The Union Pacific Soggy Bottoms Division (HO scale)

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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I started assembling the floor. I began by daisy-chaining the stringer assemblies I made last night together. I just snapped them together, I won't glue them together until I have them in the jig I made.
It's important for this step that the floor be flat and square before gluing. Two straight edges need to be used, one on each side. I also enlisted the aid of both of my speed squares to ensure that the assembly is square on the ends. Sort of a Red Green (http://www.redgreen.com/) type of gluing jig, but it works! 👍
Between the opposing stringers, I temporarily placed an intermediate brace. These don't get glued in yet, though.
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This jig will ensure that the floor is square, but it also needs to be flat. To ensure that I used that strip of aluminum you see on top of the paint cans. I put some weight on it, and it holds the floor flat during gluing. There were some stringers that didn't want to stay in their holes, so I used some mini-clamps to keep them in place.
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I'll use some liquid cement across the top edges of the stringers where they snap into the splice joiners. That will wick into the joint, and after it sits for a couple hours, I'll pull the mini-clamps off and glue down the sides of the splice joiners. Then I'll do the other side of the floor just like I did this one. After that, I'll turn the floor over and glue the bottom of the stringer/splice joints.
Still got a long way to go, but it'll get there!
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
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!
HEY - Watch it! I flew the Lockheed Connie models from the 749a, 1049g, to the 1649 back in a prior century - it was a nice flying banana. :)
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
"All I need is a reindeer."
The Grinch looked around.
But since reindeer are scarce,
there were none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch?
No, the Grinch simply said
"If I can't find a reindeer,
I'll make one, instead." Dr. Seuss "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

Reading ahead in the instruction book, looking at the blueprint, and watching the aforementioned video series, I realized I need to find a way to cut some rather precise angles in some beams. I know Micro-Mark sells the Dobson miter box, but I really don't want to wait for one to come (nor spend the money for one). The angles in question are 92.3, 95.5, and 109 degrees. These are not standard angles you will find in a miter box. So I decided to make one using my 7-1/4" compound sliding miter saw. This is a Menards Tool Shop brand saw, so not real high quality, but it does the job...... provided the cable that works the blade guard doesn't snap..... for the second time. That cable broke on me once, so I ordered some barrel fittings and 1.5 mm steel cable and made another one. It's a real pain to get the saw apart and replace that cable, so when it snapped again yesterday afternoon as I was making some practice cuts I decided "Nope. Not doing that again. This saw has made it's last cut. Next time I go to the landfill, it's going to the metal pile."
I did some online shopping, particularly for the stores we have here in Lincoln, and decided on a Delta Shopmaster 10" compound sliding miter saw. Menards had it for $179.99, and with their 11% off everything in the store rebate deal going on right now, the final cost will be about $160. I know, the rebate is an in-store merchandise credit, but I do a lot of shopping there, so I can live with it.
Here's my new toy:
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I also bought a 10" 200 tooth plywood cutting blade, which is on the saw. I've made a couple of cuts with it, that's why it has a brownish ring around the edge. I chose a plywood cutting blade for the thinner kerf (can you believe Chrome's dictionary did not contain that word?!) it will cut.
Now some of you are thinking "Wait a minute, the saw will only cut a 45 degree miter on each side. You can't cut those angle with that saw!"
You should have paid more attention in geometry and wood shop classes! Oh, yes you can cut those angles! As my English teacher when I was a senior in high school used to say "Now, all you little kiddies may not know nothin', but I's a gonna learn ya!"
When a straight piece of stock is cut into two pieces, the sum of the angles will always equal 180 degrees. If a 90 degree cut is made, there will be a 90 degree angle on both pieces. 90 + 90 = 180. If a 45 degree cut is made, both pieces will not have a 45 degree angle. One will have a 45, one will have a 135 degree angle. 45 + 135 = 180. If one angle is 109 degrees, the other will be 71 degrees, for a total of 180. But, you say, you still can't cut either of those angles on a miter saw! Yes, you can! Something my shop teacher taught us: To cut an angle larger than what your miter saw will cut, subtract the desired result from 180. In this case the desired angle is 109 degrees. 180 - 109 = 71. Now, subtract 71 from 90. The result is 19. Set the miter saw for a 19 degree miter, and make the cut. Now, if you measure with a protractor across the material, the angle will be 19 degrees. But if you measure along the length of the material, the angle will be 109 degrees. So yes, you can cut an angle of 109 degrees with a miter saw that will only cut a 45 degree miter. Ya just gots too know how ta done it! ;)
So I glued and screwed 3 pieces of 1 x 4 together making sure the middle piece was 5/8" lower than the outer two pieces. This left a place for the material being cut to sit.
I set the depth stop on the saw to cut just below the top of the middle piece. This ensures a cut all the way through the girders. One by one I set the needed angles on the miter saw, clamped the soon-to-be miter box in place on both sides of the saw fence, and made the cut. Here is the result:
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Not too bad for an amateur. Since the middle section sits 5/8" lower than the sides, I can clamp this in a vise to use it. The kerf left by the saw blade is .090" wide, the blade of the razor saw I'm using is .010" wide. That would leave an awful lot of play in that miter slot. So what I'm going to do is use a piece of .080" styrene to take up the slop.
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I cut a piece of 1/4" square hardwood. Did I come close? You be the judge.
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I also finished up gluing the stringers to the splice joiners. I also glued the end caps in place on each end. There is a locating rib on the inside of the end cap. This has to go inside the stringers. The bottom of the end cap has to sit flush with the bottom of the stringer, so these are glued in place while sitting on a shim piece.
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There is a slight bow in the floor assembly, but this will be remedied during the next step. Trust me.
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The saga continues.....
 
