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Before I spring for the big one, I bought another 3.5 amp one and it will be delivered tomorrow (Prime). I will try it out. Something must have been damaged in the other unit when it hit the floor. It produces voltage, but not enough current. I don't know what mechanism can cause that, but something did. I wired everything back together and tried it with my trusty half amp unit and it lit everything with the dimming corresponding to the flashing sign, and then tried the power pack again and it lit the outside light, the sign, but not the 5-string LEDs in the interior. Not enough juice. I'm still considering getting the big unit and doing the consolidation.

Apparently, there was nothing wrong with previous power supply and I pulled it out of the trash can. The new one didn't drive the circuit any differently than the one I scrapped. I ended up splitting the circuit into a series of three LEDs and another with two. I'm still not sure about one thing. These LEDs run at 3 volts. Does that mean that four in series would consume all 12 volts. Is that 3 volts the actual voltage drop across the LED or is the voltage that they need to light? Because if it's the voltage drop than five in series would need 15 volts and yet I was driving them with a 12 VDC .5 amp phone ac adaptor. Anyway, when I split the circuit, not only did everything light as it should, but the pulsating interior light problem was rectified. So I now have an extra LED power supply which won't go to waste.

I got all the appliances mounted on the floor so the interior (except of some humans) is complete.

Appliance Store All Lights On

It was time to build the baseplate. I didn't remember how I made the base for the Woodbourne Gallery so I went on my phone in the shop, called up my OGRR thread and tracked back to when I built that project. It was a sandwich comprised of a piece of 1/8" Masonite and the same size foam core. The foam core is a bit thicker and I wanted the pavement heights to match since this base has to butt up against the Gallery's.

First I made a template out of some heavy artist paper. I notched to run around the crossing signal. I'm thinking of a small chain link fence separating the appliance store parking lot and the firehouse.

AS Base Plate Template

I traced the template onto the Masonite and cut it out using my 45 year old Craftsman saber saw. 

AS Base Plate Masonite

I laminate the Masonite to the foam core using the high strength 3M 99 spray adhesive. I then trimmed its perimeter with a utility knife with a new blade. I dressed some of the edges on the 4" belt sander. The heights matched correctly. After I took this picture I added a trim layer of 0.020 X .250" Evergreen Styrene strip to make a nice curb facing. I used medium CA to hold it on. After adding it, I sanded it to make sure the trim aligned with the Masonite's surface. I will regrade the slope from the tracks to the new baseplate. I didn't do it when the gas station was there and happy I didn't since it was moved. But now I will do the final work in that area.

AS Base Plate Sandwich

I measured in 8 feet from the right to make room for the curb cut. I still had one more plaster curb cut casting that I made 8 years ago when I built the gas station. That was the days when I made a latex mold (slow) and used plaster of Paris to cast the cut. Today, I'd either 3D print the master and make a silicone mold and resin cast them, or just 3D print them when I needed one. That is if my printer was actually functioning.

I sanded the plaster casting after installing it with thick CA and then filled the small gaps between it and the Masonite. I also fixed some chips using Bondic.

AS Curb Cut Installed

I laid out where the pavement would go, marked where the brass Bar Mills pavement elevator, sanded the filler and masked where the concrete paint will go. I still have to engrave the expansion joints. I drilled the baseplate and the sublease to pass the wiring from the building into the netherworld. Of course I marked the wrong location, then marked a corrected location and proceeded to drill the wrong location, and then drilled the right location. And then I filled the bad hole with a  piece of card stock and then Bondic. No harm no foul.

AS Baseplate finish prep

I was going to cut the area under the elevator, but now I'm considering just painting it flat black to give the illusion of a hole in the pavement. That's probably the best choice.

We are on the home stretch with this project. Could be done before we get on the road again and make our New Years trip back East.


Images (6)
  • Appliance Store All Lights On
  • AS Base Plate Template
  • AS Base Plate Masonite
  • AS Base Plate Sandwich
  • AS Curb Cut Installed
  • AS Baseplate finish prep

Took a detour to add the fascia boards to the inner front facing edge of the layout. The panel cutter at Lowes didn't do such a good job and the pieces were distinctly not even or even square. I used them anyway picking the best of the four pieces. I have some trim work to do to get it just right. I didn't add any more bottom tie in points since there are enough of them and the curves add stiffness.

I bought some small torx head screws which make driving so much more positive than using phillips head. I drilled the clearance holes with one of those combination clearance, tap and countersink bits for wood screws. With Masonite, they raise a ragged edge which I sanded off before putting in the screws. I had a couple of holes where I missed the lumber underneath and mixed up a batch of epoxy and micro-balloons filler. On Monday I'll paint this new stuff to match the existing fascia with a  forrest green color I got from THD.

New Fascia 1

Here is the opposite view.

New Fascia 2

The ground level changes as you come out of the yard area so the fascia towards the left end is about 3/4" high. I'm concerned that using a saber saw to trim it could cause more harm than good. Perhaps I can put a metal straight edge on the layout's surface so the saw won't gouge into the scenery. I give it a try. There's a little high spot also near the engine house. It's just a spot that was incorrectly cut on Lowes panel saw and is about 1/4" high. Could probably grind it down with the portable belt sander. Took this picture with the "selfie" cam setting on the phone.

