Free-moN Staging Yard - 2'x10'

MC Fujiwara Apr 23, 2012

  1. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am curious to see this turntable business continue. After not finding anything close to the turntable I want to put in among commercially available kits, I have picked up headphone jack hardware and started cooking up some ideas.

    Edit: I wrote this after just that first post and by the time I hit post reply M.C. had pretty much shown us the rest.
     
  2. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    I spread some caulk and laid down the tracks leading up to the TT, then soldered the end rails to two PC board ties I had GorillaGlued at the edge (definitely don’t want those rails moving!).

    After the solder, I used my Dremel to trim the rails back to allow space for the bridge rails to swing through:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A pretty narrow gap, as things go, and cars & locos move onto the deck with nary a bump.

    I used a Digitrax AR1 auto reversing circuit for the first time, and I’ve been pretty impressed. The unit is easy to mount (I slipped some 0.08” styrene behind to not bend the solder bumps behind):

    [​IMG]

    and even easier to wire up: two wires from the bus to the AR1, then two wires from the AR1 to the audio jack. No separate power supply is needed, as it runs of the track power. And even on the slowest-speed creep locos passed on & off the TT deck without a single stutter or pause. There’s even a nifty little “click” sound when then power is reversed. It worked great for my NCE Powercab, and there’s a little adjustment screw to move the trip point when we hook up for shows & have more juice.

    So I slapped down two small sections of flextrack as overshot safety, soldered the feeders for the approach tracks, and the TT was ready to operate:

    [​IMG]

    The track on the far right is the coal / sand supply spur, and won’t be tacked down until I figure out all the steam engine service details (like do I really want a 6”-tall coal tower on a Free-moN module? Or make it removable? Or?)

    So still need to paint and ballast the track and scenic around the pit, but as is Silicon Valley Free-moN now has an operating turntable and won’t have to run steam and F-units backwards every-other trip around the turnback loop.

    And, of course, there’s a short [2:30] video of the turntable in action:

    [video=youtube_share;epkJUTE4njA]http://youtu.be/epkJUTE4njA[/video]

    Thanks for looking, and I look forward to seeing how others custom-built their turntables!
     
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    He makes it look so easy! I could never get the pit cutout round, the pit rail to look or function properly and have the plug perpendicular to the table itself. But I may soon need to try, again.... What I see here helps give me some courage!
     
  4. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    All I can say is "WOW" Great results from (to my mind) a scary undertaking. Look forward to seeing this in person.
     
  5. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the kind words.
    Having only two tracks to line up with certainly helped cover for the less-than-precise construction methods ;)
    But we'll see how it holds up under operating conditions "in the wild" over the next couple months.

    I might add a doghouse to the side at the center, or next to the pit just left of the left incoming track.
    Need to do a study on where hands go when operating so nothing gets knocked over.

    And I need to install some bumpers on the spill-over tracks so nothing makes a mad dash for the floor.

    It was so hot in my garage when I shot the video that my iPhone actually shut down to cool off in the middle of the shoot!
    But I wrapped an ice pillow around it for a minute and we were back in business.

    Yesterday I finished installing industrial railing and ladders on some of the tanks that flank the yard near the diesel service on the other section:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm somewhat ignoring my own edict not to have anything delicate near the edge of the modules, so we'll see if the railing remains after multiple transports and shows.
    But they'll make a nice partial backdrop for the yard on one side and partial viewblock on the other, so I think a worthy addition.
    Especially after I weather the tanks, add gravel, an office, and a section of chain-link fence between the tanks and trains.
    Gotta love ABS caps as cheap structures.

    Well, back out into the oven (garage) to work on the yard office before the temp controls get switched to "Broil" this afternoon.
    Thanks for looking.
     
  6. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Spent the last couple days working on the coal & sand service track next to the turntable tracks.

    First woodglued down two layers of cork to elevate it.
    When the glue was totally set, I sanded the cork down to create the ramp up.
    Then cut out spaces for the coal (far) and sand (near) unloading pits.

    Used some Sculptamold left over from my daughter's "BFG Cave" diorama to add some hill on the right:

    [​IMG]

    Painted the cork Grimy Black, then glued stained stripwood create the retaining walls and pits.

    Cut out some ties in a piece of flextrack, painted it, then installed it with caulk:

    [​IMG]

    Built a small sand shed & installed it, then threw down some basic ground cover of dirt, cinders and a little gravel.
    I left the area around the turntable tracks bare until I build and install the coaling tower (still deciding if I want to limit the services to that right track only or have the coaling tower over the right track to be able to service both)(Leaning towards smaller & right side only).
    Of course there'll be a bumper at the end.

