LAYOUT PARTY 2022-2023 Fifteenth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 17, 2022

  1. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Been Refining the lever frame between working on the fascia...



    Note: If link above doesn't work click ( HERE )

    Yesterday did some final design work and final (for now) prints and took the video this morning. I'm happy with it to the point that won't spend anymore time on it now. I'll try and get the print files up soon with other documentation about building it and installing it.

    Back to the layout but I hope to use the lever frames on the layout at some point for the main yard,

    Sumner
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2023
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  2. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    The helix bunker window has been replaced and ceiling panels installed (ceiling totally covered unlike the picture.) I’m going to do some trim work in here before I start on the helix.
    [​IMG]

    I also managed to get about 48 feet of backdrop installed on the upper level. Should be able to mud and tape the joints soon. [​IMG]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I planted some grass and trees on the left side of Tuloma Road, and then painted the driveway in front of Creve Coeur Transfer. I was pleased with the trees, but the 1/4" transition from the foamboard road down to the driveway (surface of the shelf, which is Homasote) looked terrible, and the Homasote pattern still showed through after painting, so I put down some cardboard to ease the transition and then covered the entire driveway with gray ballast.

    I put the tractors and grain bin back in the field, put sides on and painted the loading ramp (which was made several years ago out of two small pieces of foamboard stacked on top of each other and trimmed at an angle). I also filled a gap in the field where two pieces of Homasote met and had dried out and shrunk over the years, then reapplied some Blended Turf over the repair.
    I refurbished the trees at the back of the shelf on the other side of the dual mainline from the Creve Coeur Transfer field.
    And I refurbished the trees in the middle of the shelf, next to the Creve Coeur Transfer field.
    I also refurbished the trees and bushes along the abandoned GM&O ROW, which runs at a diagonal from the aisle toward the two tanks. The other side of the trees to the right of the ROW shows in the picture of the Creve Coeur Transfer field above. The two tanks are behind the Tuloma Road grade crossing in the pictures above. When I first modeled the highway in 2011 or 2012, I had ditches on both sides of the road where the grade crossing had been, and my representation of the abandoned ROW was nice, but boring. So, to add some interest, I filled in the ditches with foam roadbed and added bushes and access roads to both sides of the former crossing.
    When I first saw this abandoned ROW in 1974, it was still possible to see where the road was repaved when the crossing was removed. In the almost half century since then, one side of the abandoned ROW (the side shown at the bottom of the pictures) has been widened and angled differently and is now a road with a T-intersection to the highway, but since I'm modeling the 1970s, I've modeled it as a one-lane dirt road that went along the (at that time, still angled) ROW. On the other side of the highway, there is now a parking lot for a small shop, but I've modeled an access road to a farmer's field (similar to other field access roads less than one mile south from this location). When I took progress report pics with the yellow car, it didn't show up well against the buff "dirt", so I also took some with a brown pick-up truck...which I think look better.
    On my layout, this second access road angles sharply to the left and drops down a little to a field. I'm going to put up two posts and a chain with a No Trespassing sign across the way to the field, but I've left a path at the edge of the woods (well off of the farmer's field) with fishermen walking down to the river (which is just yards beyond the trees on the other side of the double main tracks in real life...but only the double mains and the trees are modeled on my layout and the river is implied.
    In addition to adding the No Trespassing gate, my next Party goals are to
    1. refurbish the trees behind the abandoned ROW and the farmer's field,
    2. refurbish trees along Lick Creek and upgrade the creek bed (currently unpainted),
    3. refurbish trees in North Pekin and upgrade the North Pekin Cemetery (trees, paths, tombstones), and
    4. refurbish trees in Pekin residental area.
    \
     
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  4. Tim Holmes

    Tim Holmes TrainBoard Member

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    Well, I got quite a bunch of stuff done this weekend, including setting up a full string of coal hoppers with new livery -- I need to do a couple more strings, but this is a good start -- I got all the equipment moved to the storage yards, and was able to actually run a train from the south storage yard to Walsenburg. That train is now sitting on the arrival track in walsenburg and waiting for the yard job to break it down today, there will probably be a few more trains getting the walsenburg yard stocked before stuff starts to move across the layout --

