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Scratchbuilding trial, using aluminium





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#1 Thunderforge

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 12:59

Hello! I'm new to this forum, and new to 7mm scale, and new to scratch-building!

 

I originally started with OO gauge and moved down to N gauge because everything was smaller and cheaper, which was fine, but ... I've always liked early pre-grouping stuff, and little 0-4-0 shunters, neither of which are very well supported in 2mm. So whilst browsing youtube I came across Jim Read's video showing his card built O gauge LNER tank (awesome!)

 

I've made a few card building kits, but never made any card rolling stock, nor a brass kit either. Added to that I never have any money... so card was the best place to start? Apparently not.

 

I work at a printers, where we use aluminium litho plates which come in 0.3mm or 0.15mm thick. So last night I blagged a spare one, found a blueprint for a GWR 4 plank wagon, and set to it with ruler, scissors, cutting mat and superglue.

 

I used a 0.3mm thick plate and made a box of the right scale size for the wagon upper body, added little strips for the planking, corner pieces for the ironwork, and it is starting to look good. I added a long thin wrap-around for the underframe, all tacked in with offcuts, and even filed a little coupling hook for one end. Buffers will be cut from clout nails and I did get as far as bending a three link chain out of a paperclip, but some of the links pinged off into the carpet at 11.30pm so I decided to call it a day and go to bed.

 

I'll post some photos tonight if i can.

 

I can't think of any way of fabricating wheels myself (at least not ones that will run smoothly) so I'll pick up some Peco spoked wagon wheels on the weekend, although I'm not sure if the aluminium will be strong enough to hold them in place. I'll give it a go though!

 

If the final thing works well enough I could draw out the component parts and print them directly onto the plate so I have a pattern to follow, and move onto something more complicated. I wonder how to roll a convincing Peckett saddle tank...?

 

So, has anyone here used aluminium sheet to build rolling stock? Does anyone have any tips or suggestions to help me? Also, how the devil do you make 7mm scale rivets?! 

 

Kindest regards,

Thunderforge.


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#2 Thunderforge

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 20:58

Here’s a photo, it looks a lot better with buffers added!
Now, another question, I have a rattle can of white hammerite, is that usable as an undercoat? I’ll give it a test go first.
Finally I’m wondering if I should stick planks inside or cheat and fill it with a load. I guess I’ll have to do planks, with a removable load, or I’ll regret it later.
5A6D409C-D49F-45DB-BEA1-97E3D60C8A63.jpeg

Edited by Thunderforge, 04 April 2018 - 20:59 .

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#3 peter220950

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 07:29

Interesting to see different materials being used, I would guess gluing the aluminium pieces together is going to be one of the most difficult things, it's not a commonly used material.

I suspect Hammerite spray will be too thick, I would try car primer.

With regard to rivet details you could emboss the strapping by punching the back with a thin metal rod. I used to make strapping from thin brass shim this way, if you put it face down on a cutting mat, then tap the point of a scriber, or small diameter drill, into the appropriate place it should produce a dimple on the other side.

You can get rivet transfers from Archer, but they might be a bit fiddly in this context, the other diy alternatives involve putting drops of pva glue on with a cocktail stick, or cutting slices from plastic rod and gluing them on, both will probably mean you lose the will to live.

Look forward to seeing the project develop further.

Peter

#4 doilum

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 07:39

There might be a reason why I have never got round to using a joblot of aluminium sheet acquired 20 years ago. That said, I believe one or two coach kits were made this way. The material best suits flush sided prototypes. When painting, an etch primer will be essential. "Superglues" have come a long way, and no doubt, someone will be able to advise on the best for this material.
Good luck anyway, I watch with interest.

#5 daifly

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 07:51

Interesting to see different materials being used, I would guess gluing the aluminium pieces together is going to be one of the most difficult things, it's not a commonly used material.

 

There has been a very interesting thread running recently on the G0G forum on the best adhesives to use on Westdale aluminium kits. 

Dave



#6 hayfield

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 07:53

Dave

 

What was the conclusion please



#7 2mmMark

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 08:00

I would suggest etching primer like U-Pol Acid #8.

