Author Topic: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion  (Read 16210 times)

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M.C. Fujiwara

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Started this thread over on the MRH forums http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/14196, then just today realized that the "Layout Engineering Reports" here on RW could be any scale (so used to thinking of RW as "N" for "Normal").
But would very much like to tap the amazing minds here for suggestions and advice.

Last month (May), a man contacted me through our shared Local Hobby Shop:  He had a 3'x16' HO layout that was half done.  He also had grandsons who are 7- and 8-years old and who really wanted to run trains with Grandpa.

The challenge was that, ever since being diagnosed with cancer a year ago, between the chemo and the medication he just didn't have the energy to continue work on the layout.  So he needed a strapping young man with the muscles and know-how to get the layout done and running well.

But he got me.

A life-long N scaler, and one who spend the past year immersed in the fantastic world of Free-moN, I present this thread as a both a record of my progress as well as a call for comments and criticism as I revise, redo, refurbish, expand and hopefully finish this HO layout set in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the 1920's / 1930's.

Here's the layout as I found it:





So follow along, if you will, and feel free to comment and suggest any technique or experience that will help out!
And hopefully some geared steam will be sounding through the mountain passes soon!


Well, after I cleaned everything up, this is what he'd gotten done up to now:



About 1/2 done.
PECO C83 track, DC (the controller in the drawer that's open under the layout).

The layout is in a large garage / office building on the property, and shares the space with a 1925 Ford truck (one original owner) that's getting rebuilt.
Air conditioned and in California, so no humidity to deal with.

The client realizes that 3' is a very tight space for HO (and the one turnback curve doesn't accomodate some of the brass geared steam he wants to run) and so he wants to expand on both sides to create a point-to-point with a continuous-run option / drop in.

So Phase 1 (tentatively):



And Phase 2 (conceptually):



The large peninsula will be a larger town, like in the Sierra Nevada foothills, with a logging site high above it on the far left side.

Any / all industries are decided by the client: he had a modeler building craftsman kits that some of which are already present but some will show up down the line, so part of the challenge is to allow for enough room for future structures with vague dimensions.

Eventually, all this space will be fabulous geared steam layout:



(That table at the bottom is where the large "Phase Two" peninsula will be).

[cont.]

M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

seusscaboose

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2013, 07:36:25 PM »
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I look forward to following your progress
"I have a train full of basements"

NKPH&TS #3589


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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 07:37:41 PM »
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The client had already finished half the 3'x16' layout, to a high degree of scenic detail:



Track ballasted & wired, landscaping, greenery, and trees installed, craftsman wood mill and trestle detailed and planted, etc.

And he wanted (understandably) to keep as much of the earlier work as possible.

The challenge is that much of the track was uneven, and then permanently set that way in a scenery goop of sand, white glue, and cement.

So rock solid that a 170 lbs. dude can stand on it:



[Yes, that's an SF Giant's shirt I'm wearing.  Love the Giants.  Love the A's, too.  Lived in both SF and Oakland.  Always rooting for the home teams :) Especially when they're both playing quality ball]

Which is good, considering that the track that needs replacing is back in the corner, and the only way to access it is standing on it:



Of course, given the wooden mill, log dump, road bridge and trestle, there's only one place where my size 9 1/2 Chuck Taylor can plant itself.

So chiseling out all that rockwork & track in the back becomes a sick and twisted game of John Henry Twister.

Here's the close-up of the back corner (a "before"):



All of that is rock, rock solid and tight, tight trackwork that had uneven warpage that needs to (and is being) replaced.

There is no saving any of this track: pounding away with a chisel destroys everything, including the spongy WS risers underneath.  So a new sub-roadbed will be needed to get slipped in as well.  So the trick is to chisel away, but not too much, and leave something hard to attach new roadbed / track in the future.  All while contorted over the delicate structures.  Woot!

[no, can't soak it all out as that would disintegrate most of the other scenery (the stuff he wants to keep) and chipping away carefully actually keeps more control and leaves enough stuff to build upon later]

The tunnel will eventually be the route to the logging site of "Phase 2".

