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CISX 500, a rambling attempt at a scratchbuilt depressed centre flatcar

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CISX 500, a rambling attempt at a scratchbuilt depressed centre flatcar
Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:05 PM

So what’s the purpose of this thread? Well it’s partially to elaborate on some questions raised by some forum members, and to perhaps inspire others to give scratchbuilding/ kitbashing a go. I started scratchbuilding to prove a point because I got sick and tired of fellow club members endlessly complaining either about the unavailability, or expense, of XYZ model railroading item; sound familiar??
Now to be fair, scratchbuilding is not for everyone, their valuable modelling time can be better spent on what they consider as more interesting, more fun projects, that are better suited to their talents, so I’d be disappointed if anyone takes this as “A Scratchbuilder is a Real Model Railroader” thread.
A Warning. You will find no marvellous new easy as scratchbuilding methods here, I’ve gained my inspiration and methods from so many other modellers that I’m reluctant to give credit where credit is due as I’d no doubt go forgetting some ffolkes, suffice to say if you read that I’m using a method that you’ve described, then please take it as a personal thanks. Any mistakes or deviations from best practice are my own errors and are fully my responsibility. I should also add feel free to chip in and point out the error of my ways: or even a better way, though my aim is also only to use hand tools that, rightly or wrongly, I would presume most model railroaders to possess. 
 

So why this particular car? A while back in this thread.........

..........Mike Lehman asked for assistance in  identifying  this car which, after much interesting  and entertaining speculation was identified by  tomd81 whohas an information packed site here......
.....with the direct link to CISX 500, here......
and using Toms information, here’s another photo......
 ACY Tom also came up with, “I can't find that car anywhere in the 1948 O.R.E.R.; but it's right there on page 931 of the January, 1942 O.R.E.R.
Outside length 87'6"

Width @ eaves or top of sides or platform 9'8"

Extreme width 9'8"

Capacity 526100 lb.

Flat car, Depressed, steel, Note A:  Car No. 500: height from rail to top of depressed platform 2 ft. 8-3/4 inch, to top of car body 6 ft. 9-1/2 inches; length of depressed center 18 .”

Enlarging the advertisement from United States Steel Wrought Iron Wheels from Toms site, allowed me to read  the following.

“Breaking all records for size, this monster well car 90 ft long over the coupler pulling faces, has a load capacity of over 250 tons. Designed for use in carrying ingot molds between two Carnegie-Illinois plants, it is fitted for regular interchange movements. To carry this enormous load safely and economically, the two six wheeled trucks under each of the auxiliary bodies are provided with U.S.S Wrought Steel Wheels, 36 in. in diameter.

Pertinent Facts. Total weight of the car is 313,900 lb, of which 107,920 lb is in the four trucks, 49,000 lbs in the two auxiliary bodies, and 156,980 lbs in the well body proper. Payload capacity, at a rail load limit of 70,000 lbs, per axle, is 526,100 lbs. The total rail load is 840,000 lbs.

The well-platform is made up of seven long H-Beams, jigs assembled and are welded longitudinally. Each H-Beam in turn is made up in 5 sections- the central platform piece, two reverse curve transition pieces and two end pieces which terminate at the main bolster......”    

So armed with the available information which importantly included that the car was designed for interchange, (even though I’m free lancing I want to retain a modicum of believability), I placed this build on my “to do list” and so am finally doing.

Cheers, the Bear.

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:21 PM

Bear:

I think this is a great idea for a thread. I hope you will encourage many of those modelers who have been contemplating scratch building to take the plunge.

I look forward to following your progress.

Regards

Dave

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Posted by G Paine on Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:32 PM

For the 1940s, that is one humgous car! Good luck with the project!! YesYesYes

 

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, May 22, 2016 12:53 AM

I love modeling flat cars of all descriptions. I'm presently working on a few PRR F22 "Gun Flats" by Funaro & Carmalengo to carry a 16" Naval gun load.

