Sunday, September 27, 2020

I Never Really Got Started This Weekend

This week was a relatively quiet one.  Nothing significant occurred and no major modelling tasks were undertaken.  On Tuesday during the day while working from home, I had a visit from PK, Bus Driver and B2 - three train club mates.  So I took an early lunch and had a chat.  Apparently the three amigos went for run over to George’s shop and then travelled on to my place.  PK had some deliveries for me.  Apparently it was like a mixture of keystone cops and Benny Hill in the car on the way over.  Anyway I think it was the first time B2 and Bus Driver had visited my place to see my layout.  I gave them a quick tour of the layout and they hit the road back to the other side of the planet (I mean city).  That night I put some of the styrene obtained from PK to good use and completed assembly of 52 pallets in two strips of 26.  I was waiting on some styrene for the small boards.  

On Friday afternoon after finished work early I went to visit Lefty and Son to repay them for some borrowed styrene from a few weeks earlier.  We had a bit of a natter for a while before I returned home and never got motivated to do any modelling.

On Saturday I made my way over to the newest (relocated) shop on the southside – Modeller’s Warehouse.  I purchased a few things and I will be back there when he schedules his re-opening sale.  I ran into another Club member at the shop.  Anyway one of the things I picked up was some cement containers from Wuiske Models.  When I got home I assembled these kits.  They went together so easily.  I had planned on painting them up today, but ended up watching the cricket on TV.  So a job for next weekend.

So some other modelling activities that I got up to on the weekend, included cutting up the 52 pallets that I completed on Tuesday night, into individual pallets, but I never got around to painting them today.  Maybe next weekend.  I assembled 48 (half) of the packet of 44 gallon drums that PK delivered on Tuesday.  These were then painted in various colours and cut up and stored in my 44 gallon drum storage container.  I must have between 150 and 200 in there now for placement around the layout and for selling at various Buy and Sell's whenever they restart.  I just realised that I probably need a few more 44 gallon drums myself for the oil case building in the Shell Oil Siding at Old Cassino.  I also got around to adding some very fine wire to one of my clotheslines from the layout.  This wire is to represent the wire lines on the clothesline.  Next job will be to cut out some clothes and attach them to the clothes line.  I must do some rather risque clothing and see if anyone notices when they come to visit.  Another task I did was to cut out and clean up the components from a 3D print that my mate Greg did for me.  The print is for a cement mixer.  The components will be further tidied up this week and it hopefully will be assembled next weekend, and then it will have to be painted.

I had planned on adding some road makings in two locations around the layout, but never got to it.  I make my road makings, like centre lines and road edge lines from 0.010" x 0.040" and 0.010" x 0.030" styrene respectively.  But I think I need some more styrene before I can complete that task in those two locations.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Still Finding Plenty of Jobs to do

Friday started with another day off work.  I was able to visit Captain Barnacle and upload a new version of the single track level crossing code to the Arduino and it seemed to fix the problem.  I did some tweaking in the delay between reads of the outer IR detectors on approach to the level crossing and if I then wound up the intensity of the outer detectors a bit, it seemed to work very well.  Barnacle could throw his points all over the layout and it no longer caused his level crossing to activate.  I'm pretty sure he is as happy as a pig in mud.  This comment in no way refers to Barnacle's previous employment!  I do think it was something in his power circuit in the shed, or even the power supply supplying some of his point motors.  But that is not yet proved beyond reasonable doubt, and probably never will be as everything seems to be running well now.

So on the way home from Barnacle's, I popped into to visit Lefty & Son.  I tried to set them a task and hopefully they have accepted the challenge and have started cleaning the rollingstock and track off a section of their baseboard that they want to make modifications to.  They also wanted to change the second deck, so this needs to be cleaned up as well.  They just need to advise when the working bee is and I’m sure a few of the Tuesday Nighter’s will be over to give them a hand.  I have not yet replaced Raymond’s borrowed styrene as yet, that will be this weekend.

