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An Old Man Contemplates an Old Man's Layout

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  • Rick
    replied
    Interesting piece of equipment.
    And like Larry said, that's a good 3D print job.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    Thanks Larry,

    I have an Ameri-Towne 501 Flag Stop Station kit that has an interesting story behind it, to do a diorama in the future.

    I can always park the creature critter behind the station. It would be a good fit.

    Dan

    Leave a comment:


  • Larryc
    replied
    Dan that looks pretty good for a 3D print and nice bash too. As a way of a suggestion if you
    don't want to use it on your layout you could always make a very small diorama to use your
    finished build. Just a thought.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    A 3D Printed Steam Car Bash

    While there are a number of historic references to steam dummy locomotives pulling period passenger cars, prototypes for developing this particular bash were rare on this side of the big pond and even rarer in narrow gauge. Therefore, this bash is a prototypical bit of whimsy, built using parts already on hand…well, almost.

    While hunkered down during the pandemic, I bought an On30 combine kit consisting of just three parts, a roof, a body and a chassis from a dealer on eBay. It was 3D printed, something that I had not worked with before and the body scaled out to be seven feet wide by eighteen feet long. As was expected, the texture of the exterior of the car is rather rough with numerous anomalies and glitches from the 3D printing process, among them the door and window frames and the doorknobs, which are oversized.

    Complementing this kit in its overall coarseness is the bashed running gear. It is from an Airfix OO, unpowered 0-4-0 saddle tank plastic loco kit, aka the Pug, that was bought as bash bait many years ago, during my first foray into On30. The frames, drivers, cylinders and side rods form a separate assembly that is easy to build, as the parts just snap together. In O-scale, the wheelbase measures forty-five inches and the disc type drivers are twenty-four inches in diameter.

    To make room for this assembly one of the bolsters on the 3D printed chassis had to be removed, which is a simple task requiring basic hand tools. An old HO arch bar truck supports the other end of the chassis by way of the remaining printed on bolster. Because of the driver diameter, mounting this truck requires a spacer between it and the bolster and this creates a gap under the chassis that is filled by wood dowel water tanks, slung along each side of the chassis, under the passenger compartment.

    In theory, by placing the driving wheels beneath the freight compartment of the combine body, the lack of a boiler as well as other essential stuff, will be hidden from view. However, as things turned out, the actual body is only thirteen feet long as there are end platforms, each of them two and a half feet wide, that are printed on to it. While the eight foot, three window passenger section is adequate in size, potentially seating eight at a time, the truncated freight compartment, at just five feet long, is too small to be an effective boiler room.

    Fortuitously, the eBay dealer also offers additional 3D printed parts that fit over the platforms to make enclosed vestibules that match the rest of the car body. One of them added over the platform of the freight compartment extends it to an adequate seven and a half feet long, with cubbyholes indicated at the front corners for the engineer and fireman. Historically, with full water tanks and a bushel of coal on board, a run of several miles was the norm.

    Adding a few exterior detail parts completes this caricature of a narrow gauge, self-propelled, steam powered passenger car. One of these details – the “almost” mentioned at the end of the first paragraph – is actually a plumbing part that was bought specifically for this bash from a local DIY store. It is the brass sleeve for a common, 3/8 inch compression connector that was modified to represent a flared O-scale smokestack. The part was chucked in a drill and the manufactured flare was filed down to a typical diameter and the sleeve length was shortened to fit into a hole drilled in the 3D printed roof.

    While it is more of a creature than a critter, I did enjoy the bash, although I have no plans to add it to the layout as it looks too crude – more like a LEGO train than anything else. All the best to everyone and questions and comments are always welcome.
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  • Philip
    commented on 's reply
    Oh man we'll have to dock your pay Rick! Get a shovel!

  • Philip
    replied
    Intensive labor among men has a way of building unity and cohesion. Something lost in this fanfare of modern class division.
    TOOT!

    That giant sheet steel track gauge is blocking productivity.

    Carry on sir!

