Free-moN Staging Yard - 2'x10'

MC Fujiwara Apr 23, 2012

  1. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

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    If you go to the Proto87 Stores website (www.proto87stores.com) and find the N-scale section, you'll discover that Andy Reichert (the owner) has near scale appearing "throw-bars" that eliminate the need to solder the rails to big, ugly PCB throw-bars. He's got a couple of styles of throw-bars, which plug into a PCB throw-bar and attach to the points either by drilling small holes in the foot, or moving them through spring action if you're rolling your own without hinges (solderable nickel-silver or stainless steel with hooks) I use the ones with hooks that require me to drill holes in the rail-foot of my points since I also use his etched hinges which give my hand-built turnouts a really nice prototypical look. I believe all of his N-scale throw-rods are the "solderable" ones (without hooks), so I have to order stainless HOn2.5 ones for code 40. Talk to Andy. He's very good about seeking a solution to track problems. I'll have to take some photos once I get my modules set up again in the next couple of weeks. But, go here to look at HO examples on his "throw-bar help" page: http://www.proto87.com/throw-bars.html

    I don't have to do it, since I don't use commercial turnouts, but...I don't know if it'd be possible to use these to replace broken plastic throw-bars after the turnouts are laid in and glued. Personally, in my experience, my module buddies who use both ME #6's and Atlas55 turnouts haven't had the problems talked about here. Guess it's the Tortoises we use, with the finer connecting wire that makes drilling new holes in plastic throw-bars a moot point.

    Cheers!
    Bob Gilmore
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 26, 2012
  2. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    For the Altas C55, just slipping in the shims helps keep the point rails from popping up, no matter what method of turnout control you use.
    For the ME C55 #6s, my "fixes" are to repair my own bungling in snapping off the throwbars by accident.
    The holes in the ME throwbars are smaller than the Atlas, but I've found a slight filing / grinding of the wire takes it down enough to slide through just fine.

    Easily distracted, I tend to make a lot of "D'oh!" mistakes, like installing one Bullfrog close the cross-support before inserting the z-bend connector:

    [​IMG]

    No biggie, as I just unscrewed the Bullfrog, inserted the z-bend, then re-attached the Bullfrog.
    But I tend to do a lot of forehead-slapping moves like that.
    And if you can't laugh at yourself...

    By the way, you can see the support for the red control rod sheath still attached to the Bullfrog on the left.
    Those are totally unnecessary on this module: just having the red sheath can work fine for the 11" max on this module, and the structure gets in the way when using the z-bend and using both sides, so I just chop it off.

    After a lovely day yesterday with a Silicon Valley Free-moN group work session, I got one yard section totally wired up and ready to roll.
    Came back home, hooked up the small sceniced extension and the DCC, and ran some trains:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Except for the rear "2" on my 2-10-2 slipping off the point rails when backing up over ONE turnout coming from the diverging route (need to check the gauge & inspect the rails), all the trains ran fine over all the trackwork.

    Today will be installing the shelves and control rods on the on the opposite side (now that everything underneath works fine, don't need to prop it up on the workbench), and then hooking up all the wiring on the other yard section.

    Should have a fine & operational staging yard with powered frogs and turnout control for the setup at the Coast Division meet June 10th.
    Thanks for looking.
     
  3. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Finally got all the track wired up, as well as all the Bullfrog turnout controls installed and wired, which means it's time to run some trains!

    While the yard sections and insert make a 10' double-ended yard module, since I made each section with Free-moN standard endplates, I can split the yard and create two stub-ended yards:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I sandwiched my Sonoma Shoo-fly, added some detachable extensions to the stubs to create some runarounds, and so was able to run some long(er)(ish) trains through.
    Enjoy the (short) video, featuring my new 2-10-2 (which will shortly have sound installed, I hope):

    [video=youtube_share;ntryw3aQzNY]http://youtu.be/ntryw3aQzNY[/video]

    Thanks for looking.
     
  4. Mart

    Mart TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for sharing, Youre layouts are looking great.
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That view through the trees, down hill to the train is a real attention grabber.
     
  6. MRL

    MRL TrainBoard Member

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    Yard A to B, hopefully you made it in without a few hours worth of wait in the hole somewhere... Whats your run ablut 100 miles from your terminal? Hopefully you didn't get stuck dogcatching and not get to go home early? Looks FUN!!!
     
