2020-2021 Thirteenth Annual International Winter Layout Party

ppuinn Dec 11, 2020

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    The weekly work crew put the (red brick) "skin" on the upgraded IBS Scrap Yard Sorting Building. This building will be finished when the brick-covered pilasters are glued on all 4 sides of the building where the purple vertical lines are. The work crew also put the blue siding skin on the rebuilt IBS Offices and Shearer Building. The white metal roofing and some printed entry doors, garage doors and windows will finish it off.
    I experimented with some commercial scrap yard piles and think I've arrived at a satisfactory positioning of the piles, vehicles, and building. The piles still need to be painted, the side gate needs to be shifted a little, the fence needs to be upgraded, the building still needs its roof and doors installed, and (maybe!) the vehicles will get a new name decal on the doors or perhaps the sides of the trailers...if I can print "Heller Tin Compress" small enough to fit but large enough to read without a magnifying glass.
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    I tried to use Magnetic Paint (actually has tiny ground iron filings mixed into a blackish dark gray paint) instead of a steel washer to lift some plaster shredded metal scrap loads, some small pipes scrap loads made from copper wire, and a plastic girders load. The magnetic paint worked well for the lighter plastic girders load , but failed to provide enough attraction for the heavier pipes loads or the heaviest plaster shredded metal loads. I temporarily stuck a steel washer on the bottom of a plaster shredded metal load with double sided tape, and it worked well, so I'll glue steel washers to the 14 shredded metal loads.
    I'm going to add some pipes made of steel wire to the pipes loads, or maybe hide some steel track nails in the middle of the double sided loads, like I did for 2 wire pipe loads last year (but which I failed to adequately hide).
    gmorider, Sumner, TrainzLuvr and 3 others like this.
  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    I made some more loads and weathered some more scrap gondolas.
    I made 4 double-sided loads: 3 had commercial resin bundles on one side and Loose Busheling (clean factory clippings, trimmings, and punchouts less than 12 scale inches long in any direction) made from confetti I made by cutting up cardstock in 3 different grays on the other side; and one that had aluminum foil bundles on one side that I made by packing aluminum foil into an Evergreen Plastics 1/4" square tube, and the Loose Busheling made with cardstock confetti on the other. I still need to paint the resin bundles and find a way to get a washer or several track nails into all four of the Busheling/Bundles loads so the loads can be flipped by a magnet from Partially Processed Loose Busheling to Charging Box Ready Bundles.
    This double sided pipes load (long on one side and short/charging box ready on the other) was made from very thin black cocktail straws that I think came from either Kroger or Big Lots a few years ago.(Hi, I'm Dave; and I re-purpose common items for my model railroad whenever I can.) I still have to paint the black pipes with the black Magnetic Paint, but the plastic straw pipes seem lighter than the plastic girders, so the Magnetic Paint should work just fine. .

    This load is Loose Borings/Turnings cut from a green ScotchBright pad, contoured, and painted. It is only 1-sided right now, but I plan to trim it down and repaint this side and then add a washer in the middle, and glue aluminum foil bundles to the other side to make it a double-sided load.
    Pictures of all 6 of the loads above were taken with the cars spotted on the Bundler Track. The building behind the cars is the Bundler side of the Bundler and Cast Breaking Machine Building. This last picture shows a scrap load of 4 Cast Motor Blocks made out of cast soft metal.The gondola is spotted on the Cast Breaking Machine side of the Bundler and Cast Breaking Machine Building. I'm hoping the recently rebuilt Bundler and Cast Breaking Machine Building will get its new "skin" in the next week or so.
    I've made progress on updating the Notes pages for my PowerPoint presentation but it's slower than I'd like. I've gotten one small scrap yard mostly upgraded and have decent pics that I can use in my talk, but I'm just getting started on up-grading the second small scrap yard, and still have a number of tweaks to complete in the large IBS Scrap Recycling yard before I'll be ready to take pictures of the large yard for my talk.
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Just a reminder that the Winter Layout Party is scheduled to end this Sunday !:cry::cry:
    Everyone is encouraged to post a last progress report in the next 5 or 6 days (and pics, if you've got them).
  5. okane

    okane TrainBoard Supporter

    I reached my initial goal for the Winter Layout Party, clean track, clean and repair Locos, Finalize a plan and get a train running. So here we are. Still have a bunch of stuff to do and accomplish, lots of time till the next party. Progress is Progress albeit small. Apologize for the video quality, my phone needs replacing.

