N scale laser cut building kits

Lou has been in touc with his N scale laser cut building kits:

“Here’s some photos of an update on my layout.

Most larger buildings you see are laser cut using acrylic sheets.

Wood loads and wire spools on rolling stock are also done on a laser cutter and I sell them for both HO and NScale.

All track work and turnouts are hand laid using fastracks.

The layout is divided into 96 blocks with over 400 led’s for true signaling.

All touchscreen controlled using a proprietary processor that does not require a Windows or Mac based pc.

The room is 16’ x 20’ HO scale.


n scale laser cut building

n scale laser cut building

model train trestle bridge

model train trestle bridge

n scale laser cut building

N scale laser cut building kits:

n scale laser cut building

n scale laser cut building

Stunning pics from Lou – I would love to see some more! His N scale laser cut building kits look spot on.

“My dear Al,

Thank you SO much for all your work, doing this and your other publications.

I’ve been a reader, since 2005, I think and started building structures and vehicles, in preparation for a layout that didn’t materialize until years later.

That one got interrupted by a move, out of state, that lasted until last year, when we were, finally, able to move back to our family land. Now, the basement is mine, and the layout begins, in earnest.

It’s going to be 20’x10′, with two, hinged, 3×3 holes, centered near each end.


I feel that I need to give a little background, as to what I’m trying to portray. In northern California, the American tectonic plate collided with a mass of granite, a large portion being moved and another, twisting round but remaining fairly stationary. The end resulted in the formation of the High Sierras, Trinity Alps, Marble Mountains, and the Cascades Volcanic system, all twisted round and colliding with each other, as well as raising the sea bed to an elevation of over 5,000 feet, in places. It is an incredible place to spend time in. Sacremanto, Ca., lies at one area of foothils, Truckee, is at an elevation of 5,817′, and further east lies Virginia City, Nv, one of the richest silver mining areas in the world.

Perhaps, many of your readers have never seen the High Sierras, so I’m enclosing 2 small pics of them so you get an idea of what I’m attempting.



And now, here’s the first corner of the layout, nowhere near finished, but I think you’ll get the idea. The waterfall, behind the bridge, and river, will actually have running water in it, pumped by a 12 volt DC single faucet RV pump, resisted down for flow properties.


There’ll be 4 lines. Here are the beginnings of the first three.

The tunnel has openings behind it.


The double bridge and waterfall/river.


The beginnings of the town of “Glory”, in the upper right corner. In mining country, there are two kinds of mines.

All 4 lines are analog. I’ll be running the little Baldwin “American” locos, for the V&T Railway, the “Big Boy” for hauling freight over the Sierras, a doodlebug for the local rural-to town line, and I don’t know, yet, about the fourth line.

You folks may notice there’s no constructed portal, at either end of the tunnel. That’s, actually, the way some of them were – just blasted and pick and shoveled out of the granite. Some 1,200 Chinese immigrants died during the 40 mile Sierras leg of the Union Pacific.

Thank you, again, Alastair, and thanks to all the readers who have contributed to this publication. I’ve gleaned a lot from them.

Be well,


“Hi Alistair,

My tip would be ” stop reading and have a go – you can’t but learn from your successes and your failures”.

Kind regards


I loved Wolf’s narrative because it’s something I read time and time again: claim a space for your own! Then make a start…

And I thought Dean’s tip rang true too.

Making a start is everything, and hopefully, I’ve made it a little bit easier with the forum.

If you have a question that’s stopping you, please just ask!

That’s all for today folks. A big thanks to Wolf and to Lou for sharing his N scale laser cut building kits.

Please do keep ’em coming.

And if today is the day you get started on your layout, the Beginner’s Guide is here.



PS Latest ebay cheat sheet is here.

PPS More HO scale train layouts here if that’s your thing.

model train answers

44 Responses to N scale laser cut building kits

  1. Bob Lowes says:

    All I can say is: WOW!!!
    What a beautiful layout. One can tell from the pictures that you take pride in your work.
    Please keep the pictures coming.

    Bob (In GA USA)

  2. Chuck Bartunek says:

    Very nice,can we see more.

  3. Brian Staples says:

    Hi Al, I am 55 and still in the work force. My youngest of four is a year away from college and I will have a lot of free time on my hands. I always can look forward to seeing some great work from everybody. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate the hard work that goes into putting everything together. The inspiration is overwhelming and is giving me thoughts of pulling out all my stuff after a two decades of storage. Have a wonderful holiday. Much Love to everyone.

  4. A really “fine-tuned” layout. Extraordinary detail! I’d love to see it in action in a video!!

    Florida, USA

  5. wow…Lou is REALLY good with the scenery…
    his tree/ground cover is superlative
    the structures are total inspiring
    and the scratch built bridges are…well
    too too koool
    keep runnin and wanna see more!!

  6. Ash says:

    Hi Lou,
    Amazing and so detailed layout . How many hours have you put to this? Looking at it like a dream to me, I wish I could also do like this.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing pictures with us.
    happy Holidays.
    Ash from Toronto

  7. David Wilson says:

    Lou’s layout is fabulous. Hope koto see more of it. Would be interested to know what type of points/ motors he uses?

  8. John Graves says:

    looking for G-scale straight tracks, 12″ or 36″.

  9. david howarth says:

    Good pictures of GREAT LAYOUT ..WELL DONE LOU…Dave UK

  10. Jerry Harper says:

    Just retired, and getting ready to start on my dream of constructing my first “S” gauge layout. Your pictures are inspiring me to pay a lot attention to detail. Great job, thanks for sharing.

