Had 4 people turn up for the working day on the 23rd July. Jobs completed included track joints re-aligned on Simpson’s Peak. A new passing loop installed at Skinners Creek. The track all cleaned and most of it hoovered. Point numbers and magnet locations cheeked and any missing indicators replaced. he last job was some tree stump casting.
This work was all nearly complete before lunch, with just a few bits needing finishing after lunch. of the after lunch session was spent testing two FremOn30 modules that were brought along.
Work was also started on the low bridge after Bouviers Peak, but more strengthening work is needed to the ply boards for this to work better. Not sure if it will be a swing bridge or a lift bridge. Need to look into this.
As we were all busy working I forget to take many pictures, so only a few to add.
In other news, the dry weather today was exploited and my boards have received ballast! Davidson Crossing, Sunstone Creek, Balfern Curve and Inworth Curve are now drying in the shed.
In addition, the creek itself on Sunstone Creek has been cut out. This was done at a very rough 45° so that the bits removed could be stuck back under the boards to both reinforce them again and create the creek bed.
They’ll be packed down by about 5mm to create some depth, with a rivulet running along the mostly dried creek bed. That’s the plan anyway.
Using a jig that I constructed last night from bits of wood in the shed, we have this afternoon reduced the depth of all the Tim Horn board kits in stock to 4″ from 6″, or 100mm from 150mm in modern money.
One straight board has already been claimed. I’m keeping two of the corners. That leaves one straight board and two, maybe four, corners plus two pairs of ends up for grabs. It’ll be interesting to see who in the group grabs these.
Sorry, but no photos for this update. The cutting jig, which was made from the top and one leg of a reclaimed chest of drawers, simply clamped each of the pieces tight up against a stop so that the Bosch PKS16 could cut off the excess in one pass.
Ask any woman and the one thing that no man can do is multi-task. Who am I to argue with that apparent fact? Railway modelling comes way down the priority list when you have a family and updating a blog about railway modelling below that!
The simple fact of the matter is that I’ve been investing some time in updating the web site of the Frem0n30 group of which I am a founder member. This has entailed, in the last week, adding product purchase capability, promoting supporting traders, adding future exhibitions, updating fellow members, etc.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten no modelling of my own done in the interim. I’ve been busy painting my Frem0n30 modules so that some progress is discernible before their next public outing. I hope to accomplish more but can’t promise at this stage!
To transport the module boards safely, I made some transit boards out of off-cuts of 12mm MDF. These were always going to be a Mark 1 version, consisting simply of a square with a line of holes drilled to match those on the interface plate on opposite faces and a hand hole in the middle.
These worked, and well, holding the boards a small distance apart and making them easy to load. However, very quickly two limitations were noticed.
Firstly, the hand holes are all but useless, because the boards are held so close together that there’s nothing for your fingers to grab hold of anything. However, I don’t intend to do anything about that, because these are Mark 1 and were going to be replaced later with newer ones out of thinner ply.
And that was the other weakness. The 12mm MDF meant that the bolts, when used with two washers to protect the wood, were difficult to engage the wing nuts and, when done up, only just picked up enough threads to be secure. The solution was simple; embed tee nuts into the transit boards. It works a treat, but is still Mark 1.
So the car was loaded, two straights and two corners crated together together with five sets of legs were all loaded into the boot of the car and carted off to Caterham for a trial run with Brian’s modules and fiddle yards.
Setting up on the deck outside the shed was very quick, especially as Brian had already set up one fiddle yard and his two boards. We added my four in as straight a configuration as could be managed with two corners, and added have of his other fiddle yard on the other end. Sadly, the deck wasn’t long enough for a full test but Brian had already confirmed full functionality of his complete set.
Having plugged everything together it was all looking good, until the locomotive on the first train crossed the joint between Brian’s boards and mine, stopping dead with that annoying ticking from the command station notifying a short circuit. Thankfully, it was very easy to spot – I’d managed to get the plugs and sockets the wrong way round.
Sorting it was equally easy. Swapping the plug and socket on each end of my four module stretch confirmed that to be the problem and the train proceeded to the far end of the layout. Five minutes later and all of my plugs and sockets had been swapped so that, whichever of us was wrong, we are now at least the same!
All in all, the test was an outstanding success. It was pleasing to see how quickly the layout went together, and came apart again. That it worked almost straight out of the box was a bonus. We’re ready for the exhibition in two weeks, which is a huge relief to me at least. No electrical or mechanical changes will be made now!
Have made up all the jumper cables the other evening, the last remaining electrical job was to solder the dropper cables on the corner boards. These hadn’t been done because I wasn’t happy with the track alignment. However, with the first exhibition looming …
I’m still not happy with the alignment of the track, because it’s not centred exactly. However, to do it to my satisfaction, I need to invest in a Code 83 roller gauge and construct a jig to ensure the accurate centring of the track at the ends of any board. That ain’t gonna happen before the Seaboard Southern exhibition, so it stays as is.
All that said, the boards were laid loosely on the floor and plugged but not bolted together. The connectors at the far end were plugged together as well, to create a ring main, and the connectivity tested. The resistance dropping from infinity proved that current was flowing the whole way round. Result!
After another long hiatus, and with the Seaboard Southern Show now only a few weeks away, I sat down this evening with a film on Amazon Prime, two rolls of cable, a bunch of banana plugs and sockets plus some chocolate blocks and proceeded to make up the jumper cables for connecting power to adjacent boards.
Here’s the work area and tools laid out, with three cables already made up. It’s not a big tool kit for this job; ruler, cutters, strippers and screwdriver.
The cutting mat is just to keep the tools up together, rather than spreading them around the entire floor as I work!
Each board requires one plug and one socket each in red and black, so I’ve got four full sets to make up.
