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Thread: Builder's Railroad Project: in the Beginning...

  1. #1201
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    Very convincing - if the shot was closer, eliminating the edges of the baseboard, one would swear it's the real deal!!!

    Hank

  2. #1202
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    Thanks Hank! That was the general idea. The refinery won't be as convincing since the Plastruct pieces are not high-detail scale like the scratch-built things I did for the substation. Most of the substation parts were scaled from ABB prints, whereas Plastruct's refinery parts are generalizations. The other missing is no electrical wiring in the refinery. All of those pumping stations would have electrical boxes and conduit into them. And all the vessels would have instrumentation lines as well. I thought about adding that, but the viewing distance of over 10 feet precludes anyone seeing it unless they go inside the layout. In fact, I should probably have another substation next to the refinery providing its power. Instead, I'm going to just have a power pole outside the substation facing in the refinery's direction.

  3. #1203
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    As drawing up/revising Process, HVAC, and Utility P&IDs is my main function at work, I know exactly what you're describing. We're in the construction phase of a new plasma fractionation building and we're still refining the various equipment/tank/vessel p&IDs for correct instrumentation and controls. It's a headache, to be sure. I can only imagine your dilemma if you were to try to install scaled elec. conduit and cable trays with all the req'd connections, etc.

    But, as it is, your layout is very convincing!!

    Hank

  4. #1204
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    Thanks again, Hank!

    My first gig after leaving public education (shop teacher), was being the tech training manager for Fischer & Porter. They were once a globally important instrument maker before mergers ate them up. We used to do a lot of product training in the field and it was a real pain to get equipment in the field for effective training. We designed and built our own instrumentation training modules that had the five or six primary panel instruments (controllers, recorders, etc.) and power supplies to feed them so we could do all the training right in the classroom. They all fit into their own custom Anvil cases and made getting them out and back a much simpler affair and improved training by an order of magnitude.

    Of all the jobs I've had in my career working there was the most interesting. In part, it was due to the novelty of being out of public education, but it was the breadth of their product line, the technologies in play to make them and the industries in which they served. They were early adopters of tape-controlled machine tools, and laser welding. They were early into centralized computer control along with Honeywell and Foxboro, but they didn't do it very well and it was part of their undoing. They made the finest pneumatic instruments in the world, but their electronics were less so. I remember when a 1 mb hard drive option was $10,000. It was about 18" in diameter and was evacuated to near vacuum. They were actually producing those hand-assembled magnetic donut memories that were prevalent in early main frames. Now my computer in my pocket has more power than the largest IBM in the mid-70s. I remember visiting a large data center that had a multi-core IBM 370-153 main frame. The room housing it was huge and they had an IBM mass-storage device which was this robotic colossus that was behind a glass enclosure where a robot arm would go to a location and pull these smaller spools of magnetic tape and load it into a drive like a juke box on steroids. That beast probably had 100 mb of storage if that much. In computing, progress has been dramatic. In other areas of human endeavor, you can't say the same thing.
    Last edited by Builder 2010; 29 Sep 17, at 15:28.

  5. #1205
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    Refinery: Piping, Bloody Piping

    Piping work continues... got the water lines installed to the cooling tower, finished the piping from the major platform, got most of the pipes to the distillation column in, piped in the big blue tank, and ran out of large size pipe elbows which is going to stall the project since the flare lines are going to be big pipe with some scratch-built manifolds.

    Plastruct small diameter piping is frustrating. The elbows seem to be push fit and they do offer resistance when you insert the pin into the pipe, but then it falls apart. This makes pipe fitting very challenging since I don't want to CA the joints before I get the sizes measured. If you look at it the wrong way, the piping system falls apart and you spend lots of time putting it all back together until you reach the point where you can glue it all together.

    First up was the cooling water piping. I laid out the position for the nozzles using a surface gauge, and then drilled parallel to the tank's axis so the nozzles would point straight out even though the tank end was domed. They were a bit loose and wanted to turn facing along the curve, so some medium CA froze them facing straight ahead. I still need to paint them.

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    Piping runs weren't too difficult except getting the water outlet fitted on the cooling tower bottom. It's pretty far back and I had to reach around a lot of complicated stuff to trial fit and measure. I didn't break anything.

    Here are the two pipes fastened in place. I sprayed them Tamiya base metal rattle can in the shop before installation. I'm going to install a valve on the outlet line. The Plastruct valves snap over the pipe so I don't have to break the pipe to install. I have to paint the support posts concrete color.

