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Welder - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 03:12 am
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MaxSouthOz
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I was given a derelict 3 bay roundhouse, which I am in the process of restoring (pictures coming, guys), and I thought it would be good to have a simulated welding flash effect visible through the windows.

I looked at the commercially available units, but they all had drawbacks which fell into three main categories, viz:-  1.  Price.  They were all on the wrong side of A$50.  2.  Credibility.  They were all based around a random noise generator circuit and produced disappointing results on video advertising I had watched.  3.  Realism.  They were all either ON or OFF - which meant that to simulate the actual welding process, I would have to manually switch them on and off - hardly realistic.

A local manufacturer, Nigel Stone, who owns WENNIG Designs, makes kits for high school kids to cut their teeth on.  One of his kits is a mini strobe unit.  It produces enough output power to drive high intensity LEDs and has a potentiometer to allow infinite variations on the flash speed.



I bought two of these units for a little over A$10 each.  I now had the ability to run two flash frequencies next to each other.  If one was faster than the other, a resultant third frequency would be created as one cycled past the other.  By attaching a blue and a white high intensity LED to each circuit, I could achieve a white/blue flash effect.

They are mounted on top of the baseboard so I can tweak the flash rates from where I can see the windows.  There is a switch provided so I can isolate either unit to check and/or vary its flash rate.  A building will be covering the units in due course.



The 4 x 5mm LEDs were mounted on a piece of perf board which was glued to a piece of thick copper wire.  The idea is to aim the ends of the LEDs at the window glass in the building, which being plastic and not very clear, will refract the light in many directions.



I glued a scrap piece of 16mm MDF to the underside of the layout to make a stable bearing for the copper wire.  A terminal connector  above stopped it falling through and I bent the end of the wire so as to indicate the direction of the beam and to give Wendy a small handle to operate the direction, to get it aimed right.  The angle of the beams on the vertical was achieved by trial and error, by bending the top of the shaft.



To get the welder to start and stop realistically, I used a circuit from the local AZtronics shop catalogue.  This circuit used a very common integrated circuit (IC) called an LM-555.  The 555 is a timer which can switch voltages of up to 16vDC.  The duty cycle is set by a capacitor which charges and discharges, and the on and off times are controlled by two resisitors.

In my case, I was aiming for the welder to be on for 5 seconds and off for 10 seconds.  This made it easy to calculate the value of the resistors as one would give the time on and two together will give the time off.  Nigel has a calculator built in to his software at home and was easily able to calculate that a duty cycle of 15 seconds required a capacitor of 100 microfarads and resistor values of 68kOhms.

If I decide later that I wanted different timings, it will be a simple matter to increase or reduce the values of these three components as required.

I also added a red LED and resistor to the input voltage side and a green LED and resistor to the output side.  The timer is mounted underneath the base board and I can see both if it powered and if it is working when I'm below decks.



This is a copy of the design Nigel did for me.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO0Mnwu-Yd8

Here is the partially rebuilt round house with the "welder" working away inside.  The capacitor takes about 14 seconds to charge up before the "welding"  starts, so the thing doesn't fire up as soon as the layout is turned on.  The actual time is about 4.9 seconds on and about 9.5 seconds off, but it is close enough and I think it makes it look pretty convincing.  What do you think?




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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 05:29 am
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phill
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Hey now that is really good Max :doublethumb, i reckon for what its worth its very realistic Max.

Phill

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 05:37 am
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MaxSouthOz
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Thanks, Phill.  I was just looking at the clock and thinking you'd be awake by now.  It's Saturday morning there, right?



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 07:07 am
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henryparrot
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Max the results of your efforts are extremely good and a great description of how you acheived it thanks.

Its a shame we cant get those units you got here because it does look a lot better than some of the ones available being sold .

Plus it could be used to simulate arching on third rail electrical railway tracks.

Could we see Max`s welding simulator exports?

cheers Brian

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:03 am
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Sol
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The Antz Pantz Max.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:06 am
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Alan
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Max

This is so over my head, but I can see what you are hoping to achieve, great set of instructions you have also written, that will help someone when they get as switched :mutleyon as you.

Looking forward to following your progress on this project.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:12 am
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MaxSouthOz
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Thanks guyz.  I'm happy to post the kits and bits over if anyone wants to have a crack.



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:16 am
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Alan
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I would  love to Max

But let me watch how the master gets it all working first.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:22 am
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owen69
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Max i am coping with lights and signals,  just!
now you throw more gizmos in the mix, help!!!

really good stuff Max,i will have to give it a go.

:doublethumb:hmm:lol::lol::lol::cool:

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:31 am
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MaxSouthOz
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Let me know how many kits you want, Owen.  :cool wink



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 08:44 am
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mikeyh
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very nice Max. for those of you who want the same thing but easier and cheaper have a look at the late Paul Templar's method. scroll to 'sound and light' and its about half way down

http://www.all-model-railroading.co.uk/amr/index.htm

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 09:15 am
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henryparrot
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Max just tell us how much to send including postage plus packing  i would love one of those i am develeping my steam Mpd at the moment and that would be grest there.

Perhaps paypal or a straight bank transfer would be easiest

thanks Brian

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 09:43 am
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Petermac
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Never mind sending the units Max - we'll just have a quick whip-round and bring you over to run an electronics "teach-in" :cheers

How I wish I could get my old brain around all this electronic wizardry - looks like a fantastic "workshop" you've got going there.

All this stuff is safely stored for future reference and, at some stage, I'll be giving it all a go.

What a very clever Max you are !!!:thumbs:thumbs:thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 09:51 am
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MaxSouthOz
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I did try one of those radio speaker output jobbies.  Unfortunately they require the use of bulbs, not LEDs and I couldn't get enough light to light up the inside of the building.  They also suffer from the On to OFF syndrome which requires the secondary timer.  They are very good for campfires and the like, however, where the flickering is not needed to be so bright and can run continuously. 



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 09:54 am
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MaxSouthOz
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If there is enough interest, Brian, I might be able to get a bit of a bulk discount from Nigel.  Do you guys want to build the kits yourselves or do you want me to do them?



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 10:06 am
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owen69
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i will be in touch when i come back from my little hol.

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

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 10:21 am
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henryparrot
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Max i dont mind which way if you want to make few dollars make them up yourself i am happy with that give me a rough idea how much and i can decide how many i would like then and perhaps if other members want some in the UK it may be easier for you to send them to one person in the UK and they can post them on im not sure whether that is worthwhile doing or not or posting individually.

cheers Brian

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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 11:00 am
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MaxSouthOz
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I'll email Nigel, Brian and let you know how much he wants for a job lot.



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 04:55 pm
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sparky
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Let me know when you have something sorted brian.:thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Apr 18th, 2009 05:33 pm
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Alan
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Max , Brian

Count me in as well.

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