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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Coaltrain Posted - 10/13/2010 : 09:14:03 AM
This is the first official post for my new layout I am building in On3, the Slater Creek Railway. I became a fan of the Manns Creek Railway while researching information on coke ovens for a project on my HO railroad, the Roanoke and Southern. Shortly after discovering the MC an article on building MC hoppers in On30 by Sam Swanson was published in the Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. For fun I built one hopper with the intent of it being a static display. One thing led to another and I built the car to have operating unloading doors controlled by a DCC decoder. Wanting to see the car in action I started to consider building a layout in On30, but since I had only one small space to model railroad in would mean that my HO layout would have to be torn out. My HO layout met all my goals, was published in Model Railroader, and was complete, so I decided I missed layout building and decided that I would tear out the HO layout and try a new modeling adventure.

While I really enjoy modeling prototype railroads and their equipment, and swore that the next time I would model a prototype RR, I decided to once again do a fictional railroad. My reason is I like to have a little freedom to take pieces that I like of other railroads and put them together to form my own railroad that I believe will give the viewer a good idea what form of railroading I am modeling would be like, which I do by carefully picking features of railroads that do what my railroad does. I would do not pick "one of everything" to be on my layout, rather I pick features that would have been typical of railroads that are in my area and do the same work.

I liked many of the features of the Manns Creek railroad, I liked the area where the MC was located, but I wanted to be able to do a few things differently. I wanted to have a couple Rod locomotives, I know the MC did have some at one time but I want something a little bigger than they had, and I wanted to have a few different pieces of rolling stock and do a little more than haul logs, lumber, and coal. So using Google maps I searched around the area of the MC to find a location that I could place my railroad. I found another creek a little further up the New River called Slater Creek, located along the New River at a town called Thayer on the C&O.

From what Google showed Slater Creek looked a lot like Manns Creek and was close enough to each other that I could say that coal was discovered in Slater Creek canyon as well. Actually there was a coal mine there at one time and my story is that as that coal was mined out a narrow gauge RR was built up Slater Creek to reach new seams of coal. I am using many pieces of the Manns Creek on my railroad, one of which is the car shops which I plan on building to scale.

Now I know that some of you expected me to build this layout in On30, so did I, but just recently I decided to switch to On3. I switched to On3 after having a conversation with a fellow HO modeler, who after listening to me describe what I was going to do, what scale I was going to use, and how I was going to scratchbuild almost everything and he asked me why I was going to build it in the wrong gauge. I told him all the reasons why modelers choose On30 to represent three foot gauge railroads but he said that if I was going to hand lay all my track, scratchbuild all my rolling stock, and maybe even scratchbuild a locomotive or two why would I not just build it in scale three foot gauge. I decided that he was right, all the reasons to model in On30 did not really apply to my situation, so I switched to On3.

Here is the final track plan of the Slater Creek Railway. My room is very small so I had to pick a few key scenes that I wanted to model. the first scene along the top wall (by the room door) is the coal dump trestle. I struggled for a long time with this section because I wanted to have a place to dump the coal that could justify the need for lots of coal. The MC first dumped coal into a bin that was used to feed their coke ovens, later as demand for coal increased they built a sizing plant just above the coke ovens. In the later years the coke production decreased and most of the coal went to the sizing plant. I decided that I only had room for one place to receive coal and figured that the sizing plant would be the better choice. I had a hard time fitting in the sizing plant because in O scale the structure would be huge. I condensed the sizing tipple as much as I felt it could but it was still a huge model that took a lot of layout width, pushing the narrow gauge track way to the back of the layout. I decided to try flipping the sizing plant so that the standard gauge loading tipple would be at the back drop and the narrow gauge coal dump house would be at the front edge of the layout, which puts the operating track close to the front where it is easy to reach and watch the hoppers unload coal. Flipping the tipple around also allowed me to use trees to hide the fact that the entire tipple is not modeled, cutting down on the layout width required.

