Monday, June 15, 2009

Some more module progress

Here are a few pictures to show the small progress I think I'm making out in the shop.

I built eight (!) 2x modules, but Darrell took two, and Cal gets one of these, so only five
are left for me. That's great, because now there are four TTrak-N modelers out here!
I think I'll only need four to start with (and
maybe finish?) so there is a spare. Since I
was going to build so many, I just mass
produced as many as I had material for at
the time. It was much quicker that way.
One saw setup, several passes, and a whole
pile of module kits fall out of the sawdust.

I got to thinking again. Sometimes it just happens. Oh, well. Anyway, it occurred to me that
the high rise buildings on the first of the corner modules would look a bit more imposing if
they were on a raised surface. I looked around the shop and found a scrap piece of 3/4" blue
foam. I cut it to size and shape, and tried a train around it. No good, the cars would scrape
the wall. So, a bit of knife time beveling the slope and the cars now clear fine.

I set the Tomix 4018's on there and looked at it from all sides. I decided the front edge needed
some elevation, too, so another scrap was cut out.

Next, the train was placed in the trench, and given a good look. Something still didn't look
quite right. While I like the low ridge in front of the tracks, it seemed to undo the elevation
of the buildings.

So, a few more foam scraps, and the buildings were elevated another 3/4".

The train was placed back in the trench, and that looked better to me, so this is what I will
go with.

The foam piece will be glued down to the module top, and another piece will be cut to fit on
top of it.

This new piece will have a vertical wall to match the top of the lower piece's outline at the
top of the taper. Since I'm about out of 3/4" foam, the new top piece will probably be 1" thick.
I really like the look from 'pedestrian level' at the base of the buildings.

Finally, I set out to join the two 6x straight modules. Part of the idea for these long modules
is to span between tables. So, they were framed with 1-2" cabinet grade plywood. Even so,
they are fairly light weight, even when handled together. At the last show, we found that,
as separate pieces across a table gap, they were too easily bumped and slid around under
the track. All was new, nothing fastened at the time.

The metal rulers are shown aligned with the
front edge of the front track. Conversations
with the others in the club raised the option
of using them as we did, a 12x long through
yard, or as a pair of 6x stub yards separated
around a layout.

So, I thought about all that, and decided to try this solution. The two sections are bolted
together, when desired, by 1/4"-20 tap bolts. These are the same type I use for the
adjusting feet.

To accommodate the need for track overhang when the modules are separated, and for
snug spacing when joined, I placed a shim plate between the sections. The plate is a piece
of 3/32" ply from the R/C aircraft corner of the LHS.

My plan is to lay track starting from this junction. I will place the initial track joints centered
over the plate. Then, when separated, there is a slight overhang for module joining, and with
the spacer, all can be rigidly bolted tight.

I aligned the modules by standing them on their rear
face, making sure the tops were flush, much like I'd have
to do at a show. Then, after clamping them securely, a
pair of 9/32" holes were drilled through both ends and
the shim plate. Installing a pair of tee-nuts completed
the job. The assembly is rigid, showing no flexing when
handled, and easily picked up by one person.

For tonight, I am storing it on end along one side wall
of my shop.

I still haven't figured out exactly what little landscaping
I'll use. There will be a few structures, but not many.
Currently, I have a Pola single stall brick engine house
and a Stewart diesel servicing facility for fuel, water,
and sand. These will go at one end, where a couple of
stub sidings will be placed. Look at the pictures in a
previous blog for details.

Somewhere along a siding will be a Greenmax car washing station. It'll probably be on the
rearmost, but that's not a given. I may move it in one track for survivability during transport.
More on that in a minute.

At the far end, if I can figure a way to incorporate it, will be a small steam facilities, but that's
in the distant future.

As for transport and storage, I'm going to cut a pair of plywood panels the same width as
the modules (12") and 18" tall. They will be attached with bolts, stacking the two modules.
At 18" tall and just over 72" length, they will fit the bed of my F-150 with the solid cover

So, that's about it for now. I'm starting to look into the structure kits I stockpiled over the
winter and spring, getting ready for the summer work season while school's out.
Sooo many toys, sooo little time, sooo many honey-do's ...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First test run on the new corner modules

Today, I tacked the track to the four new corners and gave it a test run.

The first run on the canted track corners
had just bare loco units, no cars. Each
corner transitions from flat to canted in
22.5 degrees, then 45 degrees canted, and
back to flat in 22.5 degrees, for a total of
90 degrees.

The inner radius of the Kato track is
381mm (15") radius, while the outer is
414mm (16 3/8") radius. The short
straight sections between the halves are
62mm, and one is the track power feeder.

These first runs were made with a couple of old Atlas RS-3 chassis units.


After a bit of this, I added three cars
to each train. The next couple of pictures
show the canting of the track rather well.


Finally, just for fun, mainly, I set a Kato
commuter station over the tracks and
ran the trains through it.

So, not a lot of words, just a few pics and
videos. It was a fun thing to do while it
was raining.

The commuter station is one piece of the
city scene I want to build on all these new


First test runs

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Module progress

I've completed the framing of the first six modules in the new series. There are four corners and two junctions here, before and after the coat of primer.

Several straights are in the works, partially cut out but not quite ready for assembly. In the process, I am building four modules of various sizes for others, too. Too many things at once. I've got to learn how to say "No" without angering others.

The first picture is before the primer is applied, and the second is while they are drying. It was a warm and partly overcast afternoon, good
for the primer coat.

The second shows the same modules after the fact.

At the last show, Allen H. showed his first set of modules, and a very good set they are. However, he also made a change to the Payne boxes we use to store and transport the modules. He added solid sides and top to the boxes to provide protection from dust and who knows what.
My first three of the enclosed boxes are not finished, but they are much stronger than the old ones. I'll have to rebuild all of them with solid sides, tops and bottoms. I'm not sure about the front covering just yet, but something will be figured out. I used 1/4" plywood, something relatively inexpensive.

The boxes are a bit heavier, but still easy to carry. I have a bad back, so I have to be careful about lifting too much.

Ah, the new modules, all tucked in their beds, whilst visions of scenery dance through my head.

Sorry about that, I couldn't resist.

The corners are squares with a point removed, so they will go in the boxes turned in any direction.

Finally, a view of almost all my TTrak-N modules to date. That's an inside corner against the wall. The far stack has four double length (2x) modules, with a junction sitting on top of it all.

The next stack has four corners in the bottom box, with four single length (1x) straights in the box above. The brass plates on two of these
are for (yet to be built) internal throttles. The flash reflection off them is the source of the streaks on the inside corner.

On top of it all is a piece of foam, holding, at the near end, the test loop for an Easy Trolley circuit I am adding to one of the new 2x straights. The controller for the trolley loop is a Minatronics RU2-1 unit. I am not happy with it.

It has a defective sensing input, and they have no repair service available. I don't know yet,
but I may have to trash it and figure something else out.

Two modules are not shown. They are a pair of 6x straights that can be used as a long yard with three through sidings or as two stub yards. The scenery there is still to be done, but it is progressing.

Well, that's about it for now. Got to go get ready for the mother-in-law's 80th birthday fling tomorrow.