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Wizmacnz
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I started constructing this layout, constructing benchwork and laying track around the turn of the century (at least I think it was this century.) 

A track plan based on a Cyril Freezer Terminus layout was developed and drawn in track planning software. The plans were printed out full size on A0 sheets and the lines transfered to baseboards using carbon paper. If I were doing it again I think would have just stuck the sheets onto the board and built on top of them. It was certainly a lot of time tracing over lines.

Above is the plan of the upper level.

The lower level originally just contained a reverse loop, but is now being extended to contain concealed sidings / fiddle yard under the terminus.



The picture below of the main terminus was taken at the end of 2004. Progress has been somewhat spasmodic.



 

Not too much visible progress by 2005; although the mess has diffused to different locations.


 




Most of the spare time through this period spent on the layout was trying to construct a diode matrix to set routes through the pointwork. It was too problematic trying to do this by eye (especially through the double slips).  Unexpected derailments were so frequent that they were actually expected.

There was quite a long pause after this time where I worked out how I would control the layout and aquired the necessary bits and pieces and software to make this a reality.

This was always intended to be a layout that focussed on operation rather than modelling fidelity. In short I always wanted to make something that was complex.

Having settled on Railroad & Co, Train Controller as the software, I developed my switchboards in the software. (two linked boards, one for the terminus and one for the main line)

This is the mainline switchboard




And this is the terminus switchboard. The connectors A,B,C & D link the two switchboards.




From the outset the layout was Digitrax DCC; even when I was blowing up CDU's with my diode matrix route control experiments, so at least I didn't have to splash out on a command station when I plunged into computer control. I opted for current sensing occupancy detectors and a Tower Controller from RR Cirkits, with a mixture of Lenz and Digitrax accessory decoders for point control.

All the original wiring was removed and has now been rewired with a proper power bus. I had each section wired back to on off switches on the control panel originally. This was great for fault finding because I could turn all the sections off and switch each one back on one at a time, until the shorting section was identified. However this was hopeless for block occupancy sensors. Bundles of power cables created cross talk with phantom detection of trains occurring constantly,

Installation of wiring for power, occupancy detection and point control has taken place through the last part of 2012 and will be completed in the next couple of months after I receive my second Tower Controller (I'm now past 64 blocks) and three more DS64's for the hidden fiddle yard points.

Testing has shown me that with reliable rolling stock the system and the layout can handle multi train control perfectly. My Bachmann Class 47 glides through the complex pointwork and will stop inch perfect at it's intended destination. My old Hornby Jinty is another story all together.

I haven't taken any pictures of progress for some time; but as the wiring is nearly completed I will soon be moving back on to buildings and scenery, In the meantime here is a picture of part of the mainline. More pictures will follow in time. 




 

 

MaxSouthOz
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Very interesting, Peter.

Have you upgraded to V 8?

Gary
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G'day Peter,

That is some layout you have. DCC is something I'm still learning, but it seems like you have it all worked out ! Can't wait to see more pics of the layout.

Cheers, Gary.

Wizmacnz
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Hi Max

Yes I have upgraded to V8. Still not really got to grips with the subtle improvements. Being a Digitrax user I have to re-profile all my engines to make them behave as intended again. Only 2 done so far.

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My RR&Co layout has been down for a while, Peter.  I've extended it, so I think I'll upgrade when I get back on the air again.

I lost all of my Trainanimator pictues, so I'll have to basically start from scratch.  I upgraded my TC laptop and somehow lost my Track Plans and Schedules. 

Still it will be fun starting from scratch - again.  :roll:

Brian R
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Hi Peter,

It's encouraging to see another TC user's layout.  Mine is nowhere near as ambitious as yours and I am tending to concentrate on signalling.

Wizmacnz
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Brian R wrote: Hi Peter,

It's encouraging to see another TC user's layout.  Mine is nowhere near as ambitious as yours and I am tending to concentrate on signalling.


I have a digitrax SE8C signal decoder in the cupboard, but I haven't really decided how I'll use it yet.

It was this section of track at the entrance to my station that convinced me I needed the computer to control my points. Surprisingly most things manage to negotiate the large rail gaps you can see between the double slips. I intend to fill the gap with plasticard before ballasting.