As far as the layout design goes, I'm actually (GASP!) winging it a bit.
Phase 1 will include a small mountain town, turntable and small yard for the mine, wood and quarry cars coming in and out.

Phase 2 will be a larger interchange with a mainline route (like some towns along the bottom of the foothills that dropped off cars to the SP, SF, WP or all of the above).

However, there will be a drop-in section that connection the two peninsulas for a basic continuous run for dummy-running / showing off during wine tastings / parties.

It took me awhile to get back in the groove, so I'm blogging about a month's worth of work right now.

So first I had to start CHISELING away the sand and cement and old track:



Which exposed some ragged and erratically shimmed WS risers.
(Notice I also cut away the existing truss bridge: need the space)

To even things out, I slipped some styrene between the WS risers and the cork roadbed and caulked it in place:



I cut the track all the way back to the first turnout, and I might have to exhume some of the other existing trackwork, but I'd like to see if trains run as is first.

Meanwhile, on the "new" end, I started laying out the Pink Foam: as the existing trackwork ended at 4" WS risers, it matched up pretty well with two layers of 2" Pink Foam.

The undersupports (no use using a whole sheet of foam under when not carving down):



This shot shows the two layers of foam in the original benchwork, as well as the Phase 1 expansion benchwork:



I used a 16"x48" L-girder framework that I had hanging around in my garage at home for the parallel peninsula and then built a box to connect the two.
I used bolts because while this isn't a portable layout, at some point it will make it easier to take apart.

He used WS risers and plaster cloth for the first part, but I'm using Pink Foam and spackle for the new part, so we'll see how it meshes.

[cont.]


« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 07:40:36 PM by M.C. Fujiwara »
M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2013, 07:43:50 PM »
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So I chiseled out most of the track and rockwork along the back elevated shelf:



Also built a control panel for the left side of the original layout: a paper diagram between two sections of plexiglass with holes drilled through for the momentary toggles.
(That was version two: the first I ripped apart by using a normal bit to drill the toggle holes.  A special bit from TAP Plastics made all the difference, even without a drill press)
Haven't quite figured out how to mount it on the fascia: debating magnets or angled moulding or both to allow access behind for wiring.  All suggestions appreciated.

The rock-blasting (which ripped off most of the skin on my hands) continued while the Pink Foam was being caulked and cured on the extension:



Notice the truss bridge is now a nice part of the branch line that disappears to the mine scene on the other side of the peninsula:



The mine will actually be an Inglenook and a worthwhile trip to "the other side"--plus it "expands" the layout exponentially (by having operators move around to another scene) without increasing the benchwork.

My client had built the truss about 20 years ago, and so I had to rip out the track & stringers and rebuild it:



Easy 30 minute build with C83 ME bridge track, stripwood, C55 guardrails, and Grandt Line NBW details (above is pre-painted) that allowed his original truss to remain but the rails to run smooth throughout.

[cont.]

M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2013, 07:46:58 PM »
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Thank goodness I didn't go to the gym the two mornings I shaped the foam: by the end of the day I was so soaked in sweat I could have been an extra in Gladiator.





Had the vacuum going the whole time as well.
Usually have the garage doors open to get a nice cross breeze through the space, but when forming foam the pink goes EVERYWHERE anyway so less wind the better.

After carving with knife and forming tool, and then sanding, I spread the spackle here and there to mask the 2" lines.  (Given the size of the project, I went ahead and got a big bucket of the spackle stuff).

Gave a quick painting of tan latex on the foam, and then laid some new track on the upper back level:



Extended the passing siding, as that's the main managing point for the mine.
The turnout control wires had already been installed (and embedded in the concrete), so I just wired up the Peco snap controls to those (will be on the right-side control panel).

Also stained and installed (with caulk and Mr.T-Pins) the cribbing for the truss bridge:



I like to get the landforms shaped, plastered and painted before installing track (especially since you can't spray-bomb track on foam unless it's painted first or it'll melt).

[cont.]

