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Author Topic: Return of Tales of future past... Oh yeah.....  (Read 36769 times)

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Online Malc

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #75 on: April 08, 2015, 04:16:29 pm »
Don't mention "passes"
I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over.

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #76 on: May 02, 2015, 03:55:05 pm »
Aye, well...  Things seemed to have slowed down a bit since my adventure with the rock and the soft place.  But, back at it now.  Just waiting for one more set of parts to complete the controller.  I still need to install some indicator LED's on the panel but it is fully tested and working with my test plank and a loop of track.  It is a dual unit with switches to direct either 'channel' to any combination of four blocks of track.  The components that I am waiting for now are slider switches that I will mount on the back panel to allow me to flip the polarity of the output to each block.  This is in addition to the 'forward/off/reverse' switches on the front of the unit and will really be an aid to setting up the layout in the first place.  If I have my head on the right way round I will only ever have to switch that aspect of each block once if at all.  I decided to add this when I also decided to use a 9 pin 'D' connector to bring out the block voltages.  I don't like working/re-working the connections to those things!
I am not happy with the case that it is all going into however.  On a visit to Maplin, (I don't like that place but I needed something in a hurry) I spotted a project case that looked right for something or other and gave in  to temptation.  Once I got to the stage of opening it up, I found that it was actually a case built for something specific and was fitted with a number of moulded in support pillars which had to be 'Dremeled' out.  The front and back panels were an after thought and were slightly over size and a little too thick for the location slot provided.  It took a fair bit of re-work to get the damn thing to even go together and that was before preparing it for the project!  Done now however.

Now, here's a thing...  My forced time off got me thinking again about the actual layout.  No serious changes in the basic track plan but I think I would like to move away from the strictly flat board that was the original concept.  Oh, I would have added a hill or two but I am now thinking about going below rail level as well as above it.  With that in mind I looked at a few websites and a few magazines/books.  ARGH! 

The synopsis of my research is this: 
'the only way to do it is with product X' / 'whatever you do, don't use product X'
'product 'Y' is the only way to go' / 'product 'Y' really stinks - do NOT use it!'
'I love product 'Z' and it's on all my layouts' / 'product 'Z' is the worst thing I ever tried!'

What I think I want to do is add a couple of inches of rigid foam to the top of the baseboard so that I can add a bit of contouring and possibly a canal/river scene below the rail level.  Does that make any kind of sense?  If so, what's the best product to use to achieve this?  I don't want anything dramatic, just a gentle rolling countryside, so I am thinking foam sheeting covering the entire board then sculpted with a sanding block.  I am not a big fan of that nasty polystyrene stuff made with the tiny static charged balls that get everywhere.
Has anyone done that?  Did it come out well?  What did you use?  Any and all suggestions welcome...

OK, off to see about the indicators for the controller panel before some booger starts hollerin' the inevitable 'Pictures Please!'

It's good to be back at it.
Regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Online Malc

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #77 on: May 02, 2015, 07:49:21 pm »
A lot of modellers don't actually use a baseboard, but make an open frame and fit the track to profiled track beds that hand in space. That way, they construct hills and valleys around the track. Have a look at some of the you tube videos of American layouts.
I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over.

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #78 on: May 02, 2015, 09:23:44 pm »
Remember to use tricks such as:-

Instead of raising the land by 2" to pass over a railway line you can sink the line by 1" and raise the land by 1" thus still getting the clearance required and not having to gouge out so much material. This would also apply to rivers if you intend one.

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #79 on: May 03, 2015, 04:08:56 am »
A lot of modellers don't actually use a baseboard, but make an open frame and fit the track to profiled track beds that hand in space. That way, they construct hills and valleys around the track. Have a look at some of the you tube videos of American layouts.

I have seen some of those vids.  Very impressive indeed.  However, I already have the flat baseboard built.  Probably just as well coz I might have been tempted and I don't honestly think I am up to the level of doing one of those you mention.  Nah, I will be very happy if I can get hold of a suitable type of foam material and go for the rolling countryside look.

Regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #80 on: May 03, 2015, 04:16:00 am »
Remember to use tricks such as:-

Instead of raising the land by 2" to pass over a railway line you can sink the line by 1" and raise the land by 1" thus still getting the clearance required and not having to gouge out so much material. This would also apply to rivers if you intend one.

I have no idea what will happen in the vertical dimension yet!  I do need to get hold of some kind of material to make it out of though.  That's the first step.  Something that can be formed with a sander or a rasp or a breadknife even.  Even Auntie Maud's false teeth if I had to...
This is all a new concept for me so possibly a trip to the builders merchant would be in order.  Thanks for the tips...

Regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #81 on: May 03, 2015, 11:14:35 am »
Even Auntie Maud's false teeth if I had to...

Poor Auntie Maud :(
She'll be foaming at the mouth afterwards :laugh:

Online Malc

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #82 on: May 03, 2015, 11:20:07 am »
It'll take more than sterradent to get the bits out! :D
I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over.