The picture below shows this junction in the overall context.  I can't for the life of me think how I'll signal this bit so I'll probably just have platform starters and place some signals on the main line.




I now realise that my layout looks better from the underneath than it does on top. I'll soon have to do something about that! The ivy growing in the window is quite attractive though.

This crossover on the mainline probaly lends itself to some proper signalling. This is the point where the figure 8 meets , i.e the double track going down reaches the same level as the double track going up. You can use this crossover to keep a train going on the round and round  baon the lower level without it coming up to interfere with the main station entry junction.

 

The back scene painting uses my patent technique. Splash some paint on to represent fields trees and sky and then fade it all out by overspraying with a spray can of grey car body primer. I think the whole thing took less than an hour. The unkind might say that it looks like it took less than an hour. The picture  below makes it look very pink, but in reality it is more of a pale blue. You can see the blue I used before "fading" it on the unpainted hardboard panels a couple of pictures above.  I didn't want to have anything too defined in the background, but I've now seen how other people are making such good use of digital photographs to create stunning backgrounds that blend with the scene; so I may revisit that. But probably not this year.




Peter

From Auckland, New Zealand modelling a little bit of England

Brian R
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Hi Peter,

I am beginning to appreciate the complexity of your layout: It has taken me 15min or so to match the photos and the switchboards and run my finger around the possible routes, counting the blocks as I go.  I see what you mean about the signalling.

I think the backscenes are very effective. I will find some scrap hardboard and give it a trial.

SoundandDirty
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Hi , Peter

I agree with Brian, back scene looks great, I must have go on my plain white boards.

Kim

Last edited on Sat Feb 16th, 2013 05:57 am by SoundandDirty

Wizmacnz
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My layout is still somewhat bland so I thought I'd post some pictures of the underneath.




Much more colourful. Blue CAT5 cable to the current sensing coils for occupancy detection, red a black DCC power (thick red and black is the main DCC power bus) and blue and white twisted pairs to the point motors.

This is the main distribution panel that is fixed verically to a couple of the table support legs.




A Digitrax Command station, an RR Cirkits Tower controller and its' BOD 8 occupancy detector boards and a mixture of Digitrax DS64 and Lenz LS150 point decoders. Most of the wiring is fed in from the back,

This is the back side of the panel. A removable panel with ventilation grilles will hide this wiring when the wiring is complete.




The red and black wiring to the chocolate block connectors on the right hand side is all redundant. My original idea was to switch power at the consol to 24 separate sections of the layout. I thought this would be great for fault isolation. Turned out to be a very bad idea if you are using current sensing coils. I may use the switches and connection points for layout lighting, if I don't hand lighting over to the computer to control as well.

The redundant switches can be seen on the control panel beyond the PC. Only four of the switches actually do anything now.




I still have to install a second Tower Controller ( the first one is maxed out) and three more DS64's. Then I can start thinking about signalling and layout lighting.

Ted_
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Wow, but you must be doing something wrong? DCC, it's only two wires!

Robert
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I heard that too Ted.

Wizmacnz
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Well I started off with two wires, then I discovered how easy it was with DCC for the express passenger train to thunder head on into the milk train so I added a few more wires and then I just got kinda carried away.

Wizmacnz
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Work has been progressing on Bidley over the last few weeks. The lower level, hidden sidings have all been installed, complete with occupancy detection and DS64 accessory decoders for the points. Nearly done as the layout I posted above. I snuck in a couple of additional sidings to take longer trains. They have to reverse out, but I felt it was worth it to able to "hide" 6 coach trains.
The last week or so I have been distracted with playing with coach lighting. I bought 6 1970's hornby coaches of the internet a while back and thought I would use them to practice weathering, lighting etc before attempting it anything more valuable.
I discovered that white LED's on a roll of tape were very affordable.  NZ$1.90 per 3 LED module. You cut them off the roll, either in a group of 3, which can then be wired direct to 12V DC (the required resistors are pre-wired into the tape, or individually, when you then need to add your own resistor. 




