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Luggage Van - Underframe




I notice that I have not written anything here since June and, recently, Mikkel wrote in his blog : "I hope we get to see some more of your BG work soon?" so, here goes:


The heat wave has made my work-room very uncomfortable, so I decided to do a few small jobs on carriages. In my previous entry, I commented unfavourably on the perspex undergear parts in the Broad Gauge Society kit for a luggage van : "I’m not sure why the designers chose this material and method of construction but I may make some frames of my own out of either polystyrene or brass strip."


I decided to make my own frames. My first step was to scan the BGS frame and then trace over the outlines using Autosketch. I then transferred the drawing, as a DXF file, to my Silhouette cutter and made a new set of frames in polystyrene. All the bolt holes were marked as small circles and I was pleased to see that the cutter reproduced these successfully.




My original plan had been to laminate 3 layers on each side of the vehicle but the construction still felt too flimsy, so I turned to brass sheet. I first cut out a rectangle from the sheet, the same length as the frames and twice the overall depth


The outline of the frame, including the axle guards, was very easy to cut out by means of jewellers' snips, using one of the polystyrene frames as a template. The square openings in the axle guards, however, were more of a challenge, which I met by drilling (circular) holes with a 3mm drill, sufficient to include the diagonal of the cut-outs. I then glued a polystyrene frame as an overlay on the brass support, in which the drilled holes allowed daylight to show through the square apertures in the overlay.


I then folded the brass strips longitudinally to form L-shaped members that I could glue to the floor of the van. Further openings were cut out, using snips, for the wheel apertures in the floor of the van.


All the bolt detail on the overlays shows up well and, in most places, a little glue seeped through to form reasonably realistic 'bolt heads' - this was an unexpected bonus.


I think the end result is quite pleasing and the oblique lighting that I used for the photograph brings out the very nice detail in the outside frames of the BGS kit. The frames are not yet fixed to the van floor, which I hope will correct the slight curvature that is visible on the photo. Springs and other underframe details are still to be added.




I shall use the same method of frame construction for the other carriages in my mail train, for which I have already printed the sides as described in an earlier post.


My 'Waverley' locomotive is now in primer but a lot of details - handrails, backplate, etc. - still need to be added. Once the weather cools down a little, I hope to be able to address these time-consuming tasks :)



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Hi Mike, like you, this heatwave is sure slowing things down, nice to see your blog though.

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks for the update Mike. Looks like an effective and convincing solution. I was interested to see how well the bolt holes came out, the Silhouette can still surprise me.


I really like the pattern of those outside frames on the carriage. It's going to be quite a train!

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The Silhouette cutter is surprising at times, I agree.  It possibly helped that I was using a 60° blade, which has a finer tip.  I wish someone could come up with a similar, low cost machine that could cut out thin brass sheet - some sort of super fine ceramic blade or a fine milling cutter mounted in a similar print-head  I keep toying with the idea of trying out 3D printing for small parts but creating the computer files is what is putting me off. 


I think the humidity has been as much of a problem as the heat, Snitzl.  I'll be pleased when more normal conditions return.

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  • RMweb Premium

I agree with you re using Perspex in this application, it’s a strange choice. I hope the chassis tracks well on your tracks, as I find six wheelers are total ****. You may well find that the centre wheelset needs more play.

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  • RMweb Gold

I keep toying with the idea of trying out 3D printing for small parts but creating the computer files is what is putting me off. 


Yes me too. The 2D drawing is not a problem. If only the software could make it 3D with a mouse click!

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I agree about 6 wheelers, Northroader, although I have used the Cleminson arrangement very successfully on my 00 carriages.  In the first instance, I shall create a static diorama for the BG vehicles and see how things develop from there.

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  • RMweb Gold

Looking the part Mike.  Glad to see you are not lost for ideas.  Still it has cooled down now, at least for the time being so maybe you will get back into your work-room.


I need to work out if my system actually works for 6 wheelers.  It is fairy high up my to do list, except my to do list is buried under other to do lists at the moment.

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