Thursday, 31 December 2015

A New Year! (And Thank You)

A very happy New Year to you all! I hope this year brings you happiness, settles old disputes and brings new opportunities for you.

Thank you all for your positive and helpful comments throughout the past year. Thanks also to those of you that so often go above and beyond just to help a fellow modeller - it does not go unnoticed, trust me!

I'm not one for socialising, so instead of celebrating the end of what has been (quite frankly) an awful year, (not just for me, but for many many others) I decided to welcome in the new year by sitting down with a cup of hot tea and a drawing tablet.

Thus this is my plan for SSLR (Sandy Shore Light Railway)'s first railcar. It's not based on any particular prototype, but I have taken the basic shape from a Bedford OB bus that I have sitting in front of me.

The chassis will be from an old Dapol N gauge M7 4-4-0, since that is what I have lying around!

Best wishes for a great year to come!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sandy Shores - The wiring is complete and it actually works!

Finally! The wiring is complete! I spent about 8 hours wiring it with another 4 hours fault finding and finally another hour correcting it and soldering it all up. It's been quite a big task, but I'm really pleased it is all working as intended. I've included captions in the photos to make life a little easier.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Control Panel & Wiring Diagram

Firstly, seasons greetings from me and my family to all of you!

Christmas Day was spent not only gobbling down food and spending time with family, but also working out the wiring for the layout (minus the feeds and frog feeds etc). It's taken a hell of a long time to do (and hopefully it is correct), but I can't start something unless I'm almost 100% sure I know how to do it.

The control panel has been printed out onto glossy paper and the switches installed via a left over bit of hardboard. I should have used ply as hardboard is not much use for anything! Still, I've done it now.

So now the wiring can begin! The panel will be attached to the layout via two bent metal strips which will be screwed unto the bottom of the subframe - just as on Calshot.

I hope you all had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Layout Lighting - Part I

Before I get onto the title of this blogpost, just a little update on the crossing!

Following Ted P's step-by-step guide on how he built his crossing, the insulating gaps in the crossing have now been cut using a fine track saw (x-acto to be precise). It took quite a while to cut through, and I was very nervous about ripping the tiny bits of rail off. Thankfully nothing broke though!

And so in other news, I finally got around to test fitting the new lighting. The stuff I went for was LED strip from a company called Aled LED. It's cheap and for a reason - the inbuilt plug that came with it is probably down-right illegal, not to mention dangerous. As soon as I saw this I cut it off and wired up a new plug. For those that aren't aware - this T shaped plug has no fuse and I've heard many stories of these setting alight!

The new plug was wired up and it still works as intended (although the wire they use is so poor quality (thin and rubbery feeling) that I'm surprised it works!). Anyway, I digress, With it loosely tacked onto the pelmet, I could try out the different colours, and make my own ones too.

I've tried out a variety of colours: from bright white, to a yellow/white and to a blue white. When it's installed properly I'll make sure I have some presets that work with the scenery once it is built.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Trackwork (Crossing) - Part 2

Work continues on the crossing! The flange grooves have been carefully notched out - they need a tiny bit more work but the stock I've got to hand seems to run surprisingly well through it. A couple spots need some adjustment but apart from that I'm happy with it so far. Actually, some of the wagons seem to fair better on this crossing than on Peco points! That is despite the untidy nature of my checkrails. As you may note, some of the checkrails have had to be cut down as they were too high. I did try to lower some of them by applying heat to the solder, but only 2 of them out of the four that were too high were able to be lowered via that method. Hence why I had to resort to the cutting disc. It's not tidy, but like I said, I'll just be happy if the crossing works!

All that is left to do is finish fettling the flange groves, cut the isolating breaks, and finally wire it all up - then I can test it properly!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Trackwork (Crossing) - Part 1

So, the time has come! I've decided to brave it and construct the vital part of the trackplan - the crossing! I have been both looking forward to this bit, and also not for obvious reasons. This will be a bit photo intensive, but I'm sure you won't mind. I'll warn you now - my soldering skills are terrible so it will not be neat...

 Above: The first step - the copper clad board was cut out and the middle position of the tracks marked onto it.
Below: The copper was then cut carefully using a Dremel cutter bit along the lines.

