Friday, October 11, 2019

Post AMRA Exhibition Brass Signal Update

Well, I sold all 24 brass NSWGR HO lower quadrant signals over the three days of the weekend exhibition and would like to thank all those who showed their interest.

I had eight operational built and painted signals and sixteen signal kits.

Brass operational and painted Right Hand Bracket Signal

Operational built and painted brass signals

Sixteen signal kits ready to go - Note the brass signal post, signal parts,
mechanism with hardware and the cast brass ladder
My little stand on the Eureka Models stand - Thanks Ron
I did note that the use of a timber stand meant that I was asked a number of times if the signals worked as the mechanisms could not be seen, a learning thing. Next time I will have a perspex stand.

I can accept orders by email for large or small numbers of signals and will be able to supply the signals with a choice of signal arm lengths. The signals I have in this locally produced line are 27 foot post single arm, 23 foot post single arm, left hand bracket and right hand bracket. So if a bracket signal is required with a 39 inch main line arm and a 36 inch arm or alternatively a 30 inch arm for a loop then this can be ordered and accommodated.

Email me at: for more information or to order.

I also had a number of requests asking if I was going to produce N Scale signals, 7mm Scale signals and Upper Quadrant signals.

The N Scale signals will definitely be looked at and do look possible.

Unfortunately however, the 7mm Scale signals would be too tall for the casting equipment.

Upper Quadrant signal kits are available in the Gordon Box brand at Casula Hobbies or from the advertisement in the latest Australian Journal of Railway Modelling magazine (Issue Number 12 page 47).

The next few HO brass signals will be a timber post Distant signal, a 23 foot steel tube post single arm signal and left and right bracket steel tube signals.

23 Ft Steel Post Signal - 3D Render

Steel Post LH Bracket Front - 3D Render

Steel Post LH Bracket Rear - 3D Render
I will endeavor to introduce more signals as the brass signal order uptake increases.

The cost of doing each signal locally is not small so the more unusual signals such as the under-slung type, Werris Creek platform starting bracket signal and some others will likely have to be ordered from my Signals Branch shop.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Australian Made NSWGR Lower Quadrant Brass Signals

I have started a locally made line of NSWGR lost wax cast signals that will be released at the AMRA Homebush Exhibition this weekend.

Here is the information from my latest handout:

Announcing Australian made lost wax cast brass NSWGR lower quadrant signals with the following features:
·         Locally produced and much cheaper than my brass signals from Shapeways
·         Available as a kit or built to order if required
·         Everything you need including brass post and details
·         Castings have been removed from sprues and cleaned up
·         All holes pre-drilled
·         3D printed mechanism with screws mounted
·         Brass wire for safety cage and operating rods
·         Single Post - Kit $60 - Built and painted $100
·         Bracket Post – Kit $100 – Built and painted $170

Assembly instructions can be found on the Signals Branch Blog at:

Contact Ray Pilgrim at for ordering or further information.

SIGNALS BRANCH HO brass Steel and Timber Post Signals with brass ladder

Other Signals Branch signals and models are on my online shop at Shapeways:

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

PC 15 inch Panel Right Hand Door Signal Box

I have meant to do this since the previous post about the Gilmore signal box.

I have just uploaded to my Signals Branch Shapeways shop the various parts for a right hand door 15 inch panel PC signal box examples of which were at Bogan Gate, Bombala, Coolamon and Weethalle. I am sure they would have been found at other locations but these above are all I found photos of.

The Gilmore 15 inch panel PC signal box is a left hand door version and I haven't found any other photos of left hand door 15 inch panel PC signal boxes.

Similarly to the Gilmore left hand door version the signal box is available either complete (needs a concrete water tank) or as separate walls, roof and detail parts.

The detail parts sprue for the right hand door 15 inch panel PC signal box version has two downpipes as different signal boxes had the downpipes and water tanks at different ends. See photos below.

Right Hand Door 15 inch Panel PS Signal Box Detail Parts with two downpipes
The separate signal box components allow for easier painting and the walls and roof are in different materials for the level of finish required.

The roof for the right hand door (RHD) 15 inch panel signal box is the same roof as for the Gilmore signal box.

Bogan Gate - Photo from Heritage for NSW Facebook Group

Coolamon Signal Box - Branchline Modeller 3

Weethalle Signal Box - Kim - Camden Tramway Blog
When I get some time I will do the standard 10 inch panel PC signal box.

