Friday, December 24, 2010

Potter's Pond - in memory of Mr. Potter

My good friend and fellow model railroader Mr. Potter passed away recently and I wanted to post this picture of "Potter's Pond" that is located behind the roundhouse (on my layout) in his memory. Mr. Potter was an avid N scaler that had a super layout featuring over 400 feet of double main line. He will definately be missed!

Rest in peace, my dear friend.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Curving hardboard for coved corners

I recently added curved (coved) corners in the train room addition using the "brute force" method. I took flat hardboard 4' x 8' x 3/16" panels and forced them into the corner. This was an extremely difficult and frustrating method.

I'm getting ready to cove a corner in the expansion area and decided to use a curving method that I had used previously on some fascia board they worked very well. Here are the steps (refer to the picture below):

1.) Clamp boards on the edges using C-clamps evenly spaced (spring clamps will NOT work for this).
2.) Tie a rope to one of the end C-clamps and thread it through the other clamps going back and forth from side to side.
3.) Push on the face of the hardboard to start the curve and then tie off the other end of the rope.
4.) Wet the back (unfinished side) of the hardboard - I used a pump up sprayer because of the size of the panel. You just need to wet the back - don't soak it.
5.) Wait for awhile (I never looked at the clock) for the hardboard to "relax" a little.
6.) After waiting push down on the long edge "just enough" (I don't know what that is, but I do know what "too much" is!) and tighten up the rope. Take your time so you don't break it!
7.) Repeat steps 4 - 6 as many times as necessary to get the curve that you want. NOTE: the board will relax quite a bit back to its original shape when the rope is released so you will need to curve more than the final curve. If you're looking for a 90 degree curve you will need to curve is 110 degrees or more.
8.) After the back of the hardboard is COMPLETELY dry seal it with a good grade sealer. NOTE: latex paint is not a sealer.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Paul's "Reality Check" block of wood video

Well, you had to be there, but you see.....Paul had this block of wood...and he was racing around the basement with it held high...... Enjoy!

Friday 12-3-10 at Paul's home

(Text by Paul; pictures by Rick)

Another productive night on the San Pablo, Sonora, & Fresno! Rick, Steve, Ken, and Bob showed up, and I got to show off the progress I've made on setting the route for the narrow gauge main line on the upper level. Then we cleaned off the table that Donna and I had filled with eBay and train show stuff so we'd have a place to work. Our first project turned out to be making 4 plywood bases for gingerbread houses for Donna to have her girls' reading class decorate. She was happy with Bob's work, and the rest of us unloaded the plywood from the pickup truck and brought it down to the basement. Then we discussed the parameters of going up one more level on the helix. Bob and Steve stuck a 2X2 across the helix opening, and Bob used his beam compass to generate a center for a 42" radius curve, and we made sure the outer edge of the proposed curve fit within the constraints of the existing structure. Bob and I figured out the needed inner and outer radii. Then we brought one of the plywood sheets in to the table, and we traced the inner and outer radii of the helix curve onto the plywood surface. Bob was trying to minimize waste, so the first curve started at the corner of the sheet, but I wanted a full semi-circle, so we relocated the center to the middle of the bottom edge, and we drew the complete arc. Ken the Wise suggested we draw a series of short arcs of the correct radii on the portion of the sheet inside the full semi-circle, so Bob got to show off his geometry expertise by located a series of different centers along an entirely separate arc, and we got half a dozen partial circles in the available area - enough to make an entire semi-circle, probably. Then we brought in the other full sheet, and drew a single semi-circle on it. I'll cut out the figures tomorrow in the daylight outside.

We had gone to Costco earlier today, and they had strawberry cheesecake cakes on sale, so that - plus strawberries and grapes - was what we had for snacks. The cake went pretty early...

