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Tom Ward
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I'm currently in the design phase with my layout.  I've been using the program AnyRail to fit a shelf style layout into an 11' X 12' room.  To manage this I'm taking advantage of the 4' X 8' closet and using two levels for additional real estate.  A four level helix connects the upper and lower levels.  The track will be hand laid to make use of curved turnouts and the minimum radius will be 18".  Aisle-ways have a minimum width of 30".  Track height for the two levels will be 42" and 62".  Grades are fairly steep at 4.5% on the helix and upper level but I'll be running a Shay up there exclusively.
I'm planning to build most of the major structures from scratch.  I'll also be incorporating Arduino control of sound and animation in several areas around the layout.
The main theme of the layout is mining and the upper level focuses on that with three stamp mills and four small mines.  The lower level has a smelter but most of it is dedicated to an engine service terminal and small yard with a focus on operations.  In the closet is one stamp mill that is serviced on both levels.  The original plan was for point to point operation but I added a narrow shelf along one wall to connect the track in the closet back into the yard area for loopty loop operation.  I'm thinking it'd be fun to have a rail bus slowly looping around the layout to disrupt switching operations.
I've reached a point in the design where I'm pretty happy with things and think I'm now ready to begin construction.  I ran my design through the TrainPlayer program to verify the design and found the operations to be enjoyable.
Tom



Jonah K
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I'm in a similar, yet smaller situation. Mining theme with Arduino controls for lighting, as well as scrathbuilt buildings.

Looking forward to seeing more!

Tom Ward
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Jonah - I had originally drawn up a design on paper and thought I was very limited with what I could do.  After laying it out with AnyRails and using curved turnouts I found I could add a lot more to the design.  I thought I had added some shots of the layout design but they seem to have dropped out.  I'll try again here with the lower deck first.
The yard and engine service area are on the left with a bump out for the roundhouse and shop.  I have a kit for an HO 90' turntable that I plan to modify for O scale.  The water tank, coal tower, sand house and ash pit are already completed and just waiting for the benchwork to go up.  The roundhouse is a Thomas Yorke design but I need to modify the rear walls to bring it in closer to the turntable.  There are industry flats along the wall behind the yard.  The yard is actually a stretched out and modified Timesaver design.
As you go clockwise around the room from the yard on the left there is a smelter on another bump out.  This is based on the Rose - Walsh smelter but significantly reduced in size.  This will be built from scratch.  Along the wall behind the smelter are more industry flats.  Clockwise from there the track reduces to the mainline and crosses a bridge above a town in a gulley (Blackrock?).  Just after the bridge is a turnout for the helix.  Traveling straight ahead takes you outside the helix across three bridges on a mountainside.  I plan to model this area after the high line above Ophir with the mountainside extending from the top of the helix almost to the floor.  The track enters the closet to service a 20 stamp mill and also branches off to return to the yard area.
Tom

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Si.
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Hi Tom :wave:



WOW !


Your trackplan looks really great for that space !! :thumb:

Good use of the 'odd' smaller area as well.


Curved switches are a def. help in the big squeeze. :)

Sooouper nicely done 'AnyRail' drawing for the project.



:cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool:



Si.

Tom Ward
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I mentioned earlier that the roundhouse is a Thomas Yorke design.  I bought it almost ten years ago on eBay for an earlier layout that never got done.  The original design calls for the rear walls to be 53" back from the center of the turntable.  That means the front wall is 30" back from the edge of the turntable.  This small room won't allow for that but having the full engine service terminal is an important feature for me.  The solution is to widen the rear wall sections to spread the back of the building out.  By doing that I'll be able to have it set back 12" instead of 30".  My plan also calls for a two track car shop/machine shop next to the roundhouse.  This will fit on a 30" wide bump out that sits perpendicular to the yard.  By using curved turnouts at the top of the yard I can get it all to fit along the 8' length of wall.
Tom

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Tom Ward
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SI - thanks for nice comments.  I haven't been able to talk my wife into letting me take over the 20' X 30' bonus room over the garage so this space will have to do for now.  She thinks there's some other use for that space but I just don't see it.  I think I have to work on my diplomacy skills or something but ya know, old dog, new tricks.  Maybe someday.....
Tom

Tom Ward
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The structures for the engine service terminal (water, coal, sand and ash) are mostly finished.  Making these was what got me really interested in scratch building and animation.  The water tank is built around a 4" PVC coupling which looked about the right size to me.  The spout is animated and has a dedicated sound track.
The coaling tower was my second project.  My original drawings were based on a DSS&A design and articles by Wayne Wesolowski in the 1988 Railroad Model Craftsman magazine.  While doing the drawings I found that an architect had used this same article to design a new coaling tower for the Henry Ford museum in Michigan, built in 2014.  His design was kinda beefier than the original so I modeled mine after that.  As I was building it I developed the idea that this is my railroad and I would do things a little different from the prototype and I made some minor modifications that made sense to me.  The coal pit is based on the one in Chama.  The coaling tower chute in front and the bucket in back are driven by DC motors (converting over to stepper motors now) and there are sound tracks that tie in with these operations.
My third project was the sand house and while loosely based on the Chama and Durango sand houses I made my sand bin the way I thought made the most sense.  A hopper is parked on a trestle over the bin and loads it directly, just like the coaling tower.  I know manual labor was cheap back then but it adds some nice detail to the scene.  The spout on the sand tower is animated and has a sound track to go along with it.
The ash pit is based on the one at Chama.  Sort of.  I plan to have a pile of ashes with glowing embers beneath it that will be activated when an loco stops there.
For all four of these structures I'm using an Arduino Mega controller with a motor control board and a WAV file player to coordinate the sounds and animations.  There are seven "scenes" here and each is controlled by a push button mounted on the facia.
Tom

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jtrain
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Tom, that's an excellent layout.  I really like the right side of that track plan, great space for vertical scenery with a train running along the mountainside.

The only problem I see with this plan is in the lower left hand corner where the track crosses the entryway.  At 42", this will be an uncomfortable duck under height and the track being on a curve (not to mention those two spurs), a lift out, swing out, vertical hinge, or a roll out section of track there would be difficult to engineer.

I would strongly suggest making the upper level a continuous loop and making the lower level a point-to-point operation between the engine terminal and the stamp mill.  At least, that's what I would do.  Crawling under a 42" duck under would get old very quick.  The upper deck, at 62", is high enough as a nod under, so it's not as much of a problem.

Other than that, this is a winner of a plan for that space.  The roundhouse, smelter, and mill on the lower level are really going to be the stars of the show.

--James:2t:

Lee B
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I really like what you have so far. I have seen few On30 layouts in small rooms that don't look toy-like.
I think you have an excellent balance for authentic looks for track and structures, but still small enough to fit into a small room.
I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!

Tom Ward
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Lee + James - thank you for your comments and suggestions.  I agree about the area in front of the door being a difficult duck-under.  I was planning for it to be hinged to swing up against the wall at the bottom of the drawing.  I don't expect it to be used often as its only real purpose is for the rail bus to run continuously as a distraction.  It may be more trouble than it's worth.  My main interest here will be point to point operation.  As far as the engineering for it.......I suspect you're right about track alignment problems here.  The track running up to it on the narrow shelf along the wall serves a good purpose for switching at the mill and I like the idea of the two sidings coming down from the yard.  The curved track running into the turntable was just based on prototype track at Chama and I thought it looked cool.  I could eliminate all of that and reduce it to one track or dump the idea of the lift up gate entirely.  I'll figure that part out when I get to it.
I'll post the drawing for the upper deck here shortly.  It only goes around half the room because I was concerned about things getting too claustrophobic.  The area over the roundhouse and yard on the left will stay open.  The coaling tower is 14.25" tall and I didn't want it getting lost behind an upper deck valance.
Tom

Tom Ward
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The upper deck will be the mining area and I'll try to imply mountains on an 18" wide shelf.  The track will be mostly level at 62".  Everything begins at the helix.  This will be an 18" radius climbing a 4.5% grade through four levels.  Total climb will be 20" with 5" rise per loop.  Leaving the helix you enter the mining district with four small mines and two larger mills.  The mill to the left at end of track will be based on the Little Dora mill located outside of Silverton.  I just really liked the way it looked.  The mill to the right is labeled Argo Mill but I think that's not going to work.  Too reduced and too cramped.  There's a third mill in the closet that is supplied with raw ore from the smaller mines.  This mill is based on the plans in the book "Modeling the Mining Industry" from Western Scale Models.  For years I've wanted to build this 20 stamp mill and include all the interior workings.  Now I'm having second thoughts.  A number of folks have built beautiful models from these plans and I dont want mine to be just another one in the crowd.  I'm thinking now that I'll do the interior of the Little Dora mill, replace the "Argo" with something smaller, more Gilpin like, and replace the closet mill with the back side of a lumber mill, just the stacks of cut lumber and the backside of the mill.  Then I could have a lumber yard, or part of one, in town to supply lumber for the mines.  If I went that way I can eliminate the 5% grade running around the outside of the helix to the upper level of the closet mill.
To service the mining district I've added some sidings, a run around and a wye.  The wye takes up a lot of room but makes it possible to turn the engine and adds some interesting operating value.  The buildings for the smaller mines will be based on mines in the Gilpin area and the scenery kind of a mix between Gilpin and Silverton.  It's all still a work in progress.
Tom

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jtrain
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Tom,

The only person you need to please is yourself, the rest of us will be along for the ride via this forum.

