Monday, February 26, 2018

Staging Ladder Build Start

Now that I've finished up getting track inbound to the north end staging yard, next step is to build the ladder for this side of it.

The ladder will be put together using the fast tracks jigs to give me skeletons of turnouts to solder into the correct place to give me the 2.5" track spacing that I'm using here.

The ladder is a compound #6 design for 9 tracks.

First shot is a quick overall look, but due to the height of the yard, it isn't a great angle to see any detail.

Here's a look down the inside ladder.
Note the capping of the ladder with a RH to give me a lead to some stub end storage tracks.
Now, a center, high angle view to give a look at the overall design.

Shot from the tripod on the benchwork; also using a 11-16 wide angle lens so this skews the perspective a bit.
Here's a bit of a better angle.

These pictures don't show it, but I've already started to layout the rail components I need and hopefully I will get a non-rainy, non-sick day (rained today and both kids are sick with norovirus. Sounds as fun as it is..) to start getting the joints prepared so I can start piecing this together.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Another tool for the toolbox or How to speed up your handlaying

One of the downsides about handlaying is that it can be a bit slow. Results can be outstanding, but it takes time.

You might remember that set of 3 curved turnouts I had for the staging yard on version 1. "handlaying track or what confidence can get you" is the post about it. (That was in September of 2014, BTW...)

That took an entire Saturday that that did not include getting ties down so it could be installed.

So, take it from me that shaping points and frogs manually with a file is time consuming and even when you use the filing jig, after you have the point filed down, you need to clean it up with either a jeweler's file or a sanding stick or a sanding block or some combination of all three to have a usable product.

I normally use a bastard file, then a long single cut file to form these rails so the tools you need aren't exotic by any means, but again it takes time.

I was discussing some build experiences with a fellow modeler a couple of years back now, and he mentioned that he started using a bench top belt sander to speed his build progress. I found that idea intriguing and filed it away for future reference.

During a Christmas sale, I bought one of the cheap Harbor Freight 1" x 30" bench top belt sanders. It is a very basic machine, but at $50 before a 20% coupon, I could take a flyer on it and if I found that it really helped, I could then research and purchase something at a higher quality point from Dewalt or Delta or whatever without slowing down my build progress as 10 scale miles doesn't exactly build itself.

I finally got it out of the box this last week and had a sunny afternoon to give it a try.


I had a set of points shaped and only needing a quick pass with a sanding block in less than 2 minutes.

I setup the camera and hit the timer to give me a 20 second delay before starting and then click off 9 pictures. The delay between pictures is around 5 seconds (not set-able on my entry level Nikon, I've found).

1 and Begin!

9 and done!

Really looking forward to getting a stock of points and frogs built up so I can be ready for hand laying as the layout progresses.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

About that turnback curve

As I mentioned in the work session recap, we found where the turnback curve where it heads back in, wasn't laid out correctly.

The radius was a bit variable and was much sharper than the 40" radius that was planned.

An overview after the roadbed and homasote were removed.
You can see where the benchwork/roadbed was a miss here:

Inside is 40" radius, outside is 42.5"
After some additional measure, new homasote was cut and placed. I also took this opportunity to place the homasote onto the industrial spur behind the main line.

Dirt brown going down before I put glue cork down.
Was able to put cork down a few hours after the paint had dried to the touch.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Work Session Recap

I had a work session on last Saturday (the 10th). I was joined by Dick M who joined the Terminal's track gang for an afternoon.

Track was started between the Milford and North Doswell Control Points. We ran track over the completed roadbed, headed north.

Pictures are a mix from the self timer and my budding miniature photog.

Your intrepid small shooter found the supervisor asleep:

Working around the first turn back corner. This is a shot with the timer with the camera on a tripod on top of the benchwork opposite where we are working.

When we got track around this side, we realized that the curves weren't laid out correctly and checking with a radius gauge revealed the benchwork missed the target. I took it as an action item to rework this area.

Additional pictures inside the main site gallery:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Track Layout

Trying to keep a layout build to plan can be a bit of a challenge.

One of the tools I use to help me is track templates. On version 1, I cut out a cardboard template in a couple of common radii that I used.

On version 2, that doesn't really work since I've got a couple of turns way bigger than I can make out of a poster board.

I went with the sweep sticks from Fast Tracks and ordered multiple sets for radii that are used often and a single set for a radius that might be used once.

Laying out the curves inside the two peninsulas
Doing good work with the self timer.
Additional pictures on the main site gallery:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another day, another delay and another change

My track laying methodology has been:

  • Mark center lines or other roadbed path marks
  • Lay cork roadbed via gluing down
  • Sand any cork ramps down
  • Sand top of cork to ensure good transitions
  • Install track

Most folks probably remember the access hole I cut in the drywall to get track to the north end staging yard.

As seen here

I tried to layout the track so I could start laying out the roadbed and staging yard ladder. I figured that starting on the ladder would allow me to rehone my turn out building skills in a spot where it doesn't have to be pretty, just functional.

Step 1 was getting the track arrangement through the way right.

I printed out the track plan in 1 to 1 scale and got it taped together.

The planned 33" radius curve didn't fit. A 30" radius curve wouldn't fit either.

Queue the head scratching and out comes the tape measure. Turns out I had mis-measured during benchwork and hole building so I didn't have the clearances I needed.

Out came the drywall saw for a fix.

Note the 110V cable
After some additional trial track placements, I had something that worked.

 I put the cut drywall piece back in and proceeded to get it mudded.

NMRA Gauge to help provide scale

Ready for a bit of paint.

 More pictures inside the website gallery:

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Updated the theme colors a bit

Decided that I didn't like the orange anymore.

More content coming soon.