Thursday, 24 September 2020

September 2020 Meeting

It is now almost six months into what has become known as 'the new normal'. For us and many other 2mm groups, that has meant virtual online 'show and tell' mediated over forty minutes Zoom sessions, replacing our monthly four hour face-to-face meetings, variously lubricated by the comfort of mugs of tea and chocolate biscuits - and, of course, chat and the opportunity to actually run model trains.

That having been said it doesn't necessarily mean the 'zoomer's' amongst us do not enjoy the company of those who regularly appear in front of their computer screens. What we have to show and discuss, is almost as good as being there in person. Almost certainly we face a further six months of isolation before tentative re-assembly can resume.

One advantage is that the 2mm community has expanded as Zoom has allowed members to participate from distance, as could be seen and heard during the recent Zoom AGM, members from across Australia who were able to take part and several UK members have joined the local zoom Aussie/NZ meetings. There were even live online modelling demonstrations from area groups. This widening of the 2mm community is to be welcome and perhaps in itself become an addition to the normal.

This blog entry is the sixth since lock down, lets hope we can maintain our presence until we can report on meetings offline.

September and the AGM 

AGM Alan Smith reports; For those of you that couldn't get online for the AGM all business was passed with only a couple of questions from the floor, mainly regarding the 'Covid' situation and implications of association events.
I think around 54 members attended, so its up there with a normal AGM. Nice to see some faces from across the globe and to put faces to names that pop up everywhere. Although its nice to get to see everyone. its difficult to communicate one to one or as a whole group. Given the situation its probably the best we can do.

The AGM Model Competition for 2020 was run online, with online voting from members. Awards were announced at the online AGM. Category; 'Diesel and Electric Powered Locomotives, Railcars and  Multiple Units - Winner David Smith (KEAG) for Metrovick Co Bo. Congratulations David.

The British Rail Class 28 diesel locomotives, known variously as 'Metrovicks', 'Crossleys' or 'Co-Bos', were built under the Pilot Scheme for diesel locomotives as part of the British Railways 1955 Modernisation Plan. 

David Smith The class 25 (below) is a Bachmann model that has had a little work done on it mainly the fuel and water tanks between the bogies to get a bit more 3D feel to it, the main underframe has been moved inboard a mm or so to give more relief. Very little work has been done to the body apart from finer handrails and lampbrackets on the nose ends, the glazing has been thinned down on the rear by rubbing on finer and finer wet and dry paper Until it’s only a mm or so thick then polished to restore clarity hopefully it stops them looking like they are in  made from the bottoms of milk bottles all it needs is someone to do some fine etches for the radiator grills.

Alan Smith
First the servo mount. This is made from Perspex sheet I choose Perspex as you can see through it which helps when under a baseboard when trying to mount it. The base is made from 4 layers, the top layer locates the tie bar this is a beefy piece of double sided PCB with two 1mm brass tubes that the dropper wires from the point blades go into. This layer together with the second layer can be easily adjusted to locate onto the blade droppers to mounting holes can be spotted through and drilled for screws there is a slot at the front location to aid final adjustment, the two screws then hold this in position.

The body of the mount, layers 3 & 4, now screw to the already located layer 1 & 2 if a servo or switch gives up it can be easily changed. The servo and micro switch are mounted onto the top layer with more stainless screws. The servo horn drives a 0.8mm brass wire pin through the base of the mount and into a bushed hole central of the tie bar. A servo horn extension has a leaver that actuates the microswitch.
Perspex sheet has a few properties which are useful in making things of this kind. Apart from being clear it is quite rigid and is reasonably cheap. It machines well and can be glued using plumbers pipe solvent.
As you can see I have been busy and have produced around 50 of these units roughly half of that required for Evercreech Junction.


The above photos show a long term project I have been working on. For many years I have wanted a rigid milling machine, a lot of hobby machines are flimsy usually having a round vertical column on which the head rises and falls, this often leads to inaccuracies when setting the head. Once this is done it is prone to moving when taking heavier cuts or having a poor finish when doing fine cuts every job seems to have a compromise. I suppose I have been spoilt by working in industry where large tool room machines were chomping away all day, it seems, without any effort.
This machine came up so I decided to buy it. I knew is was a bit untidy but nothing that could not be fixed. Initial trials proved that indeed this machine could do all I could ever ask of it. It could both 'rip' off large cuts or do fine work. Moving the dials by 1mm or 0.1mm would take of just that, no more, no less. A workshop move around was planned to fit it all in but I thought I would tidy it up first before this. About 7 years ago I stripped down various bits and started to prepare for repainting. This was not to be a nut and bolt restoration as the machine did not need it, it was purely to clean it up. This then got delayed for one reason or another hence it has taken so long. Alas I now need the space for a railway, the workshop has grown another CNC machine, and the BIG UN cannot be fitted in. So its off to the great auction site in the sky, offers accepted.........

Pete King (for Evercreech Junction) I have, at last, finished the branch sidings turnouts. The tandem made me say “bother” a few times! If you look at it it’s quite an elongated affair and the problem was setting it out so that the various check rails and crossings didn’t get too close to one another.

Keith provided an image of the entrance to the yard

Richard Doust Progress on the shipyard is currently concentrating on the office and workshop buildings, finding out how the different methods of scratch building work - on not! The images are of the main office block - almost there!

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.