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Topics - deemery

I'll open for a change.  Weather here (SE NH) is sunny and seasonal, temps around freezing.  Tonight we get snow changing to rain, with more than 1" of rain predicted.  (I wish it was all snow, but I know that's not everyone's view.)  

The house cleaners are here now, so I sit with the dogs to keep them from pestering the cleaners.  They're happy to see the dogs, one told me "Seeing everyone's pets is the best part of the job," but they don't need ankle biters following them around.  

I got a survey from UModel, the site that will produce a 3D custom figure.  I suggested they also do custom dogs.  

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Passing of Don Ball
January 22, 2022, 04:12:42 PM
I saw an announcement today that Don Ball has passed away.  Don could truly be called the dean of late 19th century modelers.  His Stockton & Copperopolis set the standard for accuracy and period research.  Don wrote extensively on 19th century projects in model railroad magazines. 

Personally, Don was a great friend, always willing to answer a question (no matter how dumb) and share his knowledge.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Message to admins?
December 28, 2021, 02:19:23 PM
Is there a way to send a private message to the forum administrators?

thanks in advance    dave
Scratchbuilding / grabiron jigs
December 26, 2021, 02:37:36 PM
For my B&M batch boxcar build, it was worth investing the time to do jigs to drill holes for NBWs, grabirons, etc.

The secret tool :-) for doing these small jigs is a really small square: I bought one when visiting Japan just because I thought it was cute. Turns out a small square is really useful! I also use my metal digital calipers to scribe lines that are parallel to the long side of the jig, and the little square locates the perpendicular lines. I scribe and drill the holes, then install the alignment pieces. The body of the jigs are done in either .040 or .060 styrene, it's whatever scrap I pulled out of my scrap bin. The key thing is to make sure one long end is smooth, and take -all measurements- from that edge. 

There are two jigs for the grabirons. One is for the ladder on the left side of the end (18" grabirons), and the other is for the grab on the right side of the end and the right side of the body (24" grabirons). Using the same jig for both ensures they're lined up. On the inside, there's a 1/8" square piece along the side and another along the bottom, at right angles. The holes are there to clear the truss rod ends, which I installed before doing the grabiron holes. (Should have done all the drilling first.) I did a similar jig for the truss rod NBWs. 

Of course, the more accuracy you get in the jigs, the better the results. I did throw away one jig that wasn't quite accurate enough. Also make sure to allow enough extra material to hold the jig into place, too often I've cut my jigs too small, where they have the measured holes, but there was nothing left to hold when drilling.

For my B&M boxcars project, I want to be able to cross-cut a bunch of pieces of scribed siding to the same size (car body height.)  Here's my thought for a tool to do that.

I'll trim a piece of cutting mat to a bit more than 6", shown by the red line.  I'll dado the slot for T-Track into the fixture.  There's a wood stop glued to the right of the cutting mat, perpendicular to the bottom of the fixture.  I also glued a strip of wood along the bottom of the fixture, to hold the base of the square so the blade sits flat on the scribed sheathing. 

The T-Track stop is set behind the blade, because that's the more likely direction of thrust when I'm cutting along the blade of the machinist's square with an X-Acto knife. 

Scratchbuilding / board-by-board loading docks
October 26, 2021, 07:15:52 PM
I've just completed about 40 running inches of loading docks, and thought I'd show the process that I finally worked out through trial and error.

1.  Cut and stain all the parts.  A Chopper is necessary, a Shay Wood Miter is even better, because it gets more square cuts on the posts than the NWSL/Micro-Mark Chopper. 

2.  The key is this kinda-jig, that consists of a flat piece (here of plywood) and a taller piece to act as a fence/straightedge (here 1/2" x 1/4")   I hold the fence in place with weights behind it pushing it against the flat working surface.   Also, you'll need several small squares or angle blocks, a thick straightedge, and some patience :-)

3.  Construct the post-and-beam, here I'm using 1/16" square stock.    I mark the post spacing (here every 1/2" for HO, I've also done 4' HO.)  Put the beam against the fence, and on one end put a small square/1" angle block.  Using another angle block, align with the post position, put a bit of glue on the edge of the post, and push into the beam aligned with the angle block.    Continue, moving in this case left-to-right.  The very last post on the right uses the angle block aligned with the fence, rather than the beam.

4.  Let that dry a bit, then go back and add the cross-bracing on top of the post and beam assembly.  (Cross-bracing not shown here.)  Remove the post-and-beam assembly and let dry.  Make as many as you need. 

5.   Now for the frustrating part :-)  Align an angle block against one side of the fence.  Place the first deck plank down, push it against the fence and angle block.  Now add a second plank, etc.  After each plank, carefully push the plank tight against the already laid planks using another angle block.  You want them to be tight, but you do not want the planks to buckle up.  After about 2" of these, you need to add something to hold the already aligned planks into place.  I'm using a set of squares that I have.  After the planks are laid down, use the thick straightedge to push them up against the fence. 

