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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 2 Straight Track

Straight Track

EDITOR'S NOTE - The laying of track for the in the street and paved area for the loop module will be treated as different topics for each Post. They are not in the order in which the actual track was laid. Instead they in the order in which questions have been asked. To date this comes to:
Part 2 Straight Track,
Part 3 Curved (Loop) Track,
Part 4 The 2 Turnouts, and
Part 5 The Curved Crossing.
There may be more as the individual Post are written. Here's Part 2.

Street railways used a girder rail intended for straight track. Many years ago Bill Clouser had prototype O scale rail produced for straight track. The problem is this rail is hard to find today. Plus this O scale girder rail was too much like the porotype in dimensions. The flangeway was too shallow for most O scale trolley models having deeper flanges. Some fellows have ground the flangeway deeper.

Clouser girder rail is best left for Proto 48 (Fine Scale) usage. If you are interested in finding O scale girder rail you might try Protocraft . Although they do not currently show it in their online catalogue.

Code 125 nickel silver rail was used for my layout’s street trackage. Instead of the Clouser girder rail, after the 2 turnouts plus the curved crossing were built and tested, I soldered a piece of code 100 nickel silver rail on its side to the inside of the code 125 rail.

The head of the code 100 rail was tinned 1st. Then the code 100 rail was soldered in place using small amounts of flux and solder. Clamps made from wooden clothes pins work out well. Before the clamping is done 1st reverse the blades of the clamps as per the photos.

From experience I’ve discovered the wooden clothes pins come in 2 sizes. Either size works well. The position of the spring in your new wooden clamps will give you either a light or heavy clamping. You might find it advisable to have both light and heavy clamping available for your work.

These are the  2 sizes of clothes pins I was able to purchase over the years. Either size works out well. Note that the longer clothes pin will allow you to grip the object further from the edge.

This photo shows the before (left), during (center) and final form of the pin after the blades are reversed.
Green = the gripping area away from edge of blade
Red = the 2 clothes pin blades
Blue = gripping area after blades reversed
Pink = location of spring for moderate pressure on tips of blades
Orange = location of spring for tighter pressure on tips of blades

After soldering check to see if the soldering worked. Try to move the code 100 rail to the side. Re-solder any areas where the original work didn’t solder.

A small section of the straight girder rail track being soldered. A small piece of code 100 rail is about to be soldered in place. Part of a wooden clamp can be seen on the left.

The code 125 rail was soldered on copper clad electrical board strips from Clover House. A short  #2 round head screw holds the copper clad strips in place.

To clean-up the flangeway a hacksaw blade with a wide knerf was used. Move the hacksaw blade back and forth until the solder is removed. A file will be needed only for areas where other rail needs to be cleared out of the flangeway.


Friday, October 28, 2016

100,000 Pageviews of the Posts on This Blog

Another milestone has been reached. Individuals have viewed a Post in this Blog 100,000 times. This is listed as "Total Passengers"  on the bottom right of the page.

Thank you for viewing my Blog! The USA accounts for the most number of viewers. Canada accounts for the 2nd most number of viewers over the last several months. A special thank you goes to my Canadian viewers.

Some of you have looked up Samuel Insull, my name, or another term which has appeared in a title or Post. You may have heard about me and were interested in seeing what was being written. Many of you are friends who are returning.

Others were perhaps doing research on Samuel Insull and ran across my Blog. My wish is you found the material interesting and helpful.

For whatever reason you read my Blog, my wish is you will continue to read the Posts.  As the saying goes, once a teacher always a teacher. My entire life has been devoted to teaching in some form or another from teaching my fellow high school machine shop students the math in the course, fellow members of our Sea Scout Ship the information needed to raise in rank, the new employee orientation where I worked, or to finally teaching high school chemistry.

We need to get more individuals interested in traction and trolleys from the past as well as the current. We also need to get more individuals interested in O scale trolleys as a hobby. Perhaps this Blog will do that.

If you have been coming back to this Blog for the various Posts, please include yourself as a "Follower" of this Blog. It's easy to do. Thank you.

Thanks for looking up things and following my Blog!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Working on the Street Track End Loop Module - Part 1

After writing at least 4 of the subtopics for this Post, a combination of the editor used for writing the Post for the Blog plus my new laptop computer equaled all the material being erased! Baa humbug!!!

