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Custom drumhead

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  • Member since
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Custom drumhead
Posted by tin can on Friday, May 29, 2020 1:24 PM

Seeking advice / opinions on creating a custom drumhead for a special Santa Fe passenger train.  I would use a Tomar HO streamlined kit as the starting point, but not sure how or what to use for the custom drumhead insert.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by Wolf359 on Friday, May 29, 2020 1:33 PM

If you already have a design, or one in mind, would it be possible to print it on an inkjet printer and cut it out once you have the size dialed in? Or would any lights etc inside it get to hot for printer paper and pose a fire hazard?

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, May 29, 2020 1:46 PM

Wolf359
If you already have a design, or one in mind, would it be possible to print it on an inkjet printer and cut it out once you have the size dialed in?

That's exactly what I did for my Nickel Plate Limited tail sign:

 Union_Sta_departure8 by Edmund, on Flickr

This one happen so be unlit. I do have several other Tomar signs that are illuminated with a single 1.5V micro-lamp. Trouble with these is that the lamp makes a hot-spot. Using electro-luminescent board would be great but I haven't seen any of that in a size small enough.

I used a vector-based image editor to get a sharp reduction in the size I needed.

I believe Tomar's artwork is done using 35mm slide film. Printing on overhead transparency paper is iffy. The stuff I've tried is grainy and doesn't produce a sharp image. Vellum might be a better choice.

Are you working with an open-end observation car? The sign has to be rather shallow for this application. An enclosed car works better because you have some depth to work with.

With a shallow tail-sign you could use four SMD LEDs in each corner and keep them dimmed down a bit.

Sometimes I clip artwork from a timetable, menu or other advertising medium, such as this on-board brochure:

 ATSF_TexasChief_6-1-70 by Edmund, on Flickr

You can clip, edit and re-color the artwork as needed as I did here:

 ATSF_T-Chief by Edmund, on Flickr

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, May 29, 2020 1:51 PM

If it was me I think I would just use plain printing paper off my inkjet printed and illuminate it from behind with a 1206 Warm White LED.

I use clear .04” thick Styrene for the front of my illuminated signs with the printed material behind it then the LEDs.

The 1206 Warm White LEDs are quite bright so I run them at very low current normally under 1ma or 500ų, 24KΩ resistor from 12 volts.

I made this sign from a Miller Engineering Sign using my printer.




Mel



 
My Model Railroad  
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 

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Posted by tin can on Friday, May 29, 2020 4:43 PM

The drumhead will go on a Santa Fe high level coach.  I am working from a picture in a book; so I will have to duplicate the artwork as part of the project.  Printing it on paper and backlighting it with a soft white SM LED might work.  Not anything that has to be done quickly, looking for ideas.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by Arjay1969 on Friday, May 29, 2020 6:09 PM

tin can

The drumhead will go on a Santa Fe high level coach.  I am working from a picture in a book; so I will have to duplicate the artwork as part of the project.  Printing it on paper and backlighting it with a soft white SM LED might work.  Not anything that has to be done quickly, looking for ideas.

 

 

Gee, I wonder which one you're looking to do.  The paper backing might be the best bet, but the image should probably be done on a laser printer instead of inkjet.

Robert Beaty

The Laughing Hippie

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The CF-7...a waste of a perfectly good F-unit!

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Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the

end of your tunnel, Was just a freight train coming

your way.          -Metallica, No Leaf Clover

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, May 29, 2020 7:36 PM

tin can
The drumhead will go on a Santa Fe high level coach.

That should look neat!

 Super-Chief_67 by Edmund, on Flickr

I remember the last Super Chief before Amtrak. The tail sign simply said "ADIOS"

Here's what the drumhead of the Hi-Level El-Capitan looked like:

 El_Cap by Edmund, on Flickr

 

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 22, 2020 11:36 PM

How many passenger trains, percentage wise, would have had drumheads.

I have no intention of putting drumheads on my passenger trains, but should they have them?

-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 gmpullman on Sunday, August 23, 2020 4:58 AM

Percentage wise, while considering all the passenger trains operated by a particular railroad in, say, the era from the early teens up until the Great Depression — probably about 15-20% Then fewer still after the War.

