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Ian Major

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  • Location
    Far from my natural habitat.
  • Interests
    Gauge 0 GWR/WR loco construction plus the odd wooden ship model.

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  1. On the same site, you may be interested in an article about producing cloth flags ( here ). It describes painting/printing on to transfer paper then ironing the pattern on to the cloth. Don't know if this would work for tarpaulins but it should stimulate some thought if nothing else. Ian.
  2. Hello Compound2632, I have been catching up on this very informative thread - I look away for a few weeks and come back to another 4 pages. Great stuff. Back on May 7 ( page 100) you asked how ship model makers do furled sails. I have not seen a response to this. My favourite ship modelling site is Model Ship World ( link ) . There are very many informative logs. The best of these are boiled down in to articles and published in the "Articles Database" ( here ). In there is a section on "Rigging and Sails" ( here ) . There you will find a pdf article on "Making and Forming Sails for your Model". This may give you your answer - there is a lot of info in there so is a good start. A word of warning. There are some seriously good, interesting modelling logs in there. The risk is that you get drawn in to reading them and end up doing no modelling. How do I know this...? Keep up the excellent work. Ian.
  3. Thanks for the link Aardvark. I had seen it before but you prompted me to have another look. Their experience is the same as mine. The blade is fine in straight lines, but around corners it struggles. In the video they have the "smart cuts" turned off for this reason. The video shows craft/art cutting rather than the engineering type that railway modelers do. Artist are happy or even prefer the wavy lines produced by a pirouetting blade but engineers tend get a touch of the vapours about such things. I decided to do some straight line tests to see how deep the blade would cut before failure. The design consisted of a single straight line aligned with the "X" axis. Pressure set to 1, speed set to 1. For each pass I increased the blade depth by approx 0.1mm. The point of failure was when I reached an indicated 0.8 mm depth. Again the spurious cut was there and again initial fail occurred making this cut. (The red arrow shows the unwanted cut). I seem to able to cut without a fail up to a depth of 5 or 6. I decided to measure the actual blade depth at this setting. It actually appears to be approx 1 mm. At that depth it should cut through 20 and 30 thou plastic sheet, and may even go up to 40 thou. My test line was in 60 thou and holding up to the window light could be seen filtering through the cut so was obviously deeply scored. So - can I make it go around corners? I have two Kraft blades so I stripped one down. The end cap can be prised off the top with a finger nail revealing this:- The three steering wheel like spokes do not rotate with the blade, a small bush in the centre does. I engaged the jaws of a small pair of pliers in the spokes (without gripping), rotated the blade which then unscrewed from the holder. This split it (almost) in to its component parts. From which I produced a diagram of the blade. The scales are graduated in mm. The line of rotation is shown dotted. The blade is basically a 0.5 mm thick scalpel like blade mounted in a nylon block. By comparison, the auto blade is ground from 1 mm steel rod and in fact is twice as thick as the 3 mm blade. The point of the Kraft blade is slightly more than 1 mm behind the line of rotation which is why the blade can take 1 mm size chunks out of the work piece when it is realigning. This effect was demonstrated when the cutter started its cut part way along the arc of a roof former that I was making. It is unlikely that I can get the blade to cut deeper than 1 mm in to plastic sheet without overloading the drive mechanism. My current thoughts are to sacrifice this blade as an experiment. Therefor I will grind the rear edge of the blade to be vertical, test, then grind it a little further to bring the point closer to the centre of rotation. The purpose is to make it more maneuverable and to reduce the size of chunks it takes out when pirouetting. I will make sure the cross sectional area behind the line of rotation is greater than ahead so the jocky wheel effect still happens. With a bit of luck it wont all end up in tears! In the meantime, I have put in a report to Silhouette to request a fix to the extraneous cut problem. Ian.
