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Author Topic: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway  (Read 50233 times)

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Online Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #240 on: August 20, 2017, 11:38:00 pm »
Nice work, Tom. Second place....you was robbed.

What can I say Malc ..... I'll never beat a GWR branch line, but im fine with that...... really I am  :'(

Online Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #241 on: August 20, 2017, 11:41:50 pm »
Evening all,

It was a lovely little show. I visited on the Saturday and Thornton Gate got my vote for best in show, no contest really with it being the only N layout!

Cheers

Ollie

 :NGaugersRule:

Hi Ollie , thanks for your kind words and support  :thankyousign:

Was I really the only N gauge there? Im trying to think now??? Anyways hope you enjoyed the show, I'm hoping to be doing some more local shows next year  :D

Online Balloon_726

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Merry Christmas 2017.... And we have an announcement...
« Reply #242 on: December 17, 2017, 11:58:13 pm »
Time for an update....

OK first off...






A very Merry Christmas 2017 to all our readers / followers / fans and supporters!

Its been fantastic to get out with the layout this year! We've had a really wonderful time meeting and chatting with so many of you, so thank you!
I hope you can forgive the reuse of an Xmas scene from our Thornton Gate layout created a few years back. It is one of my favourites and well we've been a bit busy of late to do a new one....

Because.....we have an announcement...

After over 12 months of planning, research and building a new team around me,


I've decided the time is right to enter the growing 3D print market, the tech has gotten better and cheaper but the demands and requirements of the public and exhibition managers has lead to the conclusion that our current rolling stock is past its best. So Above is the CAD for a new more actuate Balloon Class tram car, this was done by a CAD engineer (to save time) with my guidance and input.


Above: and this is the first of the 'final run' cast/prints for the new tram car. I should point out the resin shell needs a little more cleaning up and the blue 3D print plastic parts (designed by myself) are just 'tacked on' in this photo, it will also have a smoother appearance once the main shell has been primed etc, but I hope it give a good idea of what the end model will look like.


One thing I really like is the custom printed parts freats, as you can see the new model will have alot be detail and depth then the ones they replace


The bogie or 'truck' frames are a new addition, custom designed and printed to fit the Tomix chassis we'll be using. To date we've never done custom frames before but I think new models for the post 2017 era demand it...

So there we go, I'm really happy to have got here, its taken a long time and a lot of hard work by the team so I cant take all the credit! Personally looking forward to the challenge of building a new and better fleet!


Also this announcement helps explain why we did a Balloon line up at the end of our last public outing this year (2017), well we knew this was the last show for our current balloon cars, so it was a bit of a send off to a fleet thats been with us since 2012!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 02:40:19 pm by Balloon_726 »

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #243 on: December 18, 2017, 10:24:24 am »
The old stock has served you well and the new Balloon looks excellent.
Seasons Greetings to you and Anna, Tom :beers:

Offline Steve.T

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #244 on: December 18, 2017, 05:47:25 pm »
Hi,

Great update.

I have just got into 3D printing this year and amazed what can be achieved, sometimes with quite a bit of effort mind. Still learning mind but done an awful lot of printing this year, but nothing for the layout yet.

Can I ask if you printed the balloon yourself, and if so what printer you may have?

Steve
I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Steve

Online Balloon_726

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #245 on: December 18, 2017, 06:15:45 pm »
Hi,

Great update.

I have just got into 3D printing this year and amazed what can be achieved, sometimes with quite a bit of effort mind. Still learning mind but done an awful lot of printing this year, but nothing for the layout yet.

Can I ask if you printed the balloon yourself, and if so what printer you may have?

Steve

Hi Steve,

We've gone though a few machines and out sourcing in the past 12 months! but to answer your question...

Yes the Balloon master and parts were/are printed by myself, although the balloon shell is used to make a mould from which resin copies are made. This from a commercial prospective is cheaper, easier and quicker for mass production.

(Note to Admin: Im not selling these myself nor will i be acting as the agent for the vendor who is, All posts here are purely about my own work for my own project) 

The machine used to do these was a Flashforge unit, very very good printers! The material used is PLA.

For me this gives enormous freedoms to create and produce what i want / need or to test concepts, and just do really small runs of an item, without the cost and faff of having to get stuff sent away.

For Thornton Gate as well as the main rolling stock, this gives opportunities to replace and rebuild so much of the scenics or to create items missing or hard to make.

Admittedly the 3D printers I own arn't just used for model work, they do earn there keep doing other types of work.

