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EH Lighting Base CoatHappy Tuesday. Had some visitors this weekend an of course the trains decided to derail at two places, the swing door and the outer bridge loop. Swing door I understand, bridge… I have no idea what's going on.

Continue printing all sorts of stuff, some really good, some not-so-good. Still trying to perfect just how big small details have to be to have a chance of surviving my clumsiness. Thought I had a perfect engine back end and then knocked off one of the blower oil lines. I'm going to attempt to drill and replace with metal. I finished up five working lights for the engine house, primed them gloss black and then a darkened aluminum. I also started finish painting some of the other machine tools. I used foil with some PSA to simulate the slides and column. I painted the work table that darkened aluminum (to look like steel).

I wanted to air brush the metallic paint so I had to mask the whole deal.

EH MS Radial Drill Masking

Still some more details to paint and I have to add back a big hand wheel. I used my first separately printed hand wheel today to repair a good print of the surface grinder.

EH MS Radial Drill Aluminum

Here's a bunch of stuff that got primed including a successfully printed work bench with shelves. I thickened all the workbench members.

EH MS Shop Equipment

The lights are going to work okay. I got a big screwed up. Somewhere along the building process I switched from 2 inches to 3 inches on the length of the pole before the bend. I had two at 2 inches, one at one and half inches and two at 3 inches. I didn't think I could stretch one so I took one apart and cut it down to the two inches. I was able to get it apart by soaking it for a bit in acetone which softened the CA. Luckily, the resin is impervious to solvents.

After I got them all working and potted with Bondic I clipped the magnet wire short and spliced on heavier leads that will tie into the building electrics. At first I was using the heavier gauge black/red zip cord, but it was overkill. I wanted to be able to shrink tube all the way into the lamp base and the thick wire prevented it. So some are the heavier and the rest are thinner gauge.

EH Lighting Cabling

Here they all are which the black primer. More masking since I wanted to maintain the shiny aluminum poles.

 EH Lighting Base Coat

I'll take the final shot tomorrow. I'll also attempt to get them up and running. We're heading out for a long weekend to State College to see my youngest granddaughter staring in a professional production of Matilda. She's becoming one heck of a performer.

And I finished up my design for the wheel lathe. Couldn't find any pictures that really showed the entire machine. Furthermore the pictures I did find showed great complexity that would be hard to create. So I did a free lance design that incorporates all the essential things a wheel lathe has, but without the stuff that would be too fine to print anyway. The little gray part over the left is a chuck cleat that I will make at least 8 of to fit into those huge face plates. The cleats grab the inside of the driver's rim to rotate and stabilize them. The centers are into the driver's axle. I went with a solid-center hand wheel in hopes it can stay together. You can't see it, but underneath is a cross-shaft with pinion gears that engage both flywheels and the drive the right one from the left one which is tied to the motor. This is an old design dating back to the early 1900s. This is my SketchUp drawing rendered in Podium plug in.

Wheel Lathe Render

I'm printing it as a series of subassemblies. Two heads, two carriages, the base and the cross shaft. When I first loaded it all up on the slicer that resin use was quite high, then I realized that I didn't hollow out any of the heavier pieces. This wasn't as easy as it sounds since all those chunks on the left head are separate parts pushed together. When I hollowed out an upper part, I had to make and opening in the lower part so the uncured resin has a way out. it did reduce the volume of resin consumed. I'm not anticipating any printing problems since everything's pretty robust. Can't say that for the drill press I printed. First all the levers fell off, then the chuck and spindle fell off and finally the table fell off. There is a reason why really fine details are cast in brass using lost wax. Brass is probably 10X stronger than UV resin. Since part of the machined is below floor level I will have to cut the floor while it's all attached to the engine house. I can used the Dremel with a router head.


Images (6)
  • EH MS Radial Drill Masking
  • EH MS Radial Drill Aluminum
  • EH MS Shop Equipment
  • EH Lighting Cabling
  • EH Lighting Base Coat
  • Wheel Lathe Render
Last edited by Trainman2001

Last day of work this week due to our impending trip to PA. 

Cleaned up a couple of parts grown overnight. I wanted to do another engine block, but I had forgotten how I oriented it on the platen and did it upside down from the most successful ways and it lost connection to the platen near the end so one corner didn't grow properly. But I grew a perfect back end which is really what I was looking for. I also grew the rest of the engine parts. I'm striving to make a perfect one. It's not easy since I then to break stuff during the cleanup process.

I found a color that looks similar to that which EMD used on many of their power plants… kind of a light gray green. Tamiya has a color called "Sky" that could work. This was a reject engine that I glued together. Notice the warped exhaust muffler. I'm going to do a plain block with the access ports open and open cylinder slots. I might be cool to have it in back lot.

567 EMD Color

I finished painting the radial drill and the surface grinder. I added three separately grown hand wheels to the surface grinder and one to the radial drill.

I added a little wash to the drill press base.

EH MS Radial Drill Painted

In this shot I haven't painted the hand wheels yet. I did that tonight while waiting for some other parts to get finished. I printed the first parts of the wheel lathe: the pinion-geared cross-shaft.

EH MS Surface Grinder w Hand Wheels

Here it is sitting in the machine shop. I keep forgetting to paint that reinforcing strip in the corner...

EH MS Radial Drill in Place

And then I started installing all the outdoor lighting. Of course I have one longer than the others for the front three. I set them on the roof so the heads all seem to lie at the same level. I started with the machine shop light. I made a roof prop for  the machine shop roof so I could hold it open while working. I also permanently fastened the gutter to the building. I thought, for the machine power I would just solder the + and - leads to the copper foil after the CL2N3 driver thinking that the entire circuit would be at LED current-limited value.  I drilled a 17/64" hole for the 1/4" base post. I didn't want a press fit letting the urethane glue to hold it in place. I soldered the wires, turned on the track power, the light lit brightly for a moment and then "POOF!", burned out! I'm not sure why that happened. Unless there was something about putting it in parallel with the series LED circuit. I was able to pull the old LED and wiring out of the light assembly, make up a new one and thread it back through. That surprised me!

This time I didn't take any chances and put its own LED driver in series with the LED and then soldered it to the existing foil path, and here's the result.

