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Building a layout on a rotisserie

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Posted by carl425 on Sunday, April 12, 2020 11:40 PM

hon30critter
I don't quite understand how to apply it in my case. Can you elaborate?

Calling my bluff, eh?

I confess to failing to consider my suggestion in the context of your layout vs mine.  I like to build around the walls and with a double-sided backdrop in the center of any peninsula with the trains only passing through a scene once.  Add a lighting valance and you have kind of a shadowbox. With this style of layout, it's much easier to control the perception of a scene and therefore easier to apply the rule of thirds.

It's definitely harder to do with a tabletop layout, but one example where you could apply the rule is the downtown buildings from the Ice Cream Parlor to the end of the merchant's row structures.  The hotel will be the hero structure in the scene, and you have it placed in the center.  Moving the tavern to the other side of the hotel and the hotel toward the Ice Cream Parlor would get you close to the rule by having the hero structure one-third of the distance from the end of the scene.

Or you could move the flophouse to the other side of the side street and put the Tavern where the flophouse was.  This would also place the big hotel at the one-third mark.

Assuming the coaling tower is the tallest building in the engine service scene, you have already applied the rule to that scene without knowing it. Smile

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, April 13, 2020 10:14 PM

Hi again Carl,

Okay, now I understand what you are talking about. Thanks for the explanation.

I'll have to do some thinking about your theory regarding the placement of the hotel. It will not be the tallest structure on the layout. The tallest structures will be the Baum Blvd and East Ohio St buildings across the street to the left of the hotel. They will be about 15" tall whereas the hotel is only 10 1/2".

My current feeling is that I want the hotel opposite the wide street that approaches it from the south. I believe that will convey the impression of a larger downtown scene, whereas if I put the tavern opposite that road then the town will appear to be older and smaller. Looking from the south the viewer won't be able to see past the hotel so it will serve as a view block. If I put the tavern there it will be obvious that there isn't much of anything behind it besides tracks. To me, that will make the town look very shallow.

Please keep your suggestions coming. Covid-19 has given me lots of time to think about it, unfortunately!GrumpySmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

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, April 16, 2020 7:41 AM

Over the past few days I have spent some money buying structure kits and scratchbuilding supplies. I have also spent some time designing the scratchbuilt structures to get the proportions reasonably correct. In the past I just winged it but sometimes that didn't produce the best results. Often the buildings were just too big. So, given the amount of money I just spent with Evergreen and Tichy, I'd rather get it right the first time.

The structure kits that I have ordered are just too complex to build from scratch. I could do it but I'd rather have fun building the kits than fussing over reproducing multiple details. I have ordered Saulina's Tavern, the Flop House and Green's Feed and Seed as well as the MT Arms Hotel. I have also ordered some kits that will allow me to enlarge some of the background structures that I already have on hand. I have a nine story version of the Smallman St warehouse but it is only 2 1/2" deep, so I have ordered a second kit and an add on 2 story kit so I can make it into a free standing building. Likewise with Heritage Furniture.

There are still some kits that I want to buy for the downtown area like Lunde Studios McAdam Building and the Bon Ton. I'll wait until the bank balance goes back up before ordering them.

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 Bayfield Transfer Railway on Thursday, April 16, 2020 3:00 PM

What about something like an artist's easel to hold it, but pick it up and flip it over manually?  Seems a lot simpler.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 17, 2020 2:31 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway
What about something like an artist's easel to hold it, but pick it up and flip it over manually?  Seems a lot simpler.

Hi Michael,

The issue is with the 'picking it up' part. My back won't allow me to pick up anything of any weight. Even grocery bags cause pain.

There is also the issue of the size of the layout. It will be 5' 4" x 12'. That is a pretty unwieldy size for one person to handle. At my old club I was working on removable segments of a mountain scene that were roughly 2' x 5' and weighed next to nothing. I still had trouble lifting them because of my back.

