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Ralph R

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  1. Show guides printed, see you all at the show. Look out for Arun Quay and Black Lion Crossing, both excellent layouts. Ralph
  2. Martin, I have now been using an E2 for 12 months and I can only say my experience is totally the opposite of where you are. I had(have) a problem with the micro switches but a quick packing under one corner always rectifies it - I have never had it cut out in the middle of a job, it usually happens when trying to start off. There is obviously a little flex in the chassis of the E2 but I have always been able to rectify it with packing - usually a small piece of 3mm ply. Over the 12 month period I have spent well over 1000 hours cutting with the machine and the only issue I have had was with the air assist pump which conked out and was replaced very quickly by Darkly under warranty. I have to say their support is second to none and there is no issue with the supplier being based in Australia, their support is much superior to some organisations who are based 2 miles from me. I have had it fail in the middle of a job and that proved to be the laser head circuit board which was caked in soot and just need cleaning but other than that it has performed exactly as I expected, without any problem. In terms of software, Laserweb was an absolute pain in the a** and Lightburn has been a magical switch for me. Jobs that sometimes took 20 minutes to set up in Laserweb now take less that 2 minutes and the flexibility Lightburn gives is superb. The E2 has opened up big changes to the way I can work and I can't think of working without it now. Hope you are able to persevere as I am sure it will be worth it in the end. Ralph
  3. This is a very well thought out book. It is an excellent introduction to using laser cutters and 3-D printers and producing drawings for using both types of machines. There is a very good tutorial for Sketchup Make and for installing and setting up the STL plugin that you need for the 3-D printers. Several members in our club have bought a copy and benefited as direct result of Bob's training from the book. Ralph
  4. I see that Bob Gledhill's book has now been published and contains a lot of information about laser cutting and 3D printing as well as providing an excellent tutorial on using Sketchup to produce drawings. Available from http://www.crowood.com/details.asp?isbn=9781785002267&t=Laser-Cutting-and-3-D-Printing-for-Railway-Modellers or of course Amazon. Ralph
  5. There is actually another book due to be released in November entitled 'Laser Cutting and 3D Printing for Railway Modellers' written by Bob Gledhill and published by Crowood Press. The book contains a tutorial on the use of Sketchup and how you can use it to drive a laser cutter and 3D printer. Bob has a laser cutter and three different 3D printers so he is well experienced in using these products. It was as a result of meeting Bob that I purchased a 3D printer myself and I have benefitted greatly from him sharing his knowledge with me. Recently he came to our club and several of our members worked through some of the exercises in the book using Sketchup and we all managed to produce drawings from the exercises which are in the book using Sketchup. Bob is a tutor at Missenden where he regularly shares his experiences and he designed and developed the MERG servo mounts for operating signals and turnouts. It hasn't appeared on the Crowood website yet but they do offer 20% discount on orders via their website so it is worth watching out for. Having read the manuscript and done all the tutorials I can recommend this as a great bible to using Sketchup and 3D printers and laser cutters and if you are thinking of going down this road and are new to it then I think it would be money well spent. Ralph
  6. Thanks Steve, that is most helpful and shows perfectly how you achieve such a perfect job. I will have a go at that thanks. Ralph
  7. Thanks Steve. There must be a lot of metalwork on a small piece of brass bar and I look forward to learning the process when you have time. Ralph
  8. That is very impressive Steve. Can I please ask you one question about the weight bar assemblies? The part that fits around the post, I wonder if you could please show a shot of the metal section before you start work on it and the stages to reach completion - I am not quite sure what you are using for that. It certainly works well and it is one of those things I have always struggled with. Thanks, Ralph
  9. Dave, forgot to say that the crosshatch area on the baseplate is where you are supposed to solder the ground signal frame to - I know instructions would have been useful, sorry, I will have to put something together when I get chance. Ralph
  10. To respond to both Steve's and Dave's postings. First, the Palatine Models LMS Ground Signal etch is not a kit, it is merely an etch. It is intended to be an aid to building an accurate model of an LMS ground signal and is intended for the serious modeller who is likely to have the remaining parts needed to complete the model to hand. This includes the necessary wire, pins and tubing. Secondly, I haven't done any instructions because I have never really sold any of these etches - 10 is probably the most I have sold in 4 years or so (even after an article about them appearing in Scalefour News). They were produced for the Manchester Model Railway Society's P4 club layout Slattocks Junction and we needed 5 of them. To help us I made them into an etch because, in my opinion, the alternative casting was a very poor representation of this signal and I knew I could do better. As such I designed and developed this etch - it took 3 or 4 attempts to get it right but Steve's work shows what is possible with care and patience. I also never intended that the balance weights be made operational which is why the pivots are flimsy but accurate however Steve has shown it is possible to do it by beefing up the pivot points. The fold lines do need to be on the inside Dave as Steve has done. And yes, the pivot point on the back blind is marked in the wrong place and I haven't corrected that, simply because I only need 5 making and I didn't really expect to sell any. As my website says, I simply sell these to help others and I certainly don't do it as a business. There won't be any different types adding to the range either, if we need it for Slattocks then I will produce something, if we don't then I won't - life is too short and I have too much modelling to do without developing things that the group doesn't need. Yes, there are some narrow gauge bits on the website too but I do have a layout of my own being built which is why I have those bits! Ralph
  11. Dave, these were designed to be dead scale and based on drawings in the LMS Journal. The etch is for one base which can support 2 signals on the same base therefore there are 2 discs and 2 balance weights and 2 blinders. If you want 3 or even 4 signals on the same base you can adapt 2 etches to make them as I have done for the 3 up signal we needed. In general ground signals are only singles in which case you can remove the top light box from the fret and use only 1 set of discs, weights etc. Doubling the thickness of these items is not what I intended, it will make everything far too thick. Hope this explains things for you. Ralph
  12. I know what you mean about making the holes in the discs for the lenses! I had the same problem but in the end I left them and painted a spot on the transfer to represent the lenses but even that is not perfect. That is an interesting point about seeing the signals Steve, never thought of it like that before and it has given me some things to think about when doing mine again. Thanks. Ralph
  13. Thanks Roy, that is very useful. Will try that out because when you look through a magnifier you can see the dot pattern from the colour laser printed transfer - probably fine for most but in reality if I can see it then I think others will too and I will try and do a better job. I have to say that none of my ground signals have lights nor do the balance weights move, going to have to try and resolve the balance weights though but lights are out for this layout. Ralph
  14. Thought I might add a copy of a photo of a 3 head ground signal from Slattocks Junction. The signal discs have the transfers applied but it is not finished as the curved plastic base shows but remember how tiny this is - about the size of a 5p piece. The white base is plasticard which forms the concrete foundation some of these signals were built on. This is now being replaced as mentioned earlier. Don't want to hijack your thread Steve but thought it might help to show what you can do with the etch (or 2 in this case). Ralph
  15. Steve, you have made a superb job of building our LMS ground signal etch. I have made up a few but they can't compare to the build you have there, well done. Can you elaborate on how you painted the red band please? I have used the transfers available from Hall Royd Junction for mine but it looks like yours may be painted. These things are tiny so I would be interested to know. I am making a new set for Slattocks Junction which use the MERG system of removing the signals from the baseboards leaving the servos attached to the baseboards. They are effectively hot-pluggable signals using chip carriers for the locators and so far the results are very promising and well worth using. We have a 3 high ground signal block so it is more or less essential that they are removable from the layout for track cleaning purposes. Excellent work, pity you can't live near us!! Ralph
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