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Folding Fiddle Yard for Minories

Folding Fiddle Yard for Minories

Here is a design for a portable folding fiddle yard to complement the "Minories in Streamline OO" design that I recently updated.   It's presented as a PDF so that you can see it in high resolution, zoom in and out and turn the various layers on and off.   The two parts, Minories and Fiddle yard, fold up into small, equally-sized boxes that could be easily transported and set up almost anywhere.   Minories Folding Fiddle Yard 20.pdf  

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Minories PDF

Minories PDF

I have updated my Minories PDF.   Edit: I noticed a small but annoying mistake in version 18 so version 19 is attached.   Minories 19.pdf    

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Polarity tenderness

I am trying to make one working loco and tender from a pair of secondhand Hornby purchases, Tintagel Castle and Beverston Castle.   A previous owner of Tintagel has removed all the pickup wipers from the tender. (If it was you please say Hi because I'd love to know why). It runs haltingly over track where a little Barclay 0-4-0 has no problem.   Beverston was sold as a non-runner but its tender has a full complement of pickup wipers. Thus, the Beverston tender matched with Tintagel loco shou

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DCC Test Track Tweaks

When I started using the PiSprog and JMRI I realised that I needed to be able to isolate a loco for programming because the PiSprog does not have separate main and programming track outputs.   It became obvious that I would need some section switching and since the storage sidings were not yet properly powered, relying on power switching from the electrofrog points alone, I decided to generally improve the electrics.   After inserting isolating joiners where needed and gluing down the siding

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PiSprog breakthrough

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 still lots of wires under the tracks but they don't come back to the control panel, like many of them would in DC, they just keep on joining to

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Test track up and running!

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 layout more permanently set up has meant I've been able to push on with laying cork trackbed and actually laying some track!   This was the trac

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Test track baseboard setup pt4

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 not end up as accurately aligned as I would have liked. Hopefully good enough, though...   I have also cut and fixed quarter-circle pieces

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Test track baseboard setup pt3

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 to reinforce the ends, provide a good solid support and some extra thickness for whatever locating and fixing parts I decide to use.   To help l

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Test track baseboard setup pt2

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 were unclamped the pilot holes were exactly aligned where the faces meet. Then, using these pilot holes, I was careful to hold the drill perpend

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Test track baseboard setup

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 dowels but because I was using a hand-held drill it wasn't exactly perpendicular to the surface and so the pockets did not have consistent depths. The

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Open frame test track baseboard Pt7

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 with a bridging section where the 6ft level is to form the roundy-round circuit.

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Open frame test track baseboard Pt6

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 redundant anyway and they don't affect the weight much - I can lift the unit with one finger.   I need to make one more similar board and a simple br

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Open frame test track baseboard Pt5

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 start to lift. The worry with that is that it might be enough to crack scenery or cause fittings to become detached.   I suspect that cross bracing

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Open frame baseboard Pt4

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 diagonal, 1610 across the other) so I just glued, screwed and pinned the stiffeners into place without making any other adjustments:   The stiffe

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Test track baseboard construction pt3

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 the ribs and spines into their grid pattern. Some of the fits were a bit loose so I had to weigh everything down while the glue dried.   When th

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Test track baseboard construction pt2

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 badly bowed so I ran the pieces through the planer just to square things up a bit without changing the dimensions too much.   Glued the PSE to

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Test track lightweight baseboard construction

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 of the U to allow a continuous circuit of track to run around.   Open baseboard.pdf   I brought a sheet of 9mm ply up to the workshop during

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Llanglydwen vintage photos

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 compressed into a small area with verdant countryside all around.   It's almost too good to be true!

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Digging out old modelling materials

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 kits, wagon kits and signal kits. Also a selection of extrusions of different sections, some fencing and some valancing.   Some of the bottles

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Workbench for model making

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 18mm ply with a frame of 50*50 PSE bracing for strength and to straighten out the ply, which was a bit warped.   Sides and shelf are 12mm birch ply.

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Live train data

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: http://www.opentraintimes.com/maps/signalling/d3_1

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Deliver me from temptation

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 layout yet, just some track on a table! Argh!

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GWR Railcar sound

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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History in reverse

We hear today that the Government want to break up the GWR franchise and open more branch lines...   It sounds like history is being replayed in reverse. Are we going to see the "London and South Western" franchise or the "Moretonhampstead and South Devon" franchise?   The logical end result is that they'll propose the reinstatement of broad gauge!  

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