Sunday 11 August 2013

Freshwater gets Cup-Holders, er, I mean CAB-Holders

If you have ever used hand held controllers to operate a layout, you will know that you need somewhere to put them when you need to deal with a derailment, or drink some tea. Often this means hanging it over the backscene, or letting it dangle down to the floor.

On previous layouts, I have used Velcro to allow the controller to be stuck at various places at the back of the layout. This is very handy, but removing the controller from the Velcro can cause some fairly major earthquakes on the layout.

However, I have been given a pre-production kit from Merg to try out, which has been designed by Howard Watkins specifically to hold the Merg CANCAB controllers. The kit consists of 8 laser cut pieces of MDF. The instructions advise fitting them together dry at first to be sure how they assemble, and this is a good idea. The laser cutting is so accurate that the pieces fit together perfectly, and it will hold together very well without gluing. Having satisfied myself that I had got it right, I then reassembled it using a bare minimum of white PVA woodworking glue. The pieces fit together so well, there is just no room for excess glue. Once the glue was set, it appears to be very strong.

I have now given it a quick spray of Halfords grey primer to protect the wood from moisture.

With the optional 8th piece fitted, the CANCAB locates in such a way that all the buttons and speed control knob are accessible without having to remove the controller. This can be a useful feature.

There are various screw holes for fitting to the layout, but I opted for self-adhesive Velcro. This will allow me to remove the holders and keep them safe in a box when transporting the layout, without having to resort to a screw driver.

Unfortunately, at this point, I do not know when the kit will be generally available, or what the cost will be, but I think it will be a 'must have' for all CANCAB users, and I will definitely be ordering more.