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justin1985

2mm Distillery: Dail-uaine

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I've desaturated the image to save some work on making an easy comparison although there is still a little colour difference. 

 

20191105_104456.jpg.6b95538001c838e48df2d76ce1289598.jpg

 

What I think I'm seeing is the WS are a little larger in size and there is nothing much to choose between the others, sizewise. 

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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

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This issue interested me because I was looking for very fine ballast material to use in a 4mm situation where the prototype would have used, at best, ash and clinker. For "proper" ballast I was already using what may be the Woodland Scenics' N gauge fine ballast (the jar is unlabelled but the contents look identical).

 

However, today at an exhibition in Luxembourg I came across some real possibilities. The first, readily obtainable in the UK, is Noch 09376 Gleisschotter dunkelgrau (ballast dark grey) which is described as being for HO and TT scales but is certainly very fine; here it costs € 2,29 for 250 gm. The other, in a 450 ml plastic jar costing € 5,00, was completely new to me and is described as Gleisschotter Basalt dunkelgrau (ballast basalt dark grey) for N and T gauges; it is sold by a German company called tams elektronik and appears as fine as the Noch product if not finer and is slightly browner in colour (almost a peat colour in fact). This company actually sells quite a range of similar products and their website (only in German) can be found at https://tams-online.de/epages/642f1858-c39b-4b7d-af86-f6a1feaca0e4.sf/de_DE/?ObjectPath=/Shops/642f1858-c39b-4b7d-af86-f6a1feaca0e4/Categories/Produkte/Schotter .

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On 04/11/2019 at 23:05, justin1985 said:

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. 

 

Hi Justin. 

 

Hmm, that looks very different to the NEP that I used on Ropley! In fact it looks more like their Lineside Ash product in the photos. I wonder if they've changed the material they use.....

 

Tom. 

 

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4 hours ago, TomE said:

Hmm, that looks very different to the NEP that I used on Ropley! In fact it looks more like their Lineside Ash product in the photos. I wonder if they've changed the material they use.....

 

Tom. 

 

 

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

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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.

 

IMG_20191202_224622.jpg.a6b5bc73e87871c57e26818f5558ad51.jpg

 

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.

 

IMG_20191203_223903.jpg.73f78df6dcb3f9e9a00b6ff64215bcdb.jpg

 

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

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I found the Merg hardware ServoSet unit (Kit 76A) a good investment, small and portable for grovelling about under baseboards, and utterly reliable and simple to use.

 

I am now building a ServoSet3 that is described by Duncan Greenwood in the Merg forum and Wiki. This is Arduino based with a colour touch screen display and can be used for setting end stops and speed when connected to the Merg Servo4, plus the CANSERVO8, CANMIO-SVO and CANMIO-Universal. Just having some problems loading the software/firmware, but it looks promising.

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3 hours ago, nick_bastable said:

which version of the MERG software are you using I have found ServoSetPlus works ok for me with W10

 

Nick

 

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?

 

2 hours ago, Ian Morgan said:

I found the Merg hardware ServoSet unit (Kit 76A) a good investment, small and portable for grovelling about under baseboards, and utterly reliable and simple to use.

 

I am now building a ServoSet3 that is described by Duncan Greenwood in the Merg forum and Wiki. This is Arduino based with a colour touch screen display and can be used for setting end stops and speed when connected to the Merg Servo4, plus the CANSERVO8, CANMIO-SVO and CANMIO-Universal. Just having some problems loading the software/firmware, but it looks promising.

 

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

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I got the Servos working eventually, although I never managed to get rid of the not working when the application was re-opened. Happy to leave the point mechanisms alone for now! I haven't done the ballast yet, but I'm starting to work on the buildings a bit more. 

 

IMG_20191210_222810.jpg.0e2c808644f237ef838edf76ccca5da3.jpg

 

More importantly, I've done more testing, and found some tight (and wide) points on the diverging route of the re-used soldered turnout. Bad idea re-using an old early attempt at a turnout, I guess, but at least easy to adjust. Its all running pretty smoothly now though - albeit the short wheelbase J94 struggles at slow speed running using an old Bachmann trainset controller - but thats to be expected, I think.