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    For the remaining piping to the platform and distillation column I used the Plastruct scheme of running a long pipe across many racks using pipe T's to tap into them. This stabilized the run and made it a little easier to get it together... note that I said a "little easier". The falling-apart-piping was still happening. I did this both for the distillation column piping that went to the platform and the long run from the big blue tank. The tools and things hanging from the pipe on the rack is weight to hold the piping in place while the CA sets.

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    And here is an overhead shot showing the current status. Should have piping done sometime next week and will start working on the ops building and the chain link fencing. There is still all the flare piping to run, and there's two more pipe stubs that don't have anything on them coming out of the sphere bottoms. Lastly, there's two lines running to the heater that has to be installed, and that would be that.

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  6. #1206
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    Bernheim II: Model on Display

    While we were in Hawaii, I got the word from Heaven Hill Brands that the Bernheim Distillery was now on permanent display at their Bourbon Experience Center in Bardstown, KY. It was finished just in time for the yearly Bourbon Festival that takes over the region. Unfortunately, due to our relaxing in Hawaii, I was unable to attend. Here's what the display looks like. I don't know from this image if they hooked up the power for the lights.

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    I also don't know from this image what, if any, descriptive material was on display with the model. I will be seeing the Heaven Hill folks this evening and I'll find out more.

  7. #1207
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    Refinery: More Piping

    We have a Kenmore (Whirlpool) dishwasher where the wheels on the lower tray started falling off. They're held with a press-fit pin/axle and it just wore away and released a number of the wheels. One of them ended up falling on the drying coil and then melted and burned to it. At the same time the Whirlpool HE front-load washing machine starting giving an error code and shutting down. We got a twofer with one service call seeing both appliances. The dishwasher was an easy fix. The tech scraped the melted plastic off the coil and said run it a couple of times empty to remove any residual plastic and I ordered and installed a new set of wheel trollies. The washing machine needed a new water inlet valve and it was all installed today. Why am I telling you this... well... this plus getting my Acura serviced really cut into the shop time. But... I did get more done.

    First I tied in the blue tank line that went to the demethanizer and ties into a line from the reflux drum. It's not a perfectly clean junction since the holes in the pipe T are not parallel. It's also a problem since I have a white line tying into a red one. And the white line comes from the blue tank. I'm not sure what I want to do about this.

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    I got most of the flare line installed until I ran out of elbows. In fact, I heat bent two pipes (poorly) for the medium-sized tubing which I had only two elbows left. I put them in the foreground and the bent tubes in the background. These four pipes come from the HP spheres' relief valves and tie into a long header that runs downstream.

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    The problem with the heat bending was it still kinked. If it was brass I would have used my K-S spring tube benders. I didn't want to start bending and soldering brass for this application. Brass is difficult and expensive. The big line runs the length of the site, turns 90 up a bit and makes a right turn towards the back. I then held the pipe sort of horizontal by taping it to a square. I also made two more tall "concrete" pipe supports to hold it all up. I've made a lot of pipe supports. I don't know if this is prototypically correct, but the pipes would sag a lot without them. Butyrate pipes isn't as stiff as steel...

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    I then set the length of the individual downcomers, and then marked this location on the big pipe. I didn't have 90 degree T's in this size so I drilled the pipe so the medium pipe could be inserted and glued.

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    And then I tied in the relief line from the distilling tower into this line, and finally measured and cut the pipe to join into the flare's knock out drum. Still remaining to be attached is the yellow relief line from the demethanizer. For some reason, I could find no relief valves from the tanks on the platform, nor is there any space for any. Furthermore, I am completely out of relief valves. All these relief lines will be disassembled and painted yellow.

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    I ordered a ton of elbows from my LHS who is getting them from Walther's. It helps my hobby shop and I don't have to pay shipping. I don't need a ton to finish up. I'll have some left over pipe for other projects.

    I also started running the last 1/8" line from the blue tank's pump to the heater. I installed a large diameter pipe into the heater's inlet so I'm going to make a tapered transition piece to put the 1/8" into the big line. There's another line from distillation that goes to the heater too... the bottoms. The last line to hook up will be the steam line from the heater to the flare. And that will end the piping exercise. The model's getting very busy looking which I like. I have two more light poles to install... one's going next to the un-built ops building. I have a lot of detail painting to do on all those un-painted pipe supports and some of the piping which I didn't airbrush. I could probably air brush some of it by selective masking of the surrounding stuff. Then there's ground cover which due to the complexity will not be as easy as it usually is, and then the fencing. Another month and it will be lit up. I also have to plug some holes that were made before the design changed.

