Thursday, December 29, 2016

Signal Boxes and more Signal Boxes

Sorry, I have been at it again.

I have uploaded a HO NSWR 'Cheap' Signal Box to my Signals Branch Shapeways Shop. The 'Cheap' Signal Box was exactly that, a smaller cheaper signal box than the Standard Platform Level Signal Box that I have already done. It was 10 feet square, had a plank door, no front window, a window on either end and wasn't lined inside.

The dimensions and information were sourced from the Data Sheet S3 Plan and from a plan and information in an article by James McInerney on Building Wooden Signal Boxes in the December 1986 Australian Model Railway Magazine (Issue 141 Vol.12 No. 12). The model signal box in this article was built by James and resides on my Bylong layout at Cox's Gap loop.

The walls and roof of the signal box are one piece and it is available in either White Strong and Flexible or in the Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic material.

A set of detail parts (windows, door, gutter and downpipe) needs to be ordered as well, these are in Frosted Ultra Detail.

7mm Scale NSWR Standard Platform Level Signal Box

As it seemed a logical thing to do I have also uploaded left hand and right hand door versions of the Standard Platform Level Signal Box in 7mm Scale. Perhaps someone might find it useful, they can be found in the 7mm Scale section of my shop.

The Signal box must be ordered in two parts, the walls and roof in White Strong and Flexible material and the Detail Parts also in White Strong and Flexible material. The Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic material is way too expensive for 7mmScale.

The above 3D render has a paneled door but the more standard door with the window is included in the detail parts.

N Scale NSWR Standard Platform Level Signal Box

While I was 'on a roll' I did the Standard Platform Level Signal Box for N Scale and both walls/roof and the detail parts are in Frosted Extreme Detail. These can be found in the N Scale - Other section of my shop.

Frosted Extreme Detail is the same acrylic material but the layer thickness printed is 16 microns compared to 29 microns for Frosted Ultra Detail ( one micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter).

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Christine and I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

I would also like to give a big thank you to those modellers who bought items from my Signals branch shop over the past year and particularly during the recent 25% off sale from Shapeways.

Once again I am going to post about my recent 3D printing efforts and I hope that this isn't too annoying or boring. I will try to return soon to more posts about my Bylong layout and the related things that I have been doing.

Here are the most recent additions:

NSWGR Platform Level Signal Box
Platform Level Signal Box
NOTE: Camera lens distortion evident here, it is not the signal box
This is a rusticated weatherboard platform level signal box 17 feet 8 inches long that has been designed based on the signal box once at Kankool. The Greg Edwards S3 Data Sheet was used for dimensions along with photographs of Kankool signal box. The door of this signal box is at the left hand end as per Kankool.

Platform Level Signal Box 3D Printed Parts
A set of detail parts in Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic material is required to complete this signal box. Included in the detail parts are two different doors, windows, water tank, downpipe, gutter and a timber beam fitted with 8 electrical insulators.

Signal Box Left Hand Door Detail Set
There is a Left Hand Detail Set with the correct left hand doors, it is about where the hinges and door knobs are and that the door would be hinged on the end wall.

The walls and roof are one piece in the White Strong and Flexible (WSF) material that has a fine 'sandy' surface that needs to be sprayed with several coats of Auto Primer Filler or Auto Spray Putty and then rubbed back with about 1500 grit Wet and Dry paper to smooth the surface. It is up to the modeller to sand between coats or after several coats. Be careful not to sand the any detail away, particularly the corrugations in the roof. The corrugations could be brushed along their length while the paint is wet to stop the corrugations from filling with paint.

There is also walls and roof available in Frosted Ultra Detail which only needs to be rinsed in some acetone for a couple of minutes prior to painting. This is to remove any last traces of the waxy support material from the printing process.

Paint with the final colours either in the NSWGR 'Stone' colour scheme or the later pastel colour scheme (usually pale green blue or cream with white trim).

Please note that the model pictured is the WSF version and it has only has one coat of primer followed by the final colours to depict a perhaps more 'normally' finished model and not the multiple coats of primer and rubbing back to smooth the surface that some modellers may do.

The signal box is also available with the door at the right hand end and a right hand set of details parts are available for this signal box.

A pair of small water tanks with downpipes from this detail set is also available separately.
Small Water Tanks from Signal Box Detail Parts
Early NSWGR Rivetted Water Tank
Rivetted Water Tank front view

Rivetted Water Tank showing bolted flanges on inside.
The rivetted water tank consists of the four water tank sides printed as one piece. The interior flanges and bolts have been included in the print.

