A new cabinet for my H0 Märklin trains :-)

It was already some months ago, that I was already thinking about building a new cabinet for the H0 Märklin trains. The old cabinet became to small, trains where already standing in 2 rows in this cabinet, only allowing us to see half of our collection.
So, the idea for the new cabinets was already shaped, before the “cabinet accident” happened a month ago. Only, now it was time to actually build it, in as less time as possible. So, while still scraping bits and pieces together for the damaged trains, I started printing yet some brackets for the renewed cabinet.
I also wanted to add some interesting lighting behind the cabinet. The result can be seen in the next pictures. I used WS2812B RGB LED-strings for the back. Those LEDs are all connected by only 3 wires to a main controlled, and each led can be individually controlled. (color and brightness)

Furthermore, I wanted to be able to see all my trains. Because in the meanwhile, I also got a new big-ass monitor (48″ – curved – 4K, mainly for my CAD designs), this means that the
cabinet needs to start “higher” (to put the monitor under the cabinet, because it was previously sitting in front of the 2 bottom shelves …

So, the decision was made, to put the trains in 3 steps behind eachother, winning some space in height, but still be able to see all trains. I wanted a “lightweight” cabinet, not a traditional one with shelves. (also, to see the most of the lighting in the back)
I discovered that a U-profile is only 0,2mm different in width from real Märklin tracks.
A solution was found 🙂

I designed 3D printed brackets to sit over existing iron ones, put on vertical rails against the wall, putting a wooden backplate with LEDs, and an acrylic opal plate in front of the LEDs. Those plates would be held between the vertical rails, spaced apart with, mounting and spacing forseen on the 3D printed brackets themself …

On the pictures, you will see some rainbow colors on the backpanel, but I can virtually put
anything I want on the back. Take a look at Jinx and Glediator (or any other LEDmatrix controller software for that matter), I can put all those effects on my LED panel 🙂
(I still need to port my code to RaspBerry Pi, because currently I use my Macbook Pro Retina and an Arduino Mega, which is serious overkill and power hungry)

Some facts:
– cabinet width: 4m70
– cabinet height: 1m05
– number of LEDs: 2604
– 3D printed: 66 brackets – 55 plate connectors – 33 pieces for bottom – 33 pieces for top
– (about 4,5 KG PLA used)
– 135 U-profiles 50 cm / 30 U-profiles 28 cm

Still to do:
– finish the bottom and top, to make it dust-proof
– put some glass sliding doors in front of the cabinet
– make a second identical cabinet, for future locomotives 🙂


When the first 4 panels where installed, I created a small movie with about 10 effects from Glediator, playing on the LED panels …
cabinet effects – short movie

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