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The Bumblebee Mk2 - a new traverser for Farthing

Mikkel

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I’ve built a new ‘one-size-fits-all’ traverser for my Farthing layouts. 

 

 

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My latest layout - The Stables - has two levels, so I needed a traverser which could accommodate that. After I had proposed various harebrained schemes, Stu suggested the principle that I have sketched above. This was clearly the way to go. But how?

 

 

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After mulling it over I looked at my old traverser (above) and realised that I could kill two birds with one stone. I prefer to have just one traverser for all my layouts, and the old one has served this purpose well. I called the old traverser “The Bumblebee” because it defied all sorts of basic engineering principles – yet still worked. 

 

 

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The old Bumblebee was nevertheless beginning to show signs of wear and tear, so I decided to build a new one that could serve all of my layouts, including the new two-level one. For this version I used wood instead of foamboard. With woodwork I just sort of bumble along, so the 'Bumblebee' moniker is also appropriate for Mk2 :).

 

 

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On Mk1 I used tubes to guide the traverser. It worked but was noisy, which led to certain domestic tensions when my wife wanted to watch TV and I wanted to shunt! So I found these “linear sliding guides” on ebay instead.

 

 

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While not as silent as I had hoped (woe is me!) they do slide nicely. The angle braces are from various strata of my “can’t be bothered to sort all this” drawer. Masonite from a broken Ikea frame.

 

 

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Adjustable legs from a Danish timber merchant. I have now standardized on them for my layouts. The rubber pads are a heavy duty type from 3M, essential as they prevent the legs from sliding on the tabletop.

 

 

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The cassette was re-used from Mk1. One end of it serves my three single-level layouts (track 1-5). The other end serves the new two- level layout (track 6).

 

 

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In order to serve all the layouts, I had to come up with a simple way of shifting between regular single-level operation on my existing layouts, and two-level operation on the new layout. To accommodate this, I made the cassette hinged. When shifting to two-level mode, it is tipped to one side, a strip of cork is placed on the wooden blocks, and the cassette is tipped back in place. The adjustable legs are then raised on one side of the traverser only.

 

 

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With this, Stu’s original principle has been achieved: Rising gradient, level track.

 

 

 

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For operation, traverser and layout are simply pushed together. The 3M rubber pads prevent any sliding. The adjustable legs make vertical alignment easy.

 

 

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At the bottom level, a simple stop block is used to ensure that the cassette stops in the right place. This can be rotated down when the traverser is used on my other layouts. 

 

 

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At the upper level, the traverser is stopped automatically as it reaches its outer limit. To avoid the cassette sliding down from this position, I have tentatively fitted some slightly tapered wooden blocks beneath the cassette deck. When they engage the angle braces there is a slight resistance, enough to hold the cassette in place. I'm wondering whether this particular solution will last, but let's see.

 

 

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I have tested the traverser on all the four Farthing layouts, and so far I’m pleased with the operation. Here it is working the Down Bay on the (extendable) dining table. The stop block is a recycled kitchen sponge, which squeezes into place. As you can see I am not one to worry about scenic breaks!

 

 

With the traverser done I can now run trains on the new layout .  Below is a 1-minute video to celebrate.

 

 

 

 

 

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Very ingenious! May I ask what the ground-frame looking-device is, adjacent your controller?

 

How do you operate? Inglenook?

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nice video!  When you wrote about the noise, I was imagining some great grinding of gears as motors started to laboriously turn and heave the huge load of engine and train up the slope. 

 

It's all a bit complicated for me - I'll stick with my roundy-roundy and big hand from the sky!

 

 

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That looks very smooth in operation Mikkel. Fun video too. 

 

If the taper blocks in the upper position do wear then you could drill a hole in them and glue in a magnet so that it is always pulling a bit towards the steel angle bracket. 

