Monday, December 24, 2018

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Well another year has gone by and this now makes the tenth year of the blog, quite amazing!

I don't know what I expected when I started the blog in 2008 but I have had fun although the posts have got a bit further apart of late. I will try to do more posts about the layout and little projects this coming year although there will be the odd 3D printing post as I find it a fascinating way to model although not suitable for everything.

I have always liked to push the boundaries and try new techniques and as such BYLONG has really been a test bed down the years since it first started in 1978. Parts of the existing layout are still in evidence from the first exhibited 1979 version and it takes me back to an earlier time when I look at this years Christmas card as the hill behind the town with the rusty corrugated iron shed above the street is from the original layout.

Talking of projects I really must finish the pub on the corner of the main street, slack! Unfortunately this is a side effect of having ideas and wanting to try new things.

It doesn't look like the lack of a two story verandah and awning has caused the locals to stay away on this Christmas Eve afternoon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lambing Flat Running Session

Last Friday night I attended a running night at James McInerney's Lambing Flat layout along with James of course, Ron Cunningham, Terry Flynn, Marcus Ammann and John Zubrickas. James will be moving in the New Year and the layout won't be in its current configuration at its new home so it was a night to run it before it goes into a temporary limbo.

I tried out a small 4K video camera that has been designed to be used on a drone. The idea being that as most of these cameras have a wide angle lens which can give some distortion in the outer areas of the picture the 4K resolution will allow a Full High Definition(or near enough) segment of the images to be cropped to remove the distortion and also possibly room walls, etc. The camera doesn't have a screen so I had to place it where I thought it would give a good view of the action. Sometimes I placed it a little too close so the trains might be a bit out of focus but the low down by the track effect is good I believe.

The operating was fun particularly the shunting which I didn't video unfortunately. James has his shunting locomotives set up with momentum and he requests that you shunt by accelerating to step 20 of 128 on a DCC throttle so that the movement is very smooth. As the shunting locomotives have Soundtraxx Tsunamis (original Tusnami, Econamis and a Tsunami 2) then a working brake is also available and this can be used to great effect to slow down and neatly couple to a wagon, great fun!

Here is a video I put together of some of the trains running that night, enjoy.

And here are a some photos as they progress around the layout.

After adding the above photos to this post I realised that I missed a creek section between the station yard and the stock race as well as the branch leading to another staging yard, it can be seen leaving to the right in the second photo immediately above.

I hope you enjoyed the video and photos as I certainly enjoyed the night, thanks James!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Shapeways 15% Off Sale Extended for 24 Hours

Shapeways has extended the 15% off sale for another 24 hours.
Thank you those who ordered something from my Signals Branch shop.
Use the code HAPPYMONDAY

Friday, November 23, 2018

Shapeways is Finally Having a Sale

Shapeways has just announced a 15% off sale that will be on what the USA calls Cyber Monday, 26 November 2018.

This is a 24 hour one day sale and the timing is the USA 26 November not Australia's so if you wish to place an order then make sure it is 26 November in New York.

Here is a link to a web site that can give you the time in New York:

This web site has a clock for Sydney and another for New York both with their respective dates below them.

This is the first sale since about January as Shapeways has been 'tightening their belt'.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

UPDATE - SIGNALS BRANCH and Shapeways New Pricing

Shapeways adjusted its printing costs on 22 October and anything new that I upload will be at the increased price and any existing items on my shop will remain at the old price until January 2019 when those prices will increase.

So if anyone wants to order something they had best do it before January.

It is hard to determine the new pricing as Shapeways no longer publishes their pricing algorithms (the way they calculate the price) for each material. The only way I can do so is to upload all 295 or so models on my shop as pricing ‘dummy’ checks.

I have done some ‘dummy’ uploads of existing items to see what the new prices will be.

The Smooth Detail Plastic (previously Frosted Ultra Detail) has gone up the most at about 34% of the print cost.

Versatile Plastic (previously White Strong and Flexible) has gone up a small amount, maybe 5% of print cost but a small item went up much more as a percentage so I think Shapeways has increased the base production cost and this is reflected in the large percentage increase. That is, most of the original price was base production cost.

On the few items I have uploaded the Brass seems to have gone up by 10 – 17% of the print cost.

There doesn't appear to be a simple pricing algorithm that I can work out.

Previously, the pricing went something like this:

  • A base amount to cover the production handling
  • A material used cost
  • A machine build volume component
  • The Smooth Detail Plastic (previously Frosted Ultra Detail) also had a wax support material used component.

Don't get too concerned over the percentages as there seems to be some other factors at play and the percentage may be on something that isn't too expensive, although 3D printing is expensive.

Not much fun for the modeller or the shop keeper and I have little control over the prices other than reducing what little I make.

Totally confused, I will have to wait until Shapeways gives the shop owners/designers a shop price list or some easy way to determine the new prices on mass.

