Skip to main content

I know I said that I wasn't going to place the building on the layout until the boiler house and silos were completed, but I couldn't help myself. It was going to be a while until the other parts were complete and I needed the work surface. So I placed the stuff onto the layout and was not disappointed. I hooked up the power and lit it up. At least now it's in a place where it can't be damaged by me bumping into it.


Distillery Complete 8

Distillery Complete 4

The Town as of 11-16


And some longer view shots,


Distillery Long Shot 1

Distillery Complete 2


I've gotten the boiler house drawings complete and will send it through to Andre for cutting. I spoke to Bob Spaulding at Altoona Model Works to see if the smoke stack can have different lettering. It can. I need to do more research on the silos, especially all the detail on the top works. 


I started this building in earnest in April and finished it in November. If I do another, it will take about half that time. It's that old learning curve again.


There's still a Bourbon warehouse to build. This is not a brick building and therefore, shouldn't be as difficult to design and build, but it has a ton of windows which would lend themselves to laser cutting. And I actually ran some trains today... what fun!


Images (5)
  • Distillery Complete 8
  • Distillery Complete 4
  • The Town as of 11-16
  • Distillery Long Shot 1
  • Distillery Complete 2

Thanks all!


Started building the silos. Once again, I wish I was making three instead of two. It took one to figure out how to do it.


The job started with gluing the wooden place holders to the tops of the mailing tubes. These are the same wooden circles that I made to do the site work .


I then wrapped the mailing tube with strips of thick paper to create the bands that you see with the prototype. I used the 3M99 high-strength adhesive. I sprayed the strips, but after putting on the first one, I realized that it would adhere better if I sprayed the mailing tube also. This meant having to mask the first strip that I already applied. I masked it, sprayed some more adhesive on the tube and applied the second band, and then masked that. I realized this was dumb and sprayed the rest of the tube. 


The final band overlapped the bottom so I had to spray the tube again which meant more masking. The result was a near catastrophe when I tried to remove the 3M blue tape. It peeled a lot of the paper bands and made a mess of the surface. This led me to covering all of this with aluminum foil.


Silo 1 Problems 2

Silo 1 Problems 1


I used the MicroMark PVA onto the shiny side of the foil after cutting a piece foil that would fit with some overlap. After force-drying the adhesive I rolled the tube onto the foil to start the wrap and then used a rag to smooth the foil onto the tube. Again, the results were sub-par.


Silo 1 Alum


I smoothed the foil down with a burnishing tool that removed the most obvious wrinkles. From a distant is looks passable.


For silo #2, I changed a few things. First, I sprayed the entire tube before applying any paper bands. This completely eliminated the masking and its attendant problems. 


Silo 2 skinned


As you can see the bands are much neater.


To apply the foil to the second tube I rolled it on for its entirety. This gave a smoother application, not perfect, but better. When the detail work is applied, the surface finish will become a bit less obvious. There's a lot of details to build: catwalks, piping, outside ladders, pumps and other mechanism to get materials into and out of the silos. I also want to install a couple of outside lights like I did on the substation.


Silos 1 and 2 Alum 5

Silos 1 and 2 Alum 1


If I was to do this again, I would cover the outside with Top Flight model aircraft mylar. It goes on with wrinkling, I can be heated and stretched so it would conform to any minor geometry imperfections. I used it to surface the B-17 model that I built 5 years ago, and it works pretty well. In fact, I may just decide to do the whole deal over again and do it that way.


Here's the actual silo at Heaven Hill's distillery.


Grain Silos


 There's a lot of stuff going on to move grain from the silos to the distillery.

HH Boiler plant and Smoke Stack


Images (8)
  • Silo 1 Problems 2
  • Silo 1 Problems 1
  • Silo 1 Alum
  • Silo 2 skinned
  • Silos 1 and 2 Alum 5
  • Silos 1 and 2 Alum 1
  • Grain Silos
  • HH Boiler plant and Smoke Stack


Those curved top windows look familiar. That black on the ceiling is that alcohol-fed fungus that I noted in an earlier post.


In looking at that first image, I've made my ceiling heights too low. Not going to change that now. Regardless of what's actually going on inside, the building has a huge amount of interest. It's not your average O'scale structure.

Well... Thanksgiving is over, I gained almost 3 pounds, but lost more than one of them already. I had my son and his family here for the long weekend and the girls got the chance to run the trains. Older grand daughter's response was simply, "Cool!" From a 10-year-old girl that's about as good as it gets.


I finally got back to the shop late this afternoon. I got some additional pictures of the silo tops from the plant manager, but they're a little ambiguous. I'm going to make due with them as best as I can. 


silo 1


I can see that the material handling system seems to be square or rectangular in cross-section. I can also see how wide the catwalks are. I've been finding it very difficult to find perforated walkway material in O'scale. I've ordered and received diamond plate decals from Archer Fine Transfers. This is the company that makes the rivet decals that are sold by MicroMark. Unfortunately, it's expensive and isn't very large. I'm going to make the one catwalk a bit narrower than the picture so I don't have to buy more of it.