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I installed the cross braces and the two steel strips today. The steel strips took the bow right out of the floor. Try as I might to work the bend out of them, they just wouldn't lie flat on the building board. One thing I learned when building RC planes was that if two pieces of wood were bowed and they were installed with the bow going in the same direction
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they will pull the assembly out of alignment. If they are installed with the bow running in opposite directions
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they will not pull the assembly out of alignment. This is how they were installed, and the floor came out pretty square. Not perfect, but that will be corrected in the next step. The cross braces are the rectangular pieces you see above the steel strips. Both strips are threaded through the hole in the end cap, then through a cross brace, then through a cross bearer, another cross brace, and so on through the entire floor.
Here is the floor assembly with the steel strips and cross braces installed. The cross braces are not glued to the stringers just yet, that comes later.
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And, as promised, the bow is gone from the floor assembly.
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While out running errands on this sloppy, mushy day (we had 5-7 inches of snow last night depending on where in the city you live, and now it's all melting) I stopped at Menards and bought a piece of 1/16" x 3/4" x 8 foot piece of aluminum angle stock. Back home, I cut it into 2 36" pieces and had a 24" piece left over. I'm using the two 36" pieces as straightedges. Works great!
The next step is to install the bottom lacing. There are a total of 16 pieces, 8 left hand and 8 right hand. These connect the cross bearers together, and will really keep the floor assembly square. There are also joiners that will connect each pair of lacing pieces together. These joiners will be installed after the lacing is installed. This is going to take a while. The ends of the lacing pieces have to go halfway across one end of a cross bearer. The end of a cross bearer is only 1/8" wide, so if the first piece goes on wrong then the rest are going to be wrong as well. It's rather fiddly, as our friends in Britain would say.


