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Water Treatment Plant.- Perry's Scratchbuild. - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 03:53 am
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phill
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:cool winkyes MikeC i always wear mine :lol:

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 Posted: Sun Jan 16th, 2011 08:17 pm
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Perry
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It's over two years since I finished building my water softener plant. At that time, it was going to be used on my East Walsham layout which has since been scrapped in favour of an MPD.

I was never very happy with the model, because the stairs were wrong. I had tried my best at the time, but it wasn't anywhere near good enough. Also, the thin posts and wire handrails looked awful too.

When Bob (The Guv'nor) and I were discussing various projects at the NMRE at the NEC, we agreed that this model wasn't up to standard.

As a result of a post today on my Coaling Plant thread by Derek (shunter1), I decided to take another look at it. Sitting near the new coaling plant and ash plant models, it really didn't look up to scratch - if you'll pardon the pun - and I realised it had to be modified or scrapped. (Thanks, Derek! :shock: :mutley)

I decided to try to modify it. If it doesn't work out, then it will get scrapped, but I might as well try to put it right.

To that end, I removed the model from it's plywood base, ripped the round tower off of it's octagonal base building and stripped off the old stairs and handrails. I pulled off the outer layer of the tower and re-wrapped it with 0.015" plastikard. I first softened this slightly with boiling water to make curving it round the tower easier, then bonded one edge of the new piece to the old inner wrapper with solvent. I taped the joint with masking tape to hold it steady as I worked. Then I applied several vertical strips of double-sided adhesive tape to hold the outer wrapper in place as I worked around it, securing the final edge with solvent.

I plan on using Plastruct stairs, so I took one length of these and cut off one side member along the whole length. I've yet to decide whether to bend it inwards or outwards to attach it to the tower. Outwards gives me a solid side member to glue to the tower, but then leaves all the free ends of the stairs needing to be secured. Inwards means that I have to glue all the free ends to the tower. I'm tending towards bending it inwards, at present, because I could glue a strip in place up the side of the tower to locate all steps against. :hmm

I've fabricated a new platform at the top of the tower where the stairs will connect  and reinforced it with a couple of small triangular brackets.

I'll leave the whole lot to set hard before I do any more.

Perry



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 03:13 am
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Marty
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You'll be much happier if those stairs turn out right for you this time I know.

One of the railings on the bridge that I have just finished is not up to scratch and at some time in the future they will be replaced too. For now, I can live with them. :thumbs It was a lot of work to get where I did and disappointing to know that I could have done better.... the railing on the rear side of the bridge came out straight. I know how it feels.



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 06:44 am
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Stubby47
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Perry, with the stairs, you will probably find they will twist out of true, which ever way you try to attach them to the tank. You might find it easier to cut each tread and attach it to the tank side, ensuring that each is square, before adding the outer edge.

I have no proof it won't work, but my gut feeling is that a straight stairway would not be a match geometrically to a helix one.

Stu



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 07:46 am
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Perry
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Thanks for your comments.

I have experimented a little with this problem, and what you say appears to be correct. However, with one side member attached to the treads, it looks as though it might be possible to fit them, although the stairs will need to be twisted slightly as well as curved. I'm think a bit of hot water pre-bending, twisting and trial fitting before trying to fix them might be called for.

Each of the two sections I have to fit are only about 65mm long so that should make them a little more easily manageable.

I still forsee lots of frustration and bad language before I sort it all out, but I'm sure I'll get there in the end.

Perry



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 08:32 am
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Perry
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I think the fitting of the stairs may be easier than I thought.  I have spent a few minutes gently bending and twisting a section of Plastruct stairs and they are retaining the shape I am trying to achieve. :thumbs

I've just fitted the mid-level platform, halfway up the tower, so once that's dry, I'll have a go at the first stair section.

Perry



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 12:46 pm
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Perry
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To build the handrails round the top of the round tower, I decided against drilling holes directly in the top plate. Instead I opted to cut a 3mm (approx) circle out of 0.040" plastikard and drilled 1mm diameter holes in that. This then formed the handrail baseplate.

Nine 11mm lengths of 1mm styrene rod were cut on the chopper to ensure uniformity of length. These were glued into the holes in the baseplate, checking they were as upright as possible by eye.