My modelling activities this weekend covered a whole range of things.  I painted up 50 pallets on Friday and sold them off.  I will complete another 50 this week and paint them next Saturday. I installed a small section of chain wire fence that I painted on Friday.  It was only 48mm long, and filled the gap at the end of lane way.  I also installed two small safety barriers that sit above the North Street pedestrian underpass walkway just north of the Cassino station.  This will stop distracted shunters or other crew members from falling onto the walkway below.

I cut up and installed 36 lids for 54 - 44 gallon drums (yes some will not have lids) which I painted in various colours today.  I stained about 50 balsa sleepers to make a walkway that will run beside the track in Lismore Yard.  This will enable the crew to walk beside the wagons and not fall over on the ballast, so they can connect up the pipes for the cement wagons that are unloaded here.  Just more detail around the siding.

I added the name boards to the Cassino platform signs on the weekend as well.  They look quite good.  I also added a number of perway crew to various fetler camps around the layout.  These also add to the realism of the various scenes.  I have also started to add some corrugated iron to a few more sheds that have been sitting around for years.  I found some old corrugated card that I had left over, so now that has been used up.  I must buy a few more packets for the 10 or more shed that I need to complete.  Maybe a bulk order with the Tuesday Nighter’s this week?

My main activity for the weekend was planning for a magnetic uncoupler that will slide beneath the track on both the mainline and the Norco siding at Murwillumbah.  A hole was cut in the baseboard and the magnet was attached to a piece of dowel and it slides between the two tracks and out of the way.  This will be covered by a piece of thin balsa sheet just under the track.  It sort of works.  More testing and some more fine tuning will occur next weekend.  While working in this area, an opportunity was taken to add the bitumen road to the Murwillumbah Cement Silo.  A turning circle was added to the far end of the facility.  I also added a bitumen road and standing pad to the goods facility at Old Cassino.   

The future plan is still to give a number of locos a bit of a test run next weekend.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

More Pallets - Well Almost

This week has been a bit slower.  I had Friday off work so picked Geoff up and we both went for a trip to Aurora Trains in the morning.  In the arvo I continued work on building another string of pallets.  I ran out of styrene and as it turned out I couldn’t pick any up this weekend from any of the model shops.

On Saturday morning I was able to fit in a trip to Austral Modelcraft as I had not been there was maybe 5 weeks.  I was after some decoders for the Club shop, but they had none of the particular model that were wanted by the Club.  Following watching most of my son’s last soccer game for the season, I made my way over to the Club for our AGM.  Over there I had a chance to have a natter with a few people I had not seen for quite some time.  The N scale layout’s top deck is coming along very nicely.  The water scenes are fantastic.  The Outdoor G scale was running with Quentin using his radio control loco, on the first completed circle of track.  The crossing loops and the second circle shouldn’t be too far behind.  This has been a great effort by a small group of members. 

Today I went over to Barnacle Bob’s place to again do some tinkering work on his level crossing flashing light setup.  The setup that Bob has installed, works flawlessly with trains running in either direction over his single track level crossing.  However when Bob throws some points on his layout, the Arduino acts like one of the IR detectors on the layout has detected a train.  I have watched the detector and it did not detect anything.  So the reason is most likely some sort of inductance in the triggering wires or electrical noise.  I have done some reading and now believe that it will be electrical noise.  I have also written an updated version of the level crossing detector code, and I will load that up next weekend to measure if one or multiple detectors are triggered whenever Bob throws a point.  I have some code to perhaps mitigate this issue, but I first need to measure what is occurring.

Another alternative could to provide a better power supply for the Arduino instead of what is currently being used.  This power supply would need a better filtering circuit going into the Arduino, so it filters out any electrical noise.  I will see what occurs next weekend when I can next go over for a visit.

Today I was able to pick up some more styrene from Raymond and Lefty.  Raymond has a styrene stand to rival most hobby shops.  From time to time, I put out an SOS and Raymond has what I need.  I then replace what I borrow from him at my earliest opportunity.  So with the help of Raymond's styrene I completed another 50 pallets and I am one strip of styrene short of completing another 25 pallets.  So with another packet of styrene I can then do another 25 pallets again, making a total build of 100. 