Flipping the coal sizing plant will allow me to model the Manns Creek Rayís stone engine house close to the front of the layout where it can be viewed up close. I also located a storage track here so I can have a place to store a few freight cars or work equipment. In the later years the MC did not use the stone engine house, they had built a new wood engine house at a different location, so I am going to use the stone engine house to store a passenger car and something else, maybe a locomotive used at this location, not sure yet.

The one strange feature of the flipped sizing plant will be the scenery, which will fall as it moves toward the backdrop. The narrow gauge track at the front of the layout will be at the top of the hill and the scenery will fall 16" actual inches as it goes to the backdrop. I don't know how this is going to work out, I hope it gives the operator a feeling of being high on the side of the mountain but we'll see, this will be a bit of an experiment.

Where I did have to deviate from the MC is where I located my switch back and which direction my RR leaves town, a forced compromise caused by the constraints of my room. My SCRy travels clockwise around the room as we leave the coal dump trestle, across Slater Creek and around a tall rock cliff and out of sight. As the tracks turn to the right wall they will be running along the wall of my layout room where my work bench will be located under the layout, this is the one spot there the benchwork supporting the visible track can be thin and high to provide enough room for a workbench. In the middle of the right wall there will be a turnout, one leg will continue along the south wall without an elevation change to a three track storage yard, the other leg will turn along the south wall and start a stiff grade up to my switch back located in the far left lower corner of the room.

At the switch back I believe I will have some room to model either a mining camp or a lumber camp. I think I can get a siding in here but I am not sure yet how I want to do it so I am leaving that off until I get to that point. the track plan makes it look like the switch back continues on behind the furnace and connects back to the coal dump area, which is how I intended it to be to give me a running loop, but a furnace duct passes too low to allow this and the switch back track will stub end in the wall as far as I can go. Instead the staging tracks that are located under the switch back will come back together and travel behind the furnace to form the running loop.

From the switch back the tracks will climb a slight grade to the car shop and foundry. There will be a spur on this slight grade that goes back next to the switch back to a coal mine. I am going to have a small earth loading ramp and dirt road on the mine spur where just about anything can be loaded or unloaded from railroad cars, like mining equipment, building supplies, and whatever else I can imagine.

The car shop will be the MC car shop located at Cliftop and it will be built to scale with full interior. The tracks around it follow the prototype pretty much to scale. Just pass the car shop will be a run around and a strip coal tipple, also built to scale from the MC's tipple at Cliftop. The strip tipple will be built to actual load coal into the hoppers. I am a little concerned that the tipple will somewhat block the view of the loaded hoppers but I may be able to work the scenery around it to make it work better.

Just past the run around tracks is the new wood engine house, also built to scale to match the MC's engine house at Cliftop. The engine house can hold two geared locomotives. And just as it does on the MC, there is a company store located at the end of the engine house spur. The company store will also be built to scale and have three stories above the road level in front with the scenery falling away to form what we would call a "walk out" lower level, which has a set of doors to allow the narrow gauge track to enter the basement for freight car to be spotted inside for unloading.

I know it seems like operation may be limited, but this layout was meant to be a test to see what I think of O scale narrow gauge modeling. I wanted to have it be a place for me to have some very detailed structures get a taste of this new gauge / scale. I would like to move someday to a get a larger modeling space and if I continue in this scale I can use the structures and scenes from this layout on the next. I made some changes to the room since my HO layout was torn down, one was the enclosure built around the furnace, that somewhat reduced the size of my layout space but will provide a nicer room to model in. I got very tired of the narrow aisles of my HO layout and I decided to run the layout only around the walls of the room to give the largest open space for people in the middle. I also wanted to make sure I had a running loop to be able to test and break in equipment, something I really regretted not having on the HO layout.

