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  1. That certainly seems easier to find Julia, but I'm trying to attach microswitches directly to the bottom of baseboards to be triggered by the movement of already fitted Turnout Mechanisms, so I can't really fit nuts on the other side! I guess the real solution would have been to have build a more elegant turnout mechanism with switches fitted integrally - but you know, I tend to end up bodging things! Those look ideal - I hadn't thought to look on Amazon. The selection of far eastern bits and bobs usually seems very similar on eBay and Amazon, but it seems like Amazon has a lot more choice! Cheers J
  2. It seems really difficult to find screws that are both long and thin enough to attach things like microswitches and PCBs to baseboards. Microswitches seem to have standard mounting holes of something like M2.5 size, but need a screw at least 10mm long to pass through them and into the baseboard - it seems incredibly difficult to find screws (as opposed to bolts) that will fit through these holes! I found some selection boxes of black self tapping pan head M2 and M2.6 screws on eBay, but you only get a handful as long as 10mm in the box, and they seem very poor quality (Philips head strips very easily). There doesn't seem much else out there which will screw into wood. What else do people use to attach things like microswitches?
  3. Definitely not! Easier to sort at your doorstep, maybe, absolutely not easier to recycle in the end. Paper and card most likely gets recycled within the UK, or at least within Europe, into low grade toilet paper, packaging cardboard, or what have you. Plastics almost certainly get baled up and shipped to the far east or other developing nations, where the most easily recognisable PET bottles etc might be sorted out by hand and recycled, and the rest simply dumped. Take a look at this clip from the BBC which shows where much UK plastic recycling ends up - with clearly identifiable English local council bags plainly visible: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07c90ff J
  4. Hi Nick, Of the various tools I found listed on the MERG forum page linked from the kit page (incredibly hard to find!) I found that "ServoSet4" (Version 3.03 by Trevor Stockill) works reasonably, apart from the issue of not actually working if closed and reopened, unless the laptop is rebooted in between. "ServoSetPlus" (version 2.02 by Trevor Stockill) seemed to default the "Off" state angle back to 127 on all the servos other than the currently showing one when I pressed "Write to Board" - which makes it utterly useless! It also had the issue of not working at all if closed and re-opened without a reboot. Perhaps there are other versions hidden away elsewhere in the MERG websites? I didn't really fancy the extra complication of building another box just to set the servos - hence the appeal of the PC for setting. It's seeming like that might have been the wrong call though! J
  5. I wasn't really that happy with the over-long throw of the Conrad point motors, especially as there wasn't enough space to leave enough length of springy actuating wire to take out some of the throw. This meant there was an awful lot of tension in the turnout mechanisms all of the time - not ideal. I've been experimenting with servos as an alternative. First off I tried a combined servo bracket and turnout operating mechanism 3D printed from a file kindly shared with me by Henk Oversloot. The beauty of this design is that it uses an eccentric cam to translate the full rotation of the servo to a very short lateral movement. This avoids any of the fiddling with exactly the right amount of rotation, and effectively removes any of the dangers of jitters or unintended full rotations. The one here still needs tubes to be attached to the bar to accept the droppers from the blades. However, this mechanism does take up quite a bit of space, and inevitably there wasn't enough clearance around any of the points on Dailuaine's second hand baseboard. I'll definitely use these on future projects though! So the solution on this layout was another bit of a bodge - servos operating the same Association 3D printed TOU bars that I'd used before with the Conrad motors. This did involve quite a lot of fiddling to get the right rotation for each, and they do over-throw when powered up etc. However, u used a very light and springy wire for the linkage (with some screws as guides), so I think there is enough slack to avoid any problems. It all runs off a MERG Servo4 controller. I found this easy to build, but a right pain to program. All of the variants of the setting software seem very flaky and buggy - perhaps because they're so old any not at home on Windows 10. Having to reboot the laptop to get the servo programming software to work again if I'd closed it and reopened got tiresome pretty quickly! In future I'd be tempted to just use an Arduino. There's still one more microswitch left to install for switching the vee polarity. Then time for some extensive testing before I paint the track and ballast. J
  6. Progress on Priory Road looks excellent, and this sounds intriguing! 309s and grain hoppers - Witham perhaps? I've actually had a load of PECO grain hoppers half finished in a box for a while. Including some I tried to rebuild into the refurbished type with fewer solid ribs, rather than the many L ribs on the PECO version. I'd been meaning to print some new parts for the brake gear that tucks under the ends, and a new air brake type chassis, now that I have a 3D printer. But haven't got around to it! I'd love to see what you've done with yours? J
  7. The 745s are beginning to be needed quite urgently. I've tried to get the 9.30 Liverpool Street to Norwich several Thursdays during the last month - each time it's been cancelled "due to the train being late from the depot". Equally, the 15.30 from Norwich to LST has been consistently formed of 2 x 321s (un-refurbished ones at that) every time I've tried to catch it recently. (I wonder if these services are the same diagram?). The same services being routinely cancelled is a really serious problem - they could at least spread the pain.
  8. Those 31s look truly stunning - well worth waiting for! I can't recall whether the specification was updated for sound compatibility, if they're still a hangover of the "previous generation" chassis design?
