Author Archives: Ian Millard
Well, it’s been quite a while since my last post, and since then, quite a bit has been achieved.
I have now got CV track and rail laid from the Sydney end of Kankool up to the approximate location of the Up Home signal at Ardglen, which is shown by the red line in the image below. A total length of around 38 metres (125 feet). This was achieved over about a six week period.
I continued with the rail laying process as described previously here.
Work has also commenced on the first of the Ardglen turnouts at the Kankool end.
During the last few months, I also spent some time finishing up the weathering on three more 45 class locomotives and the fitting of Loksound Select DCC decoders and sugar cube speakers.
I fabricated my own speaker enclosures to fit two 8 ohm, 11 x 15mm ‘sugar cube’ speakers, wired in parallel.
Below are some shots of the weathering on the 45’s.
Following on from the previous post on this topic, I have started on the task of rebuilding the Sydney end of the Up staging yards.
The picture above shows five existing turnouts have been removed and the first of two new 3-way turnouts installed.
The 3-way turnouts were built on the workbench. They followed the same principles as a normal turnout, but were a little tricky due to the three vee crossings. The two 1:6 vee crossings were made from the same etched components as I have used for the turnouts at Kankool, but the third one had to be scratchbuilt, as the crossing angle was around 1 in 4.
I drew up a new drawing which was an amalgamation of two 1:6 turnouts (left hand and right hand). Once tidied up, I had a template for the 3-way turnout. This was taped down to a piece of glass and PCB strip glued down. During the first build, I came up with a specific order of construction, hence the numbered circles in the image below. The image shows some of the main components in place including the two etched 1:6 vee crossings.
At around this stage of construction, I started building the third vee crossing. This crossing is also slightly curved so I printed out a section of the drawing at twice HO scale to assist in laying out the rail to the curves. I had to come up with a method of fabricating the vee crossing as a sub-assembly that could be fitted into the turnout.
Using brass strip spaced to fit in between the PCB strips, these were taped down over the drawing.
The first task was to file up the two halves of the vee and fix in place.
Then the wing rails were bent and shaped and checked against the template. Long pieces of rail were used to make it easier to lay against the template.
The completed crossing was then trimmed to size and fitted into the turnout using multiple gauges.
The picture below show the completed 3-way turnout, less point blades.
The final result!
There is a bit of tidy up work to do yet as well as re-mounting and re-wiring the point motors, but at least the trackwork is done.
Now to do the same at the other end!
Yesterday I completed the final wire-in-tube terminations from the Kankool frame.
The runs to signals 15,17 & 18 had been left until last as I had to work out how I was going to operate the three arms.
Due to the hardware that is used when terminating the tube runs, and the space it requires, I had to come up with a different method for the three arms. A block was mounted under the spline for signals 15 & 18, but a separate one was required for signal 17. This also made it necessary to reverse the direction of throw for signal 17 from a “pull” to a “push”, so I fabricated a small crank.
So, as mentioned, this completes all wire-in-tube runs from the frame to all turnouts and signals.
I have also constructed a timber surround for the frame to not only conceal the frame workings, but to simulate the floor of a signal box.
This needed to be made removable to allow future access to the locking bed for maintenance purposes. The surround is removed by sliding it away from the fascia.
As this will probably be my last post for 2016, I hope everyone has a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!
Since the last post, I have continued with the laying of rail from Kankool towards the bridge at Chilcott’s Creek and also for a couple of metres towards Ardglen.
This had come to a bit of a standstill due to me running out of the 3D printed fishplates a couple of months ago, but I have since come up with a new plan to allow tracklaying to progress independent of my stocks of fishplates.
I have started to paint the non-viewable side of each rail with the Krylon camo brown prior to fixing to the CV ties. There is no need to have fishplates on the non-visible side of the rail. That being said, I did fix them to both sides of the rail on the main and loop roads at Kankool, but only realised it was a waste after the fact! Once the half-painted rail is fixed down, I will then go along and glue the fishplates to the viewable side of the rail and then spray the whole track, including the CV ties, with the Krylon. I think this will aid in colouring and weathering the CV ties later on.
Over the last few months, in between other jobs, I started to glue down copious amounts of the XPS yellow foam in readiness to begin shaping the landform in the section from Chilcott’s Creek and through Kankool.
Whilst recently carrying out final adjustments to the wire-in-tube controls to turnouts 7, 9 and 12 at Kankool, I discovered a minor problem with the control of turnouts 7. On the prototype, lever 7 controlled two turnouts, both labelled ‘7’. See the diagram below. These two turnouts operated off the same single rodding run, as they were required to operate in tandem.
My original thought was that I would be able to simulate this in model form by operating both turnouts from the one control wire from the frame. This was done by passing the control wire from the frame through turnout 7 on the loop first, then terminate at turnout 7 on the main. This seemed like a good idea in theory, but when it came to adjusting the throw of each turnout, I couldn’t get both to operate successfully in tandem.
So I decided to terminate the existing control wire at turnout 7 on the loop and run a separate control wire from the frame to turnout 7 on the main and to connect it to lever 7. See the result below.
Two of the brass ferrules were soldered together to enable both control wires to terminate on the one lever.
I was now able to adjust each turnout independently from each other.
A few weeks ago, after connecting the newly laid track at Kankool to the DCC bus, I ran a test loco through the turnouts and was happy with the result.
Here is a short video of the movement.
Well, the Kankool lever frame is finally fixed in its position in the layout.
Whilst I was at the Liverpool model railway exhibition in Sydney over the October long weekend, Dale Richards made some modifications to the locking bed of the frame, as we had found some errors in the interlocking.