Good luck with the layout, it's a solid plan for a model railroad!

--James

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Wow Tom.  I am impressed.  Looks like quite a bit of action in a small space.  Ops is the thing for me. Mining of course being the coolest.  Can't wait to see progress.

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Hi Tom :wave:



'Level-2' looks like the perfect compliment to the busier ground floor. ;)

Nice that you could fit the turning 'wye' in there.



:moose:



Si.

Tom Ward
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Getting started on framing up the layout.  I waffled on the track height for the lower level.  Original plan had 42" for the lower and 62" for the upper.  The 62" height is pretty much locked in because I'm 5'10" and that puts the track just below eye level.  Up there but still comfortable.  Furthest reach up there is 20" so I might have to use a step stool.  The lower level is where I waffled.  42" looked too low when I first started putting up the framework.  I raised it to 47" and that looked better.  The helix is in increments of 5" so that's why I chose 47".  But that left me with only 15" between levels and I'd probably lose another 2" to 4" for lights and facia.  The area around the smelter had me concerned because it's going to be a large building.  If I start limiting height to 11" to 13" it might look too cramped.  I went back and set the lower level at 43" and the upper at 63".  I think I'll be happy with that.
The photo shows framing started for the yard area along the far wall.

-Tom

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Tom Ward
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Here's the plan for the lower level again just for reference.
- Tom

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Simon H
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Tom, I'm liking the concept for the layout. Plenty of operation potential that fits into your space well. 
Simon

Tom Ward
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Thanks Simon.  I'm having fun with this.  I think once the track is laid the operations will be interesting too.
- Tom

Tom Ward
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Made a little more progress on the benchwork today.  I'm using Lynn Westcotts book on how to build benchwork.  It shows several variations for shelf type benchwork and I chose to do the one with the girders hanging below the bracket arms, thinking my layout was fairly narrow and that I could use the bracket arms as joists.  I ended up having to shift several of the bracket arms to below the girders to make room for the turntable and a change in ground height over by the smelter.  I also spent a lot of time making things level.  Something I didn't account for until I was half way into it was that the walls of the room are way out of square.  I think I have everything under control now but this is taking way longer than I had originally planned.
I have the bump outs framed for the roundhouse and the smelter.  I was relieved to find that I had left plenty of room in the aisles and that the lower level bench height is going to work out just fine.

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 123 times)

Last edited on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 03:13 pm by Tom Ward

Tom Ward
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My plan is to use battery power (dead rail) with DCC for control and sound.  I talked with Pete Steinmetz at Dead Rail Installs.  He has taken over the dead rail sales for Tam Valley and is taking orders now.  He said turn around is a week or two so I guess this is gonna be my Christmas present.  I'm starting out with one engine set up with DRS1 transmitter and receiver, 500 mAh battery, a charger, and a few other things.  He said that size battery will work fine for my On30 engines (2-8-0, 2-6-0 and a BVM conversion of an HO three truck Shay.  He said that size battery will give me several hours of play time.  Cool!  After looking around at some DCC systems I think I'll stick to my original plan and go with the DCC++ Arduino system and use an old smart phone for a hand held control.  I already have the Arduino stuff so that cuts my expenses in half, to about $150 to get things started.  If the smart phone thing is a PITA then I'll change over to a regular hand held later on.  I'm anxious to get started laying track so I think I'll build around to the helix and get things running.  The helix looks like a challenge so I'll put that off for a bit.
- Tom

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Tom,

I know it's kinda late in the game but it would be neat if you could add a little more to the Silverton area.  Besides the D&RGW serving Silverton there were three other narrow gauge lines, so at one time there was quite a bit of action going on.  You might to be able to hint at least to some other lines and provide for some interchange traffic.  There was the Silverton Railroad, the Silverton Northern, and the Silverton, Gladstone & Northern.  You could at least add a few cars from these other roads.

Just an idea.

Tom Ward
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Michael - That's an excellent idea!  At the lower end of the yard on the left side (by the door) is a drop down that when lifted up in place allows full loop operation.  I could roll a cart up here with some interchange tracks that would connect to the bottom of the yard.  That would provide just what you're suggesting.  It would allow me to bring in supplies and materials from other areas and add a new dimension to the operations.  Thanks mucho for the suggestion.
- Tom

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Tom,

I think that's your solution to the problem area around the door.  Take that pair of tracks which form a "yard" and convert them into interchange tracks that represent all points beyond the layout.  This roll up cart concept you just explained could simply be a flat-top cart with shelves for cassettes.  If the cart is at the right height, you could use it's surface to attach and detach cassettes.  I have a personal preference for those devices because you can remove and add cars quickly to the layout.  It's the last piece of the puzzle missing for complete operations on your railroad.

--James

Last edited on Mon Nov 27th, 2017 10:01 am by jtrain

Tom Ward
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I have a three shelf serving cart that'll work great for this.  Measures 19" X 36" if I take off the handle.  Has four wheel steering so it'll be easy to maneuver into the space by the door.  Perfect!
- Tom

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Disguise the top level as a ferry, then you can put ANYTHING on it and have a valid reason for inbound traffic.
Jose.

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True Jose, but this is Colorado.

--James

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jtrain wrote: True Jose, but this is Colorado.
I had the same suggestions, plenty of times, as I was designing my own On30 layout. I live in an area where ferries were very common, so that's people's answer to everything.
I kept having to point out there wasn't even a navigable river anywhere in the region my layout takes place!

Tom Ward
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Jose - I like the idea of a river barge but would have a hard time tying that into my mining theme, even though this is freelanced.  I had a thought in the back of my mind for a while on how to have a water scene.  I'll give it more thought.  My cart is 19" X 36".  Maybe a three track barge with a tug beside it.  With 36" length I could fit 4 boxcars on each track.  Looks like it would be pretty easy to do.  Might be a way to also tie that in with James idea of using cassettes.  These are both good ideas.  Thanks for the suggestions.
- Tom

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Tom Ward
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OK, back on track.  I'm making progress with the benchwork and am beginning to see that my AnyRail design is gonna work.  Among other things I had concerns about the aisle ways being too restrictive.  I now have benchwork completed for the main yard on the left and the area around the smelter.  With plywood laid out I can see that the aisle ways will be just fine.
- Tom

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Tom Ward
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I penciled in the track for the yard on the plywood to verify things would fit as designed.  The basic track layout seems fine but I ran into a snag with the turntable.  I found that there was a four degree offset between the track coming in from the ashpit and the stall tracks for the roundhouse.  Shifting the roundhouse to correct for that would bring one corner very close to the edge of the layout.  I redrew the roundhouse on a piece of foam board and switched out the custom built doors for some narrower Grandt Line doors.  This narrowed the footprint of the building enough that I could rotate it to correct for the four degrees.  Now stall #3 is 90 degrees from the ashpit track and everything else fell in place like magic.  At the edge of the turntable each track is one inch apart exactly (c-c) and this allows for 40 possible track positions.  I'm planning to use eleven for running engines to; two outgoing tracks to the mainline, one incoming from the ash pit, four stall tracks into the roundhouse, one to the car shop and three outside storage tracks.  There will be several others for storing materials but they'll be too short for engines or cars.
- Tom

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Last edited on Sun Dec 3rd, 2017 05:24 pm by Tom Ward

Tom Ward
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I was originally gonna control the turntable with an Arduino controlled motor but after discussing things with folks on the "track" part of this forum I've decided to go with a manual control for simplicity.  I found the parts for this at McMaster-Carr.  They have a small handwheel (3 2/3" dia) with a dial indicator in the center.  This has a display set up like a clock with hour and minute hands and 12 positions around the dial.  I'm planning to replace the dial with one showing 40 positions.  The output from the handwheel will go to a right angle gear reducer with a 30:1 ratio.  I'll use a toothed pulley on its output connected by a timing belt to a pulley of the same size beneath the turntable.  With the 30:1 ratio every full rotation of the minute hand on the handwheel will move the turntable exactly one track position.  With the minute hand at the 12 o'clock position the turntable bridge and the track will be properly lined up.  It will take 30 turns of the handwheel to move the turntable 360 degrees.  Movement of the turntable should be slow enough to look realistic but a full rotation might be a pain in the wrist.  I don't expect there to be much more than 180 degrees of rotation needed very often.  I think I'll use a switch controlled solenoid beneath the turntable pit to lock the turntable into position.  That's my plan.......
- Tom

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Last edited on Sun Dec 3rd, 2017 05:26 pm by Tom Ward

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Tom Ward wrote:  I redrew the roundhouse on a piece of foam board and switched out the custom built doors for some narrower Grandt Line doors Just taking a moment to pass by and be paranoid - there is enough room for posts between the doors so the roof will remain the roof instead of the floor, right?
It does look like there may be circles on the diagram which represent them

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@Tom
Heavens -166$ for that handwheel?

