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Smoke from the bush fires has crossed the Tasman Sea and has darkened the skies over parts of the South Island.  We're supposed to be getting our own visiting smoke cloud here in the Waikato sometime on Wednesday.  So that should give you an idea of the size and intensity of the bush fires that the smoke is crossing some 2500 Km of ocean and is still thick enough when it gets here to darken our skies.

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2 minutes ago, Annie said:

Smoke from the bush fires has crossed the Tasman Sea and has darkened the skies over parts of the South Island.  We're supposed to be getting our own visiting smoke cloud here in the Waikato sometime on Wednesday.  So that should give you an idea of the size and intensity of the bush fires that the smoke is crossing some 2500 Km of ocean and is still thick enough when it gets here to darken our skies.

Yes, the fires in northern NSW and Queensland are still burning over very large areas and are likely to continue for some time.

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I have been catching up and came across some modelling by the esteemed MC which I feel deserves more attention than it got:

 

On 02/11/2019 at 23:14, Northroader said:

Now here’s an engine pulling a tale behind it. It’s the result of an eBay adventure around a year ago

 

Impressive work on bringing that loco back to life. I very much like the philosophy of such projects. It carries something forward. Accuracy is nice, soul is key.

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Mikkel’s kind postulation that a model needs soul as well as accuracy has cheered me up no end, even if Washbourne is part of the Faustian State Railways group. I have to confess that the last three weeks I haven’t really managed much in the way of modelling, which is why I’ve been wittering on about such things as the Knotty. My better half had an operation at the GWH for something we can’t really discuss on a public thread, and it being the NHS she was discharged less than 24 hours later into the care of a “responsible person” (me! - hah!) Very slowly on the mend, but with the TLC involved it’s much easier just to play on RMweb than model. Anyway, for me Sunday morning is a good modelling time (sorry, vicar) so I actually grabbed a couple of hours, and I managed to get a stage progressed, to a running chassis.

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What we’re looking at is the first outside framed model I’ve attempted. It started off as a tank engine for a particular line, but then as things went on I became clear it wouldn’t really do for a branch loco for that line, and after collecting dust I finally found another prototype for another line I was interested in, only as a tender engine, the search being complicated as it’s only got 4’ wheels, and so well into the build the back end was shortened quite a lot. It starts off with inside frames as normal, and the outside frames are really dummy. The guy who designed the outside frame MR Kirtley 0-6-0 for Slaters did it like that, so it’s good enough for me, and makes sense. The brass strips for the inside frames are soldered together with the brass bars for the side rods on top in the right position, then  a 2mm pilot hole for each wheel centre through the lot using my vertical press drill, a handy piece of kit. Then it’s unsweat everything and clean up, knowing the wheel centres all match for the frames and siderods. After setting up with spacers and axlebushes, I put dummy axles in and fit the siderods to these. This is necessary to ensure everything will run smoothly before the wheelsets are assembled, because the wheels go on the axles as a push fit on a fine taper. ONCE THEY'RE ON DON’T EXPECT THEM TO COME OFF AGAIN. As a result I have to think through carefully stages such as mounting motor and gearbox, and pickups, frame painting, before I take this step. The outside flycranks are quartered onto the axle ends and secured by the teeniest little cross slotted screws you ever saw. I put them all together with this tiny little screwdriver which I’ve since lost. The siderods can go on, and running checked up, and thankfully it went well, mainly due to the precautions I’ve described. The footplate secures to the inside frames with screws through the frame spacers each end and holes cut to clear the wheels and motor. This forms the base for the superstructure and the bufferbeam and dummy outside frames are mounted on it. There are dummy axleboxes, shaped like triumphal arches, added on top. One thing I discovered is that being an 0-6-0 chassis with a long wheelbase, the outer axles need some sideplay, and the dummy frames and boxes can inhibit this. The frames needed careful setting, and I’ve given the front and back faces around the axleslots a good doing over with a small grindstone, so from the front and on the chassis they look flat and square, but everything goes concave around the wheel and fly crank bosses to get some clearance. It works going through the reverse curve at Washbourne, although I find the platform edging  flagstones might need a trim back in places. Now there’s just the superstructure and tender to do, and as I lost the rear pickups when I shortened the frames, tender pickups would be a good thing to have.

Edited by Northroader
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Always good to see a clever piece of scratchbuilding Mr Northroader.

