Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's time to go "shopping"

School's Out!!!!

The three week subbing job is done. I enjoyed it, but I am ready to enjoy some time not working. Then, last Friday after the end of school, we went out of town for the graduation of a niece - last of that generation to finish high school.

The plan for the summer is to work in the backyard shop on railroad stuff - going "shopping" as the wife calls it. Of course, there will always be "things" to interrupt, but hopefully not many.

I have the four large corners framed built and about ready to prime and paint. There are the brad holes to putty, etc. I should be able to have the priming done by Tuesday. In the meantime, I've started on the Payne Boxes for storage and transport of the new modules. Since there are a number of new modules in this project, I'm building these as I build the module bases. That way, there'll be a place to store them as scenery begins to progress on them.

I'm not sure how many straight modules will be built. I know there will be at least four double length straights and two junctions to go with the four corners. With this mix of modules, I'll be able to set up as a stand alone, one end of a larger layout, or be in the middle of the (probably) largest form of layout. So, that's at least 10 modules in this set.

With the 15, no, make that 16 modules I already have, and the 13 (so far) that Allen has built, we can set up in any size or shape we want. He has four corners, four 1x and four 2x straights and a junction. I have the same, plus the two 6x straights and an inside corner. Nearly forgot that one, I did. All are using the TTrak Alt (33mm) track spacing.

I have a Ford F-150 with a standard bed and the 'super' cab, with a solid tonneau cover on the bed. With a bit of careful loading, I think I'll be able to carry all this in the truck, enclosed from the wind and adverse weather.

And, one of the new 2x modules will be getting a lower lever with an Easy Trolley loop. See the previous blog entry. It will do more than just run in circles. Initial tests are a success, but I still have more work to do there, too.

Plenty of summer projects, I have. Good, this is.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Already it has been two weeks since I last posted an update. This time, I have several items to

First, I have been doing a long term sub job at a high school near here. A math teacher
(my field) was sent to bed by her doctor. She's expecting, and the doctor wanted to be
careful. So, I'm finishing the school year for her. Someone asked if I had to wear a pillow under my shirt. If so, it'd be two - she's having twins.

I've got about 160 11th graders, mostly in Algebra II. They have finished the state mandated tests as of the first of May, and they are brain dead. These last three weeks are a real exercise in futility.

Oh, well, I'm enjoying it more than many of the kids. And the pay will buy more goodies
for the layout. So for me, it's a good thing, if a bit tiring.

So much for that. Now, for the good stuff. First, the HO project for the club. I had the idea of splicing Atlas grade crossing sections to Kato Unitrack. Kato doesn't make a grade crossing in HO, and we wanted the rerailer action on the TTrak-HO loops, too. The pictures show the almost final results.

I filled in the 1/4" gap under the Atlas with Hydrocal. After it dried, I smoothed, painted and ballasted it. At the show, it proved worthwhile as it successfully rerailed cars on the fly. Somehow, I failed to get a picture of it is action. Oh, well, ...

Next, I did find the time to set up a test loop for my Easy Tram project. Never one to do it the simple way, I settled on the idea of a hidden passing siding. Then, using a Minatronics RU2-1 controller, the plan is to have a tram appear running right-to-left, alternating with a different one running left-to-right.
Concept pictures were blogged on April 13 as the "Tomix Easy Tram Module Project." The trams will have their motors altered by adding a diode in series with them.
I settled on placing the diode between the motor and the right rail, with the anode to the rail, cathode to the motor. This way, only one tram can run at a time. When the controller reverses power, the other tram will run. The Tomix turnouts work sweet as spring switches, too. This is going to be fun to run, fun to watch people "discover" it. The lines tagged in red & white are track power, blue & yellow are system power, and the others are photo sensors. Since I took the picture, proper track power feeders have arrived. When I get a couple of test chassis modified with diodes, I'll run more tests and shoot a video or two as well.
Finally, I started on assembling the first modules for a new TTrak-N layout. This one will feature the Kato super elevated curves. Eventually, the Easy Trolley will be on a straight module, running on a lower level beneath the main lines.

