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Posts posted by 47137

  1. I have a copy of Mike Sharman's book "Wheel specifications for the modeller" and after scrutinising it for a few hours I didn't find one prototype for a RTR chassis to add to the table. So at the moment, the table is really a selection of suggestions.


    I dislike defining things by saying what they are not, but of course the table does not include RTR models for British H0. I have always imagined, the beginning H0 modeller will familiarise themselves with what is available, for example using the details at the web site of the British 1:87 scale society. So anyone wanting to build a class 08 will most likely start with the Roco class 11, and someone wanting a USA tank with choose one of the various S100s.


    At the moment, the Mantua Mallet seems to offer much the same wheelbase as a Bachmann 03, with 15 mm instead of 14 mm wheels, and an undetermined cross-wise profile. The wheels of the class 03 are distinctive and some modellers will want to re-wheel the chassis, and the opportunity is there to fit larger wheels. I think the Mantua is something an ingenious modeller might put to good use if they had a damaged sample to hand, but is too sophisticated to seek a good one to strip down.


    - Richard.

    • Agree 2

  2. 9 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:


    British outline what?


    In the table in the first post we have suggested applications for many chassis. It is up to you, as a contributor, to suggest the application(s).


    The Rapido tram shows we can have outside cylinders around 29 mm wide with 16.5 mm gauge. It seems a bit daft to me to recommend the Mantua chassis when it needs such wholesale modification and there are so many other six-coupled chassis out there.


    Then again, if someone uses the Mantua chassis in a British H0 model I'll take my hat off to them and put it back into the table.


    - Richard.

  3. 33 minutes ago, Andy Reichert said:



    FWIW, I scanned the Mantua underside next to an 00 Bachman MK1 suburban. It all fits within the UK 00 loading gauge.


    The only difference from any other HO chassis is that the width of the cylinders and excessive vale gear. Remove those and you have two cute and short 6 coupled inside cylinder chassis of normal HO width.






    Dare I ask, with the valve gear removed, does the motor fit inside the British outline, in 1:87 scale? 


    - Richard.

  4. 18 hours ago, rue_d_etropal said:

    I think the Mantua  loco chassis would be too big for British HO. I know of it being used in O 16.5, and would probably be useful for 5.5mm/ft as well,talking of which there is a lot of new interest in modelling 3ft gauge in 5.5mm/ft, helped by the large amount of items availablefor 28mm wargaming which is virtally same scale. I have a long term project to stretch it to modelling metre gauge as well, and have resized  quite a few of my designs into 5.5mm/ft.


    I agree. There is a photo of a stripped-down Mantua Mallet here, and we can see the chassis is far too wide for British outline in 1:87 scale:



    I have removed the Mantua from the list of chassis in the first post.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  5. 3 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:

    If you want some fancy NG locos chassis, the various forms of the Mantua 2-6-6-2 can be found on EBay for reasonable prices. In UK HO it could be used as a free-lanced LMS Beyer Garrett.




    2 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:


    Wheel dia 0.6"

    6 coupled wheelbase 1.385"

    centre to centre of the two 6 coupleds 2.62"


    Several on the US Ebay site.  Not sure what a UK Garrett goes for at the moment.  (Heljan) ?


    I have added the Jouef 'Junior' loco and the Mantua Mallet to the table in the first post. I am relying on your knowledge of the Mantua, I have no idea whether the mechanism will fit inside the British outline.


    The LMS Garrett had 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m) driving wheels so the wheels on the Mantua model are well underscale, but as you say there could be a freelance British project in there.


    I expect we can go off topic again now for another couple of months :-)


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  6. On 10/07/2020 at 08:51, Moxy said:

    Further thread drift - you may already have seen this, but the 5.5mm Association is here.


    Well worth joining.




    I've signed up. They have already sent me their Association Handbook and two copies of their quarterly journal. This looks good to me - something to put on the back burner, to design and re-design while I continue my H0 project. Which is now into its fifth year, and ought to be looking much more finished-off than it is.


