Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year - 2016! Layout resolutions for the new year ...

First, a Happy New Year to all!

Since resolutions are all the rage this time of year I've decided to try to set some layout goals / resolutions for the New Year! I unfortunately too many projects ... but its nice to try to at least set some goals.

First off ... a review of the layout as of the beginning of 2016:

There really hasn't been much improvement over the last year, just some small detailing and refinements.

But ... for 2016, some of the goals / resolutions I'd like to accomplish are:

Continue / finish the refinement of cast resin L structure as detailed in earlier posts:

This should be an easy goal as I've got most of the plans and techniques down. I would like to invest in some better casting tools (vacuum chamber and pressure pot), but those can be leveraged for use in other projects.

This is a combination of cast resin girders, 3D printed braces and scratch built
columns, Next version will be all cast resin for speedier construction.
Finish backlogged car projects:

This is an area I've really been slacking. I seem to take forever in finishing a car model. Some of the projects I need to finish are:

A slew of CSL models, one North Shore wood car (that will be repainted in CA&E colors) and a 4000 series CTA plushie (who knows what will happen with the 3D printed baldie prototype):

The "shops", always a mess of parts 

I have almost everything to finish these models except motivation! 

I HAVE actually made progress on the Northwestern motor car. The paint is about 90% done and the trucks have been mounted.

The trailer on the left is finished. The motor is on the right ... still unfinished.
My 2000 series CTA cars still languish in an unpainted state. I need to resume this project and get these cars finished.

I still need to perform additional sanding and filing on the shells. 
But, most importantly, I need to finish two CRT Baldie projects. One is my 3D printed car (one end still needs finishing) and I need to finish another Baldie model for a good friend. 

Another unfinished 4000 series Plushie sits behind these cars ... yet another car to
The car on the left will be an un-powered trailer. The biggest delay has been attempting to paint match this to other cars ... with little to no luck.

Refine the 3D printing process for car creation

While I have been successful in getting two complete 3D printed O scale cars built, the process hasn't been entirely painless or as effortless as I'd like.

I've had some quality issues with Shapeways, and due to the cost of the parts, I haven't continued building additional 3D printed cars. 

I do, however, have several almost completed 3D models of cars that I'm hoping to print this year. However, knowing the limitations of the 3D printing process along with the costs and quality control issues, I've decided to take a slightly different approach for my next cars. 

  • Limit the amount of parts and leverage resin casting to duplicate the highest quality parts. For example, I'd like to print one end (assuming the car's ends are symetrical) then make molds and cast multiple copies.
  • Incorporate additional scratch building or non-3D printed materials into the models. I've found that car sides are very problematic for Shapeways to print with consistent quality. Therefore, I may use more traditional scratch building techniques or materials to supplement the 3D parts.
In addition to the above points, I really need to write a synopsis of the whole 3D printing experience. I hope to accomplish this in a series of future posts. I still believe that the process can greatly aid in the creation of O scale models. However, its more of an additional tool to use rather than a magical process that can create a ready to roll product.

Add additional lighting and interior details to the layout

Over the past few months I've begun experimenting with adding interior details and additional lighting to the layout. I'd like to add interiors to most of my foreground buildings and attempt to illuminate most of the others.

Some of these lighting efforts have been detailed in prior posts but I've recently begun to illuminate some of the buildings underneath my Southport Station.

In addition to adding interior lighting, I've also begun experimenting with adding nano LED's under the L structure to help illuminate the scene a little better. Right now the LED's are just placed between the girders, but I'm going to look for some O scale light fixtures that I can attach the LED's to. I do like the effect as it just brightens the scene.

Continue posting frequently to the blog

Looking back at 2015, I did manage to create 32 posts to the blog. I would like to top this number for 2016 as the blog does act as a driving force to accomplish goals and projects on the layout.

And a long shot goal ... start the newest expansion of the layout!

What currently acts as a "catch all" shelf is supposed to be an expansion of the layout to an elevated terminal.

I would like to put an elevated terminal with a small shop and yard (based loosely off of the now demolished Logan Square terminal) or the also demolished Wells Street terminal. Either one is a tight fit, but who says you can't make big plans?

All in all, big plans lay ahead for 2016. I'm sure I missed a few projects, but there's always 2017! Let's see what I get accomplished.

Thanks again for reading and hope you have a successful 2016!

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