Post Script
The initial blog post of the Gilmore signal box had 3D render images with 6 pane windows but these were changed quickly to the correct 9 pane version when it was pointed out by Rob Nesbitt (see comments of the Gilmore post). It was as plain as day in the photos so I don't know how I managed to get it wrong initially.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Gilmore Signal Box - 3D Print

I have had a request to do the signal box at the Gilmore Station on the Tumut line. I decided to draw it up even though the chances of covering my time would be very slight but I like a challenge occasionally. No I can't do every thing that someone thinks up!

I found that there were very few photos around but I did find two in the Train Hobby NSWR Station series of books. One photo was a view of the end of the signal box from a distance and it appeared that the box was built of 10 inch PC panels so I proceeded to draw it based on that.

Well, just before the latest AMRM magazine was released I discovered another few photos on Rolfe Bozier's web site that showed that it was actually built of 15 inch panels, bummer!

Gilmore Signal Box in 2002 - Rolfe Bozier web site

Gilmore Signal Box in 2002 - Rolfe Bozier web site
So, in the AMRM News section there was a photo of a computer render I had supplied of the model signal box with the incorrect panels. Back to the computer then and two days later all was done.

Here are a couple of renders of the final signal box.

Tom Pall sent me a photo of the Gilmore Signal Box after he saw the render in AMRM and while it shows the 15 inch panels they also look like they have lines at the middle which would be why my distant view made me think it had 10 inch panels. Tom was relieved when I told him I had already discovered and corrected the issue.

Gilmore Signal Box - Tom Pall
The AMRM stated that the HO Gilmore Signal Box was for sale however I haven't made it available as yet as I have been trying to optimise the cost due to the recent increase from Shapeways for the Fine Detail Plastic material. It should be available shortly with several options of materials so that the cost can be worked out to suit (see renders below).

Gilmore Signal Box Walls - Available in White Versatile Plastic or Fine Detail Plastic
Gilmore Signal Box Roof - Available in White Versatile Plastic or Fine Detail Plastic
Gilmore Detail Parts in Fine Detail Plastic

Gilmore Signal Box PC Water Tank - Available in White Versatile Plastic or Fine Detail Plastic
It will also be available complete in Fine Detail Plastic with all details printed in place except for the water tank. The issue here will be with painting the doors, windows etc. in place on the model as against separately on a sprue.

OK, here is the sales pitch! With Casula Hobbies bringing out the HO RTR Z19 Class steam locomotive with the early Baldwin bogie tender then there is no reason not to model the Tumut branch so you will definitely need the Gilmore Signal Box.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Staffs and Staff Boxes - A Model Interpretation

It has been a while since the last post and I did say I was working on something for another post so here it is.

This took a lot longer to do than I anticipated.

I have drawn up and printed some small staff boxes for use on my Bylong layout. These staff boxes had to fit on the layout edge which is made from nominal 2 inch X 1 inch pine framing with 1/2 inch (12/13 mm) chipboard on top. The boxes were designed to fit the nominal 2 inch edge. Nominal means that the pine frame isn't really 2 inches X 1 inch and in fact measures 42 mm X 20 mm.

The idea was to use the small 3D printed staffs available from my Signals Branch shop although I did have to print two more on my FDM (filament) printer which I will come to later in this post.

So the idea was to use the small tabs on the staffs to trigger two micro switches to turn the box into a switch. Now each staff has two tabs in different places just like the prototype does. On the prototype the staff is inserted into a key way in the side of the box and this enables the box lid to be opened so that a book of tickets can be removed and used to allow a train to proceed into the next staff section without the staff. Once the train or trains have left the staff section the following train can proceed with the staff to the next staff section signal box. Of course no train movements can come in the other direction until the staff has arrived at the next section signal box to allow the process to repeat for the other direction. The other aspect of this is that the staff will only open the staff box it is for.

The staff boxes are painted in red, white, blue and green and have a circle, triangle, square and heart respectively.

The name plates on the above staff boxes appear to be a later addition. On the model boxes I chose to used raised lettering to make it easier to paint the signal box/station names.

