Monday, August 18, 2014

Buying Tools Again

I recently was told by Gary Laker (his blog) that Aldi supermarkets had a small compressor and two air brushes for $99 so I went to investigate. I am a sucker for air brushes and did find it but decided against a purchase as I already have five or six. While there I saw a band saw also for $99 and it looked very familiar. I have been eyeing off a band saw at Super Cheap Auto for the last year or two and it was $169. So a quick walk for a couple of hundred metres found me at Super Cheap. Sure enough, it was the same band saw just a different colour and badging but now at $189, easy decision. Back to Aldi and home with the saw. I haven't had a chance to un-box it yet as other issues have taken precedence such as no where to put it for now.

Earlier this week I went to Jaycar to get some small jumper leads, you know, different colours and twelve to a pack. While perusing the tool section I found a pack of small metric drill bits for $12.95, now I have the number 60 - 80 imperial ones and felt I just had to get these just in case, you know what it is like. The 20 drill bits in the set covered the following sizes: 0.3, 0.35, 0.4, 0.45, 0.5, 0.55, 0.6, 0.65, 0.7, 0.75, 0.8, 0.85, 0.9, 0.95, 1.0, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6mm.

Photo from the Jaycar web site.

I also saw a set of small metric taps and dies for $59.95 covering 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 & 2.5mm. The taps come in both taper and plug.

Photo from the Jaycar web site.

I know that I won't use the taps and dies a lot but when I need them they will be there. I have already thought about using a die to put a thread for a retaining nut on the top of the post on brass steam locomotive tenders to stop the connector bar to the loco from coming off. This is important as there are wires running from the DCC decoder to the loco that can get broken when the connecting bar comes adrift. I do have BA taps and dies but as brass locomotives are usually full of metric screws and bolts I felt that the set wouldn't go amiss.

Also tweaking my interest is a Sheet Metal Bender set (also called a bending brake) but so far I haven't succumbed. The two pieces are magnetic so will stay in place in a vice as per the photo from the Jaycar web site below.

Please note that I don't have any connection to Jaycar.

Too many nice tools and not enough money.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Bringing it together

Since I started this blog in 2008 I have posted a lot of photos of the layout.  Today I thought that since I have been a bit busy of late that I would try to bring a number of the photos together to present a more complete whole. I have previously posted a video run along the mainline but it doesn't show every part of the layout, but then neither does this post. The following pictures while not covering everything might give a better idea of the layout. The pictures are a combination of overall layout photos interspersed with 'local' photos.

We start from the Muswellbrook staging at the lowest point of the layout and progress through Kerrabee, Bylong, Cox's Gap, past the colliery junction, Wollar, the Cassilis branch junction then up the final grade to the Gulgong staging. Finally we have just a few photos of Munmurra and Cassilis on the branch. Cassilis has not progressed for more than a year, I must get back to it once I remove the overflow of stuff related to recent events from the layout room. Emptying, painting and setting up three bedrooms had a flow on effect.

Please note that some photos have been digitally modified to remove either brickwork above the layout or the edge of the layout by 'rubber stamping' with parts of the existing scene.

Anyway here we go:

Lower Muswellbrook Staging to Kerrabee

Lower level - Kerrabee and grade from Cox's Gap to Wollar on upper level above

Bridge over Kerrabee Creek - Built by Ian Dunn

Lower level - Grade approaching Bylong and Wollar Station on upper level above

Lower level - UP end of Bylong Station and Down end of Wollar on upper level above

McCauleys Hide Merchants and ash filled buffer stop

MV meat van at Bylong Abattoir and McCauleys on left

4434 on Empty Stock in Bylong Loop

SHG on stock train at Bylong

Lower level - Down end of Bylong Station with grade to upper level Gulgong staging
also shown is the Cassilis branch line just below the grade

Bylong tunnel approach

Stock train leaving Bylong

C3262 on stock train enters Bylong No2 tunnel

Climb to Cox's Gap - bridge built by Ron Cunningham

Cox's Gap Signal Box - Model by James McInerney

The line climbs out of Cox's Gap and passes under the bridge on the road to Wollar
4434 on goods on the Cox's Gap to Wollar grade