A third aspect is that I want to be able to work on the layout while sitting as much as possible since standing without support gets painfull almost immediately. If I flip the layout completely upside down I will still have to stand to reach into the middle. The rotisserie will allow me to turn the layout on to its side so all of the under layout work and much of the up top work can be done from a chair. Some things will require that I stand. That will likely be the case for track laying so I can get the perspective correct, and loose scenery etc will have to be done with the layout flat as well.

The bottom line is that I can't lift anything of any weight and I can't stand for more than a few minutes. The rotisserie addresses those issues, for the most part. There will be some things that I will need help with.

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 hon30critter on Saturday, April 18, 2020 10:25 PM

I primed the Baum Blvd building today using white primer. I'm hoping that the primer will serve as the finished colour for the window frames but I wasn't too impressed with the coverage. The walls are still in the garage drying which will take some time because it was only 6 degrees Celsius outside. I will bring them in before I go to bed. I may have to give them a second coat.

I also started building the searchlight signals. There will be 17 signals with a total of 25 heads, plus five dwarf signals. After looking at the price of dwarf signals I decided to scratchbuild them myself. They won't have the fine details of some of the commercial offerings, but I think I can come up with a reasonable approximation.

Cheers!!

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 Sunday, April 19, 2020 1:31 AM

Here is the first attempt at scratchbuilding a dwarf signal:

I still have to create a base and fill in the bottom of the lamp housing.

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 richhotrain on Sunday, April 19, 2020 4:49 AM

Looks real good, Dave.  Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, April 19, 2020 2:03 PM

Thanks Rich,

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, April 20, 2020 8:04 PM

I spent some time trying to figure out the easiest way to install LEDs in the dwarf signals. I had originally planned on using 1208 tri colour LEDs to get the best colour, but getting the LEDs lined up properly behind the lens is a bit of a challenge. I will probably revert to using smaller RG LEDs to make the job easier.

Update: I found some 0606 RG LEDs that will fit nicely inside the dwarf signals so I'm going with those. I have to solder the four leads on to them. I managed to do the first one quite easily, which amazed me since I haven't soldered leads onto 0606 LEDs for quite some time. I will give part of the credit to my Xytronic soldering station.

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, April 20, 2020 11:15 PM

I have managed to solder leads to six 0606 RD LEDs and I have coated them in epoxy. The epoxy serves three purposes. One is to insulate the wires where the insulation was removed before soldering. The second is to reinforce the wire connections which tend to be very fragile, and the third is to create a lens for the signal light.

Here are the finished LEDs with an unwired one for comparison. The drill bit is 1/16":

They fit very nicely inside the dwarf signal housings.

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 Wednesday, April 22, 2020 4:30 AM

I need about 25 searchlight signal heads. I am using #6 brass washers for the targets. They are initially soldered on to 5/32" brass tube. The washers have to be reamed slightly to fit onto the tube. Ideally you want a fairly tight fit so that the washers naturally sit perpendicular to the tube, but if they are a bit loose that's okay.

Here are the washers soldered to the tube:

Here is the reamer that I used to enlargen the washer holes. It is a standard Dremel tool:

Note that the 5/32" tube is too big to use as the light shade so I will insert a 1/8" tube inside it which will be filed into the light shade shape. The 5/32" tube will stick out of the back of the signal head by about 1/8". That will form the prototypical housing for the signal electronics.

I just ordered a bunch more 0606 RG LEDs for the signals. These are not pre-wired. I have about 50 0606 RG pre-wired LEDs but the wires are too large to fit inside the signal posts on a double headed signal. I'm going to get lots more practise soldering magnet wire to tiny LEDs!Big Smile

More pictures soon.

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, April 23, 2020 5:35 AM

Twenty five VERY rough signal heads! Took me about three hours to make them. Polishing them up will probably take about the same time:

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 mbinsewi on Thursday, April 23, 2020 3:12 PM

Nice project Dave.  I like the way you "assembly line" the signal heads. Yes

Mike.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, April 23, 2020 11:06 PM

Thanks Mike,

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 Friday, April 24, 2020 1:15 AM

I really like your work on the signals.

I am surprised you need 25 of them. I think I will only be using 7 on my layout. I bought these old brass signals on eBay. There are nine, so I should have two spares.