  6. logging loco

    logging loco TrainBoard Supporter

    I've never participated in a Layout Party.
    Will there be a Spring Layout Party?
  7. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    Final Report. Not sure what I was thinking when entering but thinking that working on my small test/break-in track was a good idea wasn't. It currently is in the coldest part of the shop that I can heat but that is not a good idea if I'm only going to work there a couple hours at a time.

    With that in mind I deviated from that plan and worked on smaller projects inside and on the computer for the test track and also for the layout which I think I'm going to change the location of it with the heating problem in mind.

    My shop is two parts divided by a wall. What was going to be the train room is the north smaller section that is about 13' X 28' and the only heat is space heaters and a high fan that blows heat off the larger shops ceiling into this area. The larger shop is 27' X 40' but hasn't had a train available area as I keep half of it open to get a vehicle in and on the lift. But now my plan is to get this....


    ... out of the shop since I won't finish it at my age and sold and put the train layout where it is.

    It will give me a space that is 4' to 5' wide by 22' long and I'll be able to get to it on all sides so will have a divider down the middle. I'll soon work on getting it outside and under a tarp until I can find it a new home. T

    The large side of the shop never goes below 50 without heat and most of the time even during cold spells gets up around 60 in the day as it is heated by a 25' greenhouse attached to its south wall that gets over 90 any day there is sun out regardless of outside temps and we get a lot of sun. Also I have a wood burning stove in this part of the shop that does a good job without using much wood if needed. I'm looking forward to doing this as the room I was going to use feels more like a cave to me.

    Even though I didn't accomplish my original goal I did work 3-5 hours almost every day on train stuff.

    1. Got the gravity switcher done ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/3D-Printer-2/page-40.html )
    2. Experimented with using very cheap paver joint sand for N scale ballast.
    3. Made jigs for gluing ties to hand-laid turnouts and put the ties on a number of turnouts I'd made ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/Trackwork-Index.html )
    4. Made some 3D printed track layout and shaping tools ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Trackwork/Trackwork-Index.html )
    5. Got more of my coal mine module finished and the first part 3D printed ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Coal Mine/Coal Mine-Index.html )
    6. Finished all the 3D printed roundhouse files and up on thingiverse.co ( http://1fatgmc.com/RailRoad/Roundhouse/Roundhouse-Index.html
    7. Started working on a turntable for the roundhouse and got it working with a stepper motor and 2 Arduinos for control. Just got a video up a little while ago showing how that all works.

    So the moral of the story is I need to next year plan a project better,

    Atani, BoxcabE50, BNSF FAN and 3 others like this.
  8. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Logging Loco
    The last Spring Layout Party was the 6th Annual one in 2008. By popular demand, we started the Winter Layout Parties that December, in part, because there were fewer outdoor activities competing for modelers’ attention. The Spring Parties were about 8 weeks long, as were the first few Winter Parties, but more recent Winter Parties have been 10 or 11 weeks long, and end at the end of February or early in March...about the time many Trainboard members are starting yard work in the northern hemisphere.