Rick and Ken left a little early, so Bob, Steve, and I looked some more at the splines I've completed on the narrow gauge, since Steve is considering using splines on his upcoming layout. The 3 of us actually installed a spline along the wall so Steve could see how it's done. As I was finishing installing the clamps, Bob and Steve decided to measure how long the narrow gauge main line actually is. And they came up with 100' 2", or 1.65 scale miles. We discussed where the operating features would be located, and operating schemes to be used. Lots of fun! I always enjoy these work nights, because so much of what we need to get done is much more difficult when we work alone. Some of it is impossible alone, but is fun and goes quickly with a group of like-minded model railroaders each sharing their expertise and experience and point of view.

And next week we get to move Ken's layout to his new palace!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday night at Keith's 11-26-10 (Article by Rick)

Full of turkey and all the Thanksgiving trimmings the crew was at Concrete Keith's home for our Friday night work session. Present were: Coalfinger Ken, Glue Bob, Packrat Paul, Popsicle Rick, along with guests Collin and John. We started the evening with a tour of the progress that Keith has made and it was impressive. He's done everything from fascia to his "car by wire" system with a bunch in the middle. He has designed a couple of impressive devices for his car system including a mini turntable to allow cards to go in one of two directions, and a moving magnet that will stop the cars.

It looks like Paul is getting ready to applaude his work when actually he's explaining the foam work to be done while John holds the glue gun and Ken gets some supports in place.

Keith was having a blast going around checking out the progress and running tools & supplies to the guys. Collin and Ken await instructions.

Bob & Paul stake out the cookies and chips to make sure that nobody runs off with them.

When we first got started Collin went around the layout pushing buttons just to see what happens.

Tools of the trade. Sculpting foam is fun, but it sure is messy!

Ken, I said "smile" for the camera!

Bob fitted foam while Collin (out of the picture) did the cutting. Bob would call out the numbers and Collin would cut. It was a good system and they moved along quickly.

After yours truely (Rick) painted the top of the Chicago downtown area Keith painted the back part. This was because I wouldn't fit in that spot!

Bob & Collin "foaming"

After I painted the Chicago downtown area I spent the balance of the evening applying plaster cloth on the sculpted foam areas. I almost made it to the bridge (where Bob & Collin were working) and then needed to leave. I turned over my plaster duties to Colling to complete.
The guys got alot of work done and had a great time in the process!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Scenery on NCI layouts

Scenery under progress by members now at the scenery stage.

Steve Berkheimer's Heart of Georgia (HOG).

Rick Wade's L&N in Kentucky.

Keith Williams' New York Central in the upper mid-west.

Bob Wheeler's Ontario Northland in northern Ontario.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nov 19, 2010 session at Bob

This was another good and fun night on the ONR Ramore Sub, two days before my Piedmont Pilgrimage open house on Sunday which to my pleasure attracted 68 visitors. My thanks to Ken, Paul, Keith and guest Collin for their help and getting me ready this night.

Before everyone arrived, Ken put excitement in he air by telling about his new house and basement where he will build his new N scale L&N empire. We discussed several options and alternatives.

Shown here is the general layout of the proposed layout room. Each square is 1 ft sq.

We then moved upstairs to work on the Ramore Sub. Ken had a good idea to raise the fascia lenght. Add rock castings flush with the fascia. We did this and it looks good. We also discussed several rock formation ideas as trains enter Englehart yard. The dark area you see here is the return loop for continuous operation which I want to camouflage as a tree line not a tunnel as the ONR does not have any tunnels.

Collin who is now becoming a regular guest (I call him my adopted Model Railroad son) stained the ties in Englehart yard on the rail that has been laid. I still plan on making the yard a winter snow scene.

Keith and Paul installed another Tortoise switch machine just ahead of the
of the continuous loop lead that goes under Swastika Junction.

We received a visitor, Halina who came brought us more good snacks to keep us energized.

I am pleased that I have made some of my foam scenery pieces removable. In order to replace a manual linked ground throw with a Tortoise this was necessary. Look at the rats nest of road bed and wire below Swastika Junction.

Here we see Keith through the maze carefully drilling a clearance hole for the new Tortoise machine wire lever using blocks of plywood and foam as depth gauges.

Keith working from above and Paul below adjusting the Tortoise machine travel. My handlaid turnouts are stiffer than the commercial ones so we need to substitute the .025" supplied spring wire with .039" wire.