American Model Builder Photo

Here's a few examples of some interesting loads as shown in the Mesta Machine Co. 1919 catalog:

And another...

At the GE plant where I earned a living for some years, there was an interesting flat car load dispatched from there back in 1968.

That's what I find so interesting in modeling open loads like this, the visual interest when you can see exactly what's being hauled.

I'm amazed when I see the prices commanded for brass flat cars, especially some of the specialty PRR cars, on Ebay. That's where the satisfaction of scratchbuilding pays off! To know that you have invested your "sweat equity" in a car that someone else just shelled out several hundred dollars for and the end results are much more satisfying for the scratch builder...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and keep up the great work, Bear!

Regards, Ed 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Sunday, May 22, 2016 5:37 AM

Gidday Dave, while it would be nice to hope that someone would give a scratchbuild or a kitbash a try, I’d be just as content if ffolkes got a laugh from my antics, after all it’s meant to be FUN.Big Smile

Thanks George, I’ll always happily accept good luck.

Thanks for joining in with those photos Ed, while there are photos of CISX 500 with an ingot mold, and “Jumbo” as loads, I haven’t thought far enough ahead to consider what load to make. My main concern is to get the car to run reliably.

I have to admit that while I have a “Plan”, I quite often make things up as I go.

 

 So what do I want from this car? Well, apart from the challenge and Fun (??), I want a car that looks something close to the photos and a reliable runner; if it looks good but has to be permanently parked in a siding then I’ve failed miserably!!!

With my goals set then came the chicken or the egg moment. In the original thread some of the chaps came up with links to possibly suitable trucks for the build; before I could make an accurate drawing with the available dimensions on hand I needed the trucks to obtain their dimensions.

 

Now while there are several articles on making your own trucks in the early Model Railroaders, April and November 1934, August 1935 and September 1942 and while I’m silly enough to try my hand at most things Bang Head,  this is a bridge far too far, besides for my purposes Athearn appeared to have affordable Buckeye trucks with 36” wheels but would they actually fit the bill? As much as I don’t like buying sight unseen I contacted my not so local LHS and ordered the required number of trucks, which they then had to order from the US. I did have another idea for the trucks use if found to be unsuitable.

Upon arrival I quickly made a test car, the result of which satisfied my requirements for over all height, coupler height and ability to run through a 15 inch radius S curve I’ve set up using a recycled length of Peco Code 100 track. The 15 inch radius may seem extreme but it gives me the satisfaction that the setup should handle sensible radius curves with no problems.

 

 

With the Athearn ATH90407 trucks proving their worth, I was then able to draw an “accurate” HO scale side view.

 

Thanks for looking,

Cheers, the Bear. Smile

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, May 22, 2016 10:36 AM

Bear,

Wow!YeahWow This is exciting! The neat thing is that you'll also be showing how to make essentially any depressed center flat, so others can watch and learn to build to their needs. I may have to give this a try, too.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by G Paine on Sunday, May 22, 2016 11:26 AM

Another interseting car is B&M 5000; a well car designed to transport loads like large reduction gears for ships. The car is short, about 30 feet and carries a large wood crate in the well. I found a reference to a drawing and photo with load in January 1944 Model Railroader for those who have MR CD.

Google could not find me a prototype photo, but Funaro & Camerlengo lists a resin kit of it. We have the kit at Boothbay, but have not got around to building it yet.

http://www.fandckits.com/HOFreight/6590.html

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, May 22, 2016 9:19 PM

I have seen many depressed center flat cars and find them intriguing.  I do not think I have ever seen a "well" car and am not sure any still exist.  Years back I started to kitbash a well car using parts from the well-known Athearn double truck heavy duty flat car body.  But I somehow lost interest in the project at some point and packed it away so carefully I can't find it.  

Dave Nelson

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, May 22, 2016 9:44 PM

Gidday Dave, while it would be nice to hope that someone would give a scratchbuild or a kitbash a try, I’d be just as content if ffolkes got a laugh from my antics, after all it’s meant to be FUN.

