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Crandell's (Selector's) New Layout Progress Thread

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  • Member since
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Posted by cudaken on Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:01 PM

 Crandell, looking forward to coming up and running the layout! Only 2 things that need to happen. I win the lottery and that you would have me! Whistling

 I will be checking my lottery ticket here in a little bit and I will let you know! Big Smile

      Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, May 12, 2012 5:12 PM

Crandell, I've done cookie cutter and did my current layout with spline and foam for no other reason that it intrigued me and I wanted to try something new as well. All I can say is someone better come out with some new building products and unique ways to use them by the time I start my next layout or I'll be in an awful state.Laugh

BrentCowboy

Brent

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Posted by selector on Saturday, May 12, 2012 4:00 PM

Fair question, Brent.  A bit of been there, done that, and also my previous supplier no longer had the capacity to saw the sheet of MDF into the strips I'd need.  Being lazy, I didn't want to undertake that chore.  I was intriqued by cookie cutter and wanted to at least be able to say I had built a layout with the two techniques.  The splines are slower, although they certainly do make nice sinuous curves in all directions.  Cookie cutter is faster, but you have to fiddle more carefully with the risers if you have joints over the risers or near them.  Both require clamps, glue/nails and screws.

It seems I decide in the back of my mind that I want to try something new as I contemplate a new build.  In this case, a flatter twinned main, the helix, and cookie cutter.  I have done the crazy grades, the folded loop, and the central operating pit with crossover bridge to act as part of the turning/reversing loop.  No regrets, but I don't want them any more.  

Okay, okay...and it meant I had to get a new electric sabre saw.  Smile, Wink & Grin 

Crandell

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Posted by BATMAN on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:48 PM

Crandell

That is really looking great. I am curious as to why you went plywood subroadbed instead of spline. I think you used spline on your last layout didn't you?  Just wondering.Hmm

BrentCowboy

Brent

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Posted by secondhandmodeler on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:48 PM

Thanks for the update Crandell.  I'm enjoying watching you build since I know you don't like it! 

Corey
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Posted by MudHen_462 on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:41 PM

Your layout is looking spectactular, Crandell!!!! 

Bob

 

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Posted by selector on Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:29 PM

Here is a photo showing the lawnmower throttle cable manual turnout actuator.

I described the end-block in an earlier post.  This is necessary to anchor the sheath so that the cable will do what it is supposed to do at the throwbar.  I fashioned it crudely with bits of scrap 1/2" plywood, wood glue, and some latex caulk to act as a filler/retainer plug at the close end...the white blob.

I have been modifying the W/S double track concrete tunnel portals because of my spacing on the curves.  i cut them in half at the 'keystone' location using a fine saw, and then glue a wooden spacer in place with a new width near a full inch.  They haven't been painted yet, so you can see the wood spacer in place.  Notice that the grade has started to rise to the helix once more.

Finally, I received the truss bridge and have it in place.  I have two rails across it already, but I am out of Atlas Code 83 with more on the way.  I can substitute some Peco Code 83 if I get stuck, but I have an order in with Walthers that should be coming to me soon...I hope.  They have confirmed it, but I have no shipment notice.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 11, 2012 11:57 PM

Thanks for your encouragement, Ken.

Crandell

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Posted by cudaken on Friday, May 11, 2012 10:05 PM

 Thanks for the updates Crandell. Can hard wait to see the pictures! You know I check everyday to see if there is a update!

                                Ken

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 11, 2012 9:27 PM

I had a great day today.  I finally got the handlaid wye turnout tuned about as good as I can get it, and then I ran my two toughest critics through it.  Those were the New York Central Niagara 4-8-4 and the PRR J1 2-10-4.  Their initial passages were...uh....lumpy.  I had to adjust the height of the frog point a bit and then things smoothed out considerably.  I had no jig for this, so I built much of it in place.  The geometry is a bit wonky, so I knew I would have to fiddle with rail heights at some point to get it smooth.   I breathed a huge sigh of relief and actually enjoyed running trains for a while. 

The locomotives, that is.  Then I decided to try both engines down the turning wye with the 30 deg crossing.  For some reason the Niagara, my first foray down that track, stalled and restarted repeatedly at the Peco turnout just prior to the portal leading to the Netherworld staging and the tail of the wye.   I had a sinking feeling that maybe my PSX-AR didn't survive my construction and installation.  Finally I noticed that, in an earlier attempt to trouble-shoot, I had cut one of the rails on the through route to see what effect it would have.  Nothing, it turned out, but I misplaced my mental note to solder that gap closed once more.  I saw it, soldered it, and my stalling troubles, or rather the Niagara's, went away.  The J1 did nicely after that.

