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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The "Last Run" of the Chicago & Utopia Railway

This was not truly the "Last Run" of the Chicago & Utopia (C&U) Railway. It was the last run as the C&U suspended operations at its past location.

Less than 4 months ago my wife and I decided to downsize. The location of the C&U on the 2nd floor of the garage had to be stopped.

My most sincere thank you goes to Eric Bronsky for producing the video. Eric used video taken by Bill Becwar. My thanks goes to Bill for taking the video.

You might recognize the 3-car NSL Silverliner seen in the opening of the video. They are the Sunset/3rd Rail replacement Electroliner cars I rebuilt to my standards and written about in the post.

The fellow in the yellow "Lotus" shirt is me. To the left in the opening video is Bruce Moffat.

The C&U will return in a different form in the future. Stay tuned.


Monday, October 26, 2015

The Past, the Present, and the Future

The impressive title for this post is to get you attention. Please excuse my absence from writing in this blog.

As the summer started a series of family things like a vacation, repairs on our house and cars, traction models to finish, repairs on traction models, and more turned out to be the series of events which occupied my time instead of working on this blog.

Also, my wife found out she can retire at the end of this calender year and not at the end of  next year Then perhaps the event which has had the biggest, singular impact was my wife saying, "It's time for us to downsize." We have lived in the same house for 43 years. It is the only house we have owned.

While my wife and I are not horders, we did save some items like photos, items important to us, art work, and more. Without knowing, I had accumulated 60 years of model railroad related hobby items.

After bouncing the idea around in my mind for a week, I agreed with my wife that we needed to downsize. We have a house and garage which have become too much for us to take care of.

What to do with my models and layout initially bothered me. A number of different thoughts came into mind. How do I get a handle on the number of models I have? A few months ago some one asked me how many models I have. As I couunted the models on display in the garage, I suddenly stopped counting what a certain number was reached. There were more models than I thought I had! You'll get an idea as to the number of models in a later post.

Also. an article about how I became interested in modeliing trolleys has appeared in "O Scale Magazine".   It's a free web magazine so take a look at it. The other article to read is about Eric Bronsky's photos.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weaver Models Retirement

Weaver Modes has announced its departure from the model railroad business. Taken from the Weaver Models web site ,

"Weaver Models is announcing the closing of its manufacturing business at the end of June after 50 years. Proud to have been manufacturing in the USA.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our dealers, customers, and the many great friends I've made throughout the years for making our business a success. 
"I would also like to thank our dedicated employees, some of whom have been with me for more than 20 years, also for making our business a success. 
"I have been affiliated with Weaver Models since 1970, when it was better known as Quality Craft Models. I acquired Weaver Models in 1994.
"We will be having a sale at our place of business, selling various items including memorabilia on a cash and carry basis.

"Update June 16

"Due to the overwhelming response to our business closing announcement, we will not have time to prepare for our retirement sale as originally announced. We are moving the sale to

"July 17, from 8AM to 5PM. "

Back in the 1970's, 80's., and 90's I spent my time making freight cars for my future layout. Walthers had the USH waffle side box car kit. All Nation Manufacturing had a number of older freight car kits. Max Gray had imported a number of brass models of post WW II freight cars. There were also a number of small manufacturers of freight cars most of which were not suitable fro my interest.

Two manufacturers stood out for making craftsmen kits of current freight cars. They were Quality Craft (QC) and Lykins. Neither manufacturer overlapped in the style (type) of freight car. QC kits were easier to obtain and assemble.

Over the years I assembled a C&O 61' well hole flat car, MILW 40' ribbed box car, plus other QC kits. If properly assembled, detailed, and finished with a good paint job and trucks, the QC kits were as good looking as the available imported brass models.

Over the years QC morphed in Weaver Models. When QC/Weaver left the wood kit market and went into plastics either as kits or ready-to-run, I obtain a few of them. The wooden and plastic QC/Weaver cars are still on my roster. They are special to me.

Over the ensuing years Weaver started going into the 3-rail market. At the same time a number of extremely interesting models were brought to the market place. A list of these models would be very long. They filled a void which up to the time Weaver made the model was often overlooked by other O scale manufacturers. Weaver was innovative in that sense.

The some of the unique Weaver models which come to mind are -
the Bradley-Pullman (American Flyer) passenger cars;
WW II Troop Sleepers, Kitchen, Hospital, and Express cars;
MILW S3 Northern and F6a Baltic steam locomotives;
Northeastern cabooses;
PRR BP-20 diesel locomotives; and
many, many more!!!

NOTE: Some of the models listed above may have been available from other manufacturers. But it wasn't until Weaver produced them that the model was easy to obtain and get rolling on a layout.

With the end of Weaver Models comes an end to Scalecoat paints. Modelers will have to adjust how they paint their models.

This post is my way of thanking Quality Craft and Weaver for making kits, ready-to-run models, and paint for me and the other modelers out there. May your retirement be healthy and enjoyable!


PS - If you have wondered why there has been a stoppage of post in this blog, my wife and I have been beset with some computer problems. We been told not to buy a new computer until Windows 10 has been released. Microsoft has set the date of July 29 of this year.

