2009 November 26

2009 November 26  Thursday  (Page 11 of 35)

What a day Thunder and rain but temperature is falling.

Ok trying to get the top level bench work finished at least to the middle of the back wall. This needs to be up and ready, to allow me to work out where Trentham will connect in.

I am using a cheap $70 laser level to set up the height and to keep all the modules level. You would not build a house with this level :) However it does a close enough job for a model railway. Can you see the laser beam on the wall in the corner?

One more panel to the left has already been added. Today's job will be to adjust each board with the laser check with a spirit level and then use "loxin" bolts to fix L girder to the wall.
The short spirit level will be used to ensure the inner side is straight and level, and the edges of the module will be fixed to the pillars using "loxin's" also. This firms the whole module up, sufficiently to carry scenery track and trains :)

Got notified 8 days ago that the B Class additional order was on the way. However it got lost somewhere and arrived this morning after I had sent a message to Auscision worrying about my parcel. Patience is something I have not learned. I am one big kid at the moment and Santa Clause is delivering the biggest order to my house I have ever known. Just heard that another 5 S Class will be here next Monday or Tuesday..WoW!!!
Don't know how much work is going to get done today ;) Got to check out out what's in the box :)

ps I feel this sounds like I am bragging :( I'm not really, just excited. When I was still driving trains for a living, Australian model railways was going through the second revolution.
I ignore Hornby / Triang because I think of their stuff as crap (sorry to the collectors) But to my mind the First stage was Lima producing close "look-a-likes" of Australian models and all the cottage kit builders that arrived in the 70's. Trax produced some fairly good plastic "better" than toys too.
Stage 2 was the arrival of reasonably priced BGM and ALCO brass models, with Precision taking over at extremely high prices as the other two ceased to trade.
I guess Powerline also started producing Aussie stuff too.
And Stage 3 is when Australian Model Railways really bloomed for me. John Eassie and Tom, as well as Trainorama then Auscision started producing fantastic ready to run.
I remember I was able to buy one or two brass engines from the first two, and was very envious of the people that were able to buy heaps. However when Precision took over the market, I fell of the top of my credit card bill, and had to walk away. $1200 to $1500 was just too much for a locomotive in those days.
So I know how it feels to not be able to pick up this stuff, because I am committed to my family, job etc. Cheer up, because things change. Here I am today with over 100 Chinese imports of Aussie prototype, and I am very happy with the way things are looking for modern model railroaders.
Cheers :)

2009 November 28  Friday

 Went shopping with my daughter and Grand Daughter yesterday, and when I returned my parcel from Auscision had arrived.
This morning I had to get blood tests and a CT scan, so that wiped out the best part of today. However I did get a fair bit done. Levelling up the boards and maintaining a common height with the laser level, then fixing everything to the wall. As well I had to build the connections between the boards across the face of the pillars. Very satisfied with todays progress. Next job is to install about 100 cross pieces to support the track bed.

The upper level has been levelled and bolted to the walls. Ready for cross pieces and trackbed.
I decided to leave the helix till Roger arrives. The track needs to be perfect and I am not getting it there yet.

The end is strong enough to walk on (almost)

Lots of distractions today. The B's have been fitted with silent decoders and scale KD couplers.
Every B Class was found to have loose hose bags. So I drilled them all out and glued them back in place. Auscision will need to address the glue problem. I was distressed at this because I felt it should have been picked up before packaging. B60 had two lose hose bags in the box. The other two fell off as I checked the couplers.
The A Class seem to be OK.

One more for the road  :)

2009 December 1  Tuesday

Well the top bench board is prepared for track laying! Shopping day today purchased the wood needed to complete that section. Tomorrow I need to lay some track up the second level of the helix, and glue it down ready to set up the third level and on...
Cool weather, easier to work in, I guess

2009 December 5 and 6
Saturday / Sunday Cool days = work days :)
A very busy weekend.

About 2.00pm Roger arrived to continue work on the helix. We spent about 12 hours fixing the SG to the existing road bed and added nearly two more levels. We also spent some time with the Loksound programmer and installed a fairly decent NSWGR 57 Class 3 cylinder sound project into a Loksound v3.5. A real learning experience.

Peter Allen (pres. Murray Railway Modellers inc) came to "weld" some brackets!
and installation of Trentham starts in earnest. We had some minor set backs, but in the spirit of "Bolivia" she is now bolted in place on the frame at eye level.

Looking back on the Bullarto side.

and then back towards the Helix (Saturdays job)

Looking along the Trentham side

The next two pieces ready to mount along each side

The end wall. Here a "Bowser" type station will join the branch line to the main line

The Helix needs 1 and 1/2 levels to reach the upper level. Then the tops will be cut off as the sides are screwed into the ply road bed.
Thank you Roger Lloyd for the inspiration and the massive hand you have given me in this project. I think that this place might end up bearing your name!
Where's the Pass? I don't know you better check out Roger's hole their is 100 meters of track in the helix, a lot of room to lose a train in :)

The Helix needs 1 and 1/2 levels to reach the upper level. Then the tops will be cut off as the sides are screwed into the ply road bed.
Thank you Roger Lloyd for the inspiration and the massive hand you have given me in this project. I think that this place might end up bearing your name!
Where's the Pass? I don't know you better check out Roger's hole their is 100 meters of track in the helix, a lot of room to lose a train in.

