Monday, November 9, 2015

A Bit More Architecture - Werris Creek Station Building Again

A while ago I tried to restart construction of the Werris Creek station building for Ron Cunningham's Werris Creek layout and realised that I hadn't etched enough awning post cast iron support brackets Also, given that I had etched them at home the consistency of the etches wasn't that good.

I sat down at the computer, fired up Sketchup and spent several hours drawing up the bracket. The following photo of the brackets and a screen grab show the result. The brackets now had some thickness and edge flanges around the fancy bits, much better. Due to wall thickness design minimums for the Frosted Ultra Detail material I had to do some creative drawing to get more of an impression in places by impressing some detail rather than cutting through. Over all, although it isn't as fine or airy I was very happy with the resulting 3D model. The GNR didn't come out and this was probably because the height of the letters wasn't enough and the height is restricted as there is a ratio of height to width where the letters would become a wall and they would fail the minimum wall thickness test.

Rear of the brackets showing some fine lines caused by the support material used in the printing process
Other side of brackets, nice and smooth
I had originally etched the cast iron detail in the end of the awning as well so I decided to give it a go as well and this one I am very pleased with as being larger the wall thickness design minimum wasn't a real issue.
The lower awning end is for the awning on the other platform
3D printed Frosted Ultra Detail awning end
As can be seen, by using 3D printing I was able to also make the whole awning end rather than having to construct it from Evergreen polystyrene strips and shapes.

I am now at the stage with the build where I can offer the awning up to the building although I still have to add the smaller downpipes and scuppers that I had to rescale before I can fix the awning permanently.

I haven't quite finished the awning itself as I still have to fit the corrugated iron and there are 4 foot (1200mm) single fluorescent lights on the awning rafters between each post as shown in this photo.

So here we have some HO single tube fluorescents that will take a 603 Cool White SMD LED (with leads). The LED fits into a hole in the middle of the base and the wires exit the end closest to the wall to be connected to a resistor and power inside the building. The light base will be painted black and then white to try to restrict the LED light to just the tube but I am sure that it will mainly be in the centre of the tube. I am not sure how else it could be done given the restriction of the size of the base and the minimum wall design thickness.


Base showing LED location and wire slot
But, there is more.

Mounted on the building as well as scattered around the platform on posts are some hooded double fluorescent lights so I have done these as well.

Here are screen grabs of the top and the bottom of the lights. The double fluorescents go inside the hood with the 603 SMD Cool White LED placed inside and the wires threaded through the hole in the end of the hood. The hole in the end of the hood and the wire slot are large enough to have a piece of 1mm plastic rod or 0.035" phosphor bronze wire (be careful here don't damage the LED wires) inserted to be used as the tubular mounting shown in the above photos.


Here is a photo of the 3D print, as the Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) is translucent prints are very hard to photograph.

Well, the above have been some of the distractions I have been involved with trying to overcome the loss of our beautiful daughter earlier this year. The problem I have is completing things but I am sure that it will all come together.

On another architectural note, a comment was posted on my recent architectural post asking about cast iron lace work and panels for terrace buildings, pubs, etc. I have had these on my list for a while and do have some photos/artwork that I can work with. The problem is that a lot of the lace work is very fine and the minimum wall thickness issue will raise its head. So only certain designs will probably work. These will take some time as the conversion/tracing of the lace work and the adjustment for wall thickness is quite involved, there is also the question of how long a length of lace work panels, etc. should be designed.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Free Shipping at Shapeways until November 8th

I just got an email from Shapeways about free shipping but it is only a short window in time. Shapeways has been doing this a bit lately so keep an eye out in future if you are interested.

Of course you can always buy something from my Signals Branch shop or anything else from the Miniatures/Model Trains shopping section.

Sorry for the plug but with the shipping being US$14.99 it is worth considering.

To get the free shipping you have to enter the code FREESHIPNOV at the checkout where shipping is normally added.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Little Bit of Architecture

OK, not architecture in terms of whole buildings but a few bits I have been working on.