  4. A quick update. I have almost worked through my list of actions to try to get rid of the spurious cut. I added one other action. Action 1) Revert Studio to the general release ver 4.3.370ss. Done. No change. Action 2) Try this using my 10 year old lap top. Done. No change. Action 3) Having eliminated my laptop hardware, I decided before raising a problem report that I should eliminate Inkscape software. I created a simple design (a square) in SS Design then did a cut. I set the speed and force to the lowest level ie 1. The first pass was with the blade set to 0.1mm depth. This revealed that the spurious cut was still there. I decided to see how deep it would go until cogging occurred - this was to a depth of 0.7mm. I did a second run which failed at 0.6mm. This is about the same as couple of dozen previous attempts. Here is a blown up photo of the first cut. The spurious cut is clearly there right in the middle of the part. For some reason SS has not put an alignment twiddle for the top left corner. There are are a couple of circular indentations where the blade pirouetted. The fail occurred in the top right loop. Also the cuts prior to the fail do not look clean to me. To be honest the Kraft blade is achieving very little extra depth over the more flexible auto blade. Action 4) I will raise a problem report on the spurious cut. I am not going to treat it with any urgency since from here on I now think it is a waste of effort and material. I will continue to use the auto blade to cut 10thou and 15thou parts and to mark out/score parts on thicker material. Now to get on with finishing off my MACAW waggons and other models. Ian.
  5. More on the experiment front. But first my thanks for the likes and encouragement. Ray, I agree with your comments which chime with my own experience. I don't know what code is used on the machine. The only part I know is the content of the SVL files produced by Inkscape which is in XML a very readable language. Alec, the video that I linked to shows the Cricut blade alignment mechanism working including how at the start of the cut the carriage moves to the extreme right where the blade direction is obviously being set to an initial known direction. Aardvark, the Silhouette deep cut blade that I have was only released a few months ago and is specifically for the Cameo 4. Though, as you say, the original was for the Curio. I am beginning to wonder whether the deep blade is a tool too far for the Cameo architecture. I had a look at the link you supplied about turning off the alignment loops and diddles. I tried the method recommended and found it doesn't work. An attempt to do it was met with an invalid action type message as here:- I think the lady giving the advice was using an earlier version of Studio to me. But....by accident it pointed me in the direction of how to actually do it. More on this later. The first issue that I looked at was due to the thicker plastic sheet being less flexible than the sticky cutting mat. For deep cutting I also use sticky tape around the material edges. Even so because the mat is not supported in front of and behind the cutter, as the work moves back and forth the tendency was to peel the plastic off risking the material slipping. The posed photo shows this. My temporary answer was to put blocks of wood fore and aft to act a supports. Long term I will make a couple of wooden platforms to do this. The experiments continue. Addressing the "walkabouts". One of these is added to each object to be cut. With this and the size of the loops an excessive amount of waste material and blade wear was the result. These alignment cuts were also impinging on the parts being produced. My test piece was one of the roof formers for my carriage. I had produced this design by taking the carriage end design and simply cutting the lower part off. When cut with the auto blade it was fine, up to a certain depth. Throwing it at the Kraft Blade produced this spaghetti look alike: A close up of one end. Part of the gutter is still there complicating things. Going back to Inkscape I reduced the design to just two objects. The first was the curve of the roof. This was originally 2 objects meeting in the centre having been produced as one half, replicated, one copy reversed and moved to make a symmetrical curve. I joined this together as a single object. The second object was the straight cut along the bottom. I identified this in the object list and simply deleted any other object that was there (except the roof curve). These two objects are on one layer so I deleted any other layer along with its