Sunday, October 19, 2014

Creature Comforts and a Corner Do-over

I think an important part of model railroading is making the layout room as enjoyable as possible. After all, one will spend a lot of time in this room.

To make my layout room more conducive to long work sessions,  a while ago I added a TV. This, in my humble opinion, is a must have. This is great for weekend afternoons ... all the sports can still be enjoyed while working on the layout.

One item that has been missing from my layout room (actually more of the furnace / storage room) has been computer / internet access. So, I added a small pull out shelf (I used a keyboard slide kit) to add a spot for a computer. This will be good for those "on the fly" internet searched. Now, no need to run to the main PC.

The shelf retracts under the layout when not in use, so it can stay out of the way. 

I've also never really been happy with what I call my "fuse box" curve. When I originally planned the layout, I never planned for this curve. But, as more track is always better, I did expand. So, knowing that nothing is sacred, I tore out some of the still in progress scenery and have started over.

I am adding a removable backdrop that will cover the fuse box. I'll probably use magnets to hold the panel in place. With this, I can pop the panel quickly off to access the fuse box. In addition, I've also added some sections of backdrop that hide the TV (yes, not the best backdrop but needed!) stand. I'll cover these with brick sheets for a better background.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fall in Chicago ... a good time to pick up old projects

After taking a few months off, I have decided that I have to finish my L extension to at least where I can put down the track. I might not get the station done anytime soon, but I have to get this section done...its been almost a year since I started it.

So, finally, I started finishing the tower bent section. This really stiffens the structure, just like in real life.

The next section will be separate. Any longer and the whole structure gets too bulky to work with. I'll document that.

Also, took some pictures of life along and under the L.

Its nice to work when there is a good college football game on ... seems to boost productivity!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A few months progress ... Pt 4

It seemed like all I was working on over the past few months was either repainting the MTH 6200's or the 3D modeling. 

So, a few weeks back, I decided I needed to start building some structures for the layout.

So, to the left of my Southport Station, I decided to begin construction of two apartment building backs.

First up is a rather large three and a half story building:

This is just a plain back to a typical court yard building.The walls are styrene covered in N Scale Architect brick sheets and the doors and windows are scratch built and cast from resin. Eventually there will be a three story porch where the doors are. That will be built from strip wood. This building is a bit large at almost 30 inches long.

To the right of this building is a small apartment building rear:

This is a rather narrow building, so I imagine that the apartments are studios rather than the more spacious two and three bedroom apartments next door. I have begun construction of the back porch for this building. Currently its about 50% complete and just set against the building (that accounts for the crookedness).

These buildings are designed as a "back drop" to the tracks so that photos of cars can pop more. Some test photos:

In addition to these background buildings, I'm still working on my new section of elevated track. On this structure, the girders are made from resin castings, for which the masters were made from styrene and rivets.The corner braces are 3D prints, which I made a mold and also made castings. The columns are various styrene shapes with rivet strips.

Even though I am still using resin castings for the girders, the time of construction has been very long. That's mostly due to the fact that I just haven't been working on it very much. I still need to add bracing in between the girders and some other details.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A few months progress .... Pt 3

As part of creating a 4000 series Baldie ... one must have the correct couplers.

Presenting the infamous Sterns and Ward coupler:

I gather a "true" 4000 model, whether a Baldie or Plushie, wouldn't be complete without this rather unique, if somewhat unloved, coupler. CRT and the London Underground seem to be the only adopters, maybe due to the Samuel Insull connection. Otherwise, it seems as if early century rapid transit companies missed out on all the fun.

Therefore, after a lengthy study of the real thing at IRM, and the review of scale plans provided by Ed Halstead (be sure to always visit Ed's blog, linked to on the right), I have been working on a 3D model of this much loved (?) coupler.

The above pictures are of the initial 3D drawings. The somewhat lengthy shank needs some fine tuning to correctly fit under the car.

One benefit of 3D modeling is that the models can be combined and measurements taken to see how everything fits together. The following picture shows the couple at the correct height above an imaginary rail head:

Following is a visual study of this much maligned coupler:

Due to limitations in the 3D printing process, the coupler will not be functional. But, I will try to make it were two could slot together.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A few months of progress ... Pt 2

A photo to start things off ...

But, back to the 3D printing...

As I mentioned in the previous post, I made a design for the more modernized doors with the oval windows.

I was able to recess the windows that would match the recessed gasket that holds in the windows as in the prototype.

HOWEVER trying to add some variety, I decided to model the upgraded doors that still maintained the recessed panels on the lower half (in the same manner as the doors of the 4000's at the Illinois Railway Museum (apologies for the use of flash ... the barns, even at mid day, are TOUGH places for photography) ...


And at Howard:

So, the adjustments were made and a sprue assembly of doors was created:

As with the other doors, due to the recessed panel, I had to add a "bump out" on the back of the doors. So, looking at these doors, they make almost a concave shape ...

Which, upon printing, caused an extreme amount of warping. The doors basically turned out like Pringles potato chips. The received door sprue assembly is show below:

And, once cut from the sprues, the parts warped even more. No photos of those, but trust me, they warped like dried out leaves. The doors basically curled in upon themselves. I tried to add styrene stiffening to straighten out the doors, but the doors are warped in both directions ... both horizontally and vertically. 

I'm pretty certain that the warpage was caused by the design of the doors, especially the recessed panel and bump out in the back. In addition, the windows are recessed. I do have another set of modernized doors that were printed without the recessed panel and the window wasn't recessed. The gasket around the window, instead of being recessed, protruded out a scale 1/2". Those doors had minimal warpage.

So, I may remove the recessed panel and add some stiffening ribs along the back to minimize warping.

Back to the drawing board on these doors.

And one more photo ...

Stay tuned for part 3 ... still lots happening!