Beer and Buckjumpers

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Flymo748
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:45 am

DougN wrote:Paul have you got far enough to show us a photo of the under mount tie bars. It is one area that I know I need to figure out while the seed of a layout germinates in the grey matter.

I guess the other question is what is the sections of plastrut are you using. I can see this is easily accessible here in Australia. (some of the references to curtain rail means nothing to me all those years ago)

Hi Doug,

Someone PM'd me a few days ago to ask if I could hurry up and write up the story of how I've built the TOUs. Since then I've been writing it in sections on my morning train journey.

It's nearly finished - I've got as far as the final set up on them. Expect something in the next day or two :-)

I'll post it here in about three episodes, to keep each one to a reasonable length.

HTH
Flymo
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - Turnout Operating Units 1 of 4

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:02 am

I’ve been asked to do a write-up of the Turnout Operating Units that I am using on my P4 demo board. I wasn’t going to do this until they had been installed and satisfactorily operating, although I had done a “finger-driven” test of how effectively they work.
These are certainly not an original idea. I believe that the original Protofour TOU was produced on a similar concept, using sliding plastic curtain rail to provide the base. The main criteria that I wanted to meet were:

* Mounted below the baseboard
* Cheap and easy to produce
* Robust but not necessary to be “engineered”
* Did not need to be relied on for gauging the switch rails

Turning to the last point, my philosophy was that these TOUs would drive the switch rails with an approximation of the correct gap between them. However for the precise gauging I am using a “semi-cosmetic” tie-bar. I use the term semi-cosmetic, as primarily the role is to look authentic, but it will also provide the exactness of the distance between the rails that cannot be produced from a flexible drive mechanism three or four centimetres below the railhead.
The materials used are all very commonplace. You may have them already. If not, all of them are readily available from Derek Russan at Eileen’s Emporium, and no doubt other suppliers. I just know that Derek definitely does have everything available as that’s where I got most of my components from! Usual disclaimer, no connection, etc. The list is:

* Copper-clad sleeper strip. I had offcuts from track-building to use.
* Fine bore brass tube. By fine, I mean something that will take a 0.45mm brass wire down the inside and be a sliding fit. My tube came from some left-over from a High Level Models kit.
* Straight 0.45mm brass or nickel silver wire. The sort that comes in 12” lengths from various sources.
* Thick plasticard. I used some 60 thou that I had in the drawer, but the thickness is not critical as it is used to provide a robust mounting base.
* Two sizes of square Plastruct tube. One that is a loose sliding fit inside the other. The dimensions, again, are not critical, and I believe that I used 5/16” and ¼” for my TOU.

This is the tube that I used. As they always say, other makes and flavours are available. The TOU’s themselves are roughly seven centimetres in width, so you can make a number of the units from the two strips in each packet.

track gauges a 003.jpg


(to be continued...)
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - Tou 2 of 4

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:08 am

The first thing that I did was to make the functional tie-bars. These will sit below the baseboard and have the task of holding the dropper wires that come down from the pointblades.

Much is made of the torsional stresses that are put in dropper wires when they are soldered in place on turnouts. I’m not sure how much I buy into this idea, unless the section under load is particularly short. However I saw advantages in keeping the TOU and the pointblades physically separate.

To do this, I used some small bore brass tubing. This needs to be just a little larger in bore than the wire that you choose to use for dropper wires. In this size, brass tube is more easily cut by rolling it back and forth under a sharp scalpel blade to create a score mark than by trying to saw it. Using cutters will, of course, simply close up the ends of the tube, which is no good at all.

The length of the dropper tube isn’t actually critical. I used the length shown in this picture to make both tubes for this tie-bar.

001 (Large).jpg


The dropper wires are very flexible, and I didn’t need to rely on the accuracy of the functional tie-bar to keep the pointblades the correct distance apart. Nevertheless, to ease the stresses and strains of holding the pointblades in place, I made the two dropper tubes 16.5mm apart. This was measured on the copper-clad strip, and as you can see two saw cuts made for the tube to sit in before it is soldered. This just helped keep it located correctly and at right-angles.

As you can see in the next picture, I later cut a further gap in the copper clad to insulate the dropper tubes from each other.

001a (Large).jpg


In this picture you can see that all of the tie-bars have been made. I have four turnouts on the board that I am building, so four was the number that I made.

You can also see that the first functional tie-bar has been glued to a section of plasticard square tube. This is the smaller section – in my case ¼” in size. This was done simply with some two-part epoxy. Again, the alignment isn’t critical, but it should be roughly central, and roughly square, to the plastic strip.