  8. #1208
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    Refinery: Piping Nearing the End

    Continued working it all together today with the completion of the two pipes to and from the heater, painting the line from the blue tank and installing it, and finishing up with the steam line from the heater to the flare.

    I had some interference with the bottoms line coming from the distillation column to the heater so instead of making everything askew I jumped the piping that was causing the problem. After fitting all this and making more pipe stands, I rattle-can sprayed the pipe with Tamiya Bare Metal. You can see the finished color in some later pictures.

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    I also laid in the last piece of the other line that went from the heater to the blue tank's pump. I did make a transition piece, but to go from the 3/16" tubing to the 1/8". I just chucked the piece in the lathe and tapered it with the compound set on a shallow angle. The tapered portion is at the lower left of the blue line. You can see the silver pipe now going from the still to the heater. I added another light pole here. I have one left for the ops building. The heater pipe will be painted light blue to match the piece coming out of the heater.

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    Here's the other end of the blue line.

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    Just for fun I placed my mobile crane into the scene. The cable isn't riding on the hook's pulley correctly so I couldn't extend the boom further. I bought this at York 2 years ago from DHS models. I'm a sucker for construction equipment models.

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    And another overhead shot showing current progress.

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    Believe it or not, there's only one more pipe to install which is being held up by waiting for the elbows to arrive. It's the flare pipe from the demethanizer to the flare manifold pipe and paint the whole deal yellow. I also have to create some kind of gas apparatus for the gas line to the flare. I'm thinking of a cabinet with the gas line coming from the ground into the cabinet and from the cabinet to the gas line on the flare. I'll have to cobble some gribblies to make it look technical. Lastly, I think the big red demethanizer needs a work platform next to it so workers can access those valves on top. I have stairs and railings left over and am getting some more H-beam to provide support. Onward and upward!

    Tomorrow's the St. James art fair here in Louisville so refinery work will continue on Monday. Have a nice weekend.

  9. #1209
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    Refinery: Piping 99% Complete

    Well... happy day after Columbus Day. My parts came in yesterday so I was able finish the flare line thus completing 99% of all the pipe work. Left to do is the gas line to the flare. And that's a complete and fully functional petrochemical plant.

    I had the relief line from the demethanizer turning downward and then outward not knowing how to install it when the plant was complete. At first I tried to adapt the rest of the piping to conform to this scheme, but quickly realized that it was much better to take it directly off the top of the tank to the header. So that's the way I did it.

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    To install the other end I drilled the header with the #30 drill so it was a nice tight fit with the 1/8" pipe, shaped the new line to conform to the header's curve, and held it together with the 1/8" pipe inserted into the larger diameter tube.

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    It came out strong and at the right orientation. I took all of the flare piping into the shop a painted it all yellow. After reinstallation and gluing it all down, I touch up the yellow where it scraped off in handling.

    There was one more pipe to build; the connection from the knock out drum to the flare itself. This was a fun little pipe to assemble since I'm getting very good at measuring, cutting and fitting these things. It needed a valve, but I was all out of the largest diameter gate valves. I had a #6 valve which wouldn't fit over the #8 pipe without breaking so I ground it out so it would be a flush fit and then used a 1/16" piece of brass rod to securely fasten it to the pipe. I then painted this too yellow with detail painting on the valve. I also mixed up some light blue and finished up the steam line from the heater to the flare.

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    So all that's left is the control cabinet for the flare gas line which I'll build tomorrow or Thursday.

    I measured the demethanizer for the work platform. It comes out to 38 scale feet long, 4 feet wide and 9 feet off the ground. I didn't have any heavy sheet stock that long so I spliced two pieces together. I then glued these to one of the new H-beams I received yesterday. I'm using some of the Plastruct 1/8" sheet for foot pads and H-beams for the vertical supports. I set the surface gauge at 2 1/4" stacked all the pieces up and scribed the vertical H-beams for the length, cut them off and glued it all together.

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    After fitting a piece of Plastruct railing to this length, I found that taking about 1/8" off each end will perfectly align the railings vertical stanchions with the platform and simplify the build. I'll have this build tomorrow with the stair on one end. Then the control box, and the ops building and it's chain link fence time.

  10. #1210
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    Refinery: Piping Status Shots

    So here's the complete piping from different views.

