To paraphrase Vane Jones, "Knowledge is of little value until shared with others."

Friday, May 25, 2018

New Owners for Precision Scale Company (PSC)

Precision Scale Company (PSC) has announced new owners. It's best for you to check out their web site for additional information.

The best to the past owners of PSC as they were great to deal with and worked to improve the product line. A toast to the new owners! PSC has a very broad product line  which has be of use to modelers over the years. Here's to many future years of production and enjoyment for both the new owners and the modelers who will be using their products.

What seems like eons ago, Kemtron and then PSC produced and sold the William J. Clouser line of traction products. I cannot begin to tell how many of these castings I have used on my models and those of others.

Besides the traction products PSC has many other castings for use on models of all sorts.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Part 4D Turnout in Street - Installation of the Point Casting and Brass Tubing to Control the Turnout Point

It's time to get back to finishing old Post topics. At the time the Posts regarding the installation of the castings for street turnouts were originally written, about a year ago; I was 1st installing them on my new layout. After the 1st few turnouts were installed, I decided to stop writing the Posts for the Blog and just finish installing all of the turnouts and track work. If need be you might have to go back to see the initial Posts on this topic. 

As the Posts were published on building the track work, I started to notice there were modelers who didn't necessarily know what was required to place the castings into use.  After the fact I'm covering the information needed to place the castings into use. Also, the titles of the Posts covering the installation of the castings into a street turnout have been simplified.

I found it easier to install the brass tubing used to control the turnout point after the castings are soldered to the PC ties but prior to attaching the castings to the layout. It's time to re-read the written instructions which come with the castings.
The 2 castings making up the point and mate of the turnout soldered to ties. Rail connectors have been added. Any soldered joints requiring cleaning can be cleaned as the turnout is built.  

A 1/16" diameter brass rod is to be used to control the single turnout point. My way of installing the brass rod and the tubing used to hold the rod is different from the printed instructions included in with the castings. While I install and solder the brass tubing before the casting is installed in the street. I don't install and solder the turnout point to the brass rod until the turnout is completed.

Check the hole in the big casting commonly called the point casting. You should be able to see through the hole. On the bottom of the casting is a nipple onto which the brass tubing will be soldered. The 1/16" brass rod fits into a 3/32" diameter brass tube. Cut the 3/32" brass tube about 1/4" longer than the thickness of the layout top.

A 1/4" diameter brass tube will be used as a collar to hold the 3/32" brass tubing to the point casting. Cut the 1/4" brass tube 3/16" to 1/2" long. Apply soldering flux to the nipple on the casting plus the 3/32" and 1/4" tubing. Soldering all these parts together.
The brass tubes have been soldered to the bottom of the point casting. Drilling out the tubes after soldering will get rid of any excess solder inside the tubes.

During the soldering process keep the brass tubing square to the bottom of the point casting. If you're having problems keeping the brass tubes square to the nickel silver castings, a long piece of 1/16" aluminum rod inserted into the hole in the point casting and the brass tubing will help. 

After the soldering is completed, drill out the hole for the 1/16" brass rod using a #51 twist drill. This drill is slightly larger than 1/16". This will make it easier for the 1/16" rod to rotate. During the drilling process don't be surprised if you drill out some solder and brass.

The point/mate assembly can be installed on your layout. Now the turnout point casting can be examined and cleaned-up. Drill out the hole for the turnout point with a #51 drill.
My fingers are holding the turnout point which has been cleaned up with a file and the hole drilled for the brass rod.

Slip the turnout point into the larger casting. If the holes in the layout top are off center, the small arm on the turnout point may not fit into the casting. If this happens use a sharp knife or cutting blade to enlarge the hole. 

Slip a 1/16" brass rod into the point casting and through the brass tubing soldered to the point casting. DO NOT SOLDER THE TURNOUT POINT TO THE BRASS ROD YET!!! This will be done when the street turnout is complete. You do not want this rod to be sticking down under the layout while other work needs to be done. Do not allow this rod to be bent.

The point should move easily from side to side using your finger nail. If not, grind or file the turnout point until everything fits and works. Most of the time the turnout point will fit and move without any filing.
The turnout during testing of the point. (For ease of viewing and testing, the testing is being done in my hand so all the parts can be seen.) It should move freely back and forth. If the point is too long file the end to fit the casting. If everything works as planned, the castings can be installed on the layout. Remove the brass rod and point during the installation.