EH SIde Light

It's plenty light and the three at the front will do just fine.

EH Side Light On

Here are the three in front and you can just see the side light drying with a pair of cutters resting on the base to keep it flat down while the glue dries.

EH Front Lights Top View

Here they are hanging over the front. I didn't want to do any wiring until the glue fully cured. That will be next week. I'm also starting to work on the Sikorsky restoration. I don't want to do that project when the weather turns colder. Did I mention that they're asking me to strip the paint and then leave the model in its native bronze. That makes it easier in one regard; not having to paint it, but makes my work harder since the soldering has to be impeccable. 

EH Front Lighs Installed

I'll be back in the shop on Wednesday.


Images (8)
  • 567 EMD Color
  • EH MS Radial Drill Painted
  • EH MS Radial Drill in Place
  • EH SIde Light
  • EH Side Light On
  • EH Front Lights Top View
  • EH Front Lighs Installed
  • EH MS Surface Grinder w Hand Wheels

Thanks fellas! I'm getting pushback from wife and daughter because I end up beating people's ears off telling about all the amazing things I've learned about this technology. It's really hard not to. 

We drove straight from State College, PA to Louisville yesterday so I had some limited work time today. Our trip was to see our youngest granddaughter star in an adult production of Matilda. She is 11 and dynamite. The lead role is complex and she pulled it off perfectly. She was getting a cold and did four shows, Thursday, Friday and two on Saturday. We saw the last show. Her throat was sore Saturday morning and she was a teeny bit raspy when singing, but she was a true "star" and the audience never knew she wasn't 100%. I could have watched the show over and over again.

I got the base of the wheel lathe printed when we were away and it was waiting on the Machine when I got into the shop today. The base printed nicely flat. I had designed in some X bracing to prevent warping and it did work. I had made one of the open spaces too small and the gear wasn't exposed so I did some post-processing and opened it up. I'll go back and fix the drawing. The front edge where I had a full-length locking groove was too fragile and some parts broke away on de-supporting. The left end face plate and tool slide is now on the Machine and I'll get that tomorrow.

Top View:

EH MS WHeel Lathe Base Top

Bottom View: One gear tooth broke on the bottom and I attempted to rebuild it with Bondic and then shaped with a diamond burr. Partially successful and unseen since this part goes face down below the floor. You can see the part of the edge that broke away on the front edge. I have an extension on SketchUp that lets you produce perfect spur gears. You can fake helical gears by twisting the top face of the gear if you need them.

EH MS WHeel Lathe Base bottom

I had to pick grandson up at school and went to Harbor Freight to pick up a Oscillating Multi-tool that was on sale for $20.00. The heads for it were more expensive than the tool. This was another tool that I've had in my sights for years, but the plane restoration was the trigger. I put all the small parts into the paint stripper today and it works.

I continued working on the wiring of the outdoor engine house lighting. I got the light over the side door tied into the the strand of lighting on that side of the building. I removed the roof so I could work on it upside down on the work table. I just stripped the feed wires to expose some conductor and tied the lighting leads to that. I used another CL2N3 driver to power the light so I wouldn't have any weird current problems. 

EH SIde Door Light Power Tap

I got the front lights partially complete. Again, I'm paralleling the lights with the rest of the circuits. I'm going to gang all three +s and -s into one (each) spade seminal which will be tied into a terminal block. This, in turn, will be ganged into the main power feed. The arrows point out the LED drivers. I've used my last ones on this rig and will have to order more. I'm sure there is a more elegant way to power up all these lights, but this wasn't it.

EH Lighting CL2N3 Drives

Tomorrow I again have to pick up a grandson so work will be choppy again. I'm writing the article on this building concurrently with my daily reports. But I really can't finish the article until three things happen: I have to solve the power problems getting trains to run in and out of the engine house, the landscaping and backfilling that will finish off the site and the completion of the machine shop. I'm going to take some liberties on the machine shop since it's so complex that it really won't be finished in a long time if I really want to make it a very detailed diorama. I may write the article with the engine house proper completely finished and the machine shop a work in progress.

To give you an example of Elegoo's customer service I want to share something that happened. I was informed that Elegoo was shipping a new "ABS-like" resin that was more resilient and less brittle. I need that resin. I went on Amazon and found it listed. Someone had noted on the Facebook page that he ordered it and got the same resin as the old. I ordered it and also got the old resin. I was asked to write an Amazon review and I was not complimentary. I said that I was annoyed by the bait and switch. The next day I got an eMail from Elegoo customer service in China, that said how sorry they were that the new product wasn't shipped. They are refunding my money to PayPal and told me that if my product had a date before August 1, it was old product. They said I can keep the resin since they didn't want me to return it fearing that they could send it again in error to another customer. I never had a manufacturer react to an Amazon review so quickly. It was very impressive!



Images (4)
  • EH MS WHeel Lathe Base Top
  • EH MS WHeel Lathe Base bottom
  • EH SIde Door Light Power Tap
  • EH Lighting CL2N3 Drives

No pictures today, but plenty of frustration.

I was finishing the wiring of the engine house outside lighting. I got all the wires tied together and onto a junction block which in turn tied into the mains. When I tested the circuit, only one out of three lights lit. Prior to this, I had one failed and individual test and I traced it to a bad driver chip. I am out of them (ordered more from Amazon last night) and installed a single 470 ohm resistor to limit the 12 VDC to 20 ma. When I did the total circuit test, the only one that was lit was the one with the resistor. The other two drivers seemed to have failed also.  I cut their chips out and replaced them with resistors and then the one with the resistor stopped working while these two fixed ones worked. (Are you following any of this?) I bypassed the resistor and used my protected test circuit on the bare light leads coming from the fixture, and it didn't work. I needed to pull the entire fixture since the LED probably needed changing. Of course, I had reinforced the fixture bases with CA since the urethane glue wasn't holding. To get it out I had to destroy the base. So new bases are waiting for me tomorrow since I was able to just grow some more, but it was very annoying. I knew the minute I put the cable ties on everything something would stop working. Why did I lose all these drivers? I'm not sure… I think they're sensitive to heat and I may have overheated them in soldering or when shrinking the insulation on them. Either way, they failed. The side light continues to function well and I was using it as my reference test. I never had so much trouble with the surface mount LEDs. The refinery has over a dozen of them. The distillery has 5, Nighthawks has 4 and Woodbourne Gallery has 6. 