We're running on a computer purchased some years ago to hook up to a large screen TV to watch our vacation photos, Photoshop presentations, and DVD's. The capacity of the computer is limited.

We have over 25,000 photos and I do not want to load them on this computer to be able to use them in post for this blog. I hope to be back in operation posting info on the blog soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finishing a CTM 4000 Baldie Kit Part 5: Rivets, Rain Gutters, and Something Odd About the Roof

Rivets on Roof
One of the details missing from the roof of the Baldie is the line of rivets around the bottom of the roof where the roof joined to the sides and ends of the car. There are also lines of rivets which go from side to side over the crown of the roof where the ARMCO steel plates were joined together to make the roof.

It's the single row of rivets which go around the bottom of the roof that I am interested in placing on the model. The best way of installing the rivets is to use the Archer Surface AR 88063 "7/8-inch rivets for streetcars and interurbans O-scale".

These are "regular" decals meant to be dipped in water, slid off the decal paper backing, and applied to the model. After an application of a decal setting solution, the decal material "disappears". The 7/8" rivets match the rivets already on the sides and ends of the model.

The black rivet heads can be seen. I had applied the rivets before finishing the vent in the roof.

Only the most fastidious modeler will notice the rivets on the roof joining the steel plates together are not duplicated on the my model. 

Rain Gutters
Before applying the roof gutters on your model refer to the picture of your prototype car. The big difference between cars, even in the same series, is the location of the rain gutters at the #1 end of the car. Some cars had the rain gutters below the air intake vent while other cars had these gutters over the vent.

I chose 0.015" x 0.020" styrene for the rain gutters on my model. In O scale, 0.015" model = 3/4" prototype and 0.020" model = 1" prototype. This size material also best matches the rain gutters on a Q-Car Plushie model.

On most of the CRT/CTA Baldies the rain gutters were the width of the doorway over which they were placed. After examining photos, mark in pencil were the gutters are to be placed. Most of the gutters looked almost flat as opposed to other passenger cars where the gutters were pitched.

Gently "tack" one end of the rain gutter in place. The gutters are to be installed on edge or the 0.015" side next to the roof. If the gutter is correctly placed, then using a toothpick place a drop of glue on the other top end of the gutter. Use the toothpick to flow the glue towards the other end.

The glue will fill in the top of the gutter. When the glue cures, the glue will provide a fillet between the gutter and the roof.

With a fingernail emery board I smoothened the edges at both ends round. From experience, if the ends are left with a "sharp" edge it's easy for them to be caught by paper towels or cloths during cleaning and torn off. Once the model is all done and ready for display, it's a pain to replace a roof gutter. Missing roof gutters are easy to spot!

It looks like some more cleaning of this vent detail is required. Note the rivet line around the bottom of the roof after primering.

Now is the time to apply another thin coat of primer on your model. The new roof detail will blend in with the balance of the model. Any area(s) where body filler had to be applied to the model will blend in as well.

After the primer dries, inspect your model for any "assembly" defects. Now is the time to correct them. Close up photos are great for "pointing out" any problems.

Plushie vs. Baldie Roofs
Finally something most of individuals are not aware of when comparing the Baldie vs. a Plushie. Below is a photo of the Baldie and a Q-Car Plushie. Do you notice anything about the bottom roof lines? The bottom of the roof on the Plushie is lower then the bottom of the roof of the Baldie.
The Plushie is on the left while the Baldie is on the right. Notice the difference in the bottom line of the roofs.

I had to go round and round with Terry, the designer and producer of the Baldie kit. There is a difference in the way the roofs of these 2 series of cars were installed. Both series of cars started out with the same amount of material for the letterboard

The Baldie was a metal (roof) on metal (side and end) construction. The  amount of material required for the overlap and riveting of the 2 materials together was only about an inch. It could have been less.

The Plushie with a canvas electrically insulated roof, required different construction of apply the canvas roofing material to either the wood or metal sides and ends. To give you a complete picture of what is required to install a new canvas roof on a railway car read what Randy Hicks of the Illinois Railway Museum had to do to install a new roof on a CA&E car.

The posts start about September 22, 2013 when Randy started to work on the roof of CA&E 36. This URL should take you to that post

You'll have to "page" forward to newer post as you read what was involved in replacing the canvas on the car. Pay particular attention to the "tack rail" parts of the posts.

A tack rail has to be thick enough to hold the tacks holding the canvas to the side of the car - perhaps 1 or more inches thick. At the same time the tack rail as to be 1-1/2" - 2 or more inches wide. It has to be attached to the car side with screws or small bolts.

The overall effect of the tack rail is to have the roof material come down lover than the metal roof to metal side construction. This equals a letterboard with less area for the name of the railroad. At the same time the roof extends over the side more - the thickness of both the tack rail and the canvas material.

On the Baldie the roof should only be as wide as the sides while on the Plushie the roof extends a combined 4 or so inches over the sides.

BTW- if you aren't a regular reader of Randy's blog, shame on you.

Both the Plushie and Baldie are ready for painting. The past 6 weeks have been a busy time for me. The Annual March O Scale Meet held in the Chicago area is an important event. It includes visiting many O scale trolley layouts, including mine. Most of the trolley layout tours are private events - by invitation only.