    Goals for this week
    1. more liveries
    2. Entering towns along the branchline routes into JMRI so that I can start those trains moving
    3. Continue to develop industries along the lines -- place holders for now -- eventually more detailed models
    4. Run some trains
    5. start learning passenger operations in JMRI
     
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  5. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    It's going slow on the C&L improvements. But hopefully I'll get some more items done during the party? Removed large nails, and replaced with N Scale nails, and adjusted roadbed. As you can see some adjustment still needed in some areas. At least I don't see a bunch of large shiny nail heads now :)

    IMG_2649.jpg IMG_2650.jpg IMG_2651.jpg
     
  6. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, K.B. and I worked on his layout, attempting to get his Digitrax WIFI unit to connect with his loconet and allow phones with a Throttle app to run trains on his layout. He had attempted to install it in December, but was unsuccessful. On-line tech support from Digitrax group was enthusiastic, but ultimately it was unproductive. He could get his phone to list the Wifis available in his house (including the Digitrax unit) but couldn't get the app to connect to it. One of the suggested problems was that his Digitrax unit might be defective, but when we tested the unit on my layout last week, we were able to get an immediate connection. Yesterday, we tested connecting my phone to his layout and initially, I couldn't connect, but when I switched to roaming with Cellular Data "On" at 5G, I was able to run a loco on his layout from my iPhone...and he still had issues with his Samsung phone. I have no idea why mine worked and his didn't, because he got the version of the Throttle App for his phone recommended by Digitrax. One of the online comments last month said there might be problems with his 5G phone and his 2.5G Digitrax receiver, but the success with my phone seems to contradict that. Anyone have suggestions?

    Next Tuesday, I'll go back to kitbashing a structure for one of his industries: a furniture manufacturer.
    Original Kit: Parts before I cut any of them:

    These 5 pieces make up the front and 2 sides of the building and Evergreen plastic sheets will be used for the back wall (hidden against a view block) and the roof and the dock (in front of D):
    Yesterday afternoon, K.B. helped me on my layout:
    I installed the gate and Private Property sign on the Farmer's Field gate (sign = 2 point font on printer paper glued to a black thread; posts made from square wood strip):

    I refurbished the trees and upgraded the creek bed of Lick Creek:
    I put in the North and South Air Pump Sheds and the Velde Crossing Access Road and refurbished the trees along the backdrop, while K.B. put down grass:
    I refurbished the trees and bushes behind the tracks in North Pekin, and behind the cemetery and the tracks and K.B. refurbished the grass in those areas.
    In the next few days, I'm going to upgrade trees and roads in the Pekin residential area, and a damaged mock-up of a business at Caroline Street, but then I'm going to work on trees in Kenney and Allentown, Peoria/Kickapoo Yard, and Moffat. When Moffat is done, I want to reconfigure track in 4 yards so I can add 2 new interchanges and reconfigure 2 existing interchanges in the Northern and Southern Divisions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023
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  7. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    On at least one phone I had to turn 'Mobil Data' off to get EngineDriver to connect on an Android phone.

    Guess I can't sneak in there and hunt rabbits and quail anymore :(

    Sumner
     
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  8. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    In my last update, I mentioned that I was noticing some problems with the controls on both of the main staging yards on the west end of the layout. The Southern Pacific yard was possibly a loose connection on one of the terminal strips because after going through and tightened several that seemed a bit loose everything started working again. I also found that there is an MP 5 motor that needs some adjustment.

    In the Western Pacific west end yard the Digitrax DS64 which controls the routes is not taking commands from the push button inputs but the routes can still be controlled from the throttles using their addresses. CV 11 on the DS64 determines if the inputs are activated and checking that did not change anything. For now I am just using the throttle to run that yard.