I like to use the drivers because I don't have to worry about whether I have one or two or… in series. With each of those I would need a different resistor value to keep the current managed. With the driver it doesn't matter. But… they appear to be delicate.

While I working on the aircraft restoration I'm also working on the engine house. Today I got the wheel lathe almost completed. The pictures look almost done, but it's not. The right headstock is not glued in yet.

Let's start with this image. I'm using the new ABS-Like photopolymer which is gray and not translucent. It makes it easier to see details without having to prime it. The resin is tougher, more resilient and appears to be a little less crisp in detail generation. You'll notice in the pic that the right side bolt on the base didn't print. I went back to the drawing and found that the counter bore floor was missing. I'm not fixing it on this model. It won't be too noticeable in the engine house. I am correcting the drawings so they'll be good for any others. Notice too the cleats on the face plate. I positioned them to fit my extra Pennsy J3a driver set. Those drivers were 63" in 1:1. While the resin is stronger, it still didn't stop me from knocking of the two levers on the control panel.

EH MS Headstock

There was a tiny center mark on the drivers' axle so I was able to enlarge it with my smallest center drill to make a true tapered center point on the axle that would suspend it from the lathe's centers. Here was the unit with both faceplates with the drivers in between centers. I have made the carriages with a piece that extended all the way across. This did work because the drivers extend below that point. I removed the extension. I also had to remove a cross-member in the frame since it too blocked the driver from seating. I didn't realize all of these barriers since I didn't fit a driver on the SketchUp drawing. BTW: real drivers don't have traction tires.

To fit the driver's width I had to slide both face plate units inwards. They're still in contact with the pinion gears, but not full face. I'm assuming that in 1:1, those gears would slide along with the headstocks.

EH MS Wheel Lathe Fitting

Before painting I made my own operating handles from some 0.014" guitar string and knobs built up from layers of Bondic. Bondic is terrific for making knob handles since it cures so quickly under the UV LED.

EH MS Wheel Lathe Handles

I glued it all together and then realized that I needed to paint it and didn't want to have to mask the driver set. So I broke the CA'd glue joint, removed the drivers and painted it. I used Tamiya Dark Iron as the base color. I then freehand airbrushed the face plates, gears and shafts a dark metallic mix that simulates steel. Lastly, I masked the areas around the drive mechanism and sprayed it a nice light blue that I already mixed up. I dry brushed the gear teeth with some chrome silver. It works, but I'm not 100% satisfied with the look.

EH MS Wheel Lathe Almost Done 1\

I'm going to raise the entire lathe on a simulated concrete base so I don't have to cut into the machine shop floor. Here's a good test of the new resin. The crank handles on the left tool post are still there. The ones on the right all broke off. The new resin is definitely tougher. On Monday I'll put it back together and make a concrete base. I it will be done. I may print some tiny bolts and stick them in those holes.

EH MS Wheel Lathe Almost Done 3

I printed a whole set of new light bases only to find out that I printed the earlier version where the stem was not connected to the body. New ones are being grown as I write this. More on this on Monday.

Happy weekend!


Images (6)
  • EH MS Headstock
  • EH MS Wheel Lathe Fitting
  • EH MS Wheel Lathe Handles
  • EH MS Wheel Lathe Almost Done 1
  • EH MS Wheel Lathe Almost Done 2
  • EH MS Wheel Lathe Almost Done 3


The S-38 parts have been delivered to Epic Powder Coating here in Louisville to have it glass bead blasted to remove all that crappy paint and prepare it for soldering. I gave up on chemical stripping in the basement due to lots of factors not limited to smell and how aggressive it is. It ate through nitrile gloves!

I was unhappy with the fit of the right faceplate assembly on the lathe. In the process of cleaning off the old CA I dropped it on the concrete. It was the brittle resin and fractured into three pieces: each bearing support and the faceplate. I glued it back together with CA, but it was no longer properly aligned. This bugged me so I grew another. This one is out of the new resin. 

Before growing I fixed the drawing. The floor of one of the bolt counterbores was missing so the bolt didn't print. I also rechecked the support structure and added some to the locking bolt on bearing support front. As a result the print was perfect. Today I will paint and reassemble. I'm also making the concrete sub-base shown below the bed. This will negate the need to cut a hole in the machine shop floor to accommodate the lower gear shaft. Notice too that the carriage has both hand wheels formed which is because I added a support under the front hand wheel.

EH MS WL New End and Foundation

I finished the re-made outdoor light and primed it. Today I'll paint that too and attempt (again) to install all those new lights. I've tested this light three times and know that it's working. Notice the brass sleeve (white arrow). Even my second printing of the bases was the wrong set. It was still the base where the lug wasn't actually part of the base. Instead of printing another set, I simply glued in a piece of 1/4" brass tubing. The dimensions on the grown part are very accurate.

EH Remade Light

Since this building is destined to be another article, I was unhappy about having the wheel lathe with sub-par quality. It just didn't work for me.

I also bought some more materials for the S-38 restoration and found out some not-so-good things. One is that both landing gear are missing. I wondered what those two 1/4" threaded holes were doing on the engine nacelles. The S-38 had retractable landing gear that were a bit weird, like the entire plane. They didn't fold into a well; they just folded flat in front of the wing. The gear had a long, airfoil-faired strut that extended to the nacelles, and a triangular arrangement that tied at the bottom to the fuselage. They sent me a picture taken in the 80s that clearly showed the landing gear being present. I think I will produce these via 3D printing. They won't support any weight. Ideally, they should be printed with wax resin and then investment cast out of brass. I don't believe their budget would support that. There's also a bunch of short struts holding the front of the engine to the wing that are missing. In this picture, it appears that the landing gear are supporting the weight on the front and a lug is holding up the rear. The gear may have disappeared before the great fall since they were supporting the front with two more bolts hastily drilled and tapped with a piece of copper pipe surrounding them. Or they may have been so damaged as to be unworkable necessitating the gerry-rigged suspension. I'm going to keep the solid suspension and use the landing gear as decorative only.

