Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Layout Control Panel

After a year of no postings, (a lot has been achieved actually in this year) I'm starting to document the progress on the Control Panel. This is often an item of almost afterthought in the rush to get a layout started. But I believe it's important to consider this at an early stage.
On my old BEMO RhB H0m layout I built quite a complex control panel and some of the thoughts from that (hopefully the good ones!) I've incorporated into Lynton's requirements.
As the layout is to be "portable" with a view to (maybe) exhibiting at some point, set up time is an important factor. Plugs and sockets for all the connections are an essential and work well. But thinking through everything beforehand pays off later.
This is an account of where I'm at currently.
Rough sketches are very much how I work to achieve the end result. Having decided on the basics, where switches and LEDs are the preferred method of control and indication (the layout is designed for either analogue or digital), I doodled up to the point of "this looks feasible".
The box to house everything was constructed having worked out the size needed. I had a piece of perspex, which would be the "face" of the control panel, which then actually dictated the size! In practice it worked out perfectly.
 The box with the perspex panel.
Routing the edges to allow the perspex panel to sit flush with box front.
How the panel fits - rounded corners.
Before painting the box and showing the printed layout which is glued to the back of the perspex. I had to experiment on small pieces to find the right glue. Eventually used Scotch Super 77 Multi-purpose spray adhesive. I used a light spray held about 12" away sprayed quickly to stop any blobs. Even so there were a very few small blobs, but they are very hard to see.
The perspex was centre punched where every hole had to be and having carefully selected the right drills for the various switches & LED holders carefully drilled - slowly - otherwise the perspex started to melt. A really long and tiring job.
 All the hardware fitted.
 Designing the circuitry for how the LEDs would be connected to ensure the correct colour was displayed for the indicated function. Red for no circuit. Green for DC supply. Blue for DCC supply (a future possibility). It requires 5x2 pole changeover relays (5 volt sub-miniature) for each point/switch. This took some months to get my brain around all the connections. The left-hand sketch shows how I arrived at the solution and the right-hand nice neat interpretation block diagram converts the sketch into how the relays fit onto the printed circuit board. I can get relays for 2 points onto 1 circuit board plus space for another 4 relays, one of which is need for each section switch (12 sections). OK all you DCC fans, I appreciate this might be "simplified", but I didn't want to go through the long learning curve.
 The underside of the PC board.
 One of the sub-miniature relays. I fitted sockets to enable relays to be plugged in, just in case of failure and needed to be changed.
The printed layout diagram. It was printed on my large format photo printer on heavy high quality photo paper for durability.
Here is the complete test setup. Upper left is the PCB with the 2 rows of 5 relays for the point LEDs which are visible to its left (red) and below it (blue). Lower right is the single relay board for the section LED. In the middle is the Tortoise point motor. This motor has 2 sets of changeover switches, one for the frog and one for the LED direction - straight/curve, which is connected to the 5-relay PCB.

The next stages: Wiring up all the section and point switches and LEDS with their respective relay PCBs. Turning the point/signal interlocking sketch diagram into a working system. Fitting the small enclosed 12v and 5v power supply units. Wiring the whole box to the 2x25 pin sockets for connecting to the layout.

I am proposing to use servos for the signals and to open/close the doors on the engine and goods sheds. These will be controlled by a MegaPoints Servo Controller. I researched many different ways to control the servos from currently available systems and the MegaPoints system is the most flexible and programmable - at least from their training videos on YouTube.

That's it for now. Keep watching this blog. - the Station building is progressing slowly! Almost 600 hours into it so far.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lynton Station Building - Part 2a, The Roof so far.

Having made some of the roof pieces as patterns I felt OK to start cutting the 2mm plastic sheet. All the edges had to be chamfered to ensure an accurate no-gap- fit with the mating part. But how was I going to hold 2 parts accurately to glue them together? I came up with a very simple solution. Pins at the correct distances into a piece of 5mm foam board. Here's a plan view.
Here's an end view showing the South end. 
I mentioned chamfering in the first picture and here I am demonstrating that. I used my very new Dremel cordless tool - an excellent buy - with an angular routing bit. I practiced on some scrap first as it's easy to apply too much pressure without moving the tool and cutting a nice deep groove - not the objective! A very steady hand held at a constant angle with a nice slow but continuous movement to cut the chamfer. It took a number of passes to get it right. In the end it was a lot quicker than trying to file it as every piece of the roof had to have this done.