    WU08Jan22b.jpg

    My wife is planning another week long trip for us after we get back from Japan in March. With the week long exhibit of the Asian layout set for late April, I need to get moving on the point to point system now. So, I've been ordering all the bits I need for this and have been working on that. The control box is almost finished and the permanently mounted sensors in the my dual purpose module have been installed and tested.

    TBWOYW11Jan23a.jpg
    Next I need to mount the connector on the bottom of the module, wire the sensors and everything else there. Waiting for delivery of the cable for the remote sensor.
     
  9. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is the second part of this update. I carefully drilled the holes for the sensors between the ties in the locations needed to stop trains at this end of the line. I have added yellow arrows in Photoshop to show were these are. This is an overhead view of the module with it sitting on it's back edge. These sensors may not be visible from the front as they are behind the platforms. I still may want to touch up the ballast as suggested in the Azatrax instructions.

    TBLP12Jan23a.jpg

    TBLP12Jan23b.jpg
     
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  10. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    True, but you could still follow those fishermen down to the Illinois River and get your protein by catching an Asian Carp!

    Or you could rest in the shade under a tree and do some rail fanning.
    In the 1970s (my layout era), the prototype Peoria and Pekin Union Railway had dual tracks from the southern end of the main yard in East Peoria 9 miles south to the Pekin Tower in Pekin IL. The prototype's dual tracks went through blocks identified as Wesley, Hilliards, Grove, and North Pekin. On my layout, Tuloma Anhydrous Ammonia, the AMOCO Tank Farm, and Creve Coeur Transfer represent businesses in the prototype Hilliards block in 1975.

    The Grove Crossovers separate Hilliards and Grove blocks. Prototype scenes in the Grove block inspired my modeling of:
    a) the Private Property gate in the field and the fishermen's path from the highway along the woods and over the tracks to the Illinois River;
    b) the fishermen's brown pickup truck (or yellow car) is parked on the abandoned ROW near where the prototype GM&O connected with the Peoria and Pekin Union Rwy until their merger formed the ICG and the ROW was abandoned in the early 1970s;
    c) Lick Creek, for which a nearby golf course was/is named,
    d) Auto Row with 4 or 5 auto dealerships, and
    e) Velde Crossover (which is directly across the highway from the prototype Velde Ford Dealership's former location. The dealership is gone now, but Velde Drive is still there. The Velde Crossover marks the southern end of the Grove block.