New Fascia Overhang

Back to the base plate. I measured and scribed the expansion joints on 1" (4 foot scale) squares. I then primed it with Rust-oleum gray primer since it's a good base coat for my concrete blend. I found the bottle of concrete mix that I used for the Woodbourne Gallery so at least these pavements will be the same color. I have at least four concrete colors on my layout. For the Gallery I think I mixed the perfect shade and I'm glad I kept the bottle. The finish coat will NOT be glossy. I did paint the flat black square for the pavement elevator and then masked it for the pavement painting.

AS Pavement Prime

I wanted to add another exterior light shining on the wall graphic on the left side of the building. I was going to do it like I did with the engine house except fastening the fixture to the brick wall and use the surface mount LEDs. I had one heck of a time and by the end of the work session still didn't have a working light. I scraped three of the small one due to overheating two and breaking off the positive, tiny electrode. I then turned to the small 1.8mm LEDs that I previously used in projects like the distillery and was having trouble with those too. I guess it was just too late in the afternoon. On Monday, I'll give it another try or maybe not put on another light. Karma is trying to tell me something.

As an aside, I was thinking about putting more foliage and trees on my mountain. Then after watching the entire series of "Hamish MacBeth" on Prime, which takes place way up the north of Scotland in the Highlands, I noticed that all the mountains looked exactly like my mountain… bare and grass covered with no trees. My grandson said that my layout is not in Scotland, and I answered that it's my railroad and I can warp time and space so my mountain is, in fact, in the Scottish Highlands. At least until I get around to put in more vegetation.


Images (4)
  • New Fascia 1
  • New Fascia 2
  • AS Pavement Prime
  • New Fascia Overhang
Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks, you too! Don't have a big router, but I have router bits for my Dremel with the Dremel router gauge attachment. That could work especially if I set up a guide upon which to run it.

I've been working on drawing the ALCo 244 V-16 Primer Mover. It presented another set of challenges drawing surfaces with compound and irregular curves. I got some help on SketchUp's Forum. I'm never embarrassed to ask for help. I'm model one side completely and then I just duplicate and reverse it to make it's mirror image. The cylinders are offset one connecting rod-width so I'll be moving all the hatches, covers and heads over that distance. Should be a neat model. Unlike my other engines, I was able to find a complete parts list for this beast with detailed drawings especially of those complex heads. It really helped. Lots of stuff still needs to go on, but the major geometry is correct. ALCos covered their injector pumps with those covers that have the logo on them. I have to put the injector piping that projects from their tops and connects to the fitting on the head's front. Like Baldwin, ALCo has exposed and separate cylinder head studs. The printer will reproduce this. 

AutoSave_ALCo 244 Engine Status 1

Speaking of printer; my replacement screen came today so I'll be installing it tomorrow. Wish me luck. It's an EPAX SX04 LCD screen which is technically the same as the OEM model in my Elegoo Mars printer. I'm also going to order the Elegoo screen when it comes back in stock at Amazon. Depending on my model number, the replacement can go in quite easily.


Images (1)
  • AutoSave_ALCo 244 Engine Status 1

First of all, I replaced the LCD screen in my Elegoo Mars printer and it's back in action. Replacement takes about 15 minutes, requires some care, but was uneventful. My biggest quandary was how to fasten the ribbon cable to the motherboard, but then found that it just snaps into the connector. A piece of electrical tape holds in place with vibration. I reprinted the vertical turret lathe and, although I haven't cleaned up the supports yet, I saw no imperfections.

The old screen is in the foreground. The motherboard and the front cover with the touch pad are to the left. I have an older version where the LCD connects to the rear of the motherboard requiring the motherboard to be removed so the back can be accessed. The machine is maddenly simple. A phone screen, some UV LEDs in a concentrator, and a motherboard basically from a cell phone. Add a single stepper motor for the z-axis and you have an amazing machine.

3D Replacing the LCD

I painted the base plate and put some parking lines. This is a tiny parking lot. O'scale is annoying because things like parking lots are never big enough. I parked a 1:43, 1956 Caddie Eldorado in one of the spots and another car couldn't drive behind it. There's a little room on the Woodbourne Gallery's base so maybe a car could squeeze by.

I tinting the expansion strips with Tamiya Panel Accent color black and removed the excess with a little bit of low odor mineral spirits on a Q-tip. You blot most of the solvent off before using it. I then airbrushed my concrete color to subdue the panel lines. I'll go back and weather it just a little bit more so it matches the Gallery's pavement. I painted the parking area with artist tube acrylic with black and gray mix. Even after two coats of matte finish it's still a bit too glossy and the brush strokes are more noticeable than I would like. 

After the black dried, I laid out the lines and masked them. I used Tamiya White Primer for the lines. Unfortunately, the smell got upstairs and I got scolded.

AS Parking Lines Mask

Before painting, I lined the expansion strips. I also added some strategic concrete cracks.