    Philip

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    Thanks Rick and Philip - your comments are greatly appreciated.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rick
    replied
    Somehow I missed your post on the crane bash.
    It looks great.
    Same with the cars and little people in your last post.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    Art Imitating Life – Well Kinda Sorta

    Tucked between pages 34 and 35 of Linwood Moody’s book on the Maine Two-Footers, published way back in 1959, there are some images of one of my favorite lilliputs, the Monson Railroad, in its final years of operation (circa 1941). For the record, the other favorite lilliput is the Kennebec Central.

    A close third is the Huntsville and Lake of Bays portage railroad in Canada. When Bachmann came out with its great little Porter in On30, I gave serious thought to modeling it, but things did not work out at the time.

    The Monson opened in 1883 and for the next sixty years the railroad was a bastion of antebellum technology, with link and pin couplers on everything, steam brakes on its two locomotives and hand brakes on its assortment of cars, which slowly trundled to and fro over six miles of thirty pound rail equipped exclusively with stub turnouts.

    One of the photos show the remaining Monson crew; engineman, fireman and conductor, each equipped with a shovel, transferring a load of sand from a standard gauge gondola car into one of a narrower gauge.

    This down-to-earth image, embodying the concept of dignity of labor, no matter what your position in life, always struck a chord with me, so could something akin to it become a part of the present layout? The answer is kinda sorta…as part of an industrial bash/vignette.

    As most of the factory spur is normally hidden, which makes switching cars an interesting task, this scene only pops into view when the layout operator makes an effort to see around the office end of the factory building. It is one of several industrial action scenes hidden behind the factory, which makes that effort worthwhile.

    The simple bash uses the ends and sides of a Bachmann eighteen foot, high side gondola, complete with plastic coal load (the rest of the car had been used for other bashes) to make a modest, ground level storage bin for near the end of the factory spur. The photos below show the bash with three Woodland Scenics working guys posed inside, but this time in the act of shoveling coal.

    As on the rest of the layout, the trackside clearances on the spur are very tight, as the NMRA HO Mark III Standards Gage in another photo shows, and what looks like short stilts holding up the bash are four common sewing pins with their heads cut off, glued to the inside bottom corners of the coal pile. When everything is accurately located and the coal pile is gently pushed down, the bash is held securely in place, but it can be easily removed and repositioned if needed.

    I have also done the same with other minor structures close to the track. For the medium size structures I use a close fitting, but unattached “floor” inside the bottom of the structure, which is secured to the layout with either sewing pins or T-pins.
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  • Philip
    replied
    Great looking bash Dan!

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  • Dan
    replied
    AAAAAARGH! Will someone please help me! I can’t stop bashing things!

    Every industrial layout needs some sort of heavy lifter. I have always liked the three leg derrick design, but they require huge amounts of real estate to set up in O-scale or in any other scale, for that matter.

    A Crow River Products No 309, O-scale Utility Crane, aka a Pillar Crane, was bought some time ago to fit into a much smaller space on the layout. However, as it contains over thirty pewter castings, it qualifies as being a kit for a craftsman to assemble, which at this stage of my life, I no longer am and, in hindsight, I probably never was, so where do I go from here?

    The answer, of course, is another bash. Based on historic images, it takes the biggest pieces of the kit and makes them easier to put together, while using up stuff that is already on hand. For example, the grey timber base the crane sits on is the bottom from a Bachmann HO coaling tower that I previously bashed into an abandoned (as well as bottomless) On30 rock bin.

    Unfortunately, the proportions of the pillar assembly in the kit were oversized for this application, so it had to be left off, which dramatically altered the look of the crane. However, the large pillar top was reused as the bearing cap for the pivot point of the bash.

    The original kit is supposed to be electric motor powered through multiple sets of exposed gears, with all of the machinery in front of the pillar, hanging from the boom, but due to my current catcher’s mitt hands, something different and considerably easier was required.

    The piece de resistance for this bash is a Bachmann HO scale log skidder, a smaller version of the excellent O-scale model. The skidders are pretty big machines, so the HO size is a good fit for this welterweight On30 lifter (about a five tonner). Serendipitously, the fragile winch assembly literally peeled away, without damage, from the log skidder base that it was glued to.

