Adjustable Legs for Modules

Background

As everyone knows, the Free-mo and Free-moN standards stipulate that modules can have grades that raise one end of the module some multiple of 3/4" above the other end. To accommodate this, the standards say (not necessarily in the clearest language) that any module must be able to be placed at some multiple of 3/4" above the minimum height of 50", up to a maximum height of 62".

The FAQ for the HO scale Free-mo standards suggest the height difference should be handled by placing 3/4" blocks under the legs to get the legs to the appropriate height. While this should work, I didn't want to be required to carry around any extra materials to have a module at a height other than 50" off the floor.

I had previously constructed a small module and used legs inspired by what Wes Steiner did on his Denway mini-mo module. On this module, Wes used electrical conduit for the legs, and attached them to his module using spring clips intended for holding broom handles (or similar) on a wall. While these work on the module I built, I found they aren't quite stable enough to hold a module without it being clamped to something else.

A solution

I was browsing at the hardware store looking for something I can't remember now, when I came across some extension poles and had a eureka moment. Why not use those for legs. The first ones I found were light duty poles, intended for use with scrub brushes. I then found some similar poles in the paint section, intended for use with paint rollers. The paint roller poles seemed sturdy enough that they just might work. At under $8 each, for a 3 foot to 6 foot pole, the price seemed reasonable.

Before I bought the poles, I decided to figure out how I was going to attach them to a module.

I thought about using the spring clips I had used for the conduit legs, but decided using there would still be a stability problem. I could bolt them to the module, but that would give me more parts to carry around.

About this time, I was watching one of those woodworking shows on TV, and they demonstrated the use of a wood threading kit to attach two parts of some project together. Investigating the wood threading kits, I discovered you could buy a tap that would work with the extension poles I found in the paint section, and that there was a WoodCraft store nearby where I could pick one up.

This was enough to get me started. After a trip to the hardware store and to WoodCraft, I had 4 3 foot to 6 foot extension poles and a 3/4" tap.

After drilling a hole through the solid plywood shelf I've been attaching to my endplates, I was able to tap the hole with the wood tap Note: This was done BEFORE attaching the foam top surface to the endplates

This results in a very firm connection between the module legs and the module top surface

The module itself (which is only 1 foot wide) is very stable when standing on 4 of these legs.

I've purchased a total of 8 legs now and have drilled and tapped holes on the two 4 foot sections of my new Blairstown Free-moN module. We'll see how the legs hold up.