Crewe Area Group - online meetings

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Will L
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Crewe Area Group - online meetings

Postby Will L » Sun Nov 08, 2020 7:41 pm

Sunday 8/1/2020

As it has become clear that it will be a while before we are able to start face to face meetings again, CAG has at last bitten the bullet and gone Virtual.

Using Zoom we held our first online meeting in our traditional meeting slot (14:00 on the first Sunday of the month) and it was well received. 8 members attended the meeting, although one had technical issues and had to retire from the fray early. The remaining 7 had a good catch up chat which lasted comfortably for 2 1/2 hours despite the organiser (wonder who that was) having shamefully failed to provide an agenda.

It was sad not to have Ron Dickinson with us as, regrettably, he reached his final destination on the 10th of June. Given the times, we were not able to attend the funeral on mass but fortunately it was possible for us to be represented. Fittingly, Ron had asked that any donations in his memory should go to the LMS Patriot Projects. Therefor we will have our own reasons for remembrance when we get to see the loco in action. Perhaps we should get a rivet suitably inscribed! Ron was a fine modeller and a good friend, we will miss him.

Our Zoom talk ranged over many topics, some even related to model railways. Zoom often gives you unexpected insights into other people’s homes, it amazing how may choose to sit in front of a bookcase, but those who caught up with Jeremy in his workshop during the Virtual Scaleforum will recognise where we found him. We had the advantage of being able to talk to him direct and discuss the turning techniques he has been so ably describing elsewhere on the forum. He told us how many locos he thinks he has produced over the years, and it does rather put my spending over 5 years to produce two to shame. When not discussing the availability of replacement irons for Antex soldering stations or the merits of the wire wool style of soldering iron bit cleaners. we did consider, among other things, the best way to model boiler bands and whether the chimney on one of my Buckjumpers was on strait (it is, whatever it looks like in the photograph). I think we enjoyed ourselves.

The upshot is that we are now planning to make this a regular event. There will be changes, given that there will be no need to drive anywhere, the meetings times will change, probably becoming an evening event and not necessarily on a Sunday. It was also agreed that we should publicise these events here and say we would be happy to include others, who live in our area or have other connections to the group, who would like to attend in future. Anybody who would like to take up this invite should send me a PM either over the forum or by email on Crewe@Scalefour.org

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Will L
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Crewe Area Group - online meetings 13/12/2020

Postby Will L » Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:35 pm

Monday 13th December 2020

Nine of the Crewe Area Group, including a past member living in Aberdeen (Peter H) and potential new member (Peter M) enjoyed a good Zoom session last Monday night.

Given his new railway room is now available, David B has been in layout planning mode. He talked through his thinking on fiddle yards. This included the interesting discovery of just how much length is needed for the points to connect together a fan of 12 fiddle yard sidings. This has caused him to reconsider exactly how his fiddle yard was going to work, and a number of possibilities were discussed. They are influenced by the fact that his prototype sits at the bottom of a bank which has a significant affect on the train formations going up the bank as compared to those which come down. Hopefully the whole experience has advanced his thinking.

After the intermission caused by our dependence on a Free Zoom account, the rest of the meeting discussed a variety of topics such as the various sorts of self-etch primer; the advantages of modelling in nickel silver rather than brass, the desirability and possibility of modelling inside valve gear; and even an apparent historic variation in cut ply sleeper lengths. However, I was involved in a rather poorly timed (not my choice) phone call discussing (successfully) a consumer issue. Hence I wasn’t necessarily taking a lot of notice, missed a few things and certainly can't do justice to what was discussed. I wasn’t the only one as Jeremy took a stores phone order during the meeting.

The meeting was enjoyed by all, as far as I can tell, and we will continue to hold monthly meetings on the second Monday each month at 19:30. Anybody who feels they might like to be a member of the Crewe Area Group, should contact me.

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Will L
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Re: Crewe Area Group - online meetings - 11/1/2021

Postby Will L » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:05 pm

Zoom Meeting 11/1/2021

Our 3rd Zoom meeting was held on Monday 11th of January at 19:30. We had a good attendance of 8 members, and we were pleased to welcome the societies new webmaster as a member.

As we hadn't held an AGM for a couple of years, we took the opportunity to rectify this omission. This took about half an hour and confirmed the status quo, and that we will continue with the Zoom meetings possibly even beyond the Covid crisis.

