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Building a new club layout - Update: Moving on after the club

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, February 13, 2020 12:53 AM

davidmurray

I have only met Dave once.  His back pain is severe.  It may or may not get better.

Old age hits some people earlier than others.

 

 

I hope that you know I was not really making fun of Dave.  You did look at the link, correct?

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Thursday, February 13, 2020 3:16 AM

Back pain is one of the reasons I had to quit being an active model railroader. Like Dave, I cannot stand up more than a couple of minutes before my back starts yelling insults at me. Bending down is also impossible. My back issues come from a bad car accident 40 years ago. While not present at first, they have slowly developed over the past 10 - 15 years to today´s level.

I may go back to building N scale mini-modules again. I can build the "benchwork" comfortably sitting at my desk. As I am using Kato Unitrack for the modules, wiring is no issue at all.

Dave - when MR published the Beerline series, I was very much intrigued by the flexibilty of the layout with its possibility to be configured in various ways. Ech module (or segment) measured only 2´b 4´, using a rather lightweight method of construction. I think even with the impediments we share, those modules are easier to build and handle than what you are right now aiming for.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:18 AM

Back pain is no joke and it's not just for older people.  I injured my back around age 29 and was bed-ridden for some time.  After that I re-injured it over and over it really crippled me at times over the years following.  I've talked to a number of people who had serious back issues at young ages too.

About 15 years ago I had a job mostly in the field overseeing oil well plugging operatoins and sometimes I was in the office bent over looking at oil well maps.  Man, that would often make my back hurt and I'd have to be careful not to strain it to the point of re-injuring my self.

When I hurt my back while in college at age 29, the doctor told me he thought it was happening because the muscles were too tight and I needed to stretch regularly to help prevent strain and re-injury.  I did find if I did those stretching exercises, it did help.  Over the  years things have improved, but I still need to be careful to pace myself.  Now that I'm building benchwork for a sizable layout, there are times I find at the end of several hours of bending over on the floor drilling counter sinks, pilot holes and screwing together pieces, it catches up to me and I need to take a break.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 13, 2020 6:37 AM

maxman
I hope that you know I was not really making fun of Dave.  You did look at the link, correct?

Yes, I knew you were joking! Igor's back pain apparently isn't as bad as mine. I could never move that fast, regardless of who I was chasing!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 13, 2020 7:32 AM

Tinplate Toddler
Dave - when MR published the Beerline series, I was very much intrigued by the flexibilty of the layout with its possibility to be configured in various ways. Ech module (or segment) measured only 2´b 4´, using a rather lightweight method of construction. I think even with the impediments we share, those modules are easier to build and handle than what you are right now aiming for.

Hi Ulrich,

I had forgotten about the modular aspect of the Beer Line. Being able to rearrange the layout sounds interesting but I don't want to get into the possible complications that modules might create.

My old club's 6' x 12' portable layout is divided into nine - 2' x 4' modules that sit on three folding tables. The modules are light enough that one person can lift them, but it is always done with two people because the modules are more awkward than they are heavy. Even if they were half the weight they would still put a strain on my back because I would have to lean over to get my hands onto the middle of the module. That isn't going to work. I have tried it at the club.

I'm also not in favour of using modules based on the club's experience with the portable layout. The club has constant problems with alignment and the layout seems to be under constant repair to try to address those issues. By nature, a lot of the track going from one module to the next is on curves. Those gaps are a never ending source of problems.

The portable layout also does not like temperature changes. My layout will be in an insulated but unheated garage. The temperature rarely drops below freezing and it doesn't get extremely hot in the summer, but the temperature swing is far greater than what the portable layout experiences when it is set up. The club has regularly experienced an increase in derailments even when the temperature has only gone up by a few degrees. A single piece frame would be much more stable.

As far as how difficult the rotating benchwork would be to construct, I really don't see it as a problem. There are swivel plates that are designed to carry a lot of weight. They might not work perfectly smoothly on their sides but they won't be rotated very often:

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/richelieu-square-steel-swivel-plate-6-in-x-6-in-500-lbs-227-kg-zinc/1000401601?rec=true

If those won't work then maybe just a couple of pieces of iron pipe with a flange on one end to stabilize them:

https://www.homedepot.ca/product/aqua-dynamic-fitting-black-iron-floor-flange-3-4-inch/1000126395

The rest is no different than building benchwork using 1x4s or 1x6s. I'll have to figure out how to keep the end supports parallel to each other. I have some ideas.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 3:00 AM

The club had its 50th annual show last weekend. By all accounts it was a great success. One of the members of the club Executive took the time to tell me how well the show went and to thank me for all the work that I had done during the planning stages before I left the club. I am gratefull that he chose to keep me informed.