S-38 Missing Parts

This job keeps getting more complicated. I bought some MAP gas to get more heat in my torch. I needed to get more heat and a colleague directed me to AirGas for soldering supplies. They only sell welding materials, but directed me to an HVAC supplier. At this vendor I bought the MAP and then in a discussion with some patrons and a sales person discussed keeping heat off of parts I didn't want to de-solder and was shown (and bought) a heat absorbing paste that protects parts very near hot work. They use it to protect sensitive controls and valves when silver soldering lines right next to them. I didn't know such a thing existed and it will save me lots of angst. I was going to us wet rags and paper towels which are flammable.


Images (3)
  • EH MS WL New End and Foundation
  • S-38 Missing Parts
  • EH Remade Light

Didn't get the lights done today. There's always tomorrow. I did get the newly grown wheel lathe painted and ready to install. It was the right thing to do; making a new face plate component. Again… I'm a broken record… having a 3D printer means, "Break a part, grow a new one" kind of like a salamander.

You will notice that the anchor bolts are now both there and the locking screw is fully extended. I also added some ridges on the front bottom edge of the bearing supports to positively key into the groove on the lathe bed so it's perfectly parallel to the x axis. I'll glue it together tomorrow. I'm thinking about disassembling my 3rd Rail J1a and switching out the non-traction tire wheel set for this one. It's a very slippery engine and could use the traction tires. Even though it is a 2-10-4 with five coupled axles, on curves most of the middle ones aren't doing anything. This will give me a driver set with real steel tires to decorate the lathe. Notice also that both hand wheels now have handles on the right carriage. But… the front one did break off and I replaced it with a piece of 0.022 phosphor bronze wire. I made the hand wheel robust enough to drill and accept the wire.

The lathe is sitting on the base which I will also finish tomorrow after painting it concrete gray.

EH MS WL New Faceplate Painted

There were two reasons why I didn't get more done today. The first was a call from EPIC Powder Coating today that the air plane was finished being cleaned up. I picked it up and it is exactly as I would have wanted to be. It will be much easier to solder. They charge 130 an hour, but it only took 40 minutes, so it was $80. It would have taken me a week to clean that metal by hand and it would have been AWFUL! Sometimes you have to know when to have a professional do something.

S-38 After Glass Bead 1

Just enough of the solder remains to guide me where the parts must be re-attached. Too bad I can't keep it natural. There's too many non-bronze parts going on that would ruin the effect. The glass beading also exposed one of the two large slotted-head screws that holds the two halves of the fuselage together. I really didn't know how that was done. The other screw appears to be capped. Putting this humpty dumpty back together is actually to going to be fun now that the horrific stripping job is behind me.

S-38 After Glass Bead 2

With the worst part of this job done, I really didn't need the angle grinder that I bought from Harbor Freight so I returned it today for a full credit. I hadn't even opened the box. I'm keeping the portable power band saw and the oscillating multi-tool. The latter was terrific in removing excess solder from the joints I had already made.

I need to get some good reference information about the S-38's landing gear so I can draw up a set and print them. My plans show them, but it's very, very sketchy. I will prevail.


Images (3)
  • EH MS WL New Faceplate Painted
  • S-38 After Glass Bead 1
  • S-38 After Glass Bead 2
Last edited by Trainman2001

Hello sportsfans!

Stuff is still going on even though I missed a couple of days.

The wheel lathe is done and sitting in the engine house.

EH Wheel Lathe Comp 2

A hand wheel fell off and I have to add another. It's not fastened to the floor… nothing is.

EH Wheel Lathe Comp

I also got the outside light done… Finally! That last light was the holdup having to regrow another base. I had to add a piece of 1/4" brass tubing for the connecting stem since even after two tries I still 3D printed the wrong version. I want an iPhone 11 with the triple cameras. They apparently have perfected taking night pictures with high contrast, making the camera see more like our eyes do. Next up is doing some site work to close all the gaps and finish the machine shop. I'm not in a rush for the machine shop since I'll grow parts during down times.

EH Lighting Comp 1EH Lighting Comp 2EH Lighting Comp 3

I had a person ask if I could make a 567 engine in HO. I didn't know, so I tried. I changed the resolution to 30 microns and made some minor adjustments to material thickness. It worked.

567 HO Comp 1

And I found out why the lower oil lines to the blowers kept breaking. It wasn't the resin's fault. The pipe as it continued into the blower body was only a half circle. It was a half circle for a very short distance, but just long enough to create a significant weak point. I've corrected the drawings. He was willing to buy these engines from me. He wants four of them. What's really amazing is the valve gear detail actually came out.

567 Comp 2

Re: the airplane restoration.

I built the assembly jig and it will work. I had to cut all those pieces of 3/8" threaded rod and was looking forward to using my new Harbor Freight portable band saw. I opened the box and NO BLADE! The lady that got the saw for me never mentioned that it didn't come with a blade. I had no desire to stop working and go buy it so I ended up cutting them all with a hand hack saw which is why I bought it in the first place. I took it back and got my $100 back. The jig lets me fine tune the alignment so it all goes together correctly. The parts are very heavy and needed support like this. I had to resolver that cockeyed left engine. I was one of my terrible, non-fused solder joints.

S-38 In Fixtrure 2

I was running into a brick wall (or should I say a bronze wall). I was unable to melts soft solder on joints that included very high mass pieces (wings, nacelles) and low mass parts. I resorted to using two torches simultaneously; a propane in one hand and MAP in the other, and couldn't get the solder to melt. I was getting desperate.

Here's the first actual solder joint.

S-38 Finally a Joint

I sent a letter to American Beauty today after a conversation with their tech support asking them if they could rent or loan me one of their high-powered brazing resistance system. One of team members at the airport had an acetylene/air torch that might be worth a try. Propane is about 1,500° F, MAP is 130° F higher, but the acetylene/air is 2,700° F. Not only is it almost 50% hotter, but it put out significantly more volume. 