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    Fascia boards go on after all the wiring work is done. Should be before ground cover goes in. Speaking of ground cover. I'm trying to decide to put in the fencing before ground cover or after. I put the fence in after ground cover on the substation. It was a pain since the gravel got into all the holes that were pre-drilled for the fence posts. But... putting the fence in before makes it more difficult to get the ground cover one without doing any damage. I think I'm putting the fence in first.

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  11. #1211
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    Refinery: Lights On!

    A milestone was reached today with the activation of the lighting and beginning installation of the fascia board.

    Here's a taste and then I'll provide some more details.

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    I used four ground bus bars to feed the 12vdc to the 16 LEDs. I had one more 12VDC converter in my electric junk box. I replaced its output cord with some red/white zip cord since I needed it longer to get from the power strip on the other side of the ravine over to the refinery. I brought the feeder leads to a pair of bus bars under the left side of the refinery base. I couldn't get the screws to work properly, but then realized that the terminal screws were square drive. With the correct bit in the power driver no problem. I hooked up all the lighting on the left side that could reach these two buses. I then added two more buses towards the right side, fed a feeder to the first two buses, and then hooked up all the right side lighting through that bus. All the lighting except two worked. The light post on the extreme right side next to the heater was not working. It needed an additional jumper to reach the second set of bus bars and I thought it may not be continuous. But I tried my one last unassigned light pole to it and it was hot, so something was wrong with the light pole itself. I pulled it out and installed the one that I had just tested.

    The second light was the left end of the loading platform. If this pole was not functioning that would have been a BIG problem. But I noticed underneath that I drove a wire-clamping staple right through both conductors so it was a direct short. I pulled the staple and the light went on. Whew! Dodged a bullet on that one.

    Took lots of pictures from all over the room and attempted to make a movie of the flare tower's lights blinking. I have to edit it and then I'll post it on YouTube.

  12. #1212
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    Refinery: Fascia Boards Begin

    I had some time left so I thought I start putting on the fascia since all the wiring is done. Starting at the left end I fastened the Masonite as close to the left end final curve as possible. I'll use a small piece to close up that space.

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    For the right side, I butted the next piece to the first and clamped the two together with a quick clamp and then drove the first screw. Before screwing anything I scribed the center line of the OSB layout base onto the Fascia and pre-drilled the holes with a countersink pilot drill on the drill press.

    At the far right end, there was no way to bend the Masonite around that radius. I tried and it fractured. So I brought the fascia to a smoother angle and drove some long screws through the fascia into the layout. For a lower screw, I pre-drilled a backup block and held it behind the existing fascia so the lower screw had more material to bite other than 1/8" Masonite.

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    I'm going to fill that wedge-shaped space with some more OSB and I traced the shape onto a piece of scrap. (That's 3rd Rail J1-a sitting there. It was my first steam engine).

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    I'll cut this piece out tomorrow. I also will remove part of the existing fascia that lies behind the curve so I can add some splice blocks underneath to hold this patch. There will be some minor filling needed on the left end. The fascia will be painted green when the ground cover is finished.

    The last thing I did today was place the Ops building plans onto the layout to determine its position. The best approach is facing directly outward which gives some clearance on the left side and some parking area in front. I have some more space in back in front of the tracks and I'll add a sliver of Masonite to bring that space up to the refinery's level. You can see that area on the left that needs filling.

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  13. #1213
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    Refinery: Dementhanizer Platform

    Exercise day... finally getting back to routine since the Hawaii trip. What did get accomplished was finishing the assembly of the new work platform and started building the flare gas control cabinet.

    I adjusted the platform length so it came out to an even number of Plastruct ABS railing spacing. I took about 1/8" off each end and it worked. I glued on the railing and then went about fitting the steps. Plastruct ABS stairs have a notch at the top that nestles into the platform to which you're gluing it. I cut a piece of 1/8" Masonite as the concrete bottom step and measured the staircase so it would work out reasonably well at the bottom. After cutting, I luckily found out that the Plastruct stair railing also fit with a an even number of rail sections. This too was glued onto the stair. Then this assembly was glued to the platform with some help from medium CA and Tamiya solvent cement.

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    Took this assembly to the refinery to see how it fit. The foot pads' width on the tank side kept it from closing in tight and the flare pipe ran right down the middle of the platform. Too bad I didn't think about this platform before I ran that pipe since I could have raised it above a O'scale plant operator's head. That train has left the station. I'm not touching that pipe! So I trimmed the foot pads to give me a bit more clearance. Our worker will still have to climb over that pipe to get to the other two valves. I won't tell OSHA if you don't. Plastruct should have included this platform on their plans since those valves would be unreachable without it.