Offline Steve.T

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #246 on: December 18, 2017, 06:42:14 pm »
Thanks for the info, look forward to seeing what the future brings.
I just have so many memories of these trams as most of my summer holidays with my parents were in Blackpool so love the layout.

I originally bought a cheap Prusa clone off Ebay and for 130 was actually surprised what is produced, whilst not brilliant were far better than expected.  After a month or two of spending money on upgrades decided to get a Prusa original and absolutely amazed at what can be achieved especially for a printer under 500. I know the Flashforge do have a good range of printers but will have to stick with what I have for now.

Cheers
Steve

I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it.

Steve

Offline cornish yorkie

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #247 on: December 18, 2017, 08:37:55 pm »
 :hellosign:  Merry Christmas Tom & Anna, thanks for the update. Really looking forward to watching your progress & hope to see Thorton Gate in the flesh some time in the future
    regards Derek.














 






Online Balloon_726

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Thornton Gate: Preston Show 2018 Cancelled
« Reply #248 on: February 27, 2018, 11:07:33 am »
Hello all, its been awhile once again and i'll be doing a full update real soon but.....

We were due to be taking the layout to this weekends Preston show, I received an email this morning stating the show has been cancelled due to the weather. This has been confirmed on the shows website:

http://www.prestonanddistrictmrs.org.uk/exhibition/

I will just stress i'm not associated with the club in anyway and was just booked as an exhibitor. So very much a case of don't shoot the messenger!

In a way im glad as with the southern burst of snow hitting on the Friday it looked quite bad for Shropshire so would have been questionable if we'd made it north  :(

Online Balloon_726

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Thornton Gate for Ludlow Exhibition May 5th 2018
« Reply #249 on: April 28, 2018, 12:39:23 am »
Thornton Gate for Ludlow Exhibition May 5th 2018


Hello one and all, we're back! Having missed our planned season opener at Preston, called off due to the snow. Its been a bit of a battle to find the time to get Thornton Gate ready for our next and now first outing of 2018 which is:


Ludlow (Shropshire) Race Course Exhibition

Saturday May 5th 2018


http://www.ukmodelshops.co.uk/events/16682-CravenArmsandDistrictModelRailwayCircleLudlowRacecourseModelRailwayExhibition


So a nice localish one for us...


So the big news of 2018 is we're bringing the first of our 3D printed tram rolling stock online, and so pulled our Balloon and Centenary car fleets at the end of last year.

Admittedly its been a long and drawn out process to get the new Balloons and Centenary cars ready for service...


Anyways....


Above: The first tramcar to turn a wheel on Thornton Gate in 2018 was ... Mothballed Mk1 Balloon 701, it along with 'Fatdoor' 713 have been retained as 'backup cars' incase of failure or issue with the new Mk2 gen Balloon cars. Also i don't have a new works car as yet (what this space!) So 701 did the honers of testing the track and taking the 6 month old dirt layer off the rail heads!


Above: Broken rail in the fiddle yard! Its been a while since we've had track issues with the layout, must be the best part of 5 years now. But whist testing it was noticed that a rail on the gap between the boards on the fiddle yard had broken, this being just one of those things when karting a layout around as much as we do with Thornton Gate.




Above: So the fix.. Removed the whole broken section, found a piece of spare scrap track and cut to size, then had to desolder and reattach a power feed to the new rail, making sure the rail lined up and was flush. Rather a pain to do but a necessary repair.


Above: Whist in the mood for fixing things, we'd lost a section of fence on the front of the layout again between were the boards meet. Luckily I had the missing section so just a case of gluing it back in.

 
On the work bench...


It really is all change as a number of chassis get swapped and changed around. As most of the fleet had upgraded Japanese chassis the plan has been to try and reuse as much as possible along with DCC decoders. Here now withdrawn Balloon 710 gives its chassis to Bush car no 636, the latter was fitted with a newer and much thiner Tomix TMTR-01 unit which was needed for the new 3D printed Balloons


Above: its not all used or reclaimed, most of our new rolling stock will be using new chassises. As you can see we've been stockpiling!

Ok so now for the exciting part.... although not finished and with only a week before the show, I know im pushing it a bit, so hope for a productive weekend! Here are the first of the new fleet!



Above: A return to green and cream for new car 3D printed mk2 Balloon no 702 sporting custom 3d printed bogie frames or 'trucks' as well as printed under cages and bumpers replacing the card used for all previous balloons (we'll just ignore the fact its held together with blue tack in this shot) The tram out on test ran under its own power for the first time as well!

Still lots to do glazing, transfers, hand rails , weathering, more testing... you get the idea!