This is the first attempt. I started with a 10K resistor. This looked very realistic in the dark, but in normal room lighting conditions you couldn't tell there were any lights installed. As I wanted to see the benefit of my labour, I reduced the resistor to 1K. The LED's are now too bright. This is especially noticeable in photographs, where you can see red glowing carriage sides and the silhouette of the seats. It doesn't really show to the eye so I will leave this coach as it is and increase the resistor to reduce the brightness on the next one.
Peter

Wizmacnz
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I have been distracted from work on the layout proper by further attempts to make my  stock look less toy like. Next off the block is a 110 DMU. I have two of these that will run a shuttle service between Bidley and Lower Bidley.

Lighting has been installed using the same technique I used  in my previous post.

The cream plastic molded interior has been painted, with my guess on an interior colour scheme. If anyone has any colour pictures of the interior of a 110 DMU please point me to them.

I've added a few passengers to the interior. These were Bachmann HO seated passengers, although I had to overpaint some of the clothing colours. Why would they think we would want a man in a bright blue suit with a silver hat??? He is now soberly dressed in grey.

 





The exterior was given a bit of weathering to make it look less plasticky. 

This time I don't get the glowing plastic effect I had in my previoous attempt at lighting.





I put some BR advertising pictures on the walls. You can see them if you look carefully, but at that size you can't really make out what they are.







Belive it or not, I masked the windows before doing the weathering. I must find a way of giving them a clean up.

Well one done, 5 more to go. Hopefully it should get quicker.

I must also fix that cracked buffer. I hadn't even noticed it before I saw it on the photo.



 

When function only decoders drop in price I will put a decoder in the toilet compartment (thats where the resistor and diode are currently hidden)  thenm I will be able to turn the lights on and off and install some directional front/rear lights. At the moment it's just too expensive.

 

Peter

Last edited on Sun Apr 28th, 2013 03:56 am by Wizmacnz

Wizmacnz
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Believe it or not the window cleaners have been.

 






 

The camera can be very cruel.

 




I think it looks passable from a normal viewing distance and less like a plastic toy. Or is this just wishful thinking?

 




 

Peter

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Hi Peter.


Just come across this thread and love the layout. I would have loved to have built this plan but just don't have enough space.
More pics of the layout please !

shunter1
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Great stuff Peter,
I was taking a look at your wiring and I am in awe!
Thanks also for your advice on that lenz return loop module.
regards,

Derek

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Hi Peter, it's a big project you've taken on there. Little distractions such as improving your stock can be very satisfying. I think you've done a good job on the 110, not that I know much about diesels but at least it is the right colour. :thumbs

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Hi Peter

I think your 110 looks really good.

Seem to remember when I traveled on Southern Region EMUs in the '60s the windows quite often looked more like the ones in your photo before you cleaned them.

Ed

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Not much layout progress in the last couple of weeks. 

I'm still being distracted by my 110 DMU  exercise. I decided to go the whole hog and install directional lighting as well as carriage lighting. Very fiddly and time consuming but I'm slowly getting there. I've been taking pictures as I go and will post them and a bit of description in a separate thread when time permits.

Peter

Wizmacnz
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Ok I've finished my DMU excursions (at least for now), and so it's back to the layout.... sort of.


The Y junction to the round the room tail chaser ( on the right hand side of my layout plan  (below) has always been a worry to me. As the wiring is now more or less complete and it's time to go back to more scenic creativity, I think it's time to camouflage that issue and also develop a proper plan of how I'm going to give my terminus station a more urban setting. 




I know some people quickly knock up sketch models in card to work out what looks best, but I can't do that very quickly. Howver I can knock up models in the computer quite fast, so before I reach for the glue and the card I'm going to make a virtual model of my layout using google sketchup. (One of my favourite doodling programs.)








First step was to knock out a quick sketch of the base boards and paste on the track layout.  It's not deadly accurate, but good enough for a start.









My worrying Y junction is going to be hidden away under the town. I'm thinking I'll build the town on foam board removable modules, so that I can lift them up for maintainance, or to reach a derailed train (god forbid). I've modelled in the rough base of these in the above sketch.











Also now added the platforms for the terminus and Lower Bidley station (RH side).  Also added a quick sketch of the Lower Bidley station building. Entry is from above to the platforms below. I thought I should sketch this in because I've already half built it in Card. All other buildings are still a blank canvas.


  Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I'll complete the "virtual" layout. I'll post updates here as I go.


Peter



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Hmmn ...don't know why I get so much space between paragraphs in that last post.

Robert
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Nor me Peter but I have changed it for you so it looks OK now. The gaps were keyboard spaces by the way, or seemed to be as they deleted just like separate spaces.

John Dew
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Super layout you have there Peter.............lots of operating potential:thumbs

Thats a great idea using Google sketch up.......wish I had thought of something like that.

I am another RR&Co enthusiast......I would be interested to hear how you operate the layout......is the plan to be fully automated......timetabled schedules .....or?

Regards from Vancouver

Wizmacnz
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Hi John
I intend to operate it via a timetable. I started to create one and  a couple of days later nearly fell off my chair when I accidentally and unknowingly started the fast clock and the sound of a diesel horn blasted out of my speakers. I'd programmed a horn action as the first action in my first schedule. I've put some ambient station noise in front of that now to give me a bit of warning and avoid heart attacks.

Having satisfied myself that I have got the theory sorted, I'm focusing now on physical layout building before returning to the software side of things. Can't resist though sometimes just starting a few schedules to watch RR & Co work its magic.

Peter

Last edited on Mon Jun 10th, 2013 07:35 am by Wizmacnz

Wizmacnz
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Well it's been a while since I last posted. I had a bit of a modelling lull; probably brought on by the realisation of the number of buildings I have to make if I am going to continue my idea of the railway disappearing under an elevated town. 

The Christmas holidays has seen me return to the layout with enthusiasm; focusing on scenery and signals. As the signals is all wiring and PCB's and not very interesting to look at,so here is what I have been doing scenery wise.

I decided to finish off the piece of layout between my field of cows and where the main line goes under the town.

This is a picture of the area I've been working on...(before)




And this is where it is on the upper track plan.




I wanted to include a small pond, the Metcalfe church I made some years back and have a go at some trees. So armed with some two pot epoxy resin, some DAS modelling clay, some cheapo chinese acrylic paints and a selection of woodland scenics gubbins, this is what I came up with. Oh, I also along the way made a home made static grass applicator out of a fly zapper.

Here is an overview of the area as it looked a couple of days ago.




This is the woodlands between the cow field and the pond.




Woodlands again closer to the pond






The pond was an adventure. The first version didn't set in the middle. I used PVA glue, but it was too deep for it to dry in the middle. (well I wanted it dry in my life time.) The second version with two pot epoxy generated so much heat as it hardened that it destroyed the painted plaster shell beneath it. It also seemed to react with the PVA residue, leaving the perimeter tacky for days.  The upside was that the lillies and weeds etc attached themselves nicely to the resin.
The culvert was a woodland scenics chopped down to fit. The water lillies are just little tiny dabs of white paint.












The metcalfe church was something I made some time ago. It will do until I feel the need to build better. I thickened the tower parapets with DAS clay and painted it, to try and make it look less cardboardy.












The field between the church and the town is going to have a graveyard when I find the tombstones I bought a few years ago. This are is still to have the weeds and untidiness added. The hedge is painted pot scourer.
One of the things I have learnt is that you should allow more than 20mm between rail and backscene. I'm really struggling to make the retaining wall in to the under the town tunnel look believable.


Final overview picture... then some pictures of signalling ribbon cabling,



Just kidding about the cabling pictures.. but it is going rather well, but with very little visible to show for the effort.

Peter

Last edited on Tue Jan 7th, 2014 12:11 pm by Wizmacnz

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Thanks for posting your latest update Peter. The layout is looking really good. I like the shot of the trees between the cow field and the pond. Looks like a good place for a stroll on a warm summers day. Get to watch he trains go by too. Well done indeed.

shunter1
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:):):thumbsBeautiful model work on the scenic,s Peter.

Your talent,s stretch way beyond wireing and computer control.

Thanks for shareing,

Derek.