 

What might be a good route to follow is thin scribed plywood for the sides and then add the strapping and corner bracing from the aluminium.  Soft aluminium will take embossed detail like rivets & bolts pretty well, especially if you do it against a material with a bit of give in it, like thick card.

 

Using either epoxy resin or one of the newer MS polymer glues, sticking aluminium to other materials or itself shouldn't be a problem.  Pure aluminium will develop a powdery white oxidation but if that's removed, any bond should be amply strong enough.

 

With regards to card, many excellent models have been made with cereal packet cardboard or similar.

 

It would be interesting to see how this thin litho plate could be formed into angle & channel sections.

 

Mark



#8 daifly

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 08:07

Dave

 

What was the conclusion please

 

To summarise: Evostick or superglue to fix. Once properly dry/set, reinforcement with a slow cure epoxy (NOT the 5-minute quickset type)

Dave


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#9 Thunderforge

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 10:42

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the feedback, I'll pick up a primer spray as it is undoubtedly what I need.

 

It does make sense to use various materials, wood for the sides and aluminium for the metalwork, good suggestion Mark. Now where are those lolly sticks?!

 

The aluminium sheets stay remarkably free from corrosion on the naked side, and although I have no idea what the coating is on the other side, it does stick very well with superglue. I had to remove the under-frame to punch holes for the buffers, and the glued tabs did pop off, but there is a strong enough bond that I'm happy with. Once it is painted it should seal and prevent further oxidization.

 

Thanks for the rivet suggestions Peter, I think pressing from the inside would be the easiest, bit late on this one though! Also PCA blobs is a great idea, never heard of that one before. I've tried adding tiny bits of rod to things before, NOT something I wish to be doing again if I can help it! :-)



#10 doilum

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 11:15

Lolly sticks off the internet. Be careful about dimensions. Most are a bit thick but can be thinned by rubbing on a sheet of 120 grade sand paper. I recently found some wooden coffee stirrers that are very close to 7mm wagon planking. If you know a french polisher, you could try begging some waffer thin veneer. This will cut easily with a craft knife and attach as single planks with contact adhesive.
Way back in the day, rolling stock was produced using litho papers glued to a wooden or metal box.
Now there's an idea.....

#11 Thunderforge

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 11:41

Hi Doilum, funnily enough I do know a french polisher! Wood Veneer is a great idea, it would certainly be easier to cut planks than the aluminium.



#12 Nearholmer

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 11:53

This is interesting because it has some resemblance to the "tin" wagons that I collect and run.

The old-fashioned way of dealing with the rivet/bolt-head issue was to emboss them from the rear of the sheet, if they weren't simply represented in the printing.

For wood and paper kits, one could but strips of brass or aluminium shim, ready-embossed with bolt-heads, ditto corner plates, but I'm not aware that anyone supplies them nowadays ....... I will be seeing one of the two guys who still makes wood and paper kits for 0 scale in a couple of weeks time; if anyone does supply them, it will be him.

It might be worth you looking closely at a good-quality old tin wagon to see how it was done, because they had it off to a fine art before the First World War. Some modern tinplate is very good, but only the best approaches pre-WW1 standards.

If you are prepared to consume time wading through my thread, there are quite a few pictures of tin and wood/paper wagons.

Image below nicked from an auction catalogue. This dates from c1912.

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#13 doilum

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 14:15

That is amazing. Could give POWSIDES a run for their money!

#14 Nearholmer

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 15:39

Printed wagons can the amazingly good. This is IMO the best modern one, with artwork by Rob Horton. I've got one, and I still poke it occasionally to check that it really is nothing more than a flat 'biscuit tin'.

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#15 Thunderforge

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 15:52

Its amazing what a little bit of shadow can achieve. Although I can't help wondering if it looks that good from every angle...?



#16 Nearholmer

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 16:36

You’d be surprised.

But, I’m thread-jacking, so will be quiet, and watch the OP’s project with great interest.

