Sunday, 31 March 2013

Return Of The Layout


It has been some time since i spent some meaningful and productive time in the layout room but with the some time off over the easter break, a couple of long outstanding tasks have been addressed.

Firstly a start was made on the required lift out section across the doorway.  This void in the landscape has prevented a continuous circuit of the layout being completed and with the lift out section in place  will certainly throw down the mental gauntlet to getting on and laying some more track.  The benchwork design to the right of the doorway ( when viewed from inside the train room ) has a roughly 45 degree angle as it protrudes from the wall and this has proved to be a pain in the proverbial when designing the lift out.  I am not entirely sure how this stroke of stupidity made it's way into the original bench construction...I feel sure it most likely had a viable ( at the time ) reasoning...but that reasoning now escapes me. To square of this benchwork now, would incorporate far too much modification which may affect rigidity.  

Ensuring continual alignment of the running rails across the transition between benchwork & lift out section is certainly a valid reason why some people elect to just incorporate a permanent duck-under arrangement...but with the sheer size of the layout room, coupled with the inclusions i have planned and the fact that i will be entering & exiting the room for a lot of years to come...I felt a liftout section was warranted. 

The design... The deck of the liftout section is a common or garden 90mm x 35mm piece of dressed framing timber with 50mm x 25mm x 3mm aluminium angle being screwed to the sides of the deck to add long term rigidity plus allowing a modicum of safety to prevent errant locos or wagons from dropping to the floor if a derailment occurs. I could have utilised cheaper, mild steel angle iron... but the weight factor coupled with the fact I have plenty of this angle on hand ( thanks to the sign business )....dictated this decision.  Mounting cleats of the same material were fashioned and attached to the existing benchwork coping.  The last design element that needed to be achieved was my personal need to have independent adjustment of the deck so that as time goes by if there is any movement in the benchwork through seasonal changes or age...I will be able to adjust the liftout deck to cope with these fluctuations.  To address this I have incorporated individual adjustment at the four deck bearing points via locating pins fitted with nylock nuts.  This will give vertical adjustment as well as fine lateral adjustment across the deck if any mis alignment of the track occurs.  If required securing nuts can also be fitted at each bearing point.

The next step will be laying the track in a continuous length across the span and approach benchwork,  ballasting and then utilising the dremel to carefully cut the rail and ballast sections at the transitions. Wiring and plugs for powering the liftout will be incorporated as well. It will be interesting to see if this section is a success or I revert to the fall back position of a duck-under.   I will post a follow up when the trackwork is in place and the liftout is fully detailed.

Overall view


Angled end of the liftout showing "bearing" points

Angle to be transitioned...

Opposite View...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Release The Bridges!!!!


Well all the hard work has been completed & our first bridge kit has been released. As stated in earlier posts the first release is of a generic timber bridge ( spanning single track ) as seen all over the NSWGR system.

The kit is available now on Ebay & will be available at the Canberra Exhibition next weekend courtesy of our "secret agent" Warren Herbert from Gwydir Valley Models.

We will also have available a few " built" bridges which is due to the number of pilot models that have to be built to check all componentry and instruction sheets for accuracy...These will pop up on ebay from time to time & where time is avilable we will continue to offer built units.

The next kit will be a double track version of the this kit...followed by the angle approach versions.

I am going to now take a couple of weeks break from the kit development to concentrate on family, some long overdue foreign orders & hopefully put a bit of time into the layout.  As much as i love what we can be overwhelming in the time stakes...Hmmm i remember saying that a few times!!!

Anyway thanks for all of the calls & emails of support along the way....Very Humbling. 

Not much else to report other than we have also entered the 21st century kicking and screaming and have launched a Laser Rail Bits Facebook page for those interested.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

World Of Tanks & Gauge Confused


In a recent post i discussed our foray back into 7mm scale via a request to upsize our tank stand kit for Gary at The Model Railroad Craftsman.....Well last week i recieved a parcel from him which i thought would contain the 7mm tank master for final fitting to our stand which would allow us to progress to production of the final components.  Imagine my confusion when the master concerned turned out to be a nicely turned out rapid prototyped HO version of a single panel height cast tank......After a flurry of phone calls it turns out that Gary wasn't so surprised...