M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2013, 07:49:43 PM »
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After laying down the foam, and forming it, and then after playing around with the Peco C83 turnouts and track, it became apparent that a wee bit more space was needed on the Phase 1 peninsula for the yard tracks, mainline curve, and town buildings (he's got a LOT of small "woodsy" structures that he wants to fit in, which will look really good, an almost N-scale scenery to track ratio) (and that's a complement :))

So I built a 2'x2' box with legs and strut supports and bolted it on (on the right with the bucket o' metal bits and other weights pressing down to set the foam):



Soon there'll be 1/4" MDF fascia wrapping around it all and painted to blend in to everything else.

Got an order of PECO turnouts in a couple days ago, so I was able to start laying out the quarry and the approach to the town:



The ends of the turnouts are not symmetrically flush, so it was a little surprise and chore to file the ends and solder the turnout straight.  The Peco turnout machines are awesome and easy to install: snap!  Though a little noisy in operation.

For the quarry tracks I hacked out a bunch o' ties and gave it that "helter skelter" look:



Don't worry: it's all about layers.
Layers of spackle and dirt and sand and gravel and grout and it'll look like a decent quarry, with the right track the steam shovel and empties-in line and the left track the loading and loads-out line.

One of the cool things about HO is not having to worry so much about scaling down the dirt!

I do still worry about crap falling down into the switch machines, so I lined the holes with masking tape to help prevent stray stones sticking up the works:



I darkened the ground under the points with a black marker so I won't have to worry about laying down heavy ballast (which, here, will most likely be cinders and/or dirt).  After laying all the track, then stuffing up the holes, then painting the track, I think it'll look okie dokie.  But any suggestions are, of course, appreciated.

Alrighty.
That's where I am at this point.
(My daughter "graduated" from 5th grade so I didn't make it out to his layout today).

Have already built a shelf and installed the NCE DCC system (PowerCab and Smartbooster), so with more track getting laid down this next week and a PSX coming in for the reverse section, we should have trains running soon!

[cont.]
M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2013, 07:52:31 PM »
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I am enjoying learning about building a layout in Horrible Oversized scale :)

I find trackwork actually more difficult: while most N scale track stays flat and even over almost any kind of surface, HO track seems to cant a bit, even on flat foam surface.
Guess it's exponential :)

Case in point:



This section of PECO C83 tucked in with some ME Bridge C83 would seem like a smooth section of track.
(Especially when all joints are soldered and all sections feeder-dropped)
Yet the brass geared steam seem to take exception and start to stall in fits & starts up the grade.

I'll get to the running issues later.

Here's the new grade up from the existing layout to the new section:



Seems smooth enough, but... hmmm.

Got the backside mine branch laid down:



The mine tipple (which I'll probably build) will come out from the foam shelf over the near track and have a shute for the middle track.
The outer track will be the team / supply track for the shed at the end of it (which is why it's short).

On the other side, the quarry tracks are in, as well as the tracks all the way around to the Company Town.
But here's the beginning of the trestle and freighthouse/team track scene:



(Remember that the structures are made by a dude in the MidWest [which I've heard exists somewhere East of Mt. Diablo :) ] and I'm just building the benchwork and installing the track & some scenery)

[cont.]

M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 07:59:41 PM »
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For the large mess-o'-turnouts for the Company Town on the extension, I soldered them all together and then slapped on some feeders before planting:



Notice that I'm using Peco Insulfrog turnouts.
Given the finicky nature of the brass geared steam, I'm thinking we should have gone with Electrofrogs, but there it is.

Here's the whole fixture:



 Channels in foam for some switch machine wires, holes poked in foam into channel near baseboard for others (turnout control panel will be immediately before it).
Painted foam with latex mistint brown first for when I spray-bomb track.
Black squares on surface are permanent marker under points to indicate where caulk doesn't go and to help out with less ballasting in that area.

Here's the overview of the area:



Originally I had another curved turnout between the two runaround turnouts, but it just worked out better to have the #6.  HO is so large it really allows for more movement between couplers and locos and rolling stock, so that diverging route works fine (remember that the geared steam runs at about 5 mph :) ).

