Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Finishing Diamond Plastics

I always find it interesting how a scratch building structure project seems to really come together once it gets painted.  Before paint, it's just a collection of white styrene without much character but after it's basic paint job it begs to be finished and I find it hard to put it aside until it is finished.  The basic paint colors I used for this project were a pale green for the building sections and a sand color for the bins both from the Testors acyrllic line of paints.  While I have not been particularly happy about what Testors did combining all their paint lines and eliminating some colors I have been happy with the results I get with this paint and have found that it cleans up more easily.

Prior to painting the 3 building sections I had added some details of the pneumatic piping to the side of the section that would have the storage bins for the plastic pellets.  Piping such as this would be secured with steel uni-strut and clamps.  I simulated this with plastic channel and copper wire.  The copper wire goes through holes drilled through the channel wall and is twisted and glued on the inside of the building.

When building the structure I had aligned the pins on the bottoms of the bid stands with holes in the base, the discharge piping at the bottoms of the bins with holes in the side of the building, and drilled holes near the top of the bids to match the position of the input piping.

With the base held flat on a steel plate with magnets, the bins are eased into position.  Some adjustment was made to to intake piping at the top by bending it so that the bins would fit naturally.    After everything was aligned, the three points were glued.

On the two sections of the building that are where the covered hoppers would be spotted for unloading, I added some vacuum hoses put up on hangers and feeding into underground piping.

On the internet I captured the image of a sign on the side of one of this companies buildings and printed my own paper sign.  I sealed both front and back with Scotch tape and glued to .020 styrene.  This was then glued to the side of one of the building sections.

So here is the newest industry on the layout.  Next I will be adding a bit of weathering and maybe some safety signs to the building and also work on the foreground scenery.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Building the Diamond Plastics Company

Diamond Plastics is an actual company that manufacturers large plastic pipe at several facilities around the United States including a plant in Golconda.  They ship the finished products by truck but receive plastic pellets by rail car.  For the purposes of modeling I am re-locating this industry from it's actual location to Battle Mountain.

This is a satellite view of the Diamond Plastics facility near Golconda.  There is a manufacturing building plus a very large area where finished pipe is stored outdoors waiting to be delivered.  I am only going to model the side of the building where the rail siding is along with some storage silos for the plastic pellets.

This is a photo the company has on their web site of the Casa Grande, AZ facility.  The facility in Golconda looks similar to this. 

Here is my scratch built shallow relief representation of this industry as it looks on the layout today.  This is three separate pieces held onto the layout with magnets.

For the plastic pellet storage silos I am using the Faller industrial silos kit.  It had been quite awhile since I built a Faller kit and noticed quite an improvement in the quality and details.

I also plan to include some of the pneumatic piping and hoses that would carry the pellets from the covered hoppers to the silos.

So I have now started to paint and finish the details on this industry that I had started last November before the Battle Mountain section was even installed in the layout.  I will post on this industry again when it's finished.

Monday, June 4, 2018

On the road again - Kennesaw, GA

Have not been working on the layout or posting on this blog for a couple months.  Had a week long exhibit in April with the Japanese layout then my wife and I took a long cross country driving trip to the southeastern US.

Our time in the Atlanta area included a visit to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.  It is located at the site called Big Shanty which is where Union raiders hijacked a locomotive and that started what has been called "The great locomotive chase"
Here is Nona and I in front of one of the main attractions at this museum.  This is the original General locomotive. 

This museum is full of exhibits on the civil war and railroading and we really enjoyed it.  Thanks to our friend Susan who we were staying with and who took us there.

Before visiting this museum,  I was not very familiar with the story.  I now have a greater appreciation for this important episode in US civil war.

When we got to the museum it was raining but after finishing touring the inside we came out to clearing skies and sunshine.

The museum is located in what is called the Big Shanty historical area.  Across the road from the museum is an old station that was built in 1908.  It is also a museum but was being used for a private function so was not open to the public when we were there.

Hopefully soon I will be getting back to work on the layout.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rearranging some train room furniture

As the layout grows I am learning more of what works and what does not with the layout sharing working space in the train room.   One thing that was not working for me was the paint booth sticking out as far as it did under the Golconda section.

The paint booth itself fits OK under the layout but the cabinet it sat on was 24 inches deep and that is what stuck out.  So a 30" wide by 24" tall wall depth cabinet was purchased at Ikea and wheels were installed to become the new paint booth cabinet.
The original 24 inch deep cabinet that the paint booth sat on now fits nicely under the turn around part of the staging yard.  For now it will hold boxes of items that I have for sale which up to now had been sitting on the floor.