6.  Place the straightedge on top of the planks to hold them down.  Now glue the back post-and-beam into place.  Slide the straighedge up against the post-and-beam, so it's flush with the edge of the planks. 

7.  Do the other post-and-beam assembly, using some squares etc against the outside edge of the planks to hold that plumb.   When both sides of the post-and-beam are in place, you can -carefully- add weights to the bottom of the posts (remember things are upside down) to clamp the post-and-beam to the decking.  Let that cure. 

8.  Cut and add the end beams, posts, and cross-bracing. 

9.  Cut a piece of thicker stock (I'm using 1/8" square) to fit inside the end post-and-beams.  Paint that a very dark grey.  Glue that into place.  This adds rigidity and a better gluing surface to hold the planks in place.  And it can't be seen at most viewing angles. 

And that's it...  The work goes quickly, unless your set of planks buckles as you're aligning them.  When that happens (after you stop cursing...), spread out the planks and reassemble/repush them back into position.  By adding weight every 2" or so, you limit the damage that buckling can do to your carefully assembled, but not glued, deck. 

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Critique my work, please
October 21, 2021, 11:45:50 AM
This is my visible staging yard, plus the SG/NG interchange (along the back edge.)  The look I'm going for is 'yard trackage, reasonably maintained but well used.'  It's the first part of the layout to get scenery.

In terms of process, the first layer was screened paver granite.  I probably should have used a finer screen, the 'rocks' are a bit too big.  Then (Az Rock) yard mix for ballast on the yard tracks.  Next I toned down the light grey granite with fine Az Rock cinders, and sprinkled a couple colors of Woodland Scenics fine and coarse turf.  At some point, the last step would be to use my static grass dispenser to put some weeds on the yard tracks. 

But I think the grey still stands out too much.  A darker fine turf color would tone that down, something like a medium brown? 

Comments & suggestions definitely welcome!


Dioramas / yard scenery
September 12, 2021, 07:13:53 PM
Here's a look at my visible staging yard, after laying down a base texture and then 'yard mix' ballast.  I plan to add some brown 'scrub grass'.  I'm after a 'well used yard' look.  Later on, I'll ballast the main line tracks to the right, and the narrow gauge to the left.

Comments and suggestions very welcome!  Since this is a staging yard, I expect the 0-5-0 will be active on at least some of these tracks. 

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / What kinds of kits do we need?
September 09, 2021, 01:11:02 PM
I was thinking about this today, looking at the various recent kit announcements as well as recent builds.

Seems to me we still have a deficit of masonry (brick or concrete block) urban buildings.  That includes storefronts/city block buildings, small independent (standing alone) buildings, and factories (now that Bob Van Gelder has retired.)    My #1 choice would be a mansard roof 2-3 store wide brick block building (with cast iron storefronts.)  But that's in part because of my modeling era.

What would others like to see?

The visible staging area is about 10' x 2', and has both standard and narrow gauge track. 

I've done some significant additions to the NG track along the back from the original track plan, adding 2 passing sidings, a spur, and a turntable/enginehouse.  Plus on the SG side to the front I added a turntable and siding. 

This is easily the most complex part of the layout from a track and control perspective. 

So I'm interested in thoughts about how to do the layout fascia.  The second photo shows some of the wiring behind the fascia, as well as the edge of the layout where the fascia would attach. 

My current thinking is to do 2 "control panel" areas, about 18"-24" apart.  One for the NG controls, and the other for the SG controls.  My reasoning is that everything is visible, the SG and NG operators would each stand in front of the control panel area to manage their turnouts.

The alternative, to put the turnout controls along the fascia in front of each turnout, strikes me as more confusing in the long run. 

Opinions very welcome!

I hung the valence boards yesterday.  The LED lights are fed by the pigtail coming out from behind the valence.  The cord hanging down will eventually run along the ceiling to an outlet there (originally intended for track lighting, this is switched separately from the room's lights.)   The Wago lever connectors are there temporarily to check out the lights.

I want something small that also contains a switch, and that is 'legal' with the electrical code to make the connection between pigtails and lamp cord to the outlet.  Any thoughts/suggestions?

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Wednesday, Jul 21, 2021
July 21, 2021, 08:31:01 AM
That date has a bit of a ring to it, doesn't it? 

Anyway, we're up and ready for our home repair guys to come for a couple small projects, most importantly fixing a leak in the roof. 

Yesterday I drilled the grabiron holes on my MDC old-timer rework.  Today, after the dogs' vet appointment, I'll probably glue the grabs into place and start on the metal undercarriage.  Hopefully I'll get far enough to paint the car, too.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Saturday, July 10...
July 10, 2021, 01:47:09 AM
We're still on vacation in Jan's time-zone.  I'm checking the forum before breakfast. Here the big news has been split between the Euro soccer cup and the Tour de France.  The tour passes through several towns we've visited, fortunately we're running a bit ahead of it.  Road closings, etc in the afternoon over roads we drove in the morning.  There were guys in camper vans parked along one route. 