The next, rather dark, picture shows the production of the mounting plates. These are approximately 70mm by 30mm. You could make them larger if you wished, but I wanted to be able to fit them reasonably easily underneath the baseboard.

002 (Large).jpg


The small squares of plasticard that are being fitted are an extra that may not be necessary for other modellers. The smallest woodscrews that I have available to fix the completed units to the baseboard are still too long to go through the TOU, and then into the baseboard that is made out of 6mm ply without the ends of the screw bursting through the top surface. Therefore by putting spacing plates, the screw goes fully in but the tip will not come out of the other side. If you used thicker baseboard, or glued the TOU down rather than screwing it, these would not be necessary.

I made provision for three mounting points for the screws. In practice only two, at either end, have proved to be necessary. After the spacing plates were glued in place and dry, they were drilled with 2mm holes to take the screws. Given that plasticard is fairly soft, this was just done with a drill in a pin-chuck. There was no need for any machine tools or suchlike.

(to be continued...)
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - TOU 3 of 4

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:14 am

Next I moved on to the construction of the tie-bar mounts. These are simply two cubes of the larger size plastic tube mounted on top of each other. Two things to consider:

- if you are cutting the tube, as I did, with a piercing saw do clean off the edges of the tube earlier to remove any plastic swarf still attached that may interfere with the smooth sliding of the tie-bar.

- the height of the mount should be dictated by the height at with the point motor provides drive. In the case of the Conrad motors that I am using, this is quite high and I wanted to make the connection at the same height.

These really are just one piece glued on top of the other.

003 (Large).jpg


After this, it was time to try the functional tie-bar out for size, to ensure that it slid freely. I actually found that the fit was a little looser than I had expected from two adjacent sizes of tube. However the amount of slack was not so great as to cause problems, and it gave me a bit of wiggle room for fitting them in place.

004 (Large).jpg


006 (Large).jpg


The pictures do show a slightly different order of fitting the mounts as some pictures were taken during the build of the initial TOU, and some during the batch-build of the balance of them. The differences aren’t critical though, and just show that there are many ways to go modelling in P4.
This is the completed unit, with the functional tie-bar fitted in place.

007 (Large).jpg


Two points to remember, thankfully neither of which I fell foul of, but I’m sure that I came close:

- The copper-clad strip should face the outside of the unit, so that the dropper tubes extend out over the edge. This is probably the only critical bit of the entire process, as there needs to be clearance for the dropper wires to come down from the point-blades past the edge of the TOU, and then go through the dropper tubes.

- If you fit both the mounts to the base first, without including the functional tie-bar, you won’t be able to slide it in to the mounts afterwards. There simply isn’t the free room to do this. So it does all need to come together in one go.

So that completes the building of the TOU.

(to be continued...)
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - TOU 4 of 4

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:19 am

Next is the fitting. I would assume that any sensible modeller will have fitted the functional tie-bars, to hold the point blades at the correct distance apart, before gluing the turnout to the baseboard, and ballasting it. I cannot lay claim to being so sensible, so I’ll gloss over the selection and fitting of your personal choice of tie-bars.

The first step in installing the TOU is to solder the dropper wires to the point blades extending down through the baseboard. I file a small v-shaped notch in the foot of the rail in the appropriate place for the wire to sit into, to make it as unobtrusive as possible. A lot can be achieved in disguising the wires by carefully filing back the solder afterwards.

I use dropper wires that initially are much too long. This is to make it easy to handle them. Any extra length is cut off afterwards and either re-used for other dropper wires or put in the “spare wire” box for future use. It’s the sort of thing that is never wasted.

You then slide the dropper wires into the dropper tubes of the TOU. A tip when doing this is to have the dropper wires of unequal lengths. That means that you fit one at a time, rather than having to try and guide two bits of very thin wire into very small holes simultaneously – a task that requires at least four hands, or an awful lot of patience.

After sliding the TOU down the wires to the baseboard, it is necessary to fix it in place. As mentioned earlier, you could use any method to do this, although I preferred to screw it down. In locating the TOU, I wanted to make sure that the functional tie-bar was correctly set ar one end of its travel. To do this, I used a small bulldog clip to hold the pointblade closed on one side, and then had the functional tie-bar set to one end of the travel.

The TOU was then screwed in place. Once this was done, I snipped off the ends of the dropper wires so that they only just protrude from the bottom of the dropper tubes. This will reduce the chances of them being accidentally snagged and causing or being caused damage.