Tom Ward
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Yes, I compensated for the 12" X 12" posts and the width of the 30" stone walls.  Thanks for thinking of that though.
Helmut - true, not exactly eBay cheap but I thought it would add some fun to the operation.  Besides, looking at production turntable prices I'm still all-in for less than half the price and I'll have something unique.
- Tom

Last edited on Sun Dec 3rd, 2017 08:58 pm by Tom Ward

Tom Ward
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Helmut - Kinda funny.  Your comment about the price made me look on eBay.  Found one new for $40.  It'll be delivered Dec 12.  Thank you for the inspiration.
- Tom

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Tom,

It might not be that hard to justify some sort of barge or ferry.  When Owens Lake had water, before the Los Angeles DWP drained it, there use to be a steamship that traveled across the lake hauling mining supplies from the ex-Carson & Colorado on the west side to Cerro Gordo on the east side.

I believe that the steamship sunk with a shipment of gold with it...never to be found.

The smelter use to pour 500 pound gold ingots so that thieves couldn't run off with it.

I'm sure you could invent some excuse for at least a small ferry that transports maybe 4-6 freight cars.

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Michael M wrote: I'm sure you could invent some excuse for at least a small ferry that transports maybe 4-6 freight cars.Or, looking at photo of steamboat Klamath being hauled from Lower Klamath Lake to Upper Klamath Lake on page 96 of book Blow for the Landing; a Hundred Years of Steam Navigation on the Waters of the Northwest, how about several freight cars that transport a small ferry? :)
Oh! Just found the photo online, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klamath_(steamboat)

Tom Ward
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Michael - OK, that works.  This is free lanced anyway so I'm not really stickin' to reality.  I like the story about the ferry fulla gold.  The lake is now dry and still no sign of it huh?  When did they drain the lake, in the 30's?  So maybe it's buried under 80 years of silt.  500 lb ingots of gold?  You could probably do a flyover in a Cessna with a metal detector and still see that.  Sounds like someone made off with the goods.
- Tom

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The C&C actually ran on the east side of the lake.  The Cerro Gordo mines are also on the east side, in the Inyos, somewhere in the 9-10,000 foot elevation. Ore was originally freighted down to Swansea near the lake for reduction.  Yes, I believe I remember reading that there were one or two small steam vessel that traversed the lake serving some of the small communities and resorts.  They worked out to about an 80' beam if I recall.  Kind of like the Tahoe steamers of the same era. You can see how high the lake was before the great water theft of the 1920s if you look closely while driving around the lake.

If it were something that you were entertaining a water to rail operation can be quite interesting.  I am going to do one in Central Nevada since I can't model it the way it was, I've decided to have a bit of raucous fun in the vein of the days newspapers. The Reese River Navigation Company! An invention of a 1940s Reno Harold's Club promotion as a fun way to try and make Nevada history "more interesting" as if it needed that!  The "river" has never been very wide, in fact it was once claimed that the trout had to have their sides regularly greased so that they could get through.  Mark Twain, Dan DeQuill and above all Fred Hart would be proud.
;)

Last edited on Mon Dec 4th, 2017 06:28 am by Steven B

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Steven,

You're right.  My mistake.  Espee's Jawbone Branch ran up the west side to Owenyo just a little north of Lone Pine.

Owens Lake went dry in the 1920s after LA put in an aqueduct.  After decades of litigation DWP is putting some water back in the lake.

When Leadfield in Death Valley was being promoted some of the brochures had a steamship on it!  Little lead, or anything else, was found at Leadfield and the rush and the town quickly died.   http://mojavedesert.net/mining-history/leadfield/

Last edited on Mon Dec 4th, 2017 09:18 am by Michael M

Tom Ward
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With the track design in the yard area verified I decided to get started on the turntable since everything revolves around that.  So to speak.  I had selected a Walthers HO scale 90' kit (not motorized) because I thought it would be a good base for kit bashing into an On30 50' "Armstrong type turntable which would be about the right size for my layout.  My original plan was to replace the bridge deck and use everything else.  I opened up the box yesterday and started assembling the bridge and quickly found the quality to be so poor that I would have to replace 90% of the parts.  "Ya gets whatcha pays for".  The bridge itself isn't even correctly centered in the pit so one end scrapes against the wall.  The wheels for the bridge just scrape across the top of the plastic rail and since everything is plastic there's too much resistance in the movement.  At least to my liking.  I'd like to use the pit because I like the shape of the floor but it resonates with a cheazy plastic sound.
My first thought is to clean out the ring rail and ties and replace them with wood ties and metal rail.  I think it needs a bearing in the base too.  I can add some sound dampening material to the underside of the pit too.  I'll try that first and if it doesn't work out I'll hafta make my own pit.  I'd like to widen the bridge and replace the wheels with metal ones.  Id also like to do the bridge deck in wood at a proper width.
I did find a really nice turntable kit made by Kitwood Hills (http://www.kitwoodhillmodels.com/13-5-on30-pit-turntable/).  It's about an inch longer than this one which would be OK.  It also comes motorized for £87 which I think is about $130 US.  I guess that'll be my backup plan if I totally muff this conversion.  It would probably be cheaper and easier to just get the kit but now I'm feeling challenged to do something with what I have.  We'll see how high my frustration breaking point is set.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 189 times)

Lee B
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Man, I like that turntable you have the photo for. Looks about as long as the Peco one, though. I really wish I could have built turntables about 1/2 inch longer that the ones I have, but the Peco ones are just long enough for a ten-wheeler...
The peco ones also include all the electrical contacts and 'split ring' for turning. It's quite foolproof and needs no special wiring at all.

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Lee - The photo is of the kit made by Kitwood Hill Models.  It's 13.5" in length which is plenty long enough for my 2-8-0.  It's motorized also.  I looked at some of the other turntables on the market and found them to be either too short, too long or too expensive.  This one is laser cut plywood with some metal parts and looks like it has enough quality parts to suit me.  For all that the price is also very fair at about $130 in US dollars.  I think the kit is made in the UK.  If I was really smart I'd just go ahead and order one now.
- Tom

W C Greene
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Why not build one yourself? Then you'd get exactly what you need & want! It ain't hard to do anyway.
Just a suggestion...

Woodie

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Woodie - I think you may be right.  I keep going over this Walthers kit trying to decide how to redo the parts I don't like about it.  The amount of work involved in making it right is probably more than if I made one from scratch.  I need to give this some thought.  Thanks for the suggestion.
- Tom

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So, I've decided to build my own turntable to get things the way I want.  Thanks Woodie.  I settled on a length of 13.5" because it looked right with the 2-8-0.  Everything else was designed around that.  I talked to Larry Olsen at Diamond Scale and will be using some of the components he offers for O scale.  The dolly trucks are the main thing and he's sending me a scale drawing of that so I can work them into my design before I start ordering parts.  I'll still use the dial hand rank and 30:1 speed reducer for manual indexing.  The picture below is my drawing compared to the Walthers HO turntable.

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 155 times)

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Howdy Tom, not only will you have fun building this yourself, but then you will own the ONLY one...nobody else will have one like it! There's a certain satisfaction about building something yourself, it does wonders for the mind!
Have fun, let's see more when possible.

Woodie

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I've ordered the parts to build the turntable bridge including styrene parts from Plastruct to build the girders and wood 8" x 8" ties and 2" x 10" deck planks from Kappler.  I probably won't be getting these for another three weeks so I went ahead and got started with what I had on hand.
I built a wood buck (right name?) for the turtable bridge.  This will be clad with the styrene girders and topped with the decking so it won't be seen but will provide good support for the center shaft and dolly wheels.
- Tom

Attachment: TT 5.JPG (Downloaded 121 times)

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I built the handrails also.  Several times.  The first time around I used heavy solid core copper wire but the result was that it looked like it had one hundred years of heavy abuse.  Since my railroad was still in it's infancy in the 1920"s and my foreman was meticulous with maintenance this wouldn't do.  John Garaty suggested I try brass rod.  I found some 3/64" brass rod that measures out to .045", plenty close enough to .042" for 2" pipe.  I soldered the stanchions on but could not add other details in brass because my iron is too hot.  Really need one of those resistance soldering stations!  The stanchion bases and suports are made from styrene.  I simulated pipe joint T's by layering three coats of brushed on enamel paint.  Once the railings were painted you probably can't see the pipe joint detail but I know it's there.
- Tom

Attachment: TT 6.JPG (Downloaded 120 times)

Kitbash0n30
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That worked. One thing which could work is to use lower melting point solder on later part additions.