4434 on goods cresting the Cox's Gap to Wollar grade

4434 on goods passing the colliery junction bracket signal near Wollar

4434 on goods approaching colliery junction with Wollar township on right

A Summer day in the country

4820 and 4831 on goods leaving Wollar

Up Mixed passing colliery branch

6037 leaving colliery at level crossing before junction with the main line

Cross country view with the S08 wheat silo at Wollar in the distance

3647 simmers in Wollar loco as 3390 checks brakes

5139 resting in Wollar Loco Depot

The Wollar depot dog

CPH 28 in the back platform at Wollar

The Mid-West Express resplendent in a new coat of paint pauses in Wollar - Green 3827 leading

4908 on the main at Wollar

4434 sits in Wollar refuge loop

NSWGR 3390 on Cassilis Branch goods train approaching Wollar

3390 passing Wollar level crossing

Farmers Co-operative and the general store at the other end of Wollar township

Cassilis Branch Junction with the flour mill at Wollar in the background
Grade to upper level Gulgong staging also Cassilis branch line
and lower level - Down end of Bylong Station

Gulgong Staging on upper level above lower level -grade to Cox's Gap Loop

5085 on branch goods

10 Munmurra Station overview

Cassilis structure placement mock up

2540 on Cassilis turntable

Thursday, July 3, 2014

More 3D Printing and a Bit of Video Fun

Today my wife Chris and I finished painting a second bedroom for our two grandsons (7 and almost 5) who have come to live with us with their mother, our first daughter. Their father has decided that he on longer wants to be married and we have been dealing with this since the start of March. This is the reason for the scarcity of blog posts.

Anyway, on with the post but a bit of a story first.

I have been working on a couple of 48 class diesels which started life as Trax 48s but which now have some 3D printed chassis. This is a rebuild along the same lines as the article I did in the April 2001 issue of the Australian Model Railway Magazine (no. 227). In the article I had used layered printed circuit board for a chassis and some Austrains 421 bogies that were purchased at the time (sold as spares).

Now time moves on and my recent foray into 3d printing headed me into the realm of chassis construction. The chassis are printed in steel, yes steel, actually 70% stainless steel with 30% bronze.

How do they do that you say?

Well, a fine layer of stainless steel powder is laid down and resin is printed onto it followed by some heat I think to set the resin then another layer of powder and resin, etc. until the item is finished. At this stage the item is very fragile and it then has bronze infused into it, presumably in a molten state which burns out the resin replacing it in the process.

I had them printed by Shapeways the same company as the Werris Creek station building windows and doors of the last post and I chose a matt black finish which was more of a dark brown as it would save me painting them.

The finish is slightly rough, perhaps like about a 150 grade wet and dry paper. Because of the finish the socket for the half ball pivot on the bogies needed to be cleaned up which I did by using a new drill larger than the hole and by twisting it by hand. The result was a small chamfered edge on the lip of the hole that I had worked out that the ball would sit nicely in.

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the chassis before installing them into the two 48 class locomotives. I did take a chassis along to the Modelling the Railways of NSW Convention a few weeks ago and showed them to Keiran Ryan and Phil Badger. They were both very interested.

One slight downside is that the chassis were not cheap being US$51.92 each but they certainly save a lot of work.

Here is a screen shot of the chassis as a 3D model which was designed to use the fuel tank cut from the Trax chassis but including the part of the chassis above the tank. That Trax metal is horrible stuff to cut.

I have since done a second version so that I could use a couple of 48 class fuel tank castings I had purchased from Kerroby which appear to have been cut away from the Trax chassis.

You see I still have two more 48s to add to the roster.

This chassis with the extra block in the centre costs more at US$65.79. it might have been cheaper to cut the fuel tanks off the old Trax chassis but I had purchased the Kerroby fuel tanks several years ago and thought I may as well use them.

These 48s will  be detailed up when I get my two Trainorama 48s, hopefully late this year (or early next year - no I don't know anything about delivery dates).