AS Expansion Joint tinting

I tried once more to use the 1.8 mm LEDs, but ran into problems. So I tried again to solder the magnet wire to the surface mount LEDs. I kept wiping them out by overheating them with the iron. So I went back to what I knew I can do. I soldered the Surface Mount LED to copper foil and soldered the leads to the foil also, but this enabled me to do it without overheating. It worked. I then attached the foil to the light head and secured it with Bondic. It looks terrible, but the light worked. I then sprayed the whole fixture with Tamiya real metal silver. 

The reason the LEDs hold up better on the foil is I don't directly heat them. I put the solder on the foil and then melt the solder next to the LED until it settles in. Once it settles I get off the heat. It's very quick and resembles what they would experience in a wave soldering machine.

AS Foil Wiring

I drilled a 1/4" hole in the wall, pushed in the fixture and mid-stripped the positive and negative feed wires and tied in the magnet wire (with a CL2N3 driver chip on the + side) to power the outside light. I was rewarded with all of the lights working together. Here's the exterior light doing what it's supposed to do, light the wall sign. The light base is a little bigger than I would like, but it was convenient and I used it.

AS Exterior Light

While not completed yet, it's getting there. I stuck the building on its base and took some more pics. I have to add the electric meter, TV antenna, and the back line chain link fence. The new iPhone 11 handles night photography much better than my iPhone 7. With that camera you'd be able to see much more of the shadows and less overexposure of the bright areas.

AS All Lights on

I happy with how the building looks set up on the foundation. It will fit in with the others on main street since both Nighthawks and the Gallery are above street level.

AS on Base 2

The lines look great until there are cars parked there… A Smart Car would work well. Also my old Renault 2CV. 

AS on Base 1

Tomorrow I'll start building chain link fences for both the Appliance Store and the Engine House. 




Images (8)
  • 3D Replacing the LCD
  • AS Parking Lines Mask
  • AS Expansion Joint tinting
  • AS Foil Wiring
  • AS Exterior Light
  • AS All Lights on
  • AS on Base 2
  • AS on Base 1

Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas and Santa brought you all wonderful train things.

My repaired printer produced two good machine tools for the engine house. I had sold my others to complete an order to a patron. With the new LCD, the prints are now error free.

The VTL is sanded and waiting for paint. The radial drill is just de-resined, but not sanded. The main hand wheel actually printed and didn't fall off. The little one on the bottom wasn't so lucky. I can add it since I've printed a bunch of hand wheels separately.

MS New Radial Pre-Finishing

The hardest area to print and clean is the horizontal lead screw. It's just hard to get in there and remove the supports, but without them, the screw doesn't really print very well. It's a conundrum.


After cleaning up the VTL I got to work on making the appliance store chain link fence. Before doing so I added a small chunk of parking lot that nestled in behind the gallery. In front of this little piece is another piece that was made years ago next to the fire house that is the parking spot for the EMS vehicle. At first I wasn't going to bother with this chunk, but realized if I was ever going to do it, now was the time. It measured 3 X 3.75". I made it out of the same sandwich of Masonite and foam core. Since it was a butt joint to the existing appliance store parking lot I added some 1/16" brass pins which I used the digital caliper to space out the pins. I drilled the Masonite portion, added the pins in one side with thin CA, and glued the chunk on with Aleen's Tacky Glue and then boosted with more thin CA. It's strong enough for the job it has to do… hold it stable enough to put on the layout.

This chain link was an easy one being a single length with no curves and no gates. I use 3/32" brass tube for the top big longitudinal member and 1/16" brass tube for all the rest. I make great use of Brennan's Fence Build Fixture. It was included with his fence kit. He provides steel rod for the members, but steel is harder to cut, harder to finish and, most importantly, harder to solder. Furthermore, he instructs you to butt solder all the verticals to the top horizontal. I spent more time repairing failed joints than I did putting it together in the first place. 

I chucked a diamond-coated mandrel in the Dremel flexi-shaft held firm in my 44 year-old Panavise. The mandrel's diameter closely matched the big tube and I carved a curve so into the thin tube so there would be more solder surface area. I used the RSU exclusively for this job. The back fence was 17" long so I started putting in the verticals in the middle working towards both ends since the last bay would be slightly less than the Brennan jig spacing. I used the fine gauge 63/37 rosin core eutectic solder which changes from liquid to solid instantly without a slushy stage. For the middle longeron, also 1/16", I marked the locations of all the verticals with a Sharpie and then ground semi-circular gouges in the tube so it too would have more solder surface and it nestled together more closely. It was a fairly easy job. A couple joints weren't as strong as they should be and I went back and retouched them.

I still had some bridal tulle left over from the previous fences and I used it before cutting into my new stock. I trued up the starting end and medium CA'd the starting end to the vertical. I pulled the tulle tight to the other end keeping the bottom edge as even with the bottom rail as possible. I then tack CA'd the tulle to the top and bottom rails at strategic locations. Finally I fully secured the top and bottom rails. The verticals fall below their height so I don't glue to them which would pull the tulle out of line.

When the glue was set using accelerator, I took a new #11 blade and trimmed top, bottom and end to finish the fence.

I took it outside, painted a coat of Tamiya gray primer followed by a light coating of silver leaf (all rattle can). The weather these last two days have been spectacular. After we come back from the trip I'll selectively spray it with rust. This fence is old and not maintained. I'm also thinking of another fence running along the RR track side.

