Friday, June 19, 2020

Can I Lay Track Now?

As I mentioned last week, I got the third module built and hung on the wall late Sunday afternoon. As can be seen below, the third module is just hanging on the French cleat. When the photo was taken I had not leveled it or attached it to the other modules.

Now I have the third module properly leveled and attached to the other modules.

So why haven’t I started laying track? I have learned, at least I think I have after thirty plus years of being an arm chair modeler, get the prep work done first. So, that is what I am doing. I have the lighting in place, I am prepping the backdrop next will come painting the backdrop. Once the backdrop has been painted I can then add a one inch layer of foam insulation and paint the foam with a earth color THEN I can start laying track.

Room lights off and lighting set to daylight.

Now I am going to tease something here that I will detail in a later post but it is a big reason for the style of benchwork. Here is a four-minute video “24 hours in 4 minutes”.

So, I slacked off on model railroading and played with programming a bit more this week. The video is a proof of concept Lighting test that is supposed to replicate the lighting in Vancouver, BC on June 16, 2020 from 00:00 to 23:59. This functionality will work with my Fast Clock (to be discussed in a future post) coordinating lighting with time.

In theory this could be any place in the world, all you need to know is the nautical twilight begin, nautical twilight end, sunrise, sunset and solar noon times. These times are available from While this is a manual process right now WHEN I get to the point of actually operating I hope to have this somewhat automated.

As the video shows there is a flutter that will have to be resolved but for now, I know the concept will work and I can get on with railroading.

Until next week.

For information about me check out the About page on this blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

What a difference a week makes…

This week proved to be a bit better than I expected when I saw the weather report for the past week.

On Monday, I was able to complete the second of the three modules I need to start laying track. Then on Tuesday I was able to attach the two modules together. The rest of the week was less productive with many commitments so, I was unable to get the third module built and with the weather reports it looked like the third module would have to wait until next week. However, I was smiled upon on Sunday afternoon and I was able to build the third module. It is now hanging in place waiting to be joined to the second module. A project for next week.

I also started on the lighting for the modules. I probably should explain the reason I chose this design for my benchwork. Modular, because I am renting, French cleat, because a significant portion will be above my desk and the ‘C’ shape because I want to have the lighting built in to layout. My plan is to have the lighting controlled by my fast clock (see post to come later). I have mounted two 3/8” square dowel length wise 4” from the front and 4” from the back. To the Square dowel I attached RGBW (Red, Green, Blue and White) LED strips that will be controlled by an Arduino (also described in later post). These LED strips have an adhesive backing so press and stick. In the past I have found this adhesive does not stay stuck to wood so, I coated the side I would be attaching the LEDs to with a fifty-fifty water glue mixture to provide a better surface to stick to. It has only been a few days but so far so good.

Sorry, no pics this week but there will be some next week.

Until next week.

For information about me check out the About page on this blog.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Bright sunny days then rain!

Amidst the chaos currently going on, COVID and the protest in the United States and Canada, here in Vancouver it is turning out to be a semi normal spring. Last Monday it rained, no biggie it is a work day after all, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday bright sunshine warm temperatures. Great days to outside but I have a full-time job, not retired yet. So, no work on my modules during the week. Saturday, rain. Well, Saturday is my wife’s day, so I had never figured I would be working on the modules anyway but Sunday, now that’s my day, great plans hang the French cleat on the wall, build one maybe two modules and hang them and rain. Poo, postponed for another week.

We are model railroaders, you say, are trains are in side, rain means we don’t have to feel guilty about staying indoors. You are correct, and I personally like the rain for just that fact. However, my office/train room does not have the room for me to build the modules in it. I do not have a garage or indoor space to build the modules in. So, I need to build my modules in the back yard, that was the plan for my Sunday. Just another spring weekend in the Pacific Northwest.

That being said I did get some work accomplished this week. I did build the turnouts for the Sugarwood Yard and main line and I hope to complete the two on Sugarwood Siding this week.
This is the right side of the trackplan ( see Trackplans on my website for the current trackplan. ). The grey under the turnouts is the sub-roadbed, 1/8 inch basswood sheets. As can be seen, the #5 turnouts for the entrance to the siding, yard and service/RIP track are built on a 6 inch by 24 inch sheet. The #4 turnouts for the yard ladder are built on a 3 inch by 24 inch sheet. The #5 turnout for the east turnout of Sugarwood Siding ( to the right ) is built on a 3 inch by 9 inch sheet.
#5 turnouts for the entrance to the siding, yard and service/RIP track
#4 turnouts for the yard ladder
#5 turnout for the east turnout of Sugarwood Siding

Now, I probably should explain, I am hand laying my track and I am not using the Fasttrack turnout jigs, though I am using the Fasttrack filing jigs for frogs, points and stock rails. I am doing it the old fashion way and since I will be using 1 inch foam on top of the 3/8 inch plywood train deck, I need a solid ‘ish’ base for my track hence, the 1/8 inch basswood sheets for roadbed. Though I am considering using 1/8 inch birch plywood going forward.

I did manage to get the French cleat on two of the walls so a start.
Before: RoomRightCorner-Before.jpg

After: RoomRightCorner-After.jpg

So, progress this week, just not in the progress I was hoping for.

Until next week.

For information about me check out the About page on this blog.