    Each week in the 1970s, railfans at Grove might see 9 to 11 BN coal trains arriving from Wyoming and Montana to park their 120 loaded hoppers on what was usually the northbound track between Pekin and East Peoria, except when blocked by a southbound coal train. BN power running light used the Velde Crossover, then would travel north on the usually southbound track back north 3 miles to the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway Yard in East Peoria, IL for refueling and a new crew.
    Meanwhile, Chicago and Illinois Midland power would bring up 120 empty BN coal hoppers from their Rail-Barge Coal Facility in Havana Illinois, about 40 miles south of Grove, and park the northbound BN empties on the Southbound track in the North Pekin block, the last block with dual tracks between Grove and Pekin (and about 3 miles south of the fisherman's path where the railfans are keeping their cameras ready).
    CIM power would then use the Velde Crossover to pick up the southbound 120 BN hopper loads and a BN Caboose from the northbound track and take them south to Pekin Tower and on to the Havana Rail-Barge Facility for transloading to barges for transport up to Chicago. (Bringing the western coal into Chicago by barge for 200 miles from Havana IL was MUCH faster and cheaper than paying the high fees/tariffs for very slow rail service into the incredibly busy rail yards in Chicago. This method was in place for several years before the 1970s, and still continues at this time.)
    About the same time the Loads start heading south toward Pekin Tower on the northbound track, the refueled and "re-crewed" BN power runs light, southbound on the southbound track, past the railfans in Grove who are comparing their pics of the departing loads, to pick up 120 northbound empty hoppers parked near the air pump shed located in the North Pekin block on the southbound track about 100 yards south of the Velde Crossover. The air pump sheds north and south of the Velde Crossover provide air pressure to speed up preparations to depart northbound or southbound. As soon as they are ready, the dispatcher sends the BN empty hoppers northbound on the usually southbound track to the single main at Wesley. When the empties leave Wesley, the dual tracks are clear for normal northbound or southbound travel. According to a retired Pekin Tower operator, depending on the time of day/night the coal trains arrived, about a third of the time the presence/absence of other trains on the dual tracks made it was possible for the northbound empties to actually park in Grove on the northbound track and the southbound loads to park on the southbound track in North Pekin.
    On my layout, I've modeled the BN western coal trains with loaded hoppers moving from the Arrival and Departure tracks of the large BN Galesburg IL Yard, about 45 prototype miles (11.5 n-scale miles) to Grove (and power light 2 miles back to PPU's East Peoria Yard); CIM's empties from Havana IL 40 miles (5.6 n-scale miles) to North Pekin and returning 5.6 scale miles to Havana IL with loads. Two of the 4 Galesburg Arrival-Departure tracks have a hidden connection to the Havana Rail Barge Facility permitting a Loads in--Empties out scenario.
    In addition to the Coal trains and power running light, the railfans joining Sumner under the shade tree at Grove might see:
    4 northbound and 4 southbound freight trains to/from the PPU's East Peoria Yard:
    ICG 291/272 to Decatur Illinois; ICG 275/276 to Mattoon IL; CR freight to Hillery Yard near Danville IL ;and
    Peoria and Eastern (NYC) freight PEIN-08/INPE-09 to Indianapolis;
    6 Turns out of East Peoria to Pekin and back to East Peoria:
    AM Shift and PM Shift PPU Pekin Local to Industries in Hilliards, North Pekin and the Pekin Farm Yard;
    AM Shift and PM Shift PPU's Corn Products Transfer to Corn Products Plant in Pekin;
    PPU's CIM Transfer to the CIM/PPU Interchange in Pekin, PPU's ATSF Transfer to the ATSF Interchange in Pekin.
     
  11. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Dave nice history.

    Some of those coal trains probably went right past my house in Wyoming. I had 20 acres (dry land that cost $400 an acre at the time) northeast of Sheridan, Wyoming. Built an 800 sq. ft. house on it for $4000 (those were the days) and the house was less than 200 feet from the BN tracks on my west property line that went from the main line to the coal mines just north of me.

    There was a very short siding there and a work crew had their equipment on it while one of the loaded coal trains went by coming from the coal mine at Decker, MT.. The mile long train was about half past them when cars started to derail. It was like a slow motion accordion and I wondered if the train was ever going to stop. The work crew were running and one of their work cars went up in smoke and flames. Something I'll never forget.

    Sumner
     
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  12. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I took a break from working on Layout Party goals to spend most of this morning experimenting with the telephoto lens's depth of field in focus on my iPhone 12 Pro camera trying to get clear details on both near and far items in pictures taken on my layout.