It worked! I was finally able to get enough heat into the bronze fast enough that the solder melted. I canceled my request to American Beauty. I'm actually able to put humpty dumpty back together again. I know this isn't about trains, but it's kind of interesting.

I 3D print new (missing) landing gear. I wanted to grow an 1/8" hole down the middle of the strut to insert a metal rod, but the resin didn't drain well out of it. When I hardened it, the resin hardened and closed up the hole and when I attempted to drill it out, the strut fractured. I'm going to make it hybrid with a resin wheel and lower control arms and brass 4" long strut. Here's my SketchUp design. There are no extant drawings of an S-38's landing gear, so I learned from watching a video on a contemporary restoration.

S-38 Landing Gear Proposal


Images (10)
  • EH Wheel Lathe Comp 2
  • EH Wheel Lathe Comp
  • EH Lighting Comp 1
  • EH Lighting Comp 2
  • EH Lighting Comp 3
  • 567 HO Comp 1
  • 567 Comp 2
  • S-38 In Fixtrure 2
  • S-38 Finally a Joint
  • S-38 Landing Gear Proposal

Thank you!

I completed the HO scale 567 and am selling it to a fellow in the Military Modelers Club of Louisville. He also asked if I could design a version of the FM opposed piston diesel. Probably… I just need a good cross-section and a lot of images. I only need a couple of bona fide measurements upon which to build the 3D model. I gave him a small discount since I knocked of the power takeoff hub, one of the tiny oil lines and one exhaust stack. I replaced the missing stack with some 0.040 X .125 styrene. Still blows my mind that the valve detail printed like the machine didn't care that it was half the size of the other model. I'm designing a bare block model with all the access ports and cylinders open. It's a diminutive model as you can see sitting on a die.

567 HO Primed

The next discussion is about the S-38. If you followers aren't interested, please let me know and I'll cease and desist.

I printed out the landing gear for the S-38 and attempted to make an entire set using resin alone. To do this I drew the model with a 1/8" hole down the length of the long strut. After growing, on the right hand set I didn't get the un-cured resin out of the bore and after post-curing, it solidified, necessitating me attempting to drill it out. I made a "D" drill out of a piece of 1/8" drill rod, but right at the very end, the hole began to wander and it pierced the side, rendering the strut kaput. I cut the strut off and drilled the rest of the hub to accept some brass for a new strut. 

For the left side, I drilled some small weep holes so I could flush the bore with alcohol before post-curing. This worked and I got a clean bore that accepted a piece of 1/8" brass tubing. I then drilled the mounting lugs to accept 3/64" brass rod reinforcement. In an attempt to press-fit the brass into these new holes, I overstressed the whole deal and in a slip, broke off the now-reinforced long strut, leaving me with two lower portions-only landing gear.

In addition to breaking off the long strut, I also shattered one of the mounting lugs. Since the brass was already in place, I built a new lug with Bondic. It took two tries to get it right. I first built it over the round brass pin, but the brass was too smooth and the Bondic pulled off. I then squashed the brass with a vise grips and did it again. This time the Bondic fix was quite strong. I had to hand file it to return it to its 1/8" original size.

S-38 Gear Reinforcement

Today, I located these lugs points on the fuselage. There was already some solder residue there and two small pin holes that showed the previous location. I didn't have much clearance to drill these holes. I was just about to buy an angle drill from Harbor Freight when I remembered that I may already have one. I did. It was a Dremel angle head that I use very infrequently (although I should use it more since it makes using some tool bits more easily). While it's pretty compact, I still had to grind about a 1/4" off the drill bit's shaft so it could clear the floats and let me go in at a good 90 degrees.

S-38 Angle Drill for Gear Holes

The holes worked and both gear fit where they're supposed to.

S-38 Gears in Holes

I used the old long strut to get the measure of the pieces I would have to manufacture.

S-38 Gear Measure

There are 1/4 -20 threaded holes in the engine nacelles and I first made the larger 1/4" lower strut with those threads. They didn't thread in nicely and they at the wrong angle. I don't think the engine geometry is totally correct, but I'm not going to attempt to fix it. I then turned the threads off the strut and let it float a bit in the hole. I want to able to make final adjustment and will epoxy it all together.

I drilled the bottom of the big end with a 3/16" drill to accommodate the small end. The other end of the this part had a lug turned to go into the resin hub. On one hub I drilled it with 1/8", but the other one didn't see stable enough for such a large hole and I went much small with a #42 drill. This meant that the two struts are actually different. I don't expect this gear to be weight bearing. It's just being fit in these pics. After all the soldering is done, I will install them permanently.

S-38 Gear Final FitS-38 Right Gear FitS-38 Gear Fit 2

Speaking of soldering. I spoke with a fellow in the tech support group of Harris Metals (a division of Lincoln Electric) and got some advice on solder and flux. My situation is atypical, soldering such small material to such massive material. We decided to go with a high-temp flux so it stays active during the extensive heating cycle and using 60/40 solid core solid to lower the melting temperature. I've ordered both materials from Amazon. Onward and upward.



Images (8)
  • 567 HO Primed
  • S-38 Gear Reinforcement
  • S-38 Angle Drill for Gear Holes
  • S-38 Gears in Holes
  • S-38 Gear Measure
  • S-38 Gear Final Fit
  • S-38 Right Gear Fit
  • S-38 Gear Fit 2

Mark, they were built from 1929 through the 1930s. They were apparently used by a lot of explorers. Must have been quite rugged although weird. Lots of struts and especially over top of the engines to the wings. Those are missing and I just got some metal stock to replicate them. They in a terrible position to solder them. Unfortunately, all the brass I got is square edged and I have to round it all over.


Wings are fabric covered.


This plane is owned by the Johnson's Wax people.


This one was recently completely rehabbed. The long strut is not only the shock absorber, but it also the hydraulic lift jack to fold the wheels up to a horizontal position in front of the wing. This was one of the best pics of the landing gear that I used to model them.

S-38 Gear Closeup

The cabin was kind of luxurious. You had to get in from a hatch in the top rear, same with the cockpit. It had the original Wright Wasp radial engines. Model is an oddball scale of 1:21.