    Here's the other side:

    [​IMG]

    And how it works in relation to the whole area:

    [​IMG]

    [Dirt is still drying so still a bit dark]

    The water tower will be on the left between the left TT track and the yard ladder, with water spouts between the two TT tracks.

    So time to scratch a coaling tower, a sand tower, and a water tower.
    But as of now, all the track for Effett Yard has been laid and ballasted.

    My question for you: what's a good material for N scale sand?
    Seems like most stuff out there (including real sand) is much to thick.
    Thought about roughing up some pink foam and painting that sand color, but something of very fine grains would be better.
    Perhaps cement? Or grout?
    All suggestions appreciated!

    Thanks for looking.
     
  7. jsoflo

    jsoflo TrainBoard Member

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    MC,
    A fantastic job, I have been watching this module coming along without comment but can wait no longer- your precision is astounding which leads to my question: what did you use to distress the timber, or put more simply: how the heck did you get that color on the wood slats?

    My best,
    Jan
     
  8. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Behold: THE BIG JUG O' STAIN!

    [​IMG]

    Mostly alcohol and India Ink, though I've thown some of those other pigments in there from time to time.
    I think there was a brown, too, at some point.
    Been using the same BJOS for the last three years, so not quite sure what's the current mix, though I did just squirt some more India Ink in there.
    Seems still a bit light, so I'll probably squirt some more in.
    Maybe some brown, too.

    Something before I build the coaling tower so it has a slightly different stain than the sand house and retaining walls.

    Funny you mention "precision" as I totally winged the walls and sand house: no drawings, just a scale ruler.
    Messed up and made all four walls the same height (d'oh!) so had to go back and trim the back one down a foot and slice the sides to get a slight angle.
    Perhaps the picture makes it look better put together than it really is, but it's going to be dwarfed by the coaling and water towers and the turntable, so it'll just (hopefully) just fade into the background.

    Definitely need to figure out the sand, though.
     
  9. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    "MC" --
    Every-time I stick my nose in here, you are up to something!!!...................(sorry, didn't mean to sound like anybody's Mom - lol)
    You work just astounds me. You've got a natural talent. You easily pull off the scenery I have in my head, but can NEVER put on the layout.
    Great work!! Look forward to the next installment..........................
     
  10. jsoflo

    jsoflo TrainBoard Member

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    I am beholden!!!
     
  11. Rowan

    Rowan TrainBoard Member

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    Wow, excellent work on the TT.

    :happy:
     
  12. DiezMon

    DiezMon TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm a huge fan of grout.. it's very fine, and if you smooth it out with a piece of paper, it's got the perfect texture.

    I tried sand, but it was way too rough:
    [​IMG]

    this is it replaced with grout.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    The grout in that last photo look great (just like the rest of your work).
    At the hardware store yesterday, I noticed there was sanded & unsanded grout that comes in a kabillion colors.
    What's yours?
     
  14. DiezMon

    DiezMon TrainBoard Supporter

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    I believe mine is un-sanded, it's just in a coffee can at this point. I tend to do things, and not write down what I did LOL

    .. I just picked one that looked tan.. ;)
     
  15. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Picked up some "Haystack" color unsanded grout that I'll be trying out later.
    Meanwhile, I've been building the water tank, using stripwood, scribed sheet, music wire, and a 1 1/2" PVC cap:

    [​IMG]

    Traced the PVC cap and then drew out placement for stringers and legs.
    Built it upside-down, which seems to work alright.
    The "door" is just the piece of scribed sheet turned around in place.
    Also went ahead and tacky-glued the concrete bases to each leg [PITA!].

    [​IMG]

    Stuck Grandt Line O scale 1" square NBW details on the legs where the rods would stick out.
    Another PITA but looks kinda cool.

    For the tank I loosely followed a prototype photo of one in Drummond, Montana ("Home of the World Famous Bullshippers") though painted it Grimy Black instead of Bullshipper Blue. The access door I just scratched out of 0.02" styrene and a grab handle:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Haven't installed it or really weathered it yet.
    Still waiting for some ladders from TrainCat.
    There will be one or two water columns between the two tracks.

    Now onto the Coaling Tower!

    Thanks for looking.
     
  16. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    While waiting for some NBW details to arrive for the coaling tower, I thought I'd get started on the first of two MOW buildings.
    The second will be a plank-by-plank long shed, but the first is a brick shed with truck & rail loading docks, so I thought I'd share how to make some simple loading docks.

