”) and set the Height to -701mm (-27.55″).

The frame will consist of several 25x50mm (1×2″) slats. So I will draw several rectangles (or just one with several copies after) with width of 25mm (1″) and Height parameter in the Properties of 50mm (2″). The length will depend of the placement in the frame. The slat figures can be positioned by moving (using “Move” command from the context menu) and/or edited (by selecting of the control points and dragging them with the mouse) to the correct positions. You can also rotate them (using “Rotate” command from the context menu) if you need a support element at 45-degree or some other angle. Again, the Alignment feature may be of great help, especially on rectangular layouts like this. The table with supporting frame is showed below.

Now it is visible, that the curved feeder track in the right semicircle is not placed correctly, because the holes for the power supply wires will hit the frame. It needs to be exchanged with the lower curve (they are with same geometry). Other elements in the track route seems OK and are not in conflict with supporting structure.

And finally, a chair and plot for operating wheel (again drawn with the figures) will complete the whole scene.

You can create more complex support structures in SCARM by using of the figures, like the layout structure below, seen on

Also, you can use the figures interface to represent the room environment like walls, door, windows, furniture and so on, to be able to see where your layout will be placed and how your plan will fit into the room or area, designated to it. You can download the complete sample layout from the links below and experiment with it.

Sample layout

See also
How to work with figures

9 thoughts on “Baseboard/Workbench Support Structure For Your SCARM Layout

  1. A question if I may….

    I’m done my 14′ by 4′ baseboard. If I zoom in very close to a point in the exact middle can I somehow slide across to either end without zooming out? Intuitively I held down the left mouse button and tried to slide across but that didn’t work….

    Thanks, Steve

  2. Wait! I got it!
    Click on the point and scroll in…. then scroll back out and click on the new point and scroll in

  3. You can pan horizontally/vertically using the keyboard arrow keys.

  4. I have a circular wall as workbench, almost like the shape of an apple segment. So there is one straight edge, followed by a curved shape joining both sides of the straight edge. We measured every 500mm along the straight edge and took a measurement to the curved wall. When I click view, show size and area, the program gives me a measurement of the straight edge and then measurements from each point to point along the curved wall. I am looking for a drop down measurement from the curved wall to the straight edge. Is this possible? Thank you

  5. Can you give more information on how to make a support structure with more that one level? Similar to I have worked with Figures to make supports and framing. I would like to run trains on more that one level.

  6. Thank-you for the information. I will try it and see how I do. I see on the SCRAM website there is a Model Train Simulator demo software. I ordered my version of the SCARM software though Atlas Model Railroad. Can I download the demo version of the train simulator and if so how I do it?

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