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Another one! You seem to be building locos as fast as if they were wagon kits :)

 

I'm sorry to hear your better half had to go through an operation, best wishes to you both. 

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I trust your good lady is recovering well. The loco looks very impressive you cannot have had much time to do it.

 

Don

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Thanks for your kind wishes, both, it’s a job that will take a few weeks to mend, but she is coming along. In the meantime I’m just opening boxes and shoving them in the oven. Isn’t washing clothes a high tech operation?

Actually, Don, that loco must have been five years on the  go so far, it has had a long rest period and a change of direction, but has ended up coming to the top of the pile for now.

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Best wishes to Mrs Northroader, and you have my empathy on the cooking, and washing front - I had to greatly increase my competence, or at least my level of effort, in those departments when Mrs Nearholmer was unwell for the whole of last winter (treatment successful, thankfully).

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Best wishes to Mrs Northroader. Nice looking loco, the little springs on the inside for the pick ups look a work of art. 

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Best wishes from me as well.  Never easy to cope with such distractions from "normal" life.

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Best wishes from me as well for Mrs Northroader. Caring for a loved one who isn't well can be a challenge at the best of times so some best wishes from me to you also sir.

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I showed the get better messages to my wife this morning, and she’s quite tickled that I’m on a thread populated with kind, warm human beings. Thanks from both of us for the good will.

 

Charlie was interested in pickups, so I’ve drawn a sketch showing the three types I’m using.

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The first type I tried is top left, the Slaters pickup. This has a plastic top hat housing a sprung plunger, and a tag is fixed on the tail of the plunger. My first attempts I gave up trying to fit the tag with the rest in place, it was too inaccessible, so I soldered the lead straight on to the tail. The problem here is the heat can run down the tail and you end up with with the spring melting into the top hat, not what you want to happen at all. I then tinned the tail before assembly, and gave a very fast dab with the soldering iron to secure the lead. I’ve now eventually worked out the right way is to tin the tag, and put the whole lot together on the workbench away from the frames, as it is quite possible to feed the tag through the hole in the frames, then press the assembly into position, before a quick dab on the tag to join the lead. What a pill**k, you say. The unit is simple, compact, and works well, the only thing I can moan about is the price, but I’m glad to report I’m starting to realise you do get what you pay for, after years of skinflinting.

The second type is the home produced pickup. The plunger is just a piece of brass rod rounded off, and it has a length of 28 s.w.g. phosphor bronze wire wrapped round it, then soldered to it. Phosphor Bronze is a nice springy material, you can get it from Eileen’s Emporium at shows. This is then bent to form an oval shape with rounded ends, and overlapping. To guide the plunger through the hole in the frameplate and insulate it there’s a piece of plastic tube wth a push fit in the hole.The tube is some I got from a model aircraft shop used to guide control cables, but you can also use the tube from inside a biro pen. A pad is then lined  up with the hole, formed from a piece of copper clad insulation board.  I use the sort made from fibre glass, as it’s much tougher than the other sort which is some kind of resin base, and can be sheared through with tinsnips without cracking and crumbling. The frame plates are tinned, anyway, and part of the frame erection process has the pads, tinned, placed in position and secured using heat applied behind the back of the frame. The guide tubes are pushed in, then the plunger assembly aligned up and the leg at the end of the oval loop is tacked to the pad. It needs some care to get the plunger square and central in the guide, and moving freely.

The last type is pictured below the other two, and was used on the Buckjumper which recently  appeared. The pads are mounted on the outside of the frame, tucked away discreetly just under the footplate, and I should add it’s always best to chamfer the pad edges to avoid any shorting. The pickup is just a long whisker of 22 s.w.g. P.B. wire, with one end bent into a loop, which is then formed with a hump, so that it rides on the crest of the wheel flange, and follows any sideways movement. There’s a thicker wire used here because it has less support than the other way I’ve described. Usually there’s an extra long pad incorporated somewhere so the wires from the pickups can terminate and there’s just one feed wire on to the motor.

 

Edited by Northroader
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Give my regards to your wife as well, and I hope she recovers quickly.

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Thanks for explaining the pickups. The second reminded me a bit of a watch spring when I saw it. It's a very clever design. There's enough room in broad gauge frames to try to recreate it. Could the third version scratch the back of the wheel if the wheel had little side play, or would that be less reliable?

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Thanks, that's a very good and clear illustration of pick-up arrangements. Even Jim McGeown couldn't have explained it so well.