A ledge has been printed inside the tank for a 3mm thick floor, layers of polystyrene or 3mm MDF would be suitable. Measure the underside of the tank for the floor, it should be 88.5mm x 88.5mm.

The tank is printed in the White Strong and Flexible (WSF) material which has a fine 'sandy' surface that needs to be sprayed with several coats of Auto Primer Filler or Auto Spray Putty and then rubbed back with about 1500 grit Wet and Dry paper to smooth the surface. It is up to the modeller to sand the flat areas between coats or after several coats. Be careful not to sand the rivets.

The water tank pictured is sitting on a Laser Rail Bits timber stand kit. An alternative would be the Models 'N More version.

Please note that the model pictured has only has one coat of primer followed by the final colours to depict a perhaps more 'normally' finished model and not the multiple coats of primer and rubbing back to smooth the surface that some modellers may do.

Recently released is a steam dome for the Eureka Models NSWGR D50 Class steam locomotive along with a Eureka Models replacement D50 funnel and dome set.
Eureka Models NSWGR D50 Funnel and Steam Dome set
Also recently released are NSWGR C32 and Standard Goods (D50, D53 and D55 Class) funnels and steam dome sets with 1/8th inch mounting pegs that can be used to upgrade a DJH model locomotive or perhaps an early brass model.

These have been released in both HO and 7mm Scale.
C32 Funnel and Steam Dome - Standard means HO 1/8 inch and 7 mm Scale 1/4 inch mounting peg

Standard Goods (D50, D53 and D55 Class) Funnel and Steam Dome set

The detail advantage of the 3D printed funnels is that they have the bolts on the flange holding the funnel to the smokebox of the locomotive. It is not possible to have the bolt heads on injection moulded funnels as the funnel would not be able to be removed from the moulding die. The only other way to get the bolts on the model funnel is to split the funnel into two parts as per the Ixion C32 which then leaves a fine groove/line at the join.

Lastly for those who model in N Scale (1:160) I have C32 and D50 funnel and steam dome sets available.
N Scale C32 Funnel and Dome set

N Scale Standard Goods (D50, D53 and D55 Class) Funnel and Dome set

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Armidale Convention and a Shift in Time

Christine and I have just returned from our journey up to Armidale from southern Sydney.. We left on Thursday morning at 5:04 am. Why so early? Well, back in January Chris told me that she wanted a caravan so a month later it sat in our driveway. The early start was to try to clear Sydney before the peak hour really started to get going. We had a good trip up to Quirindi where we decided to stay overnight instead of pushing through to Armidale. All evening and throughout the night we heard the coal trains passing but mainly just the horn, the modern wagons are relatively quiet, boring though.

The next day we stopped in Werris Creek so that I could get a few photos of the supporting timbers under the sloping ends of the station awnings. I have taken photos of the station building several times over the years and it is amazing how many photos you can take and still not get every thing.

As we were walking to a coffee shop we ran into Ian Black and Chris Sim so we had an enjoyable couple of hours chatting over coffee and photographing the station. We went into the museum and were invited upstairs to see the HO layout based on Werris Creek that is being built. It is virtually finished but with the station buildings still to be made.

Later that afternoon we made it to Armidale and I went to the Friday night registration as Chris was very tired and elected to stay in the van. I managed to catch up with Dave and Maureen Heap and had an enjoyable meal with them in the Bowling Club Bistro.

The convention was very enjoyable and I had many chats with friends old and new. I won't name names as there are too many and I might miss someone.

Rohan Fergusson had his newest railway module there as a large diorama along with several models, an amazing very large bulk wheat model and a really nice Queensland style pub. Here is a link to Rohan's blog and the bulk wheat model.

Here is Rohan's layout module, photos taken at last years Coffs Harbour Convention.

And here is Rohan's pub model.

Also there was an On3 old town diorama and and N Scale diorama of Moffat Tunnel of the D&RGW railroad. Moffat Tunnel is a famous railroad and water tunnel that cuts through the Continental Divide in north-central Colorado USA.

There were some layout visits that I could have attended but I was too busy talking and 'missed the bus' so to speak. I particularly wanted to see the Great Northern Railway layout which was modelled on the GNR in the New England area.

One aspect of the convention is a sort of requirement to bring a model along but given the numbers attending and the models on display there were more than a few who didn't bring a model. That isn't a complaint just an observation. The models displayed were interesting but unfortunately I didn't think to take any photos of them. I displayed my latest Fettlers Cottage pilot model along with my working Fine Detail signal diorama, a Distant signal in WSF and the latest Fine Detail Distant signal in FUD as a comparison. I also displayed the part completed Werris Creek platform bracket starting signal.