As the other picture showed, I over-built the ladder platform by attempting to make it match the silo's curvature. After looking again at the pic, it's just a simple rectangular platform. It would have made it much easier to put on the Plastruct pre-formed industrial rail. I tried to bend the plastic rail around the brass platform, but it didn't work out so well. I seriously thought about ripping the platform out—difficult since it was well CA'd into the silo—but had second thoughts. Instead, I decided to build a railing out of brass angle and 0.032" brass wire. With the RSU it was doable. I couldn't get it too hot or the plastic Plastruct caged ladder might melt.


I cut the angles with Xuron rail cutters, leaving a tab that, after being bent, provided a positive place to solder it to the brass platform. I used the digital calipers to space off the holes and lengths.


Platform Rail 1


The second piece was the left front corner post. I then put the rails into these two. I used 60/40 rosin core to hold the post to the plate, and the TIX lo-temp solder to hold the rails so soldering wouldn't re-melt the post/plate joint.


Platform Rail 2


Some of the TIX filled the opposing holes in the front post so I re-drilled them. I put the right rear and right front posts in and put rails in those. I then pre-curved the front rails and threaded them through the center post. I soldered the rails to the ends and then centered the middle post. I soldered it to the plate and then using TIX soldered the rails to the center.


Platform Rail 3


I wish I could have built this off the model since it greatly complicates painting having it already on the silo. But that train has left the station.


I'm using a new photo stacking software for the MAC. It called Zerene Stacker. The non-professional version is 90 bucks. I couldn't find a free one for MAC like I had for the defunct PC machine, but I needed to get something to control depth of field. The magazines were concerned that my iPhone shots were not coming up to standard. This is a nice program. It's faster than Combine ZP which I used previously. It does the aligning and stacking in one click and is faster doing so. As a refresher, you take a series of pictures, each one being focused at a slightly different point. The above consisted of 6 separate exposures. The software aligns and then matches the sharpest points on each exposure and then combines them into one with perfect depth of field.


And once again, without the RSU, I wouldn't have even thought about soldering something like this while already on the silo. 


Tomorrow, I start cobbling together the top works.


Images (4)
  • silo 1
  • Platform Rail 1
  • Platform Rail 2
  • Platform Rail 3

Well, well, well... from yesterday's post to today's it looks like a new (and much more stylish) forum site. Good Job OGRR!

In addition to having a long conversation with Andre Garcia about the next distillery building I'm going to need cutting for the Heaven Hill Visitor's Center, I did continue working on the silos. 

I mounted the upper caged ladder and then installed the circular railing for the top. I had a block of wood that was the same diameter (4") as the silo. I wrapped the railing around the the wood and held it with a large rubber band. I then used my heat gun to evenly heat the plastic so it would take the curve. It worked...sort of. You have to be careful because if you stay on one spot it will go from soft to melt in split second.

Silo Top Rail PMax

I cut the rail long and overlapped the ends. I held the rail over the rim and adjusted the overlap until in fit reasonably well. I then use solvent cement to adhere the overlapped ends. I used med CA to tack the rail around the perimeter, then went back and used thin CA to fill in the entire circle. I made the overlap to coincide with the ladder's exit. I cut some short rails and filled the gap between the ladder and the silo rail. I reinforced all these joints with CA and then trimmed away the material between the gap rails. This also removed the overlapped rails resulting in a pretty good looking circle.

I then started to build the corn transfer system. I'm making it 2 scale feet square. It starts with a vertical box leading from the silo top straight up through the catwalk that will be 6 scale feet above the silo top. It will interconnect with the sqaure section horizontal feed system. This will meet at right angles with the system that will take the corn into the distillery building. This will be complicated and will require some model girder work to make the system supports going into the building. The system boxes are made of 0.024" styrene sheet with internal corner reinforcement.


Images (1)
  • Silo Top Rail PMax

Exercise day and haircut so minimal shop time... 

After studying the silo pics I saw that the tops were black probably with some kind of roofing compound so I masked and then painted the tops Tamiya Nato Black (a sort of weathered black). I then started working on the vertical feed shafts that will take the corn up to the conveyor system and then into the main building. This silo project, as usual, is much more involved than it first appeared to be. That's okay. The complexity will make it more interesting.

Before doing any of that, the top rail fractured at a stress point. What to do??? After quickly noodling a few approaches I decided to try and save it by drilling with an 0.021" drill and then putting in a brass pin. I use the prick punch to put a mark in as close to the center of that small cross-section, and then drill using a pin vise. I've developed this skill over a period of years in drilling out gun barrels on 1:350 scale ships.

Silo Rail Defect

The end result is the saved railing. After painting it will go unnoticed.

Silo Rail repair

I masked the glue point for the corn feed and glued them to the roof using medium CA. After gluing here's the feed tube in place.