Here is a photo of the parts I designed and printed on my FDM printer:

Of course, the staff box is too small to contain tickets so the idea is to use the micro switches and the matching staff to say change the opposing Home signal to stop. The switches could be used with a solenoid or servo to unlock another box containing tickets as well. I will be using the staffs and staff boxes to trigger programming in NCE Mini Panels. I set up a Mini Panel with some programming but found that the normal lever (switch) that operates the Home signal would change the signal to clear even if the staff box had put it at stop. So the thought is to use the staff box to disconnect the wiring of the signal lever that goes to the Mini Panel such that the signal can't go to clear while the staff is in the staff box. The staff box would also trigger the Mini Panel to put the Home signal at stop.

A note here about NCE Mini Panel triggering. The Mini Panel uses a wire from the Mini Panel ground to a switch then back to an input on the Mini Panel. The Mini Panel programming reacts to a change of state such as a switch closure but not about the switch already being closed hence the problem above with the Home signal. Also to throw a point or signal the other way it needs a separate input so keep this in mind if using a Mini Panel. The Mini Panel has 5 volts available on the circuit board which could be used with a 5 volt relay or a flip flop transistor circuit if required to feed from a NCE BD20 track detector to the Mini Panel. The Mini Panel will react to the BD20 turning on but does not react to a BD20 or switch turning off so the relay or transistor circuit can be used here to produce the turn off input to the Mini Panel. 

Anyway, that is where I have got to after several weeks of design, printing and painting the staff boxes. Oh yes, I had to make two more staffs with different tabs and matching staff boxes for two extra sections. I painted the circle and heart on the two repeating staff boxes brass along with the area around the circle and heart cutouts on the staffs to indicate that they are different.

While I am sure staff sections on the real railway have a number of stations within them I chose to have staff sections that ran from station to station in model form.

Here is the full set in order including the one already mounted at Bylong. In the way of these things I managed to put the triangle on my white model boxes upside down so It looks like some more printing and painting coming up.

Now I have to get back to finishing and installing the rest of my signals on Bylong, it never ends does it, just as well that it is fun.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Werris Creek Station and a Couple of Signal Boxes

Sorry for the lack of posts over the holiday period, we haven't been away just other things intruding at times.

I have been doing a couple of things though.

In early December I installed the Werris Creek station building and platform on Ron Cunningham's Werris Creek layout. It didn't go quite as planned even though I had made a template of the space and worked out where the platform and building would go. Unfortunately, I didn't allow enough platform space for the awnings on both sides of the building which meant that the platform and building had to move further away from the apex of the North and North Western lines. The result was that the straight end of the platform on the North line had to be trimmed to meet the curve of the track as it wrapped around the room corner. Luckily the curved part of the platform is not really that visible and will be hidden once the Refreshment Room/Hotel building is in place (whenever that might be).

I decided that it was time for it to go to Ron's even though there are still a few bits to be done. The main things are the platform edging which I am hoping will be laser etched and cut so that it can be laminated onto the timber platform face. The second missing item was the small concrete paneled signal box on the apex of the platform.

Station just prior to the move with a rough first print' of the platform signal box
So, as the platform edging was out of my hands I had decided to work on the small signal box. On our way last November to the Convention at Armidale we dropped into Werris Creek and I measured the signal box and took some photos, these were now referred t as I drew up a 3D version for printing. I printed the walls and roof on my Cocoon Create Touch FDM printer (filament) and the doors and windows and gable barge boards were printed on my new Phrozen Shuffle XL DLP printer (resin). While the walls and roof are not as good a finish as would be achieved with the DLP printer they are adequate and straight/rectangular models are difficult to keep straight with DLP printers as the resin is prone to warping caused by about a 0.5% shrinkage when curing. Some warping is evident in the doors of the South Box model, these were straight when printed and warped later.

Only photo I have found of the signal box in 1971 - Photographer unknown

In 'Heritage' colours - November 2018

The model sitting in the grass on my Cassilis yard on BYLONG
Please note that the current signal box is lowered slightly into the platform surface due to the platform having been raised. The model is correct for the period.

With the small signal box out of the way I decided that the next job was to do the same for the Werris Creek South Box which has long been demolished. I had two photos of is and a couple of sketches by an unknown person. This sketch was useful as it gave me an indication of what was on the rear wall of the South Box. The extra details around the signal box will be added once the South Box is in place permanently.

The prototype photos and the final result are shown here below less the deck at the front which will be built once the small scenery bank that it sits on is in place on the layout.

Unknown photographer
Unknown photographer
Sketches - Unknown Artist

The model sitting in the grass on my Cassilis yard on BYLONG
I have been up to some other modelling recently but that will be a subject for the next post.

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!