Eight lengths of 0.030" square strip were prepared to form the handrail itself. The ends of each piece were cut slightly angled to provide a better fit. The butt joints were arranged to sit atop each vertical post. I left a gap where the stairs access will be.

I took a photograph of the sub-assembly which made a couple of misalignments very obvious - although I couldn't really notice them by eye! :shock: These were adjusted and the sub-assembly re-photographed.



To give some idea of size, the baseplate is 47mm across.

This sub-assembly will be fixed on top of the tower after the stairs are finished:



The following view shows the upperpart of the tower with the upper part of te new stairs fitted. A handrail has been prepared and will be fitted later.



Making the circular handrail assembly was much easier than I had anticipated. All it took was a steady hand and a little bit of patience. I only made one error when I cut one handrail very slightly too short! :brickwall

I think this rebuild is going to make a tremendous difference to this old project.

Perry








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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 12:59 pm
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Stubby47
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Those stairs do look a lot better than the old ones.:thumbs



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 03:56 pm
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Chubber
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That IS clever! Well done, that man.

Doug



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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2011 06:52 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Nice work, Perry.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 04:13 am
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Marty
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Stubby47 wrote: Those stairs do look a lot better than the old ones.:thumbs
Infinite improvement, and relatively easy too, you must be pleased. :thumbs



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 07:57 am
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Perry
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Thanks gents. :thumbs

Just to reiterate then, Plastruct stairs with one side member removed can be re-shaped cold by hand to fit curved surfaces. Just work very slowly and gently, flexing it a tiny bit at a time. Through clumsiness I managed to break off one step, but fortunately it was the bottom one which was eventually going to be trimmed off anyway.

I've got to add handrails to the middle platform and round the octagonal base, an access ladder to the rear of the building and it will join the long list of things ready to paint. I won't reconnect the pipework until most of painting is done.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 11:31 am
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Wayne Williams
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Perry,
When you removed the side member of the stairs. How did you do it? With nippers, blade, or what?

Wayne



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 03:15 pm
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Perry
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Wayne Williams wrote: Perry,
When you removed the side member of the stairs. How did you do it? With nippers, blade, or what?

Wayne

I just pulled them off using 'brute force and gory ignorance'! :shock:

I knew that I wouldn't be able to salvage the thin 'wrapper' they were stuck to because it would tear too easily, and I also remembered that the tubular card former had been wrapped in two thicknesses of plastikard, so I just pulled them off. A new outer rapper tidied it all up again easily enough.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 04:02 pm
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Stubby47
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I think Wayne meant the side of the new stairs, not how you pulled the old stairs off the tower...



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 05:00 pm
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Perry
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Stubby47 wrote: I think Wayne meant the side of the new stairs, not how you pulled the old stairs off the tower...
:oops::oops::oops: Oops, sorry, I'm going daft in my old age!

The side member of the new stairs were cut away with a very sharp, fairly wide, craft-knife blade, cutting through one step at a time.

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 05:03 pm
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phill
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Perry wrote: Stubby47 wrote: I think Wayne meant the side of the new stairs, not how you pulled the old stairs off the tower...
:oops::oops::oops: Oops, sorry, I'm going daft in my old age!


Perry


Keeping quite about this :roll:

Phill

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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 05:28 pm
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Perry
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I fear it's too late, Phill. :mutley

I've been out and about all day today, so I'd better try and get some handrails fabricated this evening. I'm still trying to get to a point where I can start batch-painting several things - with primer at the very least. :???:

Perry



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 06:25 pm
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jim s-w
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Good work Perry

Since you have identified it yourself the stairs on the original did have me going 'um' a bit. A vast improvement but then you already know that!

Cheers

Jim



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 Posted: Tue Jan 18th, 2011 07:15 pm
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Perry
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Thanks all.

All the stairs and new handrails have been fitted. The following two photos show the round tower standing in place atop the hexagonal base, but not yet fixed - which is probably why it looks slightly out of true! The lower level ladder is only propped in place at present too.





It now needs to set really hard before painting and refixing to the main buildings.

Job done!

Perry



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