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

  1. #1231
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: Terrain Work Begins (Part A)

    Thanks Fellas! Today was a day to get a bit sloppy.

    The base board under the building needed to be glued down. While the glue was drying I went about painting all the wooden pipe supports and doing touch up painting on the "metal" ones. It was tricky painting around all the piping and was a harbinger of what's to come when I go about adding ground cover under all that equipment. Won't be easy.

    I started building the connecting road to the refinery property which involved a railroad crossing. I'm trying something new with this one using acrylic-based tile grout to build the roadway and crossing. I started by pulling the rails off a piece of surplus Ross curved track to use as flange ways. I temporarily held them to the ties using Walther's Goo.

    I mixed up a batch of the tinted grout adding all the India ink I had left and some Tamiya Nato Black. It makes a good asphalt road color, but quickly found out that I had too large a gradient to fill just using the grout. It wouldn't dry quickly enough and wasted expensive material. So I stopped using it in this application and got out the Sculptamold (STM). I couldn't put that over the wet grout so I started putting it elsewhere. After cleaning off the running rails and center rail it looked like this. It needs a skin coat to smooth it all out, but not too much since the center rail must be proud of the group or it will be a big dead spot. So the completely ugly grout in the foreground will be covered over with STM.

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    I added STM over all the changes in elevation, the open spaces at the fascia, the fascia edges and gaps and any open holes in the base board. I used some screen wire and/or crumpled newspaper to fill in the large gaps before using the STM. That new real estate in the triangle seems to be begging for another small substation to feed the refinery... Maybe I will and maybe I won't.

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    A 1:43 car is just going to be able to slip by the building on the left side into the parking area in front.

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    All this stuff has to completely dry before I do any more finish plastering and painting. So I started building the fencing. I quickly found that I am very short of the brass I bought for this purpose. I was able to build one 34" section and will not have enough to build any more. I've just ordered more material from Special Shapes that should finish the job.

    I'm using the jig that Brennan includes with his fence kit. He used steel wire which was very difficult to solder successfully. I'm substituting brass which solders like a dream using the RSU.

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    The joints heat almost instantaneously and as soon as the solder flows into the joint I take my foot off the switch but keep tension on the tweezers until the joint cools. I use an abrasive cutoff disc with the Dremel Flexishaft and also grind a flat at the top end so it nests better with the bigger top bar and provides more surface area. Notice how I clamp the Dremel into the Panavise so I can use two hands to control the brass cutting and shaping.

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    Depending when the grout and STM fully cures, I'll be able to finish up the terrain work. It will be some time before all the brass arrives that I need to finish the fencing. Meanwhile, maybe I'll start putting in some street signs and those telephone poles I built four years ago.

  2. #1232
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: Terrain Work Cont.

    I'm a little squeamish about building another substation even though it's really needed. I have some telephone poles I made that are already with transformers mounted, but they really wouldn't be big enough to power a serious industrial installation.

    The grout was hard so I mixed up some more STM and built that road. I then went back and sanded yesterday's STM and applied a layer of joint compound to smooth it all out. That will dry by tomorrow and I'll be ready to add a skin coat to the road and begin painting and landscaping the edges. I was to leave an unadulterated row where the fence will go and may I just mask off a strip and get the ground cover in. It was really scary sanding near all that piping. I only knocked one set off its stands which I fix when all this disturbance is over.

    It's a bit hard to see, but it's probably 1/2 to 3/4" of STM to get it up track height. A skin coat will smooth out the road's texture. This crossing will just get some cross-bucks, no crossing signals or gates. The STM feathers out to the parking lot level although it's hard to see here.

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    I also built up the other drive from the garage on the other side. This is a 1/8" drop (1 layer of Masonite). This has a skin coat in place already and drying. Still a little lumpy. I may or may not worry about it. We'll see what happens if I sand it a bit.

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    And here was the skin coat on the other side of the refinery just smoothing out the transitions and the layout edges.

    With all this sealed in with plaster, if or when I sell this refinery installation I will probably removed the OSB sub-based and life it all away. It will not be shipable and would have to be picked up. Please note, I'm not contemplating selling any of this for quite a while.

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    Tomorrow it should be dry and I'll finish up the road and do some landscaping.

  3. #1233
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: Fence Work

    Happy Monday!

    I worked on the refinery AND the Ford GTA. I put the skin coat on the RR Crossing leading to the refinery make a model distributor for the Ford's engine and then went on to building the chain link fencing.

    All my brass from Special Shapes arrived and I have enough to complete the fencing. I got another 34" inches built and then started fitting it to the layout. Of course this didn't go quite as well as it should have. I got a couple of the bends backwards, had to re-cut the fencings after soldering the previous erroneous cuts. And then there were the breaks which occurred in the previous bent sections. As it were, I did make some progress.

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    While it's tempting to actually curve the fencings to conform to the layout contours, chain link fences are made of straight pieces of galvanized piping and therefore are chords of a curve, not curved. To make the bends, I marked the pipes with a Sharpie and made saw cuts about halfway through to facilitate the bend. This also greatly weakened the fence at that spot. The long bottom portions of the verticals will be sunken into the layout almost up to the botton longeron.

    To repair the broken parts I used a piece of 0.032" wire into the smaller tube and a piece of the smaller tube into the larger upper one. K-S tubing is convenient that it's all sized to telescope into the next larger size. I also joined one 34" section to the next using these internal pieces. This makes and almost invisible splice.
    I have one more break to repair (tomorrow) and another section to build to complete the perimeter. I'm not planning on having fencing running at the back trackside of the refinery, although it probably would be fenced. The retaining walls is at the back which would preclude access by that way.

    I'm ready to paint the roadways, add the marking and warning signs, and paint and add ground cover to the entire refinery area, then finish the fence and install, and the refinery will be finished.

