Sunday, 19 April 2015

Swing gate and final module complete

This week saw the completion of the final return loop module and the swing gate. I added the staging branch to the module:

Test fit everything:

Tested the gate:

Originally I had only screwed the cross-piece and the vertical piece of the gate arm to the gate module with a single screw in each. This wasn't sturdy enough, so I added a horizontal timber to the top, which is screwed between the gate module's support piece and the triangular pine piece that holds the gate together.

I also added a latch between the gate and the traverser module:

Checked out how it's all going:

 And added some walls to the module and gate to save my sanity if there's ever a derailment:

Before I had to leave for work today I managed to get the module and gate painted:

Next weekend I'm cutting and installing the track underlay. Will leave it for a week or so after that before I start track-laying though; I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment and I'm cautious of trying to do too much too soon. I've been waiting nearly 15 months to run trains and I can see myself throwing it all in if I rush the next stage and stuff something up.

The goal is to have a train running by the Thornleigh exhibition in June so I can start to take advantage of the ever-increasing mountains of rollingstock I'm amassing (for such a small layout). I've brought a Fasttracks turnout kit away with me to solder up this week, and another mid-week project I can get into later on will be converting my Traino 47 to DCC with sound. 

Looking forward to sharing some actual modelling with you all soon too.


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Final Module Progress and Building a Swing Gate

This year I've started working in Canberra during the week and coming back home most weekends. The extra 6 hours this brings on the road every weekend is largely confining my modelling to adding a 'like' to other people's efforts on a modelling group I'm a member of on Facebook.

I picked up some putty at the Kaleen Model Railway Exhibition in Canberra two weeks ago, so with any luck I'll have finished the NRY this week that I started a few years ago. I'd like to have a crack at weathering it before my SDS variants arrive this month.

I have some time off coming up soon and I am determined to use it laying and wiring the track. The last obstacle to that stage is the completion of the remaining return loop module. I had been entertaining the idea of using a lift-up and drop-down bridge to allow access until my amateur engineering skills succumbed to my patience. Instead, access will now be via a swing-gate. 

The legs are adapted from my I'm-seriously-over-carpentry design used for the other return loop; 42x19mm DAR pine, braced, fitted with hinges for portability, and with adjustable feet in the bottom to compensate for mounting on carpet.

The module rests on top of the legs. I will eventually secure it, but I won't know where it all will finally sit on the legs until I've finished the gate. The track dangling off to the right will be a staging siding, representing the branch line to increase operations. I had wanted to design all of this module so that it could be scenicked, but right now I just want to get it to a stage where I can run trains. If I'm still keen on the idea of a scenic return loop in future, it can be something I redo.

With some trimming, the module is now in place against the traverser and layout. I'll cut the baseboard where the blue KLY is sitting on the new track in the distance to make the gate. Pivoting from the same spot, the gate will swing outwards from the traverser module towards the bookshelf. 

The next post on the blog will predominantly be photos to explain how this all ended up coming together. Hopefully a little more regularly too.

Traverser complete

Before I update the next stage of the layout's progress, I forgot to post this photo from earlier last month with the traverser completed. With the track height sitting at around 1300mm off the ground, the legs were wobbling a lot until I added the cross-pieces. I was suprised at just how much bracing the cross-pieces provide. 

I haven't determined fate of the diorama sitting on the bottom shelf. It was scenicked with the standard ground foam and dirt method in 2007. Shameless plug - if you want to read about it, find a copy of the Oct 2007 AMRM (Issue #266) and head to "Creating Realistic Australian Scenery. I'd like to redo the scenery on it as a practice for new methods I've learned since then - static grasses, dirt roads, weathering, etc. - but there's a layout to be built before then.