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Thread: TWR Build Thread

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    Default TWR Build Thread

    Hello all,

    I've been busy all summer working on the layout (and reading this fine forum). I've been meaning to post updates, but have been, in all honesty, slacking. However, I didn't neglect to take pictures, and just wanted to share how things are coming along.

    First of all, this is the layout that was first introduced in this thread:
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...for-operations

    It has officially been named "Trainspot Window Railway" by the two chief engineers (ages 5 & 9). The railroad is sized to fit in this window alcove in my son's room. The window in question can be seen in the attached picture.

    One of the interesting features of the layout is the low curved trestle. I had a thread going about that here:
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...curved-trestle

    I also discussed in detail my experiences with building the trestle in the following blog posts:
    http://nscaleadventures.blogspot.com...d-trestle.html
    http://nscaleadventures.blogspot.com...e-part-ii.html
    Attached Images Attached Images

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  3. #2
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    Default Trackwork begins

    I went with code 80 peco track for this layout for two reasons. First, I had good experience with Peco track and they make a really fine product which is reliable and quite forgiving of errors. Second, and more importantly, I had enough of the stuff left over from a previous project to build this layout twice.

    Anyways, I started laying track in the middle of May. The first two photos show the humbe beginnings.

    I started with the inner loop and sidings first and had originally planned to work my way out. But pretty soon I realized that the holes for the switch machines were so huge that going from inside out was a bad bad idea. So, halfway through, I started working on the outer loop. Pictures 2-6 show the progress.

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    Default Trackwork complete

    Picture 1 shows an interesting angle from the layout. I don't know why but I think that angle has great potential for photo ops. The siding on the right is an industrial spur. The curved track in the middle is the inner loop and the spur on the left is the interchange track with the outer loop. You can also see the curved trestle in the back.

    Picture 2 shows test fitting some buildings.

    Pictures 3 and 4 show the completed trackwork! Yaay!

    Now, obviously it didn't take me 2.5 months to lay track that can be done in one day. I did work on other parts of the layout and also was able to spend only about 2 hours a week on this as the summer was quite busy. At the moment all switch motors (9 of them) are wired and the control panel is in place. One of the crossovers is fully wired with bicolor LEDs in the control panel. The remaining 7 switches will be completed soon. I've got all the necessary diodes, resistors etc.
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    Default Superelevated curves

    I decided to take a stab at superelevating the curves on the left side of the layout. That part of the layout looks like a double-track mainline, so it looked like a good candidate. I didn't bother on the right hand side. The outer curve first goes over the trestle and then through a tunnel. The inner curve will have a grade crossing right in the middle of the curve, so there wouldn't be enough curve lenght to superelevate.

    I've used gradually increasing layers of masking tape method which is discussed widely on the net. It was very easy to do. To be honest, I don't know if it really made that big of a difference. Probably because the curves I had were too short for a good effect - I was able to go up to only three layers of masking tape.

    Anyways, attached are two pictures of the end result.
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    Default

    You will be running trains way before me! Nice work,
    Yours,

    Gene

    Turtle Creek Industrial RR

    Link to my Flickr account: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epumph/

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    Default

    That is looking really nice!
    - - There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I like to use that line as a jump rope. ... (unknown)

    Come visit my Layout Build Thread - http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...l-Build-Thread

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    Default Control panel

    Thanks guys.

    Another thing I had completed was the control panel. I opted to go with a control panel for switch control primarily because the layout is to be operated by the kids. I didn't trust my youngster with ground throws. If this were a layout for me, I'd probably go with manual ground throws all around since this is such a tiny layout.

    For construction, I decided to try something different (why oh why do I do that?) and go with a plexiglass control panel. Here's the thinking: plexiglass is thin enough to mount the micro switches I have; I can just print out a diagram of the layout on hard paper and put behind it; it'll be so easy. Well well. How badly mistaken I was. I mean, the end result looks ok, but it probably would've been much better to go with a more conventional method.

    Anyways, first I created the control panel design on the computer (image 1). Then I used that to drill pilot holes on the side of the layout base (image 2). Drilling those giant holes on the nice, varnished face of the layout really made me uneasy. Heh heh.

    Next was cutting the plexiglass to size and drilling holes for the switches and LEDs. Now this was painful. You really need to drill slowly with plexiglass. I did have experience with it since I have plexiglass guard rails around my other layout. But, I still had trouble as the holes were big and they had to be very close to each other. I cracked the plexiglass several times, but kept on going. Some holes turned out better than others (images 3 & 4).

    When the plexi-carnage was over, I laid the control panel design on the plexiglass and attached the switches and LED holders. It looked nice and that's when I started to think that this might work after all (images 5 & 6).
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Control panel - continued

    I then attached the control panel to the side of the table using four bolts; probably overkill but I didn't want it to move once it's in. Images 1, 2 and 3 show the control panel in place.

    I started adding the LEDs and wiring the switches. So far, I just have one crossover wired which can be seen in image 4.

    Oh, and here's a video of the test run of that crossover.