AS Chain LInk

Before I took this image I hand painted the entire lot with Tamiya NATO Black. I wasn't happy with the sheen I was getting from the acrylic tube paint even after Dull Coat and Matte Spray. The Tamiya flat worked. The picture shows areas that aren't fully dry. I checked today and the parking lot is dead flat.


So, everyone have a happy, healthy and safe New Year 2020!



Images (4)
  • AS Chain LInk
  • IMG_5973
  • MS New Radial Pre-Finishing
  • MS New VTL

Here you go, Myles.  As always, your stuff is fantastic.  Love the Appliance store.  What you've done with that 3-D printer, among the rest, is beyond belief.

Here is an original Bullard beer mug, direct from the family archive.  My buddy Bob Bullard drinks from it every two weeks, at our bi-monthy poker games.  Only been doing it for 30 years.




He also watches the trains go by during happy hour(s)....




Images (4)
  • 20191226_195202[1]
  • 20191226_195235[1]
  • 20191226_195248[1]
  • 20190914_103616

Wow! I go away on a trip back east and I'm relegated to page two.

Had a nice trip visiting with family and old friends. This was the lowest stressed drive we've ever had and we do it four times a year (and for 10 years and counting). There was no weather to speak of, no construction, no accidents, or little wind, no traffic jams, no bugs, not too cold, and most of the trip, no direct sunshine. Almost all the drivers were courteous and there were limited trucks except for the final leg yesterday.

Got back to work today after doing a honey do job. We bought some new toilet papers holders and I had to install them.

I mounted the chain link fence, painted and installed the pavement elevator, did some more weathering and built the TV antenna.

After laying out and drilling the #52 (0.063") holes I found a couple just a hair off target and forcing the fence would do more harm than good. I enlarged the errant holes to a slightly bigger drill size and the fence slipped in. I fit so snuggly, that I decided to not add any extra glue. I'm still undecided as to whether to add another fence on the track side. I'll be heading to the hobby shop tomorrow to get some more Sculptamold to finally trim up that track-side edge for both the appliance store and the fire house. I need to add some rust to that fence. It's too pristine for its location.

AS Chain Link Installed

I had previously primed the pavement elevator (photo-etched brass) and today I first airbrushed it Tamiya Dark Iron and then dry brushed some of my "galvanized steel" mix which is flat aluminum with some NATO black. I then glued this down with thick CA. I added more weathering powders to the drive and pavement and then attempted to flatten it even more. The curb cut is still showing gloss.

AS Pavement Elevator Intstalled

To make the larger appliance-store TV antenna, I put down some Scotch Double-sided tape onto my MicroMark soldering pad and then stuck a series of 0.022" phosphor bronze wire on a scalish 6" spacing to the tape. I used a piece of 0.032" brass for the main beam and soldered each point with the RSU with new electrodes set at a low 20 on the 100 point amperage scale.

AS Antenna Setup

After soldering, I used a straight edge and flush cutters to trim the elements to a log-periodic-style antenna. I cut a small piece of 1/16" brass  and soldered it to the center as a socket for the vertical mast. The mast was thin-CA'd into the socket. I'll prime this and paint it flat aluminum. I'll make some kind of strapping to tie it to the roof and the chimney.

AS Antenna Trimmed

Should have the building on the layout by the end of the week.


Images (4)
  • AS Chain Link Installed
  • AS Pavement Elevator Intstalled
  • AS Antenna Setup
  • AS Antenna Trimmed
Last edited by Trainman2001

Thanks guys!

Shortened day (exercise day). Got the antenna painted and installed, built some back steps, dry brushed rust on the chain link fence, and started work on some kind of electric service apparatus.

Sometimes the littlest details take the longest time. That would be true in crafting the strapping to hold the antenna next to the chimney. I used photo-etched fret metal. My first attempt was using some stainless, but it was too tough to bend properly. I substituted it with some brass from an Eduard fret. I first soldered it to the antenna mast and then wrapped the band around the chimney and soldered its free ends. It was this wrapping/soldering that caused the most trouble.

The chimney was screwed to the roof with a robust metal screw since the chimney is resin like the rest of the building. After attempting to solder it together while the chimney was attached, it became clear that it had to be soldered with the chimney removed. I tried to wrap and solder the ends while on the chimney, but it melted the resin and wasn't working so well. But, soldering it off the chimney meant that the sizing had to be done without the chimney as a guide. I had to solder and break the joint at least three times until I had the bends and lengths so they fit the chimney. It was also somewhat of a guess regarding where to the make the first bends. I had to redo this a couple of times too. I supposed I could have measured it with a caliper, but I was being lazy and paid for it.

AS Antenna Strapping

When all was good, I masked the chimney and roof and sprayed it Tamiya rattle can Silver.

AS Antenna Masking

After the silver dried (very fast since it's lacquer), I went back and used my galvanized steel mix to paint the strapping.

AS Antenna Installed

The back door needed steps. I had almost forgotten about them. I used four pieces of leftover MDF from the engine house. It's a tad over an eighth inch thick. I was going to run the steps out into the parking lot, but turned it. I painted it the same Rust-oleum primer gray as I used for the curved front steps. I haven't glued it down yet in this image. You can just catch the rusty haze I put on the fencing.

