Author Topic: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')  (Read 23964 times)

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M.C. Fujiwara

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"Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« on: February 22, 2012, 01:21:10 AM »
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Well, the Free-moN bug has bitten.
http://free-mon.wesleysteiner.com/
 
Credit (blame?) goes to Steve Williams and the Silicon Valley Free-moN group http://sv-free-mon.org/ for doing such excellent work on their own modules and putting on some great shows. Seems like every time I go to a local train gig, like a LDSIG meet or the x2011 NMRA convention, I end up hanging around these great dudes & their modules and wishing I had one to contribute. So time to get busy!
 
Even though the group is an hour away from my part of the Bay, I just had to start building something Free-moN, not just because of Steven and the groovy group, but because Free-moN is such a fab deal: single mainline, 50" layout height, emphasis on prototypical scenes and ops, and very few "standards"--really just the track (code 55), wiring, and endplates!
[Free-moN Standards: http://free-mon.wesleysteiner.com/FreemoNStandards.pdf ]
 
Anything else is pretty much up to you!
 
You could build a 20' curved yard, divided up into five 4' sections (for transport), and, as long as the endplate on the far left & far right are Free-moN, you're good to go! Which means you could take a section of your "home" layout, attach 6" "adaptor" sections on each end, and then participate in a Free-moN event.
 
Seems like the best of all possible N-finite worlds!
 
Originally I designed a groovy 6'x6' under-&-over loop module based on the WP Feather River Route, but that would have necessitated cleaning out more of the garage than I could easily do, and then the Silicon Valley Free-moN group got an invite to show in early April, so that set the deadline!
 
Ever since reading John Armstrong's Track Planning for Realistic Operations I've been intrigued by his drawing of a "shoofly" (page 123, 3rd ed.). It's a simple scene of track diverted over a fill while a crew repaired / rebuilt a bridge over a small stream, yet contained the possibility of multiple "stories" within the scene (not only the work on the rails, but the land just outside of railroad property: orchards, farms, roads, forests, etc.)
 
So I designed a 2'x6' "Shoofly" module:
 


Bent at 30 degrees to add interest & show-layout possibilities, and it eases the curves on the diverted track (Free-moN standards: 22" radius curve minimum).
 
Best of all, I might get it done in the month & a half before the show!
 
The 24"x6" endplates are 3/4" birch plywood, but I ripped the rest of the 4"-tall frames from 1/2" sanded ply "handy panels" I had laying around for a different project. (The 2" pink foam will take up the other 2").
 
A great investment for benchwork and all types of home-improvement projects is the mitre/chopsaw:
 


Not only rotates to any angle, but also cuts at a bevel, which came in handy for the 15 deg cuts where the two sections come together.
 
Wood glue, drywall screws, and some right-angle clamps help put the frame together:
 


[Notice the dropcloth over the Mt. Coffin & Columbia River layout: I learned the hard way last time I cut wood in the garage that sawdust goes EVERYWHERE! I also tried to do all the cutting before my wife came back, but it didn't happen, and luckily I remembered to take all the laundry inside before starting!]
 
Apparently ACE has an adjustable-angle clamp, but was way out of stock, so I just built all the right angle stuff and then put the 15 deg board on last, holding the boards in place with my hand while I drilled the pilot holes. Turnout out fine:
 


About right now, you more experienced woodworkers are noticing a few things I forgot to do before assembling the frame (what can I say, I am excited!), but I'll show you that it's all ok in the next post
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 01:25:11 AM »
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As the 1/2" ply is a wee thin, I braced it with some glued& screwed triangles:
 


So I assembled the frame and supports before:
 1) drilling holes for the bolts that connect the two sections
 2) drilling a hole for the wires to pass between the two sections
 3) drilling holes for the 2"x2" legs
 4) cutting out the holes for the NCE UTP panels
 5) routering the endplate "mouths" for the wires
 
D'oh!
 
And, as it turns out, the space between the frame supports wasn't wide enough to allow a drill in to do all of that.
 
D'oh!
 
Thank goodness for this little miricle: The "Orbiter"!
 


Was able to get all my legs & wire holes in after framing. Very handy, that Orbiter!
 
The main track bus and accessory bus need to be 12 gauge wire and have Anderson Powerpole connectors at the endplates.
 Those Anderson connectors are very cool, but a pain to crimp to stay on.
 Until I realized that solder worked better.
 
So got frame, wiring, legs done:
 


About that white foamcore sheet:
 Turns out that 2" pink foam isn't 2": it's about 1 7/8" (dimensional foam?)
 So I was short coming up to the 6" endplate.
 I thought about screwing & gluing a 1/8" masonite plate on top of the frame (upon which I'd attach the foam), but dang that was heavy.
 So I got some 3/16" Elmer's foamcore from Target and laid that down with some caulk.
 Pretty rigid stuff.
 
The Pink foam will lay on top, and the foamcore will provide a base for the Bullfrog turnout control I'll be trying on this module.
 
But tonight, the caulk is curing the foamcore to the frame, with the help of a model railroader's favorite tools: whatever weights available.
 


Will our hero get his module done in time for the show?
 Will he make more messy mistakes while he man-handles his module into being?
 Will he stop refering to himself in the third person?
 
The answer: Oh, yeah.
 
Will post updates soon.
 Any / all feedback & suggestions appreciated!
 Thanks for looking.
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 01:26:05 AM »
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What's great about it is that you can have a working scene and a bullet-proof mainline at the same time.
 As well as a place for your crane & camp cars

There's only one turnout (which could be a dummy if you wanted), and the yellow "slow order" signs add operational interest.
 