The first modules are the corners. Here's a series showing the various stages.
A quick shot of four corners, kitted and ready to assemble.
The cardboard box in the background of some pics has another 3 1/2 dozen blocks, trimmed and bored for use on the straight and junction modules yet to come, as well as a module or two for a friend.
I made the corner bracing blocks a bit too long, but didn't realize that until after I did the initial gluing. They are already glued to sides, in the back of the photo.
So, a Forsner bit in the drill press and the adjusting feet are countersunk to the same level they will be on the other blocks. After setting up to show the way it all fits together, I realized my mistake and fixed it this way.
By fixing a stop to the cross slide of my old table saw, I was able to quickly rip the remaining blocks to the desired height.
Okay here's the arrangement again, with the trimmed blocks. Assembly proceeded quickly, thanks to Titebond 2 glue and a brad nailer.
This is when I discovered that I made another mistake. I glued the wedge blocks just a bit too far out. The front panel is supposed to fit under the top, but on this corner it'll have to be out front.
Once the glue dries, I can file and sand it into alignment. A little paint and only I will know. The other three corners will be done correctly (I hope.)
Finally, here's a picture of the idea for one of the corners. It's a start. The buildings are Tomix 4018's, with a block of two floors moved from each of the shorter ones to the taller. For more on the idea, look back in the blog to early March, where I did a mockup of some of the modules with buildings.
Well that's about it for now. Once the corners and the first straights are built, I'll be concentrating on building/bashing the structures I've been collecting over the winter.
This is going to be a fun summer project.
Deadline? Well, my club's next big show is usually in October.

End of May update ...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just a quick update from the 'far west'. The show last weekend was a good one.
The first two pictures shows my loop of modules.

The ones with black fascia are fresh rebuilds on old carcasses. These were left from my N-scale meltdown last spring.

In the background is the 12' yard that interconnected my modules with the new set of
modules built over the winter by Allen. He's watched my modules for a couple of years,
and decided to join the fun.

He matched my set of modules with four corners, four single-length and four double-length straights, and a junction.

All our modules use the "Alternate" (33mm) track spacing.

The yard connecting the two loops gave us an outside loop of just over 2 scale miles. It was really nice to see the 12-car Super Chief straighten out and stay straight coming across there.

My previous post has the links to my Youtube videos. Some are HO scale, and some are N scale.

Here's a few HO pictures as well. The first is Darrell Puckett's WW II RAF field.

Next is Cal Korab's tank farm.

Andy Anderson's new loco makes a pass through the sand hills module.

Finally, the ever-popular hobo car.

Today, I cut out the tops and sides for some new modules. There will be four corners,
up to four straights, and a pair of junctions. These are for my super-elevated track
set. So, the corners and the junctions are a bit larger than those seen here. I want
it to be a stand alone layout, and still be compatible with the older modules, too.
I have the overall scenery planned, and have been collecting supplies. The theme? A
dense cityscape all the way around. We'll see just what develops. My target date is
the local club's fall show, usually held in October.

I'm "retired" and work subbing in local schools. Yesterday, I was tabbed to do a "long
term" sub job for the rest of the school year. Very likely, I'll start the fall semester, too. The teacher for whom I'm filling in is having twins, and is due late August. The doctor told her to stay home, so ... I won't be able to make any more progress on anything until June.

The field is math, my certification field. I don't have to work, but I like to teach,
like the kids (usually) and the money buys more RR goodies. Like the Dr. Yellow bullet
train that came the day after tear-down at the show. Oh, well, it'll just have to wait
for its turn to run.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lubbock Arts Festival train videos

I shot a number of videos at the Arts Festival. Rather than spending
time to repost them here, I've listed the youtube links:

Youtube videos from the setup pril 30, 2009:

N Scale #1 - Super Chief Coming Across the Yard -

N Scale #2 - Super Chief Arrives -

N Scale #3 - Super Chief at the Junction -

N Scale #4 - Super Chief Going Across the Yard -

Videos from the show May 2, 2009:

Lubbock Arts Festival-HO-01.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-HO-02.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-HO-01.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-HO-02.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-HO-03.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-N-AH-01.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-N-AH-02.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-N-JP-01.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-N-JP-02.MOV

Lubbock Arts Festival-TTrak-N-JP-03.MOV

I shot a number of still pictures, too. Maybe I'll get time to select some and
post them.