Re: Determining Rung Spacing When Scratch Building Ladders

John Barry

The technique works with notebook paper or any other set of parallel lines as long as they are spaced closer than your desired spacing.  You don't even need a ruler!  Just transfer the distance between the top and bottom to your cardstock, then place one mark on the first line, and swing the other till it is on the seventh line (or six or five for fewer rungs).  Mark the intersections on your template and you have your rung spacing.  If you really want it to the gnats a.., pick the distance off the model with locking dividers, swing those to the number of desired rungs, then butt your template edge against the dividers and mark or draw a line on the parallel lines and reset the dividers to the interval along the line.  What you are doing is using the equal interval of the parallel lines to divide the uneven distance.  It's a slick trick you can use for all sorts of evenly spaced layout tasks like gondola ribs, panel seams, window mullions, etc.

John Barry

ATSF North Bay Lines
Golden Gates & Fast Freights


PO Box 44736
Washington, DC 20026-4736

From: "'Scott H. Haycock ' shhaycock@... [STMFC]"
To: Steam Era Freight Cars
Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2015 3:26 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Determining Rung Spacing When Scratch Building Ladders

Bill's explanation was hard for me to follow, and I know the trick. I'll try to explain it by example.

I took an HO boxcar off my layout and, using a ruler, measured a side ladder. The top rung is 1-9/32". or 1.28125" from the bottom rung, center to center. There are 7 rungs in the ladder. 7 rungs means 6 spaces between rungs. The spacing between rung works out to .2135", an inconvenient measurement!  

For this to work, you want to use a measurement that is less than the total (1.28125''). 6 times 3/16" equals 1.125", a lesser number.

Now, Take a piece of paper and draw 7 parallel lines, 3/16" apart. Take a piece of cardstock, and make a pair of small marks 1-9/32" apart along one edge. Align the bottom  mark on the cardstock, with the bottom-most line.Rotate the card so that the top mark lines up with the top line. This is where the angle comes in. Now all the other lines can be marked on the card, and they will be evenly spaced.

This is easier to do, than explain. Try it with my numbers, then you'll grasp the concept.  

Scott Haycock


OK, I’m always grateful to learn new tricks, but this one I do not follow.  Bill - what is the advantage you are gaining with the diagonal lines?  I do not see how drawing equally spaced marks on the diagonals is easier than doing so on the vertical line?  Clearly I’m missing something.  Can you explain.
Rob Kirkham 

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