Introduction: BRIO Bridge Underpass Modification
My daughter loves to play with BRIO wooden trains.
Luckily I (or rather my mommy) had saved the set I had in my early 80's childhood.
This year for Christmas we bought her a wooden drawbridge piece, which she has had a blast playing with.
The only issue we (I) had with it was the base. The track ran across and over the bridge. The bottom plate was a solid piece of wood with 45˚angled sides.
This made it impossible for track to be laid under the bridge and the raised base also made it so her wooden boat couldn't sail under smoothly.
No problem, an excuse to use my saw! :)
I will show you how to simply add a straight piece of standard male/female BRIO track to the bottom bridge plate.
*Please note, no bridge trolls were harmed in the making of this modification...
Step 1: Step 1: Remove the Bridge & Find Center
The first thing we need to do is remove the little wooden/plastic bridge and bridge house from the abutments and base plate.
Using your trusty Philips screwdriver, pop the two small screws out of the plastic under the hinged end of the bridge.
The bridge now dangles from the drawstring and the Troll is hopping mad at you...
Remove the two recessed screws from the side of the bridge house.
Your bridge house may be attached with a little wood glue, mine was... sorta... the glue residue was visible but after removing the two screws the house fell into my hand as the glue wasn't bonding it to the bridge structure at all.
You may be tempted to remove the four screws holding the two bridge abutments to the base plate and yes, this would make cutting the base plate much easier, however, I found the glue holding the abutments on was quite strong so I left them as I didn't want to create more work.
Next, find the center of the base plate (hint, the answer is 4.5" purple monkey dishwasher...) :)
The wooden base plate is 9" end to end. Put a mark at 4.5".
You can of course place the underpass track anywhere, it doesn't have to be centered.. I suppose...
Step 2: Step 2: Make Your Mark(s)
Once center has been marked, I used my handy dandy square (must be named after me... huh...) to mark my center line so I can align it with the center of the piece of track I will splice in.
Once the track is centered to the base plate, you can easily mark out the exact width of the track on the top side of the base plate. These are your cut lines.
Make sure you actually get this fairly accurate, there is a little margin for over/under cutting but not much or the bridge won't close, or worse, will miss the resting abutment and fall down on the non-hinged end. And what's a knock on the Troll's head going to cost you?
Step 3: Step 3: Saw Time!
My favorite part, an excuse to use my saw!
Ever saw will differ. Clearances, miter/table/hand, blade size, etc..
I'm using my 10" miter just because it was easy to get to and had a good finishing blade already installed.
Be sure to use a high tooth count finishing blade and not a rough cut "it came with the saw" blade. Or you risk ripping/splintering the edges of the cut.
Also, before plugging the saw in, make sure you have adequate clearance to lower the blade arm, etc... the little plastic railroad stops may get in your way. I had clearance but only in the millimeter range. :)
You'll be holding the part fairly close to the kill zone, so as always, count your fingers before and after, play safe and consider using clamps.
Step 4: Step 4: Reassembly
We have the technology, we can rebuilt it...
Place your newly separated bridge pieces against your piece of track and verify your cut was accurate by holding the bridge in place and making sure it can close against the opposing abutment.
If the bridge piece is too long and won't close, cut a little more off the base plate. If it's too far and misses the abutment completely, then you took too much off and now need to devise a way to extend the bridge, or narrow your piece of track.
Once the stars have aligned and the bridge operates correctly over the new track, use your favorite wood glue and clamp it together, making sure to align the two base plate pieces evenly (so the bridge/abutment track groves align) and make sure all three pieces are sitting flat.
Clamp against the base plate ends, not the abutment sides to maintain a flat even bottom.
Step 5: Step 5: Finihsed!
Once your glue has dried you may want to throw the bottom of the bridge onto a light grit belt sander to clean up any slight imperfections in the bottom alignment.
Otherwise, enjoy your new fully armed and operational battle station! err.. BRIO train bridge! :)