So no modeling to report on my end.  But it's good to see others are getting things done.

Baggage Car - Daily Chat / Roof Repair Sale
April 12, 2021, 01:10:11 PM

From Don Tichy

April 10, 2021

Dear Modeler:

We here at Tichy Train Group want to wish everyone a happy and healthy year as we hopefully emerge from this pandemic. Our factory is not as healthy as we are. We are having 24,000 square feet of new roof installed on our factory this week to keep our production areas dry and the people that bring you Tichy products happy. To tempt you to help pay for it, we are having a special sale while the work is being done.

On orders from 20 to 50 dollars we are giving a 10% discount.
Just use 10 in the coupon code box at checkout.

On orders from 50 to 100 dollars we are giving a 20% discount.
Just use 20 in the coupon code box at checkout.

On orders over 100 dollars we are giving a 25% discount.
Just use 25 in the coupon code box at checkout.

US customers will receive free freight on orders over $60, $4 under that.
Canadian customers will receive free freight on orders over $100, $10 under that.
International orders will go into moderation when you place them and we will add airmail postage and send you a payment link to approve and pay. On international orders, you can request a PayPal invoice by sending us an email.

These coupons expire at midnight on Monday April 19th.

A quick note on shipping. USPS shipping times have started to improve but we are still seeing significant problems. We now have send you a shipping link with your tracking number when we ship. We do not have any better information than what this link provides. UPS shipping is available on any order for a $4 charge, just buy a UPS shipping surcharge available under the what's new tab.
Kit Building / Review of BESTTrains Vetero stains
December 14, 2020, 01:30:51 PM

(I'm still having problems posting pictures, so I'll just post a link to the illustrated review on The Other Forum....)

Scratchbuilding / small office
September 14, 2020, 10:19:55 AM
I'm working on a small office from a prototype photo.  Although that particular photo is from a Northern location (the snow is a big hint :-) ), I found a bunch of similar structures in Southern locations (including several from a town in MS.) 

The challenge was getting something to look like those scroll-end Ionic columns.  I ended up twirling thin brass around round nose tweezers, then inserting a styrene rod.  The columns should be fluted (and to be most precise, should be slightly smaller diameter at top), but I'm doing "Victorian Vernacular" so I can cheat and use plain columns.  The square Tuscan columns were easy by comparison.

I wanted an interior, so I primed both sides of the styrene walls white, and then painted on wainscoting.  After I painted the windows and added glazing, I glued them in place, and then added interior trim, painted a slightly different brown to stand out.  And yes, one window is glued in upside down, I had real problems with the glue actually holding.

Kit Building / NE Brownstone Viaduct
January 28, 2019, 08:23:51 PM
Russ Greene released parts for a new kit, which allows you to build a viaduct or stone arch bridge.  Each arch is 4", and there are both short and tall piers, plus abutments. 

I started working on mine today, after picking up some of the first run castings at Springfield.  Russ told me this was coming, so I designed a spot for it, with a 12" straight section and a 6" drop from track to benchwork base.

Today I discovered the tall pier castings are at the exact height, just a bit of shimming needed.  The track curves on one abutment, so it will have to be slightly skewed to the angle of the rest of the bridge. 

I cut away the splines, fit and shaped the main pieces to fit.   Next step is to think about how I'll glue them together, I don't want the end assembly to be fragile.

Kit Building / FSM Jacob's Coal
November 17, 2018, 08:36:15 AM
A couple years ago I got a good deal on some older Yellow Boxes.  On the current layout, I have 2 different locations where I could put a coal dealer.  So I dug this kit out, in response to the latest challenge.  I can build it in parts, and defer the final assembly until the end.  (The two locations I have require the conveyor to be on opposite sides of the structure.)  I work slowly, so don't expect frequent updates, but this is my attempt to build something for the winter Tom Schwarz build.  (I probably met Tom when I was in Pittsburgh for a couple of their NMRA meets.)

Scenery: Rock & Landforms / clay model of the layout
December 23, 2017, 08:13:46 PM
Dave Frary and John Siekirk are two modelers who have talked about building a clay model of their layout to understand landforms, etc.  I thought I'd try that myself, using the track plan I got from a professional track planner.

I got 2 large copies printed at a local copy store.  On one of them, I carefully cut out the track plan itself.  On the other, I cut out the total layout geometry.  Then I glued that latter copy to some foamcore, added some 1/8" stock to represent the walls.

The plan is to get the modeling clay (doesn't dry out) to a consistent thickness, then lay the track plan on top of the clay.  (The standard gauge track is supposed to have no elevation change.  The narrow gauge branch will have a 2.5% to 3% grade, something to work out with the clay.)  Then I'll add and subtract clay for the contours, working around (and in the case of a tunnel, over top of) the track.

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