  9. Hmmm. I'm wondering whether the bag had settled out dramatically, or something. I'll have another experiment before committing. I also found a half bag of BAL "Smoke" coloured grout powder, left over from the bathroom, that I saved after Mark Fielder recommended it as an extra fine ballast, so that will be worth trying too. Currently waiting on some parts to try converting the turnout operation from the Conrad motors and white 2mm Association 3D printed tie-bars (the combination definitely works BUT feels very violent and has LOTS of tension in the actuating rods) to the 3D printed servo based design that Henk posted on the 2mm VAG email list. His design uses an ex-centre disc in a slot attached to the tie bar to translate the full 180 degree motion of the Servo into 0.8mm movement without any tension - which seems like a very good solution. Inevitably bought some parts from eBay that seem to be coming on the slow boat from China ... Justin
  10. I hadn't noticed the news about these over the last few weeks, so it was a very nice surprise when the postman dropped one off today! It looks like a beautifully detailed model - will definitely need some weathering though. Inevitably I'm now wishing I'd bought more than one ... J
  11. justin1985

    Class 26

    Any tips on trouble shooting the lighting on a Dapol 26? I've finally got around to sorting out a nicely weathered but slightly abused 26 that I picked up at a show a while back. The headlights work in one direction, but the tail lights on that same end don't work when the direction is reversed. Other end of the model is the other way around - only tail lights work on that end. If I run it with the body loose, it looks like I can see some white light shining out from under the cab of the end where the headlight doesn't seem to work. Seems to suggest it might not be the LEDs themselves. Any tips on getting the lighting unit out from the cab?
  12. Interesting idea for comparison @richbrummitt ! I'd actually say the Attwood product is nicest to work with - in that the grains seem the heaviest, so easiest to work into place. I've messaged them to ask which of their colour ranges might be most suitable for NE Scotland. Given that the proprietor seems very knowledgeable about geology, that seemed a better bet than trying to judge from ropey photos taken in dark exhibition halls. I am impressed with the Polak product as well though. I think the one I tried here might be a good bet for my East Anglian projects. J
  13. I've had the chance to spend a bit more time on this layout over the weekend. Quite a lot of work, but not a huge amount of visible progress. At least all track is now fixed down, including the NBR style bufferstops. Most of the work was actually underneath. Everything is now wired up, and point motors are fitted and working. Please excuse the messy wiring - I simply used offcuts of fibreglass type PCB to link together the power buses - simple and effective - but very ugly. I've used Conrad point motors this time - they're fast acting stall motors, rather than solenoids or slow action motors - but they are nicely low profile. The actuating arms have quite a long travel, but on two of the points I was able to use the thinnest, springiest, actuating wire to link to the Association 3D printed under baseboard tiebars. One of these proved to be very stiff though, so I had to use a stouter wire to get it to work. I'm a little concerned how well these might last, in terms of wearing the holes in the 3D printed parts out wider, or even damaging the attachment between actuating wire and arm, which feels a little flimsy. Still, they were cheap, easy to fit, and didn't need too much adjustment to the re-used baseboard that hadn't been designed with the depth for motors. I'm now experimenting with ballast and track painting. Here is an offcut of plain PCB track painted with Halfords grey primer plus Tamiya Flat Brown. From left to right the ballast samples, all fitted using Pledge Floor Wax (Klear) are: Woodland Scenics - Fine Grey Attwoods Aggregates "MC Road Stone" - acquired at a recent exhibition Polak - 5231 - N Scale "Hornblende grey-brown" Treemendus Normandy Earth Perhaps controversially, given how popular the Treemendus Normandy Earth powder seems to be with many 2mm modellers, I didn't actually find it that great to use and I'm not that convinced by the result. There seems to be quite a lot of variation in size within the earth powder, including a lot of actual dust - I found it very difficult to smooth into shape. It also feels actually too smooth for "real" ballast - but ideal for slightly overgrown or finer areas like neglected sidings and cess paths. I don't actually think the Woodland Scenics stuff is as bad as is sometimes made out, but in terms of size and texture, I think the Attwood and Polak products seem to stand out as "looking" right to me. In that they seem to have texture without the individual stones jumping out at you as the Woodland Scenics ones do. I think the MC in the product code for the Attwood product stands for Meldon Quarry - its certainly got a rich honey like colour. The Polak blend seems very inoffensive in tone, although it has a bit of a sand-like translucent quality to it. It was nice to work with though. Any thoughts on which to use on this project?
  14. Etched slide chairs - how do you paint / darken them? This seems perhaps a bit too obvious to ask, but how do you stop etched slide chair plates from shining through as bare metal on pointwork? Chemical blackening seems obvious, but I'm a little reticent to try on pointwork build in situ, as I wouldn't really be able to wash it off ... Justin
  15. Many thanks all. The rigging diagram @MikeTrice posted looks particularly helpful. I'll try and remember to order up the book mentioned next time I'm a the British Library for work. I also managed to find this diagram online, in what seems to be different scans from the same source, but with no hint of an attribution. Anyone recognise? It looks ideal to start building up the shape of the hull though.
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