A while back I was in need of distraction to keep my mind from other things and I find that the problem solving that is required for drawing up 3D items is just the thing to keep the mind occupied.

I decided that I would have a go at drawing up some corrugated iron, firstly to see if it could be done effectively and also out of interest to see how much it might cost to have printed.

I managed to track down some cross-section drawings of  'standard' corrugated iron and using this as a starting point I imported the line drawing into Sketchup as a JPG image. I then traced the cross-section and proceeded to turn it into a 3D representation within the limits of Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail material. I had decided that the White Strong and Flexible material wouldn't give a nice smooth surface and anyway the wall thickness design minimum precluded it from the project.

Here is a picture of a print that I have had done. I had this printed to see what it looked like and to get an idea of the price, unfortunately nice as it is the price is expensive compared to available HO corrugated iron. The sheets are 10 feet long and 22 1/2 inches wide which is the visible size of a sheet of iron that has a one and a half corrugation overlap. The idea is that each sheet will but against the next on a suitable modelled timber framework or sheet of plastic and the edges of the sheets will be seen as the joint between sheets. The printed sheets are only 0.42mm thick.

I have since added more supporting sprue instead of the single sprue down the centre. This is to ensure that nothing will be broken off in the cleaning process after printing. The problem is that Shapeways staff don't know what a particular print is so if something breaks off, the print is rejected even if it doesn't matter to the modeller. Of course some printed bits left loose after the cleaning can't readily be identified with a particular print order.

Since the print was acceptable I then moved onto something that I had been thinking about for years, bull nose corrugated iron. Bull nose is a challenge due to the difficulty of rolling the curve to the right radius and to do so without putting a kink in the corrugations. It was also a challenge to draw, here is the result.

Now, where to from here? I was telling a friend about what I had been up to when he asked, "What about decent guttering?" I promised that I would give it a go and send him some, so this was next. Back to find a  suitable gutter cross-section from years ago (1930's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, etc.). I knew that wall studs and roof rafters were spaced at 18 inches (450mm) in older houses and that gutter support brackets were usually placed on every second rafter end so this is what I drew up.


 And I then added sprues to give 4 x 30 foot lengths for printing.

Here is a photo of the printed gutter which I have darkened in an attempt to make the support bracket detail, etc. show better. The guttering print price looks good.

I am currently waiting on a print of a corrugated water tank which price wise at least is viable, here is a computer render of the tank and it has the correct corrugation cross-section.
Well, that is about where I am at with these items and I have decided that I will put them all on my Shapeways Signals Branch shop, someone might be rich enough to want to use the corrugated iron sheets, who knows. I am also making them available with the long term hope that the cost of printing will come down so that I can reduce the price.

Now I just have to find a nice building to make so that I can use these bits.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Few Photos from the AMRA Liverpool Exhibition

Here are some photos I took last weekend. They do not represent every layout or my interpretation of the best layout(s). They were taken just because a particular scene caught my eye.

Please note that the photos are not up to my usual standard as I used a small pocket size camera as dragging a tripod around to take good photos is just impossible at the exhibition.

I hope that you see something to enjoy.






A small amount of photo shopping was done to extend backscenes upwards and eliminate backscene joins and marks, etc.

Of course I would probably have taken more but I had too good a time catching up with many modellers. If I didn't catch up with you then maybe next time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Catch Point and Indicator Update

I haven't had a post for a few weeks as Chris had a sudden gall bladder operation after two attacks in two days and last Monday I had a cataract operation on my eye that was infected when I had the shingles in March of 2013. The eye drops I had to take to clear up the infection in the eye ultimately gave me a cataract. So for some time I have been working with basically one eye shut to eliminate the blur. It was OK for driving etc. but not for reading, the computer and modelling. I now have to wait for about 6 weeks for the eye to settle down before I get my glasses sorted. So I still have dodgy vision for modelling, etc. but not as bad as before.

