Sputtering start to a new layout

Stephane Savard May 24, 2018

  1. KeithUKN

    KeithUKN New Member

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    Hello Stephane,
    Just came across an interesting comment on the MERG site which might be of interest to you.
    Vishay make a very small modular IR sensor, part TCRT5000, it is small enough to fit between N gauge rails. Digikey hold this as part 751-1033-5-ND.
    I expect it is available for the usual online sellers as well! I am going to try some of these as it is easier than using the 'robotics' units I have which are on a small PCB with a comparator and sensitivity adjuster.
    Cheers
    Keith
     
  2. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Morning Keith!

    I've looked at the datasheet for the part you provided. Honestly, it looks to be more difficult to use than the two individual parts I used. The sensor/emitter I used are 3mm in size, same as this new part. However the housing will be difficult to fit between the rails, certainly more difficult than just drilling two holes. In my case I had to drill these through plywood, two inches of foam, a woodland scenic foam riser and the cork roadbed. I used a 3/32 drill bit, one that's 12 inches long. :D You'll also still need the resistors.
     
  3. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    December?! Has it really been that long since I worked on the actual layout???!

    Well, as of this week, I'm back! Well, I was never really gone, it's just that I've been working on different things, namely the nickel concentrate gondolas I posted in the 3D printing sub-forum...

    IMG_20210323_174133773.JPG

    Well, okay, so time flies when you're having fun? It also flies when you take your time procrastinating, and flies when trying too hard for perfection I guess. I just don't understand how everyone else manages to churn out model after model in what seems like record time :D

    But, I did say I'm back at the layout proper!

    IMG_20210331_174106938.JPG

    Now that the track is done, and I've been running trains around the place, fixing little kinks here and there (wheel gauge, finicky turnouts, etc.), I've cleared the table of all the rolling stock and locomotives, and started building up the terrain. If you recall, the back of the layout had a gaping hole showing the staging tracks. Well, that's what I'm in the process of closing up. I started with what was left of my blue foam, putting down strips roughly 3 inches wide. Now, after a trip to the hardware store, I couldn't find the blue stuff, but this light orange stuff seems to be just as good, though maybe a bit harder. Still, this time I bought it in 1.5" thickness to fill the mountain faster. I'm putting in a lot more foam than I really need here. I will be then able to properly carve out the cliffs I want at the rear of the layout. It's slow, but that's because it takes hours for the gorilla glue to set.

    I also noticed that Gorilla glue is attracted to rails. So far I've had three drops of the stuff drip off a piece of foam and land right onto the layout - all three times right on the rails. No where else, just the rails! :LOL: Okay, because it will happen to you too, here's the easy way to clean it up - I'm an expert now. Take a q-tip, and take off as much as possible. Wet the q-tip with alcohol and wipe up even more. Then drench the ties and rail with a spray bottle of alcohol, and with an old toothbrush, just brush it up real good and dry with a paper towel. It works, and leaves nothing behind on the rails or ties that won't be hidden by ballast.

    So why gorilla glue? it's doing a super job of holding on to the fascia, and it's carvable. Even the hot wire foam cutter can cut through it.

    Here's what it looks like in the back...

    IMG_20210331_174014819.JPG

    We can see how the blue foam underneath doesn't reach all the way to the fascia, and all the old newspaper protecting the tracks and ballast from gorilla attacks. Since glueing the orange foam to the fascia, that fascia is rock solid! When I'm done carving and plastering the mountain from the front, I will then go back into the access holes and carve out some of the foam to give wider access to my hands to I can more easily get access to the trains. The load of bricks up at the far end is currently pressing down on the foam as the gorilla glue sets. I will keep adding layers of foam until I reach the top of the fascia.

    Hope to keep these updates coming, though we'll see how it goes through the summer months. Kinda sucks being in the basement 7am to 4pm working "at the office", then spending more time in the basement working on the layout while the family is out in the sun. More of a rainy day thing during the summer months I guess.
     