After the Annual O Scale Meet some of my models which did not operate as expected have been repaired.

Coming up is the biannual East Penn Traction Meet in May. There will be many friends to meet and have a chance to talk with. I always try to bring a model or 2 to run on the EPTC modular layout. My models represent the  Chicago and Midwest area.

To see if my models will operate on the EPTC modules, they are tested on my special test layout. This layout has both 9" and 12" curves.
Blue arrows = 12" radius curves
Green arrows = 12" radius Old Pullman turnouts
Red arrows = 9" radius curves
The small aluminum rectangle in the lower right is the control panel for the layout. The layout is broken into 5 blocks. The yellow ties are the locations of cuts (with insulating rail joiners) in the rails. The black and red jacks are for power to the layout. More about this layout later.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Finishing a CTM 4000 Baldie Kit Part 4: More Roof Vents, and Miscellenous Details

Intake Vents
Thinking of how to add the 2 small square vents built into the roof of the prototype took some time. First something already available was looked for.
Nothing could be found.

These vents were built into the roof. They are louvers which blocked objects falling from above from entering the duct. At this end (#1) of the car, an electric intake fan in the ceiling of the entrance/exit vestibule pulled air from the outside through the 2 vents and into the car. The 2 vents near the center of the car were passive exhaust vents.

After much thought a square vent 0.010" thick was built out of styrene. Styrene 0.010" thick is flexible enough to conform to the contours of the roof. This same type of vent could be made from etched 0.005" or 0.010" brass. I do not know of anyone who etches brass so the styrene vent was made.

Now that my roof is finished, I feel my measurements were a little bit off. Therefore as we go through this section, my comments about measurements will reflect this.

First a square had to be built from 0.010" x 0.020" styrene strips. Using my concept of if 2 opposite corners of a square or rectangle (1/2 of a larger square being made) are square then the shape is square. The photos go through the building process.

Eight pieces of 0.010" x 0.020" styrene were cut and glued together at 90 degree angles. Each piece of styrene was cut longer than required. A small machinist's square block was used to ensure each joint was square. Small amounts of styrene glue was used. Too much would warp and/or dissolve the styrene strips.

After each of the joints had completely dried, they were prepared to be glued into squares. Notice the penciled lines on 2 of the 1/2 squares. These are the final size of the complete square.

The red and green arrows point to the pencil marks. The blue area points to an area where too much styrene glue had been used. The styrene dissolved to provide the webbing effect.

The next steps were to make the squares. The photo taken below shows the process just after one of the sides was cut short. BTW - all cuts in the making of the squares is at 45 degrees to allow the square to lay flat. Small drops of styrene glue were used.
IMPORTANT - Leave one arm attached to the box (green arrow).
You need the one arm on the styrene square for the installation of the louvers. Four louvers need to be installed leaving 5 slots for the air to enter the car. The louvers are 0.015" x 0.020" styrene cut to the correct length to fit into the square.
The louvers are placed on their 0.015" side which means they will be sticking out of the square. After all the louvers are installed, they will be sanded down to 0.010" thickness.
Use the handle to hold the styrene square against the glass as each louver is installed and glued in place. Dentist scrappers and other picks are useful in cleaning up the vents.
This is a close-up of one of the vents after gluing and sanding. Notice how the glue has softened the styrene. At this point the styrene is stuck to the glass. It can be cleaned up plus the handle cut off. Gently use a new razor blade to remove the vent from the glass.

Handle the vents carefully. Now the vents have to be glued onto the roof. These vents are located at the #1 end of the car above the side door on each side. Glue the bottom of the vent 1st.

Then after the glue has set, continue gluing the vent around the curve of the roof. Be sure to glue each slat of the vent to the roof. The vent will be sanded and you do not want any of the slats to come loose.
The vent has been completely glued to the roof. The vent can be gently sanded to even out the vent plus reduce the slat size. Remember they were 0.015" sticking out (0.005" higher than the 0.010" thick vent material) from the roof.

Next comes the old auto body or if you prefer the old plasterers' trick. Many years ago we hired a pair of plasterers to repair some cracks etc. in a wall we had in our home. After the work was done I commented to one of them about how nice and flat the finished wall looked. He told me the wall really isn't flat but an allusion of looking flat. The trick was to make the wall look as smooth and finished as possible over the long flat plane of the wall.

I've repaired the body of an old car (1953 Porsche) with "bondo". The idea was not so much to match the curve of the other side of the car as much as to make the side being repaired look like a smooth and finish curve without holes or cracks. This was much the same as the plaster work in our home.

The intake vents on the roofs of the prototype 4000's were into the material of the roof. The vent did not stuck out from the roof. On the model the same thing has to be done. Squadron body filling putty is applied around the vent and allowed to dry. Do not use an old tube of Squadron putty. It will not flow well and will dry with cracks and small holes in it.

Apply the body putty up to the center of the roof, for 1/2" to 3/4" towards the center of the car, down to the bottom of the roof, and all the way towards the front of the car.

Squadron body putty actually dries to hardness. As the solvent evaporates the coating of putty with shrivel up. Thin coats will dry quickly and not crack. Thick coats with shrink in and crack!