Anyway, my Shapeways 3D prints of the catch points (White Strong and Flexible) and the indicators (Frosted Ultra Detail) turned up last week and I have been assembling them to see if I have designed them well enough to have them actually work.

OK, well the catch point needs to be amended as the dog spikes are too fragile and I lost a number of them while inserting the rail. The rail was Peco Code 75 flat bottomed. I haven't tried MicroEngineering Code 70 as yet but it does have a similar base width so I would expect a similar result. If you get a catch point when I put them on my Shapeways Shop then don't paint the sleepers first, it just makes it harder to insert the rails and I lost a few more dog spikes doing this.

I have beefed up the dog spikes by 10% and raised them slightly to give better clearance for the angle of the rail bottom flange area but there is a limit before the spike heads will be hit by the wheel flanges. So far they are clear of 88 and 110 wheel flanges.

Printed Left and Right Catch Points as received
The catch point indicators were printed in Frosted Ultra Detail which gives nice detail but can have occasional slightly rough surface areas which is due to a support material used during printing. As usual, I used a rinse in acetone for 1 - 2 minutes to clean any oily material that is used to clean away the support material.

Catch Point Indicators - Brightness and Contrast adjusted to try to show the detail
As I mentioned above I inserted some rail into the sleepers to test the fit but also to test the gauge which was successful.

Check of rail gauge - Lower rail temporarily fitted
The three items attached to the sleepers are from left to right, a wedge that is fitted inside the lower rail to raise the wheels up and over the rail and two alternate sleeper extensions for mounting the indicator on. The sleepers plug into the ends of the main sleepers around the area of the point blade.

One indicator set clipped from the main sprue with most of the sprues cut away to assist with painting access
The rails were cut to size, inserted and glued in place with Super Glue (ACC). The point blade was filed to a taper and then cut to length. he main rail was filed away to accommodate the point blade where they meet.A MicroEngineering rail joiner was cut in half with a cutting disc in a motor tool. The joiner was held in a pair of pliers and it was opened up by inserting a scrap piece of rail into tit before it was carefully pushed onto the end of the rail in the catch point. Another piece of rail had one end filed to an angle to meet the rail before being inserted into the angled sleepers.

Part assembled catch point with an indicator
Here are several photos showing the catch point with indicator in a typical position in Bylong yard. Catch points were placed where a siding met the main line so that parked wagons would not foul the main if the rolled away. This catch point would need to be curved to fit in this location so I will build one from the new design when I get it back from printing. The catch points will be able to be curved by clipping away sections of the web between the sleepers on each side of the rails much as is done on flex commercial track. This is one advantage of the White Strong and Flexible material, the other is cost as the catch point would be exorbitantly expensive in the Frosted Ultra Detail material, 'horses for courses'.

Overall view of the location - A lit Clearance Post can be seen on the right
A closer view
A close up view of the indicator - The square section rotates to the other aspect (arrow)
Unfortunately I didn't design the operating component of the rotating indicator head well, it won't turn the head fully. It is amazing how it can be difficult to envisage the way something should work when designing in 3D but how obvious it is when you hold the item in your hand. I now know what I have to do to make the indicator aspects move through 90 degrees when the point blade moves, or I hope so.

Another set of prints will be ordered when I finish the design changes. I hope that this indicator can be lit from below the baseboard by an LED in a hole drilled from below but I will only find out once I try it. The light will have to go vertical (easy) then be bright enough to reflect out sideways  through the pivot, into the head section and out the small red lens and the arrow area. Fingers crossed on this one.

Finally, here is the NSWGR plan again.

NSWGR Standard Catch Point - 1936

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wired Bi-Colour 0605 Surface Mount Device Red and Warm White LED Issue

I recently ordered some wired Red and Warm White 0605 Bi-colour SMD LEDs on ebay for marker lights as I really don't like the red/cool white versions we seem to get on our locomotives.

When they arrived, I sat down to use them as marker lights on a Trainorama 44 Class and realised that I had a problem.

