The Union Pacific Soggy Bottoms Division (HO scale)

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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
In the man cave/workshop I have two workbenches. One of them is where I do my model building and painting, the other is where I do electrical work and locomotive testing. The workbenches have 4' fluorescent shop lights mounted on inverted L shaped frames. I also have 2 fluorescent shop light mounted from hooks in the other room, where my heavy duty work workbench is located. One of the shop lights in there experienced the death of one of the light tubes, so I took both tubes out of that light. I haven't gotten around to replacing them until today.
The light about my model building/paint bench murdered one of its lamp holders today. :mad:
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So I decided instead of simply replacing the lamp holder with one of the spares I have, I would convert the fixture, and the one in the other room, to LED bulbs. Converting a shop light to LED bulbs is really quite simple, provided you don't mind keeping the original ballast. You can simply buy "plug & play" bulbs and replace the fluorescent bulbs. Sooner or later, however, the ballast will go kaputski! Then you either have to replace the ballast, or buy LED bulbs designed to bypass the ballast, because most "plug & play" LED bulbs require a ballast. There are some that can function with or without a ballast, so be very sure of what bulbs you are buying. Bulbs designed only for bypassing the ballast will not function with a ballast.
I decided to eliminate the ballast. I purchased these from Menards at a cost of $13.99 for a two pack of bulbs.
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I like daylight bulbs.
I came home, and converted the light in the heavy work workshop first, so I could figure out what needed doing. That went very well. Now on to the man cave!
I took down the light, removed the remaining fluorescent bulb, and pulled the cover off the fixture. There are two types of lamp holders, frequently referred to as tombstones, due to their shape: shunted and non shunted. There are good videos and web pages that explain the difference better than I can, so I'll leave it to you to look up the difference. The spares that I have are non shunted, and guess what? The tombstones in this fixture are shunted! :(
I also discovered that one of the other tombstones on this fixture had some discoloration as well, so I replaced all of them with non shunted ones. One way to tell the difference is by how they are wired, the other is to use a multi-meter and do a continuity check between the contacts. If you get a reading or the meter beeps, it's a shunted tombstone. These bulbs will work with either type, but the wiring is different, so make sure of what you have.
I cut all the wires close to the ballast and removed it from the fixture.
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This next step may not sit well with some of you, but: Read the directions! :p
The directions for these bulbs call for power only at one end of the bulb, so I cut the wires off the tombstones going on the end opposite the power cord. The directions also call for hooking up the outside wires to the hot wire, and the inside wires to the neutral. Why it calls for it that way, I don't know.
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So that's what I did. I used a black Sharpie and colored the hot wires black.
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I replaced the cover next. Here are the bulbs before I installed them. You can see the LED strip on the left bub, the bulb on the right is turned 180 degrees to show how it is installed. The LED strip has to go to the top.
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I din't get a picture of it, but there is also a label on each bulb that has to go the top as well. That will orient the bulb correctly. The ends of the bulb have a plastic fitting on them, one of which has writing on it and the other is blank. Then end with the writing on it goes to the powered lamp holders. The blank end goes to the electrically dead lamp holders. This may vary depending on the bulbs you buy, though, so check carefully.
I tested the fixture, then hung it back up in it's place. I plugged it into the power strip, and was really pleased by the amount of light it puts out! Here's the LED light:
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And here's the fluorescent light over the other workbench:
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(It's a shameless disaster, I know. :oops: )
My plan is to convert the other light in here as well. I'll probably do that tomorrow, though. I don't think the pictures do it justice as to just how much brighter the LED light is.
Some may ask "Why not just replace the fixture?" I already have these, and you're not going to get a 48" dual light LED fixture for $13.99! ;)
I'll probably do the fixture over the heavy duty workbench also.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Due to the plant being shut down for a week, I've been able to get some work down on the layout. I have reached a milestone: there is now benchwork all the way around the layout! :D
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The final piece that needed built was the lift-up section. It is the section closest to the camera with a piece of extruded foam on it, over by the door.
The large cardboard box has 4 LED strip lights in it that will be installed on the ceiling above right side of the benchwork. I need to get some supplies for that project, and the way things are going we'l see when that gets done. The Ridgid cordless drill and driver have been invaluable during the benchwork construction. Make me wonder: how did we ever get along without cordless tools? 🤔
Here's another pic of the lift-up section with the foam piece laying on it. Most of the layout will have 1/2" plywood, 1" of extruded foam, and 1/2" of Homasote. The lift-up section will only have the plywood and Homasote, for a total of 1" thick. This is a piece of 1" thick extruded foam I have been using to get the lift-up in the right spot.
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The section ahead of the lift-up is a carryover from the previous layout. I still need to pour the water on the river. I'm planning to use Magic Water.
The lift-up is just a tad bit high, maybe 1/32" at the most. I think some sanding of the Homasote will even it up when the time comes.
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The benchwork at the rear of the river scene is spot on! This is a piece of 1-1/2" extruded foam on top of a piece of 1/2" plywood, for a total of 2", which is what it should be.
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Here is the lift-up without the foam piece.
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If you look real close at the front you can just see the tops of a pair of wooden cleats that hold the lift-up in alignment when it is down. The hinges are mounted so they will be above track level and the lift-up will open correctly. I'll figure out a way to make them less noticeable when the time comes.
To hold the lift-up down snugly when playing with (err... running) trains I plan to use a hook and eye on the front horizontal cross piece. In this pic you can see the bottom of the crosspiece and the shelf that the lift-up rests on. The hook will be mounted to the crosspiece and the eye mounted to the edge of the shelf.
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The next project for the benchwork will be cutting, drilling, and installing the cleats that will hold the plywood top in place. The top will be attached from underneath. Only on the lift-up section will the plywood be screwed down from above. The reason for attaching it from underneath is to make it easy to move a joist if that proves necessary.
There's still a LONG way to go before a train can make the inaugural run, but it'll get there!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I got the external raceway, outlet boxes, outlets, and LED lights installed over the east side of the layout. Came out pretty good for an amateur such as myself. With all the lights on it is nice and bright over the layout! Having good lighting is important.
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These are switched by a switch installed on the south wall. This photo is looking north. Time to clean up the layout! I still haven't gotten around to sanding those backdrop seams yet! Oh, well.
I had last week off due to Honda Motors, USA being shut down, and last Friday about 11:00 AM I got a call from the supervisor informing me that we are off this week as well. He gave me a number to call next Monday morning to see if we're off next week as well. We'll see what happens.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I'm "Working" right now from home, too (translated as - I'm logged in remotely to all my systems from my home computer while Paw Patrol plays on the background entertaining one of my "Co-Workers." ;) ).