    First, my "drone" caught 3 figures [Sumner, nscalestation, and gmorider?? :whistle:] near the abandoned GM&O ROW, perhaps to mourn a fallen flag, railfan some coal and freight action on the P&PU in N-scale's dual mains, or maybe snag some catfish and Asian Carp from the Illinois River just beyond the trees. The camera was about 3 feet from the figures. This pic shows all three of them in good detail (they are about 1 inch apart from each other), the coal train near the back of the shelf was slowly pulling into Grove in fair focus, and the Sealtest truck on the highway close to the aisle was in poor focus.
    As the train crossed the Lick Creek bridge, the "drone" took a picture from about 6 feet in front of the McDonald's billboard. and the foreground car and truck are bleary, the McDonald's billboard and hopper lettering aren't bleary but certainly are not sharp, so they get a "fair" rating; and the loco lettering is in adequate focus (i.e., less than fair but better than poor focus).
    When the train passed Auto Row, the "drone" was about 10 feet away from the locos, and I focused on BN 8301's orange and black stripes. 8301's stripes and lettering were in good focus, as was the cement truck. 8300's numbers on the cab were fair (about 10 inches beyond 8301's stripes), and 9255's logo on the cab and the details on the station wagon were poor (about 15 inches beyond 8301's stripes).
    As the coal train crawled past the North Air Pump Shed, the "drone" took a picture from about 10 feet away, while I attempted to tap the screen to automatically focus the camera on the center locomotive. Apparently I didn't hold the camera steady while tapping, because none of the locos look in good focus.
    A friend who taught photography and art at a local high school and a community college, said using the telephoto lens on my phone camera should give me a longer (deeper?) field where the image would be in focus, but perhaps at the cost of more graininess in the more distant pictures...and that is exactly what I found:
    1. regardless of whether I stood near or far, or took pics with a low or high telephoto lens setting, my area in best focus never seemed to be more than a little over 3 inches.
    2. The range of the fair or adequate focus DID seem to improve with magnification, perhaps up to 10 inches or so.
    3. The higher the telephoto setting, the grainier the pics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2023
  13. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Been working on ....

    [​IMG]

    ... the lever frame control (probably too much). Making changes and adjustments and printing test pieces

    [​IMG]

    I decided to add some features.

    There will be four basic options. One, shown above, would have a turnout shown on the top case (RH Up, RH Down, LH Up, LH down) with holes to mount LEDs underneath to show which way the turnout is thrown and a hole on the from where a small momentary push button switch can be mounted. It also can have two SPDT switches mounted inside. One is a SPDT limit switch operated via the back shorter lever-arm and the second a SPDT reed switch under the front tall lever that has a magnet glued to it that activates the reed switch. The combination of the three switches can operate the under $5 servo controller I'll be using in some locations. The lever frame will still be fully functional as to operating the mechanical 'Spring Switcher' also that I'll be using. Besides the LEDs on the lever frame itself one of the switches could also control LEDs on a control panel mounted in a different location. I feel the combination of switches will probably also be able to activate some of the commercial servo controllers.

    A second option is to print the above minus the hole for the small momentary switch at the front.

    The third and fourth options would be to have what is above but with a plan top without the indicated turnout printed as part of it.

    All the versions can operate the mechanical 'Spring Switcher' switch machine under the turnout that I've put up info on and I will put the print files up also soon.

    [​IMG]

    .

    [​IMG]

    .

    [​IMG]

    .

    [​IMG]

    .

    [​IMG]

    Worked on the Lever Frame more today but getting ready to go out and pull pins and lay more cork,

    Sumner
     
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  14. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    I continued my depth of field experimenting by taking pics of the locos and cars parked by Velde Crossover at scale railfan height (rather than "drone" height).

    This pic was taken with the maximum telephoto setting (10) and yielded good focus on the 9255's cab, the crossbucks (2 inches in front of the cab), and the propane tank for the switch heaters on Crossover turnouts (4 inches in front of the cab. Focus on the 8300's number boards 6 inches behind the 9255's number boards is adequate, but is poor for anything beyond.
    The high-middle telephoto setting (6) was focused on the front of 9255 and shows good detail from the nose to the fuel tank and poor focus on 8300's number boards (6 inches behind 9255's).
    The low-middle telephoto setting (4) was focused on 8300's cab and 9255's numbers on the back half of the loco are focused (3-4 inches in front of 8300's cab), but 9255's cab and number boards are not.
    I also liked these scale railfan height shots:
     
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  15. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    Sumner,
    Your Lever Frame and Spring Switch mechanisms are impressive! Would you please post (re-post?) the link to a parts list, somewhere, that gives the specs and/or sources on the specific reed switches, SPDT limit switches, wires/rods, etc. you used ...so someone using your print file(s) and their own 3D printer could put together these units for their own layout?
     
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  16. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]

    Here is a link to the 'Spring Switcher' switch machine shown above but I don't have the print files up yet. Will try and get them up soon and will post back when I do. ....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/page-54.html

    and a link to the other switch machines and switch machine controllers....

    http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/Trackwork-Index.html

    If anyone has used any of the above I'd sure like some feedback as I am willing to do improvements where/if needed.

