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Harlequin's Blog


PiSprog breakthrough

Posted by Harlequin , 16 September 2018 - - - - - - · 205 views
test track, pi, pisprog, hdmi and 2 more...
Electrical connections have been made to all the fixed sections of track in basically a tree topology through chocolate blocks, B&Q red&black speaker cable, 5-pin DIN plugs between boards to a chocolate block distribution point under the main board and from there a pair of wires come out to the controller.

(For readers considering DCC: there are...


Test track up and running!

Posted by Harlequin , 02 September 2018 - - - - - - · 271 views

I dismantled the baseboards from the middle of the living room and erected them in a more out-of-the-way corner. This is still not an ideal location because other furniture has been displaced and I have nowhere to bring in my huge specimen Strelitzia plant for the winter - but we'll deal with that when the time comes. In the meantime, having the layo...


Test track baseboard setup pt4

Posted by Harlequin , 16 July 2018 - - - - - - · 339 views
Roundy round, open frame, ply and 1 more...
I glued a ply top to the central baseboard frame at the weekend. That was rather stressful because it was very hot and I had to get glue onto the top edges of the frame and all the ribs and spines as quickly as possible before dropping the big 1440*720 piece of ply precisely on top. In fact I ended up just gluing strategic points and the surface board did...


Test track baseboard setup pt3

Posted by Harlequin , 11 July 2018 - - - - - - · 347 views
baseboard, bridge, ply, box and 1 more...
I drew up a quick set of plans for the bridging section to get it straight in my mind:

I made the side panels and the track bed all the same width, 140mm. That made cutting a bit quicker and simpler. Some ribs with holes drilled through them for wiring in the same style as the main boards were glued under the track bed:

I added PSE timber pieces...


Test track baseboard setup pt2

Posted by Harlequin , 07 July 2018 - - - - - - · 280 views
dowel, drill, forstner, baseboard and 1 more...
I did a better job of fixing the pattern maker's dowels with the next baseboard connection. Practice makes perfect.
This time, I drilled a small pilot hole through both baseboard frames while they were clamped together. (There was only just room to get my small Makita drill in to do this - something to maybe plan better in future!)
Thus, when the frames w...


Test track baseboard setup

Posted by Harlequin , 04 July 2018 - - - - - - · 372 views

I bought some pattern makers dowels at the Exeter MRS Exhibition:
 I also bought some cheap plastic saw-horses from B&Q:

A little bit of modification allows the baseboard frames to locate securely on them. Things went awry when I tried to fit the pattern makers dowels:
I used a 25mm forstner bit to make very neat pockets to house the dowe...


Open frame test track baseboard Pt7

Posted by Harlequin , 27 June 2018 - - - - - - · 310 views

I have now made board skeleton #3. I'm getting quicker!
 I'm getting used to the process, improving my working methods (e.g. using a longer fence on the table saw to get long straight parallel cuts in the boards) and simplifiying the construction by relying more on glue and leaving out some fixings. This is how the three boards will be arranged...


Open frame test track baseboard Pt6

Posted by Harlequin , 11 June 2018 - - - - - - · 395 views
open frame, baseboard, ply
I completed the frame of baseboard #2 using the parts I cut at the same time as those for baseboard #1.
 There are detail differences but it's basically the same pattern. No corner braces on the top face because I don't think they add anything and no holes in the ribs because, ahem, I forgot. But since the frame is open the holes are probably redund...


Open frame test track baseboard Pt5

Posted by Harlequin , 02 April 2018 - - - - - - · 341 views

I fixed the corner braces to to the top corners, hoping that they might make the unit less prone to twisting but they don't make much difference. So I might omit them from future versions.
 To give an idea of the amount of twist in the unit: If I lift one corner off the ground then I get about 2cm deflection before any of the other corners also star...