One thing I have noticed is that the Walthers 30 deg crossing is a rough ride through it.  My approaches are very close to straight-on, so it's not as if the loco is suddenly being forced through the flange-ways after a jog right or left and hitches up a bit.  I have cleaned the flange paths carefully and know for a fact that there are no high spots caused by glue, bits of wood debris, ballast grains or clumps of them, etc.  But the J1, especially, did not seem happy sliding through its entire length, and that goes for both routes.  If anyone knows what I can/should do to these to get them to run more cleanly, please let me know.

I received the VERY nice double track truss bridge shipped from southern USA, and have set it in place.  I even had one lane of track set in place, soldered, and a few small dabs of transparent caulk drying at the moment.  I should have my twinned mains closed by Sunday at the latest.

I will take some photos in the next 24 hours and post them.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Monday, May 7, 2012 10:29 PM

Oh, I guess I should mention that I liked my arrangement for a programming track as part of the trackage on the old layout so much that I replicated it on the new one.  On my last layout, there was a handlaid wye turnout where one route afforded access to the turntable and roundhouse.  The other went across the bridge that was part of my reversing loop and diagonal bridge...if you remember.   Anyway, right after the wye turnout I had gapped the rails so that I could wire the rest of the lead, terminated naturally at the turntable pit, with a separate toggle.  I'll explain.

It is an SPDT switch with the two central (incoming) posts on the rear of the body and the two end-posts that are the output.  I wired it so that the incoming posts doubled as power to the switch, itself, and also the leads to the gapped turntable lead track.  So, on the two central posts, I had two sets of wires, one the output from the DB150 base unit, and the other were the feeders to the turntable.  When the toggle was thrown to cut off the end output posts of the toggle switch, the switch still got power, but the wires wrapped around the same input posts also fed the feeders to the turntable lead.  and that was my isolated programming track.  Nifty, simple.  Later, once the programming was all done, I simply threw the toggle and the power coursed through the end posts to which the main bus was screwed.  The rest of the layout came alive once again.  Worked like a charm.

On the new plan, there is a separate passenger station/depot track.   Partway along it, near where the depot will eventually be, I have placed a turnout leading to a parking track for diner cars needing cleaning and replenishment.  This was prototypical.  I have placed a gap soon after the end of the turnout's diverging route and fed the rest of the parking track via a separate feed, and that would be the central input posts of the aforementioned toggle switch.  So, the very same arrangement as before, but this time it is a handy parking track much closer to the aisle than the turntable and roundhouse will be on the new build.  Photos in the next day or so should make it all clear.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Monday, May 7, 2012 10:11 PM

I had good intentions...I really did.  But that darned handlaid turnout didn't turn out to be what my J Class appreciated under its wheels.  I should have known.  Instead of mucking out the loft and taking some images, I spend the afternoon removing some rail elements on that wye, making others, soldering them in place, and then fiddling until the J said I was off the hook.  And that's just the J! Tongue Tied

I shoulda known...the NMRA gauge doesn't lie.  I had some places where the rails were simply too far apart in the middle of that turnout, and once I decided to move them to their correct spots, everything else changed, especially the frog point alignment.  So, I had to do some surgery.  Fortunately, I didn't wreck anything, and the new rails I inserted did what they were meant to do from the outset.

I'll try again tomorrow to do the clean up and take some photos.  First, though, I have to make and solder into place some feeders.  If the J goes through that turnout at speed in all directions, I'll consider it a good job and take the photos.  The new feeders have to be soldered into the rails on the points side of the turnout where there is no power.  I managed to get the J to back up to the point where it lost power, and that was close to the points in the wye turnout.  No lifting wheels, no jerking or stalling, so I think I have the gauge and geometry solved.

Of course, the J has 70'" drivers in scale.  What will a NYC Niagara do with its 79" drivers, or a Pennsy J1 do with its even longer wheelbase?  I guess I'll find out.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Monday, May 7, 2012 10:42 AM

I am at the stage where I am trouble-shooting track sections.  I manually run a Walthers heavyweight passenger car (six axles) along places at speed, both directions, to see how it tracks.   Comoing off a superelevated curve is a Code 100 Fast Tracks #8 from my previous layout.  Tuning its join with the oncoming Code 83 Atlas tracks and also the easing out of the superelevation was my chore over the past 24 hours.  The heavyweight didn't like it.  It would not continue to track through the points end of the turnout properly...at least the lead truck did not.  It would derail right at the point, but it also lifted just prior to the point.  So, I had to modify the geometry slightly, but mostly I reduced the s/e a bit more and softened the solder to make the joint a bit flatter.  I also fiddled with the point itself to get it a bit more flush and to change the angle at the tip a bit for better fit.  That seems to have done the trick.

