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The Co-op - Scratchbuilding. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 08:30 pm
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Perry
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I have now obtained some basic pictures and dimensions of the building and have started preparing a rough plan for the proposed model.

I use a cheap flat drawing board equipped with a very simple and basic set square and a couple of plastic set squares. A pencil, eraser, ruler, calculator and a basic geometry set completes the kit.

A few sheets of A4 paper have been taped to the drawing board with masking tape. A base or datum line was drawn across the paper towards the lower edge. It is from this line that all measurements are made.

Here is the kit in use:



The length of the front elevation of the model at 4mm=1 foot is 228 mm, or about 9", so it's quite a large construction. However, it will only be about 2" deep so that will reduce the work involved.

The rough drawing currently on the board is only the 'Mark 1'; there are bound to be corrections and alterations as I calculate all the different dimensions. When I have sorted them out to my satisfaction, I will draw a working plan.

Perry



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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 09:43 pm
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Robert
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Here we go, here we go, here we go.



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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 10:28 pm
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rector
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That's a ROUGH drawing :question I would rather call it a carefully calculated provisional blueprint :exclam Now my scribblings are rough drawings :oops::oops:



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 12:00 am
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phill
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If thats a rough drawing then i am a GWR moder which i aint :thud.

Phill

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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 06:16 am
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Perry
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rector wrote: That's a ROUGH drawing :question I would rather call it a carefully calculated provisional blueprint :exclam Now my scribblings are rough drawings :oops::oops:

The scribblings which precede this stage are sort of freehand thumbnail sketches which I use to try out ideas and illustrate particular things that I need to consider as I prepare a plan.

This sort of drawing may look different, but it isn't really. It just a way of making everything fit together, the same as your plans, Tim. :thumbs I just use the facilities that I have to hand. If I didn't own a drawing board and try-square, etc, a pencil and ruler would do just as well. By the way, I have had that drawing board and try-square for about 40-odd years, so as you can guess, it's pretty basic.

Perry



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 11:20 am
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Wayne Williams
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Perry, I see that your eraser is just like mine, almost gone! :mutley

I have the same basic setup as you do, except I've only had my drawing board for about 20 years.

One thing I could recommend is the pencil, I use a mechanical pencil with .5mm lead, that way the lines do not get very wide. At that reduced scale a wide line can cause lots of mistakes. It is always wise though, to check your scale with the calculator, a good cross check, that can save many troubling hours of labor.

Wayne



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 04:05 pm
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Perry
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I appreciate your comments regarding the width of the pencil lines, Wayne. I am very aware of the problems this can cause - so much so that I often do the actual marking out on the material with a knife rather than a pencil. Most of my baseboard woodwork was marked out with a knife where a high degree of accuracy was required.

I don't find it so important when I mark out plastikard because the critical dimensions are often transfered using dividers. The point of a craft knife will lodge nicely in the small indentations made by them and a steel ruler can be pressed up to the blade nice and tightly before the cut commences. I have found this to be the most accurate method for me by far and is one I use a great deal.

As a small bonus, if an indentation is made, for example, in the corner of a window opening, I can feel when the blade pops into it, so I know I have reached the end of the cut.

Perry



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 07:02 pm
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Perry
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Planning hints and tips: Using the computer:


Taking photos and sample measurements of subject buildings, or anything else for that matter, is OK up to a point.

One of the many problems that can rear it's ugly head is distortion. Distortion can occur due to the photographer's position in relation to the subject, the focal length of the camera lens, and a host of other variables.

However, if you are reading this, the chances are you have a computer. :doublethumb

If that indeed is the case, a graphics program can work wonders in helping to sort the distortion out.

For example, here is an image of the Co-op building as taken - distorted. The uprights aren't upright and they're certainly not parallel:



Using Adobe Photoshop 5 ('cos that's what I have used for years - I'm sure other programs can do similar things) I did my best to correct the distortion by 'stretching' the image from the corners until the vertical elements that should be parallel looked parallel and the other proportions looked about right too.