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Kitbash, thanks for the suggestion.  I wasn't aware of other solders with lower melting points.  
- Tom

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I got my plastic order in yesterday and was able to get started on the girders for the bridge.  I'm using 0.030" thickness for all my materials which works out to roughly 1.5" thick.  This is about twice as thick as the prototype but 0.010" and 0.020" just looked too wimpy to my eye.  All the other dimensions are close to correct according to the book "Bridges and Trestles" by Model Railroader magazine.  For flange angles I'm using 6" X 6" (1/8" X 1/8")  and for bracing angles I'm using 4" X 4" (3/32" X 3/32").
I'm still waffling on the internal support.  I already have a wood buck that fits between the girders but I'm kinda tempted to dismiss that and go with the internal bracing.  The wheel dollies are coming from Diamond Scale and will need something more substantial than plastic to attach to.  I also haven't figured out how to mount the bridge to the center shaft.  I've seen drawings of how the real turntables use a pivot bearing but that won't do here since I'm driving the bridge through the center shaft and not the bridge wheels.  I've read a lot about making sure there is a slip fit for the center shaft so there isn't any binding so I just need to put a little more thought into how to build up that area of the bridge.
I don't think I'll be getting the wood order until January so the deck won't get done for a while.  Guess I could start thinking about how to build the pit.
One question.....any good ideas out there on how to make rivets in O scale?  I saw that Archer makes rivets (1.5") as resin decals but they're $18 a sheet.  Same with Micro-Mark.  I think I'd spend more on the rivets than the rest of the model.  I could try blobs of paint but need to spend some time working with that.  Anyone have a good technique for homemade rivets?

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 180 times)

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Hello Tom,

Low melt solder containing  antimony (M Pt about 158 F) is the stuff to look for (not sure if it contravenes any U.S. EPA etc regs); it's still legal here in Britain. Or "specialist" solder for use on white metal parts.

Regards,     Michael

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Thanks Michael.  I'll check it out.  I enjoyed working with the brass and would like to be able to do more of that.
- Tom

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I've been using one of those roll punches that I got off of eBay for a buck or two to make rivets.

For bolts I cut off the head of a dress pin and glue it into a pre-drilled hole.

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Michael - both good ideas, thanks.  Unfortunately the punch won't work for me since I've already glued up my girders.  I like the dress pin idea for bolts.  Pretty clever.
I'm going to order a sheet of rivets from Archer.  I figured out that I need 40" of double staggered row and 54" of single row in 1" rivets.  I worked out their spacing on paper and it looked too wide for O scale so I ordered for S scale.  The O scale rivets were spaced at 8.2" and S scale they are about 7".  Looked better to me.  The book says prototype spacing was 3" and that looks way to close to me.
- Tom

Last edited on Fri Dec 22nd, 2017 08:39 am by Tom Ward

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Hi Tom,
I'd bee looking at GrandtLine http://www.grandtline.com/products/miscellaneous-hardware/  (scroll down} and a pinvice with a small drill If you want to go for a riveted look.

If not, then tell'em your turntable bridge was stick-weld fabricated ;)

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John - The Grandt Line rivets would work.  Thanks for tip on that.  Their 0.032" size would be 1.5" in O scale and that's the perfect size for my bridge girders.
"Stick welded"......Ill hafta work on my gluing technique to draw a better bead.
- Tom

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Hi Tom :wave:



Looks like it's going well ! :thumb:

AWESOME !!  looking turntable. :)

I like the design you've chosen. :cool:



:mex:



Si.

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Thanks Si.  I'm having fun but progress is slow.  I'm waiting until after the holidays to place my order for parts from Diamond Scale.  The bridge wheels are needed to get dimensions for the pit rail, correct depth, etc.  Working on carving out the pit now.  I'll post more next week.
- Tom

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I added some bracing across the top that may or may not show once the deck is added.  I then ran the wood block through the table saw to open up the area beneath the bracing.  Once the wood is painted black it should help add some depth beneath the bracing.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 205 times)

Kitbash0n30
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Hey, that's an idea!

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Progress update on the turntable.  I got the pit formed but need a sheet of Homasote to fill the upper 1/2".  I'm waiting on the wheel dollies from Diamond Scale before I can form up the ring rail because I need to verify the correct depth on that.  I got the rivets from Archer and spent a good part of today working on that.  I had to paint the bridge in primer so I could see what I was doing with the rivets.  Tedious work.  Still have a lot to do on the rivets but have included an update photo here.  I've added a few details to the girders.  In the center section is the pivot bearing mounts.  There is additional reinforcing on the inside in this area and it shows with additional rows of rivets.  I also added additional rivets in the area where the frame is notched for the wheel dollies.  This is to indicate the addition of splice plates.  The story is that this turntable was lengthened when the railroad added the 2-8-0 to it's roster.  Making  progress.  Having fun too!
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 151 times)

Last edited on Sat Dec 30th, 2017 09:50 pm by Tom Ward

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Looking great! Now, aren't you glad that you built the turntable yourself? An excellent job and something that isn't on everybody else's layout! Carry on, sir.

Woodie

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Woodie - Thanks again for the push.  I'm finding that using my own design and building from scratch is much more rewarding than simply assembling a kit.  More time consuming because of the design stage but the artistic satisfaction is higher and I think that's probably what I'm in this hobby for.
- Tom

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Got the bridge airbrushed in engine black then worked in some Bragdon powders for weathering.  After all that work for the rivets they hardly show after paint and weathering.  If the light is just right.....  In the end I've decided they weren't worth the effort.  Still waiting on my Kapler order for the bridge ties and decking.  I have been spending some time thinking about the drive system and have decided to go with an Arduino driven stepper motor using a keypad and LCD display.  There is some code named AccelStepper that provides very smooth acceleration and deceleration for the stepper movement.  The plan is to be able to enter a track number in the keypad and the turntable will slowly ramp up in speed and then ramp back down as it approaches the track.  Will also have a one button command to swing the bridge 180 degrees.  Fun stuff.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 145 times)

Last edited on Thu Jan 4th, 2018 04:18 am by Tom Ward

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Well, maybe the rivets are hard to see...but you will know they are there! Nice work.

Woodie

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Looks the business!Will dry-brushing with a highlight colour bring the rivets up?

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Len - That's a good suggestion.  I'll give it a try.  I did try highlighting the rivets with light grey powder while doing the weathering but it doesn't stick the same as dry brushing.  The weathering was interesting because I thought I had it pretty good but when I saw it the next day it was too brown so I went over it again a few more times.  I'm happy with it now but am afraid to go back in the room to look at it again :).
- Tom

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Been spending time on the turntable control using the Arduino sketch so there hasn't been much to show in the way of progress.  Yesterday I spent the day in the shop though and got recesses cut for the coaling tower, ash pit and turntable.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 96 times)

Tom Ward
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Here's another to show the roundhouse location.  I built the turntable pit so the whole thing can be removed to work on.  One screw in each corner will hold it in place.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 215 times)

Last edited on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 08:45 pm by Tom Ward

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Looking great! You should be proud of the fine craftsmanship that is shown in these photos. I am watching...

Woodie

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I've been working on the controls for the turntable.  Originally I was going to use a simple manual control but my dark side won out with a more involved design.  I'm using an Arduino Mega 2560 microprocessor to control an EasyDriver board running a NEMA 17 stepper motor.  The Arduino also controls a 4x4 matrix keypad, a Nokia 5110 LCD display and some switches and LEDs.  Total price of the system is right around $75 which includes everything mentioned above.
The motor has 400 steps/revolution and has a 20 tooth pulley driving a 60 tooth pulley on the turntable shaft.  The pulleys are connected with a GT2 timing belt.  With the pulleys 3:1 ratio we get 1200 full steps/revolution.  The EasyDriver has the ability to run 1/8 steps/revolution so in that mode we get 9600 steps per full turn of the bridge and very smooth motion.  I'm also using the AccellStepper library which provides smooth acceleration and deceleration curves for the stepper motor.  When the bridge is driving from one track to another the motion is very cool.  It starts off slow and smoothly ramps up to walking speed (Armstrong turntable).  As it approaches the new position it smoothly slows down and stops.
When you first give power to the system the turntable begins rotating CCW until it trips an IR detector mounted beneath the pit.  This sets the home position that all tracks are referenced to.  To operate the bridge you enter a track number on the keypad.  I have 16 tracks around the pit so the numbers are 0 - 15.  If you want to turn your locomotive 180 degrees you enter the track # and "A" and then hit # to enter.  The LCD displays current track position, next destination and provides a "moving" statement while the bridge is turning.  There is a switch for reset and one for emergency stop and LEDs for "Home Position" and "Emergency Stop".
The controls will mount on a 5" x 3" panel on the layout fascia with most of the electronics hidden behind it.
- Tom

Attachment: 400eea39e1c4422e8ba8d5c48ccd0dff.jpeg (Downloaded 176 times)

Last edited on Mon Feb 5th, 2018 03:49 pm by Tom Ward

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Recently made some progress on the bridge.  Still need to finish up the dolly trucks and the pit.
- Tom


Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 148 times)

Tom Ward
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The turntable bridge is 55' in length and 15' wide.  Just the right size for our largest locomotive.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 151 times)

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Hi Tom :wave:



Speechless ! :shocked:



:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: mooses will have to do for now !