AS Back Steps

I thought I had another electric meter set that I used on Nighthawks, but I don't. I started scratch building some, but now I'm thinking about 3D printing some.

Speaking about 3D printing. I now look at classic Victorian architecture with the "I can do that" thought in my head. Here's a neat building that's the town hall in Lambertville, NY, a lovely Victorian (and earlier) river town in New Jersey across the Delaware River from New Hope, PA. Notice the concave and convex Mansard roof, and the array of shingles used (square, diamond, Fish scale) in that roof. And look at the fancy overhangs on the Mansard windows. I can draw those. And if I can draw them, I can print them. The hardest thing to accomplish will be the stone exterior, by that could just as easily be brick. I took the image at an angle that will work well with SketchUp's Match Photo utility.

Lambertville Townhall

Meanwhile, progress moves apace on drawing the ALCo 244 V-16 turbo diesel prime mover. This will round out my 1950s, first gen diesel prime mover collection. I will have EMD, ALCo, FM and Baldwin engines. I will be watching to see how the printer handles those wing nut cover clamps and the injector fuel lines. There's a lot more detail to go on including water, oil and fuel pumps and all the attendant filters. I will be printing the engine in halves with all the head and side detail as one part each. Also missing is all the induction/exhaust work that goes down the valley between the cylinder banks. I found a good cross section and parts catalogs that had great detail for the intricate parts like those heads. The most challenging thing was one of the most insignificant. It was the raised ALCO lettering on the injector covers. I had copied the right side covers over to the left and mirrored them. That also reversed the lettering so it was backwards. When I went to reverse them, the ones on the other side reversed. They were all a component so doing something to one does the same to all. I had to de-couple all the lettering to get it correct. And it had to be specifically rotated and tilted to fit onto that non-square shape. The scroll you see is the compressor side. The exhaust turbine is house in that rectangular box probably to insulate it. Like the Baldwin, the ALCO has exposed cylinder studs on the sides of the heads. The printer resolves these nicely. 

ALCo 244 Engine Progress 2

It's interesting to note that ALCO engines are still in production and marketed by Fairbanks Morse. They're really a great motor and very rugged. ALCO didn't lose out because of its engines. The original engine had some crank problems, but they were solved. They're still used in marine and stationary systems. They had the highest HP per cylinder of the competition.



Images (6)
  • AS Antenna Strapping
  • AS Antenna Masking
  • AS Antenna Installed
  • AS Back Steps
  • Lambertville Townhall
  • ALCo 244 Engine Progress 2

Trainman... the work you are doing is over the top. Such detail and realism. It seems we think a lot in ways like the Victorian house, I would love to see how you approach 3D printing it. Always like you thinking "I'd love to do that...can I?" There is challenge. 

I did create a brewery, done by 3D printing (learned a lot) and now making a hotel in which I am using what I learned previously. (will be using brick) Yes the very small details are the real challenge when printing, sometimes they have to be over scaled or added separately.

Like you found out with the lettering the CAD part of it is a whole science in itself but without it you would have to depend on others which really limits you in producing your ideas.

Thanks for what you are doing and letting us follow your progress.

You're all welcome!

I got the printer back to work producing a tiny, silly detail; the electrical service box for the appliance store. After downloading one from the SketchUp Warehouse, I had to modify it so much as to basically redraw it entirely. The original artist had drawn the object as pure scale. By that I mean he had scale sheet metal walls with the proper bends and joints, and all the switch gear inside and the meter and it's details. The conduit connections were hollow with the proper caging and screws. All of this wouldn't print and would actually just make a mess. I had to redraw all the shapes are simple solids. Furthermore, most of this detail is indistinguishable in our scale.

My set them up to print eight of them hoping to get a bunch for inventory. All but three failed to stick to the platen and I had to stop it early and clean it out, removing the little hardened lumps sticking to the teflon. I then tried again and got seven out of eight to print successfully. Of the seven, two had warpage so they were scrapped and three more got completely destroyed when I attempted to free them from the supports. Then I wrecked two more in the cleanup. That left one good one! I grew a small ring around where the meter glass would be and filled the space with Bondic. I didn't paint the box and left it resin gray. I painted the conduit my "galvanized steel" mixture. There is a lump from a support on the back of one conduit, and I gave up trying to remove it since it was just that lump that caused the demise of two of them when the conduit box detached from the model. I went with a subterranean electrical entry to avoid having to detail the pole tie ins and weather head.

Electric Hookup 3D print

I stuck the service unit onto the building with a dot of instant contact cement. I had hoped to put it on the patched brickwork, but it was just too high. An electric company meter-reader would have needed a ladder to see it. It's a silly little detail...

AS Electric Hookup

The appliance store is done! All that's left is messing around with the site a bit with trash cans. Actually, I'm thinking of designing and printing a dumpster. 

I made a longish (6 minute) movie of the railroad with the appliance store and engine house in place. It's on Vimeo. For some reason the upload failed going to YouTube.