Size of a 0605 Bi-colour SMD LED
Just before I ordered them I was looking at wired RED and White 0605 SMD Bi-colour LEDs from the same supplier and had noted that they were wired with a Common Anode.

Well, you can probably guess by now what my issue was, yes, the Red/Warm White ones were Common Cathode!

Why is this a problem?

DCC decoders are designed for Common Anode, so if I had used the LEDs as they came I would have ended up with both Red and Warm White turned on at the same time.

So, I was left with little option but to rewire them. I had bought the wired ones to avoid just this scenario!

I bought a magnifying glass on a gooseneck from JayCar Electronics that has a small 5 X lens in the larger 2X lens, more expense but it will be useful I guess.

I took a piece of Bostik Blue Tak, made a small 1 cm ball of it and pushed it onto my workbench. Into this I pressed the 'lens' side of the 0605 LED exposing the wire connections on the rear.

I placed the magnifying glass so that I could see the LED through the 5 X lens.

I have a temperature controlled soldering iron with a very fine point which I used to unsolder the three wires.

Rear of a 0605 SMD Bi-colour LED - Correct Anode Common wiring
0605 SMD Bi-colour LED Circuit
As can be seen from the circuit above there are simply four contacts, one in each corner to solder to which made the rewire easier.

I took one of the two long wires and soldered it across the opposite two contacts than the ones that had previously been bridged. This now formed the Common Anode connection.

I shortened the long wire to the same length as the remaining wire to form the two Cathode wires and soldered them in place.

The first one took about 30 minutes of stuffing about but I can now do them inside of 5 minutes. So far I have done five.

I did try double sided tape first but I found that the LED moved around too much, the Blue Tak holds better as the 'lens' can be pushed into the Blue Tak for a better bond.

I don't know if all RED/Warm White 0605 Bi-colour SMD LEDs are Common Cathode, probably not, but I made this post to make the modeller aware of a potential issue.

Oh, yes, how many did I buy?


And no, I haven't installed them as yet, took the wind out of my sails a bit, not an uncommon thing of late.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Paddock Full of Sheep

Over the last few months I have been trying to distract myself from events earlier this year and have done a few different 3D printing projects. Two of these are HO sheep both in 'free range' and wagon loads.

Both the free range sheep and the wagon loads can be seen in this photo of 5085 climbing the grade to Wollar with a stock train of sheep.

Those who know the layout will note that the stock train is headed towards the country, away from the Bylong abattoir and the city abattoirs so the sheep must be being moved for agistment elsewhere, 1965 being a year of drought (yes, I know my backscenes are too green for a drought).

The sheep wagon loads have been designed to fit both the Austrains NSWGR GSV four wheel sheep wagon and the Eureka Models BSV bogie sheep wagon.

I have now offered them for sale on my Signals Branch Shapeways shop and while the price may appear to be of some concern the quality can be seen in the above photo and the 64 'free range' sheep work out at 57 cents each which is a bit over half the hobby shop retail price of approximately AU$1. The wagon load sprue has 100 sheep so these work out at 37 cents each.

The roofs of the above mentioned sheep wagons come off by slightly levering at the roof corner. The GSV floor comes out by slightly flexing the lower body sides away from the solebar. The BSV bogie wagon floor comes out by first pulling the buffer heads out of the wagon and then slightly flexing the lower body sides away from the floor.

It is advisable to spray the sheep on the sprue prior to snipping them off as it is easier to touch up the white snip area than to hold and paint the sheep individually. For Australia, a light brown is more correct (dust) than white as would be found in England or Europe.

While these sheep a just standing I hope to modify them so that they are grazing or looking another way, etc.

I hope that the modeller will find these useful.

Clarification of Sheep Wagon Loads:

1 sprue of 100 sheep has 4 blocks of 25 sheep which will do 2 GSV four wheel sheep wagons or 1 BSV bogie sheep wagon. The legs are dangling free so to speak, no 'floor' on the block of sheep.