    [youtube]DYf-FepkdpI[/youtube]

    One thing about the video. The video was taken before I wired the CDU in place, so in reality only one of the switches is working in that video, but you can see the LEDs change color correctly. Another advantage about the CDU is I no longer hear the awful sound Peco turnout motors make. The CDU cuts power to the coils as soon as the switch is thrown. That's why you don't hear the sound. Oh, comes in handy too when the kids are operating who tend to use the momentary switches oh-not-so momentarily.

    I can't wait to light up that panel like a christmas tree.
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    Default

    Your control panel really turned out nicely!

    To help with the cracking issues..
    1 - Lay the Plexiglas flat on a scrap piece of wood and drill into the wood. This will help keep the Plexiglas from flexing and reduce burrs on the back side. Be sure to use a sharp bit too..
    2 - Be sure to drill pilot holes first..
    3 - Take your time, you do not want the drill bit to heat up and melt the plastic.
    My favorite computer game is "Stump The Spellchecker"...
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    Thanks JB. I did #2 and #3, but #1 is a great idea. That'll come in handy too as I need to put some plexiglass guards on the front and the back of the layout where there are straight sections with switches right at the edge.

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    Default

    Very nice job, Serdar. I'm still waffling back and forth on how to do my controls. But my kids are a little bigger, so the rules can be different.

    I like how you flush-mounted the panel into the fascia, but I'm curious about why it isn't centered? Is there an aesthetic reason, or is there something structural behind? Just wondering. It's not like there's a wrong answer...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    I really like that control panel. The one thing I should have done differently with my layout was use electronic turnout control so I could have indicator lights. I am finding it a real PIA to never know for sure what direction the points are thrown without getting up and trying to see ... with failing eyes. It's not a big issue but it is an annoyance. I have to try to come up with a way to have some kind of indicator(s) at least on the turnouts nearest the back of the layout.

    Anyway, you have done a great job on that. I am also curious about the placement of the panel.

    The other thing I find helps a lot with drilling (or cutting) plexiglas is masking tape. Put a piece of masking tape on, make your markings on the tape and drill through the tape. It not only helps stabilize the material as you cut through, it also helps to keep the drill bit from slipping when starting the hole ... and easier to see your markings.
    - - There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I like to use that line as a jump rope. ... (unknown)

    Come visit my Layout Build Thread - http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...l-Build-Thread

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    Thanks for masking tape idea MM. Another great idea!

    As for the placement of the control panel, I plan to mount a Digitrax UP-5 to the left of it. That's why it's off center. I'm getting my bonus check on September 15th, which is going to finance a Zephyr starter set. The idea is to have the Zephyr on the right in the slideout, a UT4 throttle connected to the UP5 for the second operator and the control panel in the middle.

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    This week, started the scenery work on the tunnel/mountain. Also weathered half the track using floquil markers. I was going to take pictures & post them last night, but couldn't stand the temptation to run trains any longer. So, I put the Atlas UP GP9 on the track with three boxcars and spent the whole evening watching it go around. Yaaay!

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    What! No photos of the GP9 running around????
    Shame, shame, shame......
    My favorite computer game is "Stump The Spellchecker"...
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    Default The happy GP-9

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzbass01 View Post
    What! No photos of the GP9 running around????
    Shame, shame, shame......
    Welllll, I aim to please.
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    Default Floquil marker results

    I started painting the track with floquil markers. At first I was a bit disappointed as the colors weren't really that obvious. The next morning I realized that nothing really stands out in a dimly lit garage at 11:38pm at night. In better light, the rails look really good. Attached are three shots of the results. In all three pictures, the rail in the front is painted and the rail in the back is factory fresh (Peco code 80 track).
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    Default The scenery begins

    Started the scenery by putting the ground cover on the hill in the corner. I also put the ground cover on both sides of the interchange track. Pretty standard methods, nothing fancy. I mixed light green WS turf with some fine sawdust to break the uniformity of color.

    The tracks are also now painted with the floquil markers, and are ready for ballasting. So Aussie, whenever you're ready let me know.

    I also added a small resin shed next to the interchange track. The close up pictures look horrible, but from regular viewing distance it looks pretty good. Next up is putting shrubbery and trees on the hill.
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    Hi ssoysal,

    Just read through your thread and noticed your troubles with the plexiglass. I will eventually need to build around 7 large control panels for my layout and thought I would do some research on the most 'pain-free' method when drilling holes. I have tried wood drill bit, metal bits and the precision (wood) bits with the little pointy bit on the front but they all cracked, chipped or broke the plexiglass.

    Eventually I invested in some glass drill bits and it worked like a charm. Using them slowly, they bore through the plastic easily and peel away the layer like an orange peel. It is the lack of space in normal drill bits that makes the waste get in the way and cause excess friction to the surrounding area which makes it easier to crack the edges.

    I have done over 10 tests on a spare piece of plexiglass and every hole comes out smooth and perfect with no damage. Attached is a shot of what they look like if you ever go to your hardware store.

    glass_bits.jpg

    Hope this helps with any future attempts or others thinking of making control panels or protective guards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ww2commander View Post
    Eventually I invested in some glass drill bits ...
    As my daddy always tried to teach me, there's no substitute for the proper tool for a job...

    Thanks for checking this out, George!
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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