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I also discovered that the diagram does not completely match the assembly. When the center of the floor assembly is in place directly over the diagram
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the ends don't line up.
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Something else I learned while building RC planes: build to the wood, not the plan. Plans can and do expand and contract with temperature and humidity, more so than the wood will. A length of 27 and 13/16 inches is given as the length of the floor assembly, and it is spot on!
There was one piece of bottom lacing broken on the sprue, but a small piece of .030 x .080 styrene strip soon fixed that. Once this is painted and weathered, it'll be nearly impossible to spot.
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flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Well, I was right. It is rather fiddly getting those lower lacing pieces on! I'm glad I only have to do this once!
Half of the lacing installed:
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The finished job:
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The center gussets presented another issue. The plans call for them to be installed with every other pair pointing 'down' and facing each other, like the center pair is. The problem is if you do that, then the rivet lines in the short dimension are pointing off into nowhere. I didn't think that looked right, so I installed them as you see them. This really makes the assembly square and rigid! Time to go through and glue all the splice joiners and cross braces to the cross bearers.
I am going to have to put a pause on this for a bit. Menards sells 5 x 8 sheets of 1/2" plywood, but they are special order. 5' wide is the exact dimension of both ends of the layout, so rather than have to deal with a seam, I ordered two pieces. I was told they would ship on the 22nd. They have come from Wisconsin, and are at the distribution center in Valley, Nebraska right now. Valley is only about an hour from here, so I suspect I shall be getting a call tomorrow saying my plywood is in. The backdrop isn't ready! I bought some Rust-Oleum latex paint in small cans. I did not buy the oil based stuff. I've been trying to think of how I want to do this. I realized I'd been affected by "paralysis by analysis". That's where you spend so much time think about it that you never get around to doing it!
So no more thinking, time to get doing! I did evict the giant white amoebas from my back drop yesterday morning, though.
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I hope Homer is wrong.
Trying is the first step.jpg
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I got started on the hills yesterday afternoon. So far I have the faraway hills done, and the first coat of paint on for the mid-distance hills. The close hills will be a dark green. I'll probably get to those this afternoon.
I would have preferred that the paint sheen be flat, but satin is the flattest sheen available in this paint line. So far I don't think it looks too bad, considering it's being done by someone that can barely draw stick figures!
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These are the paints I bought. I bought one quart each of satin Stone Gray and Hunter Club Green, and one pint each of flat white and gloss Hunter Green, which is a very dark green. The reason I got it in gloss is because that's the only sheen it came in. :(
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The faraway hills are Stone Gray with some Hunter Green mixed in. The mid-distance hills are Hunt Club Green with some flat white mixed in to lighten the green color. The foreground hills will be Hunt Club Green with the Hunter Green mixed in, and maybe a touch of flat black (which I already had) if I think it still needs darkening up.
The track is going to run along 4" high risers near the back wall, with a 28" gap between risers, where the bridge will sit. I've been thinking of having a track disappear behind the risers to simulate an interchange track. The interchange track will have feeders soldered to them, but they wont be hooked up. I'll have the feeders on just in case. The tracks will probably only be 36" long, and basically there just for show. I'll likely stage a locomotive and a few cars on the south track to look like it's coming in, and a caboose with a few cars on the north track to look like it's leaving.
I've been wondering how to make this look credible, and I think what I'll do is create a tunnel for each track. The plaster cloth will come over the top of the risers and continue across to the hills. I have a couple of tunnel portals I can use for this.
Sounds like a plan!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Having decided how to blend the risers and bridge into the backdrop, I snapped a chalk line 2" above the level of the risers. This is going to be the minimum level of the foreground hills.
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As you can see, this will pretty much wipe out the other levels of hills. :(
I will never be able to match those paint shades again, so what I'm going to do is just use the Stone Gray and Hunt Club Green and build up the background hills to a higher level. I never knew western Nebraska had hills THAT high, although it is definitely NOT flat! Sorry to destroy any stereotypes, there.
The plywood in the foreground is the plywood I picked up from Menards yesterday. I bought a sheet of 4 x 8 1/2" CDX, then went into the yard to get my special order 5 x 8's. The guy brought them out on a forklift, all wrapped in house wrap with plastic banding around them. I was helping guide them into the trailer, and said to the guy "There are four sheets of plywood in here, I only ordered two." He said "Yeah, those are the cover sheets. They put a sheet on top, and one on the bottom so yours don't get damaged." "Do you want them back?" "Nope, they're yours to keep."
