Sunday, April 1, 2018

Brass, Part V

This is a small interim update as I've received a few pieces over the last few months that haven't met the lens yet, as there has been a lack of daylight and daylight hours.

Now that days are getting longer, a couple of quick items in this post and then a snap or three.

Purchased some of the "Brass Buyers Guide" issues from Railpub as I thought taking a trip through that history would be neat. I'm a mix of amused, face palmed and sorry I wasn't an adult in the 80's.

Traded emails with Chuck @ UTI as he's doing a run of 10-6 Pullmans, including some RF&P and N&W models. He's running the smooth side cars. I hope to convince him to run some fluted side cars as the ACL had a bunch as did RF&P. if you are interested. He did mention that more Amtrak units probably won't be forthcoming as the plating process has a high waste rate; something around 50%. Ouch!

I put reservations in via for a two, one painted and one not. UTI also has a DOD caboose project going and is apparently talking about making the NS Heritage locos.

The Heritage stuff is a bit of a big wha?? to me as they've been done in plastic, multiple times. Figure a $1000 price point, per model, and I wonder - why?

Anyway, I'll close with some pictures of steam locos I've scored off of ebay.

I know, I know, Sante Fe??
Coming to an excursion train near you. :)
Box could be better, but it's what is inside that counts.
Note the ATC gear between the air pump shields.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Workbench Addition

Like many model railroaders and other hobbyist, I do a fair amount of work on my workbench and in the course of that, I solder.

Soldering makes fumes of course, and they are not good for you, on top of the fact that it makes it that much harder to know when your better half has baked cookies or similar delights.

Starting track work builds again made me realize just how nasty solder smoke is and I resolved to do something about it.

I've got a nice little iron, a Hakko 888 so when I when looking for something to handle the smoke, Hakko was on my list.

I ended up with a FA-400 which you can setup as in the picture, or rotate it and place face down so you get a higher suction from the vents at the bottom of it

Activated replaceable charcoal filter and less than $100 on Amazon, delivered. I bought some spare filters while I was at it.

With this running, soldering is great - no smell, no fumes to inhale. It's really helped me re-find the pleasure in building track at the bench.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Main Line Crossovers

Many of the cross overs for Version 2 are Number 10. Version 1 was all number 8's and a couple of those are being re-used for certain places, but as we are trying to capture the spirit of big time main line railroading, big # turnovers seem to be called for here.

I pieced together a jig and point tool from Fast Tracks over the years for number 10. At the time, they only sold a standard jig, not a cross over jig like I have for 8s.

Remembering a bit of my process from building the #8s last time, I figured using the printed templates to help me cut rail to length would be a good idea. It would also help me get the spacing from frog to point, as having a problem there can make your component turnouts nonparallel, which is a big downer on a crossover.

Grabbed a piece of homasote off the scrap pile and marked out some centerlines. I put my spacing at 2", 2.5", 3", 3.5" and 4" as I've got places where I have crossovers at those various distances. The main line is either 2" or 2.5", but many of industrial or siding spots have a greater spacing to stress their secondary nature.

 Of course, in the time it's taken me to start of this 2nd version of the railroad, Fast Tracks has made a #10 cross over jig available and made a #12 jig. Oh boy..

You can see some of the other spacings marked from this angle.
At this point, I've built 3 #10 crossovers, sold the plain jig and point tool on ebay, and have just about pulled the trigger on a cross over jig, so once I remember, expect a quick update on the finished trackwork, and the new jig, when I get it.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Roadbed Progress Update

Roadbed has made it to the 2nd turn back curve that caps the end of the peninsula closest to the stairs.

O. Winston Chase was on hand to capture a couple of photos.

Not sure what the photographer was attempting to capture here
Hmm. Apparently, you have to be a bit taller than me to make a good over the shoulder shot. Who knew?
Well, trust me, cork is down so we will be prepared for track.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Content Coming

Been busing with railroad stuff during the weekends and family stuff all other times. Have some travel coming up so expect some content getting queued up

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.