  7. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Busy week as we're getting ready to show/run some trains on Sunday.
    (And the Euro Cup started yesterday. Need to get a TV out in the garage: Wife's not happy I keep bring train stuff into the house to work on while watching)

    Started building the machine shop in the staging yard.
    First made a pit by cutting out the center & then turning that into the bottom with some pieces of scrape styrene:

    [​IMG]

    Decided to install the machine shop at a slight angle to break up all the parallelism.
    Had to cut a channel in the ply for the pit.
    After installing replacement ties, I spray painted the track Grimy Black:

    [​IMG]

    Installed "concrete" strips of scored styrene for the diesel service area, then painted the rest of the ply "mis-tint tan" [WHICH I SHOULD HAVE DONE BEFORE LAYING ANY TRACK AT ALL!!!] (more on that in a bit)
    Couldn't resist throwing down some dirt on the wet paint, which led to throwing down some cinders as well (haven't quite decided how I want the yard to look, but sparse dirt & cinders is an ok base ground cover):

    [​IMG]

    BIG NOTES TO SELF:
    --Paint yr ply at the start: seals the wood and provides smooth surface for throwbars (painted every other layout first: didn't on this one as in too much a hurry to get things operational for a show)
    --Don't forget to douse your throwbars with LaBelle oil BEFORE wetting ground cover and soaking with diluted white glue. The oil creates a barrier and so prevents the diluted white glue from creeping under the throwbars.
    Because I forgot both, I had 7-8 throwbars that I had to unstick and then scrape out with a thin-blade knife and file [D'oh!]

    But all worked out okie dokie, and I finished building the machine shop, though I had to move the chimney a bit:

    [​IMG]

    The chimney is CA'ed for now, but I might break it off and use a magnet / dowel if it becomes a nuisance during transport.

    What's that blue light in the shop, you ask?
    Hmm.....

    [cont.]
     
  8. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Before we get to the blue light, here's another nifty addition to the staging yard:
    At the last show, we had to jerry-rig a NEC PCP with a piece of track to act as a programming track, so...
    I isolated two tracks (the outside diesel service track and the machine shop track) to serve as programming tracks during operations:

    [​IMG]

    During normal ops, the tracks are connected to the main bus, but we can flip to programming mode through an on-off-on toggle on respective sides of the module:

    [​IMG]

    The toggles are hooked up to some short wires that have Anderson powerpole connectors, so we can hook up the "DCC in a Toolbox" I'll be building later today:

    [​IMG]

    As this Staging Yard is designed for primarily practical purposes, I think the programming tracks (with enough space for 2-3 loco consists) will help out moocho.

    The main bus splice will also allow me to run trains at home, or if we don't have the fabulous "DCC / JMRI in a box" that we normally use.

    Now back to that blue light...

    [cont.]
     
  9. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    So I made the Machine Shop with the roof removable for access:

    [​IMG]

    And will be detailing the interior over the next couple weeks.
    Need to get a bunch of machine shop equipment in there.
    Might put up some interior walls, too, to cover the plastic window frames & detail-less walls (though nobody will really see it, given the 50" height).

    But started with some dudes working:

    [​IMG]

    The grates in the middle cover a hole that houses a welding circuit:

    [​IMG]

    Operated by a toggle on the fascia.
    Workers need to do some work while people are programming, right?

    Very silly feature but adds some fun.

    For now the welding lights are run by 9V battery mounted by a clip to the module wall:

    [​IMG]

    Eventually the circuit and more lights might be connected to the accessory bus, but for now, that's it.

    And now it's back to watching the Portugal / Germany game while installing low-pro wheels and MT trucks on some old reefers so I have more rolling stock to roll tomorrow ;)

    Happy weekend, all.
    Thanks for looking.
     
  10. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Had a lovely day running trains with the Silicon Valley Free-moN dudes at the Coast Division Meet in San Leandro, CA:

    [video=youtube_share;wAGq6zOyUyI]http://youtu.be/wAGq6zOyUyI[/video]

    The space we had available was a funkily-angled atrium at the Boy Scout Headquarters building, but, hey, Free-moN can fit anywhere!

    Speaking of fitting things in, here's a "Behind-the-Scenes" of how I get my Shoo-fly & Staging Yard modules (& equipment) to meets:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Notice the high-tech shock-absorbing packing material.
    If I build another module, it will be a good excuse to get a bigger car ;)

    Thanks for looking!
     