    If you (or anyone else) want to share your
    layout work with others, Jim Wiggin’s Weekend Modeling threads offer a great opportunity. Also Russel Straw’s Weekend Photo Fun.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Atani, nscalestation and BNSF FAN like this.
  9. Tim Holmes

    Tim Holmes TrainBoard Member

    Final Report:

    Well -- I entered a bit late with no specific plan other than to "Get train stuff done"

    At the start of the layout party, I didnt have the full main loop done, which is now done, I have the east arrival departure switch in place, but thats gonna be a pain till I can get servo switch machines done b/c its pretty much out of reach -- I was hoping to use the atlas snap machine, but cant find my old transformer to provide the 16v AC to activate it... drat it all...

    I also got the interchange yard switch in as well as the lead and I'm going to be installing some of the interchange yard today, I'll also be working on the west yard lead for RJ Johnson yard

    I got a large percentage of the trackwork in Monte Vista done and its ready to start revenue service as soon as I get Johnson yard working

    Its been fun guys --

    Atani, RailMix, Joe Lovett and 3 others like this.
  10. Kevin Anderson

    Kevin Anderson TrainBoard Member

    I finally got around to painting the modules. Now they are ready for ballast. Also working on the crossing. My wife even got her track work done finally for her current configuration on her O scale Lionel setup.
  11. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Finally finished the 2nd small scrap yard...instead of rail scrap like the first one, this yard, Heller Tin Compress, specializes in bundling light scrap. The bundles in this yard are made out of N scale roadbed that I cut into (roughly) 2 foot cubes. The bundler started out as a brown cardstock mock-up, but, no matter what angle I tried to photograph it from, its profile looks more like an odd-shaped cardboard box that, at best, I could only call a "space holder". I like this pic of the yard: it shows the whole yard, the highway and Google Street View buildings and billboard in front, and CNW Yard Lane and tracks behind...and the bundler--AKA space holder--is hidden behind the tree.
    The modeling gods must have been watching out for me last night. When I was painting the commercial scrap piles, I got a splash of silver paint meant for a nearby pipe on a large box in one of the piles. When I wiped off the paint with my thumb, I revealed the etched/slightly recessed letters of a classic Coca Cola Machine!
    Atani, RailMix, TrainzLuvr and 5 others like this.
  12. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    Final update and conclusion:

    Friday morning my wife and I got our vaccines for the pandemic. Felt OK on Friday and got the fascia painted and also some tan color paint on the hillside. As the day worn on I was feeling some side effects and that's where the progress ended and Saturday nothing got done. Today I feel much better so ran a couple of test trains over the entire layout including the new expansion and got these photos.


    This is what the back side of the hill looks like with the gate down. The deck of the gate is still the yellow primer color but I will eventually get around to painting it in my "train room trim" color.


    Here is the same view with the gate up. The access panel can be removed if necessary for greater access to the tracks inside. The unfinished area below will be covered with a hard board panel and also painted "train room trim".


    And here is how the area to the corner to the right of the twin bridges looks right now. In the near future it will get more finished scenery.


    Looking back I see this has been the 5th year that I've been participating in the annual layout party. I have found it to be a great motivator to get through the winter months and seem to always get a lot done on the layout. This years goal was simply get this area of the layout done enough to run trains again and that did get 100% done. There is still plenty of scenery things to do but those will not interfere with the operation of the layout.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your work.

    Philip H, Atani, logging loco and 3 others like this.
  13. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    I felt a little like the flu was coming on for a couple hours after the second shot but then it passed and we feel better about having had the shots. Still being careful though.

    Love the workmanship and scenery on you layout. Looks like the entry gate came out really well. Whose work are you using for you backdrops?