Last edited on Tue Jan 7th, 2014 12:33 pm by shunter1

Marty
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Peter,

That looks great. I like the painted pot scourer hedge, I dip mine into a 50/50 water/PVA mix and then dip it into green scatter, but I get carried away and it ends up more like an over grown hedge row with trees growing in it, the sort you find between fields in high rainfall areas.

I'll try paint next time.

Lovely pond too.

Carry on.

Marty

Last edited on Tue Jan 7th, 2014 12:39 pm by Marty

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Some lovely pictures there, which led me to go back through your thread. I like photo 4 of the DMU set, with the pond and little bridge. I was also struck by the backscenes and the way you created them with grey spray paint - they work very well. I was wondering if you eventually sorted out the wiring on 'Y' junction? The complicated track plan in that area looks really good and must keep busy when trains are passing through this area.

Bob

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Wizmacnz wrote: Hi John
I intend to operate it via a timetable. I started to create one and  a couple of days later nearly fell off my chair when I accidentally and unknowingly started the fast clock and the sound of a diesel horn blasted out of my speakers. I'd programmed a horn action as the first action in my first schedule. I've put some ambient station noise in front of that now to give me a bit of warning and avoid heart attacks.

Having satisfied myself that I have got the theory sorted, I'm focusing now on physical layout building before returning to the software side of things. Can't resist though sometimes just starting a few schedules to watch RR & Co work its magic.

Peter


Hi Peter

While admiring the pictures in your latest post, I realised I had not replied to your post of last June:oops:  ......do forgive me! I can only plead holidays and absentmindedness!

I am working away at timetables and I, too, experience that moment of consternation when a loco unexpectedly moves off in response to the fast clock advancing faster than anticipated:twisted:.

I dont know about you, but I find there are so many options to explore with RR&Co it is very difficult to adhere rigidly to KISS..........although I tend to think without that one can get sidetracked.

Back to your layout.............great progress with the scenery.....you must be very pleased......those shots with the DMU passing by the pond and woodland are quite stunning

Regards from a damp but mild Vancouver 

Wizmacnz
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Thanks for the kind comments.

Marty... I do stick a bit of scatter on the painted pot scourer. I just use a bit of undiluted PVA dabbed on. The pot scourers have the manufacturers names printed on the back which isn't totally obscured by the paint, so I beef up the scatter there to obscure it.


Bob ... My real interest is the computer control and operation, but I wanted to create an impressionistic setting for the trains to run in without focusing on absolute accuracy. The spray painted back grounds were very quick to do. The junction wiring was relatively straight forward, with an electronic gizmo handling the reverse loop. I just set the route and the electronics handles the polarity issues. My older rolling stock doesn't handle the trackwork as well as the newer stuff. 


John ... no apologies needed. Your comments on RR & Co and KISS are sound advice. I also wish I wasn't too lazy to properly document what I've done. I try to give schedules meaningful names so that I'll remember what they do, but often find myself deleting schedules with names like P1, because I just can't remember what they were for. I also disconnected some ribbon cables from a tower controller yesterday and afterwards thought.. I really should have labelled those cables before unplugging them. I'm hoping I'll be able to work it out from RR& Co, but can see myself running something slowly around the track and watching to see what LED's light up on the detector boards.....Should have written it down and labeled the cables.

Peter

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Hi Peter

Not sure if I should clutter up your thread with RR&Co stuff.........maybe you or I should start a separate thread? In which case I will ask Alan to move this post

I totally relate to the problems of documenting everything........I have tried comments in the schedules, a spreadsheet and evernotes but none seem to be really effective..........it would be great if Juergen could incorporate a comments line in Macros/Command files then at least we could explain why something is there.

Regarding schedules I had the same problem as you until a couple of years ago when I adopted a four digit system which sort of works. The digits create a neat index and then I add a fairly detailed description including start and end block numbers

The first two digits indicate the type of schedule .......ie  All my passenger schedules are numbered 01 to 40

Thus all schedules relating to B Sets moving between Granby and Chester  (Storage Yard) are numbered 09

The main down schedule   09.10   Granby P1-Chester Block 761

The return up schedule      09.50   Chester 761- Granby P1

This gives a framework into which I can slot all the subsidiary schedules involved in the loco exchange at either end eg

09.11 P1-Loco Spur  Light Engine

09.20  Loco Spur-P1 Light Engine Couple

and so on.