Corn Feed Vertical

The next thing I did was knock one off the silo without the railings. This was a blessing in disguise since I had yet to make all the other stuff that was going to form around this part. So I promptly got to work doing just that. I made the small caged latter segment that would take an operator from the silo top to the catwalk and the other conveyor mechanism. I used .100" Evergreen styrene angle to form the frame and then some thicker stuff for the bottom. The bottom will need some 0.040" spacers to fill the gap between the narrower ladder and frame at the bottom. In this image, the ladder IS NOT glued yet.

Silo Corn Feed Platform 1

The ladder rungs from the platform level upwards get removed. After looking at what I did, I'm going to use angle on the bottom also with the web facing outward (plus the aforementioned spacers). Tomorrow I'll get more done one these assemblies.


Images (4)
  • Silo Rail Defect
  • Silo Rail repair
  • Corn Feed Vertical
  • Silo Corn Feed Platform 1

I realized that the lower portion of the corn feed system was too tall by about half. The ladder up to the catwalk goes over the top of the lateral feed tunnel which in itself is attached to the tops of the feed coming out of the silo top. As a result, I cut the square boxes in half length-wise. I then re-attached the styrene angle that will hold the ladder and then attached the ladder using some shims to fill the space between the boxes width and the ladder's. 

One box/ladder assembly was glued to a 7" X 1" piece of 0.040" styrene that will simulate the catwalk. This first part was glued at the very end. I then took the silos and this assembly out to the layout, put the silos in their respective places, and then test fit the catwalk to the silos to mark the location of the other Box/Ladder assembly. I needed to do this since I'm going to finish up most of this work while it's off the layout and had to get the actual distance between the two. After marking I took it back to the shop and glued it to the catwalk. 

Silo Catwalk 1

As you can also see, I reinforced underneath the catwalk with some Evergreen styrene "H" beams. While these are a little heavy for the application, it's what I had lying around so I used it. On top of the catwalk are some more parts of the feed boxes. The catwalk will be declared with the diamond plate pattern before painting.

I then constructed another box the same length as the catwalk that will be the lateral feed conveyor. Since I had just glued the end plates on, they are not yet filed to final size. This will glue on the small boxes, but am not doing that yet since the diamond plate decal needs to be installed first. The box would be in the way. In this pic the lateral feed is just sitting there being picturesque.  Above and across this will be a small platform and then have a small ladder dropping down to the catwalk. I'll craft some motor, gear box, belt covers for each transition point. Apparently, the corn is moved in some form of conveyor. I've seen images that show a series of paddles that move the corn ahead of them in a positive displacement sort of way.

Corn Feed 1

I'm doing this sort of differently... I have even made any drawings. I figured, the complexity would make doing the drawings take as long (or longer) than building it. So I'm just building it. I need to buy some more structural styrene shapes. I especially need some channel, since that H beam is too massive for the rest of the work that needs to be done. The biggest of which is the conveyor and truss supports that will take the corn into the building.

It's the weekend, so work will commence on Monday.


Images (2)
  • Corn Feed 1
  • Silo Catwalk 1
Last edited by Trainman2001

Yesterday I did more work on the corn feed system. Main catwalk received its Archer Transfers diamond plate resin decal. I used the digital caliper as a measuring stick and transfer the width to the decal sheet and sliced off the right amount for the walkway. I then glued the lateral feed tunnel to the vertical stumps. From that point I spent time fabricating the bridge walkway, and the descending ladders that would gain access to the main catwalk. There were a lot of fragile joints that I reinforced with medium CA. Sometimes I get a bit clumsy and re-break stuff unless I secure it really well.

Corn Feeder with Added Platform

Both of these small walkways will need the diamond plate treatment also, and then it's on to constructing the long railing next to the catwalk. I don't have enough Plastruct rail to do this AND do the circular rail for the other silo, so I'm going to go back to building it out of brass. When it's painted, the different rail designs may not be noticeable (I hope). I'm thinking that instead of attempting to glue this to the two silos, I may attach it with a couple of dowels so it's removable and thereby making the silos removable from the scenic base. This is in keeping with my, "Don't glue structures permanently to the layout" philosophy.


Images (1)
  • Corn Feeder with Added Platform

My time period is kind of like Pixar's "Good Dinosaur", it's a hodgepodge. It would have been Steam/Diesel changeover time, around the mid-50s. That being said, the substation is clearly modern with current ABB equipment featured. My cars and trucks are all over the place, mostly 50s and 60s. My engines are all correct except for my U50C, and the SD35. I build what I like and what looks good. Once you get those three rails and track that would scale about a foot high, you're already off the reservation. To further muddle things, my track plan is pretty mundane, with a large outer loop and an inner loop that really a gigantic and slightly warped figure-8. There are #8 switches that do allow running over the entire layout. I like to let trains run and be able to walk around and look at it from other points of view. A switching or point to point layout really doesn't allow that. I have an MTH remote for my Z-4000, but it's not really working for some reason, and I haven't yet pulled the trigger on getting DCS.