    TrainzLuvr and nscalestation like this.
  14. nscalestation

    nscalestation TrainBoard Supporter

    The backdrops are from Backdrops Junction. I have several posts on my blog related to the use of these, link below.

    http://palisadecanyonrr.blogspot.com/search/label/back drop
  15. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

    Thanks, looks like they might be closing shop? Too early for me to decide if I want any of the ones they still have but maybe someone else will find one before they are gone,

  16. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    When I went back to touch up some ballasting and grass in the Heller Tin Compress Scrap Yard this morning, I was so disgusted with the bundler mock-up that I decided to scratch-build something better. So, I made the bundler box by cutting off the top half of a half-sized shipping container that was the wrong era for my railroad, added some electronic parts scavenged a year or so ago from a defunct printer, cut apart a plastic telephone wire splitter that I'd used for Cab A and Cab B power 20+ years ago before I converted to DCC, covered the splitter holes with cardboard, slit a 5/16 inch diameter Evergreen tube in half for the bundler doors, painted the inside gray and the outside a dusty green, and (proudly) put it on the layout.
    I cut some red, green, and white wire to length and added some acetylene, oxygen, and propylene tanks in the empty tank storage area (on the right side of the building, near the coke machine) and used Evergreen channel and I-beams to make a guard rail for the end of the road next to the scrap yard.
    On the other side of the scrap yard, I finally took the time to spray paint over the bar code and numbers on the top of 2 white PVC caps I've been using as fuel tanks in the CNW Yard behind the scrap yard for about 10 years, and to paint the roof of a yellow cast resin tool shed in the CNW Yard.
    I wrote the first paragraph above about 11:00 this morning, and worked on the cutting torch tanks and guard rail in the early afternoon, and then "paved" the road from the guard rail to the highway at the back of the shelf, put in the side walk and parking lines before dinner and a movie.
    This is my Progress Report for the last Week of February.
  17. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    OK, my last post of the thirteenth winter layout party. Again, I didn't get as much done as I wanted to. I tend to be reflective and spend a fair amount of time considering my next move(s). Anyway, I had hoped to finish the GreenRiver depot this time and got close, but didn't quite get it done. See top photo.

    IMG_1315 (2).JPG

    Got all the dormers I had installed (more about that in a minute). Still needs some paint touchup and weathering along with a number of details yet to be applied. Comparison with the photo of the box cover below will show what still needs to be done.

    IMG_1104 (2).jpg

    The biggest issue is that over the course of time since I first opened the box, a total of five of the dormers have gone missing. That won't be a major problem, though. I got the CAD model done (see below) and now I've got a reason to get my 3D printer going.

    IMG_1318 (2).JPG

    I elected to print the window as a separate part in order to avoid the need for support material.
    I'll be posting updates in the "Progress on the Huron Central" Thread. Not entirely sure what I'm going to do next. I may take a break and work on some vehicle projects or resume work on the gas station project:


    I also have hopes of starting on some benchwork in the near future. I've got spring break coming up, so I may actually make some progress.
    Philip H, logging loco, Atani and 2 others like this.
  18. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Final Summary of my layout accomplishments for the 13th Annual Winter Layout Party:
    My original goals were to upgrade 2 structures in my Keystone Steel and Wire Mill:
    1. build the interior of my Open Hearth Furnace Building and
    2. replace the 44 cardboard mock-up supports of the 2 Overhead Cranes in the Billet Storage area with painted plastic girders and beams.
    Thru January, I was making decent progress on the OHF interior:
    My plan was to start with a blank interior,
    a. raise the Charging Room Floor 1 inch: Done
    b. install some girders around the Charging Room: Done
    c. make 2 1/2 banks of charging portals, each with 5 portals (mirror will show the other 2 1/2 banks) Partially Finished. I still need to form some wire into the pair of inflow and outflow cooling water pipes that cool each of the inspection plates that cover the open hearth portals, and also fashion chains to lift each of the charging portals when material is to be put into the OHF.
    d. build the brick walls and roof of the furnace itself: In Progress. 3rd version had some technical and quality control problems, and, so far, I've only discovered some ways that don't work well.

    No work has been done on the 2nd original goal.