The start of the North end fitted to the South end. I didn't have a piece of 2mm plastic long enough to make the West side in one piece, but as the join would be hidden by the tiles, it was not a problem. A strengthening piece was glued under the joint.
 A trial fit of the first part of the West side apex. Hmm, not too good. What's wrong? I checked everything and found that I had mismeasured the aperture for the second storey by 5mm. Even with continual checking it's easy for this to happen. So I had to add 5mm pieces on the south side of the aperture and cut the North side with a circular saw bit in the Dremel tool. A very steady hand (and nerve!) needed.
Here's the start of the second storey room using the same method I've used on all the structures so far. The outer walls are Plastruct "concrete" to give the rendered surface needed for the West side. This will be painted in the correct colour in due course. The East side will be covered in slate tiles, produced to the correct size by York Modelmaking for me.
Here's a trial fit on the main floor. I later found out that small pieces had to be fitted on the bottom of each edge where it sits on the bottom walls to raise it to the correct height.
Just the first trial fit of the roof to the main floor. Hard to judge at this stage if I've got everything correct.
The final part of the main roof waiting to be fitted. Getting all those angles correct was very tasking.
Adding the side pieces around the edges on the West side of the upper storey.
Starting to look like the real thing. West Side.
East (road) side. The second storey roof is just a temporary pattern.
An underside view of the roof on the West (platform) side showing the correct planking fitted. This was measured and fitted all the way around, as per the prototype. OK Mike, who is going to see THAT!! We thought you had learnt about unseen details after the signal cabin. But it was there and I am trying to make it as accurately as possible! And when my micro video camera pulls into the station, it may be seen. It's also part of the structure that makes it all fit together. 
What's this?! Heddon Hall puling 4 PECO coaches around an oval on my desk! This is the CWRailways 3D Hunslet body on a KATO chassis and put together and painted by Chris Clark, in the UK. Chris wan't too happy with the lining, but at normal viewing distance it looks just fine and I'm very pleased with his work - better than I could have produced. It's very happy pulling the 4 coaches at a very slow crawl around the PECO setrack with 9" radius curves.I added 8 wagons at first with the coaches but that was too much.
Here's a close up of Heddon Hall. But Mike, Heddon Hall wasn't even made in 1930! I know, but this is supposed to be fun and I needed something L&B to pull some stock as the Heljan MWs are still about a year away and my Backwoods MW kit isn't going to see the light of day until at least the basic layout is done, if then.

Windows are made for the upper storey and are currently being painted. The roof fits perfectly onto the main floor. That was always a major concern as until I got to that point I wouldn't know how accurate my measuring had been. Some measurements had to be down to 0.1mm (windows).

Well that's the roof so far. Keep checking back for the next part.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lynton Station Building - Part 1

Creating Lynton Station Building

I decided that I would build the station in its Southern Railway's extended version as I could just about use L&BR liveried stock as well as SR. It may not be strictly correct, but this is modelling!
Let's start:
I was happy with the construction method I had used for the engine shed, so I continued   with this. The South West side was cut first together with the South side and the internal wall between the gents and ladies toilet areas. I used magnetic square guides to keep the walls at right angles. This is essential for every corner as otherwise it won't all fit together accurately. I worked to 0.25mm accuracy wherever possible.
Now we have the completed West side together with the bookstall recess, some of the internal walls and the North West part of the North wall.
Now we have all the South East side walls, external and internal cut and ready for assembly.
And here they are assembled together with the additional internal dividing walls.
Now all the walls are complete, so a start on "wallpapering" was next. This is a long and very accurate job ensuring everything is accurately measured and testing before committing to glue!
Before "wallpapering" the West and South walls (used the method described in the engine shed post), I painted the inside walls approximately how the SR would have (I used pictures from stations on the Bluebell Railway for guidance, where they have taken great care to be authentic).
And here's the last piece of "wallpapering" ready to glue and fix. Looking good! It's easy to think that as the major part of the building is now created your on the home stretch. That was the easy part!!! Now it's time to add all the details; windows with glazing, doors with glazing, sign boards and posters and other small details.
 Poster boards have been made and checked for positioning
 A detail of a poster board with the SOUTHERN sign created on the computer. Also lintels and window sills created and fitted.
 All the poster boards being painted.
Now we're working on the window frames and checking their accuracy for fitting to the window openings before adding the opening windows.
 The gent's toilet windows being checked for fit. This is important to do before adding the windows as I found out it's easy to get this stage slightly inaccurate and having to remake the frames.
Once the window frame is complete, this is painted in green before fitting to the window opening in the wall and before adding the windows which will be white.
This is the small window on the road (East) side to the right of the door, showing checking the fit of the window within the frame before painting.
And here is the frame and window after glazing and fitting.
These are the East side toilet windows with "frosted" glazing. It's an Evergreen rippled clear styrene. Quite effective.