Upon returning home, I decided it was time to permanently mount the frame and connect the levers to the wire-in-tube, especially to the turnouts, so final testing and adjustments could be done.
I found that I also needed to make some changes to the direction of travel of some of the signal runs. Eight of the signal runs require a “pull” rather than a “push” movement to enable the signal actuators to work correctly.
So, the cranks were disconnected from these levers, and new connecting rods made.
Below is a picture of the changes made.
Below is a picture of the frame now fixed in place with the redirected signal tubing clamped to a new mounting block. The existing horizontal runs can also be seen.
I can now do final testing and adjustments to the turnout runs.
Apologies for the long time between posts.
Since the last post, I have completed the trackwork at Kankool, which included completing laying of the CV tie bases, fixing down the two turnout assemblies and gluing rail to the CV ties.
The above pictures show both the Willow Tree end and Murrurundi end turnout assemblies now fixed in place. Prior to fixing down, they were carefully washed in soapy water to remove any solder and flux residues, then painted with the Krylon flat brown paint. I’m hoping it will provide the same flat base to allow for weathering later on.
Once the turnouts were in place, I could start laying the rail on the plain track sections. The process is the same as was used when I laid the first section of CV ties and rail in the Temple Court section. Refer to this post as a reminder. The only difference now is that I am painting the rail with the Krylon prior to fixing in place.
Another extra task that is being done prior to painting the rail, is to add cosmetic fishplates. I did not do this in the Temple Court section, but they will be added to the rail later and touched up with paint.
I am using 3D printed 6-bolt fishplates from Ray Pilgrim. There are superglued every 40 scale feet along the rails.
They are a bit hard to see in the picture above, but I am hoping once the rail is weathered, they will stand out more.
To finish this post, below are a couple of shots of the finished trackwork looking from each turnout.
Following on from my previous post on the tiebar installation, I have been carrying out testing of the new tiebars and turnouts in situ.
As outlined in a previous post, the wire-in-tube (WIT) hardware were mounted on timber bases directly underneath the spline at each turnout location.
The wire from the turnout back to the lever frame was temporarily connected to the frame using brass screw ferrules from terminal blocks.
During initial testing, I found that length of the vertical drive shaft attached to the brass block had too much flex in it to work the turnout reliably. Due to the thickness of the spline at around 25mm, the resultant drive shaft length was around 30mm. The image below shows the vertical drive shaft and brass block. (Note – image shows the revised drive shaft length)
It was also found that the length of tube attached to the underside of the tiebar was too long. So this was reduced to around 3mm in length.
To reduce the drive shaft length, I realised that a reduction in spline thickness would be necessary at each turnout location.
After carrying out some tests with different drive shaft lengths, I found that a length of around 15 to 17mm operated much more reliably. I decided to reduce the spline thickness to 10mm. This was removed quite easily with my multi tool and saw blade. At one of the other locations, I had to use a router.
Once the spline was cut away at each location, the previously made timber mounts for the WIT hardware were re-attached to the spline by gluing in place.
I am quite happy with the result, so the next stage will be to paint the turnouts and fix in place.
I have made a short video showing the turnout operating from the lever frame.
I have made more progress on the Kankool turnouts. I have now fitted tiebars.
I have always wanted to have tiebars that look as realistic as possible, within the bounds of practicality for HO scale and reliable operation.
Some time ago, Rene kindly sent me one of his 3D printed tiebars. I had planned to look at his design and see if it could be adapted to my new track standards.
I put the whole thing on the back burner for a while, but resurrected it nearly 12 months ago when it was getting to the point that I was going to need something to be able to complete the turnouts.
I put the idea to a mate who is a bit of an expert on 3D design. He thought the idea had merit, so I left it with him to come up with a design.
Over the last few months however, I began to have reservations about the 3D print idea. Because the plastic tiebars would have to be glued to the points, I was worried about the mechanical strength of such a bond. Also, as the 3D printing thing is still relatively new, the materials are untested over time. Will they deteriorate over the next twenty years?
When Andrew and I built the P87 turnouts for Bowen Creek, we used thin pieces of printed circuit board that would allow for a soldered joint to the points. So began the manufacture of a prototype.
My design uses brass strip soldered together in a similar design to Rene’s. It still allows the tiebar to slide underneath the second sleeper back from the toe. It also has a drive tube underneath into which the wire-in-tube turnout activator will fit.
I had to have a method of holding the tiebar underneath the turnout whilst soldering to the points. So, using a piece of old melamine shelving, I marked out and routed a recess for the tiebar to sit in.
The turnout was then located over the tiebar and clamped in position.
Soldering the points to the tiebars requires a great deal of care. It is very easy to solder the points to the stockrails! To reduce the risk of this, and also to reinforce the soldered joint, small pieces of brass strip are soldered to the tiebars then to the points. The point is clamped against the stockrail then the brass strip carefully soldered in place.
Once the first point is soldered in place, the turnout is repositioned so the other point can be fixed in position. Again, the point is clamped to the stockrail, and ensuring the opposite point is the correct distance from the stockrail to allow for wheel clearance, the second point is soldered in place.
The finished tiebar! It is then tested for binding and to ensure both points sit snugly against each stockrail. The turnout can then be removed from the melamine base. The plan is to temporarily clamp the turnout in position on the roadbed and connect the actuator and test the operation using the wire-in-tube. Once it is proven to work effectively, the turnout will be painted and prepared for final installation on the roadbed.
A similar recess for the tiebar was routed out in the cork roadbed at each location.