:)



Si.

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That sure it looking good!  Very impressive.  :rah:

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Thanks Si.  I've been having a good time with this but it's turned into the never-ending project.  I think I have at least two months into it so far although much of that was waiting for parts and time-outs for beer runs.  Still have to finish up the pit and control panel before the final installation.  Thanks again for your encouragement.
- Tom

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Hi Tom :wave:



I can only say, whatever amount of time, it was worth it.

The turntable & roundhouse is always a bit of a 'center piece'.

You have got a really unique one !



5 :brill: :brill: :brill: :brill: :brill: Einsteins for the electronics BTW !



:dope:



Si. 


I might try one eventually, with analog vacuum-tube control ! ;)


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The turntable is finally finished and fully operational.  Time to start laying some track.
- Tom

Attachment: image.jpeg (Downloaded 109 times)

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Hi Tom,

You did a great job on the turntable. It has a lot of character.

Alwin

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Thanks Alwin.  It was a long project but I learned a lot and had fun with it too.  The hardest thing was getting parts during the holiday season.  
- Tom

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Very nice.  It is really nice.  I always think, "This'll be quick."  Yeah, right.  :slow:   Your turntable is worth every minute and each "B double E, double R, you, in!  :2t:

Last edited on Mon Feb 26th, 2018 05:55 am by Steven B

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Wow, that turntable is a 4-mooser for sure!
:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:

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:moose: :moose: :moose: :moose: :moose:


AWESOME build & result Tom !


:thumb:


Si.

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I'm getting ready to order track.  I'm using Fast Tracks and this is my first attempt at laying track by hand.  As I was preparing the order I realized I could save quite a bit of money if I made all my curved turnouts the same.
I went back to my AnyRail plan and reworked it to change the minimum radius from 18" to 21" on the lower level.  Originally I didn't think I had the space for anything larger than an 18" radius since the room is so small (11' x 12').  I have 9 curved turnouts on the lower level and was able to make them all the same.  All curves are now 21" radius too.  My largest engine is a 2-8-0 and I was really pushing things with the 18" minimum radius so...... two birds, one stone.  The helix is still 18" and everything on the upper level is 18" but I plan to only run the two truck Gilpin style Shay up there so that shouldn't be a problem.
I'm also re-thinking the era for my layout.  I had originally chosen mid 1920's but I recently saw some really cool looking diesel engine kits and thought they'd be great for switching the yard.  Diesels were first introduced in the US in 1925 but the ones I like came out during WWII.  I might be able to stretch my version of reality to some time just before the war.  Automobiles were cool looking then also so that's a bonus.
My order for the track goes out today.  I'm ordering the parts I need from Stanton for two throttles and the receivers and batteries for three engines to run dead rail.  Yesterday I also placed an order for a small fleet of cars from Dave Mason (On30ima.com).  Should be enough to get me up and running.  Should also be enough to keep me busy for a while!
The best news of all is that my wife donated an additional room in the house for my hobby.  Woohooo!  The train room is now strictly for the layout.  The room next to it is now my "office" (as if I really worked or something) and I'm setting it up for all model construction, my RR library and storage for materials for the layout.  What a difference that made!  The two rooms are separated by a bathroom so being able to expand my empire is not an option.  I mean it could be but I don't think I can get away with running the trains across the bathtub.
- Tom

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My idea of changing the era is pretty much a done thing.  I came across a photo of a diesel Shay that was used up in Canada.  It's just so cool looking and after building one of the BVM Shays I know that using part of an HO three truck Shay for the running gear is the way to go.  I bought an HO MDC Shay on eBay and a diesel body kit from Mount Blue Models.  Should be getting the parts in about a week.  As an added bonus I'm hoping to use the HO Shay tender for my little Porter after some modifications.
- Tom

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This is the Mount Blue body kit.
- Tom

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Looking forward to seeing how you get on with the Shay, especially the chassis.

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Tom

The 2016 On30 Annual had an article on building the CFP
Diesel SHAY using the Bachmann SHAY drive, could be worth a look for idea's. Good luck with your build, looking forwar to the finished project.

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Doug, Ken - When I built my BVM Shay I found the mods to the HO chassis to be fairly easy.  The Mount Blue body kit is built on a plywood base and is designed to use a donor HO diesel chassis.  I'm thinking that combining them will be pretty straightforward.  Wishful thinking?  Maybe.  I'll post my progress, or lack of, here.
Ken, thanks for letting me know about the article in the 2016 On30 Annual.  I wonder if that's where the picture came from?  In all my scrounging of historical photos on the net I had never seen a diesel Shay.  The article should be helpful with this project.
- Tom

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I started work on my diesel Shay.  The HO Shay I got from eBay needed repair but since I was only using two of the three trucks I had the parts I needed.  I'll need to convert to DCC with sound since this was an older DC engine.  The diesel body from Mount Blue is a laser cut kit and this is my first time with that.  I'm amazed at the quality and detail.  It looks like I'll have plenty of room for the electronics and battery under one of the hoods.
- Tom

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I mentioned earlier that the railroad had acquired some additional real estate.  This is being used as office space and storage.  I've put together a nice workbench and am putting a test/ programming track on a shelf above it.  Originally I was going to have just two parallel tracks but decided it would be more fun to use the space for a switching puzzle too.  I have a Timesaver design at one end and an Inglennok design at the other.  This will be the same code 70 On30 as the layout.
- Tom

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Here's a shot of the workbench.
- Tom

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Looking good Tom. Never having seen inside the Shay chassis I was wondering if that was the original motor. It looks quite modern rather like the current crop of coreless types.

And your work area puts mine to shame in the neat and tidy stakes!

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Doug - I don't know anything about the Shay other than it was an MDC Roundhouse kit, unfinished and damaged.  I don't think the kit is available any longer.  I've been reading up on it and most folks say it runs noisy.  10mph is max speed on my line so maybe that'll hold down the noise.
My shop looks neat and tidy mostly because I just moved in over the past few weeks.  It is really nice to have some space to work in.  Before this I had my bench in a 4' X 8' closet.
- Tom

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I'm thinking of adding some frame height.  I'll build a wider deck and add a little length to it too.  Some railings and steps and maybe a few more details.
- Tom

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I set up a temporary test track and was able to run stuff for the first time.  I have eight locos of various sizes and they all ran nicely with the exception of the Roundhouse Shay.  It walks like a duck and has trouble keeping the wheels on the rails.  My best running engine is an ugly Bachmann On30 diesel and it is super smooth and quiet.  I put it on our scale and it weighs 700 grams.  The Shay weighs 100 grams, 200 with its original boiler.  So I need to add about 600 grams of weight or about 1.3 pounds.  I'm ordering some 3/16" lead sheet from McMaster-Carr.  I'll put a 1.5" X 6" layer of that over the original frame and dress it up with some styrene.  With a cutout for the motor and gears I should be pretty close to 700 grams total weight.  It'll be interesting to see if it can even move.  May have to upgrade to metal gearing too.
- Tom

Last edited on Sun Apr 15th, 2018 04:07 pm by Tom Ward

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On the diesel Shay I added some lead weight to bring total weight up to 500 grams.  This made a good difference in forward motion, much smoother, even at slow speeds.  Noise is reduced significantly too.  I think with DCC and sound it wouldn't be noticeable.  Reverse is another story.  She shakes and shivers at low speeds but smooths out at higher speeds.  Noisier too.  This has gotta be a smooth runner or it's not worth doing.
I was frustrated enough to try ditching the Roundhouse and using the Bachmann HO Shay.  I have one to use on a BVM Gilpin Shay kit.  When I stripped it down I found it wouldn't fit the diesel cab without some major modification.  Bummer.  I'd rather save it for the BVM kit than modify (trash) it for the diesel.