Laurie McLean had his diorama with On3 working figures and animals all run with tiny geared motors and cams, amazing work. There were other clinics on DCC, JMRI Decoder Pro, servos and trestle building.  Wagon weathering with Ian Millard, point building with Andrew Campbell and of course the irrepressible Keiran Ryan was there showing and working on his 7mm products.

Commercials were represented by Warren Herbert's Gwyder Valley Models, Joe Callpari's Casula Hobbies, Peter Boorman's N Scale and HO etched brass kits and Keiran Ryan Models.

I managed to spend more on the weekend than I have in quite a few years.

I have been pondering all year about which version of the Casula Hobbies R Car Sets to get and finally came down to the Tuscan and Russet 5 car set. Now, by 1965 (my modelling year) the R Cars were in Indian Red with single yellow line, so what happened?

I have decided that I will have two eras, 1965 and perhaps 1955 - 1960. I have been working up to this for a while now and thought I may as well take the plunge as I liked the Tuscan and Russet so much.

The earlier era will allow me to run my two D57s in the right time period. D57s on the Sandy Hollow to Gulgong line you say? Yes, you see since I am modifying history I decided that the line was upgraded to allow heavy trains like W44 to avoid going over the Blue Mountains, into Sydney and out again to cross the Hawkesbury River and into Newcastle. the only trouble with W44 is that I don't have the appropriate wagons, oh well, one step at a time.

As part of this move, I have bought a Bergs brass C35 which may replace my two Austrains C35s that I have modified to fit the 1965 era. The difference between the two times is that by the mid-1960s the C35s had a section of valance removed above the crosshead, no doubt to simplify access for maintenance. My two Austrains C35s have had this section of valance removed and they have also been re-numbered to two locomotives running at the end of 1965 still with original tenders, numbers 3520 and 3532.

One of the highlights of the convention is the Saturday night dinner with an after dinner speaker. he speaker this time was supposed to be Tim Fisher but unfortunately he couldn't attend at the last minute as he was in Melbourne for Remembrance Day and got held up. Tim's replacement was Senator John Williams who acquitted himself well giving a talk about his childhood railway reminiscences and his several Anzac day trips to Hellfire Pass on the Thailand - Burma Railway.

For me the weekend was more about the social contact with other modellers than it was about the various sessions and I spent the whole weekend mostly just talking and spending. There were quite a few ladies present at the convention and a tour of the nearby Saumarez mansion was arranged on the Sunday and at least 15 of the ladies went along. Chris said it was just amazing as the mansion had been kept as it was in the Edwardian era by the last surviving family member. Rooms were even kept as they were when various family members passed away, so the mansion slowly became a museum. It was handed over by the more distant family members to the National Trust in 1985-86.

Christine and I will definitely be returning in two years time for the next Armidale convention and I encourage those who haven't yet attended to make sure you go as it is an enjoyable few days away, a sort of model railway holiday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NSWGR Fettlers Cottage HO Model for Cassilis

I have been working on a 3D print of a NSWGR Fettlers Cottage for some time for my Cassilis branchline terminus station. I have had the plan for this for several years and always liked it. After doing a pilot model and amending the 3D designs I am now ready to make it available on my Shapeways Signals Branch shop. It can be found in the HO Architectural and HO Infrastructure sections of my shop.

There are three parts of the cottage that need to be ordered to complete it, two in the White Strong and Flexible material and the finer detail parts in the Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic material.

Here is a rotatable and zoomable view of the 3D model.

    NSWGR Fettlers Cottage - 1933
    by RayP1949
    on Sketchfab

The model will be about AU$145 depending on the exchange rate. I have used every trick I can to reduce the print cost short of designing it as a multi-piece 'flat pack' which can take away some of the advantage of 3D printing.

The three parts that need to be ordered are:

  • The main body of the cottage in White Strong and Flexible (WSF).
  • The roof in White Strong and Flexible.
  • The details parts in Frosted Ultra Detail (FUD) being the windows, doors, water tanks, sheet metal fireplace and the gutters.

The cottage has been modeled from NSWGR Standard Fettlers Cottage Plan S.T. 106 of 1933.

I have not been able to find any photos of these timber framed, weatherboard and fibrous cement sheeting ('Fibro') cottages so here are some images to show what I think the NSWGR 'Stone' colour scheme of the era and later into the 1960's could have been like. Of course in the early 1960's the NSWGR started to paint railway stations and associated buildings in the pastel colours.