    On January 21, I made a commitment to present a virtual clinic on making scrap iron loads to the Steel Mill Modelers Special Interest Group (SMMSIG), so I dropped my OHF and Billet Storage Projects and set new Layout Party goals:
    1. upgrade 3 of my scrap yards, so I could take pictures to use as slides in my PowerPoint presentation.
    2. weather the gondolas that I carry the scrap iron in (and take pictures)
    3. upgrade my existing scrap iron loads (repaint, repair, replace as needed) (and take pictures).
    4. make over a dozen new types of scrap iron loads (and take pictures)
    5. upgrade a scrap loads virtual clinic from May 2020 with new loads and pics of new loads.
    6. write a new section for the SMMSIG clinic about modeling the scrap iron recycling process on my layout.

    Upgrade Mervis Rail Scrap and Salvage Yard: Done.
    Before: After:
    Upgrade Heller Tin Compress: Done.
    Before: After:
    I also made some upgrades near Heller Tin Compress:
    Painted some Tanks and the roof of a tool shed in the CNW Yard, and put in a guard rail, "paved" a road, painted the parking spaces lines, added a sidewalk, and ballasted track.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
  19. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

    Upgrade I Bork and Sons Scrap Iron Recycling Yard: In Progress.
    a. Sorting Building: Done.
    Before: After: b. Shearing Buildings: Done.
    Before/During: After: c. Cast Crushing/Breaking and Bundler Building, Partially Finished. Rebuilt, but still needs new "skin" (blue and white siding) put on it.
    Before: After: Cast Motor Blocks Load on the Cast Crusher/Breaker side of the rebuilt structure (sans "skin"). Busheling Load and Bundles load on Bundler side of the building. d. Car Stripping and Picker Shed: Partially Finished. Still needs to be "planted" in its location and detailed with motors, seats, and tires in front of each garage door.
    Before: After:
    e. Shredded Metal Loader: In Progress.
    Before: After: Conveyor covers are printed, but not yet installed on the (to be built) conveyors. upload_2021-3-1_2-1-58.png
  20. Atani

    Atani TrainBoard Member

    So the layout didn't get as much attention as I had hoped to give it during the party. But, a few trains projects were the focus during the party and work related activities that took time away from the trains.

    On the layout, the helix has a couple turns on it and I plan on getting it completed in the next week or so. The base board for the main deck is going to be cut out later today since the weather has finally cooperated and allowed things to dry out a bit outside.

    Non-layout specific projects that I've posted about previously and have taken some of my free time...

    ESP32 Command Station PCB:
    This is the first assembled SMT CS PCB, this is using one of the first ESP32 modules I picked up nearly three years ago and is showing it's age in the pin headers as I never cleaned it fully (make sure to cleanup excess flux as it will collect dust!) Overall the PCB appears to work but there are a couple of bugs to be resolved for the next revision, mostly in removal of a couple parts that should not be populated and a couple minor tweaks to the 5V buck converter to smooth out the ripples. I'm going to order what is hopefully the final revision of the PCB later this month once I complete other testing with this PCB. @TrainzLuvr also mentioned there was an issue with the CS DCC signal being detected as AC by an RRampMeter instead of DCC as expected, mobile decoders worked fine which indicates that the signal was just barely out of spec. I've got a fix for that and still working on testing it for compliance with NMRA specifications. Which brings up the next project...

    DCC Analyzer:

    This PCB contains all components for DCC signal decoding, DCC ACK generation and RailCom TX. The "missing" component on the right side is an ESP32-S2 SoC and at the bottom are two RJ45 connectors which will connect to the OpenLCB/LCC network. A pair of jumpers will select which DCC signal should be analyzed, I'd like to swap these jumpers for something I can control from code but I haven't found a suitable solution yet.

    The last project that is planned to be released sometime this month is a PWM expansion board for the Esp32OlcbIO board:

    This expansion will support up to 16 servos / LEDs / etc via the PCA9685 IC. I have a version of these on hand now and doing some testing before ordering this new "cut-out" version.

    And finally a WIP OpenLCB/DCC sound decoder for N scale:
    This is at least a couple months away from sample PCBs to be produced.
    Sumner, RailMix, gmorider and 3 others like this.

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