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...wonderful!  The one I'm working on is still on the back of an envelope so it won't be too much of a problem to switch from rusty drawer runners (ex kitchen cabinet + 12 years not very careful storage) to the clearly superior gear slides. The end on shot of 'the bay' is revealing - when looking back at the Farthing film company productions in your earlier posts, it shows how magic works....!

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Very neat piece of workmanship, just hope that wasn’t you singing?!.?

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Mikkel,

Very clever as always. I assume grease or something similar will not make the runners quieter?

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46 minutes ago, Northroader said:

just hope that wasn’t you singing?!.

 

It was in Danish ! :D

 

Very interesting concept Mikkel, but then we'd expect noting else from you !

 

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18 hours ago, Lacathedrale said:

Very ingenious! May I ask what the ground-frame looking-device is, adjacent your controller?

 

How do you operate? Inglenook?

 

It's an AMR point control unit with a CDU. It used to be integrated with the baseboard of The Bay, but since the downsizing it's been connected only by the wires (and duct tape when stored)! The plan is to embed it in the front of the layout, eventually. With four layouts now there's always something to do :rolleyes:

 

Operation of The Stables: The idea is that a cut of goods wagons arrives on the rear track, and is then shunted into either the middle track (for dispatch up the branch) or the lower track (for the goods depot).  A similar practice is described for Newbury in GWRJ. 

 

 

17 hours ago, MikeOxon said:

nice video!  When you wrote about the noise, I was imagining some great grinding of gears as motors started to laboriously turn and heave the huge load of engine and train up the slope. 

 

It's all a bit complicated for me - I'll stick with my roundy-roundy and big hand from the sky!

 

 

 

No grinding gears, just a quick push or pull :) I like the hands-on engagement with the traverser, makes it more interactive somehow. Hence the Shuffle! It's a very simple traverser really, except that it can serve four different layouts.

 

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17 hours ago, Dave John said:

That looks very smooth in operation Mikkel. Fun video too. 

 

If the taper blocks in the upper position do wear then you could drill a hole in them and glue in a magnet so that it is always pulling a bit towards the steel angle bracket. 

 

Thanks Dave, and yes! Great idea with the magnets. Who else but you would suggest that! Must try that.

 

16 hours ago, kitpw said:

...wonderful!  The one I'm working on is still on the back of an envelope so it won't be too much of a problem to switch from rusty drawer runners (ex kitchen cabinet + 12 years not very careful storage) to the clearly superior gear slides. The end on shot of 'the bay' is revealing - when looking back at the Farthing film company productions in your earlier posts, it shows how magic works....!

 

Thanks kit, the slides are quite good and seem to be improving with use.  Below are the dimensions I have found, lots available on ebay (often from China but if I remember correctly I ordered mine from a UK trader). 

 

Yes The Bay is really a very simple affair. Railway modelling is all about illusions I suppose :)

 

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16 hours ago, Northroader said:

Very neat piece of workmanship, just hope that wasn’t you singing?!.?

 

Thanks Northroader, not it wasn't me singing but he does it much better than me! 

 

Videos are useful for spotting problems. I saw this morning that there's a slight wobble here and there. Upon inspection of the track there were spots of DAS on the rails!

 

16 hours ago, ChrisN said:

Mikkel,

Very clever as always. I assume grease or something similar will not make the runners quieter?

 

Thank you Chris, I will put that on my list of things to try out. They are clearly getting better with use though. 

 

15 hours ago, bgman said:

 

It was in Danish ! :D

 

Very interesting concept Mikkel, but then we'd expect noting else from you !

 

 

Hi Grahame. Our national anthem would probably sound much like that to non-Danes :lol:

 

As a concept the two-level operation seems to work well so far. In principle it could be any number of levels, since the cassette can stop anywhere along the gradient. 

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What a splendid idea! Absolutely marvelous, Mikkel!

 

Best wishes,

 

Nick. 

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4 hours ago, Brinkly said:

What a splendid idea! Absolutely marvelous, Mikkel!