    - Richard.

    • Like 2

  7. 11 minutes ago, Andy Reichert said:

    If you want some fancy NG locos chassis, the various forms of the Mantua 2-6-6-2 can be found on EBay for reasonable prices. In UK HO it could be used as a free-lanced LMS Beyer Garrett.


    I'm quite consumed making different sections of credible looking US HO and UK HO scale track on the same layout, without worrying about adding another scale topic.




    I can keep an eye out but right now there is only one example on the UK eBay site, at an eye-watering £208 including postage.


    Please, what are the dimensions - wheelbase and wheel diameters?


    - Richard.

  8. 12 hours ago, Ian Simpson said:

    To only go half off-topic, I think the idea of a dual British H0 / 5.5n3 layout will be niche enough to appeal to most of us here!



    Well - it has occurred to me, I could connect a 5.5n3 layout into the middle of my present H0 scheme, and use the narrow gauge part as a fiddle yard for the standard gauge and vice versa. I think it would do me good to try a project in a larger scale. I really did struggle with those railings on the chemical plant and maybe moving up a few sizes would let me show to myself what I can ever hope to achieve in terms of detail, and get a sense of proportion on what I can tackle in H0.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1
    • Friendly/supportive 1

  9. 13 hours ago, HSB said:

    It was for a 3' gauge loco. 16.5mm obviously works out at exactlly 3' in 5.5mm. Slightly off-topic but here's a picture of the rebuilt loco:-




    Surely we are allowed to go off-topic when we are showing models we have made? I think this really looks the part. You have sent me off to the Internet reading up on 5.5 mm scale, I imagined it was all history but it looks like a really nice size to work in. And you can run the trains on 16.5 mm gauge track, so as an experiment in model-making you don't need to build a layout. Have you got a link to your 5.5 mm project?


    - Richard.

    • Like 1
    • Agree 1

  10. On 07/07/2020 at 13:30, HSB said:

    I bought one version of these locos a while ago to convert to 5.5mm scale narrow gauge but  I stood it on my H0 layout with a couple of wagons first.

    The width over the tanks is quite wide and is a tight fit over the mechanism.


    There is a version of the Electrotren model with a saddletank body and this fits into the British outline. So I think the chassis is worth remembering, even if it for only a relatively large engine.


    I do like the idea of a 5.5mm scale project ... were you modelling a 3ft gauge line or did you change the chassis for an N gauge one?


    - Richard.

  11. I have built a switch panel to let me use the memory functions in the servo controller board, and this panel has a write-up on my blog:





    Operationally I am not sure whether this panel should be located on Shelf Marshes or several yards away on the fiddle yard. Technically, if I added a transistor to drive the LED and reduce the current taken from the servo controller, I could have a second identical panel wired in parallel with the first and with LED indicators at both.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  12. 1 hour ago, Chimer said:

    I've used something similar (25mm square steel tubes) on a 6' x 5' setup with an operating well in the middle, and it worked well.  It doesn't distort from rectangular at all in the horizontal plane, but would certainly rock on four spindly legs as per your diagram.  I used extra horizontals between the legs, about a foot below baseboard level, on 3 sides.  One point to note is that if you have any tube junctions in the horizontal plane, it will flex at the joints unless supported by an additional leg.  And do measure carefully before purchasing - the carriage costs for the one extra tube I found I needed :wacko: were horribly disproportionate!


    Having read the thread again, I've realised your picture wasn't upside down ....... in my case, my frame was effectively an open table supporting conventional baseboards which just sat on top.  I really can't see the point of sitting the rectangle on the floor.  One of the plus points for me was the adjustable feet ....


    At home, my frame will be resting on spur shelving brackets. I need to try to arrange two of the cross-wise sections to line up with these brackets.


    I can see a few options for legs for shows. At the moment my favoured method is four fairly short legs to let the layout stand on top of one of those 6 or 8 foot trestle tables. I might try a self-contained "leg assembly" built onto more square tubing, or try legs slotted into the frame.