The tank is quite a specimen with all prototype detail beautifully recreated.  A check of on hand plans prove that this tank is true in every detail including very close to scale wall thickness.   What is different about this sample is that the tank is a one piece unit with the inclusion of an infill casting that not only portrays the tank to be "full of water" but also includes internal corner bracing bracketry protruding through the water level and to finish things off nicely a prototypical half submerged filling valve float!  Gary tells me that the kit will also feature all corner bracing truss rods & turnbuckles.

Any further enquiries regarding the tank & release date should be directed to Gary via his shop....

Anyway I have included a couple of shots of the master assembled and atop one of our timber tank stands.  We are certainly being spoilt for water tank choice in recent times.

Have a great week!!!


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

We Are There!!!


Well it has been a long grind & we have learn't much....but we have reached the final design on our first bridge release.

Lots of changes along the way have been made so the end result will be first class ( in our eyes ) while being as easy as possible to construct.  Hopefully over the coming weekend we will be able to box them up & release the first offering.  We are under the pump to have this first kit & the rest of the range replenished & ready for the Canberra Exhibition later this month.

So what has been changed or improved...

Firstly we have included as much simulated bolt detail as possible.  The decision has been made to also stick with a one piece bent which incorporates the 5 piles, headstock & bottom sill as one unit with only the precut & detailed cross bracing to be installed.  We have also modified the one piece main girder & corbel assemblies to incorporate a rebate so the bents can be aligned with ease & give a more solid joint without detracting from the finished bridge appearance.

On the two outer girder assemblies  (5 girders in total ) we have also added etched spacing & guide lines to aid in installing the handrail staunchions & indeed we have also incorporated scale birch timber in lieu of basswood for the handrails ( guardrails ) themselves .  The birch is a lot more flexible than basswood & to my eyes looks more prototypical.  Lastly we have also added basswood footings with an etched guideline to aid in positioning the bents.

Believe it or not the construction time has been cut to around 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours excluding drying time.  The most time consuming task is installing the handrail staunchions...but is made dead easy due to the guidelines.

I am sure you have seen plenty of bridge photos on this blog...but please take a look at the shots & indeed compare them to our earlier "masters"

This release will initially be for a single track span with a double to follow within a couple of weeks.  The following releases will be of the angled approach versions in single & double configuration.

Girder detail showing rebates for bents & headstocks....

The 2 outer girders have etched lines for guardrail staunchion alignment & spacing....kerbing fitted as well

Birch handrails fitted....The actual model will also have bolt detail for the handrails....yep forgot.
This is why we build so many before releasing.

One piece bent assemblies with cross bracing & foorings fitted.

Footings with alignment for bents
The finished animal...

Friday, 1 March 2013

More On The 422s...Under The Bonnet

Hi All,

I have now had a chance to look under the bonnet of the Auscision 422s.  One reason was purely curiosity & the other issue was to determine my next move to get these locos "to talk".

It is a very simple procedure to remove the shell of the loco & Auscision should be applauded for the way in which they have made this operation completely painless.  There are no wires connecting the shell to the chassis & no detail items, couplers etc that need to be removed at all in the process.  The magic is all down to contact pads on the loco main board & contacts housed within the shell. Just carefully grip the shell & lift off the chassis...easy peasy.  With this in mind it is important that the loco shell & chassis are re-mated in the correct orientation as misalignment of these contacts would cause issues.

Upon examination of the internals & speaker enclosures, I have decided to go with the DCC Sound Loksound install on both locos & following a chat with Mike from DCC Sound... have placed & paid for an order for 2 units.  He is at this stage awaiting delivery of his 422 units so a complete install & testing regime can be undertaken before release of the finished decoder project to the public.  He is quietly confident that the release of the "kit"  should occur next week & so i have another week to just admire my two 422s in thier quiet state.

I have included some under the bonnet shots for those interested.

 Chassis sans shell
 Close up of main board... of interest is the 3 contact pads ( one marked TRWK ) these are the contact pads for the shell "connection"
 One of the speaker enclosures...
 Chassis & shell side by side
 Contact pins visible in the shell...A cordless shell!!!