Bear - I think that's the whole point. Scratchbuilding is fun, but I doubt that you will find many people laughing at your work!

Dave

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Posted by G Paine on Sunday, May 22, 2016 10:59 PM

dknelson
I do not think I have ever seen a "well" car and am not sure any still exist

The B&M well cars lasted from 1941 into the 1970s before they were scrapped; the link on my previous post has a picture of the model

George In Midcoast Maine, 'bout halfway up the Rockland branch 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Monday, May 23, 2016 2:47 AM

George, I hadn’t seen the 1944 article on B&M 5000 but had referenced the February 1983 MR article on the same car for a future project. I’ll let you tell me how the F&C kit goes.Wink
 The tomd81 site contains some well car photos and some were still in service in 2003.
 
 http://southern.railfan.net/flat/cars/loads/well/well.html
 
I will take the opportunity to acknowledge our hosts articles on scratchbuilding depressed centre flats in the Model Railroader starting with the February 1939 issue using brass or shiny tin; two methods in February 1955 using wood or molded plexiglass, and styrene in March 1978;and a kitbash in the April 1975 issue.
There are at least two dimensional drawings, November 1952 and June 1999. These are accessible on the 75th anniversary CD and, I presume with the all access pass(?).
 
Dave, sometimes I have to laugh at my work!!!!Sigh Laugh
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, May 27, 2016 12:22 AM

Now I come to the photo that started this ramble off.
 
 
I have a tendency to over engineer things, this will become obvious later on, so while I want the well platform to be light, so that there will be less friction on the turn tables, it needs to be strong enough not to deform especially under tension.
I thought that 4 beams of .080” styrene would do the trick and would pick some up at the local show, but without sidetracking to the silliness of local distributors and LHSs,’ it wasn’t available and as I had .060” sheets on hand decided to laminate two together so the outer beams would be .120”. This, of course, required me to cut two extra beams from the .060” sheet, a small scroll saw would have come in handy for this task but that would defeat the purpose using hand tools only.
It is also at this stage of having to duplicate parts when I start wondering just how far I should go when making a pattern, if for some reason I wished to make 4 or more of the same cars I probably would, but being of a lazy disposition and having an over inflated sense of my abilities, I just make a master of each piece which is used in the build when it is required and duplicate the rest of the parts from it. I must confess that there is more scrap than there should be in styrene off cuts box.
 
 
 
Usually the camera is too good for showing up mistakes, I was going to use the word “discrepancies” but that just soft soaps the issue. A Mistake is a Mistake!!! Embarrassed In this case the camera is almost my friend because the couple of ribs that aren’t at right angles to the centre beam are not as noticeable, though curiously the centre rib that is square doesn’t look it! You will also notice where I have added off cuts to make a better join.
Now it might be said, as the frame gets covered by decking why am I so annoyed? Angry  Well it wouldn’t be acceptable if I was making a tank car frame for instance.
 
 
For all my talk of only using basic hand tools that I’d expect most model railroaders to have, I now go and blow that premise clear out of the water, and borrow her-in doors hair dryer to help shape the deck.
I had thought of using .020” styrene (about 1.8”, 1:1) but to my mind, using this photo, it just didn’t look thick enough so I used .030” (about 2. 6”, 1:1) instead.
 
 
Patience. One thing that I think any scratchbuilder/ kitbasher has to have in large amounts is patience. (To be fair it does play an important role in other aspects of model railroading).
Sadly it is not something that I possess in large amounts, so I have to make myself slow down. Using a heat gun to soften styrene to work requires patience, I have ended up with either a melted blob, or an overcooked piece which is no longer flexible, and also brittle before, but I only needed to do this once.
Thanks for looking,
Cheers, the Bear. Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, May 27, 2016 12:55 AM

Bear:

Thanks for the update. The car is coming along nicely!