    I was slightly shocked to see my parts are arriving on Monday. I was expecting a 12-day lead time. When they arrive I will feel duty-bound to do something with them and post something on RMweb!


    - Richard.


    • Like 2

  13. 16 minutes ago, newbryford said:


    Another Gosturd winner (this is another of his ebay IDs)


    I think he uses fiction in his listings to let them show up in popular searches. I was looking for H&M switch panels and found this monstrosity.


    Something I find hard to swallow is his 100% positive feedback.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1
    • Agree 4

  14. Route setting


    The MegaPoints servo controller board has three memories to provide for simple route setting. You set the points (servos) to the route you want and then press and hold one of three buttons to store the route in memory. You can then continue to operate the layout as desired, changing the points from their levers (switches) to suit. Pushing the button again sets up the stored route and disables the point levers, and there is another button to release the memory and restore control from the point levers.


    Anyway, to try it out I needed more wiring and switches than I want to assemble together so I improvised with a breadboard and a load of wire links:



    The memory functions seem to work perfectly.


    I think this will be useful on a small layout like this - one route for through movements to/from the fiddle yard, one route for arrivals, and one route for the run-round loop.


    (The Arduino here has nothing to do with the circuit on test, it merely has a breadboard attached to its base)


    - Richard.

    • Like 1
    • Craftsmanship/clever 1

  15. 1 hour ago, Allegheny1600 said:

    Hi Richard,

    My old layout "Leigh Moor & Randale Summit" which was 27' x 9' 00, used a steel version of this type of framing. It was perfect for a permanent layout but rather complex for a former exhibition layout, nevertheless when housed in my big shed, it did an excellent job of supporting the layout.

    Unfortunately, I never took any photos of the framework, sorry.

    It sounds like you are well on your way anyway so good luck.




    Really, I want to build something much like the arrangement described by John Ahern in the 1950s (his book "Miniature Landscape Modelling"), but using a more stable material. Ideally I will build my baseboard, then lay the track whilst able to get all round it, and then attach the backscenes. As I write this, I'm wondering if the backscene boards should be held on with bolts and nuts instead of rivets to allow for future access. I expect things will become clearer when I have the bits in front of me. I don't really know how much I will need the backscene boards to hold the baseboard wholly rigid.


    I have a feeling the Combitech system would be ideal for a larger and permanent layout where speed of assembly is helpful and you have a wall or floor to bolt onto for extra rigidity.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  16. I have the aluminium coming on a 12 day lead time and the ply base and backscene boards on 30 days. I might have to wait for the ply to work out exactly where every point motor is going before I firm up on the locations of the cross members of my frame.


    The Aluminium Warehouse claim "Your material will be cut with a high precision TCT blade, this removes 5mm of material on each cut. Your order will be cut to a standard tolerance of - 0mm/ + 1mm" and at 60p  a cut this seems like a bargain to me. All I have to do is make the holes for the fixings - something like a 20mm cutter to get the nose of the pop rivet gun into the section, and then a 3mm hole for the rivet.


    I like  the idea of pop rivets because they are aluminium and there won't be chemical reactions / corrosion arising from dissimilar materials. It would be interesting to know how the lab trolleys are held together.


    Edit: if anyone stumbles across this in the future, I am posting related notes on my layout topic at https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/152888-shelf-marshes-building-a-wee-puggie-line-in-187-scale/&do=findComment&comment=4033269


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  17. On 01/07/2020 at 19:03, ITG said:

    Not the same brand, but I’m planning on using similar for an upper board terminus station above hidden tracks. The attraction was the 25mm profile of the tubes, meaning it maximised the clearance over the tracks below.



    No connection other than have already received an initial order, really as a sample set of tubes and junctions. One useful advantage is that this supplier cuts tube to length required, which for a regular framework of uniform nature, saves a lot of work. The frame will be like a grid of between 300-500mm  rectangles, having to use varying dimensions due to legs (also tubes) resting on board below, and needing to clear tracks (curves at end).


