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BLENDER BALLAST

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  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Wylie, TX
  • 238 posts
BLENDER BALLAST
Posted by SqueakyWheels on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 3:12 PM
After a few weeks of pounding cinder blocks down, screening, and washing- I eneded up with the best HO scale gray& black ballast one could hope for.

But then--Big Smile [:D] I decided on getting down the blender- a 40 year old tool that hasn't been use in years. Needed to speed up the process- as the pounding was wearing me out.

It did fine- growling, and grinding the concrete particles into the Ballast I needed. Until I over did it, and the solder connection on the motor failed- up in a plume of smoke.

Anyone else tried this?

At first I expected the glass jar to explode- but no- it did well. The blades came out good, as well. It was just that I played it too long (pushed it too hard) as to when it failed.

It made the best. finest ballast thoughSad [:(]

Boo HooSad [:(]Sad [:(]

Tim _______________________________ Our Father is MY PILOT!!!!
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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 5:25 PM
I tried it with a cheap blender with a plastic cup. But the cup jsut shattered and little rocks when flying everywhere. Havent tried againBig Smile [:D]
  • Member since
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  • From: Holland MI
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Posted by CSXFan on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:22 PM
 SqueakyWheels wrote:
After a few weeks of pounding cinder blocks down, screening, and washing- I eneded up with the best HO scale gray& black ballast one could hope for.

But then--Big Smile [:D] I decided on getting down the blender- a 40 year old tool that hasn't been use in years. Needed to speed up the process- as the pounding was wearing me out.

It did fine- growling, and grinding the concrete particles into the Ballast I needed. Until I over did it, and the solder connection on the motor failed- up in a plume of smoke.

Anyone else tried this?

At first I expected the glass jar to explode- but no- it did well. The blades came out good, as well. It was just that I played it too long (pushed it too hard) as to when it failed.

It made the best. finest ballast thoughSad [:(]

Boo HooSad [:(]Sad [:(]



Great idea. I've been discouraged by the high price of commercial ballast and this seems like it might be the answer. Could you post a pic?
If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space...Wink
  • Member since
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  • From: Wylie, TX
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Posted by SqueakyWheels on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:34 PM
 JPM335 wrote:
I tried it with a cheap blender with a plastic cup. But the cup jsut shattered and little rocks when flying everywhere. Havent tried againBig Smile [:D]


Yes, that is what I expected it to do, but for some reason it was working.

I bought the half-block at Home Depot. It would be great to find out where the blocks are made, so I could possibly get just the rocks without the cement included.Evil [}:)]
Probably made in Asia somewhere- like everything else anymore.
Tim _______________________________ Our Father is MY PILOT!!!!
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Wylie, TX
  • 238 posts
Posted by SqueakyWheels on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:45 PM
 CSXFan wrote:

Great idea. I've been discouraged by the high price of commercial ballast and this seems like it might be the answer. Could you post a pic?


Embarrasingly enough, I don't have a camera- yet. Have been kicking the thought of buying one, though. This may be one of the reasons to ask my wife for one.Blush [:I] If maybe I bring her the right flowers?Banged Head [banghead]

I could always mail you a sample.
Tim _______________________________ Our Father is MY PILOT!!!!
  • Member since
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  • From: "Steel, Steam and Thunder"Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • 1,152 posts
Posted by TheK4Kid on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:47 PM
A couple years ago, a fella from Pennsylvania sent me a couple of small plastic packages of ballast samples, he makes it himself.
His name was Joseph Ambrowski, I think that is his correct name if not, I'll have to find the envelope with his name on it.
Anyway if anyone knows him, or if he himself is reading this, all I remember it was nice stuff, could be purchased in gallon contianers at a very reasonable price, much less costly than getting the WS stuff.

Ed

  • Member since
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  • From: "Steel, Steam and Thunder"Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Posted by TheK4Kid on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:50 PM
 SqueakyWheels wrote:
After a few weeks of pounding cinder blocks down, screening, and washing- I eneded up with the best HO scale gray& black ballast one could hope for.

But then--Big Smile [:D] I decided on getting down the blender- a 40 year old tool that hasn't been use in years. Needed to speed up the process- as the pounding was wearing me out.

It did fine- growling, and grinding the concrete particles into the Ballast I needed. Until I over did it, and the solder connection on the motor failed- up in a plume of smoke.

Anyone else tried this?

At first I expected the glass jar to explode- but no- it did well. The blades came out good, as well. It was just that I played it too long (pushed it too hard) as to when it failed.

It made the best. finest ballast thoughSad [:(]

Boo HooSad [:(]Sad [:(]




Someone posted on here awhile back that they use cat litter that they strain , then paint it.
Anyone ever tried this?
Also have seen postings about some guys using sand.



 Ed
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  • From: US
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Posted by fiatfan on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:09 PM



Someone posted on here awhile back that they use cat litter that they strain , then paint it.
Anyone ever tried this?
Also have seen postings about some guys using sand.



 Ed


I don't have any personal experience but from what I have read on this and other forums putting cat litter on the layout is not a good idea if you have a cat.

Tom

Life is simple - eat, drink, play with trains!

Go Big Red!

PA&ERR "If you think you are doing something stupid, you're probably right!"