Well, that got a little long. I will be starting to benchwork soon, I am still doing the room remodeling. I did install the tracks behind the furnace already because once the walls are completed around the furnace because it was easier. I will be able to reach the tracks from one side if there is an issue but there was no way to install them if I had not done it first.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Coaltrain Posted - 04/06/2021 : 11:35:51 AM
a little more progress, the cab and tender are printed. next I will move on to assembly of all the parts, it should get more exciting soon.

the cab and the tender are two separate pieces, they have a tongue and grove seam that will keep them in alignment, screws hold the parts to the frame. the coal load will be a separate piece as well. these days like to make the coal load on my locomotives removable (just like a freight car) so I can access the decoder without removing the shell. I guess if I really wanted to be clever I could make more than one load so I could swap them out in different photos to show it in different stages of use, but for now I like to have access the the decoder.

One thing about a project like this is that you can sure learn a lot. I thought I pretty much new my way around a shay but this project showed me that there are interesting details lurking around in the shadows. for instance, I did not know about that small little U-pipe that you can see on the rear tender deck. The U-pipe is connected through the top of the tender deck to straight pipe that goes all the way through the tender and is bolted to the floor, where a steam water syphon is connected. The water syphon allows the shay to pull up to a stream, throw a hose in the water and fill the tender. The water is lifted with the steam pump and pushed up the vertical pipe inside the tender and then back around on the outside the tender, then back into the tender. this method allows the water to be filled to the top of the tender, which is important because shays do not carry much water

CNE1899 Posted - 03/31/2021 : 1:26:03 PM
Been peeking at your thread now and then trying to catch up.
Very impressive! Love the 3D modeling, the jigs, problem solving, etc, of your modeling.

Coaltrain Posted - 03/29/2021 : 4:21:43 PM
Originally posted by quarryman


I thought your new layout space was off limits for the foreseeable future. Are you prepping the space?

my layout space is currently an efficiency apartment for my son. his plan is move out this summer but the house market is nuts and it may take longer than he thought, and I am not rushing him to make a stupid decision, trains are not that important. The space I am working on is the rest of the downstairs. I am adding a bathroom, a room for my wife to "do her thing", a bar area, and a TV area. The list makes it sound huge but it is all pretty modest, but it I wanted to have it all done because when my son moves out it will TRAIN TIME!!! I don't want any house projects to get in my way.

Mark Chase
Richmond VA

quarryman Posted - 03/29/2021 : 1:54:26 PM

I thought your new layout space was off limits for the foreseeable future. Are you prepping the space?

Mark Chase
Richmond VA
Coaltrain Posted - 03/29/2021 : 1:53:56 PM
Originally posted by jbvb

Is the PSC crankshaft cast in one piece, or individual cranks pressed onto shafts?

no, you can see in one image the PSC part as delivered, cast one piece, that is why I ended up cutting it up and just changing the shaft size and not drilling out the gear. By reducing the shaft size it left more "meat" in the crank case to make the part stronger. If I kept the casting shaft diameter then the bearings would have been so big that the 3D printed crankcase would have had really thin walls.
jbvb Posted - 03/29/2021 : 12:51:26 PM
I'm glad it's working out well. Is the PSC crankshaft cast in one piece, or individual cranks pressed onto shafts?

I'd have felt confident about drilling out the .0625" spur gear with any of my old machines: Walker-Turner drill press, Atlas lathe, Clausing/Atlas mill. The Dremel that came with my tiny drill press doesn't run true enough and I rarely use it. 'Wiggler' center finders are inexpensive & accurate, but without one, you can just watch how a drill in that diameter range bends when it touches the existing hole.
Coaltrain Posted - 03/29/2021 : 10:46:21 AM
I wish I had more to report on, too busy finishing off the rest of the basement / train lounge.

The latest thing I am working for the Shay is the crankshaft. I have been dragging my feet a little because I was not exactly sure how I was going to do it. I purchased a couple PSC crank shafts to ruin, I mean experiment with.

The PSC crankshaft is the correct size but I needed to get a spur gear mounted to it. The spur gear has a 0.0625" bore and the PSC crank shaft has about a 0.080" bore. I could have attempted to drill out he spur gear but I would run the risk of it being off center, besides it did not solve the issue of mounting it. Brain Bond took a Bachmann shay crank shaft and spliced two together to make a 3 cylinder model, so I thought about using his method, but I didn't what the journals to be as big as there were going to be once I made brass bearings for them.