This was the result:



Please be aware this is not a perfect method but when used with care can allow dimensions to be more accurately calculated from the photograph than before any of the distortion was removed. Dimensions still need checking to make sure they 'look right' as well as coming out something close to what you expected.

In Adobe Photoshop 5, the distortion tool is called 'Transform' (not the Distort filter - that's something completely different). There are several options relating to this command and I suggest reading the help files relating to them before having a go. Important: work on a copy of the image; not the original! :It's a no no

Well, I did say this wasn't going to be a normal step-by-step how-to-built-it thread. I hope this isn't too far off subject but it is a tool I have used on previous occasions and I felt it worth mentioning.

Perry

 



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 07:53 pm
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Robert
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I'm looking at this as a future reference thread Perry so anything that you use for this construction is relevant, as are any hints and tips that you pass along. You never know what ideas or methods you pass on may be used for something totally different.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 10:01 pm
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well Bob, i did not know about that tool in photoshop for a start.
thanks Perry.

:thumbs:lol::lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 06:18 pm
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Perry
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After sorting out the dimensions and other little problems, the initial drawing was 'filed'. The redraw was done using the updated information gleaned from the original. Everything fits and adds up now. I label each section with it's width and/or length, then use a calculator to add up the total heights and widths. If I'm out by anything at all - even 0.5 mm, then I have made an error somewhere and the problem areas get measured and checked again.

I was fortunate with this drawing as is came out spot on: 228 mm wide x 136 mm to the peaks of the gable ends. I don't need to worry about the roof at this stage, particularly as this is going to be a low-relief model. I haven't yet decided on the depth (front to back) because I want to take another look at the inset main entrance. I haven't calculated it's depth yet.



One little tip I realised I hadn't mentioned when discussing the calculation of dimensions was the use of lines of perspective. This isn't easy to describe (which is probably why I haven't done it before) but it involves taking an existing image, be it from a book, magazine, photo or whatever source you choose, that was taken from an oblique viewpoint. In other words, not square-on to the building. Using a pen or pencil with a transparent ruler (transparent because it makes it a lot easier to see what you are doing) draw lines connecting points which would be at the same level along the building. For example, on the Co-op pictures, I was able to use the tops of the gables, the tops of the brick piers, the bottoms of the windows and a few others too. All these lines should naturally converge towards what I believe is called the 'vanishing point'. This point will probably be well off your picture, but it doesn't matter.



Now choose something in the image that you know the height of. I chose a double section of a brick pier because I knew this was 3 feet high. This happened to be at the end of the building closest to the camera. By knowing this dimension and comparing it with the converging lines along the picture I can get a pretty good idea of the height of other areas regardless where they fall along the building face. I can then measure what that 3 feet is represented by along the vertical axis by using the distances between the converging lines.

Example: If a converging line is drawn top and bottom of a 3 foot high structure at the end of the picture closest to the camera, then those same lines will represent 3 feet at any vertical line drawn anywhere along those lines. The second and third red lines from the bottom on the above image illustrate this. The pair of blue vertical lines represent identical dimensions. The two green vertical lines do likewise, even though actually measuring them would give different results.

The building shown is very symmetrical, but this technique really comes into it's own when there are odd shapes to be dimensioned.

This diagram may make it simpler to visualise what I'm trying to convey:



It's a simple concept. No doubt we all learned it at school but some of us may have forgotten it. It's certainly easier to do than to descibe. :shock:

See, I warned you this thread was going to be a bit different. :cool wink

Perry




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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 06:33 pm
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owen69
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oh boy Perry has his cap &gown on,!SO PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK.

this is a good one very informative

:doublethumb:cheers:cheers:lol::lol::lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 09:46 pm
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Gwent Rail
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Now this one is really interesting and will be very useful to anyone wanting to make an accurate set of plans from such a photo.

In practise, knowing just a few dimensions on a photo and applying Perry's information and anyone will be able to draw an accurate plan from which to work.