I got that part of the fascia trimmed yesterday. I used my new oscillating multi-tool with the plunge cutter blade. I was able to rest it on the existing topography. I woke up in the morning thinking of just what tool would work best and realized that I had purchased this blade when I bought the tool to rebuild the Sikorsky. It made a helluva lot of noise since the Masonite reverberated terribly. I almost drove my wife out of the house. It wasn't that smooth of a cut, but I followed up with the portable belt sander and the results were fine. I finished by painting it Deep Jungle green to match the rest of the fascia. I have a friend who retired from owning a very large wholesale fabric company here in Louisville and he may be a source for skirting material including the velcro to attach it to the fascia boards.

1408 New Fascia Trim Method

After sanding and painting, the fascia is now complete.

1408 New Fascia Trim 2

1408 New Fascia Fin 1

I painted the two new big machines that will replace the ones I sold in the engine house. Again, I used "Bare Metal Foil" to replicate the sliding surfaces.

MS Remade Big Machines

I sill have to make that larger chain link fence and finish the horticulture for the engine house before I can take the final beauty shots for the article.

Speaking of article. I got the word recently that the Bronx building article will not publish in February. It has been 'Postponed" (whatever that means), but they are still interested in printing the Engine House article. I'm optimistic.

Work is progressing apace on the ALCo. I've found that the engine I'm actually drawing is not the 244. It's the later model 251. And it's almost exactly the same (V-16) that powers the NASA Space Shuttle monster crawler vehicle. Found some great photos on the Web of some maintenance folks working on the cylinder head of one cylinder that gave me very good detail studies of the routing of the fuel lines. I don't know how these little things will intimately print, but I'm encouraged by the results of the HO Baldwin.

The fuel lines are a little over-scale, but that's necessary if I'm going to have any success in reproducing any of them. The governor linkage is also over-scale for the same reason. I have to decide on how it's going to be broken up for printing while I'm drawing it. For example, the governor links to the block are physically attached to the block, not the governor since the governor is going to print with the end panel while the blocks will be print in complete halves including all heads and piping details. I've extended the governor shaft to actually penetrate that adjacent cylinder head so it will be firmly attached after printing. In the real engine, they are not attached.

I've also found some details of the exhaust manifolds that I may go back and modify what I've drawn. I worry about some of these nested details since removing supports from them is almost impossible.

Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.06.41 PM

I found a website called Renderhub where folks put up 3D drawings. An artist called 3D Horse, produces some fabulous engine drawing that were obviously drawn from engineering plans. He also wants $270 just for the rendering file. THESE ARE NOT PRINTABLE. Their level of detail would be impossible to reproduce, but it's nice to look at them. Pretty to look at, but would be a horror to create as an object. It does go to show you, that whenever you think you're really good at something, there's always someone, somewhere who's better than you (except for maybe LSU's QB). Oh… and the software he uses is Autodesk's 3D Max which leases for a cool $1,545.00 a year. Way too rich for my blood. I'm doing alright with my free version of SketchUp.

I'll keep you posted.




Images (7)
  • Electric Hookup 3D print
  • AS Electric Hookup
  • 1408 New Fascia Trim Method
  • 1408 New Fascia Trim 2
  • 1408 New Fascia Fin 1
  • MS Remade Big Machines
  • Screen Shot 2020-01-14 at 8.06.41 PM
Last edited by Trainman2001

What is most important is you have design ideas, they will challenge you but you find a way to overcome them and are creating some great parts. Keep up the fine work you and again thanks for letting us in on the details.

I am well into my reverse engineering of this hotel and into the printing. I am using 3D Solutech PLA and had a problem with it lifting from the bed and stringing but fixed it by lowering the temp of the nozzle just 5 degrees and increasing the bed temp by 5. They are coming out fine now.

BTW just my maintenance plan is 1300/year, I am using Autodesk's Powershape Pro which I bought years ago.



Images (2)
  • IMG_8608
  • Construction_20

That's terrific work! I just printed my HO version of the ALCo 251 with not-so-hot results. I have to troubleshoot the whole deal and figure out what's going on. I replaced the FEP film, and it worked reasonably, but all four pieces had print defects from mild to wild.

ALCo 251 Print Failure 2

ALCo 251 Print Failure 1

I did get the foliage placed around the engine house and got the work tables and metal rack painted and in place. I need to reprint the horizontal band saw which will go near the metal rack. I painted the tables the EMD green, painted the work surface my steel mix and then highlighted it with AK Real Metal cream. I also finally painted the tiny bench grinder I printed a while ago. It's real metal that I cut for the rack.

EH MS Work Tables and Rack

Placed inside it's starting to fill up.

EH MS Tables and Rack

The saw will need a roller table feeding into it. I can print it or scratch build. I'm leaning to scratch build. We'll see.

My gardening skills are not developed. I don't have the patience to really spend the time to make my foliage addition very realistic. My main goal was to conceal the building/layout boundary and hide some more obvious gaps. I preapplied gobs of Aleen's Tacky Glue and then applied a mix of W-S various foliage items. I then went back and sprayed it with "wet water" and and then W-S scenic cement dribbled to control any loose material. I used tall grass next to the downspouts where it would be wetter.

EH Foliage 2EH Foliage 1

The last thing I did today was start on the 65" of chain link fencing that I need to surround the storage yard. I have to buy more 1/16" brass to complete this big job. I got three brass poles soldered before the day ended.


