Author Topic: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.  (Read 5522 times)

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narrowminded

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Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« on: December 30, 2016, 04:00:17 AM »
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Some may be aware that I've been working on some very small power trucks and have made some ballsy claims for them.  Also that this has been going on for a couple of years now.  The short version of the original plan was to use some free time at a consulting customer's shop, get the thing worked out, and that shop would then produce the machined parts for any that we decided to persue that way.  Well, I made a lot of progress and got a LOT of my preliminary concept and basic testing done but that shop has been very busy and the reality was that the machine access for this just wasn't really available as I needed.  Also, the shop's about two hours from my home so last minute opportunities for a few hours here or there weren't able to be utilized.  That had the whole thing at a virtual stall.  I should have known this going in but I was retired about ten years ago, sold my shop, and had sworn not to pick up a tool again.  Part time hobby jobs, some consulting for a few old customers and that was it.  Just the fun stuff. 

Well it had become evident some time ago that I really needed my own machines for prototyping parts and making tools and after thinking it through and realizing that the majority of my needs could be met with machine tools that you can pick up and put in the closet, ;)  I finally broke down, committed, and set about acquiring some small home machines.  They needed to be accurate but not big.  A bit of research and thought, acquiring machines, tooling them up, adding necessary bits, in the last couple of weeks I ran my first home produced prototype.  An Nn3/ Z chassis that could be used as a test bed for a basic power truck and be the test bed for a few of the details that will go into the long planned PCC I've wanted to develop.  Well, the machines are working and for the most part, even better than expected.  There will be some tweeking and a few things that I'll still have to get big shop access for but finally some real progress can be made.

And all of that for this:  Here's a poorly made quick video of that effort and where I've been going with this. The meat of the project is done and has thousands of hours of performance testing getting to this point.  It is entirely original design and components except for the motor.  This particular chassis is a short wheelbase, still only prototype, but testing out a few more variations of details.   It is the first that I've been able to actually run the new 24" wheels and gear sets that are in it even though the tooling and gears were made quite a while ago.  I'm pleased with the machine tools and their capability (testing my own capability to make it happen) ;) but I'm happy and can finally see daylight at the end of the tunnel.  It's still a huge undertaking that I don't know yet how far I want to pursue but...

Here you go.  Under 9mm off the rails, stone quiet, smooth as silk, RP-25 wheel profiles, and with just a wheel swap I already ran that exact piece on N track.  It runs sweet. 8)

« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 04:57:30 AM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

John

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 06:45:07 AM »
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Nice .. what equipment did you get?

Lemosteam

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 08:09:06 AM »
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@narrowminded, I have been anticipating seeing this design, and there it is!  Well done.  A video through a couple turnouts would be appreciated to see how it handles frogs.

jdcolombo

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 12:41:32 PM »
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Wow.

That's both amazing and impressive.  Can't believe how small that thing is . . .

John C.

tehachapifan

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 12:54:31 PM »
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IMPRESSIVE AND AWESOME!! :o
Russ

dnhouston

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 01:01:56 PM »
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Very nicely done. 
David

thomasjmdavis

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 01:10:18 PM »
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This is ideal for small mining equipment, or the tunnel railways that once ran underneath downtown Chicago and some other big cities.  Of course also has the obvious application in a variety of power trucks. One can envision this powering all manner of smaller locomotives in N. Great work!

And I wonder if the technology might not be adapted to allow for (as a "for instance") an operating Brownhoist wreck crane or something along that line.
Tom D.

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wazzou

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2016, 01:35:07 PM »
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A Trackmobile comes quickly to mind.  Very nice work.
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peteski

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2016, 01:39:24 PM »
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Excellent job on the microscopic power truck. Nicely geared for slow speeds too.  It seems to have a reliable pickup on solid rail, but how will it deal with turnouts and crossings?  Or are you planning on only running it on continuous rail?
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Viperjim1

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2016, 01:45:52 PM »
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That is simply amazing, it's people like you that give us new ideas, and hope of finally trying to finish our projects and DREAMS.

narrowminded

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 02:03:44 PM »
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Wow.

That's both amazing and impressive.  Can't believe how small that thing is . . .

John C.