Open frame baseboard Pt4

Posted by Harlequin , 25 March 2018 - - - - - - · 341 views

I fitted the stiffeners today which make the side pieces into L beams for longitudinal strength and provide some racking resistance to hold the entire unit square. One of the ends had the PSE fixed wrongly inside the plywood. The stiffener stood proud so I had to chisel out a little rebate:
 The frame was remarkably square (1609mm across one d...


Test track baseboard construction pt3

Posted by Harlequin , 24 March 2018 - - - - - - · 350 views

I made some more progress on my open frame baseboards today. I glued and screwed the side pieces to the ends to create a flimsy frame.
 I drilled out some holes in the rib and spine pieces. The exact position of these holes isn't really important but for neatness I clamped the ribs together and drilled through all 5 at once.
 Then I glued...


Test track baseboard construction pt2

Posted by Harlequin , 17 March 2018 - - - - - - · 321 views
lightweight, open, baseboard, ply
This afternoon I worked on using the parts to put together one baseboard. Cut the parts to exact length in the mitre saw. This ensures that the parts are exactly square and gets rid of any rough corners.
 Cut the PSE that strengthens the ends of the frame. It's not the best quality and although it was reasonably straight and not twisted it was...


Test track lightweight baseboard construction

Posted by Harlequin , 17 March 2018 - - - - - - · 354 views

I realised I needed to make a roundy-round test track so before I get into making the complex baseboards for Hampton Malstead I have decided to make some simpler baseboards for the test track using the same basic techniques. Here's the plan for one of three identical boards which I will arrange in a U shape with a thin bridging piece across the top o...


Llanglydwen vintage photos

Posted by Harlequin , 10 March 2018 - - - - - - · 164 views
vintage, photos, idyllic, gwr and 1 more...
The entry for Llanglydwen station on disused-stations.org.uk was recently updated with three high-res vintage photos.
Here  (You have to click the "here" links to see the larger versions.) The new photos are wonderfully evocative and look like photos of a model. The station, a small hamlet, a road, a river, a bridge and a level crossing are all...


Digging out old modelling materials

Posted by Harlequin , 05 February 2018 - - - - - - · 364 views
old, mekpak, solvent, bits and 1 more...
I knew that somewhere here I had a box full of Plastikard and some bottles of "Mek-Pak". After searching in my loft and my back bedroom, and getting distracted by old forgotten model spaceships and some great treasures, I found it! (Never throw anything away!) I have a selection of plain and embossed sheets, and bits of: an army tank kit, spaceship k...


Workbench for model making

Posted by Harlequin , 04 February 2018 - - - - - - · 361 views

Over the past few weeks it's been hard to motivate myself to do anything, aside from drawing stuff on the computer, which is always satisfying. So this weekend I decided to just do something , anything just to get myself going . So I built a workbench for model making so that I don't monopolise the dining table any more. The work surface is 18m...


Live train data

Posted by Harlequin , 11 January 2018 - - - - - - · 174 views
live, train, time, signalling and 2 more...
While searching for info about signalling diagrams I came across this interesting site that shows Network Rail's live info, as used by signalling staff and train operators:
http://www.opentraintimes.com/maps  E.g. Paddington:


Deliver me from temptation

Posted by Harlequin , 03 January 2018 - - - - - - · 174 views
Scotsman, duchess
Even though I'm a GWR man through and through I convinced myself that I really ought to have a Flying Scotsman. A distant family connection, a special offer from Locomotion and the feeling that every modeller should really have one at some time were enough for me. 
Now I find myself coveting the Hornby Stannier Duchess! 
And I don't even have a...


Publicity for first GWR railcar

Posted by Harlequin , 05 December 2017 - - - - - - · 187 views
GWR, railcar, pathe, film and 1 more...
While I was searching the 'net for info about the GWR diesel railcars I came across this wonderful period film: 


GWR Railcar sound

Posted by Harlequin , 30 November 2017 - - - - - - · 120 views

I made a little video of my railcar with sounds running on my dining table: 
The sound recording is not great - it sounds much better in reality.

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