It's best to wet sand (320 or finer grit) the vent and body putty until the area is smooth without cracks or holes. Clean out the slats in the vents. If the edges are not feathered and/or there are cracks or holes apply more body putty. When dry wet sand again. Clean out the slats in the vents.

Repeat the cycles of application and sanding until the area looks smooth and finished. At this time you'll notice the vent to appear as though it's into the material of the roof. The slight "bump" of the vent will be un-noticeable.
This is the vent during the sanding process. The rivet decal had been prematurely applied to the roof. Photos which are cropped and the size readjusted are great to show the imperfections in a model. The lines were drawn to be sure the slat holes were the same length.
More work of filling in the cracks etc. had to be done to the vent in the above photo before the rain gutter and rivets were re applied. Unfortunately I failed to take enough photos of the work.

This post is getting long and there's still the rain gutters, roof rivets, and something strange about the roof! The next post will have to cover them.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finishing a CTM 4000 Baldie Kit Part 3: Underbody and Odd Boxy Roof Vents

Do you have your photos of the prototype Baldie you are planning on building ready? You'll need them for this part of the assembly. First, the floor was attached to the body with 2-56 flat head screws the same as the Plushie model.

If you are making a powered Baldie, the same Q-Car underbody kit as the Plushie can be used to supply all the needed parts.

If your Baldie is to be unpowered, many of the same parts are needed. It's the electrical control parts which are not needed. I used the diagram with part numbers supplied by Q-Car in the Plushie underbody kit to order all the parts needed.

Some of the electrical control parts which are needed besides the air brake parts are the 4 MU connectors at the car's corners and the battery box. BTW - If you are not aware, the 4 MU connectors at the 4 corners are for the door opening/closing controls and not the MU operation of the cars in a train! The MU connectors as well as the 600 v buss are located below the couplers.

This is where I started to have 2nd thoughts about not having a more detailed underbody on the cars. Since the cars would be operating on elevated right-of-way, it may be possible to see the underside of the cars. If this is possible then a more detailed underbody is called for.

To assuage my conscious the brake rigging from the brake cylinder to the trucks was added. The coupling at the end of the brake levers had to be drilled out to receive the brake rigging to the trucks. While there is a dimple in the soft metal, the soft metal casting was not the best. The drill would not stay in the center of the coupling.

A "tool" made up of 2 pieces of brass tubing was made. The drawing below will give you an ideas as to how it works. Sometimes more than 2 pieces of tubing are required to make-up the inner piece to get the correct diameter of the pieces to be drilled. Styrene tubing can also be used.
If you want to save the tool for future work the pieces of brass tubing can be soldered together.

When using the tool be sure the drilling is square with the piece to be drilled. My drill slipped towards one side. But, all was not lost. Do not rush; work slowly!

This is what the underbody looks like for my Baldie after 0.028" diameter brass wire was glued in place for the brake rigging.
Green Arrow = where CA was used to attach the end of the brake rigging to the body
Red Arrow = the original location of the battery box. After looking at a photo the location of the box was closer to the side of the car.
Blue Arrow = location of a filed out line in the floor used to indicate the #1 end of the car. The piece of styrene (glued to the door on the model) used to hold the floor in place has a similar filed out area.
Orange Arrow = metal washer glued to the styrene body bolster. The metal washer provides a better bearing surface between the body and truck.
The brake rigging was just glued to the bottom of the car. This is one solution for having the brake rigging hanging loose under the car. Normally the brake rigging is attached to each truck. Since this is a model without operational brakes and trucks which are free to rotate, what is done to the brake rigging is up to the modeler.
Gluing the brake rigging to the floor may not be the best solution. The brake rigging ends up going up to the floor at an angle which would never be seen this way on a prototype car. In a future post the brake rigging on the Plushie will be hung in a different manner.
Also, I like to be able to solder the brake rigging to the levers of the brake cylinder. I wish I had replaced the brake cylinders with brass castings.

The body bolsters for the trucks were installed. For the 6'6" wheelbase truck an old Wagner un-powered truck was used. The wheel set was changed to a set with 0.145" thread wheels from NWSL.

Just 4 days ago I found a 5'6" wheelbase truck. The wheels need to be changed to NWSL wheelsets.

Exhaust Vents
Now comes one of the items all of you have been waiting for - the roof vents! In looking at photos of Baldies there looks like of the original batch, the trailers, starting with number 4001 up to a number unknown to me, a Utility exhaust vent was applied to the roofs of the cars.

Again, starting with some number I am not aware of, a strange looking boxy vent was applied to the roofs. In looking at the photo of the car I desire to model. It had the strange boxy vents on the roof.

Just in case you were not aware, vents were not usually make by the car manufacturers. There were small sheet metal shops which specialized in making objects out of sheet metal. They made vents for railroad cars, duct work, plenums, and other boxy looking objects. Utility, Globe, Garland, and Ward were some of the manufacturers of vents.

If your car needs Utility vents, the Q-Car CS016 or CS021 can be used. CTM, Terry, will have a Utility vent available.