  11. christine says:

    Nice layout. Too bad only a few of us are just into steam trains out of the 1800’s to the 1950’s.

  12. John R says:

    Great looking layout. One fine job putting all together. Lets see more pictures.

  13. Ralph says:

    Great scenery Lou.
    An impressive layout. Hope we can see more of it.

  14. BUDDY MILLER says:


  15. Lou Santello says:

    Thank you for all the gracious comments. I sent Al some more photos along with a link to a youtube video explaining how the automation system works. Thanks again. Lou

  16. sundaram says:

    Great layout. Where do you get these acrylic sheets laser cut? Is it necessary. Some times it is possible to cut them with a sharp craft knife or scissors depending on the thickness of course.

  17. Steve Roberts says:

    Hi Lou, great and inspiring piece of work. Patience really is a virtue. Keep the pics coming. Steve R. UK

  18. Lou Santello says:

    You can’t cut acrylic with a scissors. It’s too brittle. I own a laser cutter, so I order full sheets and have the supplier cut them into 12″x24″ sheets. This way they are already precut to what fits in the machine. The laser will cut or engrave up to 1/4″ thick. Styrene in a laser is not a good idea. Number one, it has a very low melting point and the edges are not as crisp. Also, I’m not really sure whether styrene has pvc in it. If it does, you never want to burn pvc. It’s very toxic

  19. Pastor Harry C Wigmore, III says:

    AWESOME!!!!! Great layout, love the modern look!!!

  20. Jim says:

    Great looking layout, Lou. The landscaping is most impressive with so much realistic detail. Truly a fantastic layout from a modeler with great talent.

    Jim AZ

  21. Roger says:

    Brian’s use of double stick tape for shingles reminded me that I’ve been meaning to suggest using it for the signage buildings. I converted to using it and think it really works well (If you get it close enough to the edges and corners). The are more easily changed as the proprietors expand into larger quarters or move on to other endeavors.

  22. Cary B says:

    Awesome work by Brian and Lou. Thanks for your site to share these builds
    Cary B

  23. Jose valdez says:

    Wow what you can do when you have space super layout

  24. This layout was so amazing. The hand laid track looked awesome.

  25. Dennis says:

    Great work. Truly a piece of art. Thanks for letting mere mortals glimpse your kingdom.

  26. Hemi says:

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats a GREAT layout! Keep up the GREAT work!

    As said, I’d LOVE to see MORE of it! VERY NICE! ~Hemi

  27. Chris Sylvester says:

    That’s a very very cool layout some great detail on the buildings thanks for sharing the pics!! XChris

  28. Chris says:

    Great layout! What are the blue corner braces you’re using as a jig for the shed? Are they available?

  29. Mark T. Pianka says:

    well done layout

  30. Will in NM says:

    Lou, That’s a great looking layout. I especially like all the super trees. The only recommendation I would make is that it would benefit from some more figures to bring the scenes to life.

  31. Erick says:

    Nice work

  32. Ron says:

    Great photos of a great layout. I’ll echo the one word description … WOW!


  33. Jeff says:

    Beautiful job
    I wish I had the skill to to that great work
    I build my shed 10by 12 just for my trains
    I’m thinking about going Dcc but right now all dc.
    I would love to find an experienced person that wants to build a layout with me so I could do more extensive work
    If anyone is interested please let me know
    I’m in Ventura California. Thanks jeff

  34. Walt Walters says:

    I absolutely love that bridge! Always wanted to build one, but none of my layouts can use such a bridge!

  35. William Orton says:

    That bridge is outstanding!

  36. Don says:

    the big city in the back ground is wow & well done, the trussell bridge is awesome, love the carrier with wood & pipe carriers, awesome job.

  37. Stephen says:

    Those buildings look fabulous.

  38. DJfromNJ says:

    Great attention to detail in every facet of your layout. Trees look exactly like, well, trees in perfect miniature. Thanks for sharing!

  39. robert dale tiemann says:

    extreme cool mountain scenes. the trellis bridge is outstanding. very nice job.

  40. Tim Lowe says:

    Awesome work! Incredible detail! Can’t say enough about this layout! I’m inspired for sure

  41. Matthew Klahn says:

    I am looking to do a HO layout from Donner Pass down to Bronco. In the time period of the 1860 to 1880. I am very interested in the some of your background history of the area. I lived near Truckee for about 15 years and work in Truckee. I would like to talk with you sometime. Almost all of my engines are 4-4-0.

  42. Steve Ruple says:

    Nice layout, great pictures

  43. Eugene from CA. says:

    Dean: That looks like an ambitious layout. I, too am a California boy, born and raised in Bakersfield. As a child, I was mesmerized by the Cab Forwards of the S.P. lines going up to Tehachapi from Bakersfield. We traveled the state every year and I saw them in Dunsmuir as well. I did not get to see the Donner Pass units because we didn’t go to the Tahoe area much but I understood that the run from Sacramento to the east had them as well. In my current layout, I have one Cab Forward, I hope among the “Big Boys” in your collection, you have included some as well. For other folks who don’t know western US Rail Road history, The “Cab Forward” design was implemented to protect Engineers from the smoke from the engine in tunnels. The Tehachapi grade and the Donner Summit grade had many tunnels as well as the run from Redding to Mt. Shasta and beyond. The smoke and gas from those big engines in the tunnels were causing health problems for the engineers and firemen in the cab.

  44. Dave Karper says:

    Before the cab forwards, the engine crews were supplied with gas masks.

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