Got the catwalk railing made and mounted on the assembly. Using the small brass stanchions as I did with the silo ladder platform, I again measured and prick punched the rail locations for the 0.032" holes. This time, I did the drilling before I cut the pieces to length thereby giving me more to hold onto while drilling. I used the drill mounted in my Dremel flex shaft hand-piece. I use a couple of drops of Tap Magic cutting fluid for brass when drilling with these small drills. It cools, lubricates and seems to reduce time to drill as well as keep the grabbing down to a minimum. I cut the pieces using the Xuron rail cutters by clipping one leg of the angle and then clipping across the other leg. This seems to prevent distortion. I trimmed on leg of the angle at the bottom to allow it to extend down the larger brass angle that forms the mounting to the assembly. I used my nibbler to cut this small chunk of brass. I allowed extra material when measuring the stanchions to account for this mounting tab.

Again, the RSU made fast and easy work of soldering the stanchions using the 60/40 fine rosin core solder. I held the mounting angle in the Panavise to stabilize it while soldering all of this. The 0.032" brass wire threaded easily into the stanchions which I held in place with some strategic soldering using the RSU and lo-temp TIX solder. I only soldered the rail on the ends and one middle stanchion. I clipped the wire close with the Xurons and touched it all up with a file. The whole rail assembly is held to the main body using medium CA.

Corn Feeder Rail Added

The last thing I did today (after taking this picture) was adding the diamond plate decals to the cross walks. 

I took the whole deal to the layout and again tried it onto the silos. I have to grind away a little plaster around the silos position since the wooden disks I used to mold those openings was the mailing tubes o.d. (4"), but then I added another ring around the base which increase the o.d. by about an 1/8". I then measured the distance to the main building and the amount of drop since the silos are taller than the main building's walls. I'm now going to design the conveyor tunnel and the truss assembly that will support it. The run length is 16" and the drop will be 5 7/8". This is probably not going to be very prototypical, but I basically flying by the seat of my pants.



Images (1)
  • Corn Feeder Rail Added

Many thanks Gerry! 

I designed and started building the Corn Conveying System to get corn into the main building. Instead of actually going downstairs and measuring the size of the conveyor box from which to base the design, I relied on my memory. Big mistake. While I was very careful laying out the distances and drop from the silos to the building, I forgot that my conveyor box was 1/2", not 3/4". After several hours of drawing, I printed out the plans tiled since it was too big for a single 8.5 X 11 inch page. When I took it downstairs I realized that the corn conveyor box was 50% too fat, and therefore, the truss system that supports it all was too large by that much also. Back to the digital drawing board!

This image shows the fat version. I didn't want to spend the time reducing it's girth by 1/3rd. Also not show are

Converyor Mockup

the vertical supports that I'm going to design after fitting the whole deal onto the layout. I've also decided that instead of trying to grind out the extra plaster in the sockets I'm going to remove about 1/8" of the bottom outer layer of the silo covering.

Changing that one dimension actually changed the geometry of the whole deal and I basically had to re-draw all of it. Printed it out a second time and taped all the pieces together and I was able to get to work.

 Corn Convey Truss Draw

I separated out all of the gussets and print them out on its own sheet. I'll glue this to a sheet of 0.010" styrene and cut them all out. The outside truss frame is 1/8" styrene angle. These gussets will nest into the angle's web.

Corn Truss Gussets

I'm gong to have to keep my wits about me since there's a right, left, top and bottom differences. When I shrunk the width it changed the angles of all the web pieces. They almost too shallow and I may need to add more of them and again change all the angles. Maybe I will and maybe I won't.

The build started by cutting up 0.040" styrene sheet into pieces .5" wide for the conveyor sides and 0.080" narrower pieces for the conveyor tops and bottoms. The side pieces were glued together with solvent cement and little pieces of styrene as junction plates between the three pieces per side. The top and bottom pieces are receiving some .125" X .156 styrene rod as reinforcement. I didn't get as far as I wanted so it will have to wait until Monday.

Corn Conveyor Build 1

Projects like this one seem very complex and daunting. It's like rigging a full-rigged ship model. Once complete you say, "How the heck did you do that?", but you do it one string at time. While you're working on it, you're only focused on one line, where it starts and where it ends. You carefully thread it through the other lines to it's termination. And then you do another one. I know about this stuff... Here's one that I built for a yacht club in Eddystone, PA.


The secret is, JUST START! It takes care, but it's not impossible. It's takes time, but hey, that's what a hobby is all about (my wife reminds me of this all the time when I'm complaining how long something's going to take. So while I'm a little anxious about building all that truss assembly, I know it can't be more difficult than that ship was.