That event along with the "town finishing work" required to finish the street track work have caused me to rethink what I do to prepare the Post for publishing. When you start to work on track to be in a street, you have to have a well thought plan as to how to finish the street(s) with curbs, buildings and the balance to the town.

When compared to open track, the street track is more complex. With open track the r-o-w can be painted "track color" with the balance of the area painted green. As you will see the street track requires you to have a plan as to what to do from the beginning.

I'm sitting here looking at the fire station which had to be built to finish the town. Earlier today 3 cans of paint - a concrete color, a mortar color for the brick finish of the fire station, and a mint, pastel green for the interior of the fire station had to be obtained just to give you an idea as to how things go.

Now to start putting all the tools away which were required to get a far as I have.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 7

Before getting into the material for this Post, I attended the 2016 National O Scale Meet held in Indianapolis this year. My primary reason for attending was to help a friend sell items. The vendor in back of us sold hand made turnouts. His beautiful products are made up of rail and the associated castings (frog, guard rails, etc.) glued to the ties. The ties are glued onto a mounting board of the buyers choice. The buyer of his ready to use products can cut a hole in the layout and drop his product in place. The vendor said the buyer could add spikes if the buyer wanted to.

The reason for bringing this up is, I serious doubt the work being done on the 2 end loops could be done with just glue and no spikes. There's too much soldering involved in the end loops. The heat from the soldering would soften the glue and cause failure of the glue to adhere properly.

Back to the end loops! This is more about recommendations and/or requirements of track design and engineering. As part of the turnout construction include all the wing rails and guard rails. For the turnouts the guard rails do not have to be very long.

The soon to be completed, as far as the rail part goes, open track end loop module.

Since the loop is built to a tight radius, the rail on the inside of the loop must have a guard rail all along the curve. In photos of the loop you'll notice the inside guard rail stops where the loop reverses direction. A guard rail then starts on the inside of the other circle.

Hope you are able to see the pencil line connecting the 2 centers of the curves. This is where the curves change direction.

A chose up of where the curves change direction. Note how the ends of the guard rails are treated, bending them into the center of the track.

When spiking down the interior rail, on the side of the rail where the guard rail is to be installed, the code 70 spikes were used. This was done because the code 70 spikes with a 0.025" diameter proved to be excellent spacers between the 2 rails. The NMRA track gauge was used to gauge the gap between the 2 rails.

Now is the time to break out as many different trail trucks you have. Pick the ones with the worse wheel sets plus the longest and shortest wheel bases. Also try to pick large and small diameter wheels. Check each wheel set for being in gauge!!!!

If there are no problems, proceed checking the track with powered models. If there are problems, with a felt tip pen mark the ties where the wheels of the truck are when the problem happens. Fix any problems.

Once any problems are fixed, if you know how the layout is to be wired and/or where the electrical gaps in the rail will be, install any wire drops now. I prefer the outside of the rail where the wire is soldered to the base of the rail using adequate size wire. Clean up the track for the painting.

The track is made up of both natural wood ties with rail install on them and premade flex track. All of the rail is a silver, metallic color. I never use weathered rail (Unless the rail is being reused and already has been painted.) or track to make a layout. Weathered rail is harder to solder plus it's more expensive. After all the track work is done, the rail, ties and roadbed are painted a dark brown.

On my prior layout and on the new layout house paint was and will be used. It's brushed on with a disposable brush.  The top of the rail is cleaned afterward before the paint completely sets. The paint and colors used were/are:

10+ years ago on my old layout - Home Depot Behr Interior Flat "Gun Flint" #3B39-8?

Now, 2016, ACE Hardware Interior Flat "Momentous Occasion" #VR096A
The paint in a dark chocolate brown is applied to the track and the balance of the top of the module using a 1" disposable brush. The water miscible house paint is brushed over the track, cork roadbed, and the top of the module for about 1" from the track. 

The dark chocolate brown color was picked when color chips from Home Depot were placed on the Burlington Northern tracks in Berwyn, IL near East Ave. Granted not every tie is the same color and the side of the rail may be a lighter color. The lighter rust/brown color was air brushed afterwards on the side of the rails. The over spray gave the tie next to the rail the correct effect. Remember there is a art component to this hobby. 