I think you and I are two peas in the same pod. I'm not particularly patient either. In fact that's an understatement. I'm trying to correct that weakness but the "...it's good enough..." tendancy is still sometimes dominant unfortunately. 

Dave

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Posted by "JaBear" on Friday, May 27, 2016 2:11 AM

hon30critter
I think you and I are two peas in the same pod. I'm not particularly patient either.

Gee Dave, I hope you aren’t Grumpy and Bad Tempered as well!!!! WinkLaughLaugh
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, May 27, 2016 2:24 AM

No Bear, I'm not grumpy and bad tempered at all, that is unless I forget to take my meds! Or then there's those moments when I am driving behind an idiotAngry who needs an alarm clock to remind them that they have a gas pedal!!! Then there are those ladies in the grocery store who can't seem to prevent themselves from blocking the whole aisle!!!! Or the screaming kids in a restaurant (Hey buddy, wanna pay my bill?!)!!!!!!

Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

OK, I feel much better now! Thanks Bear!!

Just kidding I hope you know.

All the best!

Dave

 

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Posted by mlehman on Friday, May 27, 2016 5:21 AM

Yeah, a heat gun is either a big help or a big mess. Looks like it did the trick here, though

Mike Lehman

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, May 27, 2016 3:22 PM

The heat gun I use for model railroading projects is one intended for the rubber stamp hobbyist crowd.  I am reasonably pleased with the way it directs heat to the work.  As with any skill it takes practice. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, May 28, 2016 7:17 AM

dknelson
As with any skill it takes practice.

And lots of patience!!! And while I’m on the subject of patience, a lot more was used bonding the deck to the frame. Even though I’d preformed the deck, it wasn’t a 100% correct but it was still flexible enough to “push” it into the final shape. The only trouble was that the frame is also quite flexible and I worried if I tried too hard as well as hurried, I’d end up with the whole shebang shaped like a pretzel. So with the help of the clamps and some extra help from some clothes pegs stolen borrowed from her-in-doors, starting at one end and doing a little each time I applied the MEK sparingly and checked for level and square after each application with a straight edge.
 
 
When I was happy I turned it frame side up, applied a little more MEK, and used weights appropriate to the Tips for model railroading on the cheap thread.
 
 
So far, so good.Surprise
 
NOTES.
(1) When using MEK make sure when you put the brush down, that it is nowhere near anything you do not want bonded or unnecessarily softened!!! I got away with it this time but not through lack of trying.Bang Head
(2) You will see that I use an excess of styrene, this is on the basis that it is easier to remove than to add.
Thanks for looking,
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

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Posted by ACY Tom on Saturday, May 28, 2016 8:54 AM

At last, we have indisputable proof:

Baked beans contribute to improved scale modeling.

Tom

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Posted by Railphotog on Saturday, May 28, 2016 9:12 AM

I scratchbuilt a Canadian National 250 ton car many years ago:

Bob Boudreau

CANADA

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Posted by "JaBear" on Saturday, May 28, 2016 9:17 PM

Heck!!! Now that is some seriously impressive scratchbuilding.Bow  Is it constructed primarily from brass? Thanks for sharing that photo Bob.
 One of the things that attracted me to giving CISX 500 a go was its lack of detailed structure, well at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Whistling
Cheers, the Bear.Smile

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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, May 28, 2016 9:39 PM

Bob, 

That's impressive! I thought it was the real thing until I saw the coupler pin.

Is that hand laid track?

Sorry Bear, not trying to steal the thread. One of my kids (who has never admitted it) managed to spill most of a bottle of styrene cement on my workbench several years ago. Instead of saying something or mopping it up, they put my Atlas turntable (which I had spent hours adding a pit to) overtop of the spill to hide it. When I picked the turntable up a few hours later it acted like a half cooked pancake. I set it on a flat surface and, amazingly, it survived!

