Author Topic: TrainCat Signals  (Read 3627 times)

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John

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TrainCat Signals
« on: February 10, 2010, 04:29:26 PM »
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So, I purchased a bunch of these a while back .. and just started to build them .. N Scale ..

they go together pretty easy, and I am starting to figure out how to put the little leds in them .. only one thing has got me stumped .. those little sun shade thingies .. whats the secret to bending them :( to fit into the little slot .. or to keep them from flying off into the nether regions of my carpet.  I am about ready to leave them off ..

Ian MacMillan

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 04:40:24 PM »
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Try bending them around a paint brush.
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71jeep

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 04:45:37 PM »
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I have not built these yet but my thought was to stick them to some scotch tape then bend them arround the paint brush dowel ect.

That way as you said they don't go flying into the nether region and you have something a little more to hold on too.

Allen......

Chris333

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 06:31:15 PM »
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You probably have to bend them around something smaller than what you want the bend to end up being because there will be some spring back. Maybe you could pinch them between a small dowel and a square balsa block, squeeze it with pliers.

John

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 06:40:19 PM »
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yea .. i gotta figure out the "technique" .. unlike the HO, these are really small parts .. imagine if it was Z :)

DKS

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 06:56:46 PM »
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I found it was much easier to make my own. (And this is Z, so N should theoretically be easier.)

First, I ground the end of thin-walled brass tubing to shape.


Then I separated the shape from the tube.


After some sanding, I glued them to the target with CA.


It was not only easier, I liked the look better (original shade, left; my shade, right):


Assembled, painted and weathered.


Used the same technique for this one--
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 07:03:59 PM by David K. Smith »
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John

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 06:58:38 PM »
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awesome .. I will give that a try ..

UP1996

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2010, 07:26:48 PM »
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Very nice.

TrainCat2

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2010, 11:23:27 PM »
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John,

I roll them around the provided tubing. The shades are .0025" thin so they are quite easy. Although, David's idea is quite nice.

Now try to roll the Z-Scale signal hoods and these will be a walk in the park.  Oh yea, I forgot, you can't find the park right now.  ;D

Regards
Bob Knight

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TrainCat2

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2010, 12:02:46 AM »
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Sorry for the crude pics, I took them real fast. Here is how I do it.

1) Put shade on finger tip


2) Push the tubing down onto the shade right down the middle


3) Insert shade from back into slot


4) Turn over on a flat surface, adjust shade and secure



Regards
Bob Knight

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DKS

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 08:11:42 AM »
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Bob, I have every confidence that you have thoroughly researched signals; I'm also keen to some of the technical challenges presented by N and Z scale signal shades, both for the manufacturer and the modeler. That said, and with all due respect, IMO some of the kit shades fall a little short.

Notice in particular that the prototype shades wrap at least 50% of the way around the signal, and while they all have different shapes, they're all more blunted than the model shades.
 

 

 


In addition, I found that the slots show up in photos since they're often considerably larger than the shades--
 


I'm sure it's not an issue for most modelers, but I still wonder if it might be worth looking at this, and perhaps making some adjustments. Again, with all due respect for otherwise beautiful products!

BTW, when I went hunting for prototype references, this site in particular was invaluable: http://www.railroadsignals.us/
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 05:19:04 PM by David K. Smith »
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TrainCat2

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 08:56:40 PM »
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David,

I have an enormous respect for your modeling talent. With that said, let me enlighten you. First off, before I started put my signals out on the market, nobody did shades commercially. So it was new ground. After several test groups of average to low modeling skills tried to bend prototypical shades, They just could not do it will enough to use them in N. The resulting shade that does not wrap around is the compromise. Although HO was a different matter, targets have never been my ... target. Oh BTW, that shot of the HO PRR head was the very first target & shades and was revamped immediately.