    There is no parts list or posted print files for the 'Lever Frame' controller yet. I need to finalize things and get the page up on my website and then I'll post here and also put up links. This has been a much bigger project that I was thinking I'd do when I started. I just looked and see that I've generated 689 files on my computer associated with it.

    I save a design every 3-4 changes when I'm designing it in Fusion 360 and it looks like there has been about 200+ of those saves so 400-600 changes to the design/designs since starting. Some are minor and some major. I start with a general design in my head of where I'd like to go after looking at pictures and such if it is something that I've seen. Then try and get something basic to see if it prints and works. Then fine tune that for better looks and functionality. More prints more tweaking and adding to what I started with but didn't see design wise at that time. Some of the things I've designed I've never seen but someone has maybe done something similar. Pretty hard to be completely original anymore.

    I can do some things really quick with Fusion but this was more complicated I have tons more time though in my 'Coal Mine Project' and still a ways to go with it. Mainly gluing and painting. For this project I'm pretty close to what I'll put up and leave alone for a while.

    Sumner
     
  17. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    Not a lot of straight ahead progress here. Been working on three things:
    1. Clearing all the stuff out of my old train room after it spent 20 years as my daughter's bedroom.
    2. Clearing some woodworking space to cut some benchwork pieces downstairs. It looks easier to drag two halves of a round layout upstairs than haul a whole sheet of 1/2" birch plywood up there.
    3. Designing a router jig to to cut out the round part of the layout. This should also be useful for things like turntable pits. Once #1 and 2 above are under control, I'll borrow my salamander back from the son in law, get out in the garage and machine the parts. Don't know if I'll finish the layout party much further ahead, but at least I should be better organized.
     
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  18. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

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    I used to use Fusion 360 until it got too big for my computer. Now I'm back to using an ancient (perpetual license) version of AutoCAD that runs on Windows XP. Contrary to popular opinion, AutoCAD does have a 3D capability- it's just not particularly convenient, but I've used it for years so am unfazed by it.- and is capable of exporting an STL file, so it works for me.
     
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  19. VinceP

    VinceP TrainBoard Member

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    Well had I seen it way sooner I would have been in
     
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  20. Tim Holmes

    Tim Holmes TrainBoard Member

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    Well, this week has been about buildings, and liveries. The Developer of Rolling Line (the software that I use to create my railroad) Introduced a system were we can add models to our cars that allow them to have different loads, so I have been working on several kinds of cars to introduce loads to them. Please note as you look at these pics that this game is NOT intended to be photorealistic, that would introduce HUGE loads on the processors and so the system is designed to be playable. Also when I design liveries, I do not keep them photorealistic, for example you will find car numbers featured prominently -- I focus more on operations than on photorealism, so I make the car numbers so my old tired eyes can READ them -- LOL -- tiny numbers and me dont get along -- LOL

    heres a basic well car 20230116110736_1.jpg

    and here it is with its different loads -- combining this with JMRI Operations, will make things very easy to enjoy ops
    20230116110736_1.jpg 20230116110502_1.jpg 20230116110439_1.jpg 20230116110451_1.jpg 20230116110525_1.jpg 20230116110431_1.jpg 20230116110516_1.jpg 20230116110521_1.jpg 20230116110530_1.jpg

    I'll be working on a lot of different kinds of cars over time to give them loads -- Ive got a model of a HUGE schnable car thats gonna get a couple loads, im planning a millitary train (Flat cars with millitary loads) also cars carrying Wind Turbine Blades etc

    Another part of the week has been placing buildings as place holders so that I can make sure track is properly laid and start operating

    keep in mind that these buildings are PLACE HOLDERS, not final products, so some of them are rough, out of scale and look awful -- the goal is to get things going, not be a finished project
    (continued in the next message -- the board wont let me add any more pics)
     

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