Looking through as many photos as possible I noticed some odd, at least odd to me, things about the vents on what was to be my car. These include:
     the side nearest the center of the car and 2 sides of the vent were solid,
     the side facing the outside of the car while solid was open at the edges,
     the 2 sides facing the center of the car and outward were parallel to the sides of the car,
     the vent hugged the roof line of the car, 
     the roof of the vent followed the contour of the roof.
     the vent was almost square, and
     the sheet metal of the roof over hanged the sides.

No one makes a model vent like this! CTM is not making a vent to match this design. The 2 vents will have to be scratch built.

Time for a "time-out" - I've reached a point where there is something I have never seen before. Yes, during the time I rode both Baldies and Plushies, this type of vent may have been on the roof of the Baldies I rode. I've never noticed the vents before. There are only photos of the strange boxy vent available to me. Therefore the dimensions will be a SWAG (Silly Wild Ass Guess).

This series of photos is how I located and scratch built the vents.

The vents are positioned so 1 side of the vent is centered between 2 windows on the side of the car. A Q-Car CS021 vent was used as the base of the vents. Two of the CS021 vents were installed on the roof. 
Using 2 machinists' squares up against the sides and a ruler, the center of the roof was found. This has to be done twice, once at each end of the car.

The center line was drawn down the center of the roof.

The short line to the left is the side of the vent centered between 2 windows. The line of the right is the center line of the vent casting to be used. The inverted "T" is where the hole has to be drilled.
The Q-Car Co. vent was glued in place. Then I found the side of the vent facing the center line was too low. A piece of styrene of the correct size was attached to the top to correct the incorrect measurement.

The Q-Car vent is too high at one end. This end was filed down so as to be below the required profile.
To make vents which have the correct side profile, vents were drawn on a drawing of the roof profile of a Baldie I had. The profiles were then printed on card stock (maybe 80 lbs., 8-1/2" x 11" stock). After the profiles were printed and cut out, each piece of card stock was impregnated with CA adhesive. CA was applied and wiped off.
If you are able to print out this photo so the actual dimension of each roof profile is 2" actual inches each, you can make your own vent side pieces.
Do not toss out any of the car stock as this will provide more than enough material for the other parts of the vents.
The sides of the vent are glued on.

The top side is glued on.

The bottom side is glued on. Notice it's pushed in a little bit.

Blue tape was placed on both side of the vent to sand it. The blue tape protected the finish of the roof during the sanding process.

The body of the vent was filled in with white body putty and sanded on drying.

Finally (Unfortunately no photos were taken of this part of finishing the vent.) a piece of the card stock was glued over the top of the vent. If needed it can be sanded to shape.

Both of the odd boxy vents should be built at the same time.

The 2 vents on both sides of the roof at the #1 end are next. They will be built and installed in the next post.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Additional Comments Regarding CA and Other Adhesives

Although I normally do not recommend Wikipedia articles, but it does have a nice article on adhesives.  The sections starting with "Mechanisms of Adhesion" and following are very interesting and explain not only how adhesives work but how they fail. This is very important for the modeler to understand why the "glue" didn't work.

I'm more of an inorganic chemist and not into the chemistry of adhesives. I can say CA does not form a chemical bond with many substances modelers use. This leaves the 3 other potential bonding methods.

From experience CA seams to be less effective the smoother or non-porous one or both of the items to be "glued together" are.

Another comment regarding the use of CA adhesives. For that matter any adhesives. Read my post dated January 1, 2015, "Some Modeling Tips and News for the New Year Before Going Further" for other safety comments when working with CA.

Be cautious about what surface you are working on when using CA adhesives. CA will adhere to almost anything. If you have read through the posts in this blog you know I work on a 1/4" thick plate glass. The plate glass provides a smooth flat plane on which to build a model.

A couple of years ago when building something, the work which had been newly glued together with CA was left on the plate glass. In the past I've always been able to lift things glued with CA off the plate glass with a razor blade without any problems.

This time a large section of the model was stuck to the plate glass. In lifting the section, small pieces of the plate glass came along with the model!

There were pot holes in the plate glass!

After replacing the plate glass, whenever working with CA, I now place a large "ZipLock" bag or similar material over the plate glass. CA will not adhere to this material. To use the large bag, the end of the bag where the closure lock is, is cut off. Then the bag is cut with scissors along 2 edges and opened up to provide a larger area of protection for the top of the plate glass..

I tried to use material like "Saran Wrap" but could never get it smooth or to keep it from adhering to itself in a big wad.

Be careful also not to get your fingers stuck together. I have used CA for many years getting CA on my fingers. After setting, CA can be hard to remove from skin. Sometimes it has had to wear off.

Sometimes 2 or 3 fingers were stuck together momentarily. I was able to pull them apart before any damage was done. If it can happen to me, it can happen to you! Safety first!

There have been stories where individuals have glued 2 or more fingers together using CA. The fingers have had to be surgically cut apart. Be careful!

Finally, when is the CA left in the bottle no longer good to use? I use the 1/2 oz. bottle of Super Jet for almost all of the gluing required for model building.

Today I noticed there is about 1/4 of the bottle remaining. Moving the bottle from side to side the remaining CA seems to flow slower than it did when the bottle was new. This indicates to me it's time to toss the bottle out and start a new bottle of Super Jet.