Regarding the shipping, Shapeways has stated that normal production will take longer perhaps a couple of weeks longer but that there is a priority option that costs US$4.37 so about AU$6.00.

Incidentally. there has been no discounts or free shipping since about the start of the year and Black Friday (23 November - normally a Sale time) is 8 days away so it will be interesting to see if Shapeways does their usual sale. Somehow I doubt it will happen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Shapeways Pricing and Shipping Changes

I have just received an email from Shapeways regarding changes to their pricing and shipping times. The details will be announced on 22 October.

Click on this link to read the letter.

Shapeways got a new CEO about six months ago and since then a number of materials have been dropped from their printing line. Also there hasn't been any discounts or free shipping for most of the year. Shapeways has been losing money in several ways and all this is an attempt to get the company working properly.

The GST addition in July impacted to pricing as well as I have previously posted.

Prices for existing items on Shapeways shops will remain the same until 2019 when they will be adjusted to the new pricing structure whatever that may be, I doubt that it will be down.

Default shipping times will be longer (looks like about 10 days longer than currently) but there will be a fast shipping option, no doubt at an increased price.

We will have to see where this goes.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Bogie Mounts for Lima 72'6" Cars to Suit Eureka Models 3AF Bogie

I had an idea a week ago so obtained a pair of Eureka Models 3AF Bogies. These are available from Eureka Models and they are the 6 wheel bogies from the Eureka Models 72'6" passenger car range.

I thought that these would be much better under the Lima 72'6" carriages as the Lima cars do not track too well due to the lack of vertical play in the centre axle. I have for years run these bogies without the centre axle to try to overcome this issue. As a case in point I was running a pair of the Lima cars and the same bogie on the same car came off in a number of places on the layout where others don't derail. I feel that the bogie may be a bit warped or that the wheels were hitting the Kadee coupler box..

So after several designs and 3D prints on my filament printer to get the dimensions right I had working bogie centres mounted on the offending carriage.

After this I realised that I could do much the same and design a Kadee coupler mount for the ends on the carriage.

The coupler mount took 6 designs mainly working out the correct height for the coupler.

Here are a few photos to show the process of modifying the Lima bogie mount and installing the new bogie mount and the coupler mount.

Please note that the Eureka Models 3AF bogie has the mounting hole offset towards the front of the bogie, this is to reduce the possibility of the wheels hitting the Kade coupler box. As anyone knows who has done this with the Lima bogie it certainly restricts the swing of the bogie. The Eureka bogie improves this issue greatly.

The small raised walls of the existing Lima car bogie mounts need to be removed down to the large smooth surface (see photo). This is easily achieved with a pair of transistor nippers which are like side cutters but they a flat on one side of the jaws. After removing as much of the short walls as possible then use a hand motor tool or file to smooth off the remaining pad. Only the front portion of the pad needs to be nice and smooth as the new mounting will sit partially on this.

There two small die ejection pin marks that are in the corners of the carriage at the rear of the buffer beam, these need to be smoothed down to the rest of the surface so that the new coupler mount will sit flush.

Holes should be drilled with a 1/16 inch drill bit to start then finished with a 5/64 inch drill bit or a 2 mm drill bit.

The bogies and the Kadee couplers can be screwed in place with #2 self tapping screws, 1/2 inch (12 mm) long for the bogie and 3/8 inch (10 mm) for the coupler work well. The 3/8 inch (10 mm) screw is just a bit short for the bogie mounting.

The bottom edge of the carriage buffer beam needs to be filed a little to allow the Kadee coupler to sit at the right height. This is achieved by holding the 3D printed coupler mount in place behind the buffer beam and filing the buffer beam down to the level of the coupler mounting pad. A sharp hobby knife could also be used to shave away the 0.5 mm or so of plastic.

Both mountings can be glued in place with ACC Super Glue if you wish but I have found that it isn't really necessary as the screw will hold them in place securely.

Original Lima 72'6" Carriage
Lima Bogie Mount - The small walls on the mount top must go
Trimmed and smoothed Lima bogie mount
3D printed bogie and Kadee coupler mounts in place
Eureka Models 3AF bogie and Kadee 5 coupler screwed in place
Eureka Models 3AF bogie and Kadee 146 long coupler screwed in place
The mounts can be found on my Signals Branch Shapeways shop here:

Single set of both mounts for one carriage.

Double set of mounts for two carriages.

The mounts come in White Versatile Plastic (previously known as White Strong and Flexible - WSF), Black Versatile Plastic and Smooth Fine Detail Plastic (previously Frosted Ultra Detail - FUD).

Is you use the Smooth Fine Detail Plastic then be very careful when screwing in the bogie mounting screws as the hole in the top of the mount has a very thin wall. This wall can't be any thicker as the hole in the bogie would not fit on it.

I will be at the AMRA Exhibition this coming Sunday 30-9-2018 on Keiran Ryan's Modelling Clinic stand so drop by and say hello.