I would be very interested in any photos of these cottages, particularly showing the colour scheme.

The only magazine article that I am aware of regarding the NSWGR 'Stone' colour scheme is in Branchline Modeller No.1 - 'STONE' COLOUR SCHEMES FOR NSWGR BUILDINGS by James McInerney.

Here are a couple of views of the HO pilot model. Do note that there have been some changes to this model. The doors are now in the FUD high resolution acrylic material and the corrugated iron in WSF on the verandah roofs and the walls of the bathroom at the rear have been modified to make the corrugations stand out better. The roof corrugations in the WSF are very good so the model orientation of the body of the cottage in the printer was obviously different from that of the roof.

The wall and verandah structure model part has supports for a floor and tabs/slots for the internal walls if the modeller wishes to add these. The floor would be .020" thick and the slots for the interior walls have been designed for 1mm thick (0.040") wall material.

I have not included downpipes from the gutters to the water tanks so that the tanks can be placed in different positions. The downpipes can be made from 1mm diameter plastic (Evergreen 211 1mm/0.040" Rod) or copper/brass wire.

Lastly, I was unable to get the small hole (for the downpipes) in the top of the water tanks to be printed as each time I uploaded my model to Shapeways it would assume that the hole needed to be fixed so the upload program closed it. If you wish to have the hole I have made a locating ring inside the top of the water tank (accessible from underneath) where you could drill through. I found it easier to use a drop of black paint on the end of a 3mm diameter piece of rod.

800 Gallon Water Tanks on Stands
I have also made available on my Shapeways Signals Branch shop the 800 gallon water tanks on stands. These come as two tanks on a sprue. This is to reduce the cost per tank as Shapeways has a base US$5 charge per item before any printing cost. Basically a single water tank would be much more expensive than the per each price when buying two on a sprue (one print item).

Corrugated Iron
Also available are sprues of corrugated iron sheets both flat and bullnose for verandahs in 10 foot lengths, 30 sheets of 8 corrugations and 30 sheets of 10 corrugations wide. These are in Frosted Ultra Detail acrylic material the only possible material. The price is relatively expensive and I am making very little on these. I have made them available as someone might want to use them, particularly the bullnose as it is very difficult to make with the usual model corrugated materials.

Friday, October 28, 2016

After a Little Shunting

A few days ago I was shunting a mixed train at the Cassilis branch line terminus station and came across a problem, admittedly I had run into this one before.

I had a short train made up of eight 4 wheel wagons, a HCX and a SHG guards van arrive in Cassilis yard, stopping so that the HCX and SHG were in the platform to allow passengers to alight and for the unloading of 'out ofs', etc.

OK, easy enough but now the HCX had to remain in the platform for the moment but it may need to be moved later to allow shunting to take place which involved running around the train and ultimately assembling the consist in the platform road for the return trip.

I started by leaving the HCX and SHG in the platform but quickly realised that this wasn't going to work as I had several S trucks of locomotive coal that had to be shunted into the loco depot to the coal stage (non-existent at the moment). So the HCX and SHG had to move, to where though?

Ultimately the HCX was placed in the wheat siding (on left at far end of yard in photo below) and the SHG was moved to begin making up the return consist.

The shunting problem made me realise that the yard needed a place to store the HCX or the CPH railmotor if necessary if it arrived while there was a goods train at Cassilis.

I had a railmotor/passenger car siding in an earlier design but removed it as I thought the station was getting too complicated.

Here is a photo of a number 6 Fast Tracks Y point (turnout) paper template in place on the loco depot turntable lead, the curves of the Y point fit quite well and there is just enough room to fit in the required siding next to the turntable.

So, now I have another issue, do I build a passenger car shed or not and where will I get a plan? I think I saw a plan in one of my Byways of Steam books, I must go and search. Of course I will also need a fueling point for the CPH as well.

Wait, and now I have to scratchbuild another point, rats!

Oh well, there is always something in this hobby that we have to do before we can enjoy other aspects.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NSWGR 44 Class Original Marker Lights and NSWGR C32 3D Designs Corrected

I corrected and uploaded the C32 3D designs the next day but forgot to post the information on the blog.

Here is the update on my Signals Branch Shop.

Also shown on the link are HO NSWGR 44 Class marker lights for the 44s as they originally came. These are made to back date the Trainorama 44 Class model.