  11. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

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    You guys sure do good work, but some reverse loops sure would help. I cannot tell if there is enough space in your car but have you considered transportation plates to stack same size module in one unit? This would also protect the rails at the ends of the modules.

    The Nland Pacific set up at the Big Train Show last weekend. See attached.
    That's us in the back with the signal that is dark, no train approaching. 50'x50' with a branchline. _DSC0077.jpg
     
  12. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Nland Pacific does great work!
    I hope one day we'll have the modules (and members) to sprawl like you guys do.

    Yeah, I'll build some transportation plates for the staging yard at some point.
    Will have to take the machine shop smokestack down first ;)
    Steve Williams has plates for his Lockhart module, and it makes transport & packing in the car pretty easy.
    I did make that box for the Shoo-fly, which seems to work pretty well, given it's uneven scenery.

    I'm sure I could pack more in my wife's Scion XB--that thing has a ton of room due to it's boxy behind--but she's loathe to drive my Rav4, even after I clean it (which will happen right after the United States wins the World Cup ;) )

    I'm pretty proud of building everything to fit in my car (which is the guiding principle of Free-moN modular design: if it doesn't fit in your car, it really doesn't exist), but, yes, I need to get my rear in gear about better transport & storage organizing.
    Another thing on The List!

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  13. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

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    You put it well, that is about if you cannot put it in your car it does not exist. I had a van until the little woman totaled it and have had issues ever since. In fact my modules did not make the show this time, but my rebuilds did.

    Thanks for sharing all that you do as it is good food for thought and I have learned much from your experiences.

    Keep up the good work, but that also means you may end up with a small trailer.:startled:
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Got any closer in views?
     
  15. SD75MAC

    SD75MAC TrainBoard Supporter

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    Closer from N-Land Pacific

    Here are a couple of closer images from N-Land Pacific.


    _DSC7189.jpg

    _DSC7200.jpg

    _DSC7206.jpg
     
  16. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    I hope someday our modules look (and run) as good & long as the N-land Pacific stuff.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Seems like after a show the train stuff just sorta sits for awhile, as I play catch-up with work and figure out what project to tackle next.
    I need to install a Tadpod support for one of the Bullfrog cables (just a few inches too long for firm action), but I really didn't feel like diving back into benchwork.
    So I pulled out a box of Tichy Wreck Crane Train kits I got awhile ago and gave that a go.
    The crew, supply & boom cars were all fine & straight-forward enough: hardest part was gluing the nuts centered.
    The crane was fun, too, until The Threading Of The Cables:

    [​IMG]

    Talk about blowing your eyes out.
    Next time I'm painting everything bright yellow so I can see the thread easier.

    But it all worked out, and now we have a wreck train to help out during shows:

    [​IMG]

    Still need to paint the trip pins and add some details to the boom car.
    Now to build the MOW shed next to the MOW track:

    [​IMG]

    But it's nice to be back modeling again.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  17. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry for not posting my usual 20 kabillion pictures a day, but Other Things (like Life & Family stuff) been happening lately, especially with Japanese School Summer Intensive and then Summer Vacation in full force. But I just finished building, installing and getting operational the manual turntable for Effett Yard, and so, in an onslaught of quantity over quality, I present a plethora of progress photos.

    Our Silicon Valley Free-moN group held a work party June 30 at Steve Williams’ house, and we worked on Murf’s Junction module as well as some single-to-double track modules. Scott Forrest also brought his RotoSaw with nifty attachment that allowed us to cut the 8ish” turntable pit hole with surprising accuracy:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, we just cleared the Bullfrog support, which would necessitate cutting a notch in the pit floor to fit around it.

    The Voice of Experience says: Building a custom pit turntable is much easier if you do it before installing track, wiring and turnout controls like Bullfrog [“D’oh!”].

    It also helps to have the right tools.
    A week or so later I journeyed down to Scott’s workshop in Half Moon Bay (name describes the shape of the bay, not any saggy-swimwear styles), and we cut the pit floor out of ¼” MDF and fitted it into place with screws:

    [​IMG]

    After using our advanced compass & geometry skills to find the center, Scott used his nifty drill press to create the vertical hole for the ¼” audio jack I used for the pivot and electrical contact:

    [​IMG]

    While all the cutting and drilling were not 100% perfect, it was PDC [pretty darn close], and you’ll see how I constructed the bridge and pit walls to bring everything into very PDC alignment in the end.