On Friday evening I did some work on my timetable.  I saw a photo in one of the facebook groups with a Murwillumbah bound cement train with a milk tanker as first wagon.  Guess what?  My cement train now has an extra wagon or two or three.  These wagons need to be dropped off at Lismore on the dairy siding.  Upon return, the now full milk tankers are picked up and placed behind the locos again.  That will be an interesting problem for the driver to solve as he will have to run around his train, if he can.  As one of the last trains in the timetable, the yard at Lismore should have enough free tracks for the various shunting to occur pretty easily.  But we will see.

Next weekend may be another change of pace, with some work on a few locos to ensure that they are working again after one lost its address following a short, and some others have had some gear changes.  I might have to check to see if I have snubbers installed in that section of track.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Still Feeling Fenced in

Well this weekend started with a visit to the local hobby shop on Friday afternoon.  I picked up Geoff on the way and we both had a browse and picked up an item or two.  Next stop was at Barnacle Bobs.  Bob was installing one of my level crossing kits and had run into some trouble.  But it seems that some of his wires may have been crossed somewhere.  So I unplugged them, traced them back and plugged them back in.  One by one, I got his 5 IR detectors working.  Next task was to look at his level crossing lights.  His were from his old Wacol layout, and these were controlled by a module that just alternated the polarity on the wires to the lights and the two LEDs were wired back to back.  This was not what the level crossing kit was set up to handle.  But all I needed to do was to take the wire that Bob had wired to the common, and wired that to the alternate flashing output.  This meant that the two wires from each LED flashing pair, were just wired to pins 9 and 10 (for one light post) and pins 11 and 12 (for the second flashing light post).  Well, that worked and Bob's crossing setup now works just like a bought one.  Well he did buy it from me!

Again another two games of soccer yesterday and then I was able to get down to the shed and did some more pottering around.  I decided to plant about twenty telegraph poles around the middle deck of the layout, around The Risk and Glenapp crossing loops.  These had been laying on their side on the layout for quite some time.  Now they are installed.  I also added quite a few animals around the layout in various scenes.  I purchased these from Casula Hobbies a few weeks back.

Some telegraph poles at Glenapp Crossing Loop

More telegraph poles at The Risk

Dingoes near Cougal Spiral

Some horses near a fettler's camp

A kangaroo going for a run

Some wallabies near Border Loop

Today I did some more work on the houses backing onto the station at Cassino.  Firstly I added a few people.  I found some in my various spares boxes.  So we now have a couple of guys shoveling sand for the cement mixer.  I also have three people on the roof of the shed out the back and they are attempting to fit guttering to the shed.  Well that is what I am trying to portray.  I did some more work making some additional wire fencing and gates for a few houses, and even fitted chain wire to the gates and the fence segments.  I also installed the various wooden fences to some other houses.  One of the next bits of work will be to weather some of these wooden fences to indicate the age of the various fences.  Another task that I did was add some box trailers to a couple of properties that back onto the railway line. 

More traffic signs near Cassino overhead booking office

Canterbury Street house with workers and new gates.

A trailer in the back yard

Workers on the roof adding guttering to the train shed.

The worker on the roof from a different angle and showing the trailer in the neighbour's back yard.

The other house in Canterbury Street now has a gate.

The house in Convent Lane also has a gate

North Street house has fences glued in.

The fencing at the end of North Street was installed and the walkway made operational.

The other house in North Street with wooden fencing installed all around.

The house that sits in Wiangaree street also has fencing.

During the week, I was talking to Greg (our resident 3D printing guru) and he found and modified a 3D print for a cement mixer.  So I await with much eagerness for when I can catch up with him and get his print and then bring it home and assemble it.  After a paint, it will then sit pride of place outside my Canterbury Street house.

The next task is plan for the various houses in these Cassino properties that I have now fenced off.  I will also use my imagination as to what other detail scenes can be added to these various houses.