  4. #1234
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: Fence Work Continues

    Needed another skin coat, and may need a bit more. After sanding yesterday's coat I found that the texture of the underlying grout was way to coarse so I covered it with another layer of joint compound. When that's dry tomorrow I may need a little more touch up and then it will be time to paint.

    I made another 34" section of chain link fencing and finished up the bend joints on the work done previously. I'm getting the hang of making all the joints, but I keep dropping the finished fencing on the floor when I'm wrestling with assembling the fencing to get the bends positioned. It's very fragile and clumsy to place the fence pieces on the layout without fastening anything down just to get some measures done. The lower projections on the fence will embed into the layout almost to the lower longeron. I'm going to drill oversize holes and then use epoxy with filler to seal the fence in. This way slight variations of pole-to-pole distance won't matter. When I did the substation's fence I made tight fitting holes and it was a pain in the butt getting all the posts into the "ground". I could also use plaster instead of epoxy, or I could use epoxy putty. It's almost like installing a real fence. I'm brainstorming with myself here...

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    With the latest section of framing completed, I'm almost done. I need another foot to bring the fence around the back end. I'm going to bring the fencing to the edge of that triangular piece on the right side. This gives a bit more enclosed real estate that could house another out building or a small substation. I knew going into this that the fencing was going to be a major part of the project. I wasn't wrong.

  5. #1235
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: More Fence Work

    A rare Sunday work session. Spent the whole time continuing to build the chain link fence. I've pretty much figured out how to handle the bends without creating a weak, floppy mess. Besides cutting the tubing at the bends and installing inner pieces that are bent and control the bend, I'm adding middle reinforcing rails that further strengthen the bends and hold them. I finished roughing out the framing all the way around the right side, but have a few more middle bars to install. I had a couple more spots for joint compound which I also did today after sanding last week's plaster. This should finish it off and be ready for paint.

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    This is the extra space where I can either add a small substation or another out building. I'm still not convinced I want to build another substation. The last one can't be matched.

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    The fencing is in one piece up to the middle of the run up the front. It's long and completely unwieldy. Moving it from the layout to the shop and vice versa is challenging to keep from bumping it into stuff and wrecking it. I've had to re-solder several joints due to this. I won't be able to put on the gauze in one piece, and it must be painted with the gauze in place. Therefore, planning the finishing schedule is taking some consideration. To join the several sections, I'm using thin CA on the pins that connect the pieces. Brennen uses solid steel rod in his kits so it's impossible to splice sections together. By going with K-S brass tubing, I'm able to pin sections together with an almost invisible splice. I'll try and overlap the gauze joints at the corners where they'll be less noticeable. I was right in my assessment: the fencing is as challenging as any part of the refinery project.

  6. #1236
    Senior Contributor Builder 2010's Avatar
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    24 May 11
    Louisville, KY, USA

    Refinery: Fence Work and Paint

    Exercise day, got to work around 2 something. Finished the brass work on the fence and started painting the refinery area. I decided to create the entire fence as one assembly. After soldering the splices and adding the corner reinforcing bars, it holds together well enough to move it from place to place. It's really long and very easy to catch in things like the rest of the layout, the florescent lights, and anything else that might be in the way. However, I now know that I can paint the entire fence system off the layout and get it to the layout without wrecking it.

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    For the final corner, the one where the straight run turns left on the right end, I added the reinforcement with the fence on my sawing table in the layout end of the room. I moved my RSU to that spot so I could solder this last piece in place with enough elbow room to hold the entire fence. I ran out of 1/16" solid rod so I substituted 3/64" rod for the last two corners.

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    You can see the extent of the whole deal in this picture. Please ignore the mess...

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    It was time to start painting. I put the first coat of dark earth on all the fresh plaster areas and a first coat of Jungle green for the fascia boards. I didn't add any ground cover yet. When I put the next coat of latex down I'll start adding the final gray ballast as a gravel surface. I chose this route since the raw plaster absorbed the paint so quickly that it would be wet enough hold any ground cover. The paint needs to be really wet to get good adhesion.

    It looks pretty good with the fascia matching the rest of the layout. The white areas on the left is the access road that's going to be treated with asphalt colors. I did finish all the sanding over there and am satisfied with the surface. It's really far away from the viewer so I'm just being finicky.

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    I pre-painted white craft paint in the road areas that are going to get any line work. I'm going to have the wide stop line in front of the tracks and I made a stencil for the RRXing lettering that goes on the road surface. I also pre-painted where the white parking lines will be in front of the ops building. I first did these by winging it with the ops building moved off its location.

    But then I put the building back and found that my lines weren't going to work, so I added more down the line. Even so, this is one cramped parking lot. Maybe that's what's going in that space on the other end. Right now, Sinclair Oil must be asking the EEs to walk or bike to work. In fact, looking at this picture, The lines should probably face in the other direction and be on the other side of the lot next to the HP Spheres' stairs. That way, the cars will at least have a chance to get into the parking space. There's also very little space by the left end of the building. I tried an auto and it just squeezes by. I felt this space was tight from the get go, and I didn't want to make the building any smaller. O'scale is a pain in the butt! Stuff is big!

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    I woke up thinking about the best way to attach the fence to the platform. One way would be to make 1/8" holes or larger to give the slop needed to get all of those poles into those holes. I then thought about using the next larger telescoping tubing size to make sockets. Place them on the legs and glue them into the holes, trying to not get any on the sockets. This would hold the fence securely, but make it removable. I thought about what glue to use: epoxy putty, plaster, Gorilla Glue...? Epoxy putty would be a good way to go since it would be easy to control, wouldn't ooze into the sockets, and hold like crazy. It would also fill the excess space well and give some reasonable working time to get it all together. I will take suggestions from the audience on this one.

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