 

Just one small issue: I think you'll find that everything runs better if the wheels are in vertical position.

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Another approach to pickups which I have found to be pretty much ideal since learning of it:

 

 

I used a lathe because I have one.  If you don’t, finding telescoping plastic and brass tube is a way to achieve the same approach.

 

hth

Simon

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First of all, thanks for the best wishes to my wife, Chris, actually her maiden name is Price, another of the clan, so need I say more?

Looking at Charlie’s idea to apply the pickup in the third scheme to the back of the wheel rather than the top of the flange, you need to have some spring pressure on the pickup to follow the wheel as it moves slightly from side to side. This pressure makes the pickup try to follow the rotation of the wheel as well, so it needs supporting close to the place where it’s rubbing to stop this. With a long whisker there’s no real support to stop this and it can get easily displaced. You can up the thickness of the wire to give more stiffness, but this will also give more drag to the wheel.  With a plunger guided by a bush in the frames you do get the support. I’m talking O sizes here, in OO it’s very common to have a strip, rather than a wire, behind the wheel flange. With this you’re getting enough spring to stay in contact with the wheel, but the depth of the strip adds some stiffness to stop the pickup getting pushed sideways by wheel rotation. You can get P.B. strip from Eileen’s as well, I think I’ve used it on a tender before now.

I like the pickups you’re using on the Duchess, Simon, the idea of mutually pushing out the pickups from each other across the frames is a very neat solution, but has always beaten me by the need to keep them insulated from each other. Your way of doing it is very neat engineering, as is the whole loco, I’m afraid I’m incapable of workmanship as good as that. Generally my locos have to be happy to get three axles and no more, and be designed using the some principles as Boadicea used making her chariot.

Mikkel, I’m not a Jim Geown, he’s a great guy, and currently I’m making up coaches from his kits, and they do look good. The thing is, if you have the wheels sideways and can go fast enough, you’re well on the way to a nice compact circular Wall of Death layout.

Edited by Northroader
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There was this bloke called this week, an avuncular look about him, going bald, neat little ‘tache, and I gather Annie thinks the world of him, so I invited him in and showed him the loft. He looked round, shook his head, pursed his lips, and made out a report, which he gave me before rushing off to some firm he called I.C.I.? The report’s called “The Reshaping of Bob’s Railways” I gather there’s too many layouts in the loft, and I should rationalise by going from four to two (there’s a vague one I haven’t run a thread on) It all makes sense, I suppose, so see how I get on, with reports on what’s happening, when it happens, if it happens.

Edited by Northroader
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For goodness sake don't send him round to my place next.

 

I might not have all that many layouts on the go (one indoors, one outdoors, and one in limbo), but if he sees the size of the train fleet, and starts doing utilisation factor calculations, I fear that Barry Island beckons for a lot an awful lot of engines, carriages, and wagons. The ones that are hardest to justify are probably the 009/HOe train-fleet-in-exile, given that I haven't had a 9mm gauge layout for about thirty years, and I can barely see the little blighters if I try looking at them.

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No, the fleet will keep being added to, it’s just the layouts need reducing, and anyway, narrow gauge is fun, as I reported last weekend.

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2 hours ago, Northroader said:

There was this bloke called this week, an avuncular look about him, going bald, neat little ‘tache, and I gather Annie thinks the world of him, so I invited him in and showed him the loft. He looked round, shook his head, pursed his lips, and made out a report, which he gave me before rushing off to some firm he called I.C.I.? The report’s called “The Reshaping of Bob’s Railways” I gather there’s too many layouts in the loft, and I should rationalise by going from four to two (there’s a vague one I haven’t run a thread on) It all makes sense, I suppose, so see how I get on, with reports on what’s happening, when it happens, if it happens.

It's panto season so the only real response is "boooooooo!"

 

As we've had the baddie presumably the fairy godmother is about to turn up and save the day?

Edited by Argos
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37 minutes ago, Argos said:

As we've had the baddie presumably the fairy godmother is about to turn up and save the day?

 

I'm having a rather disturbing vision of John Betjeman in drag...

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1 hour ago, Argos said:

presumably the fairy godmother is about to turn up and save the day?

 

One can always hope:

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I knew it, I just knew!!

 

As soon as I read the words ‘fairy godmother’, I thought “Oh no! We know what’s coming next!”.

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