Images (5)
  • Corn Convey Truss Draw
  • Corn Conveyor Build 1
  • 6077
  • Converyor Mockup
  • Corn Truss Gussets
Last edited by Trainman2001

Happy Tuesday! Didn't work yesterday, instead spent time doing errands and going to Scale Reproductions to get more Evergreen structural shapes to start the corn feed conveyor truss. Today, I finished the conveyor body itself. I glued the other side piece in place and then slipped the last side down inside between the sides. I glue added reinforcement to the top and bottom pieces. After it all dried, I sanded the open ends true and attached the square end plates. After it set for an hour I filled a couple of gaps and sanded the whole deal. It's now ready for some more detailing and painting. This will be painted before installing the truss. Even as gangly as it is, it's quite rigid.

Corn Conveyor Complete

I changed the layout of the gussets in Adobe Illustrator so were touching one another and in straight lines. This facilitates cutting them out. Using Krylon spray glue, I attached the printed sheet to a piece of 0.010" styrene sheet and then proceeded to scribe and break them apart with a #11 blade.

Cutting Gussets

Soaking the parts in some Goo Gone, cleanly separates the paper from the styrene. Tomorrow I kill the Goo Gone with some alcohol, and then start building the truss. I will have to plan carefully about how to assemble and paint the truss AND get the conveyor inside.

Today was an exercise day so I didn't get into the until 2:00, and then at 4:30, #2 grandson and my daughter came over so I could help him finish his Lyre, a project for an English class presentation.

Jack and the Lyre

Tomorrow, I will be able to get a lot done. I'm not the neat craftsman that Alan is... I tend to have every work surface in action at the same time. I only really "straighten up" when I finish one project and get ready to start another. My grandsons are growing up in front of my eyes. This one is at least two feet taller than he was when he helped me build the work bench complex in the background. Moving to Louisville was the best decision my wife and I ever made. We've been able to be part of the boys' lives during the years that really make a difference.


Images (3)
  • Corn Conveyor Complete
  • Cutting Gussets
  • Jack and the Lyre

As predicted, I was able to build the truss sides today. I modified the drawing and made the right and left overlap to save paper and space. They're printed out tiled and taped together.

Corn Truss Revised Plan

The rails are 1/8" angle. The rectangular cross pieces are .060" X .100" and the small diagonals are .080" styrene angle.

I started by holding the two rails on one end to the plans (covered with poly film) using T-pins. After attaching the appropriate gusset plate, I started gluing the cross members in place. I realized after putting them in on the first section that I really didn't have to pin everything down. It created more stress and twisting than not having them at it.

Corn Truss Assembly Start

After gluing all the verticals in from the back, I was able to turn the piece over to put on the diagonals on the front side. Working with angle creates problems since you can't easily put the angle web-down. Once the cross pieces were in, it was stable enough to turn over.

Here's the two truss sides finished. 

Corn Truss Sides done

I was able to correctly build the right and left hand versions. I've decided that I'm not going to fully inclose the truss around the corn conveyor. It makes it very difficult to paint the two components different colors, and in reality would make servicing the conveyor almost impossible. I'm going to leave the top open. The conveyor will be supported with square brackets spaced along the truss. These will add more stiffness to the whole affair. I still will have to make the vertical supports which will mean more trusses. Here's an approximation of how that looks. I drew the uprights next to the corridor as triangular in cross-section, but that's hard to build. It will be either a single-faced truss, or a four-sided truss. Not shown is any of the silo-top complexity which I don't have to draw since it's really already built. I also didn't add all of the additional cross-bracing on the tall support. I found a pre-drawn truss in the SketchUp 3D Warehouse. There are thousands of drawings made by others that are free to download. 

Corn Conveyor Render0024

The models come in as a "Component" grouping. I won't go into this SU detail, but suffice it to say you have to edit this in order to change anything about it. I was able to added length and more members to make them fit my application. But it's not easy nor fast. It's faster than engineering it from scratch, but it takes time which I didn't need to spend on this piece. The silos and conveyor will not be offered in any kits that come from this model. I finish up the horizontal portion tomorrow, and do some more detailing on the parts done so far.


Images (4)
  • Corn Truss Revised Plan
  • Corn Truss Assembly Start
  • Corn Truss Sides done
  • Corn Conveyor Render0024

Thanks Mark and Al. I really don't care, but there's a little voice in the back of my head that comes from my days as a shop teacher, "I'm not adequate, I'm not adequate!" I taught metal shop in one room and power technology in another. I was a very hands on teacher and would be involved with the kid's and the bell would ring. Unfortunately, as it happened, it often was the 2nd bell and the shop hadn't been cleaned up. And then I had to move over to the other room. It was often just on the edge of chaos. Meanwhile, my lead teacher, who taught wood shop, was always organized, and his shop was usually spotless. He'd walk in my room and just go "Tsk, tsk." It was demoralizing. And one more thing, when ever I would go into his room when classes were in session everyone would be actively working away.