Images (6)
  • EH MS Work Tables and Rack
  • EH MS Tables and Rack
  • EH Foliage 2
  • EH Foliage 1
  • ALCo 251 Print Failure 2
  • ALCo 251 Print Failure 1

Besides a chip container it needs a whole lot of other stuff. Slowly, I'll be adding it as the mood hits me. I printed another saw with some minor modifications. I enlarged the saw about 10% to make some of the features a little more robust, and I further strengthened the hand wheels to help ensure that they stay together during cleanup. The saw printed acceptably, but I'm probably going to attempt one more. I haven't hardened or final finished the saw in this image.

MS Saw Another Attempt

I also found a roller table to use with the saw. I made some slight mods to the table from the SketchUp download, but it was pretty much a complete failure. The reason for the failure: using scale type construction (channel and angle), even though I attempted to thicken them, were to frail to hold together during the support removal process. The cross bracing under the table portion was added to reinforce the thin table surface. That part did work. The legs, on the other hand, and many of the cross bracing broke during cleaning. You can see the leg in the lower right is no longer attached to the table.

MS Roller Table Attempt

I've re-drawn the entire table strengthening and enlarging all of the members so they're be more robust. I also removed the rollers that were part of the drawing, pre-drilled holes on the one side of the table so I can added real metal rollers (1/16" aluminum tubing with 0.032" axles) after the table is cleaned up.

I found some very educational videos on YouTube from 3D Printer Pro, who admonished not using the "auto support" feature on the slicing software, but to reduce their size and lay them all in by hand. So I went back and redid the layout of the HO version of the ALCo 251 engine and tried printing it today. TOTAL FAILURE! The supports were way to week to hold what they were supposed to hold. The aborted print is hanging on the machine. I'll clean it out tomorrow and try another approach. Again, it's test pilot management… try A, try B, try C, try D, try E, etc. until you recover from the spin or auger in. I'll keep trying until I perfect it. I have a fellow who wants 3 engines of each type for resale. If I can't produce them without defect, the idea stops now.

The rest of the day was spent building the long chain link fencing for the engine house. I made it in two 36" strips that I combined with some tubing connectors soldered in. It generally went well until late this afternoon. Handling and an ill-founded idea for the bends lead to some solder joints breaking. Let me first review the correct procedure.

I dress all the vertical poles with a diamond burr of 3/32" that matches the curvature of the main longeron. I hold my Dremel flexi-shaft in my Pana-vise held with a couple of Quickie clamps to my work bench. This way I can use two hands to guide the work under the burr. The diamond burr doesn't load up with brass like an aluminum oxide burr would.

EH Fence Pole Prep Grinder

I grind enough of a half circle to provide a better seating and more soldering area that you'd get trying to solder to pieces of round stock together. These parts get hot when grinding and I occasionally dip them in some cold water to cool them and make it easier to hold them.

EH Fence Pole Prep

My work proceeds with the Brennan fence jig that came with the chain link fence kit. As I've noted before Brennan's kit came with steel rod and he suggested butt soldering the poles to the longeron in a "T" joint. It was difficult, and broke constantly. There simply isn't enough surface area to soft solder steel and expect it to work. When I ground the overlap joint the soldering went better. But it really went better when I started using brass. I paint the fence anyway so what metal is used is moot. The RSU makes the joint in seconds. The hardest part is gripping the joint without knocking the pieces out of registration. When you first make contact, you may or may not have a circuit. You're only working with 3 volts so any oxidation on the electrodes or work piece can limit conduction. You have wiggle them a bit to establish the circuit. When the current (20 to 100 amps) the handpick vibrates with a 60 hz hum. When you hear/feel that, the circuit starts heating quickly. If the setting is right, in about two to three seconds, the joint will melt solder. The beauty is that the hottest part of the joint is right where you want it; right at the junction where the solder will flow.

EH Fence Soldering w RSU

The finished joint typically looks like this.

EH Fence Joint Typ

The back lot has several gentle curves. I incorrectly decided that just cutting the tubing half way and bending at the curves would be sufficient, but the longerons broke at that point. Plan B was to insert a bent piece of solid 1/16" brass, soldered solidly to both sides of the joint. I didn't finish all of this today, but will probably tomorrow. At the square corner at the end of the lot, I attempted (badly) to insert some solid brass and solder the whole thing up.

EH Fence Corner Idea

After I took this picture, the joint fell apart. I will probably add another pole and double them up at the corner, rather than attempting to drill out the solid brass at the corner. I tried out the fencing as I went to each bend. The pole bottoms are long. I will cut them shorter. As I did with the refinery monster fence, I trimmed the poles to varying heights making it easier to insert them all into the holes drilled in the platform.

EH Fence Fitting

The far end had exactly the right number of panels as did the the little piece off the building, AND the two-panel gate will fit perfectly at the end of the drive. That's all due to dumb luck. The end panels and corners get another longitudinal brace which I'm soldering on now. The gate also gets mid-horizontals. There are also slimmer diagonal braces at the corners that get soldered on. I'll use a lower temp (TIX) solder so I don't unsolder anything else.