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  4. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I'd say nice progress and my goal now is to do whatever at the time makes me happy and I think your work on the gondolas fits that criteria.

    For the cliffs check out what NtheBasement has accomplished. Here are a couple pictures from here but not the ones that really turned me on ....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ... some of the nicest work I've seen. Not sure I can post the link here as his 'how to' process is on a different forum so I'll PM it go you. Be great if he posted the 'how to' here also ;);),

    Sumner
     
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  5. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, that's roughly the type of landscaping I want to do. However wrong type of rock and vegetation. I need to find good pictures to help me model the right cliffs, think Ontario/Quebec Canadian Shield. More conifers, and lots of colour in the rock.

    I'm not a member of that forum, so can't see the pictures, but the ones you showed here look awesome!
     
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  6. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Wow! It looks great. But also seems to help me be happy that all I have to present here in northeast Wisconsin are the Kettle Moraine Forests.

    'Kettles' are depressions are created when the glaciers dumped water thru cracks. They are shaped like bowls. Some are lakes.
    'Moraines' are also created by the glaciers when they dumped mounds of dirt that was scraped up and moved south.
    They are grouped together.
     
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  7. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    More foam blocks, very boring update!

    IMG_20210405_112506853.JPG

    As you can see, I'm still glueing down foam blocks around the edge of the layout. The area above the staging area is complete, and the little edgeat the bottom left of the photo. We can see that I'm not taking any care to make the foam blocks the correct size, I'm purposefully making them oversize with the idea that it's easy to carve away the excess than add more later on.

    IMG_20210405_112410410.JPG

    The end of the layout is also being built up, for that bit that goes to the tunnels, I wanted to have cliffs on both sides of the track. The Peco switch machine has own little corner...

    IMG_20210405_175117078.JPG

    ... and now that little switch machine is gone, hidden in it's little foam tomb. Will I regret just closing that up? Maybe, we'll see. It's only an inch deep and I know exactly where to excavate should I need to someday. If I do need to dig that out, well, I figure I will then hide the hole with a cabin or something, I will have scrubs and trees up on that cliff in any case. Further down I added the last bit of foam near the control panel. And yes, I really like using bricks to hold down everything :D

    So now.. I've only got three areas left to 'foam up'. The next bit will be in the middle of the layout, against the Woodland scenics incline risers (the two areas behind and to the right of the curved viaduct). That's an easy section. Leaves me this bit....

    IMG_20210405_175030405.JPG

    I have a 20" x 48" sheet of 1.5" foam, and scraps. I have to fill in both corners, so I don't know that I actually have enough, but I also don't need a full sheet. I think the fascia at the back will be too high right behind the bridge. That will make a massively steep cliff! The fascia is 4" away from the track, and a scale 120 feet high above the track. It may be smarter to take the jigsaw and cut a gentle sloping 'U' behind the bridge and track leading up to it. Maybe down to half the current height. Time to go hunting for landscape pictures!
     
  8. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Foam blocks continued!

    IMG_20210411_140814069.JPG

    In this small update, I finished building up the foam at the far end of the layout. Just quick and dirty, nothing pretty! As before, the idea is to just build up layers.

    IMG_20210411_140828313.JPG

    As I was saying in a previous post, I was getting somewhat concerned about the height of the fascia at the back. Those cliffs were going to be between 80 to 110 scale feet above the rail level. So using a Dremel with a "multipurpose cutting bit" (one of those spiral drill-bit looking things) I cut down the masonite at the back. It was a lot easier than I expected, and in the end it will make a more realistic cliff. We can see the new level of the fascia in the picture above.

    And now my layout is all cleaned up, I put all the tools away in preparation for carving and making rock faces from molds. But it's only after looking at the above pictures that I realised I forgot to add foam along the front edge of the woodland scenics inclines, ack! Back to foam build-up it is!
     