Northwest Short Line has a re-gear kit that has honest to God real metal gears so I bought one of those.  Actually two sets; one for the drive wheels and the other replaces the three gears in the tower.  Supposed to make a big difference in operations and noise level.
I'll work on building up the chassis while waiting for my parts to arrive.
While playing with this my order came in from Fast Tracks.  Time to start laying some track!
- Tom


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Hi Tom
The reverse running shudder problem was discovered fairly early on with the On30 Bachmannn Shays. It is caused by the driveshafts on the bogies moving horizontally when the direction changes. You can get around it by adding thin plastic C-shaped shims to take the backlash out of the shafts the gap in the C is lust under the driveshaft's axle diameter. You spring the C slightly to get the shim over the axle. This prevents the shim from being thrown off when the axle is turning.

Run the mechanism in the forward direction then stop. Reverse but bring the volts up very slowly. What you will see is the drive shafts on the bogie will move slightly horizontally before the wheels start to turn. This takes the bevel gears slightly out of mesh and causes the lumpy running. If you shim the diveshafts so they can't move horizontally, this keeps the gears properly in mesh, thus preventing the lumpy running. You can add multiple thin shims of about 5 or 10 thou.

Let us know how you go. This might sound a bit fiddly but it should fix the problem.

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Thanks John.  That's good, helpful information.  I'll give it a try and report back.  The kits from NWSL also have shims for taking the slop out of the driveline.  With a little effort I might get this thing running decently.
- Tom

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Hi Tom :wave:



Luvin' it ! :bg:

Diesel Shay ... indeedey !! :shocked:

I honestly thought I'd seen or heard of most funky-junk out there. :cool:



Nice work on the model Tom.

The body kit looks really nicely done.

I'm sure some work on the drive-mech will be well worth it. :thumb:



:)



Si.


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Thanks Si.  Yes, I couldn't believe it when I first saw that Canadian photo.  It just looked cool to me.  Apparently there were more than one but not many more.  I saw several other photos, other diesel Shays, but this was the only one that looked right, not just cobbled together.
Bachmann has a center cab diesel in On30 so I bought one just to check it out for modifying.  It runs beautifully, very smooth and quiet.  But it's huge and kinda looks like a Lionel engine, kinda toylike.  The Mount Blue kit that I'm using for the Shay has really nice details and its small so it looks right when mixed in with the other narrow gauge stuff.
- Tom


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I got my order in from Fast Tracks and have started building some turnouts.  Using the turnout fixtures is really sweet and the end-product is top notch.
I calculated my costs for track on the layout.  With 227' of track and 44 turnouts my cost for hand laid track is $980, including tools, fixtures, materials, taxes and shipping.  If I had used Micro Engineering flex track and turnouts it would have cost $1,680, not including tax and shipping.
Going into this, I chose to use hand-laid track because my theme for the layout is "scratch-built".  Initially I didn't realize how expensive the track was, much less how much dough I would save over using flex track and ready-made turnouts.  Yikes and yikes!  Do-it-yourself and building from scratch may be more time consuming but it is way cheaper and way more rewarding.
- Tom

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Last edited on Mon Apr 30th, 2018 07:23 am by Tom Ward

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Tom:


Until starting my recent layout, my efforts have always been with handlaid track.  Cost was rarely the issue, I simply enjoy the process.

I have never used FastTracks, but really like the looks of their product.   I have always built up my turnouts individually from scratch.  

Speed (though that seems to be backfiring) is the keynote on the current HO layout.  I am using Atlas and ME turnouts and Atlas flex track.  It is a lot smaller railroad than your project.  Barring any plan changes (almost inevitable) the completed layout will have 16 turnouts. 

Though it is not going as fast as I would like, exclusively because of family and ministry obligations, I expect to have all the track down in the next couple of months.  So about a year of track laying, compared to the previous layout which required six years.

I could probably get all the track down in a week of long days, but my calendar won't let me do that. 

But I miss hand building. 

Reg

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Reg,
I've been retired for three years now and had always thought I'd have unending time to work on my layout.  It's taken me three years now just to get started laying track.  In all honesty, we just moved into this house a year ago so it's not as slow as I think.  Nevertheless, finding the time to build one or two turnouts per day (my unrealistic goal) is difficult.  There's always something on somebody's list that has a higher priority.  I am making progress though.  I'm now working on the curved turnouts and have four of those left to do.  Then I'll have four wyes.  That'll give me enough completed turnouts for the section of layout that I have done so far.  After that, all straight track which will be done in place on the layout with no fixture.  I'm planning to stain the wood ties all in one batch before gluing them down.  I'll paint the PC board ties with a rattle can.  Anyone have a good, easy suggestion for coloring the rail?
- Tom


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I can sympathize with the calendar problem.  I am not retired, so work adds its demands.  

I have had a solid three weeks of being on everybody else's schedule.  Most of it is fun, but it sure keeps me out of the basement and the shop.

The final two power connections to the west end have been waiting for the past two weeks.  Fifteen minutes of work that won't get done for another week.

We are at Disneyland with the grandkids this week.  Lots of fun.  But I am a bit of a recluse and like to have my quiet shop time.

Reg

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I've used a camouflage brown, light grey, and basic black spray paint in the past.  Some Testors 'Rust', thinned, can be splashed along the sides of the rails if needed.


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Hi Tom  :wave:



Your 'Diesel Shay' is lookin very  C :cool: :cool: L  !





I thought you might like this photo as well ...  :thumb:






:)



Si.


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I like the swimming pool style ladder...Jose.

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Jose - That's funny.  Swimming pool ladder is exactly what that looks like.  I suspect that'll be easier to model than the recessed steps found on many diesels.
Si - Thanks for the photo.  This has potential to be pretty cool but I'm running into some difficulties.  The donor Shay that I'm using is in poor mechanical condition.  I think I mentioned earlier that it walks like a duck.

I ordered parts from NWSL to re-gear the HO MDC Roundhouse Shay that I'm using.  The parts were ordered over a month ago and I just realized I hadn't gotten them or even heard from NWSL.  Emails didn't get answered so I called the other day.  Turns out there's a health issue but I don't know any more than that.  The person I talked to must be a family member standing in.  Not very helpful.  I'm now waiting to hear back what's happened to my order because the money was paid up front.  For now the diesel Shay is on hold.  If I can't get the parts from NWSL I'll hafta invest in an HO Bachmann Shay.  Probably shoulda just done that to start with.  I have one being used in a BVM Gilpin Shay and it looks and works great.  I should know more next week.
- Tom

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I think I should add here that I don't mean to be bad-mouthing NWSL and that I hope and pray that whatever the medical issue they're experiencing is resolved soon and everyone gets back on their feet in a most healthy kind of way.  I know many people have had excellent dealings with them and I myself am impressed with the quality of their parts.
My experience is that it's the mom and pop shops that really provide the quality kind of stuff I'm looking for in this hobby and I lose sleep at night thinking that all the great ones are closing their doors soon or already have.  Grandt Line comes to mind and I was truly bummed when they announced they were ceasing operation this Spring.  I hope that this is just a bump in the road for NWSL and that they have many successful years ahead.  At least 25 because that's about all I have left.  :old dude:
- Tom

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Just got off the phone with Nick at NWSL and most of my parts have been shipped.  The big gear is on back order so the diesel Shay is on hold until that comes in.  Moving ahead with laying track and am now inspired to put up a backdrop thanks to Dominic Soldano.
- Tom

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  As I worked my way around the corner of the room building turnouts and preparing for laying track I came to the area for the smelter.  My original plan for this area was to have a large facility based on the Rose-Walsh Smelter in Silverton that closely followed the Raggs-to-Riches model.  I was recently reading up on smelters trying to learn about their operation and I came across a number of photographs and drawings (Library of Congress) of the American Smelter located in Durango across the river from the roundhouse.  This was a big operation that ran from the 1880's until 1963.  They started out processing lead from 1881 to 1930, Vanadium from 1942 to 1946 and Uranium from 1949 to 1963.  This later became a "Superfund Cleanup" area from 1986 to 1991 due to the large contaminated tailings pile at the side of the Animas River.  - Tom



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  I like the architecture of the American Smelter and it's open sided sheds.  There was a number of large buildings including the "power house", two "furnace houses", an "ore house", a "sampler house" and two very large "roaster houses".  I'll have to do some selective reduction in size and quantity.  The ore bins, vats and "roaster houses" with their raised ventilated roofs really add some great detail.  There's also a lot of ducting for "dust chambers".
- Tom

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Last edited on Wed Jun 6th, 2018 09:40 pm by Tom Ward