I envied his organization. Only after I left public school teaching for teaching in industry that I learned something very interesting. Two of my previous students came to visit me. They said my leaving was devastating. I explained how unlikely that seemed to me. I said that my shop was chaotic and sometimes there were kids who weren't working. They then clued me into what was really happening. They told me how much they had learned in my shop. As to "working" in wood shop, they learned to look busy to keep the teacher off their back. Some days we didn't work. Instead we talked about important stuff like drinking and driving, and drug use. I shared life experiences with them and helped them cope with adolescence. 

As a teacher of young people, you never know the impact of what you're doing (or not doing) at the time. It's only in retrospect that we realize the impact people have on our lives. If it wasn't for the pitiful pay, I would have stayed as a teacher for the long haul. As it was, I was working 3 jobs, and sick most of time.

Sorry about that digression...

Today I finished the horizontal "CornVeying Truss" with reasonable success. It was a complex build because of the dog-leg. I realized that to effectively hold the bottom cross members in place, I needed to make more gussets. I had duplicated the entire set when I printed them out from Illustrator, so I had plenty. I also didn't allow for this when installing the side truss cross members and it meant that I had to individually notch each one to nest over the cross member.

Gusset Mod

This took almost 2 hours. I derived the exact lengths of the bottom cross members by setting up the trusses next to one another in their final position, and then measuring the distance with an inside caliper. The digital calipers didn't quite fit to take this measure. There had to be two different lengths since some members are put on edge-on and alternating ones side-on. I also put on 5 temporary top spaces to hold things square. These are removed later when I installed the corn conveyor brackets which serve the same purpose.

CornVeyor Truss Side Prep

To glue the two halves together, I just carefully started at one end and kept going till I reached the other end. It was slow, but steady work.

CornVeyor Truss Join

The last thing I did was install diagonal bracing. With the truss built, I again used the inside caliper to get the exact measure for the brackets. They came out to about 1.046" square. There was some slight deviation in a couple of spots. The brackets are a flat piece cut out to fit and space the corn conveyor, and then with an added set of angles around the opening as stiffeners and added support for the corn conveyor.

CornVeyor Bracket Test

After installing all the brackets, I placed the conveyor into the truss and took this picture. It's not fit exactly right in the pic... it was just placed. I also noticed that I have to adjust the right side end of the truss since it now interferes with the upper works assembly ladder. I adjust it next time.

CornVeyor Complete

I can now remove the CornVeyor to paint the two parts separately. Next is to get the measure and finalized design the vertical supports so this thing can go onto the layout.


Images (5)
  • Gusset Mod
  • CornVeyor Truss Side Prep
  • CornVeyor Truss Join
  • CornVeyor Bracket Test
  • CornVeyor Complete

Thanks Guys! Once a teacher, always a teacher. 

Didn't work in the shop today, but spent a lot of time on the computer. First I did a rendering of the first wall for my daughter's new kitchen. They're engaging a cabinet maker to custom build the cabinetry. I asked if he was submitting formal drawings and what he gave them left a lot to be desired. So I scaled it into Illustrator then moved it into SketchUp and produced a detailed rendering. I found that all of the cabinet sets are different widths. I'm worried that this will create additional chances for error, and slow his construction time. I want my daughter to discuss it with him to make sure he's okay with this. I find it a bit disconcerting. I do more design work for my railroad buildings than he's apparently doing on a very expensive kitchen project.

Stove Wall Fixed

When I added all the lengths and compared it to the 15' 4 1/2" overall length, and it don't add up. The cabinets on the right end up at about 31". Here's my take on it.

Kitchen Stove Wall0025

You can actually get the actual equipment she's choosing in SketchUp. GE has their line loaded in as 3D models.

Then I went back and simplified the secondary conveyor supports. I'll make the main support as a vertical truss,  but the smaller ones are now going to steel columns.

CornVeyor Support Redo0027

I am still amazed at SketchUp. This free program should be a required subject for us railroad modelers. I mean, seriously, look at that image. I'm standing on the ground looking up at the whole deal, in perfect perspective. I have an add-on called "Visualizer". I had to buy this, but it's now being offered for free for SU 2015. They're no longer supporting it, so I was unable to get it for 2016. It's the simplest ray-tracing program that needs very little understanding and works very quickly. It's not designed as a major photo-realistic renderer for doing interiors with various lighting and cameras. It's geared towards exteriors in sunlight. It uses the shadows set in SU.

Have a great weekend. If you're seeing Star Wars (Like my grandsons) have a great time. Otherwise, have a nice weekend.




Images (3)
  • Stove Wall Fixed
  • Kitchen Stove Wall0025
  • CornVeyor Support Redo0027

Both grandsons were off from school and spent the day in the shop working on a couple of photo-etched iconic building kits. I therefore, didn't get too much accomplished, but I did get something done. The first this I had to do was put the little square transition piece to attach the conveyor. Then I had to modify the truss at the top end so it cleared the small ladder system that lies next to the connection point.