Next and yet to run under its own power and sitting on a set of blue test bogies is Balloon 704 sporting the undercoat of what will be an all over ad livery for a 2004 dance show. Again much more work needed, in-fact after reviewing this photo the tram was rubbed down and adjusted to fix a flaw with the lower centre door area.




Centenary class have been the bain of our lives. The original two did nothing but break down. So really looking forward to the replacement, which really is an improvement brand new Centenary 642 in the beginnings of its plain yellow livery ran under its own power for the first time as well. Our Centenarys will use DCC decoders and chassis recovered from withdrawn Mk1 balloons. The Tomix TM-03 chassis used has been cut in two and rewired so that the bogie spacings are correct as it proved impossible to find a modern chassis with the correct spacings, hence why we kept the older ones running with there Bachmann US PCC trolley chassises for so long.... never again!


Above: The race is on! A view of new Balloon 702 and Centenary 648 in Thornton Gate station. Really pleased how these are turning out, but a lot of work still to do! And many more updates on the way this year!

So do come and say hi if your coming to the Ludlow Show, and I'll post again soon(ish)

Offline Malc

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #250 on: April 29, 2018, 12:13:08 pm »
Great update, Tom. You might well see us at the Racecourse.
I'm not sure if life is passing me by, or trying to run me over.

Offline cornish yorkie

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #251 on: April 29, 2018, 11:24:45 pm »
 :hellosign: Great update Tom, wow lots happening, very unlikely i`ll get to Ludlow so best of luck & have a good one
         regards Derek.

Online Balloon_726

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Ludlow Race Course Exhibition 2018 Show Report
« Reply #252 on: May 08, 2018, 05:02:14 pm »
Ludlow Race Course Exhibition 2018 Show Report






May 5th saw Thornton Gate back out on show at Ludlow. As many of you know its been a bit of a rush to get the new 3D printed Balloon and Centenary fleets having retired the previous generation at the end of last year.



Above: Not sure about the staff! We setup on the morning of the one day event, which went ok. We were able to unload and setup in the hall quickly and with out issue.





Above: The main exhibition hall. Credit to Craven Arms MRS for putting on what was a really good well organised show. We were well looked after with free flowing tea and even fed at lunch time (which don't always happen)





So opening for service with Standard 147, New Centenary 642 and Old Brush 636 on respective up and down line services. To be honest I was expecting problems with the new stock. Again as mentioned before, they were not 'dialed in' with the new Lais DCC decoders being rather 'flighty' on acceleration, so all needed some CV value adjustments before our next outing.


Above: All three new 3D print balloons also went into service with green and cream no 702 with bush no 622


702 here again with fellow class mate new build Balloon no 704


And finally a new version of Balloon car No 726 sporting its distinctive 'Coast Guard' livery, this car being a direct replacement for the first gen 726 built back in 2012 and retired and broken up at the end of last year....


Above: All was not wasted as the chassis out of old 726 (which regular readers might remember was rechassised with Japanese Tomix TM-03 motor units a few years back) along with its DCC decoder was modified and reused for the new build 3D print Centenary car no 642.

For this to work the chassis was cut into two and lengthened so that the back to back of the bogies was correct for the new body shell.
The old Centenary class trams relied on Bachmann PCC chassises which where at best an utter pain meaning constant unreliability and blown DCC decoders. So its hoped that these new Japanese chassied Centenaries will fair a bit better, and for its first run 642 performed well and was used all day!






Above: No breakdowns! All tram cars performed well, nothing failed which was amazing! So cars only terminated when the show started to quiet down hecne not requiring so many in service. Out of these that did terminate, Balloon 726  (coast guard) was sidelined first due its erratic DCC control making it a little bit of a pain to drive well though out the day.



So overall very good show and very good start to the year! Still work to be done as mentioned.

The next big project will be to remove and replace the Brush Cars!


Which I do have the CAD for but still needs some work before it'll get though a 3D printer without looking like a ball of plastic spaghetti

Finally i'll just say I and thanks to all of you from the forums that said Hi and came out to show! Really nice to meet and chat with you all.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2018, 05:49:42 pm by Balloon_726 »

Offline daveg

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #253 on: May 08, 2018, 05:40:36 pm »
Got to have a brief chat while visiting the show on Saturday.

Really nice to see Thornton Gate operating with great looking trams.

Dave G

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Thornton Gate of the Blackpool Tramway
« Reply #254 on: May 08, 2018, 08:31:50 pm »
Thanks for the pics and report, Tom.
Good to see the 'Blue is the Colour' layout in attendance as well :angel:

 

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