I jury-rigged a cable reel as well, to stop the two large spools rolling around the room. You might recognise the IKEA Komplement shoe rack from their Pax wardrobe range!
The folding wooden ruler is ideal for jobs like this, as it’s heavy and sturdy enough to remain where it’s placed.
There’s a lot of jumper cables left on those spools, as I bought 100m of each!
Here’s the basic process of making up each wire. This process was repeated four times for each of the four boards, so 16 cables in total.
Busy afternoon on the deck. All five of my modular boards connected together for the first time. Track joins across baseboards all adjusted and soldered. Inter baseboard connectors tested. Final track laid on depot board. 3 tracks laid on the traverser. More testing to do but hopefully power tomorrow. It’s a pity I have had to take it all apart for the night.
For a change here is a quick post on some new wagons I’ve been working on. Last week I was after on my hols and took some simple kits and tools with me. They are all Mountblue models kits.
These came complete with the chassis. The flat car came with trucks and couplers. I have used Kadee trucks and couplers. i found the instructions clear and easy to follow. the prts were easy to remove and required very little clean up.
I know it is normal to paint these before they are built but as said at the start I was on my hols. I will use paints so any glue on the body shouldnt be a problem. I was very careful to ensure any glue on finished surfaces was removed before it dried.
I still have detail to add to all these cars, but this will be painted before adding and the car bodies painted.
I enjoyed building these in the evenings when away. I have 6 more to build that require the Bachmann 18 foot chassis and a Drovers Caboose to build.
Not the most interesting sides to the hobby but one I do enjoy. 3 boards are now mainly finished apart from some point wiring to feed the frogs or cross vee’s.
This is one of the main depot boards. seen in this picture are the 5 point motors and the DCC sub districts. also seen on the right are the two point controllers.
This is the second depot board with the DCC bus lines and point motors fitted
This shows the tree boards that are complete. The board top right is the main fiddle yard board with just 5 plain tracks. I have wired both ends of each track for belt and braces. it will take 2 wires to be disconnected before a track will lose power.
The forth board is awaiting points from the USA, but the guy is ill and I may have to think about only having 3 tracks working for the first show.
To this end I had a play with hand point throws on the baseboard, they will allow me to control the points but the frog will be dead.
The last job i have done is add adjustable feet to the bottom of the legs. this should allow for any uneven floors at shows
Progress has been slow with other things getting in the way. 2 3 way turnouts have been ordered from Cream city One will form the throat for the fiddle yard. The other will be used when the fiddle yard is expanded.
The depot boards are taking sharp, with nearly all the track laid. I still have to do the baseboard end tracks and solder to copper clad sleepers. These are nearly all cut and ready.
All the the tortoise point motors are fitted and I have started fitting the DCC Specialists turnout control. I’m using the Wabbit I’ve not used either of these before so will post how I get on.
I have also been working on legs. I have reused the legs from Bouviers Peak. These have been turned upside down, the cross bar adjusted to sort these boards and a new location peg fitted. I have also made from spare material that I used to build the boards. This maybe the design when the modules get raised to the full FremOn30 height. I have 3 more legs to adjust and enough material to make another trial leg.
The he boards are fitting together nicely. This join is my home made version of the standard end.
The two boards have now been set up in the shed allowing for more work to be undertaken. The next job is wiring. I’m hoping this won’t take to long and too have trains running soon.
Progress has been slow. the main fiddle yard board has all the tracks bonded together and wired back to the DCC bus. this will need repeating at the other end of the board, a belt and braces approach. it will take 2 soldered joints to fail before a track becomes dead.
All tracks on this board have had the ends soldered, mainly using Gap Masters, these have been easy to fit and provide a good solid end for the rails.
I have also ordered the 3 way point from Cream City Turnouts. I ordered 2, so that i can make the fiddle yard a through fiddle yard for all tracks. it will current be only a through track for the middle road. Im hoping the 3 way no. 5 point will fit on the current board. If it doesn’t i will build two short boards, one to fit this point and one to give a bit of a headhunt at the depot end. I’d hope these boards won’t be more than 300mm long .
hopefully today I will start laying the track on the depot boards, I’m going for the track plan number 3 I posted on Facebook with one additional point.
Got home tonight and it wasn’t raining. So straight up the shed. Sanded down the filler on the last two boards. Washed all four boards and then painted sides and ends on them all. A second coat will be needed, but pleased with results so far.
This afternoon I worked on the first two boards for the modular layout.
This is is the first board with the gapmasters been glued in place.
what cannot be clearly seen is that all the tracks and clearances are marked on the board.
The centre track in place.
The second track in place. This hasn’t got gap masters at the ends. I will use normal copper clad sleepers.
The third track fitted, that’s one side down. Ply fascia still to add to this board and the next one.
The fourth track is added. The gap between tracks is the maximum loading gauge and is set using a standard on30 loading gauge.
Thats the the fifth and final track added. I have pre drilled holes for each rail 75mm in from each end. This will allow each rail to be connected twice to the DCC bus line fitted to the underneath.
To make the rails straight I used a long spirit level.
The second board was then added and the markings carried across. Gapmasters were added to the centre line track.
The he first point was then added and tracks linked up. The centre track is not fitted, just laid into rough position. I will need to order the three way point and may need to build a short extension board for this all to fit.
A good afternoons work. Hopefully I have enough turnouts and track to do the other 2 modules. I will check this one evening this week.
More work done on the FremOn30 modular layout boards.
1 board is complete with side fascia’s
1 board is complete waiting side fascia’s
2 boards end trim to cut and fascia’s to add
One set of end boards is made and one pair of boards are now boxed.
All boards have copper tape added for the DCC bus for track and another DCC bus for accessory’s