Monday, 14 October 2019

Building a center-balcony carriage - part III

For the roof I first took a 2 mm balsa sheet as base. Grooves were scribed in to make the sheet bend easier and prevent the sheet to break while bending it in shape over the carriage top.
Because the sheet was only 10 cm wide I had to ad an extra strip of 1 cm to make the bend sheet cover the width of the roof of the carriage. This strip was connected to the sheet using tape at the under side of the sheet. This roof base was not glued to the carriage, only held in place by tape.

At this side you can notice the extra strip

When the base was in the right position and firmly held in place by the tape, a 5 cm wide strip of 1 mm thick balsa sheet was  glued over the base. Contact glue was applied on both the base sheet and the top sheet and than those two pieces were firmly pressed together.
Notice that the tape on the base sheet was left in place and the thinner balsa top sheet was glued over it. This way the base could stay in place. The tape between the sheets is not that thick and will not be noticeable later.

The same was done at the other side, leaving a 1 cm wide opening at the top of the roof, which was filled up with a balsa strip:

Another 1 mm sheet was glued on top of this.The only difference is that I did not left an open space on top of the roof but at one side. This is easier to fill up neatly and it will give more strength to the roof:

Finally it is left to dry for  24 hour.

Hopefully this glued sandwich of 3 balsa sheets (now 4 mm thick in total) will stay in form when the tape is removed. We will see...

Back to part II


Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Autumn 2019

The locals admire the freshly sprouted mushrooms on this October afternoon.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Building a center-balcony carriage - part II

An update on this carriage (see part 1 here):

Today I widened the balcony from 4 to 5 cm. This looks better and the little passengers have more room on the balcony while entering or leaving the train (sorry, no picture of this...).
All sidings are basically finished and the two compartments were glued in place on the chassis.

From the same Playmobil carriage the trucks came from I removed the buffers from the chassis by using a little hacksaw:

The cut out piece was then neatly filed:

A bufferbar was made in the same way as the sidings: a piece of balsa covered with polystyrene sheet. Two holes were drilled in the hollow part of the buffer (don't know the correct term... buffer support?); one on the back side and one on top. The hole in the backside can be used for a screw that holds the buffer in place (I will glue it but the screw is extra).

 The second hole is on top to hold a little brass hook for the chain:

The bufferbar is made to slide in a groove between the chassis and the top side siding. This way the bar is not only very sturdy but it give me the possibility to adjust the bar somewhat in height to align it more easily with the buffer height of the LGB carriage. 
Once in good position the bar is glued in place. 

The bar in place. You can see I made some extra re-enforcement with balsa.

Alignment with LGB buffer: 

And today's end result (without the hook...):


Thursday, 12 September 2019

Building a center-balcony carriage - part I

The three-point-suspension experiment formed a nice base to begin with for scratch-building a new carriage for my railway. The idea is a freestyle center balcony carriage as I liked the bit different design.

As I did not had any detailed drawings of such a carriage the build itself is trail and error, seeing what looks right or not. I used sketches and pictures of similar carriages to form an idea. An LGB carriage was used a bit as guideline and comparison (for instance the width and height of the coach, the coach bottom height, coupler height etc.) so it would fit in nicely with the existing stock.

Initially I tried to build the coach from only balsa but this was not a success. The 2mm balsa was too weak and brittle and although it can be cut very easily I did not manage to cut out very exact parts.  The solution isfound on using thin polystyrene sheets (I believe 0,5 mm) combined with the balsa. First I draw the parts on the polystyrene sheet and cut it to size. Than gluing the sheet on the balsa with contact glue (Bison Transparent) and cut the balsa following the outlining of the polystyrene parts.
Planking was scraped in the polystyrene using an old but sharp little electronica screwdriver. Of course you can also glue strips of polystyrene or use special siding sheets from for instance Evergreen.

Comparison with LGB carriage

This is the result so far. Hopefully an update soon.

On to part II

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Three-point-suspension experiment

Browsing the G-ScaleCentral forums for inspiration I came across this nice thread from 9 years ago (2010): Building 4 wheel wagons. Beside some very inspirational scratch build cars the thread mentions the running characteristics of 4 wheeled cars. The main problem is that when both axles are fixed firmly to the car without any slack the cars derail very easily on (slightly) uneven track, especially in curves. The uneven track causes the lifting of one of the 4 wheels with derailment as result.
One of the contributors of the thread mentioned the idea of an 3 point suspension as one of the options to improve the running of 4 wheeled cars (the other idea is to keep the wheelbase short; the shorter the wheelbase the better it runs).

The idea of a 3 point suspension is based on the comparison between a 4 legged chair that wobbles on an uneven floor and a 3 legged chair that will stand stable on the same spot on the uneven floor.
For a 3 point suspension the holder (or axle truck is the right word for it I believe) of one wheelset is rather fixed in position while the other can move up and down with a solid object at the center of the axle to act as a fulcrum.