Why not buy 1/4 oz. bottles of Super Jet? There are 2 reasons I don't buy the smaller bottle and finish it off. Number 1: Many times the bottle is finished-off (empty) before the CA inside starts to become thick. Number 2: Pricing - most of the cost of the bottles is the packaging cost. It's less expensive to buy the 1/2 oz. size bottle.

Each modeler has to decide for themselves which size bottle of the CA he is using, is the best for his modeling needs.

Loctite® Epoxy Plastic Bonder is an acrylic formula designed and made to bond repairs in plastic surfaces. It comes in a double syringe dispenser for equal amounts of both components to come out when required for mixing.

When mixed the 2 components react in 20-25 minutes to make "a tough, rigid, high strength bond". The acrylic material "does not shrink and is resistant to water, most common solvents and shop fluids. It has high impact resistance and can be sanded and drilled."

It is recommended for nylon and other plastics. You should check the Loctite web site for more information. All the material in quotes was taken from the Loctite web site.

I trust Loctite to have an excellent product. I am not too keen on having to mix-up an adhesive when it comes to all of the joints which have to be placed together for the Baldie kit.

If you have read over my 2 postings regarding assembling the kit, perhaps 1 batch of the Loctite acrylic adhesive could be used to glue the 2 styrene backings to each of the 2 center doors. Then another batch mixed up for the 4 backings for the 4 end doors. What I'm trying to get at is, having to mix-up batches of acrylic adhesive would add another layer of work to each of the assembly tasks.

While I like what Loctite has to offer in the way of a nylon adhesive, I'm not too sure of the actual application.

Loctite is not the only company offering a nylon adhesive. There are others. One offers a CA adhesive designed for nylon. But, we have other CA products on the market already.

Finally, at least one company has an UV activated epoxy adhesive. The material is applied to the areas to be bonded, then a small UV emitting light source is brought near material. The product is called "Bondic". You can find out more at this web site  .  I wonder how well this adhesive works?

The world of adhesives is getting more and more interesting!

Back to work of the Baldie in the next post.





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Finishing a CTM 4000 Baldie Kit Part 2: Drilling Holes, Gluing the Parts Together, and the Brass Skeleton

The prior post should have started with, after contacting Terry Gaskin and getting the instructions, be sure to print them out. I had mentioned to Terry he needed to include the page numbers on the sheets. Having loose sheets of un-numbered pages of paper can be deadly.

If you can print the instructions back-to-back, using both sides of the sheets will help to save on paper.

After seeing the number of pages of instructions you might be scared off getting involved with the kit. But, after you read them over you'll realize half of the instructions involve ordering the parts and then getting them ready to start assembly.

The balance of the pages are filled with assembly instructions and drawings. Most of the pages are drawings. Terry did a great job in illustrating the verbal part of the instructions. While the kit may not be a shake-the-box type of kit, it is moderately easy to assemble.

Back to the assembly - There are dimples where holes for grab irons and handholds are to be attached. The dimples are 0.020" in size. I drilled mine out with a 0.0225" drill. I recommended to Terry the dimples be enlarged to 0.025".

Q-Car used 0.025" brass wire for his CRT 4000 Plushie. I like to use 0.025" brass wire. This size wire is still small enough (scale 1.25") and will hold up to the handling a model will receive during its lifetime.

Eventually the holes will be re-drilled larger than 0.025". Why? When gluing the hand rails etc. in place some of the glue has to be between the brass and the material into which it is inserted.

It's best to drill the holes now by hand since they may be obstructed during the assembly process. Also, you'll find it easier to drill the holes now rather than when the body is assembled.  The 0.020" dimples are small plus it's easy to have the drill slip. Do not use a power drill. The nylon is soft enough for a reasonably sharp drill to go through it when drilled by hand.

There are additional holes to drill for the windshield wipers, whistle air pipe, plus any headlight or route or marker lamps. The holes for route or marker lamps will be drill when needed.

The only holes in question are the sets for the handrails in the ends of the car where the end door is located. It looks like initially these handrails were installed lower then they appear in later photographs. Perhaps the conductors and gatemen complained they were too low to be useful and were subsequently mounted higher.

One last comment about drilling the holes. Some of the holes as you drill them seem to continued to go through the material and not come out the other side. These holes if drilled at a slight angle will come out of the material. It's OK to drill these at a slight angle. When the brass wire is installed, if it is at an incorrect angle, it will be easy to bend it to the correct angle.

Next the 5 parts which make up the sides need to be glued together. To support each glue joint a piece of styrene needs to be glued to the back of the doors to back-up the joint. Butt joints are very weak. Backing-up the joint helps.

If I followed the instructions to the "T", I found the amount of space in which to glue glazing for the window in the door would be too small. For this reason, after each of the styrene backing pieces were cut, a piece of either 0.015" or 0.20" x 0.040" styrene was glued to the backing piece. This pushed the backing piece away from the window leaving more space for gluing in glazing.