A piece of brass plate can now be added (soldered and screwed) to brass tubing sticking out from the bottom of the layout now. Unfortunately I do not have any photos of an installed brass plate under the layout. I cut 0.010" thick brass into squares large enough for the tubing and 4 short brass screws to be installed.

More to come, cheers,

Friday, March 23, 2018

Grandt Line to Close

Grandt Line which produces architectural parts, for example windows and doors, plus narrow gauge cars parts in many gauges and sizes will close in June, 2018.

The company started by Cliff Grandt many years originally produced many parts in lost wax brass and plastic. After Cliff's death his children continued the company converting many of the brass parts to plastic.

Without Grandt Line products some of my models could not have been built. I hope another vendor will pick up the line of products.

Without Cheers,

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Other Chicago & Utopia Service Cars

Railways and railroads no matter what size they are have special "non-revenue" cars
used to move employees and material along the r-o-w. These cars can be called service cars. Employees can be given rides in regularly scheduled cars/trains. But often material - rails, ballast, trackwork, bulk tickets, administrative supplies, tools, and more has to be moved.

Sometimes cars were purchased new - Differential dump car. Or, old cars at the end of their "revenue" service career were recycled into "non-revenue" service cars. There is no way of telling how many service cars a railway may have.

Electric railways due to their nature - often having street running may have special cars. Towards the end of this post a snow sweeper will appear in a photo. The Chicago Surface Lines had salt cars. Old streetcars no longer suitable for "revenue" service were used to spread rock salt (NaCl) on the rails in streets to prevent ice from forming on the tracks.

The Chicago & Utopia has service cars to move material. When it comes to the numbering of the C&U's service cars, the numbers are 2 digits starting with a "0". Don't forget the portable substation is CURX 01 and the work/service car is CURX 00.

All-Nation C.E.R.A Box Car CURX 03 Tool Car
Back in 1950's and 60's All-Nation Hobby Shop had many kits for O scale locomotives, freight, and passenger cars. Among the kits were Central Electric Railroad Association interurban freight cars. There were 4 or more different bodies. I got and built an inside door, flat end box car. The model was built 57(?) years ago! It became the C&U's tool car. It has arch bar trucks since it is not to be used in interchange service. This car has radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.

The CA&E had a tool car made from an old unused box motor. It was unique with 5 light bulbs mounted high on each side of the car. The 5 bulbs were wired-up in series. The tools inside the car were track and other tools for work on the r-o-w and trackside structures. The light bulbs were for night time work.

Wooden Sheath Box Car CURX 05 Supply Car
This model was built from a kit whose manufacturer has been forgotten. The kit was never completed beyond being painted a box car red. When completed it was given Barber trucks so it can pick-up supplies from another railway. The car has Kadee couplers.

Interurban Flat Car CURX 07When this flat car was obtained 2nd hand, I didn't like the way the flat wooden top was finished. The wooden top of the car was removed with the use of sharp knife blades. After the top surface was sanded smooth, a piece of 0.020" thick Evergreen plastic freight car siding was glued on top.

To make the white styrene siding look like unfinished wood, Testors light brown enamel paint was smeared on the siding.  A "wash" of paint thinner was then used to give the paint an uneven, streaked look.  This is a hit-or-miss procedure but keep trying like I did. Keep a small amount of paint thinner in shallow container like the lid of a prescription vial. If necessary keep a sample of stained wood handy as an example.

This car has arch bar trucks and radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.
The Chicago and West Towns snow sweeper in the background was very busy a few weeks ago. We had more than 13 " of snow in 2 days. The snow removal service called up to ask where to place snow if we had more snow fall! All the parking places in the development were full of snow from the prior snow storm.

The decking is white styrene. To raise the "grain", the blade of a razor saw was scratched from side to side before painting with the light brown wash.

Interurban Flat Car Kit by Midwestern Hobby Models CURX 09
Midwestern Hobby Models or MTH is owned by Jim Osborn. He had MTH long before the hi-rail company by the name of MTH started. Jim has a few interurban freight car kits - a flat car, stock car, and some box cars. The kits are well designed and easy to assemble.

Assembly requires a few hours. Some of the time is allowing glue to dry. My MTH flat car has arch bar trucks and radial couplers with non-operational knuckles.

One or both of the flat cars can be made into gondolas by inserting wooden stakes into the pockets along the sides of the cars. Then lumber would be attached to the inside of the stakes. Ends, the same height of the sides of the gondola sides would have to be added.