Thanks Perry, a really useful tutorial that will have wide ranging practical uses.

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 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 09:48 pm
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Wayne Williams
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Very understandable Perry, though I had forgotten it! :shock: I got around it by making sure I was square on to any building I was taking a picture of. However in certain areas that is impossible, so it was very nice of you to take the time and figure out how to say it to reawaken those long forgotten memories.

Wayne



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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 03:50 am
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phill
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Yet again i am enthrolled in this thread, very interesting Perry thanks.

Phill

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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 07:01 am
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Perry
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Here is another of my "stating the bloomin' obvious" tips;

This is a technique I try to use as often as possible when scratchbuilding.

If you have a number of apertures, e.g. windows, to cut out, try to start all the cuts that align with each other at one time. In other words, if you have a couple of windows that are identical in size and at the same level on the model, don't cut one window out completely before starting on the second. Make all the cuts on one level before moving the steel straightedge to the next level.

This diagram should explain it better:



The reason for doing this is that cuts that should be level with each other actually will be. It can be difficult to get precise alignment by eye if cutting them out individually and it's annoying when one window out a row of 4 or 5 ends up a millimetre higher or lower than the others. It can look very obvious. Don't ask me how I know this..........:???::oops:

Perry

 



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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 08:46 am
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Perry
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The plan was transfered to a sheet of .040" (1mm) thick plain white Plastikard. A few minutes work with a new blade in the knife and everything was cut out.



This image shows the wall in it's raw state. None of the cuts have been tidied up yet. One or two places may need a touch with a small file or sandpaper to remove any small burrs.

Construction of the fancy brick piers will be next, and I have a cunning plan to simplify their construction. I'll let you know if it works..... :cool wink

Perry



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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 09:14 am
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Perry
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owen69 wrote: oh boy Perry has his cap &gown on,!SO PAY ATTENTION AT THE BACK.

this is a good one very informative

:doublethumb:cheers:cheers:lol::lol::lol::lol::cool:


Oh dear. I hope that's not how this is coming across. I am concerned that some of my posts may appear that I am 'preaching to the masses'. It certainly isn't how it's intended - it's simply that I'm not a very good writer. :oops: I'm hoping that I've read your 'smilies' correctly and that you are happy with it, but I have a nagging doubt that some people may be getting the opinion that I consider myself to be 'The Expert' on these matters. Nothing is farther from the truth. I'm just trying to pass on some of the things that I have learned - some by bitter experience. :???:

Please don't hesitate to tell me if I'm getting too School Master-ish and I'll try to tone it down. The last thing I want is to put people off because then I would be wasting their time and my own. :cheers

Perry



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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 09:52 am
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Perry, don't you dare change your method of passing on info, please.


In your words will be more than adequate. You may consider that you are not an expert - OK, I will accept your word  on that but your decsriptions/techniques  are helpful to the rest of us.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 10:24 am
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Perry
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Thanks, Ron.

The brick piers at the front of the building have a protruding course every five courses.

I cut a piece of brick embossed plastikard to the correct height for the piers and to an ample length to allow the piers to be covered at the fronts and sides.

The photos of the prototype show that there are 10 of the protruding courses on each pier.

I didn't fancy trying to cut and fix 30 pieces of string course to each pier (10 on the front and another 10 on each of the two sides) as getting the length right for each one would be hard enough without trying to get them all aligned.

I therefore came up with a plan. I cut 10 single course strips of embossed brick plastikard and stuck them in place with solvent, leaving 5 courses between each strip - as per the prototype.

Here is the work in progress:



When they are all fixed in place and the solvent is throughly dry, I can cut consecutive vertical strips the correct widths for the fronts and sides of the piers. That way the string courses must match up.

The only slight problem I can forsee at present is that the corners of the protruding courses may have a slight gap when they are glued up. I may be able to get round this by using some tube cement or filler if the gaps are too big for paint to conceal, but with care it may not be needed.

Perry



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