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Nigel's Workbench June 27 2014 - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 09:02 pm
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BCDR
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Concertina Gangways (diaphragms) in paper.

I have previously used  the cut/slit and fold method of making (cheap) concertina gangways from 2 pieces of paper or thin card stock. One of the drawbacks of this method is a) I have fingers that are less than dexterous and b) there is no top to the pleats. While searching on the web for an alternate (cheap) method for gangways for the Pullman Palace passenger cars kits I am building, I came across a technique described by the Elgin Model railway Club (referred hereafter as the “Elgin” method). It turns out to be a very simple method that gives a gangway with tops as well as sides to the pleats. I made a few changes to the procedure in order to make it a bit easier and more convincing.

The modified procedure is described below, the dimensions used are for the end doors of Pullman Palace cars (HO scale), adjust where necessary to the desired width/height, and please acknowledge the original (Elgin) and this modification (me) if you ever write it up.

Paper. The original method calls for black paper. Black they may have been straight out of the shop, but after studying photos of gangways it seems that most of them were more a dark grey in color (the effects of sunlight, age, dust, and grime). After a bit of searching I found what I was looking for – Artoz (a Swiss company) S-Line 5 Bogan graphite (from DeSerres art supply shops here in Canada). This paper is 0.1 mm thick, and holds a crease very well. More to the point, I can print black lines on it with the ink-jet printer and see them (which is a bit difficult with to do with black paper). The Elgin method does not refer to end plates, used to lock the gangways together. I used black card stock (Michaels in North America, 0.25 mm thick) for the end plates of the gangway, as these need to be stiff, not flexible.

Template design and components. I used CorelDraw to prepare some templates. The drawing tools in Microsoft Word would work, as would those in PowerPoint. Alternatively, use a 2H pencil and a ruler. The Elgin method calls for folding longer strips (Part A) over shorter strips (Part B), but makes no allowance for the thickness of the paper or card stock. I reduced the width of the longer strip A by 0.25 mm and the height of the shorter strip B by the same to compensate for the paper thickness and to allow easier assembly and flexing.

After printing the template, Parts A, B and the end plate templates were cutout using a steel ruler and large utility/craft knife with a new blade.

The kits require a gangway width of 14 mm and a height of 24 mm. For the longer strip (Part A), 7 mm was added to each end, for the shorter strip (Part B) 7 mm was added to each side. The additional 7 mm on the ends and sides forms the tops/bottoms and sides of the concertina. The gangway end plates were sized at 16 x 26 mm. See Figure 1 for the templates for Parts A, B and the gangway end plates.



Figure 1.


Paper folding.

See Figure 2 for the procedure.



Figure 2.

1.     The fold lines were gently scored using the back of the utility knife blade.

2.     The first Part A was placed with the printed side uppermost. The first Part B was placed on Part A, and the ends of Part A folded over Part B.

3.     The next Part A was placed on Part B, and the sides of Part B folded over Part A.

4.     Steps 1 and 2 were repeated until the desired number of concertina pleats was reached. In my case, I needed 3 pleats, as I have close-coupling Kadees.

5.     For the last Part A, the folds were reversed and the corners cut off one end. The sides of the last Part B were then folded in, and the end s of Part A tucked under them, cut corner end last. A small pair of tweezers helps in getting the end with the cut corners to slide in.

6.     The corners of the assembled parts were cut at 45°. This was kept small; 1 mm in from each edge was enough. This allows the bellows action of the gangway.

7.     The end plate templates were glued to the black card stock using Liquid Silk (similar to Evostick or similar adhesives craft adhesives). CAA also works well, but is a bit less forgiving. The end plates were then cutout, and glued to the ends of the gangway concertina. The end plates between the passenger cars can be given 2 coats of shiny black acrylic paint (use ordinary flat acrylic paint and gloss varnish if you cannot source this) to reduce friction. When done the vertical edges were bent very slightly to give a concave curve. This allows the ends to slide over each other and prevents gangway lock. The other end plate was glued to the door frame using CAA glue.

8.       In real life, there would have been a lever/spring arm or sprung scissors to keep the gangways under tension. Use thin brass angle and rod fixed to the top of the doorframe or brass/styrene strip fixed to the doorframe respectively as representations.

9.       A top cover can be made using a strip of grey paper long enough to cover the gangway, crumpling it repeatedly (which breaks the fibers and makes it flexible), and gluing in place at the carriage/car end of one gangway and at the outer plate. More about this in a future post. Check the prototype for what was actually used.

The ends of model passenger carriages/cars are highly visible, and the presence of gangways, even as rudimentary as these, makes a big visual improvement. They also take up any coupler slack, and give a much smoother ride (none of that hunting back and forth). These gangways cost cents (pennies) to make and only a few minutes work, commercial offerings can cost from $4.00-$7.50 per carriage/car.

See the photos below for what a gangway looks like.



Gangway Parts A and B showing scored fold lines.



Completed gangway with 3 pleats.



End plate templates glued to black card stock and cut to size.



Assembled gangway and end plates.



Assembled gangway and end plates - end view.

Nigel Phillips

©2014
 



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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 09:13 pm
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Brossard
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Wow!  What a marvellous tutorial and such neat gangways too!  I must give these a try at some point.