Dave

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Posted by Railphotog on Sunday, May 29, 2016 6:35 AM

Heck!!! Now that is some seriously impressive scratchbuilding. Is it constructed primarily from brass? Thanks for sharing that photo Bob.

All made from styrene except for the brass mesh on the brake deck.

 

 

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, May 29, 2016 11:18 AM

Railphotog
 
Heck!!! Now that is some seriously impressive scratchbuilding. Is it constructed primarily from brass? Thanks for sharing that photo Bob.

All made from styrene except for the brass mesh on the brake deck.

 

Sorry, but I'm not believing you.  Looks to me like a prototype car picture that you photo shopped a Kadee coupler onto. Big Smile

(Excellent work.  How long did that project take?)

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 7:15 AM

Dave, I don’t mind at all, after all it is a rambling thread, though I would be disappointed if the thread ended up debating the price of fish in Outer Mongolia unless of course the fish was transported on one of these.

Railphotog
All made from styrene except for the brass mesh on the brake deck.

Now that I’ve had a couple of days to ponder the design of those auxiliary bodies and that styrene was used in their construction makes that an even more remarkable build.BowBow
 
So back to my far more mundane project.
I don’t know if it was because New Zealand went metric finally in 1976 but as far as I know 2-56 screws have only been available from discerning hobby shops, particularly those that dealt in radio controlled aircraft, and as I no longer have a LHS close at hand, when I can to keep the stocks up, I usually buy what’s available even if I don’t generally use the nuts that come with the packets.
 However as I don’t tend to throw anything away I have a surplus of not only 2-56 nylock nuts but 2-56 blind nuts as well. That is, I used too and this is where the over engineering I mentioned early comes in.  
I know that there are a reasonable number of freight car kit manufacturers whose products haven’t graced the shelves of NZ LHSs but I think I’d be reasonably safe to say that the 2-56 screws, or for that matter #2 self tapping screws, are screwed straight into the plastic under frame, (unless of course the under frame is cast metal as in the older MDC kits). So while I have the Kadee 2-56 tap, when it came to my first scratchbuilt truss rod flat car, I wasn’t convinced that tapped styrene was up to the task so having an attack of the clevers, remembered that I had a number of unused blind nuts, so after removing the unwanted tangs and drilling the appropriate hole and using CA as the adhesive, I now have a steel insert to screw into. I have continued that practise with this car.
 
Cheers, the Bear. Smile

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 1:37 PM

I had a number of unused blind nuts,

Bear,

Interesting.....here in the US, we call them T-nuts.

I used to use those to keep some Aluminum body panel parts on My Outlaw circle track race cars. It was easier and faster then rivets,when replacing damaged body panels.

http://www.jigneshsteel.com/steel-fasteners-manufacturers/nutsbolts-boltnut/nuts-and-steelnuts-type/steelnuts-type-t-nuts/

 

Also a interesting build You have going.Yes

Take Care! Big Smile

Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Old Thumper on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 4:41 PM

zstripe

.....here in the US, we call them T-nuts.

I used many of them when I was building and flying RC airplanes and they were always refered to as Blind Nuts.

 

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 5:22 PM

Thanks Frank. I see Old Thumper has already commented, but I used the term blind nut because it’s what Du-Bro, a US company based in Illinois, calls their product. I guess it’s just another case of different industries having different names for the same item.
Cheers, the Bear. Smile

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Posted by zstripe on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 10:00 PM

LOL, Not to make a big thing out of nothing....but the correct term is T-nut...AKA blind nut, rivet nut and a couple others. Here in the Midwest, they are known as T-nut. In My 74 yrs. I don't recall them being called anything else...not around here anyway!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-nut

Take Care! Big Smile

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Posted by "JaBear" on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 10:16 PM

Ahhh!! I would never doubt your integrity Frank but I certainly wouldn’t call it a rivet nut. This is a rivnut......
 
 
 
Cheers, the Bear.Smile, Wink & Grin

"One difference between pessimists and optimists is that while pessimists are more often right, optimists have far more fun."

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