This forum ( I personally like "A forum OF modelers" better) are not the norm. The talent here FAR exceeds the the skills required to make proto shades. My point of interest is in providing an easy to build signal bridge to people who have talent at different levels. Where else are you going to find NYC signal bridges and PRR Lines West for instance. Please realize, Signals are still my product line that I have to keep restocking each week. I sell a LOT of signals and have had very few complaints. The etched targets, to me, have always been fillers because there is always extra brass. Companies such as Integrated Signal Systems, Tomar and Alkem already have target castings and it would not be something I really want to go after since they do have this market. I should, and will, stick to what I do best.

For future items I will see what I can do David. I listen.

Regards
Bob Knight

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John

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2010, 09:12:47 PM »
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groups of average to low modeling skills tried to bend prototypical shades, They just could not do it will enough to use them in N.

That would be me :)

bicknell

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2010, 09:15:20 PM »
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My $0.02, going in a slightly different direction.



For this type of signal where there is a "box" to hold each lamp I think we could get a much more prototypical looking head by taking 3 surface mount LED's, fitting magnet wire, and then placing it inside a plastic casting that filled in the shape of the target, including shades.  The LED's would be moulded in, and I think you could get very close to the look of the prototypical signal.

Regardless of the sunshade, it's going to be very hard to make the back side of this signal look remotely right starting with the Brass, if you want it to operate.



This is a more interesting beast.  The lights are in much smaller boxes, set back from the head of the signal.  Having seen them apart, the shade is attached to the light box, and simply passes through a hole in the target without touching it.  I don't think there is any way to model a N scale working version of these that would hold up under close up photography.

But, quite frankly both are quite nitpicky complaints.  Bob's product is one of the best out there, and I bet a significant fraction of the people who build his signals don't make them operational.  I can also only imagine how frustrated I would get trying to assemble the shades (one of the reasons I haven't ordered any), so I can understand why some compromises were in order.

I do think David's comments were all in good humor, trying to offer some suggestions to improve the product.  Sometimes I wonder if a private e-mail is better than a forum post for my own feedback, the former provides some discretion the latter allows other folks to chime in and say if they like the idea or not.  Positives and negatives to both sides.

While I love Bob's product, for me unless I can buy preassembled heads with LED's in them I'm not interested, it just looks too time consuming and fiddly to put LED's and such together, get them wired, and make it look half decent....

DKS

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Re: TrainCat Signals
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2010, 12:59:37 PM »
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David,

I have an enormous respect for your modeling talent. With that said, let me enlighten you. First off, before I started put my signals out on the market, nobody did shades commercially. So it was new ground. After several test groups of average to low modeling skills tried to bend prototypical shades, They just could not do it will enough to use them in N. The resulting shade that does not wrap around is the compromise. Although HO was a different matter, targets have never been my ... target. Oh BTW, that shot of the HO PRR head was the very first target & shades and was revamped immediately.

This forum ( I personally like "A forum OF modelers" better) are not the norm. The talent here FAR exceeds the the skills required to make proto shades. My point of interest is in providing an easy to build signal bridge to people who have talent at different levels. Where else are you going to find NYC signal bridges and PRR Lines West for instance. Please realize, Signals are still my product line that I have to keep restocking each week. I sell a LOT of signals and have had very few complaints. The etched targets, to me, have always been fillers because there is always extra brass. Companies such as Integrated Signal Systems, Tomar and Alkem already have target castings and it would not be something I really want to go after since they do have this market. I should, and will, stick to what I do best.

For future items I will see what I can do David. I listen.

Thanks for this explanation, Bob. It's about what I expected. Since I have your ear, here are a couple of suggestions, FWIW.

Since you've almost always got extra brass to work with, why not include two types of shades--ones that are easier to bend, and ones that are more prototypical? The modeler would then get to choose which type suits them best.

My other suggestion would be, at least for the N and Z shades, to omit the fret connector on the rounded end of the shade. This would eliminate the need for the modeler to clean up the end of the shade that shows, which is a challenge.

One last thought... how about a little kit with lots of extra shades, in different shapes and sizes, so existing signals (of any make) can be retrofitted with better shades?

Again, just suggestions, not complaints.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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