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Semaphore Signals - 4mm Scale (Mainly)


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What did you use to squash the operating wires(material? ) behind the arms etc please. Looks a neat solution to a problem area I have had on my builds

 

Hi Mick,

 

The wires are Nickel Silver, usually 0.3 or 0.4mm depending on length and need to push (buckling is always a risk).

 

I use a pair of flat nosed, parrallel action pliers.

They were made by "Maun Industries" and I bought them from Squires many years ago.

One of the best buys ever, I use them all the time.

The jaws stay parallel at all times, so they grip flat sheets etc really well.

(Pivotted jaws tend to only grip on the edges, particularly on thicker material.)

The action has a great mechanical advantage, so squeezing short lengths of wire is no problem.

 

Steve.

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Very nice! I have been building quite a few signals recently myself, so I can fully appreciate the neatness and quality of the workmanship! I especially like the touch on the two doll bracket of one spectacle being painted red and the other black. Little things like that certainly add an amount of individuality and character, which very likely only comes when you are copying a prototype and paying attention to such subtleties.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My latest project is to build three signals for a layout based on the LNWR branch to Delph.

 

These comprise a single arm Platform Starter, a Balanced Two-doll Bracket and a single miniature-arm Ground Signal.

 

The layout owner provided a collection of components from the MSE range, and some exquisite etches from Masokits, of which more anon.

The models are to be servo driven with controllers from GF Controls.

 

It’s been a while since I built any LNWR signals, so I took Jack Nelson's excellent book on LNWR matters with me to Cornwall for holiday reading.

To get in the LNWR mood I started by assembling some of the distinctive components:

 

First the arms, in corrugated style from an MSE etch:

post-3984-0-68314100-1344895012.jpg

At this stage we hadn't finalised the size of the second lower arm on the bracket, so I made one of each.

 

Next I tackled the lamp brackets, which are a very distinctive shape.

post-3984-0-99695100-1344895014.jpg

I scratched these from a short length of brass tube, closed at one end by a piece of scrap etch, then the curved shape cut with the piercing saw and finished with needle files.

The rear of each bracket, which on the prototype is bolted to the post with the same through-bolts that retain the arm bearing, was filed gently to give a flat surface for soldering to its post.

 

One of the MSE cast LNWR signal lamps in place - a nice snug fit!

post-3984-0-10119100-1344895017.jpg

 

 

The starting signal with its single arm was treated to a cast balance arm bearing which I had in stock.

post-3984-0-10446200-1344895010.jpg

 

 

These castings are unsuitable for two or more balance arms, so I made a bearing from a short length of square section tube.

post-3984-0-55759800-1344895023.jpg

The shape is only an approximation, but they seem OK and certainly work well.

 

 

 

The etched balance arms from MSE need beefing up if they are to work smoothly.

post-3984-0-97881800-1344895018.jpg

 

post-3984-0-12126200-1344895021.jpg

I also add additional etched weights to get away from the flat appearance.

 

The finished bearing with two balance arms in-situ.

post-3984-0-54841700-1344895025.jpg

 

 

More to follow….

 

Steve.

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More components gathered together, including cast brackets from Scale Signal Supply:

post-3984-0-66109600-1344967911.jpg

 

I found these etched items in the "might come in useful" box.

post-3984-0-84463400-1344967913.jpg

They will be the backplate of the arm bearing, with 1/32in tube soldered across as the bearing itself.

 

I forgot to take a photo of the brass post made up from the Masokits etch. Sorry!

Folded carefully, using my "Hold & Fold", and soldered together it makes a very straight, strong and well proportioned version of a tapered wooden signal post.

 

I usually plant my signal posts in a turned socket which is soldered into the signal's base plate, which is cut from sheet Nickel Silver.

post-3984-0-98452000-1344967915.jpg

After soldering:

post-3984-0-99054200-1344967920.jpg

 

The small hole is to take a length of 1/16in brass tube which will guide the operating link.

post-3984-0-22777800-1344967918.jpg

 

Here's the guide tube in place, with a piece of scrap etch to ensure it's security.

post-3984-0-06563200-1344967924.jpg

 

Here's shot showing how the post was assembled, now securely planted in its foundation tube.

post-3984-0-48637100-1344967926.jpg

 

Finally for now, the arm bearing being mounted on the post:

post-3984-0-15922400-1344967931.jpg

First the backplate, then the bearing tube:

post-3984-0-78600800-1344967933.jpg

 

More soon...

Steve.

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A bit more progress:

post-3984-0-69514400-1345069328.jpg

This shows how the signal will eventually be installed, using (in this case) a 1/2in dia. brass tube surrounding the post's base and the guide tube seen previously.

A simple vertical hole through the baseboard will ensure accurate location.

Later you will see how this tube also ensures accurate alignment of the servo(s).