44 Class marker lights - Design without the post-printing protective box frame
Front Marker Lights - Photo by Graham Ball

Rear Marker Lights - Photo by Graham Ball

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Error in the C32 Funnel

OK, I rarely have to say this but I have made a mistake!
I have withdrawn the C32 funnel from my Shapeways shop as the height is wrong!!!!
I didn't notice that the draftsman when he drew the original plan left a gap in the profile of the tapered part of the funnel. I traced right over it didn't I. The draftsmen sometimes used to do this when what they had to draw wouldn't fit the drawing paper.
I was just checking something on the C32 funnel 3D design in preparation for doing the D50 funnel for those who are want to replace the Eureka Models D50 funnel when I found the mistake.
The funnel as at least 4 inches too short.
Note to self when tracing a drawing always check the actual dimension and compare.
I have sent a message to the three people who ordered the funnel by the Shapeways email system letting them know that I will redraw, order a replacement for them and send it to them when it arrives.
Very embarrassing I can tell you

Monday, October 10, 2016

NSWGR C32 Funnel and Steam Domes

OK, I hadn't realised that it has been so long since my last post, so sorry about that.

Firstly, it seems that I have somehow lost my list of blogs that I like. It will take me a while to re-make it as I don't have all the web links as favourites!!!!!

Secondly, I have been a bit busy with some 3D prints the latest being a HO C32 funnel and steam dome primarily to fit the Ixion C32.

A number of modellers have commented about the Ixion funnel being made from three pieces with the joins showing badly. The bottom flared section is plastic, the middle is turned metal and the top is plastic again. I believe that it is also considered to be too tall.

While I was drawing I decided to do the steam dome as well.

While the flange on the base of the funnel and steam dome is very thin on the prototypes the outer edge of the flange on both the 3D printed funnel and dome is 1.18 inches thick on the model parts (1/3 mm). This is just above the minimum allowed design thickness of the Frosted Ultra Detail and Frosted Extreme Detail acrylic material. To keep the correct overall profile this is one of the compromises necessary when modelling.

One slight advantage of the funnel is that it is light so the loss of the metal part of the Ixion funnel is an advantage as the Ixion C32 is nose heavy which causes issues with traction. There is a metal weight in the boiler that projects well beyond the front driving wheel axle and this weight is not balanced by weight at the rear of the locomotive. Only a small thing but everything counts.

I have made them available on my Shapeways Signals Branch Shop either individually or together at:

Here are some computer renders and the plans I worked from:

I have been asked about doing a funnel for the Eureka Models D50 Class and I have got hold of the plans. The steam dome is the same but the funnel is 2 inches shorter than the C32 funnel. This request is based on the AMRM review in which it is stated that the funnel was/looked too high. I shall have to measure my D50 funnel.

More about what I have been up to with the 3D printing soon.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cassilis Branch Terminus Update

I have been slowly moving along with adding more scenery to my Cassilis station in between those other life matters.

Here are a few photographs to show what I have been doing. The backscene has been removed to assist with access, so the views down the yard showing other parts of the layout will not be part of the final scene. The backscene is normally at the rear of the loading bank and the view from the operating position/aisle is of the rear of the station building and the rail side of the loading bank.

The edge of the ballast has been removed to allow the placement of the loading bank.
A view down the yard with the Wollar Goods Shed placed for effect.
View of detailed Rail Central platform - Check for carriage clearance
Loading bank in place with expanded polystyrene shaped filling
View from behind station platform across to the loading bank.
View down the Cassilis yard to the terminus end
Since the ballast was held in place with Long Life Floor Polish (see the last post for an explanation) it was relatively easy to remove the ballast along the edge of the goods siding to give the appropriate clearance from the rail for the loading bank. The Long Life acrylic clear doesn't set the ballast as hard as diluted PVA does which allows it to be removed easily.

I topped the expanded polystyrene backfill of the loading bank with plaster; while it was wet I drifted on a thin layer of brown tile grout and then over sprayed it lightly with methylated spirits to break the surface tension for the following spray of water. As usual with thick plaster it has cracked in a couple of places due to shrinkage and this will have to be corrected. I intend to run a bit of PVA into the cracks then apply some more tile grout and follow up with a spray of methylated spirits and then water to set the grout. Note that the tile grout would likely have Portland cement in it so if applied in depth it could be hard to remove later if required.

The soil bank at the back of the platform was also done with the tile grout over expanded polystyrene and the platform top was done with some Chucks Ballast fine rhyolite material. The plastic top of the Rail Central platform was coated with full strength PVA to assist with bonding of the fine rhyolite.

Well, that is about it for now, I hope to keep on keeping on with Cassilis.