    I've placed an order for some 1" square aluminium tube from Aluminium Warehouse, cut to size for my project. I will be happier with my own joints instead of ready-made joining pieces, and this will give me greater flexibility for example if I want to add a diagonal brace or even build the layout skew to fit my skew-shaped alcove.


    I guess "Combitech" waits for another day.


    Many thanks for the link.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  18. The die is cast

    I really do want to try something different for the baseboard construction. I have looked at the Combitech tubular baseboard system but I think I will be happier with something more generic.


    I have found an aluminium wholesaler happy to cut sections to length, and they have my order for 1" square aluminium tubing with a cutting list. I have tweaked the dimensions of the layout so there will be next to no waste:


    1 in x 1 in x 16 swg - Aluminium Square Tube

    Length 2500 mm

    Grade 6063T6

    Custom Cut

    Item 1 of 5 - Cut
    Length: 1580 mm Quantity: 1
    Length: 710 mm Quantity: 1
    Item 2 of 5 - Cut
    Length: 1580 mm Quantity: 1
    Length: 710 mm Quantity: 1
    Item 3 of 5 - Cut
    Length: 1580 mm Quantity: 1
    Length: 710 mm Quantity: 1
    Item 4 of 5 - Cut
    Length: 710 mm Quantity: 1
    Length: 600 mm Quantity: 2
    Item 5 of 5 - Cut
    Length: 1580 mm Quantity: 1




    Their cutter takes 5 mm so there are some 200 mm offcuts to support the two wings.


    So - I've designed my own baseboard kit in about ten minutes flat. Assembly will be screws or pop rivets and Araldite. Cost is about £60 including cutting - not a negligible sum, but probably only about £30 more than the equivalent in pine strip wood. Spruce would be a lot cheaper but the stuff I find for sale is too unseasoned and too unstable to build a baseboard.


    I suspect, 19 mm square section aluminium would be amply strong. I went for 1 inch square because two pieces will give me enough depth to hold my servo mechanisms.



    I've ordered up the ply for the track bed and backscene boards too. This is on a 30-day lead time. The cost of the aluminium and ply for the basic baseboard will be about £60, another £40 for the backscenes and a dust cover, plus unfortunately most of £40 carriage because I am using two suppliers. Still, a total bill of £140 is bearable compared to the cost of a baseboard kit.


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  19. For me, I would want one baseboard about 1.5 x 0.7 m, and I'm thinking of a framework with eight straight sections and four corner connectors like this:



    I think this will twist too easily, but if I fix three backscene panels onto the four uprights these should stiffen things up. The baseboard would be solid top, with square rebates in its four corners to make space for the four uprights.


    I guess I would extend the backscene panels 30 or 40 mm below the horizontal frame, to make vertical space for point motors. The 23 mm square section is too shallow on its own. Supposing the panels were fixed securely onto the aluminium tubes, they would stop any tendency for the framework to come apart.


    I have been sketching out my layout to use ply throughout, including ply "girders" to make the structure, and there is a lot of appeal in using something ready-made for longitudinal girders (box section metal) instead of cutting sheet material into narrow strips and fabricating things up.


    One weakness of the system seems to be in adding additional cross-members. I suspect, the horizontal beams really should be continuous from end to end. So if I want to add cross-members, these would need bonding and riveting into place. Perhaps L section aluminium from one of the DIY shops.


    As davefromacrossthepond says, one way would be to try, but maybe someone else has had a go!


    - Richard.

    • Like 1

  20. I am looking at the Combitech tubular baseboard system and wondering whether anyone here has given it a go?




    The system had a brief mention here, but this was 4 years ago.


    I want to try something new for my next layout, and I'm imagining some ply panels for the backscene and track bed, attached to such a frame using self-tappers or even pop rivets.


    - Richard.

    • Informative/Useful 1


    On 20/06/2020 at 09:19, 47137 said:

    It would be a shame to clutter this excellent topic with discussions of preferences for particular hardware, and so I will report back after I have something which works or I have given up.