 

Here we see the balance arm and its bearing in place:

post-3984-0-20661900-1345069331.jpg

 

Also the arm bearing and lamp bracket:

post-3984-0-32313100-1345069334.jpg

 

The operating wire is 0.3mm Nickel Silver:

post-3984-0-38582900-1345069336.jpg

Its "below ground" section is strengthened with 1/32in brass tube, which is a sliding fit in the guide tube mentioned earlier.

 

This is what it looks like in a trial assembly:

post-3984-0-30199900-1345069338.jpg

 

I prepare the ladders by soldering 0.3mm or 0.4mm Nickel Siver wire to each stile.

This adds enormous strength and improves the look a great deal.

The LNWR attched many ladders to their posts in a unique "over the top" style:

post-3984-0-30166200-1345070211.jpg

This is my interpretation of it.

You can see the cast white metal post finial has also been solder in position.

 

This is just about ready for the paint shop after a wash and brush up.

I'll prepare the bracket signal next, then it can all be painted in one session.

 

Steve.

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Steve,

 

the attachment for the "over the top" ladder was such that the ladder rails curved over and back down vertically. This brought the top of the ladder quite close to the post and the arm or blinder, depending on front or rear mounting for the ladder. It's well shown in Richard Foster's book on LNWR signaling.

 

It may be that the angle of the photo disguises it, but the ladder fixing to the post doesn't look vertical and the radius of the curve doesn't look tight enough.

 

Jol

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Steve,

 

the attachment for the "over the top" ladder was such that the ladder rails curved over and back down vertically. This brought the top of the ladder quite close to the post and the arm or blinder, depending on front or rear mounting for the ladder. It's well shown in Richard Foster's book on LNWR signaling.

 

It may be that the angle of the photo disguises it, but the ladder fixing to the post doesn't look vertical and the radius of the curve doesn't look tight enough.

 

Jol

 

I think this is more what you mean?

The radius of the curve was 7in, so about 5mm between the "verticals".

The slope of the ladder is 1 in 12, so the curve is less than a full semi-circle.

The toggle is to get around the finial.

post-3984-0-84903100-1345132594.jpg

I hope I can get the old one off without doing too much damage. :butcher:

 

Steve.

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Steve,

 

It's possible to see what Jol is saying in the first photo in this thread.

 

http://www.rmweb.co....ouping-signals/

 

Thanks DAS,

 

That's a great photo.

I can't build ladders to scale dimensions, they're just impossibly flimsy, and I hate seeing models with ladders looking more like snakes!

Your photo also shows how fine the spectacle frame should be.

 

Steve.

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I think this is more what you mean?

The radius of the curve was 7in, so about 5mm between the "verticals".

The slope of the ladder is 1 in 12, so the curve is less than a full semi-circle.

The toggle is to get around the finial.

post-3984-0-84903100-1345132594.jpg

I hope I can get the old one off without doing too much damage. :butcher:

 

Steve.

 

Hi Steve,

 

yes, that looks just like it, it was such a distinctive arrangement.

 

Jol

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For efficiency, I wanted to paint both the starter and the bracket signal at the same time, so I've moved on to the second signal now.

 

The owner supplied another Masokits etch for a bracket signal base post, but it is of a tapered design.

The LNWR books I have to hand all show the posts to be parallel square sections, so I used a suitable brass tube for this model.

The trimmers are also of quite heavy section, so I assembled mine from multi-layers of Brass and Nickel Silver.

Here's the result:

post-3984-0-59544800-1345375824.jpg

 

Ensuring squareness:

post-3984-0-61321300-1345375826.jpg

 

Next the foundation tube, drilled to be a close fit on the main post, and turned down to give a wall thickness which can be soldered later without taking all the heat from my iron:

post-3984-0-39235300-1345375828.jpg

 

After parting off from the bar, the "top" end is shouldered to be a fit in the model's base plate:

post-3984-0-50656800-1345375830.jpg

 

The base plate, from N.S., is drilled for the foundation tube, and the two guide tubes which are arranged to line up with the balance arms:

post-3984-0-80890900-1345375832.jpg

 

The shoulder ensures the foundation tube is vertical to the base plate.

This required a small notch to clear the closest guidetube.

Plently of liquid flux (12% phosphoric acid), a tiny slug of solder and a quick blast from the blow torch and its all over:

post-3984-0-42589100-1345375835.jpg

 

The two guide tubes are aligned and secured using the iron:

post-3984-0-79464600-1345375837.jpg

 

From the top:

post-3984-0-92897700-1345375839.jpg

 

Finally the 1/2in tube which will be used to locate the signal in the layout, and ensure alignment of the servos, is parted off to ensure squareness:

post-3984-0-61756800-1345375842.jpg

 

This was soldered in place using the blow torch again - sorry no photo.

 

More later.

Steve.

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Only just found this thread! Must keep up!

Some wonderful engineering of the mechanical side of things as well as all the lovely signals.