Lots of intermediate numbers to cover all the other manouveres I will eventually add....Horse Boxes, Milk Tankers etc

This may or may not help:roll:

Cheers












Wizmacnz
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John

I will definitely have to come up with a system for schedules and timetables. Yours looks to be well thought out. I'll probably try and do something like that when I am back in "software mode".

Peter

Wizmacnz
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Well I always seem to start something new before finishing the last thing. Today I took the multi-tool to my Lower Bidley station. I placed a short local service bay there a couple of years ago. It was an after thought, squeezed between the mainlline  and the retaining wall. There was no room to put a proper platform between the track and the retaining wall and it has annoyed me since the day I installed it. 

I decided to tunnel out and widen the station through the retaining wall and underneath the rising main line. I can't think of a single prototype situation where this occurs, so its a definite case of Rule 1 applies.


First picture shows the holes cut in the retaining wall.



The second picture shows the card base structure for the new platform.




Tomorrow I will start on some walls and canopies... watch this space.

Last edited on Thu Jan 16th, 2014 11:33 am by Wizmacnz

Wizmacnz
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Well I finished my last post with ... "watch this space". I hope no one has been because it's been a while. I've been distracted by the 3D printing venture.

Anyway.. I've been working slowly on my Lower Bidley Station. The station really is lower because you enter at street level on the far side from the pictures below and descend, by lift or stairs,  4 floors to get to platform level. I started modelling this building about 8 years ago and its been somewhat battered over the many stop, start, remove and put back operations that have taken place through this period.


Still has some way to go and quite a bit of touch up of previous damage to put right, but here are a couple of progress shots.




Interior lighting has been installed by sandwiching LED's between two thicknesses of card. I used the square flat LED's that I've use before cut off a roll of LED's. I drilled holes in the ceiling to line up with where the LED is mounted. This way all the wiring and the LED itself is hidden.





The rooms are internally decorated using a mixture of Scalescenes and my own 3D printed furniture.






I never remember to clean the windows before taking pictures. When I stated making this all those years ago, I just got some black foam board,  stuck some brick paper on it and cut holes in it for the windows. Window frames are white sticky label stuck onto acetate and are somewhat balanced in the openings. Next building will be a bit more sophisticated.

This poor lady is condemned to an eternity in a boring room with ill fitting windows. No one is going to be bringing her dinner anytime soon.


Last edited on Sun Mar 23rd, 2014 05:32 am by Wizmacnz

Wizmacnz
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Well despite my 3D printing distractions and having most of my days ruined by that thing "going to work", I have made some progress on my Lower Bidley Station, but still much more to do.  I don't think I'll ever contemplate a station on an incline again, or try and build a model in underneath already laid track. It's proving quite difficult to position things plumb, when your base is sloping and you can only get to one side of the thing that you are trying to glue in place. Still a few bits to be re-positioned to the vertical as you will see in the photo's below.




There will be an overall canopy coming forward as far as the end of the bay. And then a platform canopy continuing on the island platform and a cantilevered canopy running alongside the bay.

The picture below shows the first section of high level overall canopy, balanced in place. I'm waiting to see if some Chinese lights I've bought off fleabay will be capable of being adapted to suit the canopies and if so wiring them in before installing the canopies. I've also got to get those leaning pieces straight and cover everything with signs, adverts dirt and grot while I can still get to it to do it. Platform walls will also be changed to brick.





It's amazing the things you notice when you put the camera down at track level. ... so that's where the cap from glue went.


The last picture is an overall view similar to the viewpoint from a couple of posts ago. I remind you all that an untidy workplace is a sign of a creative mind

MaxSouthOz
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It's a stunning layout, Peter.  Watching with interest.  :thumbs

Ed
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Looking great Peter and I must try and remember your reason for an untidy workplace :thumbs


Ed

Barry Miltenburg
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Peter

No updates since 2014 is a little worrying.  I hope you and the layout are in good health!

I am in Auckland in the early part of November (visiting from UK) so if you feel able to show a fellow 4mm 1960's enthusiast around the railway room, do let me know.

Kind regards

Barry


                 

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