Images (5)
  • Sikorsky_C-6A
  • Sikorsky_PS-3,_1930
  • Sikorsky_S-38
  • S-38 Gear Closeup
  • sikorsky-018
Trainman2001 posted:

This plane is owned by the Johnson's Wax people.



IIRC, you can see it on display as part of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Johnson's Wax Headquarters building tour at Racine, WI (not to be missed, BTW). They built a whole rotunda to house it.

If you go, don't miss the research tower tour. A skyscraper that has only one small entrance door. No longer used, since it obviously fails fire codes. You can get a tour, though.

Last edited by Avanti

Myles - you look like you are having way too much fun....  You've certainly taken modeling to a very high art -- the 'night' shots of the engine house could easily be mistaken for the real thing (probably not enough trash around the outside...).  Its just terrific.

I have a couple of 3-D printing questions for you -- since I don't have a printer (and at this point, I don't plan to buy one), these may be uninformed.  You mention using sketchup to do the 3D modeling.  As a woodworker, I use sketchup all the time - it really is the greatest thing since sliced bread - especially since its basically like doing the real woodworking, in terms of joinery, etc. (less risk of cutting your finger though).  So does the 3-D printer/computer use the sketchup file (*.skp) directly, or do you have to convert it?  What's the finest detail you can print (in terms of actual size).  I guess a better way to ask this is what is the inherent resolution of what you are able to print?  I suppose that depends on the plastic feedstock?  1/128 inches is 7.8 mils or ~200 micrometers (human hair is about 100 microns, plus or minus) -- so if the part is not self-supporting, can you get to 100 microns or a few hundred microns or ?

You must completely finish the drawing in SketchUp ensuring that is a complete solid object and has no reversed faces. Solid means that if you filled it up with water nothing would leak out. Any small section that's not touching another edge or face would create a leak and would therefore not be printable. You then have to export it to an STL file converter. In earlier SU it was a free add-on. In the current version it's included. The SLT creates a 3D model describing all the exterior surfaces that can be interpreted by the slicing software. The slicer then creates the individual layer geometry that the machine uses print the object.

The resin printing system can produce layers down to 10 microns. I find that free-standing objects much small than 1 scale inch in O'scale are very fragile. If they're supported they will be okay, but if they're just hanging out there, they will break off. 100 microns is the best most string (filament additive printers) are capable of which is why I waited until resin printers were available at low price points to do the railroad stuff I'm now doing.

Myles - thank you.  Its interesting/encouraging (to me) that one can use Sketchup to create the actual 3-D drawing.  I should quickly note that looking at the pictures of the diesel engines and the wheel lathe shown earlier, you've got some serious 3-D computer modeling chops - that's not easy in any rendering environment.  One thing I've discovered about Sketchup is the 3-D model warehouse where you can often find models that are 'good places to start'.  Still, Sketchup has a pretty non-linear learning curve - some parts are easy and some are more like steep cliffs... (that I keep falling off if I haven't used that particular skill in a while...)

You mention 1 inch rendered in O-scale (= 1/48") is about the smallest free-standing objects that aren't too fragile.  Just to turn that question around a bit -- what's the smallest object or feature in the 1:1 world you think is worth 3-D printing in the scale world - just in terms of having an adequately detailed model?  You noted in one of your pictures that there was a missing mounting bolt on the wheel lathe - which I'd guess in the real world is probably a couple of inches or more.  Do you try to render features (into O-scale) that are smaller than an inch?  You indicate you can print at a 10 micron resolution (which scaled up from O-scale to 1:1 is ~1/64") - a level of detail that I think even the most ardent rivet-counter would ignore...

Your work is really quite amazing.

SketchUp is like learning to play guitar. You can learn some simple stuff in a couple of weeks. To play like Jimmy Page you're going to need years if even that's possible. My greatest difficulty with SketchUp is on more organic shapes. In its native state it's really an architectural program. It's not a true skinning program like Mesh Mixer and Blender are. It can do that, but you need a raft of plug-ins (many of which I have) and even then, my results are less than satisfactory. The 3D Warehouse is, indeed, a good starting point, but you have to carefully analyze the drawing for those solids and reversed faces. Also, as I've noted before, the folks who draw them don't always follow good SU rules in keeping everything down to the lowest level in groups and components.

As to your question: The usual answer is "that depends". For example, it could very easily print a nice 0'scale bench grinder or vise, plus a raft of hand tools, but the vise handle would have to be two to three times thicker than scale to have it last through the clean up stage. If you didn't have to trim a forest of supports off the model, the chances of fine detail survival is improved, but the supports are a necessary part of the process. I'm working on ways to use diamond burrs to abrade the supports off fine details with some success. Even then, I'm broken off tiny stuff just by picking up the model improperly. And don't drop them on the floor! Experience… ugh!

I've just downloaded images of a Fairbanks Morse opposed piston diesel to model. The FM engine has its primary injector pumps on the outside of the engine with an exposed cam shaft driving it. The HP fuel line then feeds through a rectangular opening in the engine's side to the injector nozzle assembly that penetrates into the cylinder's center. I'm sure that the printer would render the injector pumps and shafts very well, and it would attempt to do the fuel line. But they would be really delicate. It would also render the interior of those compartments, but again, it will depend on the support layout as to whether it would be practical. Notice also that the metal thickness of those compartments look only to be 3/8" to 1/2" in real world. That would be very thin printed. I would have to thicken them up a bit to ensure they would be viable. I'm thinking that I should write an instruction set on using SketchUp for 3D printing.

FM Fuel System Detail

FM Right side

Unlike the EMD, I did find a good elevation drawing of this engine and a listing of the critical dimensions. It should be an easier thing to model. That is except for that induction system with those massive turbo chargers. This engine has a big Roots style blower on the one end and turbos on the other. Serious efficiency. I think they're still manufacturing these engines for power generation. They were more successful in marine and stationary use than in locomotives. They were not as easy to repair on the road. 

I don't have any FM powered engines. I guess I'll need to get myself a Trainmaster...

Keep asking questions and I'll keep answering.