North end completed.
East side door fitted - oops there's a small gap between the left side of the door and the frame. A piece of styrene behind that makes it less obvious! Even trying to be hyper meticulous, it happens!
Part of the platform (West) side detail. A Langley letter box. 
Here's the West side virtually complete. The weigh machine control box (already made) needs to be fitted along with making the electrical switch box.
The South end is finished. Not too happy with that slight gap in the "wallpapering. I thought I had positioned that where the guttering downpipe would be. OK, a prize for who spots it on the layout!!
This shows the flooring, "wood" for the main part of the building and "concrete" for the toilet areas. Yes I know the ladies waiting area is divided, but no one is going to see that!! I'm learning after all the comments about the floorboards and lever frame in the signal cabin.
Well the ground floor is essentially complete - yes I still have to also add the brick arches over the 3 windows on the West side - Thanks to Bob Barnard for pictures of the real thing. I've printed those but they are so small I'm having difficulty cutting them out accurately!
And now a taste for the next part - the roof. Making patterns to check before cutting styrene. Thanks to Tony Peart for this idea.
Sign up for continuing posts. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Lynton Engine Shed

Lynton Engine Shed

This was my first "major" building and it would have new challenges to be resolved. The first and very important one was how to create the stone sides. I bought various manufacturer's embossed plastic as I felt it needed to provide a 3D effect. Having looked at other people's models I wasn't comfortable having to paint every stone and I didn't think I could create a realistic enough "look". Also the plastic embossed sheets tended to be somewhat "over embossed", exaggerating the look. My researches continued and for a short few months my local book and magazine seller was carrying UK magazines, Model Rail and Railway Modeller (sadly now stopped). I came a cross an advert for Scalescenes and looked them up on the web. For a VERY modest price I could download a file that I could print as many times as I liked. So I downloaded (didn't have to wait 10 days for mail delivery - instantaneous!) a couple that looked possible and printed them on matte photo card. Wow, one of them was exactly what I was looking for. Bob Barnard had told me about a year ago that for his model of Lynton, he had taken photos of the actual Lynton building stonework and created photo files which he printed and stuck on his models. To me they looked very convincing. I gave each "print" a very light spray of Dullcote matte varnish to seal it (Bob B. recommended this) and it was ready for cutting.
Now I could start on the structure. Again as in the previous buildings I scanned Steve Phillips' drawing so that I didn't mark his beautiful book. I also scanned all the other drawings at this time of the rest of the Lynton structures ready for when I needed them. I use these scanned drawings to measure accurately all the dimensions and mark them on the drawing - it's easy to forget a dimension!
I started with one side and marked and cut out the window openings, in 1mm Evergreen styrene .I then cut a second one identical to the first for the inside wall as the thickness of the wall totalled 5mm. The 2 sides were separated by Plastruct styrene strip 2.4mm x 6.4mm ensuring the window openings and the ends had this strip flush with the sides as well as spaced out ones along the side. I subsequently had to add more as the side was warping slightly.
I then cut the Scalescenes' stone paper accurately. I also cut the window sills and lintels and painted those concrete.
Next I made the windows out of the correct size strip styrene glazed them the same as the signal cabin, but also sprayed  them on the inside with ModelMaster Transparent Black Window Tint to simulate dirty smoked windows. Also added the wood strip under the roof edge and the vertical wood strips to support the enamel adverts. These adverts were made by finding pictures on Google images and creating high quality correct size prints and cutting those out. The west wall was then made and "wallpapered"  and insides of each wall both "wallpapered" and given a very thin white paint wash.
Now it was time to think about the roof. One of my local hobby shops had 3.5mm scale corrugated metal and it looked about right. When I got it home I found it was exactly the roof depth, so I didn't have to cut it along the corrugations, which would have been extremely difficult without distorting it. Now, how could I support it. No drawings or photos showed this so I had to improvise..This is the result:

Also showing one of the doors, which took a long time to scribe, cut and frame, only to have them all warp. Also I found out the diagonal supports ran the wrong way - Duh! Check the drawings and photos Mike before gluing! So I still have to remake the doors. The long wire attached to the door is an experiment, as I want to be able to remotely open and close them using servos, which I researched before PECO came out with their complete kit.
Now you might be wondering what is that plinth on the bottom of the sides for Mike? Well I decided to place the shed in this condition over a piece of track and check stock went through. Guess what? No it didn't! On Steve's drawing I hadn't taken into account the height of the model rail. Check and re-check measurements, Mike! It will be hidden by ballast/ash/weeds etc when "planted" so it won't notice.

So this is what it looks like in its current state. I haven't decided on the method of finally fixing the roof and sides together. I might just wait until the layout is ready for it to "plant" it and glue it down when I'm exactly happy with its positioning. Also I can't put the roof on until the pivot extensions on the doors are fitted through the baseboard for connection to the servos. I also still have to work out how to create and put the roof ridge on. I've tried aluminium sheet strip but I just cannot hold it accurately enough to provide the final shape. More thought needed here. I also need to create the 2 smoke outlets.

Well that's the Engine Shed so far and it will have to wait a long time before it gets more attention, while I build the other buildings and then the baseboards.

Although I started on the station master's bungalow, work stopped on it for more research, so I started the Station building. The next post will be this Station building progress as it is so far.