Posted by: Roger | March 10, 2014

The Last Of The Benchwork

I got a lot done it seems in the past three days. It wore me out. There was too much running around to get stuff on Saturday, but the peninsula is in place. The aisles are 33 inches.

The peninsula benchwork, where the sugar mill and other industries will be placed, is finally in place.

The peninsula benchwork, where the sugar mill and other industries will be placed, is finally in place.

There won’t be any track on the lower peninsula deck, I hope. That will be for storage. Fairly soon I need build a floor-to-ceiling frame at the open end of the peninsula to provide a place for the DCC command station and computer stuff. The bagged stuff hanging from the ceiling in the photo below is wire for the layout power feed. There is a switch in the workroom to turn the whole layout on and off.

Peninsula2sm

Looking back toward the workshop with the two helices anchored in place.

Posted by: Roger | February 12, 2014

Hoping For A Better 2014

After the meager progress last year, I hope I can get farther this year. I started on the second helix months ago, but it’s still a long way from where I can shove it in place and lock it down. Five more feet of track and wiring, a few odds and ends and I’ll be there… sort of.

The second helix is being tracked, while other parts of the layout are feeling neglected.

The second helix is being tracked, while other parts of the layout are feeling neglected.

The Monroe Train Show was a refreshing success after the previous two were rather bland and under-attended. I picked up a set of Lowell Smith’s special run Northern Pacific stock cars. I had meant to order them, but forgot, and then they were sold out. I was really happy to see both of the three-packs. The fellow I bought them from has actually flown in and out of a remote airstrip north of the Brook’s Range where I spent the summer of 1984. I was working for the BLM at the time.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pick up my custom painted SD45s as Kendall was not able to attend the show.

Posted by: Roger | September 7, 2013

It’s Not Much For The Past Months

Getting old sucks. I spend more time and money at the doctor’s office than I should at my “youthful” age.

Since my last post, I’ve done this:

This reverse loop will be used to restage trains to the correct staging yard, and to allow continuous running if I so choose

This reverse loop will be used to restage trains to the correct staging yard, and to allow continuous running if I so choose

Between JMRI and some push buttons, it should be simple to restage trains after their runs through the main decks.

and this:

The west helix is 40 inches in diameter as compared to the east helix at 44 inches. We adjusted the spearation between levels from three inches to 2 5/8 inches.

The west helix is 40 inches in diameter as compared to the east helix at 44 inces. We adjusted the spearation between levels from three inches to 2 5/8 inches.

Posted by: Roger | February 13, 2013

It’s Cold Out There!

Or maybe I’m just a wimp. I don’t want to spend a lot of money to heat the train room, and besides the next project is to build the rest of the benchwork. Leaking water pipes, auto repairs, and other nonsense have been consuming the dollars the past month or so.

I have figured out the basics of setting up JMRI software for signaling on my test board, and a demo at the club was well-received, but I sure haven’t done much model railroading for quite a few weeks.

I did go over to my friend’s house on Sunday to run some trains for a while, however. He’s making a lot of progress on finishing scenery and building a set of sand towers like those at BNSF’s Interbay yard. He’s even wiring surface mount LEDs to light them up. We picked up more supplies from Ngineering when we were at the Monroe train show. It was a good show, unlike the recent show in Puyallup. I think that one was too close to Christmas and too far out of its usual time slot for people to go.

Oh, well. I’ll get back to it soon.

Posted by: Roger | December 1, 2012

Building A Paint Booth

I got temporarily sidetracked from the signaling project by getting started on building a paint booth. I have the basic shape together, but I need to figure out how to mount an appropriate fan in the back of it and vent ductwork.

PaintBoothInterior

Looking into the paint booth.

My paint booth has interior dimensions of about 12 inches by 20 inches. It is 12 inches deep to the filter.

My paint booth has interior dimensions of about 12 inches by 20 inches. It is 12 inches deep to the filter.