Another potential load for the flat cars is new or used rail to be moved from the "yard" to the area where it is going to be installed.

General Comments
All of the C&U's service cars are painted with the same paint as the portable substation. Decals are homemade.  Each car has brass air brake hoses except the service/wrecker car.

The cars are sprayed with Testors Dullcote. The wheels of the trucks are painted a rust color. Keep the paint off of the thread and flange of the wheels.

The side frames of the trucks are painted with a light brown wash to look like road dirt. This wash is more like a dry painting. The a drop or two of paint is applied wet and the brush is continued to be stroked over the truck until dry.

All the C&U's service cars have a family appearance. The color, lettering, couplers, and more look the same.

If necessary weight can be added to the cars. The flat cars in particular may be too light for good tracking. 

Next weekend is the annual 2018 March O Scale Meet. See you there? The March Meet may be the largest O scale meet.



Saturday, March 3, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car Part 3

There are 2 items to be taken care of in finishing the work car. In a prior Post you saw a strange device attached to a coupler. The Van Dorn couplers with the tongue sticking out from the coupler head were intended to be coupled up to other Van Dorn, link and pin, and knuckle couplers with a slot in the head.

As an aside - many streetcar and interurban lines started operation with cars having simple link and pin or Van Dorn couplers. These couplers were mounted lower than standard knuckle couplers of the time. The North Shore Line started out this way. Some trolley lines retained the link and pin couplers until the line quit operations. The couplers were used primarily to tow a dead car into the barn for repair. A serious problem with the link and pin/Van Dorn couplers was the need for a man to stand between the cars during the coupling and uncoupling process. Many men were injured.  

Lines like the North Shore need to be able to couple cars together in trains. These lines either changed to knuckle style or Tomlinson couplers which could be coupled/uncoupled  "remotely" without a man needed in between the cars.

None of my models with knuckle couplers have a slot in the head of the coupler. Most of my models have Kadee couplers. The Kadee couplers do not have a slot in the head. To be able to couple my work/service car to Kadee couplers, a device with a shank to bring the Kadee  coupler up to the correct level had to be made.

These are photos of making the device.
The Kadee Coupler shank was filed down. 00-90 hex head screws were used. The piece of brass was tapped 00-90 to hold the screws.

This is the completed adaptor for Kadee couplers. After testing was done to see if the adaptor worked, 00-90 washers and nuts were attached below just in case the screw threads in the brass failed. The adaptor was painted black at that time.

 The adaptor attached to the Tomlinson coupler head on the work car.

The coupler on the work car droops making the adaptor droop. Some adjustment can be made to bring the Kadee coupler on the adaptor level.

Even since the 1st time I used bath tube caulk I realized it would be good for use as an adhesive in some applications. The original caulk gave off an odor of vinegar (acetic acid) during curing. Since then bath tube caulk has come in various colors including clear and has been used for various caulking/finishing applications.

The acetic acid brings up an interesting problem with using the caulk in electronic boards. The boards will short-out if the caulk is placed on them!

I've used the clear bath tube caulk to hold passengers in place. Mainly because the caulk does not interfere with the painted finish in most applications. Plus, the passengers can easily be removed!

Recently GE realized their caulk was being used as a glue. Here are 2 tubes of their caulk product labeled for different uses. Both tubes contain the same product - Silicone II.
The tube on the left has been opened and used. Both tubes contain the exact same product. The caulk is now odor free. Because they are acetic acid free(?) = no smell; I do not know if them can be used with electronic boards.

A paper clamp works out well to fold over the end of the tube in order to apply pressure on the contents of the tube.

This is the motorman of the single truck work car. The styrene base was painted a wood color. The controller was painted wood color, the top painted brass, and the knob on the controller handle painted black. The brake staff painted black, handle painted brass, and the knob on the end of the handle painted black.

The motorman was glued in place using the GE Glue caulk. Once the caulk cured (about 24 hours) the base with the motorman was glued in place used the caulk.

Everything on the work car was screwed together and the work car runs well!
I guess the motorman is in the opposite end of the car.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car Part 2

After assembling my single truck work car I decided to place an operator of the car inside plus make a coupler adapter for Kadee couplers. For the interior of the work car a pattern for the floor at the end of the car had to be made.

I work with lined index cards mainly due to their availability, the lines help to keep the drawing square, and are thick enough to keep their shape. The card stock is easy to remove and place back into small spaces and retain its form.
Initial drawing for interior end of floor

Final drawing for interior end of floor after trying out for size.