So I got my sheets, and two extra sheets of 1/2" CDX 4 x 8. I gave the extra sheets to a friend of mine. I have no need of them, and nowhere to put them. I cut the ends off the 5 x 8's down to 89", and that's when I discovered they would not fit down the stairwell into the basement! :mad:
I had to cut them lengthwise, so each piece is now 36" wide and 24" wide. I will have a seam after all, which is what I was hoping to avoid! The 4 x 8 sheet I bought got cut down to 36" wide, it will run along the bottom of the backdrop. So here's the pile:
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Enough babbling, best get to painting!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
The backdrop is done.
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I wanted it to look as though the hills get larger the farther away they are and the further north you go. Not sure how well I succeeded, but it is what it is. The 'gap' in the foreground hills is where the bridge and interchange tracks will be. Haven't entirely decided on how to fill the gap, but I'll come up with something.
I have also decided not to put clouds on the backdrop. Someone will say "That's not prototypical!" Oh, really?
I took this pic about a half hour ago standing in the alley behind my house. Turning in a full circle, the sky looked exactly the same. Not a cloud to be seen, anywhere! So it is prototypical for Nebraska.
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I had a lot of 2 x 2's left from the previous layout. I cut most of them into 4" long sections yesterday. These will become cleats underneath the 1/2" plywood top. The cleats will be screwed to the sides of the joist, then a screw will run vertically through the cleat into the plywood. There will be no screws going through the plywood from the top down. This will permit me to move a joist if needed. Time to chuck the countersink bit into the drill press and start making holes. I might be able to start putting down plywood tomorrow! :D
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I cleaned the mess off the train table, installed some cleats, and reached a milestone! The first piece of plywood is installed! :D
I needed some weight in the far corner to hold the plywood down while I attached it from underneath, so I used what a man always uses in those situations: power tools!! Arr, arr, arr, arr!!
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This piece is 36" wide. The matching 24" wide piece will go down right next to it. I plan to cut some 4" wide strips of plywood and attach it both pieces, 2" on each piece, to hold the seam. I'll use yellow wood glue and some 1" screws to secure it.
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I need to install a few more cleats on those joists first, though. The pics make the joists looked bowed, but they're really not.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
I'm making some progress on the plywood prairie.
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The sheet of plywood that my earmuffs are on will go next to the sheet that the clamps are on. I need to get the cleats installed for that sheet. Waiting for the drill's battery to recharge. All I have to do when the cleats are installed is just slide it into position.
The north side of the layout has plywood down.
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Once I get all the plywood installed, I'll run my track bus and the 12 volt accessory bus. Then I need to wait on funds to buy the 1" thick foam sheets and 1/2" Homasote. I have a couple of 24" square sheets of 1" foam and 1 24" x 48" sheet of Homasote, so I could locate the double crossover and drill the mounting holes for the base. I think I'd rather wait until the down incline is installed, so I know exactly how much room I'm going to have.
I need to fit a left hand turn out in there, as well. It's going to lead to an industrial area, so a #4 should be fine. Big road locomotives won't be using it.
It's nice to see something besides bare benchwork!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Construction continues on the plywood prairie.
Here's a pic of how I'm doing the cleats. These hold the plywood in place. I'm doing it this way in case I have to move a joist later on.
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Here all the plywood has been installed, except for the plywood on the lift gate.
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Anywhere two sheet of plywood join each other there is a 4" wide strip of plywood glued and screwed to both pieces along the seam, so except for the east side of the layout this is all pretty much 'one piece'. You can see a seam in the lower left corner.
Here's the lift gate. This is the only section still needing plywood. I could have pieced it together from some smaller scraps, but I'll get a 2' x 4' piece tomorrow. I would really prefer the strength one piece will give. I will have to make an angled cut on this piece.
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The lift gate will only have plywood and Homasote on it. It will not have 1" foam, that why the plywood will sit higher than it does on the section to the left.
Once the plywood and wiring are in, I'll get back to work on the bridge.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
The plywood is installed! :D
I got the last piece cut and installed.
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The gap at the back was filled in with a piece of 1 x 3 and backed up by a piece of 1/2" plywood. Sorry, no pic of that. :(
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I am using 12 gauge stranded wire for the power bus. It was only a couple dollars more than 14 gauge, so I went with it. I am using 1/2" nylon cable clamps screwed to the bottom of the joists to secure it. That way if a joist needs to be re-positioned I can easily do so.
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I will also run a 12 volt bus with yellow and black wires for turnouts, accessories, etc. Still trying to think of how I want to mount the power supply. I'm leaning towards a sliding shelf. I'll wait until I start getting some track laid to mount the terminal blocks.
 