#17 Thunderforge

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 22:29

The tinplate wagons you posted are from hand painted masters, are they paper labels applied to the wagons or screenprinted onto the metal?
Do you know if anyone printed photos of real wagons onto label paper?

I planked out the inside of the wagon tonight, using card, only because I couldn’t get any veneer today. I even tried peeling some off a spare bit of chipboard; yeah that didn’t work haha!

Can’t do much more until I get some wheels on Saturday, although my nearest shop only has those three hole wheels, not proper spoked ones.

#18 robertc

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 03:42

Back in the early 70's I made all my metal strapping for my HO wagons from aluminium drink cans. Rivets were made by use of a ponce wheel. They were attached to the styrene bodies with 24H epoxy.

Aluminium certainly has its uses.

From the 30's through to the 50's O Gauge House produced a range of cast kits for NSWGR modelling using that material.

A now departed friend made his steel sided wagons using drink cans.

 

cheers

 Bob



#19 Nearholmer

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 08:34

Thunder

The wagons are printed direct onto tin. The old ones were done with a litho process, which I think is part of why they are so good, and I'm not sure what process is used for the modern ones, other than that a digital master or sub-master is used. You doubtless know a lot more about printing than I do!

The old ones were from hand-painted masters, and modern ones are either hand-painted masters or digital artwork. I always like the hand-painted ones, because they are less pin-precise, and have a subtlety about them. Mind you, for coaches with a lot of fancy lining, digital masters do produce some stunning results when the print-quality is right.

What if find amazing about this tin-printing process is that the shapes are formed from the flat after printing, so the ink and varnish has to be flexible and adherent enough not to crack away during the bending, a lot of which is to very tight radii. It is no different from biscuit-tin making, and one of the old-time British toy train makers was actually bought-out by a food canning company when it's train work dried-up.

Can you do this with aluminium?

Kevin

PS: I don't know of anyone ever using photos of real wagons as the artwork for printing, it would probably have been beyond the technology in the old days, but I can imagine it being perfectly possible now.

Edited by Nearholmer, 06 April 2018 - 08:35 .


#20 N15class

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 17:10

Hi Doilum, funnily enough I do know a french polisher! Wood Veneer is a great idea, it would certainly be easier to cut planks than the aluminium.

Thin Ply would be more stable, veneer has a propensity to warp.



#21 Thunderforge

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 19:19

I was thinking to glue it on top of an aluminium body shell, and doubled over aluminium as well I think. I know in my mind how I’ll do the next one, but one at a time for now.
The aluminium sides on the one I’m making are a single sheet with aluminium planks superglued to the outside and card ones superglued to the inside. They are still a bit bendable, more than I’d like.

#22 hartleymartin

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 11:53

I suppose one of the reasons why aluminium never took off for railway modelling was that it used to be an expensive material, and that you could not really solder it like copper or brass. I can see it’s potential for models of flat steel-sided coaches.

A few years back I tried going all-out with basswood scale timber and found it to be a very enjoyable material to work. Perhaps because I did woodworking in high school.

At the end of the day, if it is stupid but it works, it is not stupid.

#23 Thunderforge

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 21:40

Unfortunately my weekend was too busy to get any wheels, so not much progress to report. I have a second wagon body with a more solid chassis, but much a copy of the first one. Without wheels I don’t feel I can continue with the undercarriage. I did try making a W-hanger, but it was a bit messy so I stuck with something simple, paint, a tarp load and some three links for the couplings.

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Sorry, the pics weren’t upside down when I took them!

Edited by Thunderforge, 10 April 2018 - 21:43 .


#24 dajt

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Posted 11 April 2018 - 11:07

I have seen YouTube videos of a fairly cheap solder especially for aluminium if you are wanting to solder things together. Sorry, can't remember its name but searching on YouTube for aluminium solder will find it.



#25 Thunderforge

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 22:11

Thanks Dajt, I am happy using superglue, but soldering would give a stronger join, I’ll look into it. Googling something you don’t know much about can lead to very conflicting answers!

Anyway, I started on a box van, which is looking good.

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Edited by Thunderforge, 12 April 2018 - 22:13 .

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