I am about to wire the other half of the main line (only done it one direction, right-ways from the controller, across the lift-out, and on into the helix...about 20').   So, I will work left now for about the 18' it will take to terminate the bus that way.  Once I have three or four feeders soldered here and there, I will be able to test all my trackwork, minus the truss bridge section, with some steamers since they will be my most troublesome testers.  I'll save the Athearn Genesis SD-75M's for later once I have the tracks tuned for my steam fleet.  They will probably not be very happy.  They weren't with my last rail system in a couple of places, mostly where superelevation was not very consistent.

More later.  I still have to muck out the loft, tear up all the floor maksing tape I used to figure out curves and lengths, including benchwork limits, and vacuum.  Then I'll post some photos.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:59 AM

I have been plugging away at the mains and the yard.  I have the mains twinned to the far bridge, where it will be just under the block glass large window you see in photos at the far wall of the loft.   I have ballasted all but 5'.   The bridge is a twin track Atlas through truss being sent to me by a member living in a gulf state.

Meanwhile, I have fashioned a handlaid two-way turnout a-la-Chuck with odd geometry that will comprise the west end yard access to the throat, installed it, fiddled with it endlessly, and finally decided it was time to wind up and shove a Walthers heavyweight passenger car through it at super speed.  It stuck!!   I had it doing about 90 scale mph, and despite the very shallow S curve necessary for the geometry to get to the yard, it went well and was diverted smoothly down the passenger train track. 

I have run out of Atlas Code 83 with wooden ties, but have more coming from Walthers.  Because I have a hodge-podge of turnouts for the yard, Peco Code 83, hand laid, and one Atlas, I decided to use Peco Code 83 rails in the yard with Peco joiners because that brand comprised about 70% of the turnouts.  Those rails are to be shipped soon...I hope.  It has been a week and still no shipment notice from the dealer.

After some yard work today, I will clean out the loft so that it looks presentable in photos and take a couple to show how things are coming along.  I'm not wasting time, but I am taking my time.  And, as one would antiticipate come spring, there are many calls for pent up needs of all kinds. 

Crandell

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Posted by Blue Flamer on Saturday, May 5, 2012 11:47 PM

BUMP!!!

As I had not seen anything new recently, I thought a BUMP was in order to get any recent updates. Keep up the good work, Crandell.

Blue Flamer.

"There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness"." Dave Barry, Syndicated Columnist. "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes." Doctor Who.
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Posted by bogp40 on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:34 PM

Crandell, if the bridge has twisted, you will probably continue to have issues with it as time goes on, As I see it from the design, your trouble is most likely the use of the 2x2s. Not sure what you used, but assume they where just ripped from 2x4 stock. Pine, hemlock and even fir can be unstable for this.  I know it's tough to pick stock that looks like it may remain, but usually is not the case. Funny how many can just use a 1x4 spanning 3 ft and back it up w/ a simple block and it will remain straight as an arrow for years. Guess you didn't luck out. I generally rely on constucting things like this w/ 1/2 or 3/4" birch ply. A birch/ poplar 1x2 top and bottom w/ gusseted sides of hardwood ply would remain quite stable.  The top 1x2 could also extend slightly as to provide the anchoring at both ends. Capping the top w/ ply as mentioned would also help.  Tappered doweling could help tremendously for always locating the bridge, this is true in case  there is any benchwork movement from humidity/ drying etc. One day it may drop in but removal may need a few good raps to lift. If you continue to have problem w/ the electrical connection of those "L" brackets, you can "mortise" them in for the fit desired. I would even allow for slight angle as they would tighten the further down the bridge is placed. Solid to solid metal contacts may give an unrelyable or intermittant contact, Wave or spring bronze strips would always remain tight and provide contact. Still better than a plug in connector.

You're doing some fantastic work thus far, especially like the helix workmanship.

Modeling B&O- Chessie  Bob K.  www.ssmrc.org

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 2:03 PM

Jay, thanks for the tips.  In fact, the bridge is constructed pretty much as shown, and of course it has twists in it which forced me to alter the electrical contact design.  For one, the horizontal flanges on the L-braces are too long...they would overlap over the bottom surface of the wood block.  So, I elected to cut those flanges, invert them and place them on the inside shoulders of the supporting outer blocks on which the bridge rests, and to use wood screws as bearings, thust still getting a means of electrical contact.  It has meant that the positioning of the supporting blocks with the inverted modified L-braces has to be carefully determined due to the construction of the bridge, its somewhat twisted wooden elements, and the requirement to have the screws adjust for vertical alignment at the rail tops.  It has been a challenge, and I know I'll have to continue to tinker with this, even to the extent of softening the ballast, removing the double crossing, and building a whole new bridge with better quality lumber, maybe even 5/8" quality plywood.   No rush...what I have will work until I decide I want a better setup, or until I gain confidence that what I have constructed works reliably. 