Corn Truss Adjustment

With the help of grandson #2, I held all the parts together at the silo's top and measured the distance to the ground to establish a starting point for tower construction. It comes to 11.5" leaving enough space for footings and mounting plates. I then went back to Adobe Illustrator and designed the vertical tower truss. I printed it out after figuring out how to get Illustrator to print tiled pages without leaving out the gap where the pages meet. You have to dial in the amount of drawing overlap. In CorelDraw, this was done automatically. Here's the drawing I produced.

CF Tower 1

I ran out of .125" angle for the longhorns, and substituted .100" that I had. I also adhered the gusset drawing to some 0.010" sheet and cut them all out with the #11 blade as before. And like before, dropped them all in a bath of Goo-Gone to remove the adhered paper and excess adhesive. That was the last thing I did so they're soaking overnight. Tomorrow I start construction of the tower. This process of creating vector drawings, adhering them to styrene and then cutting them apart is easy and makes some very accurate pieces. This time I'm going to put the gussets for both sides of the corners in place and then measure and cement the horizontal members. This will prevent me from having to individually trim all those notches to clear these pieces. Without those dog legs, this should be a simpler and faster construction.


Images (2)
  • Corn Truss Adjustment
  • CF Tower 1

Thanks Mark!

Got the tower support completed in one afternoon. It will work nicely. Even using the .100" angle, and .010" gussets, once all those little pieces are fused together it's remarkably rigid (Just like the real thing). I did what I said I would do... put all the gussets in place for all directions before installing any cross-pieces.

Tower Gussets

I noticed something interesting... the soaking all night in Goo Gone softened the .010" material and made it a bit rubbery. Didn't matter. Once all the other pieces were connected, they performed well enough. I put the longhorns on the print, supported both sides with some angle plates and measured the exact distance between opposing supports. This measure was transferred to the Chopper and I cut two sets of the four needed for the cross pieces. After building the two opposing sides, I again supported them between the angle plates and measured the distance for the remaining cross pieces. I simply could have used the previous dimension and subtracted 2 X 0.060" (the thickness of the opposing cross pieces), but I felt more confident to actually measure off the model. Using the angle plates at 90 degrees to set the end pieces square, I was then able to fill in the rest. After all the cross pieces were in and I had a square column, I measured the diagonal brace length, chopped them up and then individually mitered the corners as I glued them all in. I did have a couple of minor repairs when the thin gussets fell apart from too much solvent cement.

Tower Complete

The last things to was cut the square end pads and a piece of ply to serve as a concrete foundation piece. The height worked out really well. I test fit it all together with the corn feeder top and it worked. I just couldn't hold it all together and still take a picture. Next up will be the simpler supports that straddle the kitchen corridor and then paint. That's probably all going to have to wait until after New Years since we're heading on another road trip back East to celebrate with the rest of the family. I may or may not get something done tomorrow. If I do, y'all will know about it. If not, everyone have a Merry Christmas and a happy, safe and healthy New Year!


Images (2)
  • Tower Gussets
  • Tower Complete

While I had some pre-trip stuff to do, I was able to get into the shop and finish up the supports for the cornveyor. I didn't have any 1/4" styrene tubing, but I did have 3/16". That's a 9" pipe which would be sufficient in the real world (or so my amateur engineering brain tells me.) I did have some Evergreen I-beam in both 1/4" and 3/16" and that formed the cross bars. The 3/16" I-beam also served as the ties between the two posts on each side. I doubled checked the span on the actual distillery before starting construction. The I cobbled together a couple of popsicle sticks held with some small metal clamps to make some temporary legs to measure the column height. I held it all together with a prayer and used a level to get the height set and then measured it with the digital calipers. From this I subtracted the two layers of I-beams, the mounting plates on both ends and the wooden "concrete" footings. The remainder was the length of the four poles.

Lower Leg Alignment 

I shaped the ends of the I-beams with a rat-tailed jeweler's file and, using a piece of brass to raise them to the center of the posts, glued three I-beam spacers on the poles and then joined the other pole using an angle block to keep the ends even.

Lower Cornveryor Legs build

After making the mounting plates I glued the legs to the top plate first and then to the bottom plate. In all these instances I reinforced the joints with thin CA. I needed a second shim to truly get the two support systems in sync, that was due to having to remove the diagonal braces from the truss so the plates would have a flat surface upon which to glue them. I then glued all the supports to the truss, set it all up again and took this picture showing it all together. When we come back from vacation there's some details I want to add in the form of some electric motor, belt drive assemblies that will "power" this contraption. Then I'll paint it all, put on some nut, bolt and washer castings on the footings, and get back to the silos themselves which need a little work to more easily fit into their plaster sockets. Then it will all go onto the layout.

CornVeyor Complete

Up next will be to create the railroad tie retaining wall between the back of the distillery site and the railroad. I received all the extra ties from Ross so I'm ready to go. Andre Garcia and I are playing telephone tag to discuss the next cutting and the boiler house.