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  Rising above everything are several huge brick smoke stacks and numerous smaller ones.  I'm planning to use two large brick chimneys to camouflage the vertical supports for the upper deck of the layout.  I found a company in the UK (Skytrex Model Railways, ogauge.co.uk) that has two solid resin versions of brick smokestacks.  I ordered one 10" tall square and two 15" tall round.  The round ones will serve as the supports.
- Tom

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Last edited on Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 10:35 pm by Tom Ward

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The Library of Congress has a drawing of the American Smelter from 1910 that I'll base my condensed version on.  The prototype tracks work well with the area I'm using on the layout.  I should be able to run something similar.  In 1942 the smelter was started up again for processing Vanadium and the facility took on a more modern look with a lot of corrugated steel siding and more structures crammed into the same space.  I'll try to simulate the older 1910 version on my layout.
- Tom

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The Library of Congress even had a nice pen and ink drawing (1888) of the smelter and the Durango area.  I read an article written by someone who grew up in Durango in the 1950's.  They said nothing grew on the side of the hill above the smelter because of the toxic stack gasses.  I think things must have been a bit nicer when this drawing was made. - Tom

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Last edited on Sun Jun 3rd, 2018 10:23 am by Tom Ward

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Tom

The HABS site (Historical American Building Survey) has more information on the smelter and a write up of the history.
The smelter was called the San Juan & New York Mining & Smelting Co, before being taken over by AS&R.
Enter San Juan & New York in the HABS search to get you to the info.


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Ken - Thanks very much.  The write-up is very informative and provided a ton of information on the equipment used in the smelter in the earlier period that I'm interested in.  That gives me a good starting point for learning more about the operation.
I was familiar with the HABS site but didn't fully appreciate the significance of it until now.  It has all the same photos as the Library of Congress but the historical write-up has more information than any other source I had been able to find.  That's a great resource that I'll make a mental note to go to first from now on.
- Tom

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Started laying track.  I settled on slightly aged ties and rails showing rust on the sides but shiny on top.  The ties are bare wood, no creosote, and are aged grey with some raised grain.  When I first added grain and stained the ties I was disappointed, thinking that all the effort wasn't worth it.  Now a month or so later I came back to it and am pleased with the result.  I'm laying down track on the test track/time saver before moving on to the layout.  I wanted to develop the technique and work out the bugs since this is my first effort at laying track.
- Tom

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That is great looking track work.  I sure like the look of those FastTracks turnouts.  If I were to handlay track again, I would bite the bullet and spend the bucks for their turnout tools.  

Even brand new rail is going to be brown to reddish brown everywhere but on top.  I can't imagine laying any kind of track, handlaid or commercial, without painting the rail.  

On my handlaid track I cut the ties from whatever is handy.  On the now defunct On30 layout I had a supply of western red cedar.  A light staining with india ink diluted in alcohol gave a nice effect of weathered, untreated, ties. 

I am having some struggles with that on my HO layout.  On the On30 it was easy because it was all handlaid,  I spray painted the rail before laying it. I am using all commercial track on the HO layout (and not entirely sure it was the best approach).  I laid the flex track and now am going back and painting the rail.  It is tedious and not turning out like I hoped.

I think the next stretch of track will be spray painted (yep, ties and all) prior to being laid.

Reg

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Hello Tom,
I'm curious as to what make your roundhouse is,and if you've finished it.

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Michael - The roundhouse is a Thomas Yorke Kit that I got from eBay nine years ago.  I haven't gotten much done on the layout in the last month but hope to be laying track in the yard soon.  Once the track is down around the turntable the roundhouse is next on the list.  I screwed up on my order for ties, ordered O scale instead of On30 so the turnaround time brought things to a halt.  Well, that and everything else.  Anyway, hope to be back on it soon.
- Tom

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Getting back to the American Smelter in Durango.  I'm basing my model on the drawing from 1910.  It shows two Roaster Houses, one with 7 reverberatory furnaces and another with 10 Godfrey roasters.  There's also a long open sided structure with 36 Huntington pots and then two Furnace Houses.  Along the front are a Dryer House, Sampler House, Crusher House, an Ore Unloading Shed and numerous Ore Bins.  There's an office building to the left and a machine shop to the right and out back is an Engine House/Boiler House and an Assay Office.
That's a buncha stuff to model and considering that my room is only 12' X 11' I think I'll have to down size the Smelter a bit.
- Tom

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I've been able to find a number of photographs to give me an idea of what the buildings looked like.  I have been unable to find any information on operation though and I need that to be able to reduce the size of the operation and still have it be believable.  At least to me.  With a Stamp Mill I understand the equipment and the flow of operation.  With the smelter there's different styles of roasters and furnaces, not to mention multiple locations for ore bins.  I do get the Ore Unloading Shed, Sampler and Crusher Houses.  What comes next?  Does the ore go through each different furnace and roaster.  How does it get transferred?
I'm kinda hoping that someone in the group might be able to shed some light here.
- Tom

Last edited on Mon Aug 27th, 2018 11:57 pm by Tom Ward

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I found an update to the 1910 drawing dated 1919.  It gives additional information and shows several improvements.  Probably the biggest change was the addition of a building on the left side of the drawing called the Cottrell Plant.  The Cottrell process uses static electricity (high voltage, 100k volts!) to separate solid particles, dust, from the gases discharged from the roasters.
- Tom

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The 1919 drawing also shows the large roaster building on the right that had housed 7 reverberatory roasters has been renamed the Flotation Plant and 60% of it is used for storage.  It appears that most of the large buildings at this time were iron framing with corrugated steel siding.
- Tom

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The remaining Roaster House has 10 Godfrey roasters, shown in both drawings.  I haven't been able to find any good close-up photographs of these but I read that they operated like a large tub with stationary combs inside.  The tub was mechanically rotated to stir the roasting ore.  The top half of the tub was lifted by a crane so fresh ore could be added and the roasted ore was poured out the front into a wheeled truck or dolly.  I did find a photo of the outside of the Roaster House which is open on the sides and provides a glimpse of the Godfrey Roasters.  There are five showing as white blobs in the left center of the photo.  My source for information and photos is a digital copy of the 1915 book Mining and Engineering World.
- Tom

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The 1919 drawing shows that the Huntungton Pots were reduced in number from 36 to 26.  I found a good description of the Huntigton Pot on Wikipedia.  The photo comes from the 1915 book Mining and Engineering World.  This write-up gives a clue to the flow of processing so I now have a better understanding of the smelting process at this facility.
- Tom

"Treatment of Galena. — By the Huntington-Heberlein process, called also the " H and H process," the galena-bearing ore is given an incomplete, rather rapid roast, to reduce the amount of sulphur to 12 to 14 per cent. The product from the roaster is mixed with a certain proportion of limestone and silicious ore, wet down, and charged into a hemispherical cast iron pot 8i ft. diameter by 4 ft. deep, having a capacity of 8 to 10 tons as shown in Fig. 82. Within the pot, and forming a false-bottom, is placed a circular arched plate perforated with |-in. holes to admit air to the charge under pressure. Upon the false-bottom is scattered a wheelbarrow-load of ashes, then a carload (one ton) of hot ore from the roaster. On this is dumped 8 tons of charge wet to about 6 per cent moisture. Air, under the pressure of a few ounces, is admitted beneath the false-bottom, and coming up through the hot ore, it produces a burning-temperature and starts the combustion of the charge. The heat gradually ascending to the top, the charge becomes red-hot, and SO2 and SO3 escape. At the end of the roasting, which lasts sometimes sixteen hours, there remains only 3 to 5 per cent sulphur if the charge is properly burned. The pot is now inverted to discharge the contents, and this falls out in an agglomerated, red-hot mass. It is broken to a size suited to subsequent treatment in the blast-furnace."

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Tom Ward
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I mentioned previously that the seven reverberatory furnaces appear to have been removed between 1910 and 1919.  There is an excellent explanation with videos at the 911 metallurgist website (https://www.911metallurgist.com/blog/reverberatory-furnace) and it was there that I learned that this type of furnace was found to be less efficient than a blast furnace so maybe this is why they were removed.  I'll model the 1919 version so I can leave out this one Roaster House to help reduce the overall size of my smelter.  I'm including the link for the reverberatory furnace for information purposes only.
- Tom

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The smelter at Durango had a coal mine and limestone quarry owned by its parent company.  40 beehive ovens were located at the smelter and used to provide Coke as a fuel for the smelting process.  In my effort to reduce the size of the model I'll locate the beehive ovens close to the coal mine which, if included, would be located on the upper deck of the layout.  Wikipedia has a good explanation of the beehive oven and Coke production (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_oven).
- Tom

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The dust chambers connecting the roasters, blast furnaces and the large brick smoke stacks were used to separate ore dust from the exhaust gases.  Before the addition of the Cottrell process baffles were placed in the dust chambers and were cleared periodically by mechanical means or by hand.  In the 1919 drawing a Cottrell Plant had been added to further improve the process.  Here is an excellent explanation of the process used at a smelter in Clarkdale, Arizona (https://www.verdenews.com/news/2014/aug/14/1922-clarkdale-new-cottrell-plant-at-the-smelter-/).  Wikipedia also has a good explanation of the Cottrell process (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_precipitator), later known as an electrostatic precipitator (ESP).
I'm including a photo of a dust chamber to give an idea of the size.
- Tom

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I also found a good photo in Mining and Engineering World (1915) of the carts used to remove the molten ore and slag from the blast furnaces.
- Tom

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Looks like you have a major project ahead of you.