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  9. vince p

    vince p TrainBoard Member

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    Looks great
     
  10. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Alright! I got that last of the the foam done! Well, until I decide that I might need more, but still... it's a milestone

    IMG_20210412_195310434.JPG

    Wasn't much, just the bits in front of the woodland scenics inclines (white foam accordion bits).

    So right, now comes the hard part. You know, that part where I need to get all creative and artsy and make actual hills, mountains and all. I'm not a sculptor! It's a bit difficult to get started carving, because adding stuff is easy, it's the removing stuff that's difficult and gets into paralysis of making a decision: how much do I remove, how much do I carve? I don't have prototype photos, 'cause this isn't even close to any prototype. and I've never really had much a plan except "hills! passes! rocks! Canadian Shield-like!".

    So, I'm more of a visual guy, so first, I need to know what rocks and carvings I've got to work with...

    IMG_20210413_184210565.JPG

    Last few times I went to the hobby shop, or ordered online, I've slowly acquired several of the Woodland Scenics rock molds, and I have the ones I made myself some time ago (documented in the this thread last year sometime). I think the first step is to make up some plaster of paris and make one of every mold. That will allow me to see what I have to work with, and can dummy them up in different parts of the layout as I start carving foam. I already have some from before (seen below), so I mostly have to do the woodland scenics molds.

    IMG_20200721_103850232.JPG

    I also have to figure what I was doing wrong, why so many bubbles. These were made from lightweight hydrocal. Maybe that was the problem? Anyway, we'll see how the next batch comes out with plaster of paris.
     
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  11. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Do you jump from project to project on your railroad, or do you have everything planned out? :D

    IMG_20210417_112245009.JPG

    Well, first things first, I started casting one of every rock mold I have available. Started all wrong though. The box of plaster of paris I have says to mix 1:1 water to powder. Either I measured really wrong, or the instructions are wrong. What a liquid mess that was! Next rock castings were at closer to 2:1 water to powder and that worked out muuuch better, as seen above.

    But then, well, I opened a cabinet door under my layout, and got distracted...

    IMG_20210417_135028706.JPG

    This was given to me by a friend last year, err, well, actually before the pandemic, so that was over a year ago. He's into HO scale, and accidentally bought this in 2002, only noticing the error in recent years. I just got the urge to build a kit, so took it out and here we are! :D

    It's a Heljan kit of a european passenger station, but looking at various stations in towns all over Quebec and Ontario, it can pass fairly well for something here!

    IMG_20210417_145254519.JPG

    It doesn't have instructions, well, not really, it just has a one page exploded parts diagram. But it doesn't look too complicated. First I assembled the grey base - this was just the ramp, bend it down and glue some bits underneath. And then the brick walls. They fit super well, with only a bit of sanding required at the edges for a perfect fit. These 1-2-3 blocks and magnets are used to hold the structure together while the plastic cement, brushed on the back of the joint, sets.

    IMG_20210419_181015670.JPG

    The brick walls are done and fit perfectly on the base, slotting over the tabs. However I am not glueing it down yet, I want to get it painted first. On to the roof! Okay, this part is somewhat more difficult. The angles are NOT 90 degrees, which makes it a bit more difficult. The edge of the roof parts fit perfectly with barely a visible joint, but the parts don't mate flush either (the roof edges are beveled at 45 degrees, but the roof parts fit at a smaller angle).

    IMG_20210420_175240887.JPG

    This is where I'm at now. The L-shaped roof is a doozy, and does not fit all that well together. The inner joint barely has any material touching together and will need reinforcement. Again, the roof itself is not yet glued done to the white piece (sub-roof? fascia? soffit? anyway, the white piece :) ). Lots of plastic dust on the roof since this was taken shortly after sanding the bottom edge of the roof. Once ready for painting I'll have to wash everything in warm soapy water. For sanding, I taped a full sheet of 400 wet/dry sandpaper to the table, works out great for sanding the bottoms of parts!

