Sunday, January 10, 2016

A tool recommendation and a themed weekend of truck mounting

With some of the older Wagner, Q-Car and Current Line power trucks I have requiring that holes be cut in the floor of the model, I've been unsure as to the best way of accomplishing this task. This was really delaying the progress of my three CSL street cars and my two 4000 series Q-Car Plushie models.

So, I acquired a Rockwell BladeRunner, which is basically an upside down mounted jig saw that incorporates a table with a miter slot and guide fence. I thought that this might be a little more versatile than a scroll saw in that it could possibly cut more materials (especially metal).

The saw blade sticks up from the table, the drop down "guide" has two
rollers that act to stabilize the blade. It also can be removed. On the
table is the floor for a CSL Safety Car.

For $100, I am actually very happy in how it performs. After drilling a hole for the saw blade, cutting the holes for the motor is a breeze. I "free-handed" the above hole, but could have used the fence for a more straight cut.

With one floor done so quickly ... things quickly spiraled out of control! With one car done, I decided to work on the CSL MU car and got that car's trucks mounted:

CSL MU Car and Safety Car ready to roll to paint shop!

Luckily I had the CSL Plan book so I was able to accurate space the trucks as for these two cars the floor is wood with no locating holes. Both of these cars have Q-Car power trucks.

Once these two were done, my zombie Q-Car Plushie (the one that had previously been smashed and I put back together) was up next. For this car, it is using an older Wagner set of trucks but with a Q-Car bolster on the un-powered truck. A new floor was cut from plywood as the original wood floor was warped. I used the same Rockwell BladeRunner to cut the floor...which was much easier than dragging out the table saw!

Hole cut, now just need to mount the power truck.
Mounting this older Wagner style truck was a bit trickier as the brass cross piece / bolster was riveted to the motor and was basically soldered to the actual motor. So I really couldn't remove it to properly set the brass cross piece. So ... just had to improvise.

I use styrene to build up around the hole for the required spacing for the motor.

I prefer to use styrene as its easy to cut and glue, and well basically its what I had on hand. A few layers are build up until the floor is level and a box is made around the hole. Holes are then drilled and tapped into the styrene and the motor is mounted.

A couple of notes: stryene may not be the best for longevity for drilling and tapping as it is a relatively soft material. Care must be taken when attaching the screws as to not strip the threads. But, it works for me. If it ever strips out, I can tap to larger screw or add a brass sleeve. Also, I ran out of shorter 2/56 screws so I had to add "spacer" nuts. I later glued sheet styrene across the top of the motor to make a closed box.

Before anything was glued, I did test the car through my tightest turn and no clearance issues!

Before final mounting ... a three car train of 4000's ... two Baldies "book ending" a
With trucks mounded on three models, I decided to tackle a problem I've been avoiding for some time ...

My Q-Car CSL Pullman came with a white metal cast floor that had a slight bend to it. When I initially took the floor off, it snapped in half! Curses I thought. I did try to make a wood floor, but before completing that, I figured I would see what could be done with the metal floor as it was nicely detailed and had mounting locations for the trucks.

For this car, I have a Current Line power truck that will require a hole be cut in the floor.

Luckily the new saw (with a metal cutting blade) made easy work of cutting the hole. The floor being in two halves also make cutting the hole very easy as the part was easy to manage on the saw ... an unexpected bonus.

Hole cut and non-power tuck mounted. Note the split right down the middle.
That might not work ... too large of a hole for the power truck!

I figured I could use a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal (left over from my days of restoring rusty British sports cars ... you know they are rusty when you by your patch sheet metal in 4 x 8 sheets, a truly bad sign) as a splice and epoxy the two halves back together. I used this for strength ... and since I didn't have any brass sheet on hand.

The two halves and the sheet metal splice ... cut on same saw ... easily
I might add!
I used 5 minute epoxy to glue everything together, and once dried, I was rather happy with the result. The splice seems to hold nicely.

This was much easier than making a new floor.

With the floor back in one piece, I was able to mount the Current Line truck. Luckily the brass bolster was removable which made drilling the holes much easier. Again, I was out of short 2-56 screws so I had to use spacers from nuts. But, it works! Again,for ease of use and as it was what I had on hand (and my material of choice) I used styrene to mount the truck. I will enclose the hole with a box later.

I tape down the motor wires so not to pinch them when reattaching the body.
Finally all three CSL cars have their trucks mounted!

I definitely need shorter screws ... but it rolls!