After trying out some of the Client's geared steam, we found it started & stopped a lot, especially on turnouts.
Perhaps because the installer didn't put in a capacitor to glide it over slight soiled spots?
Or maybe a slight cant of the track throws off the brass trucks?

Hmm...
Am learning.

But I did realize that Peco cuts some channels in their plastic ties so I installed a bunch o' feeders to ensure good conductivity rather than relying on the bump-&-grind of the points:



And doing that to the 20-something turnouts, and installing some more track, took most of the afternoon.

And here's a brief video of yesterday's first trial run:


With all the starts and stops edited out :)

Just picked up about 5 more geared steam locos from the LHS that the client had custom tweaked with DCC & sound, so we'll see how they run on Monday.

The client thought that, to get the look of the wobbly mountainous lumber trackage he actually had to lay the track wobbly.

It's laid on WS white styrofoam risers (partially melted over time) with an eclectic assortment of cheap styrofoam shims and cork that was hot glued (thus melting the risers below it).  Many short bits of track soldered helter-skelter together with much cant here and there.



Really would like to take the HO equivalent of the N-scale Kato NW2 (which can run over any type of trackwork or even a scale cow) to see if any loco can make it over that track.  But it really might be a moot issue.

The brass geared steam is having such trouble over my smooth trackwork that I'm probably going to have to rip up and re-do all of his original trackwork.

And if the HO brass geared steam is that finicky, then I might have to rip up and relay everything flat and nice.
Unless there's some way the installer can fit a capacitor in there somewhere (A "Keep Alive" is way too big for the brass locos)

I'm a bit confused, as installing a sound decoder in an N-scale steamer doesn't take up that much space and a capacitor is de rigueur (normal) to insure no starts & stops.  Even if there's no space inside the loco, you can't hide a capacitor on the side as a pump?

The main concern: what's the point in redoing the track to 98% Nice if the locos are going to stall over it unless it's 110% nice?
I can keep ripping up track and relaying it, but if the locos are going to stall at each butterfly-wing-beat...?
I'll talk to the dude who installed the decoders, replaced the motors and installed pickups, but this just seems a lot of issues for a big scale where the weight and length of wheelbase should insure proper pickup 24/7/365.

Or am I missing something?

Physics?

Taller the loco the more "sway"?

Or?

I tried his Bachmann Shay and it stuttered, too: had to place my finger on the aux tender to get movement.

The track is way clean and pretty smooth (way more smooth than most of our N scale stuff).
This section is nary a bump when I run my fingers over it:



Do I need to tweak the SuperBooster to smooth out the signal?
(How?)
(the "Ohm" reader shows some "fuzz" then the busses are hooked up to the booster, while no fuzz when bus wires detached from booster)

Or is it just the Brass geared steam?  And if the trackwork isn't flat and perfect then it won't work?
(And if that's the case, I'm going to stop right now and redo the whole layout as a flat no-turnout design)
He needs super-reliability to run trains with grandkids.
And the trains he has are brass DCC sound beauties.

Suggestions?



M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2013, 08:03:16 PM »
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Just to clear some things up:

--the brass geared steam had very little run time before getting shipped off to a master brass dcc installer

--most of the brass geared steam have had dcc / sound decoders installed, as well brass wire wipers on all the wheels to improve pickup

--all locos passed the installer's "test track" for performance

--all video & loco test have been on the track that I have installed over the last couple weeks (the client's original track is more "lumber company authentic" and will probably have to be re-laid for finicky locos)

--I've installed a NCE Powercab and SmartBooster system (I use NCE at home): using the Ohm reading on the multimeter, there is no shorting or "bleeding" on the track.  However, when the bus wires are plugged into the Smartbooster, there is a slight "bleed" (jump on the dial).  While I'm "electronically challenged", it seems to me as if there shouldn't be any electronic "seepage" even within a small box.  So, if this is an indication of something fuzzy within the SmartBooster and causing the twitchiness I can send it back.

--while this is my first time laying HO track since my dad and I built the first Christmas train table 28 years ago, I have tried to be as careful as possible, especially at joints.  Given some of the grades and less-than-firm original foundation, there is a slight "y- & z-axis" drift.

