Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Bl**dy computers...

Just a quick apology if I've missed anyone's vital news...

I rely on an RSS feed to tell me when a new post has been made on a blog.  It seems that at some point in the last couple of months, one of the automatic updates to Blogspot/Windows/Antivirus/whatever turned off all the alerts for me :-(

And I was just thinking that it was because everyone was busy, and quiet...


Saturday, 17 September 2011

To complete the set...

This morning I popped a set of pickups on the Y14...

Well, actually I started the process last night by cutting and shaping a length of copperclad sleeper (I knew that the remains of those EM gauge points that I built when I was sixteen would one day come in useful...) so that it fitted between the frames.  I'm always doubly cautious and cut an over-generous gap.  It doesn't do any harm and means that there should be absolutely no chance of a short.

Here they are laid out in the correct order to be fitted.

Then they were fixed using two-part epoxy, and left to set solidly in position overnight.  This is the time that you don't want the modelling pixies to come along and give them a gentle nudge whilst you're sleeping!

Then finally a wipe over with some solder to tin the copper-clad (being very careful to get absolutely no flux on the steel tyres!) and fix the pickups in place.

For this locomotive I'm going to wait until the body is fully painted before wiring up the motor.  The reason for that is that I want to be very certain of the path of the wires before I solder them in place.  I will have to route them up the sides of the gearbox and along the top of the motor, before turning them back to the contacts.

So that can wait until I can handle the whole thing as a single unit.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Getting things moving

As a change from the painting, yesterday I decided to stop dithering and see if I could get the tram engine actually moving under its own power...

I had already glued in place some gapped copperclad board and given it a coating of solder to ensure that the subsequent work took well to it.  This is the preparation underneath the chassis, and also shows the amount of space that I have to work with.

As a reminder, the gearbox is one of the slimline High Level models which is articulated so that it fits underneath the boiler.  It is the 1:108 ratio (I think!) to ensure that the tram can creep along at an appropriately slow pace.  You can also see the guitar strings in place from the CSB suspension arrangement.

These are the pickups themselves.  Made by twisting  phosphor bronze wire (in straight packs from Eileen's Emporium, rather than battle with coils of the stuff) around a 2mm wagon axle with a slot cut in the end.  Inspiration from Morgan Gilbert in the thread here (look a third of the way down...)

 And these are them in place.  The gearbox limited the amount of space that I had available for one pair, but there is still enough flexibility for them to cope with the suspension movement.  As the tram wears skirts, I didn't have to worry about the ends of the wires being visible next to the tyres.

This is it completed.  You can see how low in the chassis the motor and gearbox sit.  It's on my short test board.  I hooked up a pentroller to it, turned on the juice, and off it went :-)

It can do with a little lubrication, and some gentle running in to aid smoothness and reduce motor noise, but it runs!

In this final shot it can just be seen through the door and window when the body is fitted.  This will be covered by the boiler.

Although this works successfully, I'm still not confident or happy with fitting sprung pickups (and this method is the best that I've tried so far) so I'm fairly certain that the next new-build locomotive that I start will be a split-chassis one.


Friday, 9 September 2011

More painting...

Someone prodded me a couple of days ago to ask how the tram engine was going. The answer is progressively through the paintshop...

Paint 001.jpg

The boiler is from the tram, and the backhead from the Y14. They will both be getting gauges, brasswork and similar picked out on them next.

The tram itself has had another coat of teak basecolour, but then washed over with a Dulux teak effect topcoat. It's shiny, but doesn't give a convincing effect of woodgrain in 4mm.

I don't want to lose more of the detail by putting another coat of base colour over the top, so will see what can be done with dry brushing and weathering...

Oh, and the tram interior will have to be painted again, as just after I completed that with a "guessed" colour of off-white, I found a reference that the GER painted cab interiors in tan. There are days when I really wish for a GER equivalent of "Great Western Way"!