Start painting the turnouts, then do the balance of the track. Work slowly looking from one direction down the track and then the other direction. Get both sides of the ties. Try to not get the paint on any part of the track where there is to be electrical contact.

Paint can get on the top of the rail but wipe it off. The wiping off does not have to be too well done as the top of the rail will be cleaned later for best electrical contact.

I don't want to get into paint chemistry other than to say as the paint is brushed it should become thinner or more watery. This is a unique property of the paint. If you find the paint is too thick to start out with, you should be able to add up to 5% by volume of distilled water to the can of paint. Over the past 50+ years water miscible paints have become better paints.

Within a short time the paint will feel dry to the touch. The exterior of the paint has formed a skin over itself. However, the paint inside the shell is still wet and requires more time to fully dry. Allow the paint to dry for up to 5-7 days. When the paint is completely dry, any flex track or loose ties will be held in place. The paint acts as a "glue".

After the 5-7 days the balance of the top of the module can be painted a grass green if you plan on planting grass on the module. It does not matter too much about this painting. Different materials to make grass, a gravel walkway, weeds, flowers, fences, etc. will be added later.

After the paint has thoroughly dried install the turnout points and the ground throws. Once the ground throws are installed recheck the track gauge of the turnouts. Correct any problems now. If necessary don't be afraid to rip up any track work and relay the rail. It's far easier to correct track work problems now than later.

Next is the street end loop module. Cheers,

Monday, October 10, 2016

Working on the 2 End Loop Modules - Part 6

First on the agenda is the "brown" paint you may have noticed in the 2nd to the last photo in the prior Post.  

After the ties for the turnout are in place but before any rail work is done, the 2 longer ties where the mechanism to operate the turnout is connected, are painted with the same paint as the balance of the track will be painted. It's hard to paint in this area after the rails and mechanism is installed. More about the paint and painting when the balance of the rail and roadbed is painted.

Next - Yes, a turnout and a crossing with curved frogs are to be built. Extremely important items to point out are the Golden Rules of turnout and crossing/track scratch building -

Whenever building a turnout or a crossing with a curve through the turnout frog or the rail crossing, always used a continuous curved piece of curved rail in building them. For the straight track, individual pieces of straight rail are cut to fit in where needed.

Also, do not have any rail joints with connectors in either the curved or straight track. If the piece of rail being used is too short, replace it with a longer piece of rail!

With this thought in mind, the next piece of rail to put into place is the other curved piece of rail. This piece of rail ends with a tapered piece of rail called a point. My piece of rail will end with a rail connector. The curved point will be fitted into the rail connector later.

A reason for not using the Old Pullman prebuilt #3 frog turnout is, it is to be used to measure parts of the prebuilt turnout. The length of the points can be measured and copied which is what I did.

As work was being done installing the rail to make the curved track, run a non-powered car or at least a single truck over the track and around the curve(s). Correct any problems before proceeding further. The most common problem is the gauge of the track and any guard rails is too wide or too narrow.

Do not use or operate any models under power until all the soldering flux as well as the rail is cleaned. Soldering flux will cause the rusting of ferrous and chemical oxidation of non-ferrous metals. The chemicals in the flux will expedite problems with your models.

After the curved track is done now install the straight track up to both sides of the crossing. Install straight up to the far side of the turnout.

Install the 2 pieces of straight rail between the curved rails of the crossing. The curved rails can be cut just a little bit (head only) to make the frogs. I used a small diameter cut off wheel for this operating at a low rpm.

The guard rails are installed one at a time. Pre-curved rail with the same radius must be used for the curved guard rail.

Remember, you're suppose to be making the turnout from the instructions found on YouTube. If the web instructions don't cover a curved frog, make the frog just like the track work for the curved crossing.

When the guard rails are in place cut the rails deeper as required per NMRA Standards. Besides the small cut off wheel in a Dremel Tool a broken hacksaw blade can be used. The knerf of the blade works out well to make a wide cut. The blade can be slow but will not cut into the rail a fast as to damage your work. I have permanently curved pieces of hacksaw blades for this use.

Place the turnout points in place but do not finish installing them. Check the rails of the turnouts to see if any further adjustments are required, Make corrections now. Remove the points and store them.

You'll have to wait for the next Post to find out the color of paint used.