-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 Friday, April 24, 2020 2:22 AM

SeeYou190
I really like your work on the signals. I am surprised you need 25 of them.

Thanks Kevin,

There will be a total of 17 tall signals and five dwarfs. The signals will be used to indicate turnout position, not track occupancy, so they aren't going to be prototypical in any way other than appearance. I'm going to make them all removable using eight pin IC sockets so if things get too busy looking I can simply pull some out.

These are how the sockets will work. The sockets shown are six pin but I'm going to use eight pins so that, if I want to get into more prototypical signaling at some point, I will be able to get RGY colour indications from the double headed signals without having to change the signals. There are two IC sockets. One is attached to the bottom of the signal and the other is soldered to a circuit board which is mounted in the layout.

This is what the finished product will look like, except I'm going to put two platforms on the double headed signals.

Dave

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

SBX
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Posted by SBX on Friday, April 24, 2020 6:37 AM

Tinplate Toddler

Dave - I may be wrong, but most of your track is either in the upper part of the layout, or the lower, so most of the wiring will have to be there. I wouldn´t want to handle a hot soldering iron with my hands raised nearly above my head and risk hot solder dripping down on my face.

 

 

I have a similar problem and cannot work under my railroad. However, I avoid using a soldering iron by using lever nut connectors which come in sigle pole or double pole versions. The single pole can be got with up to 5 connections. Get the from Amazon https://amzn.to/356gf5J

Long Haired David
A.K.A. David Pennington
main man on the Sunset and North Eastern R.R.
http://www.gmrblog.co.uk
from the UK

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, April 24, 2020 7:54 AM

 S&G is in rare company. Major users of the Type G signal were NYC and Reading. And that's about it. Many times they are simply called "NYC signals" and Reading just gets ignored.

                                 --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, April 24, 2020 8:01 AM

SBX

 

 
Tinplate Toddler

Dave - I may be wrong, but most of your track is either in the upper part of the layout, or the lower, so most of the wiring will have to be there. I wouldn´t want to handle a hot soldering iron with my hands raised nearly above my head and risk hot solder dripping down on my face.

 

 

 

 

I have a similar problem and cannot work under my railroad. However, I avoid using a soldering iron by using lever nut connectors which come in sigle pole or double pole versions. The single pole can be got with up to 5 connections. Get the from Amazon https://amzn.to/356gf5J

 

That's why he's putting it on a rotisserie. To flip the bottom side up to do wiring, among other things.

 But you think I'd have a completely burned face by now if solder dripping was such a problem, I've been soldering under the layout for more than 40 years. I can't remember ever having hot solder drop onto unprotected skin. The danger level seems greatly exaggerated.

  With my vision issues, you should see how I solder circuit boards and decoders and so forth at the bench. My nose is about 3 inches from the tip of the soldering iron. Magnifiers don;t help, the loss of vision is not just correctable focus, and the corresponding loss of depth perception means no matter how much I magnify the work space, if I am in a normal sitting position with my arms on the bench, I will most likely not be able to put the tip on the joint without hitting my finger first. ANd I haven't burned myself with a soldering iron in all the time I've been soldering, and I don't expect to start now. It was getting my finger burned by my Mom soldering for me that made me say enough, I'm old enough to do this myself (I was about 8 or 9). 

                                        --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 SeeYou190 on Friday, April 24, 2020 10:54 AM

hon30critter
The signals will be used to indicate turnout position, not track occupancy, so they aren't going to be prototypical in any way

Mine will be used exactly the same way. Maybe as the layout gets built I will identify more locations where they are needed.

rrinker
S&G is in rare company. Major users of the Type G signal were NYC and Reading

Yes, that is why I was so excited to find them. I am hoping that by using components that are unusual, but still look "right", it will make the layout look absolutely fanciful, yet remain reallistic.

-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 Friday, April 24, 2020 9:00 PM

SBX
I have a similar problem and cannot work under my railroad. However, I avoid using a soldering iron by using lever nut connectors which come in sigle pole or double pole versions. The single pole can be got with up to 5 connections.