Wonder how my helix goes for size? its built in an area 2100 x 2100 and the minimum radius is over 950 Most I have seen are a lot smaller, even if they have more levels.
This one has tree tracks and is designed not only to lift trains 48cm to the upper level, but as storage for trains, adding time between stations for timetable runs.


2009 December 7  Monday.

Santa Clause drives a little red Corolla!  The S 's are here :lol:

Very nice they are too..
took 5 minutes to get the first out of the box, 5 seconds to get the top off (ease sides out and watch the mech. fall out) 30 seconds and a broken nail to get the dummy out of the DCC socket!! another 2 seconds to get the new Digitrax DH165 IP inserted and another 5 seconds to get the top back on. Less than 6 minutes to get the thing DCC certified.
What an excellent model. However in truth it is a distant second to the Auscision A and B runs.

Now if Auscision could mount their cabs and cow catcher to the frame and the easy lift off body to their new models, all the others could close up shop and go home :)
However Trainorama are to be congratulated on another fine model for Victorian Modellers this time.

2009 December 21

A whole Fortnight gone by? :(

Joining the island modules to the layout.

I took the easy way out and used heavy supported angle brackets. So far I have not had any problems.

(edit Feb 2013 And I wish I hadn't :(  I am going to replace them all with a piece of tube welded directly to the shop shelving. This will get rid of the angle support and the visible bracket)

2009 December 21 (continues later that evening)

Testing a new LED for high and Low beams. This is a new surface mount design. In fact it is three tiny surface mounts encapsulated in an epoxy lens.
Just lowered the resistance for high beam. All I got to do now is work out how to dip the lights.

High and low beam. Just need an extra resistor. I notice that some decoders go to low beam when the Loco stops.


2009 December 30

I have to get air conditioning! Its 36 C outside Its 26 C in the house
In the house the air conditioner is not running, but the windows and doors are keeping out the hot North wind.

The Train shed is fully insulated in the ceilings, however it was actually 41 C at 7.00 pm tonight.
The sun heats up the bricks on the West wall and you cannot leave your hand on them inside :cry:
So Tomorrow I have to waste train money on 20 meters of shade cloth and materials to cover the West wall and part of the North Wall.

Then I will have to sort out an air conditioner. Without shading the wall, I will need a 20 btu air conditioner running flat out to cool the bricks.
So it will be cost efficient to shade them then use a 8 btu unit to freshen the air inside.

Still it looks like $3500 I did not want to spend just yet. That's 10 G Class or 6 G Class and 4 81 Class when they early next year all with sound :cry:

edit! on the good news side, I placed an order for more DCC Control gear
I have a Dual Channel Digitrax DT402D, UT4D and a UR92 Duplex transceiver coming
As well I ordered some Micro Engineering track that will allow me to upgrade Threntham and connect it into the shelf around the walls.
Points are going to be a problem, though as they are out of stock till at least February.

2010 Jan 1

"Steamtostay says
Here's a cheap 'n' nasty way to get trains running earlier: build all the track surrounding the points, down to the last millimetre. Use a template to make sure you have it accurately positioned. Then, grab some surplus flexi track, and use track pins to secure the toe to the baseboard. Attach a balsa-wood tiebar to the opposite end of this piece of flexi track. Match the rails up to each of the tracks, and drill one hole in the baseboard for each setting of the points, using only a single hole through the balsa tiebar. Use the nail, dropped into the hole, to secure the points. Wire in and you've got yourself a stub switch!"

Not a bad idea that one ha ha!
However I am not that desperate to get them. Stock in Australia is available at $37 each, however I can get them for $16.90 US Au ($21 Au + $3 postage)
So I decided to go with the best deal :)

I don't think the hobby shops in Australia do themselves any favours. Their high margins have cost them the Chinese Imports and many people moving off shore for their hobby purchases.
Some shop keepers complain they get hit with GST on postage as well. However 10% of $3 is still only 30 cents.
A shop in the US buys wholesale and can sell it for $16.90. UPS is about as expensive as any, getting stuff out of the US. An Aussie dealer orders once a month, and uses an airfreight company to bring a large box into the Country. I doubt if the freight per item would exceed $3.
So if the Aussie shop keeper was prepared to accept the same margin as the Yankee one and GST goes on combined price of AU $24, the Aussie price should be $26.40?? No? So the Aussie shop makes the US margin plus $10.60 !! That's near 50% mark up on the US Discount price!
So I fear that this hobby is expensive enough, I must go to the US and that gives me $111 to spend on something else, Yes! :D
I feel sorry for the Hobby shop owners, but I feel much more sorry for my empty wallet :(

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