To put some perspective on the size here's a shot with what has been long figured to be about the smallest thing available, the Power Max V.2 truck.  And the Power Max is small but is also lighter, higher scale speed, and fairly noisy running.  And further, this is what I will say is my "medium profile" truck with smaller yet on the drawing board.  And that's also why I needed some home machining capability if I ever expect to see these developed in my limited lifetime. ;)

Mark G.

narrowminded

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 04:59:55 PM »
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Excellent job on the microscopic power truck. Nicely geared for slow speeds too.  It seems to have a reliable pickup on solid rail, but how will it deal with turnouts and crossings?  Or are you planning on only running it on continuous rail?

Also asked above by "Lemosteam".  You guys have been there. ;)

This particular configuration is intended as a power truck suitable for various applications but especially for two truck, eight wheel locos.  As a four wheeler alone it gets passed with flying colors on through track, running continously for hours on end at any speed, but with switches.... just don't have the full story on that yet.  Good indications but no unequivocal promises.  It would need power routed switches and  will never go through an Atlas N code 80, for example, because the wheelbase is shorter than the insulators on those switches.  In an eight wheel application I am not worried in the least about pickup and switches and have previously tested such.  In a Z four wheel application it gets a maybe and especially if you don't put your uncoupling magnets under the frog, above the switch machine, next to the switch stand, and in front of the DPDT switches that turn the lights on on the Christmas tree. ;)  Hopefully the soon to be tested Tungsten flywheels and all rotating components will assist in this.  This is also where the proper gearing that lets the motor spin a little, even at low speed, will prove useful.  Don't go TOO slow through the switches so the flywheels have a chance to do their thing. 8)  Also, last ditch, maybe a small vibrating motor under each switch on a momentary button will be called for for trouble free operation in those instances.  Works pretty reliably on its own but has the out for when physics prevails in spite of the best laid plans. :)  Further testing and the ability to make test parts at will will have a definitive answer for this but so far this is all I've got for that question.  Not as bleak as I've seen but no "don't worry about it" promises just yet.

For single four wheel applications my original truck was planned and executed as a "compensated" unit (front and rear axles floating independently) and also a longer wheelbase (6 N scale feet in that instance). Any four wheel unit squares the opportunity for failure ;) but it actually was pretty reliable even over a piece of "torture track" created by sticking small pieces of 1/16" wide (or so) tape on the track, alternating sides about every 7/8".  That unit was the second prototype I actually made and it saw extensive use accumulating all sorts of test data for a lot of the multitude of details.  It handled MicroTrains and Rokuhan switches well, creeping through at pretty much any slow speed, stopping and starting on the switch.   One of the Microtrains switches (of two used ones I tried) needed a little tweeking and the Rokuhan worked well out of the box.  Problem with that unit is it might be prohibitively expensive to produce but it DID work well.  It got so beat up in all of the various experiments that it really isn't suitable to even test with any more.  An example of why I needed to get my own capability at this point in the venture.  Need another one, all fresh and incorporating some of the learned details from the first unit. 

This unit was made in part to test my new equipment's capabilities ;) as well as another chassis assembly approach especially for basic power trucks that did not use laminated halves but a little more conventional with screwed together sides.  One #00-90 screw (think Micro Trains coupler screw) with a generous .055" or so space to get it done in. :o And why not?  It draws on the cad machine quite nicely. ;)  Then, Delrin just wouldn't cut it as an insulating bolt thread with 90TPI on a .047" diameter screw, even with three diameters engagement.  So it got all metal inserts but without short circuiting. :?  That's now tested and done, another detail in the bag when it's called for.  And then, this unit was used to test one of the fixturing approaches for machining the little parts if production is decided to be pursued.  That worked well.  Making one of something that works is one thing.  Making it viable for production in multiples is quite another.  The process can be every bit as difficult as the device, sometimes more so.  As I said early on in this project, this thing could be the poster child for the saying, "The devil is in the details but so is salvation!" :)
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 03:34:00 PM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

narrowminded

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2016, 05:13:17 PM »
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A Trackmobile comes quickly to mind.  Very nice work.

... and Fairmont Speeders. 8)  I've got another configuration in mind for that and any of them will have more than one application.  As I learned on this board, "There's a prototype for that!" :)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 05:20:22 PM by narrowminded »
Mark G.

peteski

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2016, 05:21:13 PM »
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Looks like narrowminded has done his homework (in triplicate)  :D
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tom mann

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Re: Got my little prototyping machines up and running.
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2016, 05:44:11 PM »
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Impressive.