Once we had put the formal AGM process to bed, David B continued with his description of the timetable planning he is going through for his Cradley Heath layout proposal. A topic we covered last time. I say proposal because, while the room to contain it now exist, the layout itself is still in the planning stage. David had provided an extract from the timetable he was generating from a copy of the working timetable he had acquired. We were able to share this on line so people could see exactly what he was talking about. It seemed those watching found this rather more interesting than David thought it was.

Having demonstrated my ability to share images over Zoom, Peter H passed on pictures of a good array of recently built wagons, and or his layout. Unseen by any of us before as they are resident in Aberdeen. The wagons, mostly of L&Y stock contained a number of fruit wagons. This at first seemed odd, particularly to one whose interests lie to the great east, as the L&Y was not a significantly agricultural railway. It would appear that, due to some quirk of the L&Y telegraph code book, fruit wagons seemed to be indistinguishable from your average open wagon, complete with end doors, in one case, at both ends.

Among other things, we also discussed the correspondence there has been recently on the forum relating to the next generation of ready to run or kit built point work in P4, and by extension whether the society might possibly have a role in funding their development. Having Jeremy on hand was useful, as he has as clear an understanding as anybody of the issues surrounding the existing current crop of point kits, and the committees current thinking. He was a useful counterbalance to some of the ideas express on the forum.

So as Zoom was about to terminate our third session, we said good night and prepared to meet again on Monday 8th February.

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Will L
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Re: Crewe Area Group - online meetings

Postby Will L » Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:14 pm

CAG Zoom Meeting 8th February 2021

Six members logged into our meeting last Monday evening. It would have been more but it seems we weren’t the only Zoom meetings that evening. Grandchildren may have been a bigger draw. Having spent the first 20 minutes setting this pandemic ridden world to rights, we did get down to talking model railways in the end.
For those of you who have expressed an interest in the P4 wheel profiling tool, I have some inside information for you. A pre-production sample has found its way to stores supremo, and author of the occasional well regarded “how to turn a whatsit” thread on the forum, Jeremy S. He was able to show us a video of him doing his thing with the profiling tool. There may well be a few more steps to be taken before they becomes available, but they are certainly under way.

While considering manufacturing techniques, Tony M, who is subcontracted to produce white metal castings for several kit producers, explained how he was trying out ways of producing castings from 3D printed masters. This discussion went on to include a variety of ways in which 3D printing and casting technologies are being combined.

On the topic of kits in general, there was a discussion on the quality of those available and how well they go together. We ranged across the good, the bad and the ”is it possible to get this to go together” (no names no pack drill). I did wonder whether, as our levels of skill and experience increase overtime and our awareness of errors and issues grows, our tolerance for other people’s errors or compromises can be, well, compromised. It was common ground that, once you have become aware of a flaw in a model, it was very hard not to see it. This problem is magnified by taking photos and displaying them several times life size, as this is a sure-fire way to highlighting problems you haven’t noticed before.

Of course, one of the marks of the developing modeller is an increased use of photos and drawings for research to back up their efforts. In the past, scaling dimensions off a drawings or photo was at best a strain on our mathematical abilities, if it was doable at all. Help is at hand. For those in the group who had missed it I was able to point out the internet tool (its not an app it’s a web site) by Guy Rixon which was announced in this thread on the Forum - On-line drawing scaler. This was primarily aimed at avoiding the complexities of extracting, from a digital image of a drawing, the size of any item which was not dimensioned on the drawing. Particularly where the scale of reproduction of the drawing is itself unclear. Better still, this naturally extends to reading off the result at the correct final size in which ever scale your current want to work in. It also extends to extracting dimensions from a square on photo, given one known dimension. There are some complexities of course, like how you get a good square on photo (you could try asking Jeremy of course) but there are photo manipulation tools about that will take the prospective out of a photo, and these are discussed on the thread. It is certainly very useful tool, while being in computer terms rather simple and easy to use. The best ideas etc.

Terry Bendall
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Re: Crewe Area Group - online meetings

Postby Terry Bendall » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:37 am

Will L wrote:There may well be a few more steps to be taken before they becomes available, but they are certainly under way.


They certainly are. We have had the prototype for a few weeks. I have done some trial turning and it is now with Jeremy for testing and evaluation.

Will L wrote: This problem is magnified by taking photos and displaying them several times life size, as this is a sure-fire way to highlighting problems you haven’t noticed before.


Not just problems with the building but also with paining and detailing. Pictures of models that I have made which are due to be published need to be cleaned up with photo editing software first and enlarging these to enable the process to be done reveals all sorts of things including parts that have been missed with the paint brush and parts where the wrong colour has strayed. Usually they cannot be seen even when using a magnifier but for print purposes they need to be corrected.

Terry Bendall


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