It looks fine, and so far the alignment at the rails is fine, even with repeated insertions and removals of the bridge.  It remains to be seen what a season change will do to the section of the layout.

Crandell

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Posted by modelmaker51 on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 3:12 AM

selector

Ii appreciate all your enthusiastic support.  Big Smile

Below is a diagramme of the lift-out bridge which will be duplicated below on the descending stage ramp. Probably, maybe.  I'll see how this one goes.

http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn105/mesenteria/Lift-outbridgeres.jpg

I expect to have this constructed and in place tomorrow.   I went at the entrance/duck-under module of my old layout two days ago, cutting all the wiring, removing a few screws and some carriage bolts.  I also had to bust up all the tens of pounds of J-Cloth, window screen, and ground goop, including that nice hand-carved cliff.   I hoisted the module outdoors, much lighter than it had been moments before, and removed all the end-screws of the joists so that I could free the L-girders. Finding the portions with  the flattest/least warped tops of them, I marked them for cutting and will bring some of the old to the new when I construct the bridge.

More tomorrow.

Crandell

Crandell, having built a few lift-out bridges, I would recommend adding some of that 1/2" ply you have as a top layer to your bridge to insure flatness and stiffness.It should also help prevent twisting over time. Glue and screw everything together so you end up with a mono-block., but you probably know that.

Jay 

C-415 Build: https://imageshack.com/a/tShC/1 

Other builds: https://imageshack.com/my/albums 

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Posted by Motley on Monday, April 16, 2012 10:31 AM

richhotrain

 

P.S.  I notice that Motley has spent quite a bit of time replying to this thread.  Michael, on a personal note, I would remind you that you have an "extension layout room"  that remains ignored and unfinished. 

Do you ever plan to lay track ?   Indifferent

Crandell has been making a lot more progress than I have, I will admit I have been slacking. But only because the weather is warm and i've been playing golf in my spare time.

Michael


CEO-
Mile-HI-Railroad
Prototype: D&RGW Moffat Line 1989

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Posted by selector on Saturday, April 14, 2012 10:24 AM

Rich, you are right about the turnouts on such a low layout.

Even though I don't qualify as an 'operaor' the way so many modellers like to do it, I do insist upon using a pick to line the points all over the place.  It's part of the fun for me, and about as close to operations as I get.  I do get that others would rather automate it both for the challenge and to ensure they operate more like the real railroads where things are done remotely. 

The one turnout I just connected to the cable is situated well out of both reach and sight, like by nearly 5 feet from my outstretched hand because it is against the wall at the back of the large helix.   I made doubly sure to clean and test the turnout, and then to test it once I had it fixed in place.  Later, I had to make sure the cable actuation was reliable, and so far it has worked.  If I ever have a failure there, it won't be so bad to replace the turnout, but it won't be a cakewalk. 

Thanks for your comment.

Crandell

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, April 14, 2012 5:48 AM

Crandell,

When Mark started this thread in mid-January, I ignored it and haven't paid any attention to it since then until this morning.  However, I just spent 45 minutes reading through the entire thread, and I must say that I am totally impressed with your project. 

One observation.  At a 29" height, either your turnouts will not be automated or you will add power from above rather than below.  What do you plan to do in this regard?

Rich

P.S.  I notice that Motley has spent quite a bit of time replying to this thread.  Michael, on a personal note, I would remind you that you have an "extension layout room"  that remains ignored and unfinished. 

Do you ever plan to lay track ?   Indifferent

Alton Junction

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Posted by selector on Thursday, April 12, 2012 3:55 PM

Ken and Tom, yes that is a fairly nice photo.  Jarrell worked his magic on it for me....he's the only guy I know who can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Phoebe, yeah, I was going to visit them next if the engine/mower shop wanted too much or had cables too short/long.  I have a tandem bike with the right cables, but the armouring was stripped at various places to leave it bare.  I need the entire length, except for the last 1" and a bit, armoured.

Thanks for the reminder though. Smile

Crandell

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, April 12, 2012 7:42 AM

You can get those cables anywhere they sell bicycle parts.  They are used for brake cables.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 10:08 PM

That's a terrific pic, Crandell.  A Niagara and NYC Mikado out on the line and a Pennsy steamer in the roundhouse.  Sweet. YesCool

Tom

https://tstage9.wixsite.com/nyc-modeling

Time...It marches on...without ever turning around to see if anyone is even keeping in step.