The photo shows the center door piece with the 2 pieces of 0.040" styrene backing pieces during the gluing process. Note the 2 cloths pins used as clamps. The red circles are around the additional pieces of styrene attached to the backing piece. Attach these 2 small pieces 1st, then glue the backing pieces to the door pieces.
For the center door attach the backing piece on one side of the door and then on the other side. Remember styrene solvent glue is not "compatible" with CA. Allow the styrene solvent glue to completely cure 1st before using the CA.

Clothes pins, the clamping type, were used to hold all pieces during gluing and afterward. Always allow the CA to cure before going further, A great deal of stress is being placed on the joints even if you do not personally stress a joint.

Once the center door has the backing pieces in place, glue the backing pieces to the back of the end doors. Allow all the pieces to cure overnight before going further.

Be careful of which section with windows is glued to the center door piece. Examine the vertical wows of rivets next to the window in the door.

On the bottom of page 195 of the CERA Bulletin 113, "Chicago Rapid Transit Volume I: Rolling Stock 1892-1947"; is a side photo of a Baldie. Carefully notice the vertical row of rivets to the left of the center door at the window level of the car. There are no vertical rivets to the right of the center door at the same level.

Once the 5 pieces making up the side are glued together, your side will have a slight bow. Do not worry about this. Pieces of brass will be glued to the back which will straighten out and reinforce each side.
This is one side. The center door had been attached 1st. The end doors were attached last.
This is the side after all the CA had cured. Note the bow in the side.

A 3/32" square brass tubing is about the smallest size square brass tubing which will resist moderate bending. Yes, this size can be bent and for this reason when shopping for this and the other pieces of brass; inspect them for bends. It is almost impossible to straighten these small sizes of brass into their original unbent shape!

The 3/32" square brass tubing will be glued at the top of the wall while a 3/32" x 3/16" rectangular brass tubing will be glued directly under the interior bottom of the doors. To tell the truth, a 3/32" square brass tubing could probably be used under the doors.

This is one of my sides after both pieces of brass had been glued in place. All the filler pieces have been added to make the interior of the side one flat plane. Notice the green body filler added and sanded.
To hold the brass against the nylon during the curing of the CA adhesive, place as many clamps along the top or bottom as needed. I used so many there was less than an inch between them!

As to the length of the tubing, I cut mine a little short of the length of the side. If I were to make another Baldie, I would cut each piece of brass tubing the length of the side. The top piece would have each end tapered at a 45 degree angle to clear the glazing of the end windows.

To assemble the body into a square piece, some years ago I discovered if a car side and end were glued together square and the other side and end were glued together square; then when the 2 side/end assemblies were glued together, the body was square. Make sense?

Only one corner of a side and end can be assembled square with the model. On the ends the dash below the motorman's window is not square with the side. The other side, I'll call the passenger side, is square with the side.

The assembly will be done up-side-down on the glass plate I use. To prevent the CA from adhering to the plate glass, a large "ZipLoc" type of bag will be opened up and laid over the glass.

Using as many machinists' squares as possible the side and end are glued together and held squarely in place. The same is done with the other side and end. Allow the CA to cure over night.

These are views from both sides of the side/end gluing process.

While the curing is taking place, cut out the floor and/or make the floor if it has not been done already. A drawing of the floor is included in the instructions. I had a piece of 3/23" thick basswood on hand. It turned out to be exactly the correct thickness required.

To glue the 2 side/end pieces together squarely, again up-side-down, on the piece of plastic bag glue the 2 assemblies together and insert the floor in place. Check the entire assembly for squareness and allow to cure overnight.

The next day a piece of styrene, wood, or brass can be glued inside of the end doors to serve as a tab to which the floor will be screwed. Be careful! the sides and ends assembly is extremely fragile. The floor was taken out. then the pieces were glued to the interior of the doors and after a couple of minutes the floor was placed back in place.
A  green arrow points to the styrene tab.
The roof is glued onto the body next. Place the body with the floor in place right-side-up on the opened plastic bag. Place the roof on the body. My body did not have any tabs to locate the roof. I had to locate the roof on the body as best I could.
If there are no problems, apply CA to the top of the walls of the body. Place the roof back on the body. Apply pressure on the roof if required. As mentioned before my roof had a slight bow. It was high in the center. Machinist weights were added to the roof. Allow the CA to cure over night.
If you find gaps after the CA has cured, like I did, apply more CA through the windows and use the large wide rubber bands the USPS uses for the mail to secure the roof to the body. Be sure to have the floor in the body during this process. Again allow the CA to cure over night.
I found it best to lay the body on its side during the curing process. This allows the CA to flow into the top of the body side and roof contact areas. This should take care of the attaching the roof to the body.
If everything is square, add pieces of styrene into the 4 corners of contact between the sides and the ends. I used 0.188" x 0.125" styrene. My pieces were just short of the windows down to the top of the brass piece at the bottom of the sides. Allow the CA holding the pieces in place to completely cure.
For the side of the end where the motorman is located. This end is bumped out for additional room for the motorman. You need to add some stripes of styrene to fill in and support the added pieces.
This process is to support the joint between the ends and the sides of the body. These 4 joints may be the weakest of all the joints making up the body.
These pieces can be seem through the end windows. I used a Dremel Tool with a small round end mill to shave off the corner of the pieces of styrene not attached to any nylon of the body. This is the one corner which can be seen inside the body. Since I did not want to weaken the joint being supported, my cuts were tapered. The top of the added styrene piece was cut off the most with the bottom cut off the least.
Unfortunately I did not take photos of this and my drawings were too poor to be used! I apologize for not taking any photos.
To get this post into the blog and out on the web, let's cut the material off here. We'll pick it up from here with the next post.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Finishing a CTM 4000 Baldie Kit Part 1: Inspection and Cleaning

Photo Viewing Note
To obtain the best view of the included photos, click on the 1st photo to see all of the photos in a larger size.