I agree on the lighting being important. My Dad's shop just completely re-did all of their lighting and was throwing out every one of the 4xT8 fluorescent fixtures. My Dad brought about 2 dozen of them home and gave me a bunch of them. It is making SUCH a difference to my space to have good lighting over the tracks.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Here's a photo with all the lights on:
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I installed the lock for the lift-gate. It's just a simple hook & eye system. The first thing I did was to attach a small piece of 1 x 4 to the front of the lift-gate. This gave the upper eye some more wood to bite into.
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Then I drilled pilot holes for the eyes. I mis-measured the distance and drilled the first upper hole too far from the bottom eye. The second hole right on if this was going onto a screen door off the back porch. (Remember those?) I wanted some resistance when I hooked the hook into the eye, so I rotated the upper eye until it fit like I wanted it to. To keep the upper eye from rotating and loosening up over time I "locked" it into place with a couple of 1-1/2" hardened finish nails. I also cut a piece of dowel and glued it into the "mistake" hole. Everything is nice and solid now!
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I will get to the backdrop, I promise!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Looks like good work!
I would have used something like this for the hatch?
Unless I am not following you correctly?

I actually thought about using something like that, but decided I wanted something that would put a bit of downward pressure on the lift-gate to keep the vertical alignment certain. My other idea was something like this: https://www.joybuy.com/product/650129345.html
But a hook and eye were cheaper! I still need to get a drawer handle and put it on, make it easier to close it down tight.
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
That's exactly what I was trying to remember - ---
with a piece of hard rubber (think hose washer) under the hatch/latch, It will allow a pressure hold such as you need.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I've been off work for three weeks now, and have at least 1 more to go. Supposed to go back on April 20th. We'll see.
In addition to what I got done in the above posts, I got my double crossover finished up. I had it working on the previous layout, but all four sets of points were thrown individually by Caboose Hobbies ground throws. In the blog from which I got the idea for this double crossover (http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/2012/06/june-25-2012-my-double-crossover.html), Melvin Perry used a single Tortoise slow motion switch machine and some wire linkage to operate all four sets of points at once. I decided to emulate his example. Melvin, you're a better man than I am! ;)
The basic setup requires 4 Dubro #167 bell-cranks linked diagonally, 2 and 2. To actuate the throwbar I am using 1/16" music wire, due to the fact that the turnouts will be 2" above the base. The wires are set into #6-32 nylon screws. I made up a little jig to enable me to drill the hole down the center of the screw. I then drilled and tapped 1 hole in each bell crank for the screw. The base is .220" thick acrylic sheet I got from Menards. I drilled and tapped holes for the bell-crank bolts, installed the bell-cranks, and made up a mount for the Tortoise. I drew a center-line on the acrylic base (leave the protective plastic sheet on the acrylic until you're all done with this project), and mounted the Tortoise so the washer (soldered to the end of the actuator wire) was in line with the center-line of the double crossover. I bent up some wires in the shape shown on Melvin's blog, and installed them. Then I set about adjusting the mechanism.
I tried for hours to get that to work right! It just didn't want to work for me. So I finally bit the bullet and bought a second Tortoise. What I ended up doing is I put a clevis on a piece of .075" RC airplane pushrod, then centering the throwbar for the points. I screwed the clevis about halfway onto the threaded section of pushrod to give plenty of adjustment in either direction, then clipped the clevis into place on the bell-crank I then marked the spot where the rod passed over the hole on the opposite bell-crank. I used my Z-bend pliers (I used to be big into RC planes https://www.amazon.com/Hangar-9-HAN119-Z-Bender-Pliers/dp/B0006OBMJI) and put a Z-bend into the pushrod.