Gonna need some cows & lots of static grass for this one

Good thing I just made "The Banananator":
 


Haven't done farmland yet, so this will be fun!
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

Pomperaugrr

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2012, 10:39:54 AM »
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I remember that John Armstrong illustration.  This should be an awesome scene.  The P&W had a shoofly built about an hour from my house while they replaced a bridge.  I'll be following this scene.  I have really enjoyed following your other work.

Eric

davefoxx

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2012, 11:50:30 AM »
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I remember that John Armstrong illustration.  This should be an awesome scene.  The P&W had a shoofly built about an hour from my house while they replaced a bridge.  I'll be following this scene.  I have really enjoyed following your other work.

Eric

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2012, 12:09:40 PM »
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This is very cool.

Dave Schneider

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2012, 12:15:47 PM »
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Looks like a great scene and thread in the making. I too remember the Armstrong drawing and have thought it would be a nice scene. Have your kids agreed to fruit painting duties?

Best wishes, Dave
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 06:25:25 PM by Dave Schneider »
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dnhouston

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2012, 03:24:12 PM »
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I thought about doing a "Shoo-Fly" myself after reading that book.  I'll definitely be following this project.
David

Chris333

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2012, 05:08:23 PM »
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Here's one from a P&LE book:

Area now:
http://binged.it/zZShSB

Scottl

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2012, 05:28:42 PM »
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Now that is awesome!  What a great module that would make.

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2012, 06:17:47 PM »
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Thanks for all the encouraging words!

Great photo, Chris: thanks for sharing.
A scene like that could almost make an Ntrak module look cool  :D

Dave: not sure about the fruit yet.  Still deciding where this scene will be.  Maybe the San Joaquin Valley (dustier, bigger trees or some almonds) though I'm leaning towards Marin / Sonoma (greener).
I'm going to try to make an abandoned vineyard next to the old barn (so I don't have to figure out how to model grapes), and the cows will be cool, but still deciding on what to plant / have in the "orchard" space (except corn).

But I'm sure I'll find something for the kids to do (muhahhahaa!)  :P
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

timwatson

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2012, 06:51:11 PM »
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MC do you have an article coming on making that giant gra$$ applicator? Might not be a giant but looks big here.
Tim Watson

My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nscalerail/sets/

Modeling a version of the Jay Street Connecting RR. in Brooklyn.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2012, 07:04:01 PM »
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Having grown up in Marin County (with its NWP branch literally across the street from my house) I'm very partial to a Marin scene.  I remember in the mid 60s there was a fire in the tunnel between Terra Linda an San Rafael that cut off the south end of the branch, so all cars were moved by ferry from San Francisco via Tiburon.  There was no shoo-fly involved, but it does raise the possibility of doing a closed tunnel scene, which is not at all uncommon in the region.

(It would be even cooler to come up with a plan that incorporates that ferry slip.  You'd do a whiz-bang job with that! But that's another layout...)

-gfh

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2012, 07:35:18 PM »
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Seldom modeled but a fascinating scene the Shoo-Fly.  Many detailing possibilities as the P&LE photo shows.  Very cool M.C.

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: "Shoo-Fly" Free-moN Module (2'x6')
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2012, 05:27:17 PM »
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Thanks for all the encouragement & well wishes: we'll see if I can do "Module in a Month"

Tim: I built "The Banananator" following Kevin Rowbotham's excellent article in the Mar/April 2010 Model Railroad Hobbyist.
http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/magazine/mrh-2010-MarApr/static_grass_applicators
 
The only difference is that I used 1 1/2" PVC pipe instead of ABS and used a PVC plug to hold the container against the coupler:
 


The lip on the plug was enough for the gorillaglue (CA didn't work on the type of plastic container I used), and I did put a plasic washer on top to reinforce the "flock jar" bottom.
 
The only other difference is that I used a lighted rocker switch instead of a toggle and separate LED:
 
 
 
I tried it out on a test diorama and it flocked the heck outta the area:
 


Being used to the wimpier flyswatter I wasn't prepared for the volume, so now I have to refine my technique with the new tool.  Looking forward to it!
(I painted it yellow so I'd be able to find it easily in the mess of tools I have.  Plus I had yellow enamel spray paint around.  Once it was yellow, I couldn't resist spraying the cap and lid black to banana-ize it ;) )

So, Yesterday / Today:

The foamcore / caulk dried pretty quick and made a nice base.
The foamcore is the Elmer's stuff you can get at Target: pretty cheap and stonger than some artstore foamcore I looked at (no Gatorboard around here, otherwise I'd snag that up quick). It's also 3/16", which makes my 1 7/8" pink foam stick up a little over the endplate, but a little sanding will do the job.
 
Spread caulk over the foamcore and then placed the pink foam:
 


I intentionally left it a little long on both sides where the sections butt up, so I can sand it to a good fit later.
 
Attaching foam to foam over a large area takes a long time to cure (no air!), so I'm not planning on carving until the weekend or next week.
 Tomorrow I'll take off the weights and clamps and start laying out the track & maybe caulk down the cork.
 But today I built a #6 turnout as well as the Bullfrog I'm trying out for turnout control:
 


The Bullfrog was pretty easy to put together: very well designed!
 And has a switch to power the frog. Not bad for $6!
 I didn't get the control rods / knobs (they even have a set up for Free-mo modules!) because I figure I can make my own.
 
I'm going to have to reinforce the bottom of the foamcore with a sheet of styrene and gorillaglue to get the firm base the Bullfrog needs, though.
 And I seem to have placed a crossbrace right at the area I have the one turnout (D'oh!), so I'm hoping the Bullfrog's "small footprint" works (the wire is on one side, so it shouldn't be a problem).
 
Will be fun to start laying cork & track soon!
 Thanks for looking.
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/