A Railroad with Relevance

Layout Lighting Panels – Part I

Written By: Alan - Aug• 13•12

This past weekend and then again tonight I have cut and installed the first of the layout lighting panels. I really like the results. There is a photo gallery at the bottom of this post but the pictures don’t convey the true effect. It looks like sunlight under the valance. So cool! Happy happy happy.

After a bit of trial and err I have come to the conclusion that scoring and snapping is the best method for sizing the panels and making the curved cuts. Score and snap is the norm for straight cuts of acrylic but I wasn’t so sure how well it would work on curves. Turns out it works just fine. The scoring is a bit challenging to stay in one groove and I score it 6 or 7 times to make sure it practically falls apart when flexed. So far it is working great.

The layout lighting panels are clear cracked ice (Plaskolite Optix 1420083A) whereas the aisle light panels are white cracked ice (Plaskolite Optix 1420084A). The reason for this is color close to the panel shows through the clear but not the white. The ceiling grid is so close to the bottom of the floor joists that you could see the wood color with clear panels. For this reason I used white in the ceiling even though not as much light comes through. Over the layout I want all the light I can get and there is nothing close to the panels that might show through so clear panels it is.

BTW the shape finder measuring tool is working sweet. The holes in the yardsticks where the coat hanger wire goes through are starting to get a little sloppy from use. A few drops of water on the wood around the hole swells the wood enough to tighten that back up for now. Hope this little trick holds out until all the panels are in.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Dave May says:

    Looks Nice. Where did you get the metal railing/framing between acrylic sheets? I have a similar setup but am using homemade wood frames.


  2. alan says:

    Dave, it is made with common suspended ceiling rails and angles bought from Home Depot. On a normal 2’x4′ grid they snap together. I riveted them together because my application required irregular angles and lengths. Easy stuff to work with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.