It would be possible to bend over the ends of the dropper wires in the bearing tubes to provide vertical restraint on the movement of the pointblades, to prevent them rising up. I haven’t done this, as the type of cosmetic tie-bar that I’m using will prevent the blades lifting in this plane.

tie-bar 003.jpg


After this, the motor to drive it was installed. Again, how this is done is down to personal taste. As the Conrad point motor that I am currently using does not have user-definable limit travel, I have decided to use a relatively long drive rod with a sizeable omega loop in it to take up the slack and hold the point blades firmly over.

omega 003.jpg


To give you an idea of the scale, the omega loop is approximately 1.5cm across the diameter. It was formed by hand using a few tweaks of snipe-nosed pliers in the length of wire. This is in itself a length of the 0.8mm straight brass wire referred to earlier. I’m sure that other methods of driving the TOU would be equally, or more efficient.

The black wire that you will notice behind the operating wire is simply the earth return wire from the point motor. I have arrange the wiring of this particular board so that the live wiring feed goes up one side of the board, through the switches and associated components – point motors and electro-magnetic uncouplers – and then returns down the other side of the board.
The wiring is kept neatly in place with a few spots of glue from an ordinary DIY hot glue gun. This is showing one of the uncoupling magnets, not the TOU!

wiring 002.jpg


As always, I’m not afraid to say when things have gone wrong. In this case, you may notice that there is an extension piece on the end of the functional tie-bar. This was simply because I only noticed after I’d installed the TOU that I had fitted it the wrong way around. I had left sufficient material to drill a hole to attach the operating wire at the end of the tie-bar, but this was now at the opposite end.

omega 004.jpg


Rather than take off the entire TOU and re-mount it having turned it through 180 degrees, I simply decided to use a spare bit of the 60 thou plasticard glued inside the end of the square tube.

The operating wire was passed through a small drilled hole, and the end bent over to hold it in place. At the other, point motor, end, the wire is passed through the operating arm of the motor, with it manually set over at the limit of its travel.

And that’s it. They have now been tested and work successfully. The longevity of them naturally remain to be tested – ask me in five years or so if I’ve had any problems. In the meantime, if I’ve missed anything out, or I’ve been unclear, please do drop me a mail to ask.

Flymo
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Terry Bendall
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Terry Bendall » Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:22 am

Flymo748 wrote:And that’s it. They have now been tested and work successfully. The longevity of them naturally remain to be tested


A very neat idea Flymo which has the advantages of being easy and cheap to make.

A few thoughts come to mind...

In the picture of the TOU in place the brass tube seems to be quite a long way from the underside of the baseboard. Will the wire that is soldered to the point blades bend? If the tube was a bit longer and came closer to the underside of the baseboard there would be more support for the wire.

You could of course use brass tube for the whole thing instead of plastic which might be more robust. At the moment the supporting pieces of tube have a fairly small gluing area which might fail after a time. If a piece of double sided copper clad board is used to solder the tubes to, it could be soldered to brass tube. You would however have to check for short circuits before continuing.

You could of course use a more realistic fiunctional streatcher bar of the turnout and these are available from a number of sources.

Probably this comes up because of my natural inclination to work in metal rather than plastic, but each to his own.

I hope this is a useful developement - no wish to criticise.

Terry Bendall

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Russ Elliott
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Russ Elliott » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:23 pm

Snap! Here's what I used a few years back on Somersham. (Paul's quite right about the "avoiding four hands" tip, btw, but in my case, the droppers from the switch blades were already present and more or less the same length, so the upper level of the tubes were made slightly unequal. Were I starting over, Paul's methodology is more logical, particularly about making the droppers overlong before snipping off any excess length after TOU fitting.)

Image

Terry Bendall wrote:In the picture of the TOU in place the brass tube seems to be quite a long way from the underside of the baseboard. Will the wire that is soldered to the point blades bend? If the tube was a bit longer and came closer to the underside of the baseboard there would be more support for the wire.

I took a different approach to Paul for exactly that reason. My tubes extend very close to the underside of the switch blades (a couple of millimetres or so), so although the droppers are necessarily free to rotate in the tubes, there's very little bend in them; I felt it was more important to prevent the droppers straying from the true vertical because I didn't want to stress the soldered joint between the dropper and the switch blade. Owing to the closeness of the top of the tube and the switch blade underside, I found, providing the tubes were spaced correctly on the copperclad, I didn't need any further gauging device, as Paul has incorporated with his 'semi-cosmetic' stretcher bar. Whilst there is still a very small amount of slack between my tubes and the blade droppers, the majority of my overtravel is taken up in the omega (or in my case, Z) loop. Depending on the strength of Paul's omega loops, his droppers will bend.

In both cases though, the principle is the same - we want a bit of deliberate overtravel in the underside TOU and its drive rods so that the droppers hold their respective blades firmly against their stock rails.

