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building a 2mm finescale layout

Entries in this blog

Terrier Chassis - Episode 4

Having produced a free running chassis at the end of the last session, I had to disassemble it in order to add the 'Simpson Spring Pickups'. These are pieces of fine phosphor bronze wire, acquired by straightening out some unwanted N gauge coupler springs. They are soldered at one end into holes in the chassis and pass behind each bearing so they will rub gently on the axles with the absolute minimum frictional force. The axle muffs need to be shortened to make room, and must have smooth ends so

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Terrier Chassis - Episode 3

More slow progress this week, and a sense of achievement. To put this into perspective, I have to admit that in the 25 years that I have been a member of the 2mm Scale Association, I have attempted to build a number of chassis for a variety of locomotives, using several different techniques, none of which were completed. I had at least 5 tries at making a chassis for an S15, using phosphor bronze strip for frames, as was recommended in those days. I just could not drill and ream holes without th

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Fiddling with the Fiddle Yard

Not much progress to report on my Freshwater layout itself, as various projects have stalled for one reason or another. However, with some exhibition bookings a couple of months away, I had to make some progress somewhere. I turned to the fiddle yard.   Originally, in the rush to complete the layout for the 2mm Scale Association Golden Jubilee Challenge, I just roughly laid a few 60 foot track panels on double sided sticky tape across the fiddle yard and joined them up electrically. This singl

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Terrier for Freshwater

As anyone who has seen my layout at exhibitions can tell you, so far some very unlikely motive power has been operating the Freshwater line of the Isle of Wight. I do intend to rectify this, but getting the layout operating smoothly, and scenery added were higher priority. I have acquired some Dapol A1X Terriers (one at least with the correct extended bunker) ready to be converted to 2mm finescale. Many months ago I started work on modifying the original chassis, as per an article in the 2mm Sca

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Water Tower and some more trees

With another exhibition looming (actually, tomorrow 9th May 2015 in Portsmouth) I felt I should do a bit more work on the layout. I had mostly been working on some more suitable motive power and rolling stock for the layout (none of which is finished yet). I had been making a few more trees in spare moments, including a large Elm tree that I am particularly proud of. These have now been planted, but lots more are still required, plus other ground cover.     The old Ordnance Survey map sho

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

The Railway Shed

When I moved to a new house, I purchased a shed to house all my model railway stuff. Initially all sorts of junk got stored in there, until I could not even get in the door. After 5 years, some of the junk was removed, and it was used to house some computer servers, poorly cats, spare furniture, etc. Finally, enough room was made to set up Freshwater to work on it (still no room for a chair though).   So, nine years later and the original paintwork was starting to look tired, so I finally fulf

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Look out, its the copse

Freshwater will have more trees than any previous layout I have built, so I wanted to get some planted in time for the Farnham show (and 2mm Scale Association AGM). Previously I have used plastic tree armatures from Heki and Woodland Scenics. These start off as 2D trees, the branches of which need to be bent to produce a not very realistic 3D tree before attaching bits of foliage.   This time, I wanted to try new techniques. I had purchased a tree-making kit from Ceynix many years ago, and I h

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Some buildings for Freshwater

At the Basingstoke show, the only building on the layout was a Ratio SR concrete PW hut. There are only four other major buildings required to complete the layout, but all will need to be scratch built. I started trying to create drawings for the station building, using a 3D drawing package, but the more I did, the more I thought about 3D printing the building instead of using plasticard and printed paper as I had orginally intended. The complex decorative brickwork would be really difficult to

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater at the Basingstoke Show 2014

I love the sound of deadlines flying by. Having a deadline certainly provides a bit of impetus to get things done, even if not enough things actually get done in time.   When I accepted the invitation before Christmas, I had just about got all the electrical and mechanical gubbins beneath the layout working as required (see umpteen previous posts) and so, 4 years after the initial deadline for the 2mm Scale Association Golden Jubilee Expo in Oxford, I thought the time was right to start some s

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater gets Cup-Holders, er, I mean CAB-Holders

If you have ever used hand held controllers to operate a layout, you will know that you need somewhere to put them when you need to deal with a derailment, or drink some tea. Often this means hanging it over the backscene, or letting it dangle down to the floor.   On previous layouts, I have used Velcro to allow the controller to be stuck at various places at the back of the layout. This is very handy, but removing the controller from the Velcro can cause some fairly major earthquakes on the l

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

My First Dabble With 3D Printing

Freshwater station only has one platform, but it was extended at various times over the years. The first section by the buffers where the locomotive would stand is very low with plain brick facing. It then ramps up to a more normal height. The next section is typical Southern Railway concrete panels from the Exmouth Junction concrete works, while the latest extension used the Southern Railway lightweight concrete trestles, more standard components from Exmouth Junction.   Modelling the brick f

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Right back where I started from

It is over 12 months since my last posting on this blog. A quick recap of the project so far is in order.   Way back in July 2010, the 2mm Scale Association celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a special Expo in Oxford. Prior to this, a layout building challenge was issued for layouts up to 9.42 square feet to be exhibited at the Expo. I built Freshwater for this challenge. As a change from my normal use of relays to operate points, I decided to try servos for the new layout. I joined Merg to ge