But as different locos seem to stall at different points and in different locations (and there's plenty more surface area than the N-scale locos I've gotten to run fine), it seems it might be within the brass locos themselves?

Here's a video of some brass in action today:



Anyway, so today I finished relaying the climb from lower to upper levels:



[much smoother and locos travel quite well up & down]

The upper section will be on a DCC Specialities OnGuard!-AR, as there's a turnback curve at the end of the current section.  Could have just AR'ed that center grade section, but thought I'd use the breaker feature for the whole top as well.

Got some more switch machines, so finished laying the engine service tracks:



Was originally going to use a #5 straight in between the curved and the last wye, but worked out 2 wyes fit better, and that widdle s-curve doesn't matter as it's only light locos that will be coming through.

So here's the Company Town area:



[with a view of the 1925 Ford Truck behind the layout]

And from the other side:



The long curved track is the main that will end at the end of the peninsula (and will have a drop in / lift out section to connect it for continuous running to the peninsula of Phase II).

The shorter two curved tracks are the freight yard (5-6 cars each).
The two straight tracks will be the engine service into a shed (A Sierra West Scale Model's Logging Camp Loco and Service Shops: anyone know the track spacing between sheds?  Otherwise I'll email the dude who's building it for the client).
The last track off the wye to the far corner will be a gallows turntable that I'll scratch sometime soon.
It'll be 8", same as the one I scratched for my Effett Yard Free-moN module :)

Still be lots of space for buildings, trees, an industry on the inside, etc.
No crowding, I hope.
But after "living" in N scale for the past 3 years, scenic depth perception is a bit of a trip in HO.
You really do have to leave a lot of space.

M.C. Fujiwara
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M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 08:08:04 PM »
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All locos have wipers on all wheels for pickup (though a quick inspection between "playing" with the locos showed that maybe some of the wipers had already worked away from the wheels).

I believe all the decoders are Tsunami's, though I can check tomorrow at the worksite (the installer included all packaging of all parts used, and a thorough write-up of work performed and operating suggestions).

KeepAlives / Capacitors were not installed, as apparently there was no room for them.
Seems like a capacitor could be included and slapped on the outside, though, and disguised as something: no matter really as the operating benefits would outweigh the aesthetics issues, which would be minimal :)

I suggested electrofrogs but the client wanted to stick with the insulfrogs he'd already used and already had a supply of.  The "dead frog" space is actually surprisingly small (about the same distance as an N scale Atlas dead frog) so I'm surprised the larger "Horribly Oversized" surface area (with pickups on all wheels) has problems going over them.

I will do as much as possible to help the client get his trains running in terms of trackwork, power, scenery, turnout control panels, etc.
Brass Locos I have no / little experience with (am learning now!) and will not be messing with them beyond breaking in / minor wiper adjustments.
Otherwise client can work that out with the BrassMaster :)

My initial (and uneducated) impression is that the issue is very very small little blips that interrupt contact, especially as the locos almost always start right back up (very annoying with the sound), so perhaps it is the sound decoders' all-or-nothing-ness and a capacitor would take care of 99% of the issues.

But that's an uneducated guess.

Which, I guess, is called a guess :)

A few quick notes on the brass locos:

--Definitely will clean the wheels first :)

--Yes, sometimes the metal wheels on some locos short directly above the frog on the insulfrog turnouts.  That's something easily fixed with nail polish (though that does lengthen the "dead frog" doesn't it).  And theoretically the dead frog shouldn't matter as the other truck(s) are getting pickup from the point rails (which I wired hot).

--There is much stuttering away from turnouts, too.  This is when the loco stops but immediately starts up all on it's own (with the sound locos having the sound recycle up from the start).  As so many locos are involved in different places, I'm guessing a combination of
1) pickup issues with the locos themselves
2) lack of capacitor to ensure smooth running over slight blips (the blips being issues with track, pickup or both)
3) the NSA tapping the DCC system and instigating a COINTELPRO campaign against this 1930's "labor-friendly" logging layout :)

--Please remember that all these locos are coming "new" from (whom I call) the "Brass Master": a man who did a heck of a job installing decoders, speakers, and new motors and wipers for pickup.  I would rather not mess with them too much, and after we eliminate track and wiring issues, any loco issues will be referred back to the Brass Master.

