Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Planets Align!

Well I got out to the shed this weekend and knuckled down to fixing my track alignment worries. While I probably should be using dowels like most people do, I decided to re-visit the previous method employed on my last layout. I really do think the dowels are a great idea but I feel it leaves little adjustment for future alignment issues.

My method involves an 8 degree chamfered 19mm board secured to the leading module. A complementing board is attached to the adjoining module and sits on the chamfer holding it securely. Originally I had four bolts in elongated holes with which vertical adjustment was made possible. This was fine but in real life carrying out the adjustment was very frustrating! What I wanted was a method utilising adjusting screws so as to make vertical adjustment very accurate. After fiddling around all day yesterday I am finally happy with a system and have completed two modules. Vertical aligning of the track now simply involves adjusting the screws and tightening the clamping bolts. I am now contemplating a horizontal adjustment screw but this is not a must.

I thought I would ask if anybody here has used a thin foam which can be purchased from bunnings instead of cork for track underlay?. It is 3mm think and I am thinking about replacing all my cork with it.

Well once I build the other two adjusters I will get onto cutting the inspection pits for the engine shed along with the ash pits on the main lines and in front of engine shed. Should be fun watching the router fly across the baseboard eating all the track in it's path!

Next post I will elaborate a little more on the computer control panel. I fixed a few gremlins in the code tonight so the track colours properly match the controller selected.

That's all for now,


Friday, August 12, 2011

Grass Roots

Whilst testing track clearances for the dog bone sections on the layout my Uncle, Mark Hollins offered me a few of his scratch built 80ft container wagons. I am guessing these wagons will be the longest type of wagon run on the layout so there end over hang was a good tester. As I pushed them around the curved track it bought back memories of how I first started out in the hobby. My first scratch built wagon was an NQAY 60ft flat. Built from styrene it was my proudest moment and actually lasted many years until its fragile body warped and pieces broke off. This wagon however lead the way to many container wagons being scratch built, mostly by my uncle though. He has built many types all scratch built on a brass bar spanning and supporting the bogies. They are beautiful models and the hours of measuring stopped trains outside the fence of the dairy really paid off. I have included a photo of one of my Uncles completed models as well as one of my partially built NQAYs. Good times, it seems these days I can not complete anything because I am worried about the outcome before I even start!

Time warp 20 years and I have almost finished my computer control panel. All the coding is theory based, as the layout does not run but I feel it should suit the type of operation I want to achieve.
It is very flexible and can be changed quite quickly. The track colours change with block section control and coupling it with a touch screen monitor would really make it cool.

Sorry about the crappy photos. I have a brilliant camera, it's just that the idiot behind it has no idea. I just push buttons and things change colour and brightness. It's just that none of the pictures look like real life.

Well that's about it. I painted my PSM 3801the other day! Crazy I know! Well I just changed the factory colour. More on that later as I need some feedback before I make a fool of myself on the Internet some more.

Catch you later,