 

Best wishes,

 

Nick. 

 

Thanks Nick. Good thing I followed @Stubby47's advice, a good deal more sound than some of my earlier ideas :D

 

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1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

Good thing I followed @Stubby47's advice, a good deal more sound than some of my earlier ideas 

That’s quite a scary thought...

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23 hours ago, Stubby47 said:

Brilliant, Mikkel.

 

Thanks Stu, and thanks again for putting me on the right track :good:

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I'm just pleased the idea worked.

 

For the other layouts, what benefit do the short lines on the traverser board give you?

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29 minutes ago, 46444 said:

Great problem solving Mikkel. 

 

Very well executed and beautifully made as to be expected. 

 

Almost reminds me of the canal incline that once existed at Foxton Locks in Leicestershire. 

 

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/foxton-locks/foxtons-fascinating-history

 

Cheers,

 

Mark 

 

That's fascinating Mark, I hadn't heard of those lifts. Apparently they were much quicker than locks. I was wondering what powered them. The caption for this engraving says an electric motor:

 

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Wikipedia, Public Domain: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Foxton_Incline_1904.jpg

 

49 minutes ago, Stubby47 said:

For the other layouts, what benefit do the short lines on the traverser board give you?

 

Yes, I'm a bit doubtful about that myself. They extend the length, have uncoupling magnets (especially important for the Goods Depot) and with the old version I found them useful for storing a few items of stock. I also had an idea that they could be used for some sort of onboard shunting puzzle without the need for a layout!  

 

But maybe it would have been better and easier to have a longer cassette that went the full length of the traverser.

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1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

That's fascinating Mark, I hadn't heard of those lifts. Apparently they were much quicker than locks. I was wondering what powered them. The caption for this engraving says an electric motor:

In more usual times, a pleasant trip out, just over 40 minutes drive for me. Nice pub there, too, last time I went.

 

The electric motor didn’t have too much work to do, as the elevators were counter-balancing each other for the most part. Because the water level in each tray was constant, the boats (loaded, partially loaded, or empty) would simply displace their weight in water, so the two trays would weight pretty much exactly the same.

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Ah, they counter-balanced each other. Quite ingenious. Even so, it seems they never became commercially succesful. I suppose by that time any attempt to innovate canal transport was an uphill struggle in the face of railway competition.

 

Would make an interesting model though!

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bgman

Posted (edited)

How about something on a grander scale, The Anderton Canal Boat Lift.

 

It was thankfully restored and is a superb example of Victorian engineering and just a stones throw from where I went to school as a young boy.

 

 

G

Edited by bgman
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13 hours ago, Regularity said:

In more usual times, a pleasant trip out, just over 40 minutes drive for me. Nice pub there, too, last time I went.

 

The electric motor didn’t have too much work to do, as the elevators were counter-balancing each other for the most part. Because the water level in each tray was constant, the boats (loaded, partially loaded, or empty) would simply displace their weight in water, so the two trays would weight pretty much exactly the same.

 

 

Same isn't true of model trains on a vertical traverser!!!!

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Mikkel

Posted (edited)

16 hours ago, Simond said:

model trains on a vertical traverser!!!!

 

I saw an interesting one of those on a 1:32 micro layout recently,  by Les Coleman. Towards the bottom of this page: https://lone.net/trains/carendt.morphoist.com/scrapbook/page101/index.html

 

On a related matter, my own new traverser is giving me ideas. I've long thought it would be interesting to have a small layout depicting the construction of Farthing and/or its cuttings, with a contractor at work. The challenge has been how to achieve some sort of operational interest. With a traverser that can go up an incline, something like this becomes possible:  http://www.victorianweb.org/history/work/sullivan/plate17.html

 

Edited by Mikkel
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I read the page referred to in the link and was very surprised to see Wheal Tiny just a couple of articles above Les Coleman's.  Wheal Tiny has a working hoist too...

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