Now comes then fun part. The clevis on the pushrod needs to be adjusted so that when the turnout with the clevis just closes the points, the diagonal turnout just closes as well. If the clevis is adjusted too far one way or the other, both points will not close at the same time. It took a lot of un-clipping the clevis, adjusting it 1 or 2 turns at a time, re-clipping it, and checking the points before I had it right. Work on one side at at a time.
I wound up having to make another base because the orientation of the bell-cranks is different between Melvin's setup and what I ended up doing. That didn't take too long, though.
After all was said and done, this is what the end result looks like. This is looking at what will be the bottom of the base: (Wally just HAD to get in on the shot!)
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It's not really as complicated as it looks. The Tortoises (Torti?) are mounted on some 12 mm hobby plywood spacers. The spacers are required because the end of the Tortoise is over the end of the bell-crank. The actuator wire (I'm using .040" wire rather than the .025 Circuitron supplies) is inserted in the second hole of the bell-crank, the throwbar wire being inserted into the first hole. The spacers are glued to the acrylic (remove the plastic covering before gluing the spacers on) with E6000 adhesive (https://www.menards.com/main/paint/...hesive-2-oz/237032/p-1444429571580-c-7172.htm) and screwed down form the top with 4 #6 x 1/2 countersunk wood screws. Those spacers aren't going anywhere!
The Tortoises are screwed to the spacers with #4 pan head sheet metal screws (except for the one. We won't talk about that).
Here's another view. You can see better how the Tortoise sits above the bell-crank.
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One more.
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I like to use edge connectors on my Tortoises. I'd prefer to solder at the workbench, not underneath the layout. The 4 circuit terminal block is secured with 4 #8 machine screws, the holes drilled and tapped through the acrylic base. The Tortoises have to be "cross-wired" move the points appropriately.
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Here's the power supply I am going to use to power all my electrical accessories:
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Details on the power supply can be found here: https://modelrailroadforums.com/for...computer-power-supply-for-layout-power.31752/
Here's the terminal block wired up. The power comes in at the lower left, goes out to the two middle terminals of the DPDT switch at the top left. The power comes back from the switch at the top right, out to the Torti at the bottom right. As I said, the Torti have to be "cross-wired" to the throw the points correctly.
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Here's the double crossover right side up. Note the position of the DPDT switch and the point rails.
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The DPDT switch thrown the other way.
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I made the stand out of 2 x 6 pieces to be able to store this without anything getting damaged. When I mount this to the layout, the T-nuts will be on top of the 1/2" plywood and the base bolted on from underneath. I numbered the points to ensure that everything always went back to the same place when the crossover was removed. I discovered that a step drill is just the thing for drilling nice holes through acrylic sheet! A regular twist drill has a tendency to grab and bind. I did drill holes for the frog wires, as well. I'll add the wires when I install this on the layout. I still have plenty of throw adjustment on the Torti, so no worries there. There were times when this was a real hair-puller of a project, but it'll be so nice on the layout! I can set it to the diverging routes, and the train will just run from the inner loop to the outer loop and back again while I switch cars in the yard. That will be fun!
 