Anyway back to the video fun, here is a short video I took of the two 48s on an Up Goods dropping down grade between Wollar and Bylong. The sound is actually from the locos which have Soundtraxx Tsunami Alco 250 v12 decoders but I have enhanced it with an equaliser in my video program. I think it sounds pretty good, pity we can't get big speakers into our locos. The 48s only have 13mm speakers as they are the only ones I could fit and also to give a 'smaller' sound to sound more like the 6 cylinder diesel the 48s had.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Bit of 3D Fun

For many years I have been aware of the potential for 3D printing in the hobby. Way back in about the late 1980's or early 1990's Graeme Brown sent me a photocopy of an article on photolithography for 3D printing, I was immediately amazed at the possibilities however this was the really early days of the technology.

Time has passed and we are now in the dawn of a new age with the commercial availability of 3D printing for the masses.

I have been watching this process for the last five years or so and I decided recently that it was time I had a go.

The reason for this was that I had told Ron Cunningham that I would build a model of the Werris Creek station building for his Werris Creek layout. Well, I had visited the station but hadn't truly understood the enormity of what I was taking on. Several visits and a number of years later I had realised that 3D printing was perhaps one of the only ways to get what I wanted. I looked at making masters of the windows, doors and various other items and trim in polystyrene for masters to be used for casting but I couldn't bring myself to start. The problem was that there are four different windows and three different doors on the main building alone. If you also look at the refreshment room/railway hotel building adjacent to the main two storey building you will see that although the doors and windows of the refreshment rooms look similar at first glance they certainly aren't, so more masters to be made.

Here are a few photos of the buildings.

The above photos are of the current paint scheme. 

This photo is of the older paint scheme which the model will likely be done as.
It was time to learn how to draw in 3D on the computer. Now I have done some 2D CAD building/home extension plans but 3D is totally different and requires a new mindset and techniques. 3D models are drawn by using primitives (squares, rectangles, circles, cones, etc.) and then extruding them and removing parts as well.

I have been using Sketchup 14 a free 3D drawing program. There is a professional version of the program but it is US$595 so the free one will have to suffice.

I decided to use a company called Shapeways for the 3D printing and I also investigated another company called iMaterialise but they were more expensive. I think that iMaterialise may give a better print from my research but I needed to keep it cheap as I was just learning.

After about a week of tearing my hair out I managed to produce my first 3D window for the Werris Creek station. At this point I was able to upload my 3D file and the Shapeways web site immediately checked the file for printability. Needless to say it failed, by version eleven I had a printable file.

I then spent more time drawing the rest of the windows and doors.

Finally, taking my wallet out, I ordered one of each window and door in a material called Fine Ultra Detail which is a translucent resin plastic. The 3D printer uses ultraviolet light to change a layer of liquid resin to a hard plastic; the image being a 'slice' of the 3D model. The next 'slice' is projected onto the resin and so it goes. This material is not cheap and each door and window cost between US$7 - US$9 each and there are many of each door and window type in the building.

After about two weeks I received word that the prints had been despatched by UPS and that they would arrive by the end of the day on a certain date in about ten days time.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, I am sure that Chris was tired of me checking for the delivery as it neared the due day. Anyway it arrived on time and I was really pleased with the prints. The prints were each packed in a zip lock plastic bag inside the bubble wrap of the sturdy cardboard box. I found that although they had been washed there was still some resin on them so I cleaned them with some enamel thinners after some research on the Shapeways site.

By now I am sure you are wanting to see the results so here are several of the unpainted windows and doors in a mock up piece of the wall of the station building.

I have just sent off another order for trial prints of a window and door as well as an awning post and a few other trim pieces in a cheaper material called White Strong and Flexible which is actually a nylon, now to wait, again. The nylon shouldn't be an issue with paint or glue as it has a fine dotted texture from the printing process which should give plenty of 'key' to the paint and glue.

Incidentally, as far as I know the window and door styles at Werris Creek are not used anywhere else on the NSWGR.

Now don't go waiting for further exciting instalments of this build, it has already taken about six years to get this far. I will give some updates along the way though.