Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Organizing styrene strip material

While working on the girder bridge project it started to bother me that my collection of styrene strip material was such a mess.  I had been bundling it up and wrapping the bundle with blue tape.  When I would get it out to work with it I would end up with the kind of mess seen here.

I knew there had to be a better solution.  The Train Shop in Santa Clara where I buy this has an entire wall of the store devoted to this product but that was not practical for me and I normally only have about 20 to 25 packages of different shapes and sizes.  When bundled, the bundle would normally be about 2 inches in diameter.

My answer was this 9 inch long scrap of 4 inch diameter ABS waste pipe left over from a project and sitting in all my plumbing supplies.  This material is great for making large tanks for refineries or other industries and works well with the same Plastic Weld we use for modeling projects.   It commonly comes in 1-1/2, 2, 3, and 4 inch diameter sizes at most building supply centers.

Just as I had done to make the roofs of those industrial tanks, I attached .030 sheet styrene to one end of the pipe but this time to make the bottom.  Because of the thick walls of the pipe the sheet has a lot of material to hold on to.  I also made a hole near the top end of the pipe that a screw can go in to hang it up.  That hole can been seen in the photo above next to the bottle of Plastic Weld.  So now I can remove easily this container from it's hanging position and set it on the bench to look through the different shapes.  When I get what I need, hang it back up and keep the work bench clear.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Building a girder bridge - part 2

To install the bridge decking, I used .040 x .060 styrene strips (Evergreen P/N 143) side by side with the wider side horizontal starting on the line marking the outer edge of the track.  It ended up taking 14 courses to make it all the way across to the line marking the inner edge track line.  The overall width of the deck was just a bit wider that the ties of the track.  I used a test section of Peco code 55 flex track to check the layout of the deck.

As the deck ended up being wider than the ties, I put another peice of .040 x .60 strip on each side on top of the first layer.  This created a pocket that the flex track will fit into to.

To get the hand rails similar to the prototype photo in part 1, I used the Plastruct N scale handrails, P/N 90681.  It took a full section on each side plus part of a third section.   These are the same product used in the Exterior Stairways post back in April of 2011.

I ended up using Floquil # F110056  GN Big Sky Blue as a close match to the bridge in the photo in part one.  It took two coats with the airbrush to cover all the little odd angles of the bridge structure.

After the blue had dried overnight, I brushed Floquil # 110070 Roof Brown on the decking and Floquil # 110007 Rail Brown on the walkways.  In this photo again I have placed a section of Peco code 55 flex track.

This bridge is now done except for some weathering.  The Hot Spring Junction module will need at least 2 more railroad bridges.  I want to have them each be different and will be looking at some more on-line photos of prototype Japanese railroad bridges.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Building a girder bridge - part 1

This post started out being called "Modifying an Atlas girder bridge" but as you will see it became more of a scratch building project using a couple parts cut from an old Atlas girder bridge.  I am going to need a single track bridge for the AsiaNrail line to pass over the 3 Ntrak lines.  It is also going to need to be wide enough to allow for the track to curve just a bit.

I had several of the old Atlas pony girder bridge sections that were saved from the old module and they are just the right length.  They have nice detail on the outer girder sides but I wanted the bridge to have an open deck and because of the curve I did not think the trains could clear the girders if they were above the track.

Looking for ideas on the Internet I found this photo on RailPictures.Net and realized I had what I was looking for.  There would be clearance to allow for the girders to be under the tracks.  I could cut the detailed girders off from the deck part of the Atlas bridge and use them.  

After cutting through the deck along the edge where the girders are with a razor saw and sanding that area of the girders smooth, I cut 2 sections of .080 x .080 styrene strip to a length equal to the bridge girders.  Then I attached these along that same edge with Plastic Weld.

Next I cut 2 sections of .060 styrene angle to the same length as the bridge girders.  Then I placed a section of .156 I beam material between the square strip and the angle to use a spacer as shown here.  Small amounts of Plastic Weld were used to attach the angle in place.

Because the track that will be on this bridge will have a slight curve to it so I wanted the bridge to be wide enough to allow for that.  I settled on a width of 20 scale feet and cut up 15 sections of the I beam material to this length with my "Chopper".

The bridge girders are 65 scale feet long.  I had made 15 marks 4 feet apart along the L channel on both bridge girders.  Laid out on my metal plate & magnets building jig the I beams can easily be inserted into the channel between the channel on the bridge girders created by the .080 x .080 styrene strip and the L channel.  Yes, those are hacksaw blades used to square up the ends.

After the Plastic weld was set on all those joints, this ends up being a sturdy little structure.  Here is the model bridge sitting on some magnetic bridge abutments. :)

I then added a styrene channel on each end and cut two strips 3 scale feet wide of V groove siding across the board pattern to simulate the walkways.  They cover the top of each bridge girder and .080 x .080 styrene strip and overhang the girders just a little

So far everything I've done with this bridge was from materials I had on hand.  The materials list so far:

  • Atlas girder bridge, P/N 2548 (salvaged)
  • Evergreen square .080 x .080 styrene strip, P/N 164
  • Evergreen .156 I beam strip, P/N 275
  • Evergreen .156 channel strip, P/N 265
  • Evergreen .060 angle strip, P/N 291
  • Evergreen .040 V-groove siding, .060 spacing, P/N 4060
I'll still need to put some hand rails and find the appropriate paint color but it's Sunday and the hobby shop is closed.  I'll also want to re-stock the styrene items I used up so maybe tomorrow I'll try the hobby shop and continue on this project.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Progress report for November 9, 2012

Lately I've been doing some tweaking on the blog itself.  I had noticed that the text in some of the older posts did not line up right with the photos the way they did when they were first posted so I've been going through and fixing some of that then checking it with Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome browsers.  I've also started to put labels in more of the posts and may add a labels gadget to the blog in the future.

But I've also been doing some work on the Hot Springs Junction module project. Seems most of us model railroaders can't wait to start laying cork and track and I'm no different so today I got the cork down for the Ntrak main lines.  I use the old standard Midwest Products N Scale cork roadbed.  On this module I had already done the Ntrak Mountain Division line and the AsiaNrail line.

Nothing special about my method of laying down cork roadbed.  I draw a center line and lay one side down along the line with white glue.  Hold with push pins until it dries. Then lay the other side down the same way.

The next step will be to sand the edges with a sanding block at a shallower angle then the one that is already cut.  One reason I decided to get the cork done now was that these tracks will be down in a cut and I will have better access for the sanding block before the foam terrain is in.  That might be tomorrows project.