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.

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