As some of my 4 wheel cars do suffer from derailments (even the LGB standard stock) I was interested to adapt this suspension idea in my plans of building my own rolling stock (once). The thread did however not mention how this suspension could be build (only how it not should be build).
But I remembered this same solution was given for H0 scale modeltrains in a modelrailway book I had in the past and I vaguely remembered how it was made.

So, time for an experiment!

I took a piece of plywood as floor. I drew lines at the desired position of the trucks. Than I drew a line along the longitudinal axis of the plywood. The place where the lines cross is the exact center of the axle truck. Next I took 2 Playmobil trucks and removed the couplers as I wanted the car to be coupled with chains instead of the big plastic couplers. I later realized that I better had left the coupler on for testing the car...
To let the trucks have some slack, I placed a small brass rod (about 1,5 mm in diameter) along the longitudinal axle, like this:

Because of the hole in the middle of the axle truck I could glue the little bras rod in place using hot glue without the glue interfering the wobbling of the truck.
To keep the wheelbase in place I bend a piece of somewhat thicker brass rod in a sort of long U shape. The ends are pressed in drilled holes in the floor. The rod falls in slots in the truck which I made with a little file. The rod is also glued in place in a way the glue do not interfere the free wobbling.

This construction gives the truck a slack of several millimeters on both sides which must be enough to tackle the uneven tracks.

At the other side I glued a piece of balsa with the same thickness as the diameter of the brass rod in place so both trucks have the same height.

I than glued the second truck in place using hot glue though the next time I will only use one drip of hot glue to fixate it and than drill holes for screw through the truck. That way the truck can be replaced more easily when desired.

At this point the results are promising. The car runs through a curve on my layout that is notorious for derailments without derailing ... each time. So, yes, it still does derail now and than on this spot...

However I think this is now caused by lack of weight. Some extra weight could be added underneath (low center of gravity).
Also I have tested it only by pushing the car by hand through the curve. It is better to test it while being pulled or pushed by a locomotive... and that was the exact moment I realized I'd better left the couplers on the truck ;-)

UPDATE 25-08-2019

After some advise from the G-ScaleCentral thread mentioned above It seems the problems were caused by the fixed truck. The 12,5 cm wheelbase is too much for a fixed truck in the LGB R1 curves. LGB stock truck can rotate a bit to handle the tight curves so I changed the fixed truck into a rotating one, using a washer and an softdrink bottle cap to hold the truck in place:


The car runs perfectly through all the layout without derailing. Experiment succeeded! As you can see I also altered the floor of the car a bit. It is the same floor but lowered in the middle and some balsa strips applied. More about that later ;-)


Cupressus macrocarpa - Goldcrest Wilma

This is a nice looking cypress which warm yellow/green color seems to add a bit of sunlight even on cloudy days. The branches are fine and look beautiful in scale with the railway.
I planted 2 of these in September 2018 near the little mansion. The flowerbed strongly slanted downwards at this spot so some rocks were placed to prevent soil from sinking away.

Planted September 2018

Seems like a strong plant
September 2018

May 2019
Only one of the 2 survived the winter. The second turned dry and did not recover.  I actually don't know what happened. Perhaps the spot was too difficult or water ran off too quickly.
The survivor seems doing alright. Some more of these would make a nice little forest.


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Construction of the station building part IV

Two garden LED lights that have been in service in my garden the last year will become the interior lights for the building. The upper part of the light fixtures themselves will be used as they hold the solar panel. They will be placed on top of the building to collect sunlight.
After opening the light fixture it is clear that it used a 1,2 V 40 mAh battery. The power switches were rusty (but these are actually quit obsolete as I never used those) and will be removed. Considering the rusty state of the battery cells it will be a good idea to replace those with reachable AA or AAA cells.

The wires from the solar panel to the circuit board will be lengthened. As mentioned above the fixtures with panel will be placed on top of the building (disguised as chimneys) and the longer wires run to the circuit boards that will be placed in the building, together with the new batteries, in a way it is easy to access for repair or maintenance.

Opening the light fixture

The battery shows it is a 1,2 V cell. It will be replaced by a 1,2 AA or AAA size cell
Old cell removed. New one shall be connected with wires to B+ and B-
The solar panel will be connected to S+ and S- (here still connected to red and black wire).
The white wires went to the obsolete switch and are now connected together, without the switch.

Lengthened wires connected.

The LED light fixtures are than placed on the roof using hotglue. I added an extra layer of hotglue on the 'chimney's to give more grip if I make the chimney of of cement or Milliput (see later on).


I carved the foam to give the cement more grip on the surface.
Roof tile pattern was 'sculpted using an old screwdriver. There is not only a pattern but also some relief in it.