Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spring time (in the fall???) and lighting things up

One of the issues I was facing was what type of springs to use on the end of my cars to simulate the springs that keep people from jumping between cars.

I've heard that HO spring belts from power trucks can work, however I couldn't find any of those. I've also heard that the springs from trolley poles also work, but again, I couldn't find any of those either. I searched the web high and low for micro springs and was able to find some that were suitable. However, the cost of these springs was $3.50 EACH. And, since 6 springs are need for each car. that was not a feasible option.

I decided to try to make my own. I striped 16 gauge wire to the bare copper and then untwisted the copper strands. One bare length of copper wire was then wound tightly around a very small diameter metal rod. 25 revolutions made for about an inch long spring.

The bare copper "springs were then painted with primer then brush painted with metallic silver paint. 

While not perfect, the cost was right (dang near free) and the effect is close enough for me.

Painted home made spring. Make a few extra as once dropped ... hard to find!

The copper wire is flexible enough to be wound tightly without breaking and the ends can be gently shaped into hooks to latch onto the eyelets.

The eyelets are from Blue Jacket Shipbuilders (link: ), part number F0505. The chain is a bit out of scale, but it was what I had from the local craft store.

I've also started to explore how to illuminate my buildings as I've started to detail the interiors. Without the illumination, you really can't see inside so there isn't any point in detailing the interiors.

I've started to experiment with Woodland Scenics Just Plug Lighting systems (link: Just Plug Lighting System). The system consists of a control module to which five LED lights can connect to. The LED's can be individually dimmed and the system is expandable.

So far I am happy with the results:

Currency exchange on right, fast food joint on left
No lights ... can't see what's happening!

The starter kit comes with two LED lights. Each storefront has one light. For HO, I think one light would do an entire building, but in O scale and multiple disconnected rooms multiple LED's are needed. What is nice is that each one can be individually dimmed.

The only downside is the cost. It appears that I'll have to buy a lot of additional LED's and expansion modules. But, as the whole system is basically "plug and play", it is very easy to add lighting.

And, just a few from around the layout:

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