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Bus for Freshwater

Not that sort of of bus - a layout control bus. DCC is really good for controlling trains, but is less suited for controlling points and signals and the like. A separate bus for operating accessories means that a short circuit on the track does not cause points and signals to change at random. The separate bus can also use systems that are more suited to train detection and route selection.   I initially joined Merg (Model Electronic Railway Group) in order to access their servo controller kit

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

improvements, design changes, failures, successes and experiments

It has been some time since my last post. During that time there have been various improvements, design changes, failures, successes and experiments on the electrics underneath the layout. I have still not quite finished, but I do have a working system again.   The original plan was to use Merg Servo4 kits to drive micro servos controlling points and permanent magnet uncouplers. A temporary switch box connected to the 25-way connector on the layout operated the individual points and uncouplers

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

A Case for DCC

In my last blog entry, I showed my recently completed Merg CAN-CMD CBus controlled DCC Command Station. The Merg kit includes the PCB and all the components to populate the PCB. For future layouts I will probably just mount the PCB directly to a baseboard and hard wire it in. However, this first one I wanted to keep as a portable and flexible unit.This meant fitting it into a case with suitable sockets, switches and Led indicators.   I found a suitable case on Ebay made from black plastic with

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Freshwater's Second Outing

A busy last few weeks in the run up to exhibiting the layout at the 2mm Scale Association Expo in Keighley saw the completion of the woodwork, and application of paint to protect it (and cover up my poor joinery skills).   Setting up on the Saturday morning I was pleased to find that I had not left any important bits at home, and everything fitted together as planned. Even though I did not clean any of the track, it ran really well, with just on sticky bit through one of the points to be looke

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

More woodworking for Freshwater

As I have said before, woodworking is not my speciality, but I am building my own layout instead of helping build a club layout, so I have to do everything. Before advancing with scenic work, I really wanted a secure case or lid to protect the layout in transit or storage, and before the next exhibition, I wanted to have adequate lighting in place.I looked at what we had done previously, and what other exhibition layouts are using, and then decided to do something completely different. I decided

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Ballasting Freshwater - Trials and Tribulations

28 October 2010:   It must be the season for ballast laying. With all the track laid, wired up and painted, and a successful two days operation at the GJ Expo in Oxford I just needed an opportunity to have the layout set up for a few days to allow the ballast to be laid and for the glue to dry.   I followed the method used on previous layouts, applying the ballast dry, painstakingly moving around and removing it from sleepers and flangeways, then spraying water with a couple of drops of wash

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Magnetic Uncoupler Mechanisms for Freshwater

18 July 2010: Following the Expo, I can now get on with adding the uncoupling magnets. I had always intended using permanent magnets, following their successful use on Brunswick. I bought some small magnets from Merg, but they were nowhere near powerful enough to operate the DG couplers from below the baseboard. Now I have purchased 50 'rare earth' magnets via Ebay. These are really powerful for their size (about 5mm diameter and 3mm long) and come with all sorts of warnings. 'Rare earth' magnet

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Wiring the Layout

6th June 2010: This week saw the completion of the track wiring, and the successful test running of trains all over the layout. Copper tape bus bars run beneath the tracks, and small 'dropper' wires link the rails to the tape (two per length of rail). There was just one missing link wire found. Wiring up the point operating servos is still to be done. From the photos you can see one Merg Servo4 board mounted under the baseboard. Two more of these will be fitted to control the remainder of t

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Completion of the tracklaying

1 March 2010: A milestone (or is that a millstone?) has been reached. All the track is now laid, except for the buffer stops which will be the eagerly awaited etched SR kits. I have made a start on installing the dropper wires, and one point mechanism and servo is in place, so I have some way to go before proper testing of the track can start.   As can be seen from the non-painted track, there was a lot of curved track required (half track created in the jig, then the second rail being a

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Yet Another Tiebar Design

26 Jan 2010: I purchased an Easitrack point operator and put it together, and I was impressed by the engineering, and how nicely it operated. The problem with it was, though, that my baseboard (being a hollow door) has a very thin surface and only an inch or so overall depth. I could not see how I could fix the mechanism in place, and much of the operating mechanism would be hanging below the baseboard, where it would be easily damaged in transit.   Up to now, I have used moving tiebars

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Starting the Trackwork

1 May 2009: Not a lot of visible progress for a while, but I have been beavering away building track, using copperclad sleepers and soldering. Having built a couple of points using the jig I have (equivalent to about 3 foot radius) I scanned them, and printed paper copies which were cut out and used for trying to mark out the track layout on the baseboard. Try as I might, I just could not get the track to match the original layout, with the outside slip. So, I decided to revise my plans, a

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Terrier Progress - Some Gears

I have now received a new set of wheels of the correct diameter (8mm) and I have given them a quick spray of primer (one set black for my second Terrier and this set grey for painting green and black for my Southern livery Terrier).     The next job on the chassis was to drill out the 0.3mm holes for fitting the brakes and the 'Simpson Spring' axle pickup wipers. Two of the brake support holes require drilling into the side of a glass fibre PCB spacer. Typically, my drill bit broke doing th

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

Just a few photos

Not much progress recently - I was diverted by a different project which was no 2mmFS.   Anyway, with a couple of exhibitions coming up in October (Fareham and Abingdon/Didcot) I have set up the layout ready for some more work to be carried out, and took the opportunity to take a few, up to date photos:  

Ian Morgan

Ian Morgan

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