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Posted by cudaken on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8:55 PM

Sigh

 I tell you Crandell, I am said to see the old layout coming apart. Sigh

 I have many great photos saved that you have posted!

 In fact this one is my desktop on the computer.

 

 Yet if one has to go, so the other one can be, I am with you.

              Ken

 

I hate Rust

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8:48 PM

Stopped by the local small engine/lawn-mower/generator sales and repair depot to get a generic 6' throttle or choke cable, the one with a plastic armouring and sleeve.  I had to nip off the wire square-S at the bared tip, bend up a new tip at right angles, and grind it down to a sharp pin to insert it into the one turnout on the entire layout I won't be able to reach...the one at the back, near the wall, of the helix.  I fashioned a plywood retaining sandwich with grooves to hold the sleeve end in place, and glued it in place with the wire end in the throwbar hole and the other end with the actuating plastic lever and housing bolted to the helix's outer frame.  It worked!

I have the W/S #6 double crossover glued into place atop the lift-out bridge.  I need to cut down the metal L-brackets on one of their shanks because they are too long.   Not looking forward to doing that eight times.

Once they are cut and the four corner ones installed on the bridge, I can fashion the support brackets for a snug fit, and then mount the brackets so that the rails align at all four gaps.  That will require three hands.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:38 AM

Thanks, Stourbridge Lion!

In a departure from construction, I present some sobering (for me) destruction.

The duckunder module at the entrance to my old layout is gone, with evidence of the busted up rock-hard ground goop all over the carpet.  I cleaned it up soon enough.

With unfettered access to the operating pit, and the diagonal reversing loop bridge also gone as a result, I began to tear up the yard with a view to recovering any useful turnouts of the Peco Code 83 variety.

I bared the yellow underlay to mark a cut line to excise the turntable and roundhouse surgically, and then cut it out with an electric sabre saw.  Worked well, and the desired chunk sits on the new layout in position, not yet fixed.

More later.

Crandell

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Posted by Stourbridge Lion on Monday, April 9, 2012 4:37 PM

Thanks for sharing Crandell; I always love reading layout build topics like these!!!

Bow

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Posted by selector on Monday, April 9, 2012 4:14 PM

Well, another lesson learned.  It didn't go as easily as I had hoped.  Nothing wrong with the design and idea, just the mechanics.  And that problem was warped wood.  The L-girders I harvested from the old layout were unsuitable because they had warped a bit, and one of the 1X4's was actually milled improperly.  It was 1/4" off at one end.  Didn't know that until I had trouble aligning the 2X2 blocking between it and the other one.

So, I had to start from scratch with freshly milled lumber, seasoned already, to make two new L-girder lengths.  The bridge, minus steel bracket contacts on the corners, is setting at the moment while I have a coffee and a break.   I won't put it into place until I have added the sub-roadbed, roadbed, tracks, and ballast so that they all provide the eventual grade at the rail ends to which I must match/align the truncated rails at each end of the gap that the bridge fills.  Once I figure out how to get and keep all eight rail tips perfectly aligned, only then can I situate the support brackets.  If I do this right, say by getting the bridge very close, then I can still fudge the loose oncoming rail ends on the permanent modules on each end of the bridge and get those to line, up, thus freeing me from all sorts of aggravation with the bridge placement.  Assuming the bridge and supports are fixed and 99% reliably positioned from insertion to insertion, it makes sense to just make the four oncoming rails on each end of the gap do the conformation.  All I will need is about 1/16" wiggle room.  I will bevel all the rail ends well to ensure flanges get guided across the small gaps, even at speed.

Crandell

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Posted by selector on Monday, April 9, 2012 1:01 AM

Ii appreciate all your enthusiastic support.  Big Smile

Below is a diagramme of the lift-out bridge which will be duplicated below on the descending stage ramp. Probably, maybe.  I'll see how this one goes.

I expect to have this constructed and in place tomorrow.   I went at the entrance/duck-under module of my old layout two days ago, cutting all the wiring, removing a few screws and some carriage bolts.  I also had to bust up all the tens of pounds of J-Cloth, window screen, and ground goop, including that nice hand-carved cliff.   I hoisted the module outdoors, much lighter than it had been moments before, and removed all the end-screws of the joists so that I could free the L-girders. Finding the portions with  the flattest/least warped tops of them, I marked them for cutting and will bring some of the old to the new when I construct the bridge.

More tomorrow.

Crandell

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