I'll play more with the locos later--recently I've been working to get the track and benchwork done before the client goes on vacation soon.

I installed (glued & screwed & bolted) a 3/4" birch ply endplate to the peninsula:



Eventually, there will be a bridge (swing out, lift up, ??) between this peninsula and the larger one "C"-ing around that will be the low-foothills town, so I wanted a solid base for whatever bridge method we decide later.

The 1/4" or 3/8" hardboard fascia will terminate at the ends of the plate.

To further prepare for the fascia, I installed 3 1/2" sections of 2"x2" (because that's what I had) cleats along the way to firmly secure the fascia:



Cut out some foam, woodglued the base, placed and then drove in a screw to keep the cleat in place while the woodglue cured.  Not much is more secure in this world than woodglue emulsifying a hard-hard bond.



Cut off the top of the removed foam section and caulked it back in place to hide the cleat.

Should all be set by Monday when I cut and install the fascia.

Also finished installing all the track in the Company Town area except for the turntable:





The boxcar is on the main that will stretch to the endplate.

On the inner side, a siding for the freight/feed & team (there will be a few other shacks and sheds around that area)

The two curved tracks are the storage yards.

The two straight tracks will lead to the Sierra West Scale Models Loco & Car Service shed (at 2 1/2" centers), and then you see the baseplate of the 8" Gallow's turntable I'll try building this weekend (using an audio jack as pivot & power).

So here's the whole thing as of today:



Have already started building the mine tipple for the upper right scene.
After I get the turntable in, I'll probably start painting track and throwing down scenicking material (good thing the client will be gone for a couple weeks so I can really stink up the garage with alcohol--70% rubbing, thank you very much!--doing all the scenery.

Also got some control panels and a lot of wiring to do!

As always, any and all comments and suggestions appreciated.

Thanks for looking.
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

seusscaboose

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2013, 09:10:39 AM »
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MC
quick question.

you mention there's no room for Keep Alive's...  what about getting creative and mounting them externally on the loco in a tool box or something?  i mean, there's ALWAYS a way right?



From the sound of things, the trackwork is nearing perfection and we are assuming electric/dcc signal is fine.  The KA's seem to be a good solution for finicky brass (in any scale).

just my 2 cents.

thanks for documenting this.  I always get good ideas from your write-ups.

Eric


"I have a train full of basements"

NKPH&TS #3589


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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 03:04:00 PM »
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M.C.,

Thanks for sharing your well documented work. I always learn something new from you, so I appreciate the extra work that goes into photographing and writing about your projects.

Perhaps lost in all the modeling is the very touching story of a sick grandfather who wants to run trains with his grandkids. The experiences that they will have together will last forever. Not sure if you are being paid for your work or not...it really doesn't matter one way or the other to me....but you are doing a very wonderful service. I showed this to my wife who is an oncology social worker, and she was very moved. This is the type of project that can make a real difference to someone who is undergoing treatment, and I just wanted to express my admiration for your work. 

Best wishes, Dave
If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

mcjaco

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2013, 11:01:27 AM »
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Man, this is reminds me of the layout my Uncle (that lived in Petaluma) built, and rebuilt, and rebuilt, and rebuilt, and rebuilt.....

Great work!  I too would have gone for the Electrofrogs.  I used them on a layout I helped a friend build, and they operated much better.  I do understand the owner wanting to use what he has on hand first though.   Geared locos, no matter what scale, are troublesome.  I'd make sure the wheels are clean first, and then go from there.  HO is just as finicky as N in some cases. 

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2013, 10:33:13 AM »
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Thanks for the props and ideas.
Worst-case scenario for the brass is to install capacitors outside and paint to disguise.
(The KeepAlives look fairly large)
Not pretty but better than a stall-o-rama.