  • Member since
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  • From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
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Posted by cacole on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 5:45 PM

The majority of ballast on our HO scale club layout is Cat's Pride litter.  No other litter can be used as ballast because other brands swell up, clump, or otherwise turn into a real mess.  Cat's Pride, made by Oil-Dry Corporation, is granulated Kaolin clay and has no other ingredients except some scent, so it does not dissolve, swell up, or clump when wet.  You can also use it to soak up oil spills on a garage or carport floor.

As far as not using litter if you have a cat, I don't think that would be a problem because you don't apply the litter in a large enough volume to attract a cat, and it needs to be glued down, anyway.  Once the glue has set, the cat wouldn't even try to use it.  We used the typical 50/50 rubbing alcohol and white glue mixture, or water with a little liquid dishwashing detergent if we didn't have the alcohol.

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Olympia, WA
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Posted by gear-jammer on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 9:51 PM

Tim,

I used a coffee grinder.   I ran a peeled fir branch through the chipper, and then continued to reduce the size with the coffee grinder. It takes a while and you do not grind much at one time.  The coffee will never taste the same in that thing.  I bought another coffee grinder for the coffee.

Sue

Anything is possible if you do not know what you are talking about.

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Posted by twcenterprises on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 11:47 PM

Concrete blocks are still made in the US, I can think of at least 3 plants within 50 miles of where I live in GA.  Instead of that, simply head down to the local quarry and get some of what's call "M-10's" (at least at the place I go to it's called that, it may go by another name elsewhere).  It's basically rough sand.  Sift and screen out the smaller and larger stuff to end up with suitable HO scale (or S scale, or N scale, or whatever scale) ballast.  Pass it under a magnet before use, just to be safe.  G scalers may try "89's" or "washed 89's" which is basically pea gravel, which, when screened or washed the smaller stuff is the M-10's.  Gravel is cheap, about $30 per ton where I live.  A couple five gallon buckets will hold about 100-200 pounds, and that should last an average modeler a lifetime or 2.  If you want the grey color of concrete blocks you can go to the concrete block factory and get concrete block waste, to save the trouble and cost of buying and breaking up larger blocks.  Some places have contracts for the waste, but if you explain what you want it for and that you just want a couple five gallon buckets worth, they may help you out.

Brad

EMD - Every Model Different

ALCO - Always Leaking Coolant and Oil

CSX - Coal Spilling eXperts

  • Member since
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  • From: "Steel, Steam and Thunder"Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Posted by TheK4Kid on Thursday, August 31, 2006 1:12 AM
 fiatfan wrote:



Someone posted on here awhile back that they use cat litter that they strain , then paint it.
Anyone ever tried this?
Also have seen postings about some guys using sand.



 Ed


I don't have any personal experience but from what I have read on this and other forums putting cat litter on the layout is not a good idea if you have a cat.

Tom



Well if a cat uses my layout to go wee wee on, it definetly WILL NOT HAVE 9 LIVES!!!
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Wylie, TX
  • 238 posts
Posted by SqueakyWheels on Thursday, August 31, 2006 9:13 AM
 twcenterprises wrote:

Concrete blocks are still made in the US, I can think of at least 3 plants within 50 miles of where I live in GA.  Instead of that, simply head down to the local quarry and get some of what's call "M-10's" (at least at the place I go to it's called that, it may go by another name elsewhere).  It's basically rough sand.  Sift and screen out the smaller and larger stuff to end up with suitable HO scale (or S scale, or N scale, or whatever scale) ballast. 

Brad



Yeah, I used to haul rock out of Ball Ground GA driving Belly Dumps, and the gray manufactured sand out of Lathoania, but at that time- 15 years ago- I wasn't into railroading.
Darn- now I wish I could have put two and two together back then, I could have made plans for the future.

I used to live in Alpharetta.
Tim _______________________________ Our Father is MY PILOT!!!!
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Wylie, TX
  • 238 posts
Posted by SqueakyWheels on Thursday, August 31, 2006 9:20 AM
 gear-jammer wrote:

Tim,

I used a coffee grinder.   I ran a peeled fir branch through the chipper, and then continued to reduce the size with the coffee grinder. It takes a while and you do not grind much at one time.  The coffee will never taste the same in that thing.  I bought another coffee grinder for the coffee.

Sue



Sue,
I wanted to use real rocks as to why I was trying to find an easier way. But, guess it's back to the old hammer and chisel.
What I have planned on doing is vacuuming up my rocks, then mixing them with some of the Hunter Scenery co.'s & Woodland Scenics- blending it all together, and then spreading it back down.
I am also using some of the ballast to adjust the elevations at some of the transistions that were too abrupt- causing derailments. It worked. Now, the ballast will need to be glued down. This is on top of cork, of course.
Tim _______________________________ Our Father is MY PILOT!!!!
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Olympia, WA
  • 2,313 posts
Posted by gear-jammer on Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:28 AM

Tim,  Exterior spackling paste will work for transitions as well, if your track is not permanently attached.

Sue

Anything is possible if you do not know what you are talking about.

  • Member since
    July 2006
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Posted by Dave-the-Train on Friday, September 1, 2006 6:56 AM

Sounds like you want to be using eye protection and putting the blender in a good strong wooden box!

Years ago a friend of my brother's dad made his own wines... he had a corner of the garage sandbagged off for the suspicious bottles.  I also came home to a girlfriend's place once and a bottle of Elderberry wine had blown up... the whole kitchen was covered Shock [:O]  (Thinking back... it was probably "my fault" Black Eye [B)] )

They don't make blenders like they used to do they?Sad [:(]

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