The kit to make a CRT/CTA 4000 Baldie will make either a trailer or a powered car. This is definitely one of those build to the photo type of kit. The Baldie 4000 were altered so much, you may need to have the photo to back up what your model looks like. Finding alterations has turned out to be a joking matter between Bruce Moffat, Terry Gaskin, and myself.

In some ways writing this is difficult because the kit I assembled was the original kit as Terry Gaskin had prepared the 3-D drawings for the 3-D printing of the parts. My recommendations for what could be done to improve the kit may have been incorporated into the 3-D drawings.

At the same time I do not wish to repeat the instructions you will received for ordering and assembling of the kit. Instead my comments are to reinforce the printed instructions you have. Included in my comments are some items of which you need to be aware to enhance your kit building or problem solving.

When you get the kit from Shapeways save all of the packaging until the kit is complete. Should you have a problem with a part where the part was not printed correctly Shapeways will reprint the part. The process of getting Shapeways to reprint the part may include your sending photos of the shipping label and other labels of the packages. Save everything!

If there are any problems contact Terry 1st before contacting Shapeways!

When you receive the parts examine all of them for problems. One of the printing problems is what I'll call "fading away". The printing of the part will look OK at one end but will start to fade as you look down the side. For example, at the right edge the rivets will be of correct size but as you look from right to left, the rivets will become smaller and smaller. At the left side there are no rivets visible.
This is an example of "fade out". The top panel has the problem while the bottom panel was correctly printed. I did not discover the problem until after the parts were "cleaned" in "Bestine". The panel with the problem has a slight curve. We do not know if the curving is related to the printing problem.

What I found odd is when I mentioned the problem of "fading away" my friend who was involved in a 3-D printing project 25 or more years ago knew about the problem. He was able to describe it to me without any difficulty. What struck me is the problem has been around for more than 25 years while at the same time 3-D printing has been known to the general public for about 5 years. In the intervening time one would have thought this problem would have been resolved. Or, perhaps the problem has been resolved and this is the best we can get today.

Another problem is the part can have a curl or bow. While some curl may be natural to the material, a curl of more than a few degrees is wrong. The test to see if the curl is too much, ask yourself if you can correct the curl. Heat of any type will not correct the curl. The correction must be mechanical - in other words, you have to "glue" something to the curled piece to straighten out it out. This includes structural brass or another piece of the kit.

My roof had a slight bow. It was corrected by attaching the roof to the body of the car. CA was used to glue the roof to the body.

The cleaning solution "Bestine" recommended for the removal of the wax from the body parts can be obtained form the web. "Bestine" is flammable and evaporates quickly. It is best used in a paint hood or in a well ventilated area.

Do not handle the solution with bare hands; wear chemical gloves! I used a large size plastic tub with a snap on lid to soak the parts. A used margarine tub will work out well. Mine was from a lemon-strawberry sherbet.
Please excuse the color of the photo. It's due to the use of fluorescent bulbs. Inside the container can be seen the "Bestine", parts of the sides, and the tweezers used. This is inside of my paint hood.

To place the parts into the "Bestine", a long tweezers were used. When parts are taken out of the solution place them on a clean paper towel. Any long tweezers can be used.
This is a side part. Note the ribbing which occurs as part of the printing. The ribbing has to be sanded flat and smooth.

I left the parts in the "Bestine" for up to 30 minutes without any problems. A new toothbrush was used to get the wax off the parts. Inspect the parts again! It was not until the wax was removed did I find a problem with the 3-D printing mentioned up in this post.
Here are some of my parts. Initially a small bottle brush was used. It worked OK but a new toothbrush with stiff bristles worked better.

When you are done with the "Bestine", it can be returned to the metal can in which it came. It's best to use a small funnel to prevent spilling during pouring the solution back into the can. 
These are the parts for my sides and ends. They are on a shop towel. I like to use the shop towels as they are soft. A couple of rolls were purchased a few years ago. Since they do not get wet and used in the normal manner, they can be reused over and over again.

The next activity is to sand all the parts. For the roof use new 320 grit garnet paper. Unfortunately I had reused some garnet paper and the process took a long time. most of the grit was already worn off.

For the sides, sanding sticks, or some of the other sanding tools covered in post dated January 1, 2015, " Some Modeling Tips etc." can be used. Sanding the various side and end pieces does not take as long as you may think.
Here are a number of parts for the sides and ends after sanding. Be sure to clean all the parts of any sanding dust.

In the next post we'll start to glue the parts together and build an endoskeleton of brass.