Thanks, Dave, for your thought on the human angle.
I've been offered jobs to build layouts before but have never done it--I prefer to keep all my mistakes mine own  :D  --but when I went out to meet him and survey the scene I found I couldn't say "no."
Just to be clear: I am getting paid for the work, but it basically covers gas (which is good because it's about a 1/4 tank a day on the job  :scared:)
And the client seems to be beating his condition: the meds and chemo make him tired & woozy, but he's one tough dude.
Heck, his dad is still puttering around the property at 94!
So it's looking good that he'll be able to enjoy running trains with the grandkids for a number of years (as soon as I get the trains running).

For me, it's also a good chance to try building in Horribly Oversized scale, which in turn helps me become a more experienced layout designer of all scales.
So it's win-win.

Except like yesterday and today when it's 105 deg outside of my home, which means its 115-120 inside my garage or my client's garage, which means I'll be working on his control panel print-outs and other layout design projects inside my A/C'd house which watching the Brasil-Spain Confederation's Cup final today.

So between the end of American school, the two-week intensive of Japanese school, the heat, and the family celebrations--some loved ones were finally able to marry their loved ones this week here in California--not a whole lot of train stuff is happening.

Did built the backbone of the Gallow's turntable:





That's a metal tie strip Gorilla-Glued to some styrene stripes which hold the audio jack in place.

With the track GG'd on top of that, feeders soldered to track, and painted:



Will build up the wooden frame around it, place a single-rail track under the edge, and prop the ends with a wheel or solid support.

Though I might have made the mistake of using ME C83 bridge track as the base, as it might be too narrow and the wood support braces along the sides might pinch the gears of the geared steam.
Will have to check clearances next week!

That's a big difference between doing your own work and working on a client's layout: I'm so used to having everything out in my garage to check between brainfarts and lapses, but now when everything's a good half-hour drive away it's not so easy to work on things piecemeal and requires a lot more forethought and planning.

Probably going to bunker down in the A/C office Sunday, but Monday or so will be back out to install the 1/4" MDF fascia and wire up the control panels.

Just wish my garage was A/C'ed so I could work out there.

Here's a pict of the 1920's Ford truck next to the layout:



The bed was rebuilt with new lumber, but otherwise everything else involves original (or original replacement) parts.

The Bachmann 3-Truck Climax runs pretty well now all over, though the Bmann 3-Truck Shay (w/sound & fresh outtathe box, just like the Climax) will have the sound ramp up with the throttle, though the loco itself doesn't move (can feel the motor "hum" though no mechanisms are being engaged).
I've heard there've been issues with the Bmann Climax and might need a replacement drive mech from NWSL.

After I install the turntable I'll get going on the track painting, ballasting, and basic ground cover.

Thanks for looking.

M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/

M.C. Fujiwara

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Re: Meadow's Lumber: HO 1930's Geared Steam Layout Refurbish & Expansion
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 08:10:16 PM »
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Heat wave died down a bit, so able to mosey ahead with the turntable.

Needed to widen the deck a bit, so glued some stained wood under and to the sides:



Also spray-glued some HO PC board ties to a circle template printed on cardstock to create the support rail.
After bending and soldering the rail, I popped it off the paper and glued it onto the TT base:



The wood supports just clear the deck underside and will be "buried" in the ground, and no one will see the hole in the center when the deck is installed.

The base was our "practice" run for the TT I built for the Effett Yard Free-moN module: glad Scott decided to drill two!

Painted the base and then installed some small metal washers on wood:



Those will ride the rails and keep everything flat and non-wobbly:



Will disguise the supports & washers later, and no one will see the metal when the deck is installed.

Then faked the new cross-supports / ties:



And those will get covered by both the stringers and wooden decking:





(Next time I build an HO TT I'll be a wee bit more protypically accurate from the ground up  :P )


Funny: until I install the TT on the layout, I can't proceed with installing the fascia, control panels, painting fascia or track or getting to the landscaping, so good thing I've gotten this to the point where I can install the base!
(Can finish the tower & support cables later)

So hope to be rocking & rolling on the layout itself later this week!
(Probably right in time for another heat wave  :scared: )

Thanks for looking.
M.C. Fujiwara
Silicon Valley Free-moN
http://sv-free-mon.org/