Images (3)
  • Lower Leg Alignment
  • Lower Cornveryor Legs build
  • CornVeyor Complete
Last edited by Trainman2001

Hi Gang! I'm still here. After an 11 day trip Back East, my wife and I both ended up after New Years with miserable colds. Today was the first day that I had the gumption to get into the shop. Also, I got the cutting estimate from Andre to do the main building, the boiler house and the shed roof. Total (just for the cutting) was $650.00. That puts it out of the range for a kit since this doesn't include materials, shipping, resin parts, instructions and and profit. If anyone is interested, let me know, but I suspect that if any kit is offered it would be limited to the main building.

Today I went back to the work of final fitting the cornveyor onto the building site. I had to remove 1/8" of the jacket on the silos' bottoms so they would seat properly in the pre-made sockets in the base. I made the place-holder for molding the sockets out of the original o.d. of the mailing tubes. I then added two layers of Strathmore Art Paper which expanded the o.d. about 1/8". They no longer fit. The thought of removing the plaster to enlarge the sockets didn't appeal to me, so I used my Midwest Balsa Strip Cutter to scribe the line around the perimeter and peeled away the excess material.

Silos Bottom Trim

With the silos now fitting their sockets, I was able to place all the stuff onto the base and note the location of the "concrete" tower footing. I then removed the plaster from this area making another socket.

Tower base cutout

Here's the whole deal in a test position.

Cornveyor test fit

Everything sort of fit so I got back to finishing the silos by adding the circular railing around the remaining silo. In this instance, I chose to attach it to the side rather than gluing it on the silo top. This worked much better. One rubber band around the rail and lots of CA and accelerator did the job. I should have done this on the first one. DOH! It's that darn learning curve again.

Silo Rail Mod

The last thing I did was CA the "concrete" bases to the various towers. I may or may not inset the small towers' bases into the landscape. It depends on how it all fits. There in locations where cutting out the plaster may not be so easy. I'm seriously thinking about getting a spray booth. Normally, I do solvent-based painting outdoors, but it's winter and that's not so feasible. If I spray it in the basement, the heating system captures the odor and sends it upstairs to complaints from the CinC. With the amount of model work I do, it would nice to do solvent-based spraying inside. There's also a nice new line of acetone based paints that I'd like to try, but again, it's the fumes. 

Do any readers have a spray booth? If so, what kind, brand, etc.?



Images (4)
  • Silos Bottom Trim
  • Tower base cutout
  • Cornveyor test fit
  • Silo Rail Mod

Thanks Mark and others! It's nice to not have to scroll through pages of posts to find mine. I continued fitting the Cornveyor and then decided to take a break by starting the RR Tie retaining wall that will finish up the trackside edge of Bernheim's scenic base. I need to paint the cornveyor parts and didn't want to create any smells with my wife and eye still somewhat compromised in the breathing department. 

The bottom row of ties gets secured to the base by Aleen's Super Tacky Glue and strategically placed wood pins (made out of round toothpicks). While the base plaster was relatively flat, there were some areas where I had to excavate a bit to create a suitable footing. I only had to do this 3 times. So the job progressed quickly. I did about half the wall and then quit. It was getting near dinner and my back was beginning to twinge a bit. The rest of the job will have to be done in the "inter-gorge" area of the layout.

I'm using the Dremel with the flex-shaft to do all the drilling. 

Here's the start. The left end will be finished with some Sculptamold creating the transition up to the foam core panel comprising the base.

RR Tie Wall 1

To stabilize this curve part, I also put some pins between the tie layers so they wouldn't move out of position before the glue dried.

RR Tie Wall 2

Here's the toothpick inserted into the drilled hole. I use flush cutters to snip the toothpick close and then shave the stub flush so the next piece seats properly. 

RR Tie Wall 3

The topography rises as I move to the right. It's 5 ties high on the left and 3 ties high on the right end. I'll age it a bit with weathering powders and add some vegetation growing out of the cracks and around the base. It's a good way to make a nice retaining wall if you get tired of plaster or stone.

RR Tie Wall 4


Images (4)
  • RR Tie Wall 1
  • RR Tie Wall 2
  • RR Tie Wall 3
  • RR Tie Wall 4

We tried some of the commercial hobby spray booths and they were just too small.  So I contacted Grainger Supply and they advised me on a heavy duty exhaust with an external motor to keep the motor away from the flammable paint being exhausted out.  I had a vent on the basement wall so I vent through that.  We then built a large spray booth out of 1/2" sandply and created a downdraft system to exit the gases through the bottom through 3 air conditioning filters placed side by side.  The filter catch the paint and all we are exhausting is the gases to the outside.  We placed a slot over the filters so it can be closed when not being used to keep the outside.... outside.  Well worth the trouble.  The fan cost around 1k and the plywood was modest in cost.  I mounted 1 4' fluorescent in the ceiling and it works great.  No matter what I paint we never have fumes in the house.




Add Reply


OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.