Author Topic: I don't need N scale semaphores...  (Read 2323 times)

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Philip H

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I don't need N scale semaphores...
« on: September 25, 2013, 09:58:53 AM »
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but if I did, these might tempt me:
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/trainthingz

edited thread title for spelling...  :ashat: -gfh
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 01:18:57 AM by GaryHinshaw »
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

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C855B

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2013, 10:14:26 AM »
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Interesting, but I'm edu-guessing there are reasons the signal parts are not for sale. IOW, nice designs, but I suspect the results were disappointing.

They look nice on the CAD previews, but, really, to-scale semaphore heads are tiny. If the dimensions are close to scale then the tech Shapeways has available simply doesn't have the resolution to execute them cleanly. Then, the cabinets are unintentional dupes of the Showcase Miniatures designs, and I think Showcase will trump RP handily - at least FUD - on quality and price.

Spectacles and arms need to be a multi-layer etch from sheetstock. The finials done on Shapeways is an interesting idea, but N scale finials are going to be awfully small - about 0.030 in diameter - and there again I have my doubts that Shapeways has the resolution to pull it off.
...mike

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kalbert

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2013, 10:37:29 AM »
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I've bought some stuff on Shapeways, but would never consider stuff that doesn't feature a photo of the actual printed item. Drawings are cool, photos are real.

TrainCat2

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2013, 10:57:00 AM »
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Better off etching them.
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Bob Knight

TrainCat Model Sales

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2013, 11:11:19 AM »
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Are you volunteering, Bob? :trollface:

Seriously, no pressure implied. The research involved to build a fret of enough of a variety of semaphore parts to do anybody any good is monstrous. I'm a signals geek, and I continue to be surprised by regularly running across spectacle designs I hadn't seen before. Everybody and their brother must have been making semaphore parts on their kitchen tables back in the early 1900's. :|
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eric220

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 11:39:17 AM »
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Anyone had any experience with the NJI semaphores?
-Eric

Modeling a transcontinental PRR
http://www.pennsylvania-railroad.com

C855B

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 11:55:38 AM »
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Not yet. Every time before I've thought about getting one to try, they've been out of stock. Apparently production is limited.

That said, I just ordered one 'cause my usual supplier has one version in stock, although not in the preferred blade style for where I'd use it. If it upsets me :D I'll make my own blade.
...mike

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VonRyan

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 01:16:35 PM »
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I guess folks were better off in the UK since semaphore designs were fairly standard on any of the Big Four, the variety usually being hidden on old branch lines where the equipment was never changed out.
The big deal with GWR semaphores is that you have Home and Distant signals, and any signal can have a specialized arm that denotes anything from permission for shunting, to access to the loop line (runaround track).
Those arms then have to be painted in a certain way to further clarify its meaning, and the signal mast even has to be painted in a specific patter with special marking plates to denote all sorts of other information.

I scratchbuilt a GWR Home/Shunt signal using 1 standard and one modified Ratio signal arm. The actuating scheme is quite persnickety and the mast is overscale for robustness and simplicity, but sadly the strong construction has been overridden by actuating scheme being too delecate for solenoid actuation, or the far older "Bounce" method that uses a relay with it's covering removed and the linkage soldered to one of the copper fins inside the relay.

Dapol produces 4 nice pre-built signals a GWR home and distant, and an LMS home and distant.
The mech requires a 14mm drill bit to mount it, and it is a self contained mechanism, but the travel distance is 15 degrees too much in the down position (the alarm should be at 45 degrees when in the down position, but instead it is more like 60-65 degrees). This is mostly because Dapol just used the same mechanism as they did in their OO signals.

The control method is very odd as well. Rather than using a toggle switch of some sort, the aspect is controlled by pushing a single pushbutton, which means that there is no way to have what is shown on the control panel correspond to the actual aspect of the signal.
(If someone who is knowledgeable of electronics is willing to help me change this off-putting fact, I'll be glad to take my signal apart and photograph it's innards.)


-Cody F.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

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ArtinCA

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2013, 08:23:00 PM »
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I've got a NJI semaphore and it's a nice model. No place yet to install it, but maybe someday. So if your looking that way, I'd give two thumbs up.
Art in Iowa
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altohorn25

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2013, 11:34:03 PM »
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I've installed two of the NJI units on my mod-u-trak module.  They are nice little models.  I don't have them hooked up to work, but they are able to do that if you take the time to install the tortoise (it moves the blade up and down).

Nate
Nate Pierce
Modutrak - Wisconsin Division
www.modutrak.com

peteski

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Re: I don't need N Scale Semiphores
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2013, 12:26:53 AM »
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I seem to recall that I have one of the NJI semaphores stashed somewhere, but mine is activated by solenoids built into its base (similar to a twin-coil switch machine). But mine is quite old. Maybe in the meantime NJI came out with different versions of the N scale semaphores.
. . . 42 . . .

eric220

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Re: I don't need N scale semaphores...
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2013, 10:03:47 PM »
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Well, I purchased an NJI semaphore of a style used by the Pennsy.  The more NJI stuff I see, the more I'm convinced that the people who come up with the product ideas are geniuses and the people that build the models are couldn't give a crap 3-foot-rule'ers.  This thing is a fully functional upper quadrant semaphore with red/yellow/green aspects that only requires the addition of a tortoise and power to the LED.  It even includes the current limiting resistor.  It should be incredibly awesome.  And then you take a close look at it.





The paint is sloppy and lumpy.  The mechanism driving the blade up and down is simply a wire sticking conspicuously out of a scale 6" wide, 5' long slot in the top of the mast.  The pivot point of the blade is a completely undisguised phillips screw.  There was absolutely no attempt to hide the wires leading from a gaping hole in the mast to the LED housing.  It's a product with so much potential, and so much fail on execution.  Even so, I'll probably find a use for it on the layout.
-Eric

Modeling a transcontinental PRR
http://www.pennsylvania-railroad.com

C855B

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Re: I don't need N scale semaphores...
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2013, 07:14:26 PM »
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Well... to round-off this discussion, my NJI semaphore arrived today. Cute. But very out-of-scale, and I would go so far as to say, "crude". Pole is roughly 2X too large in diameter and 50% too tall for a typical upper-quad semaphore, head makes no pretense to resemble a real actuator assembly with illuminator (just a block of plastic), spectacle is about 50% over-scale, and the lens openings have the usual NJI problem of a big lump of a ridge for a lens ring, in this case hiding the lenses down tiny tunnels (you can see that effect in Eric's photos). The lenses should be slightly proud of the spectacle.

I'm sympathetic to the limitations of a production model that functions, but relative to current technologies there are too many design compromises, and it doesn't look right. IMO it is tinplate-esque in proportion and appearance, the pivot screw sort of underscoring that thought. My overall feeling is this was a wonderful product to have in the limited N scale market of 20 years ago, but it's not where we are today in terms of modeling fidelity.

Reiterating what was said earlier, start with a spectacle and arm that are etched, use a Showcase Miniatures cabinet base and proper sized tubing, work on a head a little and then I think we might have something.
...mike

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Never trust anyone lacking a sense of humor.

TrainCat2

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Re: I don't need N scale semaphores...
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2013, 11:08:58 PM »
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Mike,

That's the reason some other people are working on modular options. Etching and the LED are the easy part. Once this bad-boy gets back from Precision Scale, there might be options for you.

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Bob Knight

TrainCat Model Sales

peteski

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Re: I don't need N scale semaphores...
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2013, 01:26:12 AM »
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Geez Bob, you're on the roll!

Between all the new stuff coming from TrainCat, NZT, Showcase Miniatures, and several others, the happy N scale days are here!
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