Aren't these fire insurance maps marvelous?

Reg

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Reg,
Yes, those maps are a great resource.  Besides showing the changes over time and the equipment being used they also show the scale footprint.  Made me realize how nuts I am.  A 1/48 scale model of this facility would be over 30' long.  I have about five feet to work with.  I'm gonna have to be very selective here.
- Tom

Last edited on Wed Aug 29th, 2018 08:58 pm by Tom Ward

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In the 1915 edition of "Transactions of the American Institute of Mining Engineers" beginning on page 219 is a detailed description of the smelting process of lead ore at a smelter in El Paso, Texas.  It begins with the unloading of ore from a boxcar by a crew of four men with shovels, describes shaping a pile of ore into a cone and dividing out a 1/5 sample.  This is used to determine the quality of the ore.  The write-up goes on to describe transporting raw ore by wheelbarrow to a crusher, moved by hand to be first processed by a Godfrey roaster, then transferred to Huntington pots and finally to a blast furnace.  This description goes well with the equipment used at the American Smelter in Durango and makes sense for the building locations.  I have photos of blast furnaces used for processing lead and Huntington Pots but nothing of the Godfrey Roaster.  I do have a description and dimensions of the Godfrey Roadter so I could probably fake something pretty close.  I also found some high res photos of the American Smelter from the early 1900's from different angles showing very small gauge track used for transporting ore, belt systems used for dumping tailings, ore bin locations as well as some great architecture details.  I think I have enough to get started.
- Tom

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The web site "Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad" (https://ngtrainpics.photoshelter.com/gallery-list) has a great library of photos, all available for a price.  I restrained myself to five high-res photos of the Durango smelter, ones I hadn't seen before.  Because they were taken from different viewpoints I was able to get a better understanding of how things worked and the relationships between he various buildings.  The pictures I chose were mostly around 1920 which was a simpler time.  In the 1940's the smelter had a completely different look with all new buildings and a much larger operation.  I'd like to post the photos I got from "Friends.." but I need to check with them to see if it's legal.  Currently waiting for a reply.
- Tom


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Tom

You may find this of interest, "The Story of Lead 1948"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HhdkkdsvTM.

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I'm late to this thread but am really looking forward to watching your smelter model develop

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Ken - thanks for the link to the lead smelter video.  i have a good written explanation of the refining process but to be able to see it in action really helps.  Thanks.
Elminero - the smelter model will be huge, at least in my own experience it will be the largest scratch built model I've taken on yet.  Even if I don't model the interiors of the buildings there's still a ton of detail with elevated ore cart tracks and open-sided buildings.  As I gain a better understanding of the operation I can begin to visualize how best to break down the smelter into smaller sections to model individually.
I got the OK to post the photos of the smelter and will put them up shortly.
- Tom


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Tom

If you have access to NG&SLG back issue's. The May/June 1987 until the July/Aug 1988, carried an 8 part construction article on modelling a smelter. Also the May/June 1983 had a write up on smelting that is worth reading.

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Hey Ken, thanks.  I'll check both out.  I've been having a tough time finding operational info.
- Tom

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For now I can share the photos I got from the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic RR, Dorman Collection.  The first picture shown here is RD004-116 taken in 1941 from the Durango roundhouse side of the Las Animas River showing the smelter power house with it's raised coal dock.  I'm planning to model the smelter from an earlier period, 1920, but I am not planning to make the model an exact replica.  There are details from photos taken in the 1930's and 40's that would add interest to the model so I'll just grab what I like and combine them.  In this photo I like the raised ore bin at the side of the power house and the way the trestle leading up to it has been back filled with tailings.
- Tom

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The next photo, RD003-077, was taken in 1901 from across the river again but a little further downstream.  The power plant shown in the previous photo is out of the picture to the right.  The building in the front right with two short stacks (Furnace House) would be housing three blast furnaces.  Just behind that is a siding with six boxcars.  Directly behind the Furnace House is an open sided building with corrugated steel roofing lit up brightly in the sunlight.  This structure houses 26 Huntington Pot Roasters used in the second stage of smelting the ore.  The next building back shows two rows of four windows.  This is the ore crusher and Sampling House.  Just to the left of the Huntington Roaster House is a large smoke stack and to the left of that is a long building with roof vents along the ridge.  This building houses 10 large Godfrey Roasters, the first stage in the smelting process.
- Tom

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Zooming in on the center of RD003-077 shows more of the detail.  There is a string of ore bins with a tower behind the boxcars.  My understanding is that the ore gets moved from one stage to another by one ton cars on a raised tramway.  In another photo these are very obvious.  The tramways resemble boardwalks with narrow tracks on raised trestles.  The tower in this view is an elevator for moving the tramway cars from one level to another.  The smelting process begins with separating lumps (over 6") from fines, unloading boxcars by hand (four men to a car) into wheelbarrows then delivering the ore to the Sampler House where it is unloaded by shovel and shaped into cones, divided into quarters and then sampled by percentage according to the quality of the ore.  Lumps go through a crushing process before being sampled.  After being sampled the ore is wheelbarrowed to one ton tram cars, raised to the delivery level (charge floor) by hydraulic elevators and dumped into bins at the tops of the Godfrey roasters.  Godfrey roasters are 26' in diameter with a capacity of 30 tons.  The hearth rotates and the stationary dome has combs that stir the mix for even roasting.  The ore loaded into the top averages 26% sulphur and after a time in the Godfrey roaster is brought down to about 12%.  As the roasted ore exits the small discharge port of the roaster it is sprayed with water to raise the moisture level, dumped into small wheeled pots and taken to the tram cars.  From here it is taken back up the elevator to the charge floor for the Huntington Pots.

- Tom

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Very nice brickwork in those stacks.:old dude: Great pics.
Doc Tom

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The Huntington Pots are filled with 6 to 7 tons and the process takes about 11 hours.  The pots are raised by crane to a height of 10' and dumped causing the heated mass to break into chunks which are then further broken down by hand to 8" lumps.  At this point the sulphur content is about 5%.  The lumps are shoveled into wheelbarrows and transported to a hydraulic elevator which brings them to ore bins on the charge floor for the blast furnaces.  From here the ore is again transported by wheelbarrow to a hopper mounted above the Larry-car tunnel. The Larry-cars make a tight turn and then run parallel to the blast furnaces and get raised up 41' by hydraulic lift to the feed floor.  The Larry-cars are 5' X 10' with a capacity of 200 cu. ft. or 5 tons and are self propelled by 4hp motors.  They dump their loads into the feed hopper by manually operated levers and counter weights.  Here the limestone, Coke and other materials are added before being dropped into the blast furnaces.
- Tom

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Last edited on Sat Sep 22nd, 2018 06:02 am by Tom Ward

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RD002-034 from the Dorman collection shows the mill as it appeared in 1906 from the hillside looking back.  This is the only photo I've seen of this side of the smelter and it adds a lot of visual information.  Just beyond the tracks is the long low roof of the Ore Unloading Shed.  The ore was unloaded from boxcars and wheelbarrowed to ore bins inside the shed.  The building to the left of the Unloading Shed is the Sampler House and crusher.  The operation here was covered previously.  Just behind the Unloading Shed is the raised tramway and one of the elevator towers used for transporting ore in one ton cars between smelting operations.  The long shed roof beyond the tramway would be the location of the Huntington Pots and the building just past that would be the blast furnaces.  Beyond that we can see the four stacks of the Power House and across the Las Animas River is the D&RG roundhouse in Durango.  To the far left is one of two large brick smoke stacks connected to the dust chambers.  Uphill from the tracks at the far left is the Drying House and one of two water tanks on the hillside.  I believe the second tank location is where the photo was taken from.
- Tom

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In this cropped view of RD002-034 you can make out the tramway and elevator tower beyond the Unloading House.  Just in front of the tramway is a different raised walkway that I'm thinking would have been used for the wheelbarrows to load the ore cars.  You can also make out several piles of ore on the floor of the Unloading Shed to the far right.  Further out to the left of the four Power House stacks can be seen a drop bottom gondola on the coal trestle.
- Tom

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