contents. Thrown at SS gave this: It looked a lot tidier and was a hopeful sign. I also found you can alter the size of the loops. The default radius is 5mm. I set it to 2mm (pointed to by the red arrow). To get this menu, go to "Send" page, just above the "Test" button is a "More" button. Press that. I would guess that Silhouette consider 2mm as the minimum radius the Kraft blade can cut, and if cutting to 3mm depth the radius would need increasing. At this time I did not know what the skim force was. It is not documented anywhere. My fiddling with everything gradually clarified what this was about. I was starting to get cocky now. The design had its long axis lying in the direction of the carriage movement, I wanted it to lie in the direction of feed (X). So I rotated it. The result threw me. There were now three alignment cuts for two design cuts! Why? The reason became apparent when I actually did the cut. Now the curved line was the first object in my Inkscape design, and its base point is bottom right in the last photo. The actual cut started (after alignment) at the red arrow, it then went anticlockwise around the design until it got back to the red arrow. I tried cutting this design in 20thou and 30thou plastic card. Force 2, cut increments 0.1mm. The 20thou cut out OK. The 30thou got to 0.6mm depth when it cogged. The results are in the next photo. Notice both attempts have a extraneous horizontal cut. On the 20thou piece I have marked at with a red arrow. In every example it is the first cut made on each pass, goes left to right, and is the point at which the initial cogging occurs. I think this cut is behind a lot of my problems. I have no answer for it yet. The same design thrown at the auto blade or pens does not have this extra cut. Out of curiosity and to try to work out Silhouette logic, I did a few rotations of the design to see the effect on the "walkabouts". The result: I was running on Rel 4.3.372ss of Studio Basic. This is a BETA version. The reason I use this is because the general release version (4.3.370) supports the 2mm Kraft Blade but no mention of the 3mm which I have. Question is there a later version that has a fix for my problem. I decided to install the latest BETA version which is Rel 4.4.223ss. Quite a major change judging by the number. This did not fix the extraneous cut error but I did get this in the "More" menu:- Notice in the bottom right corner there is now a tick box "Disable Smart Cut" which stops the walkabouts. In referring to these as Smart Cuts I assume Silhouette are attempting some form of ironic humour. Notice also the "Skin Force" has been replaced by "Loop Force" and "Loop Blade Height". This seems a sensible arrangement whereby the alignment cuts can be done at a low force, then the design cuts at full pressure. I don't see the point of the Blade Height variable since the blade height can only be manually set. I am wondering that if the extraneous cut is being done at full pressure without the blade being aligned whether it is screwing things up before the first alignment cut. The latest BETA release also addresses another gripe of mine. When I first tried to use the Kraft Blade I struggled to find a material/tool combination that the software wouldn't reject. You had to try each before the rejection took place. Now warning triangles are displayed against these. So I tried a cut without "Smart Cuts". Still had the extraneous cut plus the blade alignment in the middle of the curve resulted in a noticeable bite mark taken out of the cut piece. Tried the same with the part rotated 90 degrees. Worse. The extraneous cut went straight through the middle of the part. Tried a design with my own alignment marks. The photo shows this. The red arrows show the start and direction of each object and the number shows the order that they appear in the SVL file. I set the sort order as "No Sort" ("Send", bottom right corner is a cog wheel button, leads to the advanced menu). Did a cut. It did the curve first, the long straight next, then the two short "alignment" cuts last. No change. My main thrust now is to see how to get rid of the extraneous cut and whether that will improve things. The ideas are: 1) Revert Studio to the general release ver 4.3.370ss. Done no change. 2) Try this using my 10 year old lap top. 3) Raise a problem report with Silhouette. With the current virus situation this rather slow - I already have an outstanding report with them. I haven't given up yet but I am beginning to wonder whether for cutting/deep scoring thickish plastic the 3mm Kraft Blade is a bit of a white elephant. Ian.