Next the 2 styrene floors with vertical pieces to hold the controller and "wind-up" brake handle were make using the card stock floor piece as a pattern. The floor and vertical end pieces were make from 0.040" styrene. Little gussets were added to keep the end pieces square with the floor. The middle section was left out for the headlight and wiring.
The headlight housing and wires are visible in the center of the dash.

Two pieces of square styrene were added to the bottom of the floor to provide space for screws holding the coupler in place.

The next photo shows the Q-Car controller and brake used in the model. The 2 men in the Fun & Games containers show the figure I found to use as a motorman even though his hand is not in the correct location to operate the controller. The stock number is ORL-12.

You should be able to find Fun & Games Figures on the web. He has a large number of figures for sale. He is located near St. Louis, MO. Originally this figure was painted with dirty skin as though he was operating a steam locomotive. I contacted the owner of Fun & Games and was told I could request cleaner skin if I ordered a few of them at a time. So, I ordered 6. I've repeated my order many times.
Some of Fun & Games figures are soft metal while others are epoxy. This figure is soft metal and can be bent a little!

We will cover the strange thing attached to the coupler and the use of bath tube caulk as an adhesive in the next Post.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Finishing-Up the Single Truck Work Car

When choosing windows to be installed in the sides of the car, remember this car due to its use as a wrecker or repair car; would have bins for small parts and supplies, ropes, chains, etc. installed along the interior of the sides. The larger the windows installed in the sides, the less supplies and equipment can be stored in the car.

Before the glazing is glued in place. Other work on the model had to be done. This type of car can have couplers. Usually the type of coupler used was the Van Dorn coupler. The Van Dorn was a common link and pin coupler found on streetcar lines.

As part of the models and parts available when Pittman was making not only small electric motors but also models in which the electric motors could be used was a working Van Dorn coupler. In the 1950's Wagner had the same Van Dorn coupler in his catalogue. At that time I picked-up a couple of the coupler sets. They were installed in the brass open bench models I had finished. Then the couplers were no longer available.
Sometimes parts come broken or bent. If possible obtain more than you need. The coupler pockets cannot be repaired. The one coupler pocket with the broken loop for attachment to the coupler shank can still used. With the pin in place the pocket can be glued in place. 

At a trolley meet last fall a vendor had a few sets of the Van Dorn couplers I was able to obtain. This allowed me to add them to the model of the work car plus another model of the same era. The photos show the installation of the couplers on the model.

One comment on the installation: Since the point of installation would be where a large hole in in the underframe of the model, small pieces of brass were installed to the cast metal frame. This way the 0-80 screw used to mount the coupler shank be screwed into a material that will hold the threads. Styrene is used for spacers only where a strong metal is under the styrene to hold the threads.
The painted, not squarely installed cross-piece in the left is for mounting the power truck. The coupler carrier was glued in place. The coupler shank is mounted with screws. 

Next comes the decals. Microscale and Micromark have decal paper for computer printing of decals. Carefully follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the decal paper. With newer computers and printers a large number of fonts are available. The program "Word" will allow you to have a number of printing the letters.

The only limitation is that you will not be able to print in white or the metallic colors of gold, silver, etc. unless you have a special printer.

Once the information you are interested in having is printed on the decal paper, it needs a coating of a material to protect the printing procedure the installation of the decals. Microscale makes Micro Liquid Decal Film which can be painted on using a brush or sprayed. A very thin coat is required. If you have problems spraying the Decal Film, isopropyl alcohol can be added by the drop to thin the Film. Only a small amount (1-2 drops)of the alcohol is needed. A 91% solution of isopropyl alcohol is available in most pharmacies.
Microscale's Micro Sol was used to soften and set the decal film. Sometimes it takes multiple applications of the Sol to get the film to go into the lines between the boards. A new razor blade can be used to cut the decal film to get the film into the lines. 

The glazing for the windows made from 0.015" clear styrene. The clear styrene was cut and filed into the correct size. My favorite tool to file plastic is an emery board. Model window glue (A diluted clear water soluble caulking.) was used to keep the glazing in place.
The "EMERGENCY" lettering is a special feature of Word. Letters can be outlined in a different color. Outlining a letter in black gives the letter more character.

The headlight lighting is directional using diodes. An operator was installed after the photo was taken.

More C&U service cars in the next Post.