Sunday 8 April 2018

Another Deadline Approaches

'Freshwater' will be on show again next Saturday, 14th April 2018. It will be the first 2mmFS layout to be invited to the East Surrey N Gauge Show at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Linkfield Lane, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1EA. As usual, I wanted to get a bit more completed after its last exhibition, and next on the list was the Newsagents stand and the signal box. The main part of these buildings were 3D printed by Shapeways, as were most of the other structures on the layout. However, for these buildings, there were no suitable etched window frames available from the usual suppliers. There has been a long delay while I plucked up courage to create my own artwork and get some etched by PPD. I was so pleased with the results that I just had to add some interior details and lighting.

Unfortunately, this last view will be almost impossible to see at an exhibition, as it faces the backscene.

The interior of the signal box used some etched parts from Severn Models, and a signalman from ModelU. The log book, mug of tea and telephone were just bits of plastic, and the telephone cord was a hair from my head. I am glad they did not have curly telephone cords back then.

So, not only is the signal cabin in a strange position, behind the buffer stops and low down so that a parked van would block the view of the tracks, but the lever frame is at right angles to the main set of windows.

Still plenty of detail to add in this area, but it was waiting for these buildings to be installed.

Thursday 22 March 2018

Would you like to see my etchings?

Well, I am really proud of my first attempt at producing artwork for etching. This arrived today from PPD, Special Delivery:

It all looks crisp and clear, and, more importantly, the correct size. Here are the window frames for Freshwater signal box (top) and the magazine stand (centre and bottom):

And the solebar overlays for the LBSCR 4 wheel carriages:

And finally, some fold-up buffer beams and the guard's lower steps:
I have actually 3D printed some buffer beams, with buffers and hooks, which I might use instead, though.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Coach Grabrails and First Etch Attempt

Four little four-wheeler carriages seem to require a lot of grab handles. It took most of an evening just bending and cutting these. I have drilled the coach sides for the lower end to fit into, but the top end will be above the window line, and the door surround is too narrow to drill. Fitting them will be interesting.

I have also, with advice from Andy (2mmSA) and Simon (Merg), completed some artwork for creating an etch. This includes window frames for Freshwater signal box and magazine stand, and solebar overlays and steps for the LBSCR 4 wheelers. I struggled with Draftsight, but eventually produced the front and rear layouts. Then I used the huge piece of AutoCad software called TruView to create the final PDF files. This only runs on 64-bit Windows computers. Both these pieces of software are free. Much to my surprise, PPD accepted the files first time, and reckon they should etch OK. We will see in a week or so. I hope to have them in time so I can complete the signal box and magazine stand for the exhibitions in April (Redhill and Epsom).

I was a bit extravagent in filling the minimum etch size, and created several spare copies of everything in case things went wrong. Next time, I might try to be more efficient.

This is just the front view, so the half etched bits look a little odd.

Wednesday 21 February 2018

More Progress on Camford Junction

Following a short tuition session last week, the guys are now in full swing creating 500mm lengths of plain soldered track for the fiddle yards. Soldered track is more robust, and much cheaper, than EasiTrak although it does not look as good. It will be fine for the fiddle yard. The fiddle yard will gobble up over 70m of straight track, plus lots of curved track around the ends and 16 points. We may be some time.

Meanwhile, now the wiring on boards 1 and 2 is complete, I have powered them up and attached the laptop to the CBus with a plug-in CANUSB module. I used the Merg Flim Configuration Utility to update the firmware on all the CBus modules to the latest revision, and then started assigning separate event numbers for each point and each relay. Crossovers on the main line use a single event to operate both points. Main line track sections use pairs of the single pole relays to switch both rails between controllers, while the MPD area, which will only be associated with a single controller, uses a common return and just a single relay for each section. I documented the events, and the associated CBus module outputs in a spreadsheet as I progressed. Then I set up all the events in the turnout table in JMRI. Initially, JMRI only had two tables, 'Turnouts' for outputs and 'Sensors' for inputs. Over the years, extra tables have been added for 'Lights' and 'Signals', but there is not one for 'Relays' yet, so they will have to live in the 'Turnouts' table for now. Now I have all these captured in JMRI, I can proceed with setting up the layout schematic, with the turnouts, blocks and routes, and then work on route selection and setting the relays using 'buttons' on the layout screen.

Saturday 17 February 2018

Stroudley LBSCR 4 wheeler carriages

OK, I know they did not survive into the 1950's but a 4 car set was used on the Freshwater line, so that is good enough for me. The brass etch for the bodies is available from Etched Pixels. They suggest putting them on chopped up peco wagon chassis, but I thought they would look nicer on etched chassis. The GWR 4 wheeler chassis from David Eveleigh is almost perfect for length. I could not figure out how to fit the footsteps provided, and the Stroudley set only had a single footstep, except below the guard's doors, so I have decided to try to etch some new solebars, with queen post and trussing and some bolt head details, and new footsteps with brackets to add on. I am also adding some buffer beams, although I might 3D print them complete with the short buffers needed. I was working on drawing a set of etched window frames for the signal box and magazine stand, and have only used a very small area of the smallest standard panel that can be etched. Progress on the etch drawing has been pretty slow as I try to learn how to do what I want in DraftSight.

Meanwhile, here is construction progress so far. The carriages were drilled for hand rails and door handles before folding up.