  6. Well the Kraft Blade arrived and I have carried out the first of my tests. The results are not, shall we say, totally encouraging. To summarize. My Cameo 4 came with an AutoBlade which produces very good detailed results in plastic sheet up to 15thou. I was looking to cut up to 40thou and deeply score components for 7mm scale waggons and carriages. In the box containing the Cameo was this illustration of Cameo 4 tools:- On the left is the AuotBlade which goes in tool holder 1. The remaining tools fit in holder 2. The rotary blade is suitable for cloth. The punch tool looks like it could make a handy rivet punch but Silhouette Studio appears to restrict its use. The last blade is the Kraft Blade, though the one illustrated is a 2mm one as opposed to the 3mm Cameo 4 version. Adjustment of the depth is achieved by unscrewing or screwing up the end cap. The thread is 1mm pitch so one revolution exposes or covers up 1mm of blade. The next picture shows a comparison between the Auto and Kraft blades. Both have the blades set at maximum depth. To adjust the Kraft blade the end cap is screwed up as far as it will go, then unwound three revolutions, then a bit further until the "1" is in line with the red mark. The blade is then set at 0.1mm depth. (The 3mm blades have three rings of numbers). The next two photos show the blades with the end caps removed. It is worth noting how much wider the Kraft blade is. Also note the trailing edge of the Auto blade is vertical whereas that on the Kraft blade is about 20 degress off vertical. Before starting the test I came to the conclusion that I was not going to cut any small radius arcs, and that it would be difficult to cut right in to the corners of internal rectangles. One of the tests I have yet to do is cut various diameter circles to see what can be achieved. The two tool posts have different operating mechanisms. You can press down post 1 with your finger, but post 2 will not move. The reason is that tool post one is pushed in to the material by a soleniod and returned by a spring. Tool post 2 has a motor and some form of transmission that winds the blade in to the material then winds it back giving it far more power. Finally I fitted both tools and it was ready to go. I produced a test file - just a fancy letter "A" roughly 1cm square. I moved it to the SS "Send" page and the cut lines were highlighted. Then I ran a cut using the Auto Blade on 10thou plastic. In the next photo the left hand letter is the result - OK. The right hand letter was meant to be done on the Kraft blade..... .... I pointed the design to tool holder 2 then did the cut. The SS response was that there was no valid action for tool 2, and SS knowing best fired it at tool 1. I tried stopping it but was a bit too late and only managed to damage the letter. So - try again - this time with tool 1 removed. SS then just sulked and said it wasn't going to do anything. Now the instructions that came with the tool, the cutter and the on line manual are less than helpful here. So I plodded down the long list of materials and tried each one in turn, generally to be rewarded with a "nope" from SS but no guidance. I eventually came across a material where SS said "OK", and the cutting pattern was changed to this. Unfortunately I did not keep a log of everything that I tried. Now I have got a notepad and pencil living near the cutter so that I can record any future blundering around. As can be seen SS adds loads of little walkabouts to the cut pattern. The Kraft blade is aligned like a jocky wheel and may be pointing in any old direction when pushed in to the material. So the walkabouts line the blade up for the next desired cut. I threw a cut at 20 thou plastic. The result..... .....as expected the blade could not get in to the corners and inner areas of the letter. All the bits from its walkabouts cut out nicely. In fact one dislodged and became impaled on the knife blade and was carried around until the cycle completed. It used 20 sq cms of plastic to produce 1 sq cm of letter (or tried). Next I decided to use a known good design. What better then one produced by Mike Trice. He had produced a design for a brake van in 4mm scale which looked ideal. I extracted one of the sides from it and put it in SS, loaded a pen and paper in the cutter then "Send" - the idea being to check its size and make sure it would come out OK. In the picture the image is distorted because the paper is rather curved, it also fouled the pen in a couple of places. I offered the design to a Kraft Cut which produced an unexpected result - look at the red arrow. It has gained a couple of walkabouts in a random location, but around the van side all looks well. Mike set the plank marks as red lines and the cut through lines as black. I pointed the auto blade at the red lines (to be done first) and the Kraft blade at the black lines and set it off. To start with all was going well, then part way through the deep cut lines it decided to head off to tackle the spurious walkabouts, then set off even further to find some more, got confused, threw a wobbly and terminated. Still, enough had been cut to assess how things had gone. A rubbed pencil lead in the cut lines to highlight them. I noticed that the cuts made by tool 1 were aligned with those made by tool 2 in the feed ("X") direction but were out by about 0.25mm in the carriage travel ("Y") direction. For example, notice the cutout for the ducket is slightly to the left wrt the planking in the photo. I attempted to correct this. To do this in Inkscape I broke up Mike's design in to its component parts, grouped the deep cut elements together then moved them 0.25mm with respect to the other elements. This worked as I hoped. This was fed back in to SS. The result was this.... ...a lot more walkabouts, and worse one of them right in the middle of the van side. My attempts to move this out/ delete it resulted in SS locking up solid. I had to use Program Manager to get rid of it. To prove that my design change was effective I decided to ignore the errant walkabout for now. This time I used el packitocornflakes since my stock of plastic was disappearing fast. Again the planking was fine, but the deep cuts started to dig in where the path of cuts crossed. This resulting in horrible crunching sounds coming out of the cutter and the registration being lost. The mess produced is in the next photo. At least the tool 1 and tool 2 cuts lined up. Time was running short so I reverted to Mike's original side. The unwanted walkabouts on the far right did not appear this time! I decided to do the deep cuts only, in card, but with the force reduced to 3, and with max depth increases of 0.1mm. This produced a fairly clean result except for the internal corners which need nicking with a scalpel. I haven't finished my experiments yet. I want to see how small I can cut circles, and how thick I can cut the plastic. I have at least two SS software issues to report if I can put together the evidence. My intermediate conclusion is that the tool 2 holder has got the power to push the blade deeply in to plastic but that the drive trains for the feed and travel are not totally up to the job. I think that in the long term I will be using this for detail cutting of thin plastic (to 15thou), and cutting simple accurate shapes in thick plastic eg coach solebar components. For Aardvark, here is a link to a useful video that I found. It is a comparison between the Cameo 4/Craft Blade against a Cricut. It is in Spanish but it is obvious what he is doing. He demonstrates both cutting a circlar disc in 1.4mm balsa. Interesting the Cricut tool has a toothed wheel on the top that allows the cutter to orientate the blade without recourse to walkabouts. The video also illustrates the crunching sound you get when the drive trains are failing to drive the tool through the material. Important to recognize this sound because if you hear it mid cut all subsequent cuts will be misaligned. Onward and upward. Ian.
  7. Ade, the layout is looking very very good. An A3 pulling a 'B' Set on a GWR branch?.....Not rule 1 but preservation era innit! Ian.
  8. I have started building up experience in cutting plastic sheet with my Cameo 4. I successfully produced some end panels for the Kirk GWR Dia E131 carriage that I am building. These parts were simply to be used as skins so I cut them from 10thou plastic sheet. I then tried producing roof formers in 20thou sheet. The cutter only cut about 2/3rds of the way through. I looked up and used Rob Pulham's settings but still had no joy. I am using the auto blade that comes with the unit. It cut the parts sufficiently for me to break them out of the rest of the sheet which produced a uniformity far better than I get by simply cutting by hand. The auto cutter fits in to tool holder one. Tool holder 2 appears to have more grunt. So I ordered a Silhouette Craft Blade which is chunkier and fits in holder 2. It arrived today. I will try it out on different thicknesses of plastic over the next few days. The blade itself has a bigger profile than the auto blade and looks more like a scalpel blade. I am guessing it will not cut out such fine detail as the auto blade. Results to follow - hopefully. Ian.
  9. John, I have also just discovered this thread. I don't know why it took me so look, I normally read with interest your other contributions. I am looking forward to seeing your station with scenery in place. It will be superb. Ian.
  10. Hendie, As ever, beautiful work. The problem I have is that I look at this then get a bit depressed when I return to my work bench and look at my efforts at carriage building. For viewing the insides of the completed model I feel a roof with cutouts would be the neatest and would avoid (potentially) unsightly hinges and other gubbins. This is the approach taken by the guys who produce "Admiralty" models of ships that have detailed interiors. If you keep the roof cutouts to one side of and slightly below the centre line, the coach when viewed from one side would look complete then when viewed from above would reveal the interior. Ian. PS When you have completed this, have you got another project in mind to occupy yourself for the next six years?
  11. Thanks Jon, The image above is a tiny part of the A3 document so the cutting area is well off screen. However, I checked and the cutting area display was indeed switched off. I turned it on and checked the effect on the cutting area red box of turning the registration marks on and off. With them off the cutting area is close to the page boundary. With the registration marks turned on the cutting area box shrank to line up with the "L"s. I still need my "mask" for when creating cutting files in Inkscape but your advice has been most helpful. Ian.