Posted by: Roger | November 25, 2012

Getting The Helix In Place

In between business trips and life in general, I’ve been putting cork and track on the helix. I’m trying to get it completed before I get it closed in. I will be using Digitrax gear for signaling and block detection, and I should be getting an SE8C with BD4 and assorted stuff in a day or two. I also added the staging levels in the two modules on this side of the layout. For now, this is what it looks like.

The helix is in place with cork and track.

I started working on attaching a Tortoise motor to the curved turnout at the top of the helix with the remote mounting kit. It’s tedious work figuring out how everything goes together. I hope it works because it’s going to be a serious pain to fix it later.

The track at the top is temporarily pinned in place while I install the Tortoise motor.

The left track from the curved turnout will be the main/passenger track, and the other will be the bypass track with leads to the yard.

Posted by: Roger | October 21, 2012

Getting The Helix On Its Feet

I don’t seem to get much done after work during the week, so I spent most of Saturday building a base for the helix and putting legs on the yard module. I need to do some engineering to figure out the actual height of the staging deck before I commit to final placement.

My Saturday exercise was building a base for the helix.

It will take some doing to connect the two in a functional manner, and I expect I will have to tap into my friend’s brain to get it done. It sure feels good to get going on the layout I’ve wanted since high school (and that was a long time ago).

Posted by: Roger | October 16, 2012

Building A Helix

Sunday was a busy day. My friend Paul and I built the first helix that will bring trains up from the Saint Paul (and points east) staging yard. Building a helix is an exercise in tradeoffs. This one has a centerline diameter of 44 inches, and 3 inches between each level. It figures out to 2.17 percent grade. I would have liked a lesser grade, but did not want to increase the diameter or decrease the separation.

A helix can be constructed from a single sheet of plywood with some left to spare.

The photo above shows the sheet of plywood after we drew the one-third-arcs from a pattern, except for the piece I am cutting in the photo below. A strip about 7 inches wide has also been cut from the right side, which will be cut and grooved to provide the uprights.

It took a while to cut the 17 arcs on the band saw as I was trying to be as uniform as I could.

It seemed like it took forever to cut the pieces on the band saw, but it didn’t pay to cut too quickly. While I was cutting out the treads, Paul was busy cutting and fabricating the uprights to hold them together.

Cutting and sanding the edges took the most time.

Each arc is held together with a “biscuit” glued into the grooved ends of each arc.

The perspective is a bit goofy from the wide angle lens. I tried to straighten it as best as I could in Photoshop. I’ll cut the tops of the uprights off after I get it in place and have a better idea of how Mount Jumbo will sit over it.

A little over four hours later, we had a completed helix, including a short section of run-in and run-out at each end. Next up is to build the Missoula/Saint Paul yard module so I can connect the two assemblies.

I really want to thank my friend Paul for the expertise, and for the use of the tools at his boat shop. It would have been a much longer process if I had done it with a jig saw. And a whole lot longer if it weren’t for his knowledge of how to build it.

Posted by: Roger | September 28, 2012

Getting Closer

The door is on, the carpet’s down, and the workbench is up. Time to organize and get going on the two helices I will need.

The work bench

It’s still a mess as I have to put the tools away.

I’m not a good carpet layer so the seam is really ugly, but at least the carpet was free. One of the local carpet stores puts old crap that was pulled out of other places by their dumpster. I asked if I could take some, and they said “that’s what it’s there for.” They aren’t the least bit concerned with how it comes out, so it wasn’t cut square. I had to really soak it with the garden hose because it was filthy.

The Shelves

I need to get at least one more set of shelves for the rest of my supplies and tools.

Posted by: Roger | September 6, 2012

The Painting Is Done, Finally

I hope.
I have to pick up a door before it starts getting cold and get it in place. I’ll start cutting wood for the two helix soon. I will be working on the pattern tonight. It won’t be long and the benchwork will be going up.

The line between blue and white is the height of the main deck. The train room is 11.5′ by 17.5′.

Looking from workshop into the train room. The workshop is 11.5′ by 9.5′.

 

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