Drumheads and tailsigns (practically interchangable) were the signature badge of distinction for the railroad. The passenger sales, marketing and advertising people were always looking for ways to fill the seats, and berths of Pullmans, of course.

Primarily, only the "Flagship" trains carried the insignia of the train name. Sometimes even the locomotive had the train name emblazoned across the front. B&O and C&NW both used lighted signs on the locomotives at times, probably others as well.

There was a certain cachet for a traveller to be able to "name drop" and say "I arrived on The Century just this morning" or "I'll see you on the Super Chief. I'm leaving Chicago tonight".

Flipping through a passenger timetable from any of the major railroads in their "heydays" you'd probably find a dozen or so premier "name" trains listed in the main tables. Some railroads ran more, some less. These would be the ones most likely to carry an observation-lounge car on the rear and have the drumhead or tail sign displayed. It was a source of pride for the railroad, its employees and the advertising department to be able to point out that lighted emblem as the trains passed through numerous towns and crossings where the public may see it.

Traveling celebrities and dignitaries were often photographed with the tail sign of their "favored" train and the railroads would play this up in advertising as well.

 NYC_Century-ad-1937 by Edmund, on Flickr

 PRR_FDR by Edmund, on Flickr

Sometimes there were two tail signs:

 Lackawanna_Tavern by Edmund, on Flickr

Special events were sometimes called out on custom-made drumheads:

 RR_views_0043_crop1 by Edmund, on Flickr

Some railroads took their tail sign to another level!

 CMStPnP_Coon-Rapids by Edmund, on Flickr

I like to run several — but not all — passenger trains with tail signs. I thought it was a pretty neat detail and helps to harken back to an era of grandeur in travel.

 IMG_9913_fix by Edmund, on Flickr 

Hope that helps, Ed

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 23, 2020 10:54 AM

gmpullman
Hope that helps, Ed

Ed, that helps a lot. Thank you for taking the time to type your response.

The SGRR's last remaining name train in 1954 is the Comet Express, but it does not run on my layout. It is only mentioned on the lettering of the Comet Freight boxcars.

The three passenger trains that will run on my layout are one "local", one modern unnamed passenger train that runs up the coast, and the mail/express train. 

If I ever come up with a catchy name for the coastal line passenger train, perhaps I will consider a custom drumhead. Right now the train is all undecorated and stored in boxes... that would be a long way down the line.

-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 gmpullman on Sunday, August 23, 2020 5:32 PM

If I may suggest, Kevin, for your Stratton & Gilette you should have a business car for your Division Superintendant. It could carry the S&G "Meatball"* on the rear platform similar to my stainless-fluted PRR business car.

The nice thing about a business car is that it can be carried on the tail end of passenger or freight trains (except for the premier passenger trains) and it can be parked on sidings in freight yards or on the "private car" siding at a passenger station. Handling the business car can add a little variety to your operations, too.

 Business_car-cccstl by Edmund, on Flickr

Nickel Plate Products imported a nice PRR prototype car that can often be found at a reasonable price:

 PRR_Z74side by Edmund, on Flickr

This one is a model of a Santa-Fe car made by Pecos River:

 Big4_business-car4 by Edmund, on Flickr

And this one is the Kato plastic model:

 IMG_9927_fix by Edmund, on Flickr

 IMG_9919_fix by Edmund, on Flickr

 Here's a neat-looking G&D one. Sometimes business cars of "foreign" roads would congregate for meetings or conventions.

Just some ideas you might consider. HERE'S anotherCool

Have FUN — Ed

* Meatball is what we GE types called the circular General Electric emblem.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 23, 2020 8:34 PM

gmpullman
If I may suggest, Kevin, for your Stratton & Gilette you should have a business car for your Division Superintendant. It could carry the S&G "Meatball"* on the rear platform similar to my stainless-fluted PRR business car.

I have a couple of SGRR business car projects in the works.

The Ramona Marie is being built up from a Roundhouse Pullman Pallace observation car kit and a few extra detail parts. A drumhead could look really good on this car.

Then I have this brass model of a short business car that I was planning on tacking onto the end of the mail/express train, but it could become a business car. Time will tell.

This is the rest of the mail train:

This RPO was a recent addition:

-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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