The interaction with the club member whom I deeply respect has given me pause to think about my decision to leave the club, but I have decided that I won't go back anytime soon, if ever.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 8:18 AM

Dave, I live near Ottawa and I could not imagine having a layout in an unheated garage. The track would shrink and expand big time. At the very least, I would not permanently lay the track. Is it that warm in Southern Ontario??

Simon

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 10:08 AM

 IMO, you probably need to stay away, if only for your sanity. Sure, MOST of the members were friendly and wlecoming, fairly low stress (though sometimes it seemed you were herding cats), but unfortunately that one person that took away all the joy you got from the rest and then some also remains there and unless they've someone completely changed their personality, will still be doing the same sort of thing.

 Keeping in touch is a greta idea though, I'm sure not a few miss your input and are wondering why Dave doesn;t show up any more, and if you keep in touch with the more positive members, change may happen. At least it keeps the door open, versus just completely walking away. It's a shame human nature is such as it is, and a couple have to take the political aspect to extremes and cause issues for other. 

 I'm about to head to work to have a 'discussion' with one of the PMs on my next project about what she calls a 'template' which provides no example of what I'm supposedly filling out, just two columns in a spreadsheet, and one of them if for the client to check off. I think it's supposed to be a way to request what access I need to do my job - in which case, at a minimum it should have columns for who's requesting, what system they need access to, what level of access they require, and a short explanation. That, to me, is the way you present a customer with a list of access requirements to their systems. But what do I know, I've only been doing this stuff for 36 years. It's all internal politics. This is the way our newly acquired group did things, and like all our previous acquisitions, they come in thinking they acquired us.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by davidmurray on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 4:05 PM

hon30critter
The interaction with the club member whom I deeply respect has given me pause to think about my decision to leave the club, but I have decided that I won't go back anytime soon, if ever.

hon30critter
The interaction with the club member whom I deeply respect has given me pause to think about my decision to leave the club, but I have decided that I won't go back anytime soon, if ever.

Dave:

I agree that not going back would be the best thing for you for the next couple of years.  Nothing will have changed, except you will not be president.  This is not enought IMO to end the stress you suffered.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 11:11 PM

davidmurray
I agree that not going back would be the best thing for you for the next couple of years.  Nothing will have changed, except you will not be president.  This is not enought IMO to end the stress you suffered.

Hi Dave,

Thank you for your support and advice. The more I think about what was going on at the club, the more I realize that I really wasn't enjoying things all that much. Like Randy said, I was constantly herding cats.

In addition to working on my own layout, I have discovered (more acurately, rediscovered) an interest in Arduino. Not long ago MR offered an Arduino starter kit. Arduino starter kits are all over the market, but this offer came with something else that I think will unlock the secrets of Arduino for everyone who is interested. It is called 'Dr Duino' and it is a free online series of videos that put Arduinos in plain language. So far, after only viewing the first four videos, my understanding of Arduino has increased tenfold. I can't believe that the lessons are free. Here is the link:

https://mail.yahoo.com/d/folders/4/messages/AIKJmjJX837IXkU7xgnPuO2f9ss

Corrected link:

https://exclusive.drduino.com/MRR-Offer

The first page is a sales offer for the starter kit. I'm not sure if you have to buy a kit to get to the Dr. Duino lessons. I did buy the kit.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, February 20, 2020 6:16 AM

hon30critter
Not long ago MR offered an Arduino starter kit. Arduino starter kits are all over the market, but this offer came with something else that I think will unlock the secrets of Arduino for everyone who is interested. It is called 'Dr Duino' and it is a free online series of videos that put Arduinos in plain language. So far, after only viewing the first four videos, my understanding of Arduino has increased tenfold. I can't believe that the lessons are free. Here is the link: https://mail.yahoo.com/d/folders/4/messages/AIKJmjJX837IXkU7xgnPuO2f9ss The first page is a sales offer for the starter kit. I'm not sure if you have to buy a kit to get to the Dr. Duino lessons. I did buy the kit. Dave

The link didn't seem to go to anything about Aduino, it played commericals and something a story about a data breach.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, February 20, 2020 7:41 AM

 There are numerous 'starter kits' for Arduino. Note that all of the basic designs they present are from sketches (programs) that are part of the Arduion development environment you install, and the circuit diagrams for building them on a breadboard are all freely available on the Arduino site. 