  12. Mike, I had a few minutes spare so I selected one item of text to which I applied your action. Here is the result. The text did appear in SS. I didn't time the loading of this modified file in to SS but I estimate it doubled the load time. But it worked! Thanks. Ian.
  13. I have started with simple tasks to carry out on my Cameo 4. The simplest, I decided, was to treat it as a graph plotter - no blade depths to think about. So I invested in some Silhouette pens. I recently did a complete rewire of the North East Cheshire G0G test track. This wiring is made slightly more complicated by it switchable between between DC and DCC on some or all of the tracks. I had this really clever idea of doing the wiring diagrams in Inkscape, transferring the file in DXF R14 format to Silhouette Studio then using the cutter/plotter to draw A3 size diagrams. I have pens in several colours so the wiring scheme would be easy to follow. First picture is a small part of one of the plans in Inkscape SVG format. I like SVG since it is XML which I find easy to read and manually edit if the mood or need takes me. This was transferred to Studio and opened giving me this - Spot the difference! Despite the manual stating that Studio "supports the following DXF features only: Arc, Circle, Ellipse, Line, DWPolyline, Spline and Text" the text was not transferred. My really clever idea was not so clever after all. Still - it occurs to me that this "feature" might be useful to allow the SVG file to be notated in the knowledge that the Silhouette cutting file will ignore these. Another thing I noticed was that the dashed lines in the SVG form were rendered as solid lines in Studio. On to the next attempt. I am building a Connoisseur MACAW B which I want to construct with DC brakes. The kit supplied solebar overlay has the wrong rivet pattern for this. I produced a suitable pattern in Inkscape. Ultimately I intend to use the cutter to mark out brass sheet so that I can use my rivetting tool on it. But first I checked the design by using the pens to draw it on the back of an offcut of wallpaper. This design is too big for the sticky mats supplied with the cutter so I bought a pack of 3 Realike 24 x 12 inch mats. I plucked up courage, fitted a pen and off we went. At first the cutter whizzed backwards and forwards but nothing was appearing on the paper. Then the penny dropped. The Silhouette pens are ball point - I should have doodled with it on scrap paper first. Towards the end of the sequence the pen burst in to life. Re-issuing the job produced a perfect result. A close up of the result. The circles are 0.5mm diameter. Nice. I cut out the printed parts to try for size against the kit parts. I am quite pleased with the result. Now to try it with a blade. I opted for something simple to start. I decided to use the Kingsway free Xmas download "Rover's Return" which is in PDF form. I started with page 3 since it is to be printed on 160 gpm paper/card. Not wishing to spend extra money on Silhouette Studio I have Basic Edition installed. This does not import from PDF. As a first experiment I loaded the PDF into WORD extracted the image on page 3 and saved it as a PNG file. I imported this into Studio. The result was an image that was only 25% of full size. I printed the same page directly to my printer using Adobe Reader. Using the dimensions measured from the print I resized the image. Because I was blowing up the image so much Studio displayed a warning triangle top left about possible poor resolution. It looked OK so I continued. I started putting in the cut lines. Fortunately before going too far I tried applying the registration marks. I had print encroaching in to the hatched areas and under the registration marks - the SS manual says this must not be done. I started again with the image avoiding these areas - this did need some of the Kingsway logo rubbed out to fit. I printed the image with registration marks then added the cut lines. Next time I will add the cut lines before printing with registration marks. I could find no way of locking the image WRT the registration marks so had to be careful not to move the image whilst adding the cut marks. The next image shows the SS Design view. Notice the front/side wall part extends below the horizontal part of the lower "L". No mention in the manual that this is not OK but it did produce an issue. Now to do the cutting. I selected the "SEND" screen and got the following. Note the that part of the wall below the "L" has been greyed as have the cut lines. I suspected that the cutter would not cut in this zone. The apparently random short cut marks I put in place to line up the blade before cutting parts at that particular angle. I set the machine off with the auto blade fitted. At first it failed giving "Registry Lost". I suspect that this was due to the slight difference in boarder around the Realike mat compared to the Silhouette one. No problem - I told SS to switch to manual