ShermanHill

Well-Known Member
For now it's only open when it has to be, otherwise it's closed.
Well, yeah, that makes sense.... however, it's when it closed that I am concerned about the weight of the structure hanging from only the hinge-straps. Something (a ledge) at the bottom of the structure to sit upon, relieving the shear force on the hinge.
 

Patrick

Well-Known Member
I had a similar hinged lift on the original setup for my layout tables. I used a "shelf" (made of a pair of 15" 1x2 lumber) on both sides of the section that actually held the lift in place when it was down. My area in the current house didn't allow for the same configuration, so I'm using lift off sections.

I like what you're doing so far!
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Well, I put it off as long as possible (not really, just had house projects to do) but I got started on the bridge ties. These Central Valley Models bridge ties have molded in metal spikes that have to be bent over the foot of the rail. Each tie plate for the main rails has 4 spikes, so each tie has 8 spikes for the main rails. There are 22 ties per section of bridge track, and 8 sections. So 8 x 22 x 8 = 1408 spikes for the main rail. But wait! There are also 2 guard rails! Each section of bridge ties has 8 spikes for the guard rails on each end, and there are 6 ties per section that have 2 spikes per guard rail, for a total of 40 guard rail spikes per section. 8 sections x 40 guard rail spikes per section = 320 guard rail spikes. 1408 for the main rails, 320 for the guard rails = 1,728 spikes that have to be bent over! This could take a while. So far I have 1 section of main rail installed on 2 sections of bridge ties. What I'm doing is I dribble a thin line of thin CA down the center of the tie plates, then press the rail into the tie plates. This holds the rail in while I mash the spikes down. Works pretty good that way.
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The rail in the back has been done, the rail in the front has been CA'ed to the ties but still needs spiked down. I'm using a 1/16" nail set to bend the spikes over.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Finished the bridge track, and yes, it was a pain in the posterior! I need to touch up the paint, get the black marks off the top of the rails, and glue it to the base. Before I glue it to the base I want to paint the base, though. I'm thinking maybe a grimy black/gray color.
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The black pieces in the plastic clamps are the bridge shoes.
Next job is to deal with this pile of parts:
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These are the AB girders. Each girder is comprised of two parts which have to be glued together, you can see the two parts on the right. These cannot be molded in one piece because there would be no way to get them out of the mold, which could be problematic. The instructions suggest building a jig for this job. I got to looking at the pieces and doing some measuring. It turns out that a piece of 3/16" square material will hold the parts in perfect alignment for gluing. A quick trip to Ace hardware got me a piece of 3/16" square K&S brass tubing. A trial fit of the parts reveals perfect alignment!
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I'll extend the end over the tube about 1/4", tack glue it, then do the other end. Once the girder is tack glued I'll run a bead of liquid cement down the length without the brass tube in place. This should enable me to glue the girders together without gluing the tube into the girder, which could also be problematic. Lots of gluing still ahead!
 




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