Bob cutting 2" foam for the scenery entering Englehart yard.

Boston Creek scenery being built-up and the return loop hidden track in the background.

This is what the small area of scenery looked like for my open house. Yes it does look like northern Ontario in the summer time.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fascia housings for Tortoise SPDT switches

I found a PVC fitting at Lowe's that I use as a housing for the SPDT switches.

Here are three mounted in the fascia.

Close-up of one assembly.

Here are the specs:
- Lowe's part # 251179
- Price $0.38 each
- 3/4" Fiting PVC PMSTR ADA
- Apollo 69BV)$)^PZ Cpvc Pipe Inlet/Outlet Pipe Adapter.

Since the inside has a full bore opening I made washers from styrene, bored a hole for the SPDT switche and glued the washer inside the Adapter.

Nov 5 2010 session at Bob's

We had another great evening on the ONR Raymore sub with many attendees: Steve and his out of town guest Randy, Paul and his visiting nephew David, Mark taking a break from his moving, Keith and my young neighbor Colin. The focus was on laying more turnouts in Englehart yard, adding more foam scenery and installing more Tortoise machines and their SPDT switches. Previous to the session all of the fascia was installed and a base coat of "woops" brown painted on both front and back. I am hoping that paint on both sides of the fascia will reduce warping of the masonite.

Steve laying another turnout in Englehart yard with paul lending a helping hand.

Keith showing us several of the SPDT switches for the Tortoise machines.

Mark was glad to get back into the groove while his move is under way. Here he is laying the base foam for Swastika station and the Blanche River.

David and Paul laying foam at Boston Creek.

Keith & Collin wiring-up the Tortoise machines and SPTD switches.

Watch those fingers Paul!

Keith teaching Collin soldering skills. Mark is watching the video that Steve brought on the Florida Juice Train.

Steve's guest Randy triming one of my hand made pine trees. The tops don't quite look right so Randy found a way to improve them.

Here is a view of the layout with the painted fascia. The fascia needs a 2nd coat of paint but this is the result I am looking for.

Thanks to you all. I will have some new things to show at my Pilgrimage open house.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Oct 29 session on Bob's ONR Ramore Sub

We had a great turnout with 9 attendees. Paul and his nephew David, Steve, Ken, Keith, Rick, host Bob, and guests Collin Daly and John Kruse.

Here we see part of the gang at the beginning of the evening. Keith telling John of his afternoon trip from Tennessee (coming directly to Bob's) , Rick and Collin trying to resolve the scenery puzzle at Swastika due to Bob's modular concept. Ken is getting ready to do some scenery work.

Boo! Sorry Ken, I surprised you with the camera!
Ken is laying filler pieces in Swastika Junction between the main line (left) and passing track (right) for future ballasting.
Note Rick's great scenery work on both sides of the tracks using his Turbo 5000 static grass machine. Rick used a combination of 2mm, 4mm and 6mm static grass colors and afterwards various colors and types of scenery clumps.

Steve found his preferred spot in Englehart yard laying turnouts. Four more turnouts to go and all the hand laying of track is done.
Here is the result of Steve's work.

touching-up some of the fascia that has now been all installed Paul and David focused on the scenery for the focal point of the layout, Swastika Junction's Wye. Using photos from the actual site we sculpted and chose rock castings that best matched the photos. It is clear that the cubic and fragmented rock faces are best. By putting together a puzzle of various shapes we are avoiding repeat shapes and sizes.

Here is the result by the end of the evening. Collin and Bob applied plaster cloth after everyone had left. Next is to cast more rock molds and continue adding to the rock face puzzle.
Note the new fascia which will be painted dark brown.

Guest John Kruze tapping Keith's knowledge.

Keith saying "get me a dozen of these steel blocks and I will start hand laying my own track".
Excuse the messy desk . . . . but things happen there.

. . . . . . and oh yes, we had fun as well. Was that Collin behind the camera?
A great night guys, thanks for your help and great input. I will have some new things to show now for my Nov. 21 Piedmont Pilgrimage open house.