In the end I decided to cut the crank shaft up into pieces and take advantage of the resin prints ability to resist heat and make a solder fixture to reassemble the crank shaft.

The first step was to saw out all the areas were the crank shaft main journals were, leaving the rod journals intact. I then designed drill jigs to hold the pieces while hand drilled new shaft holes. Resin cuts really easy so to make the drill jigs stay accurate I lined the holes with brass rod, steel would have been better but these are not production jigs. The jigs worked great and I had perfect holes in every part.

here is the eccentric drill jig. one half of the jig holds the eccentric, guide pins keep it aligned.

the crank journal jig required two different ones because one of the three journals has and eccentric mounted to it. The crank jig has an ejection hole in one end so I can push the part out of the jig. these jigs are tight to keep alignment and without the ejection hole it would never come out. I piece of wood is used to keep the crank spread when drilling.

http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/coaltrain/2021329103737_SHAY 8-75.jpg

with all the pieces cut and drilled I now had to put them all together. I used a 0.0625" brass rod as the main shaft. I designed a fixture to support all the parts in places so the spacing and orientation is maintained. Resin parts do not melt with the soldering iron so I soldered the crankshaft together on the jig. I coated the shaft with TIX and used a 40W solder iron to quickly solder all parts and the universals to the shaft. For now I am leaving the shaft run through the crank journals so I can test the final assembled drive. Once the drive passes test I will saw out the shaft for the main rods, this way I will know if any rough running is caused buy the shaft being twisted or not.

what little moments I have away from the bench I have been final detailing the cab and tender. with any luck I am a week or so away from printing all those parts, then things will really start looking like something.

us-okrim Posted - 03/26/2021 : 1:21:41 PM
Jeff - eagerly awaiting your next update on your shay #8 project, what a fantastic build. Mirko
us-okrim Posted - 03/26/2021 : 1:20:52 PM
Jeff - eagerly awaiting your next update on your shay #8 project, what a fantastic build. Mirko
Coaltrain Posted - 03/09/2021 : 2:13:34 PM
The printer has been running around the clock. All I have left is to detail out the cab and tender and I will have all the parts that were planned to be printed done and I can move forward to the assembly of the model. The images of the model below are NOT assembled, they parts are just placed in their location, I will glue it together when all parts are printed.

Coaltrain Posted - 03/04/2021 : 7:25:35 PM
thank, the grease bucket was used to get proportions of the air tank, i just forgot to take it out, but I will print some and decal them for Esso
Chris333 Posted - 03/03/2021 : 3:24:15 PM
3D grease bucket for the win!
Michael Hohn Posted - 03/03/2021 : 09:35:01 AM
Itís always a pleasure seeing progress here.

You seem to be testing the limits of technology. It will be a big help to those who follow.

Coaltrain Posted - 03/03/2021 : 09:00:47 AM
Well....progress IS being made on the shay. This has been much harder than I would have thought it was going to be and I am wondering if building in brass would actually be easier. The CAD part is not hard because I do it for a living and I have for 30 years. The hard part is breaking parts down for best printing and then getting them orientated on the printer and supported so they print as desired, then cured without warping, then assembled into a model. There are lots of parts that are printed, check for flaws, then checked for fit, then adjusted and printed again, and sometimes again. However, in the end there will be the ability to just print parts as needed.

The frame is assembled but it was not easy, building the trucks were easier. There is just a very slight back bow that I believe the boiler will straighten it out when mounted.

I made lots of progress on the boiler details and I am just a few moments away from being able to print it for the final time.

here are images of where the frame is at, sorry for all the sanding dust and poor images, it is really hard to show it in the unpainted stage.

here are the images of the boiler CAD model. one detail that I wanted to include was the seams that run down the lagging, which I have not seen on any production models yet I see it all the time on real locomotives.

Chris333 Posted - 02/23/2021 : 8:01:07 PM
Would even shorter pieces printed separately help the warping?

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