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
In addition to getting the double crossover finished up, I also painted the backdrop. I sanded the first coat of drywall mud, then gave it a skim coat of lightweight mud. I sanded that when it was dry, then gave the backdrop a coat of Zinsser primer.
I worked on one panel at a time, going straight from panel to panel so the paint didn't dry on me when I was working. I gave the panel a good healthy coat of blue paint, then while it was till wet I blended flat ceiling white into about the bottom half. I tried stippling clouds into the still wet blue paint, then moved on to the next panel, and so on down the backdrop.
This was the result:
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With the LED light on:
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I was rather underwhelmed. So I went back to try and 'fix' the clouds. Not sure if I did more harm than good, but I know when to say when. The giant white amoebas will stay. :(
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Not sure if I want to try adding any landscape or not. Of course, if I don't try, I'll never learn.
On the other hand,
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What to do, what to do, what to do..... Where's Bob Ross when ya need him? (Actually, I know what happened to Bob Ross. May he rest in peace.)
I still have one more week at home. I need a project.
Maybe this:
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Not for the timid or faint of heart.

There are 6 parts in the series.
Of course, I did conquer that double crossover...
 

ianacole

Well-Known Member
Nice work on the double cross-over. On my last layout I was exploring ways with the Tortoise remote turnout pieces to see if I could manage all the routes through one machine. Your solution is very impressive.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Nice work on the double cross-over. On my last layout I was exploring ways with the Tortoise remote turnout pieces to see if I could manage all the routes through one machine. Your solution is very impressive.
Thanks, Ian! I did try to emulate Melvin Perry's idea, but I just couldn't get it to work! This took some work and fiddling, but once done it works really well!
 

ianacole

Well-Known Member
Thanks, Ian! I did try to emulate Melvin Perry's idea, but I just couldn't get it to work! This took some work and fiddling, but once done it works really well!
I moved before I could finalize my approach, and made a point of designing my new layout without one so I didn't have to spend the brain cycles on it :D
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Cross your fingers & toes,
eyeballs & nose,
look out, Mama!
Here we go!
The official build of the Central Valley Model Works 200 ft single track Parker Truss bridge kit begins in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... begin!