 Above: I decided the best way to do it was to cut out some sleepers off of an existing bit of track.
Below: The ends of the first rail were spot soldered on each end.

Above and below: The same bit of rail was then soldered along its entire length. The second reference rail was then chamfered and the bottom edge notched to accept the web of the other rail. This was again spot soldered and then fully soldered once happy with its position.

Above and below: The second bit of rail was then continued onto the other side, and so on and so forth. The plastic sleepers meant one end was always the right gauge and I then only had to pay attention to the other end. Luckily the heat of the iron didn't melt the sleepers.

Above: Then it came to fitting the tiny length of rail (next to the white bit of plasticard). I decided as you can see to use the plasticard to hold the rail in place from one side. Only having two hands makes things really hard, so sometimes you have to think up different ways of doing things.

Below: And here it is in place (nearest the camera). I thought this was hard to do - you wait till I got to the check/wing rails!

Above: The wing/check rails were cut to length and angled (using a pair of pliers to hold whilst bending the rail. Why I didn't make them all regular lengths I've no idea! These rails were all angled and notched of course.

Below: Soldering these rails on was a complete pain in the proverbial. It didn't help that the soldering iron bit was dirty and I don't have anything to clean it with. They say it's very important to keep it clean, and I can see why now! Anyway, here is the finished (almost) crossing on the layout. All that is left to do is cut the flange gaps and isolating gaps and wire it up.

Above and below: I can see a lot of excess solder which could do with being cleaned up! I am very happy with it so far and it seems to be all working as far as gauge is concerned which is promising. It certainly isn't neat by any stretch, but it is my first bit of hand made track and I'm really happy with it all things considered. I have added a ruler on the bottom photo to give some scale to the photos.

So that's about it for now, I'm really hoping this will work as intended when I've wired it up and cut the gaps!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Woodwork - Part V

Another woodwork update - after having ran a few errands I finally got around to constructing the pelmet fascia. I don't know if it will stand the test of time, but it would be easy to make again should a component fail.

It's really simple in construction - an L shaped 3mm ply bracket was made and fits onto the end of the pelmet supports. A U shaped 3mm ply bracket was made and fits onto the pelmet itself. With the pelmet supports cut to the right angle, I could then put it all together:

Quite an improvement, I feel! It seems surprisingly sturdy too which is an added bonus.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Sandy Shores - Woodwork - Part IV

I managed to get a bit more woodwork done today before it got dark. I finally got around to screwing the 6mm ply base on to the sub-frame. All the holes were countersunk so that the polystyrene landform layer will sit flat.

Next on the job-list was to cut and fit the facias. Before that was done, I needed to add a few more supports along the front edge to attach them to.

Yesterday the fascias were cut out of 3mm ply into 100mm widths using a sawbench. Today I needed to cut out the profile shape. To do this, I had to temporarily clamp the ply in the middle to the layout. A rough outline was drawn slightly higher than the polystyrene to give enough height for the layer of clay that will be added on top. This was then cut out with a jigsaw.

A few screws later, and two of the fascia panels are in place. By the way, the ply trackbed will be the last thing to be attached/glued on so that I can easily fit point motors (I'm learning from previous mistakes!). I still haven't fitted the motors on Old AGWI Rd because of how much of a pain it is on that layout.

So the only woodwork left to do is the pelmet fascia and the turntable I think. I'm really glad I was persuaded to make this only one board - makes life so much easier!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Sandy Shores - General Update

Thanks to a suggestion over on NGRM, the slight problem of the pelmet support getting in the way has been rectified. Silly me, I didn't think of the obvious solution - simply raise the hinge and cut the remaining portion of the leg off.

Not an exciting photo, but here's the simple fix as suggested:

Below: I did still however have to notch the ply trackbed a little bit, but not as much as would have had to! You'll also note I've cut out the circle ply bed for the turntable.

Below: The track has been rough cut to approximate lengths, although I might need a tiny bit more track for the fiddleyard - we'll see! You can also see the copperclad board on the approximate location of the crossing. I could probably have cut out a bigger piece, but if I'm honest but I doubt I'll be able to construct it first time anyway!