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Building a Quonset Hut:

This project is not typical of our ScaleModelPlans.com plan packages for various reasons. Firstly, there are no downloadable plans, per se, as it was an experiment and involves skills and tools not typically needed for many of our plan packages. I am sharing it with you because I feel that I have experienced some success with the endeavor, and I'm sure that some of you will as well.

The most demanding skill in building this model is soldering. Some metalworking tools will come in handy too.

Model Railroad Quonset Hut

Quonset Hut

I think it's a common trait for model builders to resist throwing anything away. There is always a feeling that whatever scrap of leftover material you have might just come in handy for something.

I happen to have a 1:1 scale Quonset hut at the end of my driveway. I can't help but make the visual association to a tin can whenever I look at it.


Model Train Plans for Structures

Disclaimer: Information provided on these pages are for informational and entertainment purposes only. Owners of these pages offer no guarantees and assume no responsibility or legal liability of any type with respect to the content, and will not be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by using or misusing the information contained, and anyone using these methods does so at his/her own risk. By viewing this information you agree that you will not hold, or seek to hold, owners responsible or liable with respect to the content. Processes illustrated should not be undertaken without a complete understanding and knowledge of the safe and proper use of all related tools and processes.

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A quick ransacking of the kitchen pantry came up with an assortment of possible candidates for my tin can quonset hut project. Quonset huts come in an almost infinite length, width, and height Since I model mostly in N and HO scales I was able to find several candidates for the experiment.

Notice that some of these cans have a pull tab opener. These are the ones that I chose to use.

For O scale modelers, several soup companies make large commercial sizes of cans. You might get stuck eating tomato soup for a month, but it's for the good of your layout, right?


scratch model building tutorial

 

After figuring out what to do with the beans, corn, olives etc., and washing out the cans, the next step was to cut the cans in half lengthwise. You could use tin snips or a cut-off wheel. I chose to use a band saw with a fine metal cutting blade. Keep in mind that the saw kerf will shorten the height of the structure, so it might be a good idea to cut several cans.

 


scratch building tutorial

 

Several of the cans I looked at had a smooth section at the top and bottom along the sides. My prototype quonset hut has ribbing completely along it's length so I wanted to remove these sections.

I found that if you made careful, clean cuts in just the right spot the trimmed half-rings would actually snap in place onto the main shell.

 


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I wanted to extend the length of the structure, which necessitated splicing sections together.

Tools needed:

  • Propane torch (soldering head preferred)
  • acid core solder
  • soldering paste
  • steel wool
  • sandpaper

For any soldering to work, mating surfaces need to be clean. Use sandpaper and/or steel wool to clean the mating surfaces. The inside of food cans are coated with acrylic or polyester epoxies or other polymers. This coating will need to be scraped or sanded off completely where the mating surfaces will join. Spread soldering paste on the cleaned surfaces. I used the 'sweat soldering' method.

Try to clamp the surfaces as tightly together as possible while soldering.

 

 



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Both end walls should have scale siding. I used Northeastern Scale Lumber "Steel" siding. It is actually basswood but is called Steel siding because it is designed to look like corrugated steel siding. We used this siding on Plan 405 70's -House Trailer and Plan 480 - 1960's House Trailer.

Trace the inside of the can onto the backside of the siding.


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Clapboard or B&B siding will work but I decided to go for a complete metal structure look.

 

Northeastern Scale Lumber Steel siding


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Normally I use CA glue but decided to use a hot melt glue gun to join the metal to wood.

*NOTE: Fit any doors and windows to the end walls prior to gluing the walls in place.

 



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Measure and fit flooring material flush with the outside edges of the side walls.


Fitting Openings:

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One way to mark window and door openings for cutting out is to coat the backside edges of the styrene window or door with a liberal amount of water based felt marker, (Crayola kids markers work well).


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Being careful not to smudge the ink, press the door firmly into it's intended position on the wall.


Fitting Openings:

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Follow the outside edge of the ink pattern to cut out the opening.



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Quonset huts often use what's called a 'grade beam' foundation along the perimeter of the structure. A grade beam foundation is a re-bar reinforced wide concrete beam that extends out beyond the outside edges of the walls. You can use strips of balsa, basswood or styrene. This can also help to cover or hide the imperfections of the raw edges of the cut cans.

 

There you have it. One less can for the landfill!



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Disclaimer:

Information provided in these tutorials is for informational purposes only. Owners of this website offer no guarantees and assume no responsibility or liability of any type with respect to the content of these tutorials and will not be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by using or misusing the information on this site, and anyone using these methods does so at his/her own risk. By viewing these articles you agree that you will not hold, or seek to hold, Owners of this site responsible or liable with respect to the content of this site. Processes illustrated on this website should not be undertaken without a complete understanding and knowledge of the safe and proper use of all related tools and processes.

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