I do not usually build models on this workbench. I usually build them on the other bench where I have a piece of 1/8" hardboard screwed down, and when the hardboard gets too grungy I just replace it. I built this bench originally to build RC aircraft on, because they require a dead flat surface on which to build, or else the aircraft you worked so hard on will have the shape and flight characteristics of a banana! Of course, that was back when 'building' meant taking a box of balsa and plywood parts and making an aircraft out of it, not simply assembling the pre-made major sub-assemblies like most 'builders' do these days. "What is this world coming to?" (He asks, doing his best Auntie Nelda impression. You'll have to Google that name to find out who I mean.) I purchased a piece of shelving at Menards on which to do the actual construction. It was worth the $12.89 I paid for it in order to have a dead flat surface. I checked it with the drywall square and also a level and it is dead flat. The drywall square will also serve as a straight edge, which will be needed during assembly as well.
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The clear plastic case contains small tools, such as tweezers, and some supplies to make model building easier. The black case contains my digital calipers. Not sure I'll need them for this build, but you never know. I also have my sprue nippers, and plastic cement of both the tube and liquid varieties. I find the tube cement works well for long surfaces, the liquid for most other tasks. The nail set set contains a 3/32" nail set, which will be needed when spiking down the individual molded in spikes on the bridge ties. I counted them once, and as I recall there are over 750 of them. Good thing I have a tube of Ben-Gay upstairs, methinks it shall be needed. The set of small files is always useful, as anyone who has ever build a plastic model kit knows.
Wally graciously volunteered to assist anytime an extra set of hands (clips?) is needed, on condition he get in on the first pic of the build. He's such a ham. Behind Wally are the rails for the bridge. There are two pieces of code 100 Atlas rail, which a piece of flex track from the previous layout courageously gave it's life for, and two pieces of code 83 Micro Engineering rail which I got from my local train store.
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These are some of the contents of the box. From right to left are the instruction book (I shall spend considerable time studying that), 4 sprues worth of parts, and the original bridge tie parts from the kit. The 4 sprues of parts were originally in the same bag with the bridge ties. The kit comes with bridge ties made for code 83 main rail, and code 70 guard rails. I am using code 100 main rails and code 83 guard rails, so I needed to purchase part no. 1901-8, which are the bridge ties I need to use. I think the original bridge ties will make a really cool flatcar load! The new bridge ties are on the left in the pic.
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In this pic we have the remaining two plastic bags full of parts, the full size diagram (this bridge will be 28" long when built), 8 cardboard shims .024" thick, and two steel straps. The steel straps run the length of the bridge in the center of the deck. You'll see when we get that far.
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Wally, the comedian, sarcastically remarked "Well, Stanley, this is another fine mess you've gotten us into." I told him "I can do it myself, Ollie." You've got to be old like me to know who I'm talking about.
(I wonder what I have gotten myself into.)
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
I don't know how I missed this for the several months, but it looks like you're making great progress.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I started gluing some plastic on the bridge today.
Step 1 is actually in two parts. Part A involves installing the splice joiners (the small plates) into the cross bearers (the large plates). The locating straps go underneath the assemblies when they are made. At this stage the splice joiners are NOT glued into the cross bearers. The locating straps are glued to the cross bearers, but not the splice joiners. This is so the floor can be squared up later.
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These parts have had the sprue nubs cleaned off and the flash removed. A bit of trimming was needed to get the bottom of the splice joiners to fit flush with the bottom of the cross bearers.
Part B of step 1 is to glue the stringers to the splice joiners at the locating pins. In this pic I have the stringers turned to show the rivet detail, but on the other side is a small pin that snaps into the hole on the splice joiner.
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The shims are used to make sure that the stringer is above the locating strap from part A. 6 cross bearers have a stringers on one side, the 7th cross bearer has stringers on both side. That will be the cross bearer in the middle of the floor section. I'll let these dry overnight. Getting to be about suppertime.
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I also custom built a rail painting jig from a piece of 2 x 6, some finish nails, and some green painters tape. I painted the rails with some Rust-Oleum red sandable primer and cleaned the tops of the code 100 rails with an old track eraser while they were still wet. Still a couple of spots left, but I'll get those later. The code 83 guard rails are going to stay as they are.
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Tomorrow, I'll glue the cross bearer/stringer assemblies together, and maybe paint the bridge tie sections (there are 8 of them). This is actually coming along faster than I thought it would. For now, anyway.
 




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