Images (2)
  • FM Fuel System Detail
  • FM Right side
Last edited by Trainman2001

On Saturday I bought 4 LED stoplight fixtures since they finally went on sale. I needed 8. I went back today and bought four more. The sign over the pile said $19.99. Four would come to about $80. When I got to check out, the clerk told me $135 (including tax). "Wait a minute!" "They're $19.99! She said, "The sale was over Saturday." I asked if there was anything that could be done. And then I told her that the signage disagreed with that. She sent the packer down the "Impulse Aisle" and she took a cell phone pic of the sign which clearly said, $19.99. She called the manager over and I got them for the listed price.

I installed all the lights today. It took a bit of finesse to keep from dropping the old lights onto existing structures especially the refinery. I did all the changes without damaging anything. I also reoriented some of them to better light some of the areas. Originally, I installed the lights before there was a layout underneath them. Now they're in places where the lights need to be. I have exactly one fixture left that's old-school florescent. It's over the back shop work area. When they go on sale again, I may buy one more. For 20 bucks you can't go wrong.

The light is probably 50% brighter and warmer. Makes for much better viewing and picture taking. 50% more light and half the power usage. No humming and instant on. I'm glad I did it in one go and stopped dribbling it out. I had LEDs over the town for over a year.

Layout Under LED


Images (1)
  • Layout Under LED

I had used the replacement bulbs in a 4-tube fixture in our master closet and they worked perfectly. So I bought 10 of them to begin replacing the lights over the layout. They were terrible! My ballasts must not have been compatible. I thought they were. I installed six tubes in three fixtures and only one tube ended up working. I took them back to Lowe's. The fluorescents were really bumming me out. They were dull and made bad pictures. It was time to change.

In general, you are best off getting the "non-compatible" LED fluorescent replacements (the ones for which you have to remove the ballasts). You should also get the kind that use the original "tombstone" connectors on each end, not the ones that feed both at one end.  Less hassle in the long run and better energy efficiency.

Buy them from Amazon. They have the less-common lengths, too.

Last edited by Avanti

I really didn't want to screw with ballast removal since it meant pulling all the fixtures down from the ceiling. As it is I had to do that anyway with the new fixtures. They're working really great. They're instant on and nothing is buzzing or humming.

I bit the bullet and pulled up the track covers in the engine house. I needed to be able to power engines into and out of the building or the whole deal would be useless. I was certain that the power interruption was due to the filler pieces sticking up beyond the center rail and forcing the rollers out of contact. They came up relatively easily since hot glue isn't the be all and end all of glues. I removed the lumps on the ties, and right now I'm leaving the ties and the little bit of ballast under them intact. I may remove all that ballast and paint the ties to look like concrete ones… or I may not. I did get trains running in and out as they should. I had to clean the rollers and wheels on the Q2 since they were simply not conductive from lack of use. And then my little SW1 Cow and Calf switcher starting running very badly. Badly like one motor was running and the other was stalled. 

I took the engine into the shop and quickly diagnosed that something got into the gear train. After disassembling the truck sides and dropping the truck, I found some stones trapped in the main gear. After removal every thing worked as it should. Engines are now in the engine house… as it should be. Next up… doing the landscaping.

EH Locos Running

On the S-38. I'm waiting for the new solder to arrive. I got my metal supply to make the missing struts. I used the idle time to turn some new prop spinners and designed and grew a fixture that will hold the main struts in proper alignment at their tops while I solder their bottoms to the main wing. I was going to make it out of wood, and then realized that I could grow one.

S-38 Prop Spinners

I was able to use my ball-turning attachment for the Taig lathe to make the nice spherical nose. The models props are wood that were painted to look like metal. I'm in the process of using sanding sealer to remove more of the rough grain before priming them for repaint.

S-38 Prop Spinner

I took the corel draw plans and built the jig on top of it. 

S-38 Strut Jig Plan

My first version is too wide and I found that the slots are only half right. It turns out that the brass struts are 7/32", but the steel ones are 1/4". I now know what the steel struts were. They're key stock because I found steel of the exact same cross-section in my metal supply drawer. I bought this metal at the time I bought the lathe (about 40 years ago). So I went back and adjusted the width (more narrow) and opened up the more acute angled strut (the steel one) to accommodate this. The circular notches are for the twisted floral wire that will hold everything secure.

This is the wrong one. The new one is being grown as I write this. It's amazingly strong.

S-38 Strut V 1


Images (5)
  • EH Locos Running
  • S-38 Prop Spinners
  • S-38 Prop Spinner
  • S-38 Strut Jig Plan
  • S-38 Strut V 1

Today was an odds and ends day. I'm still working through the engine house punch list items. Today it was build the caged access ladder to the gantry hoist. I had some chunks of the Plastruct ladder and cage set, but not enough of either to make a single-piece ladder. I measured the height to the gantry rail and spliced two ladder pieces end-to-end to make the correct length. I then glue on the cage. It was the right height, but the top end didn't have a ring. It was just a bunch of slats sticking up in the air. I cut a ring off the remaining chunk of cage and first solvent cemented and then CA'd it to the assembly. I primed it white Tamiya primer (a good color under yellow) and then air brushed it with Tamiya flat yellow. I stuck it into the engine house with the contact cement strips I've been using. You step directly from the ladder to the gantry which is why its facing in that direction. You'll also notice that the 567 looks different.

EH Access Ladder

I decided to see how the engine looked with the detail painting. This wasn't a perfect engine. The next one I'm building today is more perfect, but it can still get better.

First I went to work on the cylinder head details. That painting alone added some significant realism to this already realistic model. Painting consisted of using A-K Interactive black wash, then Tamiya gloss Smoke to give that oily look. I followed this up with Tamiya gloss black for all the valve gear and the power pack clamps. Next I used the Molotow chrome pen to pick out selected bolt heads and the injector racks, and finally used Tamiya Black Panel Line Accent around the cylinder pots.

567 Head Details Painted

After the cylinder area I went over the whole model with panel accent and wiped off with Q-Tip dampened with some low odor mineral spirits. I then brush painted the mufflers with Vallejo Dark Flesh (a great rust base color). I filled the exhaust stacks with black accent and then used brown and black weathering powders on the mufflers.

567 #1 Detail Painted

If anyone would like one of these engines for dioramas or flat car loads, let me know.