Some time ago I had picked up a nice maple top for $15 at a garage with the idea of making a second work bench for the train room.  Recently I reconsidered the second work bench idea and installed the top on the existing work bench.  Lighting for this work area is done with the same type of LED panels used to light the Wesso section.

When the bench is not in use the lighted magnifier can be swung under the layout so it does not interfere with the layout.

There is a space in between the bench and the paint booth and I plan to purchase a 40 inch tall by 24 inch wide cabinet for there.

With the work bench under the layout the tool chest I had been using did not have enough room to open all the way so I installed a couple of drawers.  One is for electrical tools and the other for modeling tools.

I also installed a back board to the work bench and may hang some tools from there.  I am going to try to keep this new set up neat and clean and  hopefully will complete many projects here.

Monday, March 5, 2018

12 more feet of finished fascia added

After getting the Battle Mountain section integrated into the layout I finally got back to installing more fascia from where I left off over a year ago.   I have added another 12 feet and now have it up to just before where Battle Mountain ends.  I really like the finished look this gives to the layout.

With the fascia done, the turnout control panels for Battle Mountain were installed.  Here is part of the stretch along the Battle Mountain section with 3 of the 6 turnout control panels.

This is the area of the joint between the Golconda and Battle Mountain sections.  Base scenery in this area has been finished and I am beginning to add shrubs and details.  That will be a continuing process along with finishing the industry buildings in Battle Mountain.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A scratch built car puller

In my original plan for the layout there was going to be a coal burning power plant where the Battle Mountain section is.  It was to have it's own 44 ton switch engine to move cars around the facility.   Battle Mountain has 4 smaller industries, each with a single spur track.  In all but one of these industries cars can be spotted by the local in the correct location and won't need to be moved by the facility itself.

The Barite crushing facility in Battle Mountain will have a long enough siding for six 2-bay covered hoppers to be moved through the loader.   One car can be loaded at a time and then the string of cars will need to be moved one car length to get the next car under the loader.  I began to wonder how an industry like this moves railroad cars down the track without having their own locomotive.

Researching this topic on the web I discovered that railroad customers use a variety of methods to move rail cars around between the times the railroad either drops cars off or picks them up.   This prototype photo shows just one of those.

I decided that to position the 2-bay covered hoppers under the loader the barite crushing facility would use an electric winch.   In the mood for a small scratch building project I came up with this.

I keep all my small styrene scraps in a sandwich sized Tupperware bin and that is the first place I go to get materials for a project like this one.  All of the stryene came from that bin.  The spool sides were punched from a scrap of .020 styrene sheet with a hole punch.  The motor is .125 styrene rod and the shaft is .020 brass wire.  The control / reduction gear housing is .080 x .125 strip and the doors .020 x .125 strip.  Some copper magnet wire was wrapped around the spool.

Here is the same model after being painted.  There is the motor and drive shaft.  The drive shaft enters a cabinet where there are reduction gears and also electrical controls.  Doors on the cabinet allow for maintenance access.

Another shaft from the reduction gears then exits the cabinet to drive the pulley.  This would all need to be securely anchored to a thick concrete slab.
Here is how this now looks on the layout with the track ballasted.   When I posted about this project on the replies seem to indicate that these were more common than I thought so it was strange I could not find any ready made models of it.  This seems like it would be a good project for 3D printing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Barite crushing facility in Battle Mountain

Barite is one of those minerals that is mined in Nevada.  It is used to make a mud like product that has several applications with one of the largest being in the oil industry.  There is a fairly new Barite crushing and rail car loading facility operated by Halliburton not far from Battle Mountain and there is also another similar facility right in town so it is a natural for the 4th industry on this section of the layout.  The dry Barite powder is shipped by covered hopper as it needs to be kept dry until ready to be made into mud.

As a starting point for my facility I chose the Walthers Glacier Gravel Company kit.  I have built many of the Walthers kits in the past and have always found them to be easy to modify to fit whatever space I had available.

The area for this industry is long and narrow at about 4.5 inches deep by 12+ inches wide so a bit of modification would be needed here.   I want to represent a place for trucks with ore to be unloaded, the processing building, and the rail car loading facility.

After quite a bit of playing around with the arrangement and modifying the kit this is how the area looks today.  I recently picked up some more material to add conveyors to the loading structure.

So that is at least a start on all 4 of the industries for Battle Mountain.  Now that this section is in it's place on the layout I will be going through and finishing each industry scene.  As I do, I will post more about each industry in detail.