    When this complex assembly is mounted to the crane deck, the winding drum next to the boiler will slew the boom right or left, while the one in front of it raises and lowers the hook. The height of the boom and the diameter of its swing are both fixed and this will determine the position of the crane on the layout. As this may not be on the paved part of the factory yard, the timber base was fitted to the crane to keep it and the operator out of the mud.

    An O-scale Tichy steel barrel (I got a gazillion of them) is mounted horizontally between the boom arms at the front of the crane deck, as a feedwater tank while another in mounted vertically to the timber base as the fuel supply for the boiler.

    The boiler overhanging the rear of the crane deck is prototypical. Although the boiler may look undersized, it would be adequate if of the quick steaming, liquid fuel fired, flash or monotube design.

    The photos show the basic bash fitted together and it still needs some work. For a size comparison, standing next to it, with his hands in his pockets, is the crane operator, all six feet of him.

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  • Philip
    replied
    Nice plow Dan!

    For trees I drill an 1/8" hole through the foam into the plywood. I then add a K&S 1/8" hollow aluminum sleeve. Length depends on foam depth. I then add a serrated drywall nails to the tree base and glue in. I use a bit of glue on the stump base plus some scenic foam etc.

    Seem to hold up well. The cat was rubbing the heck out of them and the tree survived. All my tree structure are balsa rod.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    Thanks Larry,

    Just when I thought there was nothing left to bash, now I'm bashing scenery!

    Will this madness never end?

    I certainly hope not.

    All the best

    Leave a comment:


  • Larryc
    replied
    Dan great job on both the bash, re-bashes. Always nice to see modelers who aren't shy about "re-purposing" what they have on hand.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dan
    replied
    Eliminating the mulch volcanos under the layout’s model trees.

    I think it was Chicken Little, aka Henny Penny, that was startled by a falling acorn once upon a time, but on my present layout, it ain’t model acorns that are falling, it is entire trees.

    For stability, most model trees have bases shaped like the much despised mulch volcanos that are used with prototype trees. These bases are added to the bottom of the model tree trunks, but they are not good enough, for my lightweight movable layout, which is mounted on swiveling wheels instead of to bedrock, is prone to seismic episodes. Gluing the tree bases to the surface of the layout grass mat just creates unwanted, but prototypical bald spots when the trees fall over again.

    As the layout is built with pink foam, the recommended practice of drilling a shallow hole in the surface of the prepared scenery and sticking in the trunk ends, minus the bases, also does not work, as the holes quickly enlarge due to the vibrations and the larger trees, which are ten inches tall and are very top heavy, will eventually fall over, while the smaller trees, which are seven inches tall or less, tend to twist and lean.

    As the layout is small, the right of way clearances are quite close and when a smaller trackside tree decides to twist or lean toward the track, the branches get entangled with the rolling stock and there are derailments.

    What is needed to keep the trees vertical and in place is an artificial tap root that will go down deep into the pink foam. It is made from a one and three quarter inch long steel T-pin with the head cut off, but mounting it securely to the bottom of the trunk proved to be problematic.

    Speaking from bitter experience, the trunks of the Woodland Scenics trees are made from a soft, gummy plastic that will seize upon and break the tiny drill bits that are required.

    Instead I mount a headless T-pin in a sturdy pin vice which is mounted in the chuck of a regular variable speed electric drill. As the tree trunks are slippery and the forces needed are considerable, it is a two handed job. I hold the trunk with an eight inch pair of lineman’s pliers that I had on hand. The wire cutters that are built into the plier jaws also make easy work of cutting off the T-pin heads.

    The rough cut end of the spinning T-pin, when put under a good bit of pressure, will slowly chew its way into the trunk and when it is about a half inch deep, it will seize - permanently. As the steel T-pin is far more flexible than a tiny drill bit, it will not break off when it is seized. Instead, it will just spin in the jaws of the drill mounted pin vise.

    So far, this method is working, but just in case, an alternate method is being considered, using a length of miniature brass or aluminum tubing, suitably sized to hold the metal tap root, that will go all the way through the pink foam, which is four inches thick where the bigger trees are mounted. That should hold the arboreal equivalent of an elephant.

    All the best to everyone.



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