Will be following this closely,

Jon F.

 

Thanks Jon,

I've followed your Topic for some time, and indeed it was what inspired me to start this one of my own.

Steve.

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The dolls for this signal are white metal castings from the MSE range.

Each was prepared with bearing, lamp bracket and final:

post-3984-0-35452100-1345502162.jpg

 

post-3984-0-56068300-1345502164.jpg

 

The cast brackets from Scale Signal Supply were fitted:

post-3984-0-34700900-1345502170.jpg

 

Each doll has a socket from square section tube fitted between the trimmers:

post-3984-0-18290400-1345502173.jpg

The supports for the staging were also added.

 

To get the alignment of the dolls correct I laid the signal on its back, supporting it on its main post and trimmers, allowing for the thickness. Having made the arm bearings over length, these were carefully reduced in length until the dolls were perpendicular to the trimmers. A thick superglue smeared round the base of each doll secured them in place. I don't normally like gluing things, but soldering looked like being difficult.

post-3984-0-66353400-1345502176.jpg

 

The result starts to take shape:

post-3984-0-02991300-1345502179.jpg

 

Next came the cranks for the push-rods.

Push rods rather than pull wires were used on lower quadrant signals to transfer the movement from the balance arm to the signal arms.

The operating length of the cranks is much shorter than those used for pull wires.

My estimation is about 6in. operating radius, as opposed to 12in for a typical wire crank.

 

Another Masokits etch was supplied for the cranks.

The sophisticated design would make delightful working cranks I'm sure, but they were all too large for my requirements.

I resorted to an Alan Gibson etch from my stock box.

The result is shown here alongside the Masokits etch for comparison:

post-3984-0-26895600-1345502183.jpg

 

Here are the four cranks stacked up on a pin, which is the type I'll use for their pivots:

post-3984-0-42726200-1345502187.jpg

 

The first pair of cranks, for the left hand doll, with their connecting puch rod:

post-3984-0-12289700-1345502190.jpg

 

The completed set of cranks. These can be removed as a sub-assembly when the signal goes to the paint shop:

post-3984-0-69291200-1345502192.jpg

 

More soon.

Steve.

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Those etched cranks from Masokits look like they'd be good for 7mm scale. Thats if they're not too fine for my "sausage" fingers to handle!

JF

 

I'd had similar thoughts Jon.

I'm sure you'd manage them. They are well thought out as you'd expect.

Each crank is folded up from two halves, with a brass tube through the pivot to ensure the halves line up.

Once soldered up the crank is then mounted on the next size down brass tube firmly fixed in place.

This gives the pivot function.

A wire through the fixed tube, bent over at the end prevents the crank coming off its pivot.

That's the instructions in words, if I remember correctly.

Its much easier to understand if you see the diagram on the instructions!

 

I think the cranks are sized and shaped for wire runs in 4mm scale and are definitely intended to be functional.

 

Well worth a go in 7mm scale for smaller cranks, if like me you're attracted by well designed bits and pieces.

 

Steve.

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A bit more progress.

First the balance arm bearing was fitted to the post:

post-3984-0-85830400-1345652835.jpg

 

The lamps glued (again) in place, having checked the alignment with the spectacles for the upteenth time:

post-3984-0-79422900-1345652837.jpg

 

Almost ready for the paintshop:

post-3984-0-82528900-1345652839.jpg

 

Everything had to be scrubbed and polished, odd bits of surplus solder etc.scraped off and so on, before a final soaking in Cellulose Thinners.

Once that was dry it was outside on a warm dry day with the Halfords White Primer.

A hair dry to hand helps the several thin coats to dry quickly.

Resisting temptation, all stored securely for 24hrs to harden before adding the black details etc.

 

Steve.

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OK. Back from the paint shop and final assembly has been done.

 

First the Starter:

post-3984-0-88794900-1346096865.jpg

 

post-3984-0-56653400-1346096868.jpg

 

post-3984-0-11340300-1346096876.jpg

 

In this shot you can see the signal in its test / transport rig:

 

post-3984-0-84984700-1346096879.jpg

 

The main piece of plywood represents the baseboard at the signal location.

The thinner peice of plywood carries the servo.

The alignment of these is ensured by the 1/2in. dia brass tube fitted to the base of the signal. (See earlier posts)

This method allows the signal to be delivered fully assembled.

The owner can then test it out, and when happy with it all, can dismantle it and repeat the installation on his railway.

 

 

Next the Bracket Signal:

 

post-3984-0-26140800-1346097713.jpg

 

post-3984-0-67129700-1346097718.jpg

 

post-3984-0-69761500-1346097721.jpg

 

post-3984-0-63670600-1346097729.jpg

 

post-3984-0-81125400-1346097733.jpg

 

post-3984-0-90310300-1346097735.jpg

 

I'll try to post some video later.

 

Next job is the Miniature Arm Ground Signal.....

 

Steve.

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