Tuesday, 25 August 2020

August 2020 Meeting

Apologies for the late posting of this month's report. It's well known in the press that August is the 'silly month' when there is no real news. Of course, that is until you come to August 2020 when we are suddenly saturated with news, most of which we would prefer was not news.  

We did meet as scheduled for a Zoom meeting on Sunday 9 August. However, we were a reduced cohort, so our news is somewhat short.

Alan Smith, in between supplying the 2mm shops, demonstrated progress on track laying for Evercreech Junction.   

The photos of the layout show the 'new' plan overlaid on the baseboards. The 'new plan' was necessary as the first was unfortunately under scale. Special thanks here to Peter King for all his efforts with this, not only doing the plan once but twice!
The files have been printed off and pasted together or rather taped using many reels of 'magic' tape.
This gave best fit to the boards making sure that turnouts did not occur at base board joints.  The plan then being tacked and trimmed to fit base board surrounds, the plan was cut at board intersections so the whole lot could be dismantled. Further copies of the plan can be printed off and used for track construction.

The south crossover has been made again this time I have used plain Easitrac chairs and sleeper strip. the crossings being fabricated from rail rather than being machined from solid. Comparison between the two systems shows that this is quicker than machining the base and crossing, or rather doing all the drawings that enable the parts to be machined. This system, as originally designed, is straightforward to use but for belt and braces I have added additional PCB sleepers and brass chairs at various points for power feeds and anchoring the rails.

It was found that the crossover in its new form had grown from B10 to B12 in size.
Keith has been busy finalising the fiddle yard track work with just a few more switch rails to add. Further progress has been made fabricating servo mounts which will be gobbled up at a great rate in the fiddle yard and elsewhere. Current servo count is just over a hundred.
Better get a big power supply..........
Richard Doust showed the continued work on an office building for his shipyard challenge cameo. Having given up on the scoring of brick work and particularly around window openings and including the arches over windows. The cutter just could not manage the required detail at 2mm scale. However, the window openings were fairly easily  cut from a vacuum formed styrene sheet of English Bond brickwork, the over arches being added from a thin plain styrene sheet. An inner match was cut from thicker plastic to strengthen the shape. The front of the building has a bay window above the office door (shown here but not yet in position).
The building taking shape, with thin over window brick arches and sills in place. Also the floors making the building rigid. The last image shows the rendering of industrial brick work (tiled roof to follow, and the bay window and detail yet to be attached). The tapered shape of the building tmerges into the background and allows for track clearance.  
And lastly this month, another view of Leigham Road, from Pete Townsend.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

July 2020 Meeting

Once again we find ourselves in the virtual world discussing work in progress on our several projects, but unable to enjoy the pleasures of life before lockdown. Having said that the zoom world is a rewarding space where we can show projects all be it without the advantage of 3D inspection. Modeling at our scale (others too) reveals a slow and minutely detailed advance so month by month many of the same projects are shown progressing towards miniature perfection.

David Smith
"Not much to report this month, I’m back playing with real trains after five weeks off so not as much time for tiny ones. I have attached a few photos of the loco that have been in last few blogs with a giveaway background as nobody seemed to like playing guess the loco!"

The loco is or will be a class 15 built by BTH with a Paxman engine introduced in 1957 but all gone by the late sixties although one is under restoration at the East Lancs Railway I believe, spent most of their short lives around east London and East Anglia so should be good for Lightermans yard.