    On 20/06/2020 at 09:54, melmerby said:

    Well the topic is "Fun with an Arduino" and an Arduino will do all you want without employing a Megapoints board.:jester:




    I have made some servo mounts, and there is write-up of these and some notes on controlling the frogs here:


    To be honest with you, I am not sure if I will ever equate "software" with "fun"; and I probably should not have made my original post here. But if you wish to follow my link, you will see my present thinking.


    - Richard.

  22. Servo mechanisms

    I have spent a week+ faffing about (experimenting?) with servo mounts. I made three prototypes, the first two with a microswitch for the frog and the third without:



    All of these move point blades cleanly and reliably.


    Unfortunately, my overwhelming conclusion is I while can arrange a mechanism where the microswitch works some of the time, even most of the time, I cannot get even 99% reliability and I want at least three 9's and probably four. So I settled on the third arrangement, a piece of 15 mm aluminium channel as suggested by Dave Fenton of Megapoints in one of his many videos.


    This is the sweetest, quietest and neatest point actuator I've ever had. I am using a fairly long throw from the servo horn because I am thinking of 6 mm ply for my baseboard when I build it. Also the piano wire here is 0.4mm diameter, rather thinner than suggested so it flexes easily at the end stops:



    The result doesn't need any setting up beyond using the controller board to centre the servo to find the mid point for the movement.


    I've made another seven of these:



    And so I now have the mechanisms for the eight points in the plan:



    The ninth servo here is for a notional gate or barrier. I've abandoned the loco spur again.


    This leaves me to focus on how to switch the polarity of the frogs. Really, there are only two ways with any appeal to me: double-pole switches on the control panel (one pole for the servo controller, one pole for the frog) or a frog juicer. I have a collection of old-fashioned switches - a panel from H&M and some Lucas toggle switches from 1960s cars. These would build up into a control panel with some character, but they are single-pole and would need the frog juicer.


    Conversely, if I use double-pole switches (servo + frog) I deny myself the ability to use the serial interface of the control board in the future. I have a hankering to try for some semi-automated operation in which trains approaching a turnout from the trailing direction trip a sensor and the point blades move to the favourable direction. This would be a project for the Arduino. I've bought a couple of IR sensors for it. But somehow, I think I need to cut my teeth on something less critical for my first Arduino project. This is another way of saying, crib from someone else! I've not done any programming since Delphi 4, and I never achieved a great deal with that even though it was supposedly easy. Programming isn't really my thing unless I can find something mostly ready-made and then butcher it.


    For Shelf Marshes it would be sensible to aim for a system able to work without some half-baked personal Arduino application. This rather rules out using the Arduino to drive relays to switch the frogs. I know there is also a route in which I add a relay driver board and then two relay boards, all available off the shelf from Megapoints, but if I end up with a row of toggle switches needing four circuit boards to drive eight frogs I will feel I have lost the plot.


    There is also the matter of keeping compatibility with analogue (DC) trains. I have a pet theory I can use one frog juicer to drive every frog on the layout because the turnouts are too far apart for any of my locos to bridge two frogs. The obvious constraint would be I must never stop a loco on a frog if I want to then move a second loco. In such a scheme I would simply disconnect the frog juicer and run the layout with dead frogs for analogue operation. This has some appeal because most of my locos are now DCC, and the exceptions are things like a 12-wheel Dynadrive loco which will hardly be troubled by a few inches of dead frog. Then again, something like my 00 gauge 2-EPB (and DCC) is definitely going to bridge 2+ frogs so this won't run on the layout.


    For me, every new layout has got to stretch me with something I haven't really tried before, with a view to seeing it through in a successful way. The main board of Shelf Island has its compound curves and gradients, and Fairport has its visual balance, mirror and unconventional baseboard. The trouble is, controlling the points is really fundamental to success.  It might just possibly be best to start with something I know I can build and get to work: eight double-pole toggle switches.


    - Richard.

    • Informative/Useful 1
    • Craftsmanship/clever 1
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