    So yeah, this model building is happening, but that's what I like about this hobby - so many different aspects - running trains, model building, landscaping, wood work, etc. So, do you build your layout in a specific order, or jump around much like I do? :D
     
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  12. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

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    I'm like you, constantly flirting with different parts, electronics, scenery, buildings, programming...... then there is the dreaded "ohhhhh, that would look good on the layout - now how can I fit that in" ideas that seem to constantly pop into my head.

    When it comes to your rock and stuff have a look at this guys youtube channel

    Luke Towan

    His builds are just incredible and I've used his techniques a few times now for rock faces and static grass (even made his DIY applicator)

    From boring plastic kit
    IMG_4558.jpg
    To this
    IMG_4619.jpg
    IMG_4627.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  13. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    Awesome castle! I especially like the roof colours, very well done!

    Heh, I've seen every video of Luke's so far, I even connect my mobile to my 50" tv to watch, his videos are that good! Blew me away when he once added salmon into his river scene! And like you, I have the parts to make my own static grass applicator, but didn't build it yet.
     
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  14. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    So next little update.. still building the passenger station!

    :confused: what happened to embedding images?

    Ok, after a quick look in the support sub-forum...

    [​IMG]

    Ah ha, okay, so I finished the roof sections, including filling in the inside gaps with perfect putty. Notice also that the L-shaped part of the roof needed a stick of styrene to fill the gap between sections. It was pretty much the only part that did not fit quite right.

    Now at this point I started fitting everything together, including all the windows and doors. Now the nice thing about the windows/doors is that they fit well in any of the building's holes - I don't have to keep track of which frame fits into which hole. So with that out of the way, I turned my attention to the next detail part, and those are the "gussets" that hold up the roof. With these, I started by cutting the smallest ones out of the sprue, and gently sanding each tiny tiny tiny little piece smooth. :mad: My fingers were starting to cramp up trying to hold these tiny tiny tiny little things up to the sanding sticks. Then tried fitting up to the wall to see how they fit. They didn't. Too long, they stuck out from under the eaves. I would then need to sand each one down as square as possible and grrr. :mad:

    Really?! These little styrene plastic things were ugly, I mean I can understand why, must be a limitation of the injection molding, but I've got a 3D printer, and I can do better!

    So half an hour later at the computer, and an hour an half later through the printer. I now had replacement parts. I had fancy replacement parts! :D


    [​IMG]

    I printed a whole bunch of extras because I wasn't sure they'd print well, but I shouldn't have bothered! Perfect print, and I only needed to barely sand the top edge where the print supports were attached. Pretty happy with that! Honestly, I don't use my 3d printer often, but still, I really like having it for exactly this reason!

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, later this morning, I did some final sanding and fitting of every part, and then washed everything in some warm soapy water and left it to dry. Now, ready for painting.

    Should I use primer before I paint?? I worry that primer may fill in the brick detail on the walls, or the very slight speckling detail on the roof. What's the advantage or disadvantage to using primer before airbrushing the models??
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Really nice work and love the parts you designed and printed. Yep love having a printer.

    On the primer I'm not sure what the proper protocol is but I usually always use it.

    [​IMG]

    I do far more painting at this point with a brush than airbrushing. I use the primer on the left above when brushing and the one on the right the few times I've airbrushed. Neither seems to fill in any of the detail for what I've been doing and some of it is pretty fine in N scale.

    [​IMG]

    Above is a picture of the N scale turntable pit and I brushed all of it. The mortar joints are really fine and none of it seemed to fill them up. The brushed on primer is really thin straight out of the bottle and if I wasn't printing with a gray filament it wouldn't hide say a black in one coat. The other primer is made for an air gun (I don't know but maybe the other is also since it is so thin) and I'll spray on 2-3 light coats to cover with it.