Howard Warkins. I've discovered another option for supporting Midsomer Norton while I work on converting it to DCC - I can have the layout 90 degrees to the horizontal. This makes it easier to work on the underneath and check
progress on the top - simply by walking round the "contraption". Much easier than having to keep rotating it.
Alan Smith Modelling has taken a bit of a back seat this past few weeks as I have been busy producing bits for the 2mm Association shops as well as other projects. 
The 7F (above) has progressed a little it now sports new chimney and dome made on the CNC lathe. I have added handrails to the tender and cab and I am now looking to produce some more detailing parts for the boiler and above the footplate to complete.
The wheels are for Richard's Peckett 0-4-0, which have now grown some crank pins. some time soon I will machine the coupling rods and try to put it together, fingers crossed.
I have had a trawl through my kit storage drawer and dug out more association 16 tonner's I have had these for many years so I thought it was about time to make them up to help populate the coal trains on Evercreech junction. The next photo is of the chassis to go with them. I still have more vans to assemble along with getting wagons painted and finished from the last blog entry.
The two MERG kits are for testing and driving servo's on Evercreech. Keith has these already but I though it would be a good idea to have the ability to set up and test boards that currently reside here.
Richard Doust I've made some progress on my 2mm Challenge cameo. the ship's hull now has portholes.
The buildings are now the focus. I wanted to experiment with brickwork using a Silhouette Portrait cutter. My aim is to produce the office building (left foreground) by 'engraving' the brick courses and over window arches in the same embossed surface. Having made several attempts I arrived at English Bond brick work to be lightly cut into plasticard. Alan, who had recently produced corner bricks using a CNC machine, reminded me that it was the mortar not the bricks that would deliver the relief surface required. On modifying a small portion of brick work, it became clear that the whole elevation of the building would be too complicated to attempt on the cutter. For surfaces without windows, the cutter is capable of accurately producing 2mm scale brick patterns.

Brick pattern at 2mm scale (above top) and enlarged shows the complexity of mortar courses to be engraved.
 Pete Townsend (not online) I have attached a couple of photos to show progress on my layout. They show the curved end boards and the two-road traverser which can be used to transfer trains onto the opposite running track, mainly for my EMUs , or, at the other end entry to the fiddle yard (yet to be built) which will have 10 or 12 roads.
Unfortunately ,Tim Horn has a 4-month waiting time for the remaining two baseboards that I need to complete the circuit.


Wednesday, 17 June 2020

June 2020: Meeting

This month we again met, in what seems to be becoming the choice for several 2mm Association Area Groups, to hold a virtual meeting using Zoom. Whilst we all miss the 'real world' contact of face to face discussion and the close-up inspection of 'real' things, zoom does maintain an air of normality. Here is an account of our second such meeting on 14 June.

The zoom interface with participants in windows on the left with the 'share screen' function displaying one of Alan's images.

Alan Smith: Along with the 7F's for Evercreech we shall need 4F ,3F and 2P class locos. Fortunately Nigel Hunt Does a nice kit for the 2P. I thought along with the bits I have made for the 7F, I could make similar parts for the 3F and 4F to form a sort of kit. These parts show what I have made so far, although still at experimental stage I think it has a fair bit going for it.

All of these locos will need various fittings chimneys domes etc and these are shown in further shots.
A blank is made with a cut out to match the diameter of the smoke box. This is then positioned in the lathe and the program run. This forms the basic shape of the chimney. This is then mounted on a mandrel and the base of the skirt is milled whilst being rotated in the jig. The jig has a pointer that locates against the base of the chimney as it rotates the chimney is automatically moved in and out forming the skirt of the chimney.This idea was shown in the magazine many years ago.

Once the machine program is sorted it only takes around 3 minutes to make a chimney. The second operation is done on a second lathe where the skirt is machined around the base. All in all the process is quite quick and every chimney is the same.

Further shots show a little experiment on brick and stone work for buildings on ECJ. Looking at many types of commercial stone sheets they all proved to be too large for that required. An evening on the computer made the basic engraving shown here. I feel better results could be had by machining the brick and stone separately thus forming more relief to these surfaces, the windows will of course be machined out and relived further. I have done earlier experiments making buildings this way and they proved to work reasonably well.

The last shots are of some wagons, these were painted last year and still require numbering and lettering. Note to self, 'get your finger out'

Howard Watkins: A welding light adapted by Howard and intended for the shipbuilding cameo under construction by Richard for the 2mm Challenge next year.