 Most of the kits are the same - they have an Arduino, a breadboard, and a bunch of part, plus connecting wires. They mostly differ on how many parts they containt - not just discrete parts like resistors and LEDs, but sensors like temp sensors, humidity sensors, and things like buttons and joysticks. I just looked at what was available on Amazon and compared which one seemed to give the most variety of stuff for the price. Mine might not have actually come with the Arduino, I may have gotten that separately. Or the added price to include one wa more than someone else was selling it for. I ended up with at least one other kit, a smaller one that came with lots of LEDs and a couple of interesting ICs.

 I built the first couple of simple circuits, and then kind of went off and did my own thing. The canned circuits are good for learning the environment, and how the various libraries work. You can then find examples of interesting circuits to build which you will need to order specific parts for - to see how it worked, I got some wireless modules and built a temperature and humidity sensor that connected to wifi, and I could go to a web site and see the readings. I was just copying instructions for that one. A better way would be a more recent one I saw using two Arduinos, one with the sensors sending the data and one with a display receiving and displaying the results, no internet required.

 After that I was pretty comfortable with the environment and went off completely on my own and worked on my turnout controller. But I came into it understanding the electronic components, the only thing really new to me was the Arduino language syntax for accessing the data pins.

                                     --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, February 20, 2020 7:51 AM

hon30critter

Dave That takes me to my own yahoo email.

There are a couple videos here 

Then there is someone named drduino who has videos on hematology speaking in one of the numerous languages of India  Big SmileBig Smile

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 20, 2020 9:18 PM

BigDaddy
That takes me to my own yahoo email.

Ooops,

I'll try and find a better link. I'm not recommending the particular starter kit that they offer, but the tutorials are excellent.

Edit: Try this:

https://exclusive.drduino.com/MRR-Offer

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, February 20, 2020 9:25 PM

I watched one of the videos in the link I posted, and it was a demo of changing colors of an led by adjusting screws on his shield, but not useful for our purposes.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 20, 2020 9:54 PM

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, February 29, 2020 9:46 PM

Further to the Dr. Duino 'free' classes. I have learned a lot from them but they barely touch on the programming and assembly details. As I suspected, the 'free' classes were followed up with an offer for a 'complete' course, which of course is not free. Being the sucker that I am, I decided to buy the course. Time will tell whether it is a rip off or whether it has some value. I'm hoping that, based on the quality of the free lessons, the detailed courses will bear fruit. We shall see.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, February 29, 2020 9:55 PM

With regard to the old club, I got an email a couple of days ago from the club's chief electrical expert asking how to wire the LEDs for the control panels. I appreciated him asking the question instead of simply figuring out how to do it himself which would have only taken a couple of minutes. He is a really decent gentleman.

We exchanged a couple of emails back and forth and I mentioned that I am considering building my own layout if I can figure out how to do it given my back problems. He very graciously offered to help if needed.

Apparently not all the bridges are burned. I'm glad.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by Water Level Route on Sunday, March 1, 2020 7:53 AM

Glad to hear Dave.  Who knows, he may even bring along a friend.  I'm sure he isn't the only good chap from the club.  I say power forward in your layout plans!

Mike

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, March 7, 2020 5:45 AM

I asked my friend Dave to return some structures to me if he didn't think the club was likely to use them, and he agreed to sort through the stuff that I had donated to the club. He offered to bring the items to Bradford instead of me having to make a trip to the club. There were also a few items that I still had that needed to be delivered to the club. He came down on Thursday afternoon.

I got back most of the desired structures I wanted, plus a bunch of detail items like signal boxes and interior details that Dave didn't think the club would ever use. A couple of the items that I wanted were missing. He also gave me a container holding all of the doors and windows for the Walthers roundhouse that I gave to the club, plus a very nice yard tower which wasn't mine. I need to get the roundhouse doors and the yard tower back to the club so I'm going to meet Dave at the club on Monday morning, and maybe I will be able to find the two items that I still want back.

I apologised for going back on my offer to let the club keep all the stuff that I had donated, but if they are not going to use the items I can't see any reason for them to not return them to me. Most of the structures that I wanted back are scratchbuilt or extensively kitbashed, and I put a lot of work into them. They have kept several large scratchbuilt structures and I am happy to see them put to use.