Offline railsquid

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #83 on: May 03, 2015, 01:54:10 pm »
I too am of the flat baseboard persuasion; my plans, if I can call my vague ideas such, involve layers of what in Japan is marketed as "Styrofoam", which is a firm, slightly brittle polystyrene-like blue-coloured substance which can be carved much more easily (apparently, I haven't actually tried it yet) than the kind of white polystyrene which fragments easily into those little static-charged balls. It's widely used in Japan for modelling and can be cut with a knife or a polystyrene cutter (basically a heated filament). Smaller blocks are available in model shops etc, and larger sheets (actually meant for insulation) are also available from my local building supply centre . I presume it's available in the UK but can't be sure.

Edited to add: better known as "extruded polystyrene".
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 01:57:28 pm by railsquid »
"Eigatani Tetsudo" - Japanese and other trains (planning), featuring:

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #84 on: May 03, 2015, 02:23:59 pm »
I too am of the flat baseboard persuasion; my plans, if I can call my vague ideas such, involve layers of what in Japan is marketed as "Styrofoam", which is a firm, slightly brittle polystyrene-like blue-coloured substance which can be carved much more easily (apparently, I haven't actually tried it yet) than the kind of white polystyrene which fragments easily into those little static-charged balls. It's widely used in Japan for modelling and can be cut with a knife or a polystyrene cutter (basically a heated filament). Smaller blocks are available in model shops etc, and larger sheets (actually meant for insulation) are also available from my local building supply centre . I presume it's available in the UK but can't be sure.

Edited to add: better known as "extruded polystyrene".

I think I know the stuff you mean.  Yes, a trip to the builders merchants is in my future - near future even!   Thanks for a sane and constructive reply as opposed to the ones from the two reprobates above.  They have got me considering even more wayout plans for Auntie Maud's gnashers.  That would make 'em think twice about how and where they sit down for a few days!

Regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Offline newportnobby

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #85 on: May 03, 2015, 05:22:28 pm »
There's no way your Aunt Mauds gnashers are coming anywhere near my situpon :no:

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #86 on: May 03, 2015, 06:08:20 pm »
There's no way your Aunt Mauds gnashers are coming anywhere near my situpon :no:

Strangely enough, she said that too!  But she also said she was gonna buy a train set so that she could come on here and see what other plans exist with regard to her spare parts... (plastic hips, glass eye, wig etc.)
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #87 on: May 11, 2015, 03:53:09 pm »
My controller is all finished, working and has posed for photographs.  When I say finished I mean with the exception of its final knobs.  For now it has borrowed a pair from an audio mixer project that I have had at the back of the bench for a l-o-n-g time... :-[  The 'lid' retaining screws are out for now as it is about to show its 'workings' to the camera.  This is the reason for the slight misalignment on the right side of the first pic.

The unit has two channels (cabs - have I got the right expression?) each of which can be attached to any combination of the four areas (blocks - again, correct expression?) of my proposed layout.

The sharp end...


The nether regions...


The innards...

The guts of the thing was originally designed from the ground up and then I realised that what I had come up with could be easily built by using some parts already available on eBay.  I got hold of a few test pieces, did a swift re-design based on the supplied PCBs and tried 'em out.  A few evenings substituting components and I got what I wanted.  I should add that buying the modules on eBay as complete kits, including PCBs, worked out cheaper than buying the components alone from various on line suppliers - easier too.

The front panel was made by drawing it up in a cad package.  It was then printed and laminated before being trimmed and attached to the panel.  I had printed two copies and temporarily attached the paper copy to the panel to guide the drilling stage.

I decided to add polarity reversal switches to the block outputs.  This was because I wanted to use the 'D' type connector and the switches would make things easier, as opposed to messing around with bus wires, at the track laying stage.

I have run the unit with both cabs working and with a two channel digital temperature probe on the heat sinks and saw no adverse effect so I am quite happy to say that the thing seems to be ready to go to work.

I guess that I now have no excuse for not getting a track order placed.  I have never done track laying and have been strangely scared by the concept.  Time to place that order!!!!!

Regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

Offline Caz

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #88 on: May 11, 2015, 06:29:00 pm »
That's some box of tricks you've constructed there Alan, most impressive, glad I've gone DCC and buy ready made controllers, making one like yours looks a bit scary.

 :greatwork:

Offline Zogbert Splod

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Re: Tales of future past...
« Reply #89 on: May 11, 2015, 06:43:11 pm »
...looks a bit scary.

Ye think? LOL... Wait till you see the points control system I have in mind.  'Terror' might be the word then!

Thanx for your post, regards, Allan.....
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run (trains) in circles..." etc.
There, doesn't that feel better? 
Lovely!

Planning thread:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=25873.0

My website: Zog Trains

Run what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law
I may appear to be listening to you, but inside my head, I'm playing with my trains.

 

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