The Welder is based on MERG's PMP8 "Multi Purpose Flasher" but built on a PCB rather than stripboard. It has a blue/white LED to represent welding taking place; this comes on about every 15 seconds and is accompanied by a glowing red LED. I mounted the LEDs on long LED holders to make it easier to get the LEDs as close to the action as required. It is powered by a 9V battery

Richard Doust: A home made spray booth, a simple wooden construction. Additional requirements are a replaceable filter gauze - sold by airbrush suppliers and some art stores, sandwiched between cardboard and preferably angled away from the top of the platform, and a turntable. Most important is a powerful fan. Initially I bought a Chinese sourced extractor fan but this was not neatly strong enough. Eventually I remembered a window fan I had squirreled away, it turned out to be very efficient with 2 speeds. First to be tested, the shipbuilding cranes for my cameo layout.

David Smith: The wagons are all Stephen Harris kits 16t mineral wagons, 33t iron ore hoppers and standard BR brake vans, I thought it about time I reduced my pile of wagons but the box doesn’t seem any lighter. The loco bogies I showed last month now has a footplate to join them, anybody guessed what it is yet?

Pete Townsend: Two more tantalizing glimpses of the urban detail from Pete's new layout.

Monday, 11 May 2020

May 2020: Social Distance Meeting

This month we chose to do what several other 2mm Association Area Groups have done and have a virtual meeting using Zoom. Anticipating some problems with technology and Internet connections, and not a little resistance too, Howard - with his MERG - experience set up a zoom space to commence at our normal meeting time on Sunday May 10.

The zoom meeting space. Howard acted as administrator. Participants are shown at the top of the screen (those with computer camera and microphone are shown live). The 'Chat' window on the right is for text conversations and for those who don't have use of a camera or microphone.All the activities on the screen can be shared in a browser window, including individual participants' contributions using 'share screen'.
The theme of the meeting 'what's on your worktop', was announced beforehand so images could be collected and shown without the need to download during the meeting. We recorded the meeting, but the mp4 file is too large to post here.

First to show, David says I’ve attached a couple of photos of things I have been working on, one is a new test track using a couple of the association’s point kits and a start has been made on a new loco one bogie almost finished and the other not to far behind just got the rest of the loco to do now!

The last one isn’t railways but they’re almost 2mm scale.

Alan was contributing using the chat window and sharing his computer screen.

On the left a still from a video of a 7F on the test track, and below the track opened out to the circle below. The 7F is the same kit of parts Keith used. It is an etch by Nigel Hunt and I have produced the fire box and boiler. Along with my version of the build I have been making other parts to assist construction, hence I am probably 2 and a half years behind Keith's version. I have only just completed the valve gear and again I have made some extra parts to help with this. As you can see it now runs and I am happy with the performance so far. I am looking to make the chimney and dome again I have used commercial castings and they do not look quite right.

Referring to the following pictures, Alan adds; The first of the photos below shows a batch of gear meshing tools for the shops.
These have been machined from Brass bar. The round bits have all been turned on my CNC lathe, including off set turned pin holders for the pins. The pins themselves are silver steel (tool steel) which will need to be hardened.

The next photo with the etches are some parts I am developing for the 'Fowler' tenders required for various locos running on the S&D. The etches are an old Mike Raithby design he did for his 4F kit. As designed they are a little narrow so I have made extra parts the correct width on the mill. The chassis is made with etches and double sided PCB the chassis alone is made from many pieces and pivots on a pin so as to transfer load onto the back of the loco a useful feature. My design uses only 12 parts and screws together. It is hoped to make new tender side pieces and most of the gubbings that goes above the chassis to form a complete tender. Keith has produced some nice axle boxes in resin to complete the detail.

Just a quickie to say I thought yesterdays meeting by Zoom quite successful. Although I did not have a microphone or camera I managed to contribute to the meeting. As you can imagine this is a little frustrating having to type while others are talking but all in all I think it was well done. The 30-40 minutes or so went very quickly. Nice to see those I could see!