 

 

Tonight's other task has been trying out some roof slates. I like the idea of the York Modelmaking laser cut adhesive slates and tiles, so thought I'd try cutting my own, actually using the Silhouette cutter and normal black paper. I'm pretty pleased with the result. I think the silhouette actually gives a subtler result than a laser in this instance - the cut width is very narrow indeed. I stuck the rows down without any guides, just aligning one trip to the top of the notches on the previous, using Easitrack glue - because it bites quickly, and seems to stick better to plasticard than most PVA type glues. Wondering whether to seal with some kind of solvent based varnish before painting, to stop the paper absorbing paint and swelling?

 

IMG_20191218_215411.jpg.8b0f16c13f9e897c6eb4460f2bd641b9.jpg

 

Finally, some experiments with lamps. I like the delicate appearance of the Ratio mouldings, and previously experimented with illuminating them using a fiberoptic as a "pole", which worked fairly well. For this layout I'd like some wall mounted gas lamps, which would make that approach trickier. 

 

This experiment has a 2.5mm dia. dimple drilled into the top of the lens moulding, and a similar indent "countersunk" into the lid moulding. Trapped between them is a 0603 surface mount LED which I soldered to some enamel wire. The idea is the wire will run down the corners of the lens, masquerading as the corner posts of the lamp at the back, with plasticard strip doing the same at the front. It does work! but I didn't have enough hands to photograph it in action.

 

IMG_20191218_215644.jpg.6c5789516e4b545859f2f4a239308593.jpg

 

 

 

The really tricky thing was trying to glue it together, it seems like NOTHING sticks to the plastic Ratio used for the lens moulding! I might try 3D printing some parts instead - although I'd have to buy a whole bottle of clear resin for some VERY small parts ... I just found some pre-wired 0402 LEDs on eBay, so I might try mounting these into the bottom of the lens.

 

J

 

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I wouldn't worry about the paper slates swelling. I've used acrylic paint without any problems painting slates cut from both 80gsm and newsprint paper. 

 

Jim 

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Really like the lamps idea. Any chance of a picture of the other lamps you've done and some more details on the leds you've used and the power source. I've put lights in the engine sheds I built recently and retrofitted the signalboxes. I rather fancy a few lamps and have a small stash of the Ratio lamps.

 

jerry

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Worth noting that the first row of slates/tiles at the gutter has a half row or kicker beneath it.  Otherwise the roof does this-  ) at the gutter.  I would think that a sealing coat of PVA would help to take away some of the gaps between the slates.  

Tim

 

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1 hour ago, queensquare said:

Really like the lamps idea. Any chance of a picture of the other lamps you've done and some more details on the leds you've used and the power source. I've put lights in the engine sheds I built recently and retrofitted the signalboxes. I rather fancy a few lamps and have a small stash of the Ratio lamps.

 

jerry

 

Hi Jerry,

 

I'm not totally convinced it's the way to go. But worth a try, I think. These the LEDs in their packet.

 

IMG_20191218_220546__01.jpg.7bffd5c3966294a946db5d23a4a1dc79.jpg

 

Basically a case of waving a soldering iron in the right direction, with plenty of flux and a very small solder ball, just hoping for best really!

 

This was the previous experiment with 1mm fibre-optic running up a brass tube replacing the post.

 

IMG_20151231_165650.jpg.d6666c30ae27ca7e2257879a61e29fcd.jpg

 

Three years ago now, according to the time stamp on the file! I guess this is better in a lot of ways, not least maintenance/what if the LED fails. This uses a flat-topped LED glued to the bottom of the fibre-optic with canopy glue and covered in heat shrink. I guess I used warm white?

 

It would be tricky to do with a wall mounted lamp though, I think. I don't know if the fibre optic could be bent into a sharp enough angle? (Perhaps with heat of a soldering iron?)

 

J

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Thanks Justin, I have some thin fibre optics so will give that a try. I don't want to have enough light to operate, I just fancy a few buildings and lamps lit up. - sometimes it's nice just to sit and look at our creations with a glass of something!

 

jerry

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I actually found a 1.2mm O/D, 1mm I/D brass tube stocked at Eileen's, so that should make a slightly more delicate version of the fibre optic lamp.

 

The other jobs I've been doing on Dailuaine have just been packing under the sleeper gaps where I'm planning to lay DAS cobbles, to reduce the depth of the clay, and stop any bubbling up between the rail and check rail. Tedious!

 

I also laser cut some foam for a box to contain all the wagons I'm intending to operate the layout with in BR blue period. I find the perfect fit for the wagons very pleasing!

 

IMG_20191221_234647__01.jpg.8586c42eecc625eaa3975114518effe9.jpg

 

 

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