John

 



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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 02:32 am
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BCDR
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Thanks John, hope the instructions are clear.

Made a pair today, painted the ends and fitted them to the ends of 2 Pullman Palace cars. Photo's below. Just noticed one end is upside-down. That will never do. Easy enough to fix. Touch of gunmetal paint on the edges would also help.







Nigel



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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 03:16 am
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Brossard
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They look a bit tight Nigel.  From experience, if there isn't some "float" to give the coaches some fore and aft flexibility they will derail.  Have you tried them yet?

John

 



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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 11:32 am
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jimmy styles
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I to used to do gangways with the folded paper method but think I will give these a go. Nice thank you

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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 08:33 pm
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BCDR
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Hi John,

Good point. I initially had 4 pleats per gangway with almost no compression left, and that went through the club S-curves (some with 24' radii) without derailing. There is actually another 2.5 mm or so of compression remaining with the 3 pleats. The Kadee couplers are fine scale, very little slack anyway (unlike tension locks and regular Kadee couplers) ) and to help things along each car has a large piece of lead sheet (and a low COG) to get the weight around 5.5 oz . The recommended weight for this car length s 6.5 oz, interior seats, etc., should get it to around 7 oz. I also had them at Hobby Jonction yesterday (our local hobby shop for those raising eyebrows at the spelling) and they decoupled nicely over the between-rails magnetic decoupler.

I'm going to give them a good work-out next Tuesday on the club layout.

One thing I found with this folding procedure is that unlike the slit-concertina method the number of pleats can be increased or decreased after they are made up and glued to the body of the car (try that with the slit-concertina method), so any adjustment (if required) can be easily done on the car.

My big issue at the moment is trying to get some paint for the bodywork. Dark olive green is the specification, failing that Pullman green, or even GN dark green. Model paint for railways is no longer being made (no Pullman green, GN green or GN Omaha orange) so the military model range will have to do. It seems that US military drab olive green (which contains a lot of brown) may have been derived from the olive green used on railway passenger cars, so I'll give that a try this afternoon (Tamiya XF-62 ± some black, brown or ochre).

Nigel



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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 08:36 pm
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Brossard
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Great Nigel, looking forward to hear how things work out.

I've reduced pleats in the split folded ones but it is a messy job.

John



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 Posted: Sat Jun 28th, 2014 08:52 pm
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BCDR
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Hi Jimmy,

Thanks. See my reply to John (Brossard) regarding adjustment. Bit fiddly, but pleats can be removed or added as required. My home layouts never have less than 36" radii curves, so sliding of the ends over each other is not actually required.

It does require weight in the carriages though. I just checked a Bachmann Mk 1 CK corridor composite - it's a bit light at 5.80 oz. Another 2 oz of weight should really be added. One of my old (and favorite) coaches, a Hornby Centenary, comes in at 3.8 oz. That would need a lot of weight adding (fill those battery boxes with lead shot for starters), although for these I would probably use the Keen system, which has expandable ends that match the rather unique gangway profile.

Nigel




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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 02:56 pm
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BMR2011
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These look excellent, I will give these a go! Have some of the images stopped working as I am seeing boxes with crosses in?



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 03:04 pm
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BMR2011 wrote: These look excellent, I will give these a go! Have some of the images stopped working as I am seeing boxes with crosses in?
Use Firebox as the browser and all is OK. IE often plays up with images & boxes with X's in them.



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 04:25 pm
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So, Nigel, have you tested them?  Verdict?

John



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 05:19 pm
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Hi John,

Evaluated 3 vs. 4 pleats. Works better with 3 given the close coupling of these cars (2 x 18" diaphragms on the prototype). I will be trying a rake of 6-8 cars next week at the club.  Verdict - 10 minutes of my time and 10 cents worth of paper vs. $7.50 for commercial diaphragms per car, no contest. Works well (and looks OK) with thicker card stock at the ends and 3 pleats. I'll post an MPEG.

I need 2 more passenger cars, and the baggage and railway post office will require extensive kit-bashing (cut-and-shut, new sides from scratch). Busy on ebygum last week, 5 Pullman palace cars arrived this week (average price $10 including postage) along with some bits and pieces. Plus 4 Branchline heavyweight passenger cars kits in Great Northern colors (3 olive green, one green and orange). Great kits to build, I'll post details of a build as the underframe detailing is superb.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 05:35 pm
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Glad to hear of your test results.  Good work on getting those bargain coaches.  I'll be very interested to see how you get on with cut and shut job.

John



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 06:44 pm
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BCDR
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Labelle wood kits at nearly $40.00 each  plus $15.00 for wheels and trucks (and another $5.00 postage minimum) versus Roundhouse Pullman Palace cars at $10.00 each plus $6.00 for the wheels.

Pullman Palace cars scale to around 80 feet long, baggage and RPO cars were around 60 feet. The idea is to use the clerestory roof and chassis (after a cut and shut), and build the sides pretty much from scratch. I need to reduce the length by around 7mm, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

Nigel



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 Posted: Fri Jul 11th, 2014 06:49 pm
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Brossard
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Ah yes, scratchbuilding sides.  I think, for me, as I consider doing more of this to some wagons, the challenge is to reproduce strapping detail.  Mainly Trains have some wagon strapping etches and I have ordered some.

John



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