John Fitton

Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby John Fitton » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:04 pm

Flymo,

How do you secure the wiring to the underside of the baseboard? I have been using a hot glue gun which can be very painful if (when!) the hot glue drips on one's hairy arms....

John.

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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:25 pm

The wiring is kept neatly in place with a few spots of glue from an ordinary DIY hot glue gun.

From Flymo's text above ;)
Keith
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Keith
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John Fitton

Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby John Fitton » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:34 pm

Thanks Keith, I should read the entire article!

And maybe use a better glue gun....

John.

allanferguson
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby allanferguson » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:42 pm

The original Studiolith TOU's, though not ideal by today's standards, were quite advanced for 30 years ago. In particular the fixing arrangements were defective, tending to cause the unit to tilt if overtightened. The tubes (stainless steel -- this was Studiolith!) were 15mm long, and this, as explained to me by Peter Elsee, was to allow for 12mm baseboard plus 3mm underlay. (If you used 1/2" baseboard and 1/8" underlay, the extra length of exposed dropper would compromise the rigidity of the system). And the advice was to solder the droppers to the switch blades before installing the turnout. Since they are also 15mm long, and of equal length, the business of threading them into the tubes could assume nightmare proportions in the dark satanic space under the baseboard.

Nevertheless I thought these were a good system in principle. The main drawback I found was that although they prevented the switchblade riding up, they didn't prevent it dropping and fouling the rivets -- no slide chairs then!

I think the point of my wee historical ramble was that the length of the tubes minimised the bending or twisting stresses on the dropper to switchblade joint, which can be fragile at the best of times.

Allan F
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Mark Tatlow
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:59 pm

jf2682 wrote:Flymo,

How do you secure the wiring to the underside of the baseboard? I have been using a hot glue gun which can be very painful if (when!) the hot glue drips on one's hairy arms....

John.


There is such a thing as a cold glue gun John.

Actually it is a warm glue gun and works on the same principal but at a lower temperature. You can get them from school suppliers (this is their main use) and probably art shops too.
Mark Tatlow

John Fitton

Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby John Fitton » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:06 pm

Thanks Mark, I will have to acquire one!

John

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Tim V
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Tim V » Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:43 pm

allanferguson wrote:Nevertheless I thought these were a good system in principle. The main drawback I found was that although they prevented the switchblade riding up, they didn't prevent it dropping and fouling the rivets -- no slide chairs then!

I think the point of my wee historical ramble was that the length of the tubes minimised the bending or twisting stresses on the dropper to switchblade joint, which can be fragile at the best of times.

Allan F

The Studiolith items were good, I've used them on Clutton, but with the modified droppers per the article in MRJ 20.
Tim V
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Alan Turner
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Alan Turner » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:05 pm

jf2682 wrote:Thanks Keith, I should read the entire article!

And maybe use a better glue gun....

John.


use a cool glue and gun rather than a Hot glue. an example http://www.technologysupplies.co.uk/Glu ... -Cool-Melt

Alan

Chris Mitton
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers - TOUs continued

Postby Chris Mitton » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:32 am

Hi Paul

Don't know if this is of any interest, but here is my own effort at a TOU which has several similarities to your own. The first pic, taken about 18 months ago when I made it, shows the construction - essentially like yours, a square section styrene sliding in a square styrene tube with slots in top and bottom for the brass tubes to clear (I added a bit of vaseline before assembly to help it slide freely). The switch blade droppers can slide in the tubes, which means (a) the track preserves its ability to move in the vertical plane and (b) the whole contraption can be removed without messing up the visible parts of the layout. The brass tubes went in tight push fit holes in the slider, but to make sure I superglued them in, which was fun - only two TOUs were written off by welding the whole lot solid! I also added some extra bits to allow adjustment after installation - these are the two 8BA screws underneath. [I found you can drill and tap this stuff, with a pin vice or even a Dremel turned by hand - by all means power up the Dremel if you want a revolting, and probably toxic, mess!] This adjustability means that the TOU can perform the function of holding the switch blades in the right place, allowing for the flexibility in the brass tubes. I've found this works nicely and keeps them accurately apart even though what you call the semi-cosmetic stretchers have yet to be installed.
TOU-1.JPG
TOU-1.JPG (66.93 KiB) Viewed 8941 times