register, positioned the cutting head over the black square, gave it a go and away it went. It was much faster than I expected. Definitely need to keep your fingers out. As expected it did not cut below the bottom of the "L" so I had to finish the cutting off by hand. The next image shows the cut out parts. Nice and clean. Not bad for a first attempt. I suspected that there would be "no cut" areas along all sides of the page. So in SS I created a test pattern - just a series of parallel lines reaching the edges of the page. Here is the "Design" view. Added the registry marks - the hatched areas are clear of the lines. Then switched to "Send" screen. Indeed the cut lines are truncated as they approach all of the edges as indicated by the blue arrows. My apologies if this is documented elsewhere on RM Web - I have not seen it if it is. Next up I will do all the design work in Inkscape then move the file to SS to add registration and print and cut. For this I designed a mask to indicate where the no go areas are. In the image below the blue area correspond to the hatched areas the red areas are the undocumented no go areas. I have added another Rovers Return page. You can see the cut area is severely restricted reducing the amount that can be cut from an A4 sheet and generating a lot of waste. <pic13> The next stage is to prepare pages 2 and 3 of Rovers Return (page 1 contains the instructions). This will go on thicker card so will be a tougher test of the machine (and me). This wont be for a couple of weeks. I am just a few days off my 70th birthday and, weather permitting, my family is meeting up not far from the Malverns to celebrate. BTW. I am looking at an application called Hugin as a method to take the perspective out of photos to help produce cutting designs. It produces a true non-perspective image and has been used on, for example, photos of Egyption hieroglyphs cut into vertical stone walls.I have tried GIMP but it doesn't do a full removal of perspective - its own instruction manual admits the fact. Something new to learn when I get back! Ian.
  14. Well the paint queue is getting ever longer. I do my spray painting in the garage. It has been too cold and damp to do any. I have also had other distractions. One of the main ones being getting to grips with graphics packages so that I can produce designs to make coach, wagon etc parts on my newly acquired Silhouette cutter. In the meantime I decided to pull the MACAW H back from the paint queue to make the stantions for it. I am glad that I did. I found that one of the brake racks had been knocked off and is probably now resident in the in'ards of the carpet monster. I will be making a pair of MACAW Bs one of which will be WW2 period. So when I get geared up I will make three racks, 2 for the MACAW B and one for the H. I made up the stantions following Raymond Whalley’s method (see here) .One difference - looking at all the photos of wagons with stantions fitted I could see that they were tapered. After fitting the ring of 0.5mm wire and cross drilling it 0.5mm for the retaining chain I put them in the lathe and tapered the 1.6mm rod down to 1.4mm. I did this with files and fine wet&dry paper. I made sufficient stantions for 3 MACAWs plus a few extra to allow for cock ups. The following photo shows them fitted. The chains will be added after painting. < It shows up that the one of the stantions is at a strange angle. It is probably due to the hole in the pocket being skewed. I may get away with just redrilling it. In the flesh it actually looks OK. Nothing like a photo to highlight any errors. The plastic floor is not yet glued down - fortunate since I have some unexpected soldering to do. The next shot is from above. The wonky stantion doesn't look quite so bad from here. I have done initial work for the two MACAW Bs. The stantions and their pockets are prepared. I have nearly turned all the buffer head/rams. One wagon will be a modified Connoisseur kit the other will be a scratch build using Jim's bogies and left over castings. The kit will be made as a pre WW2 wagon. Jim includes within the etches parts to make up the DC brake gear for this period. However the solebar detail overlays would not be correct for this. Soooo, I have produced a cutting file to produce replacement overlays for the DC version. The cutter will not cut through the brass sheet but I am hoping that it will save me a lot of marking out and be more accurate than my efforts. Here is a print of the resultant graphics file. The cutter can be fitted with pens to make it a graph plotter. I will use this to draw out full size versions on paper to check they are correct before committing to expensive materials. The runs of red dots indicate where I will press out rivets. The individual dots along the centre lines mark the position of holes for sheet hooks and chain rings. Will it work? Who knows? I may be some time. Ian.
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