I took some photos inside the engine house using the cell phone on the "selfie" setting to make it easier to put it into the front door and see the view screen. If it wasn't for the huge flanges, the swinging pilots and that 3rd rail, it could really fool somebody. For some reason the back row of LEDs are not getting enough voltage. The outside light is. It may be draining the circuit in some funny way. I may have to re-wire that light into it's own feed.

EH Interior Shot 3

It really shows just how huge the Q2 is. It's one of my favorite engines of all times partially based on seeing a Max Gray engine in a long-gone hobby shop in downtown Philly, Les Meyers. I saw this engine in their window when I was probably 8 or 9 years old and it burned itself into my brain.

EH Interior Shot 2

I put together another 567 of the last parts that I printed. I had two back ends. One with the corrected flywheel where the generator fits better, and an older one missing the oil lines. So of course I had to spend a half hour adding back 0.020" phosphor bronze lines. It didn't take so to drill and bend. It took time to keep finding the **** things that I kept dropping on the floor. 

567 New Oil Lines

Then I found the correct one… so it was all for naught. I built the engine and primed it. It's now drying.

S-38: I got a successful 3D part completed for the strut jig. It will work nicely. The width and the slots are dead on.

S-38 Strut Jig 2 in Position

I also painted the props the bronze color that the rest of the plane will be. I put these aside until the end of the build. I was a shame to cover up those pretty spinners, but the model is to appear monochromatic. 

S-38 Prop Painted



Images (8)
  • EH Access Ladder
  • 567 Head Details Painted
  • 567 #1 Detail Painted
  • EH Interior Shot 3
  • EH Interior Shot 2
  • 567 New Oil Lines
  • S-38 Strut Jig 2 in Position
  • S-38 Prop Painted

Myles, I will go back and review your wonderful thread and give you a review. It’s been a crazy busy summer with so many house chores to do keeping me away from the hobby. The visit to your home and wonderful layout was a tremendous highlight for our travel activities. Thank you for your “Continuing Saga”, it’s great reading, and great Modeling. Your Tennessee and Kentucky friends....

A local fellow had asked for, I printed and he purchased an HO version of the EMD 567 and now he asked if I could do a Fairbanks Morse Opposed Piston Engine. I'm about 3/4 through the design work and I'll again produce O and HO versions. I'm using the same alternator as I did with the 567. No point in reinventing the wheel. Loco FMs are simpler than stationary or marine versions. Most of the latter have some pretty elaborate turbo-chargers on the end opposite the scavenge blower, that large structure on the near end. Like EMDs, FMs were essentially 2-strokes, but in FMs case there were no valves are all and no cylinder head. The combustion chamber was virtual, being the confined space when the two opposing pistons closed on one another. They didn't touch, but created a small compression space where the dual injectors would spray fuel oil. EMDs were easier to service and were thus more favored by railroads. FMs were very efficient and high power and are still being manufactured for stationary and marine use.

To pull the cylinders in the FM you had to remove all those top covers and then pull the upper crankshaft. This was impossible to do effectively in the field. It was easier to just pull the entire engine and take to a service center. EMDs on the other hand, could have a power pack removed in a half hour. The power pack consisted of the individual head, the cylinder liner, piston and connecting rod. There was provision to mount a hand-operated crane right on the cylinder head so two guys could remove and replace the power pack in the field.

FMs are a uniflow engine. There were two sets of ports cut into the cylinder liner. The upper ports opened a bit later than the lower ones and closed later. Upper was intake air and lower was exhaust. As the bottom piston uncovered the exhaust it would flow to the exhaust box surrounding the cylinder under it's own pressure. Then the upper piston uncovered the top ports allowing incoming air to flood the cylinder. It was under some pressure from the scavenge blower and the pushed the remaining exhaust out. All gas flow was in the same direction from top to bottom, thus the term, "uniflow". It's very simple. The complexity was the bevel gears and shaftings to tie and synchronize the upper crank's motion with the lower one. Power take off came from the lower crank. Because all the cylinders were in line, the engines were rather skinny.

FM Progress w Genset

This next image shows how I arranged and scaled the drawings to rough out the shape. In addition to top, front and side views, there is also a good section drawing at the back that gave me accurate shaping of the various bumps and channels. In stationary and marine use, the injectors and associated camshafts were exposed as I showed in an earlier post. In loco use they were covered with removable hatches which I decided to draw. It will be easier on the printing end. I may steal my water pumps from the EMD so I don't have to draw them again. They're pretty generic. The front view in this image is a stationary engine and has all those turbos. There are two exhaust headers, one of each side so there are two sets of turbo chargers too. The loco version just has two big headers leading to two mufflers.

FM Drawing Scheme

S-38: With the new solder and flux plus a lot more BTUs, I'm in the full soldering mode. I used my fixture and secured the main struts to the main wing. I re-soldered the nacelle that was not very good, and cut and started fitting the engine support struts that were completely missing. I'm using 1/8" square brass for these missing struts and I've also replaced the steel struts with brass. I didn't like how the steel was soldering. It wasn't. The fixture cracked when putting on the second set, but it had done its job and was no longer needed.

S-38 Main Strut Fitup

With the main struts prepared, and the engine struts soon to be installed, I'll be ready to mate the lower wing and fuselage to the upper wing. I will turning the whole deal over to do that step. I will continue cleaning the solder joints up after I finish this phase.

s-38 Main Struts

The missing engine struts were pinned to the nacelles and I'm going to do this too. I opened the existing holes and drilled new holes next to broken pins that had remained in their holes. I soldered the pins (3/64" brass) to the shaped brass and temporarily fixed them in place. I needed to do this so I could get the measurement for the third diagonal brace that goes between these two. There's another V-shaped set of struts that go from the engines' inner side to the fuselage top. Those will have to wait until the main parts are joined.

S-38 Fitting Missing Engine Braces

Things are moving quickly. I'll do work on this tomorrow, but then we're heading back East for a wedding this weekend and will be back at work on this next mid-week.



Images (5)
  • FM Progress w Genset
  • FM Drawing Scheme
  • S-38 Main Strut Fitup
  • s-38 Main Struts
  • S-38 Fitting Missing Engine Braces

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