    [cont.]
     
  18. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    While I love Gallows-style turntables, Effett Yard runs all types of locos, so something more Transition Era is more appropriate. Even more important in Free-moN structure design is Solid & Robust: given all the moving and multiple operators monkeying around with everything, even with the best of intentions something delicate like a Gallows deck wouldn’t last long.

    I found a 6” x 1 1/8” metal tie plate at Home Depot, and then used 0.08” styrene (which was the exact same thickness as the plate) to build an 8” bridge:

    [​IMG]

    The channels in the middle are for the wires from the audio jack (with connection screws cut off to lower the profile) to run through the tie plate screw holes to the track.

    Why not use the 8” metal tie plate for the 8” bridge? Having 1” of styrene on both sides allowed me to easily sand the ends into curves to match the pit walls by clamping the bridge to the cut-out circle of ply as a guide:

    [​IMG]

    [If you have a grinder, I guess you could have done the same with an 8” metal plate]

    As I hand-drilled the hole in the styrene for the audio-jack pivot, the styrene ends also allowed for slight sanding adjustments to insure centering: I just inserted the bridge in the pit and spun it around, and where an end started to rub against the side I took it back to the circle ply guide and slighted sanded it some more:

    [​IMG]

    Surprisingly, very little adjustment was needed, and all the parts lined up pretty well.

    So after soldering the feeder wires to the top of the audio jack, I GorillaGlued the metal tie plate to the styrene bridge base:

    [​IMG]

    [cont.]
     
  19. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    I smoothed some lightweight spackle tinted with slate grey craft paint around the pit sides to make a more concretey look and cover the ply cross-section:

    [​IMG]

    After it thoroughly dried, I used some fine-grit sandpaper to smooth it down to clear the bridge ends.

    Atlas C55 girder bridge sides (leftover from the car float apron on our “Alameda-Belt-In-A-Box” project last year) got spliced together and then glued to the sides upside-down:

    [​IMG]

    I also GorillaGlued some PC board ties to the top of the deck, and then soldered a section of track to the ties, allowing plenty of extra rail to extend over the side for finer adjustments later:

    [​IMG]

    As the audio jack has just a little too much give and so makes the deck a little wobbly, I glued washers under the outside edges of the bridge to ride on a rail in the pit:

    [​IMG]

    Ultimately, it took three washers on each side, which makes the bridge nice and heavy for smoother turning.

    [cont.]
     
  20. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    The circumference of a 7 ¾” circle is 24.35”, so I had to use two pieces of ME rail (which came in 18” lengths) to create the pit rail. [Although, as I write this right now, I realize I could have just slipped out one rail from a length of 30” flextrack to make it. D’oh!]

    I created a 7 ¾” circle on AnyRail so I could have the grid as reference, printed it on cardstock, sprayed it with adhesive and then placed ¼”-long PC board ties equally around the circle. After bending the rail by hand (not so precise) and then soldering it into a circle, I slipped ¼”-long stripwood ties evenly around & CA’ed in place:

    [​IMG]

    After spray painting the whole thing Grimy Black, I CA’ed it to the pit floor:

    [​IMG]

    The rail is not in a perfect circle, which really can only be seen when the bridge is removed and you look straight down. But as the rail is just a surface for the washers and not a thin set of wheels, then it’s okie dokie with me (The Yard is called “Effett” after what I say when I’m taking too long on a project and just end there).

    The three washers on each side of the bridge brings the deck up slightly higher than the ply around it, so you can see I installed some layers of grey-painted styrene as a ramp up.

    You can also see that at some point I painted the pit grey / concrete and then stained the sides. The floor will have some gravel and dirt fallen in, or maybe gravel all over with some plant growth. We’ll see.

    If I couldn’t have a Gallows deck, then at least I could have some wood decking, gosh darnit. I installed stained strips of 1/32” x 3/64” basswood to make the decking:

    [​IMG]

    Very tedious.
    But a nice effect when done:

    [​IMG]

    Still need to add some NBW details here and there, and I’m still debating about building a center arch thingy.

    You can also see the light white wash and stain on the sides. Don’t want to use weathering powders on something everybody & their mother will be touching!

    [cont.]
     

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