    As I wanted the docks to wrap around three sides, I first traced the building on cardstock to get the space outlined:

    [​IMG]

    Turned out to be 30', 25' and 55'.
    The lines inside the spaces are for the stringers, which are HO 6"x6" stripwood cut to length, stained in the Big Jug O' Stain (BJOS), and then placed on thin stips of double sided tape laid over the ends of each section:

    [​IMG]

    Using the Chopper II, I cut HO 2"x4"s to 7 scale-foot lengths for the planks and then gave them a BJOS bath:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Dries fairly fast.

    [cont.]
     
  17. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    I use a toothpick to spread woodglue along the stringers and then tweezers to place the planks across:

    [​IMG]

    I usually work in sections of about an inch at a time, as the woodglue gets gummy rather quickly.
    It's not too hard to eyeball, but sometimes you can use a straightedge to even out the planks on the building side.

    It's a bit tedious, but the planks look pretty decent when you're done:

    [​IMG]

    After all planks are in place, I cover the platforms with a weights so everything dries flat:

    [​IMG]

    Once everything's set, I flipped the platforms over and marked out the 5' intervals for the posts:

    [​IMG]

    [cont.]
     
  18. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    After measuring how high I wanted the dock (about 6'), I cut more HO 6"x6"s and stained them.
    There's probably an easier way to do this, but I just dab a little woodglue on the stringer, place the post, and then use a Lego to square it up:

    [​IMG]

    I also placed some diagonal cross-braces on the long dock.
    To fill the gap under the doors and between the columns of the DPM walls I glued a strip of HO 2"x4":

    [​IMG]

    After sanding the dirt down, I glued the building in place (after making sure that building + dock would fit with some space at the track), and then CA'ed the docks in place:


    [​IMG]

    Yes, the gap was intentional.
    Always good to cut & stain a few more planks than you think you need!
    (Can always use them lying around as more clutter anyway).

    Need to get a few more Gold Metal Models stairs, but the one I do have right now gives you an idea:

    [​IMG]

    More stairs, some barrels & crates, gravel & weeds around the ground, some tire tracks & a truck will "finish" this part.

    Now on to make the plank-by-plank wood shed that will extend about 60' off of this one down the track!

    Hope this helps get people scratchin', and thanks for looking.
     
  19. jsoflo

    jsoflo TrainBoard Member

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    MC- All I can say is WOW. Excellent work once again!

    (and congrats on the ModelRailroader article!!)

    My best,
    Jan
     
  20. MC Fujiwara

    MC Fujiwara TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks, Jan.
    Always a pleasure to see your great work, too!

    So us Silicon Valley Free-moN dudes decided to build another staging yard, though one that doubles (back) as a return loop.
    And I'm going to post photos in this thread because 1) it's a staging yard and 2) I'm getting confused with all the construction threads I've got going.

    A main and two staging sidings, at 22", 23.5" & 25" radius curves (22" is the min.).
    We also wanted to make it as portable as possible, I designed the module to consists of 5 sections, all under 3'.
    Scott Forrest, a man of many talents and possessing great woodworking skills and equipement, built the benchwork:

    [​IMG]

    He laminated two layers of 1/8" MDF as the curved skins, and the benchwork came out great.
    [Looks like a mystic crop circle or a toilet seat]
    One leg per section is all we need!

    Yesterday we hauled it over to Steve William's house and proceeded to laydown the mainline cork:

    [​IMG]

    [Those are "tacky" model railroaders Steve on the left & Scott on the right]

    Only the main has cork all way round.
    The two staging sidings will be laid directly on the ply, and so the cork goes only to the next section, where I'll sand it down to a 4"-5" transition grade.

    [​IMG]

    After cutting the UTP panels in the middle two sections, we sprayed a first layer of flat black on the outer fascia.
    Amazing what a little paint can do to make it look good!
    I'm going to install a 3"-4" tall styrene "backdrop" along the inside and attach some pink foam to create some California hills inside of the loop, so that'll get painted later.

    So far I've built the #8 wye as well as one set of #8 36"/24" curved turnouts:

    [​IMG]

    They'll be thrown with Bullfrogs, all under the "keystone" section.
    We'll use a PSX-AR for the reversing section (everything above the wye).

    I'd finish building the next set of curved turnouts and attach pc boad ties to the section edges, but I left the bag of pc board ties at Steve's house ["D'oh"], and he lives about an hour away with good traffic, so as soon as he mails those to me I'll be back in business.

    Hopefull all this will get done for the GTE show in mid-Sept.!
    Thanks for looking.
     

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