Hi David,

I am familiar with the connectors, although I have never used them. The track feeders will be soldered (old school eh?!?). Since I will have the layout on its side when doing the soldering there won't be any risk of hot solder dropping in my lap. The other connections will be done with terminal strips (more old school). I want to keep the wiring as neat as possible and the terminal strips appeal to me for that reason.

Thanks for the suggestion.

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 Friday, April 24, 2020 10:35 PM

SeeYou190
I bought these old brass signals on eBay. There are nine, so I should have two spares.

Hi Kevin,

I forgot to congratulate you on your signal purchase. They are very interesting and nicely detailed. I'm glad that you managed to get enough of them to meet your needs.

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 Friday, April 24, 2020 10:48 PM

I received the IC sockets today that I intended to use to mount my signals. Unfortunately, once I had them in hand, I realized that they won't work for what I need. The hole in the center of the socket is way too big to mount a signal post without doing a whole lot of additional work.Grumpy Also, the eight pin configuration doesn't work on the breadboards that I will use to attach the larger diameter wires to the bottom signal mount.GrumpyGrumpy So, I have ordered a bunch of six pin sockets which are what I used the first time around for the signals at my old club like the one shown above. The six pin sockets preclude getting a yellow indication  on one head of the double headed signals but that is absolutely minor! Prototypical signal indications are years down the road and I might not ever get to that stage anyhow. Fortunately the sockets are pretty cheap, and I now have the raw materials for a lifetime supply of micro connectors!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

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 rrinker on Friday, April 24, 2020 10:59 PM

 Wait, 8 pin DIP sockets are too wide - so what you want really is more like the 8 pin decoder socket? Those are much narrower as they do not have the whole in the middle (for the standard IC pin spacing).

 You can buy NMRA 8 pin sockets in bulk. You can also make them out of what you already have - cut the 8 pin IC socket down the middle and flip the pieces around and glue them together. I may some day come across the decoder tester I built and promptly never used, and then cannibalized parts from, and that's exactly how I made the 8 pin socket to plug the decoder being tested into.

                                      --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 CNCharlie on Friday, April 24, 2020 11:31 PM

Hi Dave,

What radius are the curves at the ends?

Interesting thread!

CN Charlie

 

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, April 25, 2020 2:53 AM

CNCharlie
What radius are the curves at the ends?

Hi Charlie,

The curves are all at least 22". I could make them a bit larger but I prefer to have a bit of scenery between the track and the fascia. I will be running mid 50s stuff so most of it will do fine on 22" radii. I do want to run The Canadian but I won't know if the longer passenger cars will work properly until I test them. The first track that I will lay will be the outer loop so I can test run the Canadian before anything else is in place. If it won't work reliably then I will have to expand the radii of the loops. That won't affect the rest of the plan too much. It will just bring everything closer to the fascia.

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 CNCharlie on Saturday, April 25, 2020 11:00 AM

Dave,

I have 22 inch max and run Athearn 72 foot heavyweights with talgo trucks .They look ok and run fine. If I had 5 feet I would have put in 24 inch and try for 26.

I tried 85 foot cars and it was a no go. My brass K5 Hudson makes it but only at a slow speed. 

I love passenger trains but my layout is too small.

CN Charlie

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, April 25, 2020 9:32 PM

CNCharlie
If I had 5 feet I would have put in 24 inch and try for 26.

Hi CN Charlie,

You have caused me to re-examine my plan to see what it would take to increase the radii. I really want to be able to run the Canadian. Obviously I haven't given that enough thought. The current plan is to make the benchwork 64" wide but that is not set in stone. Even at 64" I can get more than 22" radii fairly easily.

Thanks for the heads up!

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 mbinsewi on Saturday, April 25, 2020 9:38 PM

I have 24" r., and Walthers 85' passenger cars have problems, but Rapido, Kato, Rivarossi and Bachmann don't.  Go figure.  Confused

I know NOT to buy Walthers passenger cars.

Mike.

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