EH Fence Fitting 1

Once the fence is in, I'll have to populate the yard with spare RR parts. I've drawn some diesel wheel sets with traction motors attached. I'm also going to print some diesel wheels without traction motor, but with the bull gear. I'll have a bevy of prime movers up on cribbing. I'll have to figure what else would add interest to this prominent aspect of the engine house, especially since it will face the viewer directly. 

Working with my friend Stuart Goldberg, yesterday we measured the circumference of the exposed layout edges in preparation of adding fabric skirting to sit below the fascia boards ultimately hiding the rest of the wood infrastructure. It came out to 40 yards. You add another 50% to cover the pleating giving a 60 year fabric purchase. Stuart was the owner and CEO of a very large and successful fabric wholesale/retail business here in Louisville. He has the adhesive velcro I'll need, but didn't have any fabric in that quantity to do the skirting itself. It will require some sewing. We have a 50 year old Singer sewing machine that still works and it will come into play.

Broadcloth can be had for about $1.89 a yard. So the cloth would run about $!15.00 (not to severe). But, I'm thinking to hold off until more of the structures are finally in place. With the skirting in place, it will be very dark below the layout. I still have some building to got, but were getting there.


Images (9)
  • MS Saw Another Attempt
  • MS Roller Table Attempt
  • EH Fence Pole Prep Grinder
  • EH Fence Pole Prep
  • EH Fence Soldering w RSU
  • EH Fence Joint Typ
  • EH Fence Corner Idea
  • EH Fence Fitting
  • EH Fence Fitting 1

Just some thoughts on your post way above with SMD LEDs. First of all, are you cleaning off the magnet wire's insulation or using the iron to burn it off? You should clean and tin the ends first before trying to solder it to the SMDs.

 How big is your soldering iron tip and how much wattage is going to the iron? You don't need much here. Smaller iron with pencil tip. If it's dull or worn just grind it to a fine point for this task and tin it.

Last, you need paste! Sure the solder has it in there but there must be something wrong that you're over heating these SMDs. The paste will melt and speed the job with less heat and time! Are you using the fine solder with resin?

 Now your skills are way above mine so I only post this as I read your complaint. I have a harder time just seeing my tiny SMDs than any problem of overheating them so far. I only hit them with the iron for a split second. If the magnet wire is already tinned, you can apply the iron to it and just get that to quickly touch the SMD and let go.

Trainman2001 posted:

I tried once more to use the 1.8 mm LEDs, but ran into problems. So I tried again to solder the magnet wire to the surface mount LEDs. I kept wiping them out by overheating them with the iron. So I went back to what I knew I can do. I soldered the Surface Mount LED to copper foil and soldered the leads to the foil also, but this enabled me to do it without overheating. It worked. I then attached the foil to the light head and secured it with Bondic. It looks terrible, but the light worked. I then sprayed the whole fixture with Tamiya real metal silver. 

The reason the LEDs hold up better on the foil is I don't directly heat them. I put the solder on the foil and then melt the solder next to the LED until it settles in. Once it settles I get off the heat. It's very quick and resembles what they would experience in a wave soldering machine.

AS Foil Wiring



Glad to have the comments! I have a Weller temp controlled solder station and keep it about 3 on the dial. It may be too hot. I use a small tip and have a needle point tip too. I attempt to strip and tin the magnet wire, but sometimes I am not really happy with my results. I have soldered to the LEDs directly before with some success. It was this last time that gave me all the trouble. I also have paste rosin flux to use if I need it. I'm using very fine (.5mm) 63/37 eutectic rosin core solder which is about the smallest and best electronic solder you can use since it goes from liquid to solid instant with no slushy stage and therefore, it's very had to get a cold (crystalized) solder joint. I will persist and try and us the rosin paste and better tin the magnet wire and see how that works.

Engineer-Joe posted:

Just some thoughts on your post way above with SMD LEDs. First of all, are you cleaning off the magnet wire's insulation or using the iron to burn it off? You should clean and tin the ends first before trying to solder it to the SMDs. 

I agree that you should tin the wire before attempting to solder it onto the device. However, as I have said before, with most magnet wire, there is no need to attempt to remove the enamel insulation physically. The tinning process will simply cause it to vaporize. Better not to risk nicking the wire.

BTW, just as an aside, there is a new generation of LED tree lights that are kind of interesting. They consist of plastic-coated copper-colored wire (much like magnet wire) with tiny LEDs attached in little bubbles of plastic. They are tiny and cheap and might be useful in cases where SMD LEDs are currently being used--no soldering necessary.;rps=1&sr=8-19

I don't know what voltage you would have to apply to a single light, but it shouldn't be hard to figure out.

Interesting and cheap. $7.41 equals $0.07 a light and that includes some wire. The applied voltage is 4.v and they're in parallel so that voltage is constant over the string. Current is another matter. I'm not sure how it's managed in these simple circuits. Typically, LEDs are 2 milliamp affairs. There's also a warm white string from the same vendor. I would like to see how they work when you separate them. The cool white make good renditions of mercury vapor street lights. They look like fluorescents when used in interior lighting. I like the warm white better for that use. I bought a string of the 3 bulb affairs which were numerous and cheap, but they almost too yellow like sodium lighting. For seven bucks how can you go wrong. I'm going to order them just to experiment.

Just ordered them...

Last edited by Trainman2001

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