    I've done a fair amount of car painting and primer is there to help with adhesion between the top coats and the paint surface. I'm guessing it does the same for us along with also giving a coat of color that is easier to hide with the top coats.

    I'll be interested in others input on this also,

    Sumner
     
  16. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

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    I'm with @Sumner with this - always used primer, though I just use a spray can of fine primer from the local DIY store (don't have my airbrush with me). Haven't had any issues with loss of detail, in fact I've found defects that were unseen after applying the primer (print lines on 3d prints, divots from mold injection process) which you can easily correct before painting.

    Have you thought about printing out an interior and adding lighting for the station?
     
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  17. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    @Sumner, @Chris Hall - okay, you have me convinced, I'll spray the parts with primer first. Actually, I do have a bottle of that grey Vallejo primer, and I have sprayed it in the past. I just can't remember when or for what! It's just that I'm not that great with the airbrush. I often have problems with clogging or dry tip, or something. I'm slowly getting better at it, but since I only use the brushes occasionally, it feels like a brand new learning curve every time :D

    Funny thing is that I have three airbrushes :LOL:. My wife bought me an Iwata dual action bottle feed 20 years ago when I was into r/c planes. When I got into trains, I bought a gravity feed Iwata neo, which turns out to be much more convenient than the bottle. Now, just recently, I damaged the Neo's nozzle and had a really hard time finding replacement parts, especially at a price that wasn't nearly half of the initial price of that entire airbrush! So I ended up spending more for a Harder and Steinbeck. I chose this mostly on the availability and price of spare parts and newbie features (it has a stop that can be set to prevent the trigger from being pulled back more than a set amount - cool feature for weathering).

    Anyway, all to say, I'll give it a try!

    @Chris Hall - yes! I will be lighting the building, and I've bought some microscope slide slipcovers to make better windows. I do want to detail the interior to some degree. This station will be right at the front edge of the layout and likely the one building where it will be easy to look inside.
     
  18. Stephane Savard

    Stephane Savard TrainBoard Member

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    I need to find some sort of floor plan for the centre section of the station for the interior. It's rather large, 5 x 13 cm.. umm 26 x 68 scale feet. A friend sent me some interior pictures of Canadian passenger stations he's visited, but it only shows one or two rooms. All I know is he insists I have a pot bellied stove in there :D

    The other issue I need to figure out us how to hide the window and door frames that may be visible inside the station. They are considerably thick on the inside of the building. Maybe I should sand these down to a minimum.
     
  19. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

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    That is entirely up to you, but I didn't both with mine. I do have open doors so you can see into the station and the interior but you really don't notice the window frames. Other option is to prime them as well that way it will all blend into one.

    This is a closer shot of the interior of mine, before I added the doors. I kept it fairly simple. A couple of benches with people sitting and some ticket machines in the middle. I was going to do a cafe area but the size of the station made it look very cluttered. I think maybe keep it simple, and concentrate more on areas you will be able to see into the building. It was one of the first buildings I did an interior for, with my old laser resin printer (horrible thing). Once I got the new one the next interior I did was a lot more detailed - man in shower, people watching TV with flashing LED etc - but to be honest unless you are right up close to the windows its hard to see in there.

    That said, I'm in N scale and I can't remember which scale you are in. HO would be different as the building size makes for better interior design. I have an HO shop with big glass windows that is highly detailed - even has stuff inside chiller cabinets and on shelves. Was highly disappointed opening that box after it was sold to me as Spur N.

    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?media/img_4105.140729/full&d=1613582279

    On the painting front, if you don't fancy using the airbrush a can of Tamiya Fine primer will work well.
     
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  20. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Sorry off topic intrusion:

    I mentioned this a year or so ago but feel it is worth mentioning again. It would be great if the scale or scales we work in would show with our name to the left of a post. I frequently see posts and wonder if what I'm looking at is Z, N, HO or another scale. It would make the forum just that much more useful in my opinion.

    Sumner
     

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