This also shows the microswitch to change crossing polarity, araldited on to the fixed part. It came from Maplins and claims to carry up to 3 amps - which ought to be more than enough for the modest trains that will (hopefully in 2012!) traverse this bucolic line. The screw for this needed careful positioning and adjustment to match the throw of the switch to the throw of the TOU and ensure it triggers at about mid-movement. The 6BA screw at the far end connects to the operating mechanism - part of it can just be made out in the second pic, which shows one installed under the layout - and an edge-of-baseboard lever. The other pic shows a variant powered by a Tortoise, whose wire goes directly into another hole in the slider - I found I did have to use a heavier operating wire than the one that comes with the motor. This is (or in most cases will be!) applied to all turnouts that in reality would be operated from the signal box, ie those on or giving access to the running line - the intention, hopefully in this lifetime, is to work them from a fully interlocked tappet-and-slider frame.
TOU-2.JPG
TOU-2.JPG (101.09 KiB) Viewed 8941 times

TOU-3.JPG
TOU-3.JPG (126.7 KiB) Viewed 8941 times


Regards
Chris

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David B
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby David B » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:24 am

Chris Mitton wrote:
"I added a bit of vaseline before assembly to help it slide freely"


Vaseline tends to dry and become tacky over time. I have used silicon spray - my can was intended to be used to clean car interiors and was bought from a car accessory place. On a surface where there is rubbing, such as the TOU, it will wear off in time and need renewing, but it does not appear to accumulate and 'gum up the works'. The spray is useful in other places as well; I use it on my band saw table and have even used it to ease a sticking audio cassette, applying it with a cotton bud.

David

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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby HighlandRailwayman » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:00 pm

Flymo,

Many thanks for that - most entertaining and enlightening, and given me a few ideas to try on my 'plank' now that the first point is nearing compleation.....

I agree a drop of silicoln lubricant would work wonders and should not gum up the works.

Regards,

Churchward

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Flymo748
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby Flymo748 » Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:49 pm

Churchward wrote:Many thanks for that - most entertaining and enlightening, and given me a few ideas to try on my 'plank' now that the first point is nearing compleation.....


My pleasure...

If there is one lesson that I learned (the hard way!) that I would emphasise above all others, it is to fit your cosmetic/semi-functional tie-bars to the turnout BEFORE fixing it down. Failure to do that has caused me more curses than anything else, and yet it was so easy to do...

Doh!
Flymo
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - Some progress...

Postby Flymo748 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:36 pm

A little at least... It's been a busy Christmas and with lots of other things going on I've had precious little time for modelling. That which I have squeezed in has been with the careful use of a paintbrush.

Here are a few snaps. Please excuse the yellowish tone, as that is due to the artificial light - a permanent problem at this time of year, when all daylight hours are spent at work.

PaintProgress 002.jpg


PaintProgress 003.jpg


PaintProgress 004.jpg


PaintProgress 005.jpg


Hopefully more progress soon...

Cheers
Flymo
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DougN
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby DougN » Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:21 pm

They look great Flymo. Finding and fixing a time each week to do some modelling is a hard activity. Good luck with forming the habit!
Doug
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - Frustration...

Postby Flymo748 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:12 pm

When you've had a very good day at a CHEAG workshop day, making excellent progress on wiring up your demo board, don't...

...get to five minutes from the end and form a hunch that you've wired up all of the point motors back-to-front. Or you will go home and check them straightaway, and find that you have...

Argh!

Flymo
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - spokes

Postby Flymo748 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:32 pm

Isn't it a slow and laborious process when you've fitted the loco wheels to the chassis, and then realise that you need to paint all of the spokes. Individually. Both sides.

Half a wheel done, and my eyes gave out. More to do tomorrow when we have better light. It was getting quite difficult to tell what was GER blue, and what was still black.

Still, it's nice to be doing some modelling again! No photos at the moment, but I'm sure that there will be the chance soon.

Flymo
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DougN
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Re: Beer and Buckjumpers

Postby DougN » Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:00 am

Know the feeling. Yesterday was the first time in a while that the Black Hawthorn had risen to the top of the pile... the chassis had been driving me nutty. So I cleaned every thing up fully striped down. Found that the fixed axle bearing were a little too tight for comfort.. Over eased them :cry: replaced one of the bearings :? reassembled only to find that If I had tweaked the chassis straight it may have run first time... then continued to clean.... Prim painted yesterday... Air brush is comming out tonight! So hopefully by the end of the week it will be running...UMMM Time does seem to get away though!
Doug
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Flymo748
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Beer and Buckjumpers - Dangerous games...

Postby Flymo748 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:20 pm

I'm not entirely sure that I'm supposed to use a slitting disc in a mini-drill to remove the corners from a Mashima 1220 motor in order for it to fit more easily between axleboxes in the frames...

However nothing appears to have flown loose, and I'm confident that it *will* work when I put power through it.

Oh, if only I'd planned this properly before I put chassis and body together, rather than treating them as two standalone projects!

Flymo
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