Dave

 

 

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by snjroy on Saturday, March 7, 2020 11:01 AM

Well, if someone left our club and asked for unused donated stuff, I would certainly not be offended. You will need them for your new layout at home...

Simon

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Posted by railandsail on Saturday, March 7, 2020 3:13 PM

I haven't followed your blog for some time now, and only today discovered you had left the club, and were experiencing lots of back problems. I'm very sorry to hear this news, and I hope things get better in the near future.

(perhaps if this forum site would get their act together we could go back to getting updates when new postings are being made)

Look forward to keeping abreast of how you are proceeding. I'm in a little bit of a slump myself at the moment.

Cheers, Brian

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, March 7, 2020 3:46 PM

hon30critter
I asked my friend Dave to return some structures to me if he didn't think the club was likely to use them, and he agreed to sort through the stuff that I had donated to the club.

Dave, I don't know anything about the social conformities for getting back a donated item that will not be used.

However, I have very strong feelings about preserving well built model structures.

I think I have about 8 structures that will find a home on the final STRATTON AND GILLETTE that I did not build, but someone did, and they need to be preserved.

I have three structures that were actually featured in layout tours in Model Railroader. The layouts, and their builders, are now gone, but I was able to get a building from each of these.

I have a tremendous respect for the effort it took to build these, and it breaks my heart at the annual Scale Rails Of Southwest Florida train show to see how some of these donated structures are just set out on tables for {people that don't know how to respect someone else's effort} to paw through, destroy, and then offer $5.00 for.

I hope you get your models back.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, March 9, 2020 1:49 AM

railandsail
I haven't followed your blog for some time now, and only today discovered you had left the club, and were experiencing lots of back problems. I'm very sorry to hear this news, and I hope things get better in the near future.

Thanks for your thoughts Brian. I'm not holding my breath waiting for my back to get better. I am resigned to living with it.

railandsail
Look forward to keeping abreast of how you are proceeding. I'm in a little bit of a slump myself at the moment.

I have been in a modelling slump for a couple of years. I planned to do all sorts of great things like building a bunch of signals for the club as well as a scratchbuilt model of the Huntsville, Ontario station. For whatever reason I seem to have a really hard time sitting down at the workbench and doing something. I need to kick my own butt!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, March 9, 2020 6:54 PM

I drove up to the club on Monday morning to exchange a couple of items that had been returned to me in error for a couple of scratchbuilt structures that I did want back. My friend at the club told me that they would keep me on the membership list since my dues are paid up until September. I'm fine with that.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 4:43 PM

Dave, it does not sound like there is any bad-blood between you and most of the club. That is good.

When I left Scale Rails of Southwest Florida in the mid-1990s, it was so bad that it took two decades for tempers to settle.

It is good you were returned the items you wanted.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 9:40 PM

As a late to the dance side note on back injuries.. I have arthritis in my lower back around the L4-5 discs and when I build my ISLs I am force to use my office chair or maybe my wheelchair.

For those of us that suffers horrible back pain there is usually a workable solution even if its building a around the walls layout which  beats no layout.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 9:20 AM

I have been working on my version of the Beer Line and I have made a few changes. I got rid of the switchbacks and added in a locomotive service area. The track plan still looks a bit busy to me, perhaps because it is double tracked all the way around. I want to be able to run trains continuously as well as be able to do some switching at the same time, that is if I can ever get to be that coordinated.

I have included some possible structures, most of which I already have. I plan on putting more structures into the blank spaces. As you can tell, the scenery will be almost all urban. I left out the layer with all the roads in it, but there are lots. The main street will run more or less straight down the center of the layout. If you click on the drawing you can blow it up. You should be able to magnify it again after that.

Like I said, this is still a work in progress. Hopefully I can come up with a plan soon, but given that the benchwork size and shape is already decided, I don't have to have a final plan before starting to build.

Your input would be most appreciated.

Thanks,

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 10:49 AM

What sort of overall size is that drawing?....doesn't appear to be wall shelfs...around the room's perimeter??

I would think that might be best for someone with a bad back??

I was going to write up something about what I experienced in my younger days with back problems, and how I over came them, but I was unsure as to whether to post it on the train forum (since lots of older modelers have such problems), or send them in a private email?

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 11:28 AM

It looks like Daves doing the tabletop version.  The track plan data base has other shelf type and around the room type configurations of the Beer Line, also.

It looks like the original was a 4' x 12'.  It first appeared in the Jan. 2009 issue.

Mike.

 

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