Author Topic: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials  (Read 1128 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

soo

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 633
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +101
What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« on: December 13, 2016, 09:54:26 PM »
0
Howdy all,
     I am wanting to use natural materials for scenery on my free-moN sections. What size sifts or sieves do I need to have for gravel roads...ballast..rip-rap...etc.
     Any help would be great.
Cya
Y-it

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6378
  • Respect: +256
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2016, 01:52:18 AM »
0
For ballast I'd go to a masonry supply and get mortar sand.  It's natural sand, screened and washed, and almost exactly N scale.

For the others, I've long used window screen to start.  Anything that won't go through that is a large rock in N scale.

Then, I have a kitchen strainer, with screen about half as wide, which gets good "ground" for my part of Montana.  It isn't "dirt" yet, but there are small rocks in my area.

A tea strainer takes out most of the small rocks, and leaves "dirt".  If you have clay soil, which I do, it's fine enough that it will crack when it dries, which can be a problem.  I usually make the "ground" from either mortar sand or window screened material, glue it down solidly, then use the tea strainer to lightly coat it with the fine stuff.  That minimizes the cracking, and also uses a lot less fine material.  It takes a while to get much through a tea strainer.

The leftovers from the tea strainer can be saved as medium sized rocks, or tossed back into the window-screened material that will be used as filler.

In my case, I have no idea what size the mesh is, as the idea of buying screens specifically for modeling never occurred to me 40+ years ago...

In Pasco, WA, I didn't need as many screens, as the local sandstorms sifted it for me.  Find a spot where the wind eddied around something, and one could often find a small dune of presifted sand, from powder to window screen size.  Just scoop up what you wanted!
N Kalanaga
Be well

soo

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 633
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +101
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2016, 02:24:12 PM »
0
Thank you, that is really helpful.

Now I can proceed to collect materials to try with.

Thank you again

Y-it

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6378
  • Respect: +256
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2016, 01:10:45 AM »
0
Good hunting!  Natural materials not only look, and work, well, but finding your own saves a lot of money. 

Of course, it can also get odd looks when you stop somewhere to dig up a bucket of dirt!  When we'd go to the Northwest (I model Montana, in Kentucky) I'd take a bunch of the plastic gallon +/- ice cream buckets for scenery materials.
N Kalanaga
Be well

Mastertech

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 62
  • Respect: +12
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2016, 10:37:38 AM »
0
AAA but there is one more! Especially if your working in N. I use a female nylon stocking stretched over a coffee mug to get the ultra fine dust like material, just pour a little in and swirl with stick or finger. you'll be amazed on fine it comes out.
John

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6378
  • Respect: +256
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2016, 02:51:16 PM »
0
"female nylon stocking" - I didn't know the stockings had genders!   Wonder if the stores sell the male stockings as well?

Yes, I know what you meant, and if you need the "dust", that's a good source of very fine screen.  Your technique could also be used in reverse, to remove the dust if one wants "gravel", rather than "gravel and dirt".
N Kalanaga
Be well

jweir43

  • Posts: 10
  • Respect: 0
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 04:15:23 PM »
0
"female nylon stocking" - I didn't know the stockings had genders!   Wonder if the stores sell the male stockings as well?

I can tell you aren't from California. ;)b

lajmdlr

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 187
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +8
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 11:49:59 PM »
0
The usually viewing distance for a layout is being 2-3' away. In N scale that's about 300-500' away. Doubt very much anyone can see individual grains of dirt, sand, etc. at that distance. To see how out of scale that is put a scale figure on it & think if you could walk on it. >)
Andy Jackson
Santa Fe Springs CA
LAJ Modeler

nkalanaga

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 6378
  • Respect: +256
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 01:46:32 AM »
0
Andy:  Very true, but the "ground" in my modeled area tends to be a little rocky, so the texture of finely sifted dirt isn't too far off.

Jweir43:  I was in CA once - when I was a year old.  Never been back, and have never had any reason to go there.  I did grow up in the Northwest, though, so am not from Appalachia.  It wasn't the idea of males wearing nylon stockings that got my attention, but the idea of stockings with gender.  How do you tell the male and female stockings apart?  If they're put in the same drawer, do they reproduce?
N Kalanaga
Be well

3DTrains

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 316
  • Respect: +6
    • 3DTrains
Re: What size sifters/sieves for n scale materials
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2017, 12:47:46 PM »
0
Most home improvement places stock what's called "play sand" that's used for children's sandboxes, and doesn't require sifting prior to application. If you do sift it, however, you can separate the grains into some finer stuff, albeit you won't have much to show for your efforts. You can use the sifted parts for finer grained dirt roads and such.

The best way to apply, at least the best that I know of, is to use a latex paint that's a close match to the color you're trying to achieve (tans and light browns work best). Sprinkle heaps of sand over the wet paint and allow to dry, then use a paint brush to sweep up and recycle the loose grains for other areas.

I model So Cal, and the play sand, along with a light tan latex paint appear to work perfectly. I learned this technique when I was a member of the N-Land Pacific group, and their website shows the results of the above.

http://www.nlandpacific.com/

Cheers!
Marc - Riverside