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    I took the assembly outside and gave it a coat of Tamiya primer gray and left it to dry over the weekend. I did refit it back on the layout to see what it looked like. Now that I'm studying this picture, I may modify that pipe after all. I can move the vertical portion back to the relief valve. It would require and new pipe support. It's not too hard to break those pipe joints plus I now have a lot of large elbows and large pipe to make new stuff if I have to. It would make that platform much more sensible.

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    For the gas control cabinet, I'm just cobbling together some 0.040" styrene with some 1/8" square legs. I'll put on a pair of separate doors and hinges to provide some interest and will have a gas inlet and outlet. The inlet pipe will come out of the ground and the outlet will go to the gas line on the flare. This is a very early picture so the box looks pretty crude. It needed to dry overnight (or Monday) before I can finish sand it.

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  14. #1214
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    Trip to Marysville

    Took a day trip to Marysville, KY on Saturday. It's a neat river town about 55 miles southeast of Cincy on the Ohio River. It's kind of a place that time forgot and is a real diamond in the rough. There's two reasons why it isn't flourishing as a tourist destination that I think. First, the town council seems reluctant to really attract artists and the real food scene that a tourist attraction needs. I don't know why they're so. Second, there's an imposing concrete flood wall that blocks street level views of the river. There's a plan to put a walking/biking trail on the river side of this wall that could help, but to get a river view you have to be on an elevated floor. It's keeping this city from washing away when the Ohio frequently floods.

    But the architecture is precious! Lots of late 1800s and early 1900s Victorian, and new empire/french. Turrets and fancy stone work typify this very American town.

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    I believe this is the Cox building.

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    How'd ya like to 3D print this iron work?

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    The problem is typified by the fact that all the businesses save a few were closed at 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. We got there about 3:10. Even the museum was closed at 3:00. They have a noted miniatures collection there which I wanted to see. "Dollar short and a day late!" You can't bring a town back to life if everything shuts down at 3.

    The town on my layout is too small to include all the neat architecture that I think I'm capable of building these days. I noticed something interesting (to me at least). The Nighthawks Cafe building is three and a half stories and the Bronx building is four, but towers over the Nighthawks. I got worried that there was something inherently wrong. It turns out that ceiling height really makes a difference. On Main Street in Marysville, there were three story buildings that were almost a complete story equivalent higher than an adjacent three story building. The difference? The obvious higher ceiling heights of the more regal looking building than its neighbor.

    So... I'll have two buildings of differing heights based on their internal dimensions and both will be correct and consistent with the real world.

  15. #1215
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    Refinery: Piping is 100% Complete

    Back to the refinery: The piping is now officially 100% complete with the addition of the gas control cabinet next to the flare. I decided to not modify the relief line on the demethanizer. I started to wiggle it to see if it would come apart easily, and of course, it would not. I decided not to make a mess of a beautifully installed and painted pipe run so I left it alone.

    I painted the new platform and the gas cabinet and installed both on the layout. I then cleaned up the work bench a bit and am getting ready to make the ops building. Here's the completed unpainted gas cabinet. The doors are 0.010" styrene overlays with some small round rod as piano hinges. For the latch, I cut out some plastic and scribed some lines. I took the cabinet to the layout to capture exactly where the gas line should tie into the cabinet to line up with its mating half on the flare tower. I then marked and drilled that location. Before painting I glued the bottom and side pipes in place.

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    I painted the new platform with the same scheme as the others, bare metal walkways and stairs, yellow railings and Japan IDF green for the structural steel. Bases were painted concrete color. Gas cabinet is also bare metal with orange piping. I still have to paint the vertical "concrete" pedestals holding up all those pipes.

    Name:  Refinery Gas Cabinet 4.jpg
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    Here's the new platform installed next to the demethanizer.

    Name:  Refinery Demeth Platform Comp 2.jpg
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    Name:  Refinery Demeth Platform Comp 1.jpg
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    To me, walkways, stairs and ladders really jazz up and industrial installation. You can't have too many of them.

    Talked to Andre Garcia recently and we're going to probably cut the Bronx building sometime in December. Now that I've invested in the 3D printed parts, I really need to get it built. I finished up the laser-cutting drawings today. Andre is out of pocket for at least another month so I'm holding onto the drawings until he's ready to act on them.

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