Howard says; "I started converting MSN to DCC by removing the sectional wires and adding a DCC bus bar. However my stomach problems (acid reflux) means I cannot easily bend down or lift heavy objects, and this started after I commenced the DCC conversion. Working on one baseboard means I need to turn it over, and I found this difficult on my own. Having broken the loading gauge and one of the station lamps I decided I needed an alternative solution.

So I turned to another problem – how to support the corner boards. Eventually I came up with the Mk3 version – a folding set of legs which fits under a corner board with no alteration needed on the corner boards. This can be slid along the corner board once it is fixed to the layout and help support the next corner. In keeping with the ethos of MSN it would have been better to make this out of plywood, but I did not have any suitable and so used some wood recycled from some bunk beds. There is a small plywood base that holds the legs in position, and I fitted levelling feet.

I then realised I could reuse these to hold each baseboard in a way that allowed me to turn the baseboard over. 
I used an M6 bolt to pivot the end plates, and small brass bolts to hold it in position with holes in the end plates. I added some threaded insert nuts on the end plates to take the M6 bolts; unlike the T nuts these can be fitted flush to the surface.

I have also been heavily involved in MERG. We have several meetings each week using the video conferencing program zoom (4 last week, 2 this week). I am developing some new kits, including a “CBUS Beginner’s Pack”. Furthermore I have been looking at suitable CBUS modules for Evercreech Junction – my recommendation would be to use boards based on the CANVOUT range rather than the CANMIO boards.

Richard showed a full size mock-up cameo intended for the Diamond Jubilee Challenge (now in 2021). Clyde (working title) inspired by an old Woodbines advertisment I have had on my studio wall for years and prompted by the chance discovery of a picture of John Brown's yard on the Clyde. (apologies to any of those north of the border for this southern intervention)
This looks ideal for the challenge, so I set about modelling. Originally intended as a joint venture with Tom Cutting, but when he moved back to Yorkshire we modified the involvement and he is laying the track. 

This image shows the hull of a liner on the slipway with the distinctive shipbuilding cranes and a mobile fitting out crane. The cranes are styrene and moulded strip. The fretwork is made using a Silhouett cutter. The buildings will be scratch built modeled on Glasgow shipyards.

Locomotion will be provided by a Peckett 0-4-0 industrial saddle tank, with inside cylinders. Alan Smith is making a 'solid' split chassis for me to give weight. I started a N Brass kit, but decided my engineering skill were not up to it and the chance discovery of a 3D version from Shapeways made better sense! Trains will enter and exit the scene between buildings.

Pete King (not in the meeting) Offered a few scraps here of what he has been up to.

Unfortunately when Alan and Keith offered up Richard’s Evercreech “one sheet plan” it was found to be the wrong size. I checked on Templot and asked Keith for a drawing with scales added to verify my settings. It turned out they were wrong. The two attachments show the scaled drawing, after correction, with the Templot spacing ring set to scale 40ft and then set to 9.42mm. 

Meanwhile, on Brixham I have copied one of Richard’s blog photos to remind you of how it looked when Keith handed it over to me. The remaining photos show the boards now painted inside and out and with varnished cork in place, the first piece of Templot fixed in place with a closer view of the TOU tiebars and finally the TOU extenders I have made to transfer the movement from the operating rods which will be on the lower board up to the top board. Once all the templates are in place they will be varnished to seal them before track laying. The templates will cover the tiebars and  just have slots in them for the dropper wires to pass through. With any luck this should make the TOUs fairly unobtrusive.

From Pete Townsend (in Somerset, not at the meeting); Just a couple of pictures to show that I haven't been completely idle down here. Still a lot of work to do on new layout named "Leigham Road". Currently laying track on curved end boards to get round to fiddle yard.

Hopefully this report of our first Zoom experience might encourage more of us to take part next time. It really was an interesting meeting lasting about 40 minutes and given that we will remain in lockdown for several months yet, a great way to demonstrate what we are working on in the 2mm world.

Please join us again next month.