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AERIAL BUCKET TRAMWAY
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 Posted: Tue Aug 23rd, 2011 04:49 pm
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W C Greene
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I suppose this belongs here, it is largely scratch built. In my quest for "Lionel" style animations, I decided that the Out Law mine tipple needed a bucket tram. The actual mine is across the deep canyon from the tipple and until I built this thing, I had to imagine how the ore got to the tipple. But no more. This is not a "how to" but maybe some can get an idea or two about how something like this could be built. I recon that I spent about 5 bucks for the parts, the rest was from the junk box and grateful donations.




I needed a couple of sheaves/pulleys to pull the buckets across the canyon. One day I found these 3" dia. r/c plane wheels at the Hobby Town for 5 bucks. They had the right "spoke" look and were large enough to be used for the sheaves. I chucked one on a mandrel in the moto tool and turned it down to make a nice pulley (red one) and the other wheel was let alone-it would be used on the drive end and disguised with a building. The drive is a small geared motor given to me by John (Shayboiler) which ran too slowly for any locomotive I could imagine, but just right for this. It has a 65 RPM speed at 3 volts (battery power), a small r/c plane servo could be modified to operate the drive also.  The motor's output shaft turns the white wheel by a friction interface (25 cent term).




You can barely see the drive end up above the cliff dwellings. I will build a structure to "hide" this. There are small "guide wheels" that keep the cable on the wheel. I made these by turning down some little spoked r/c toy car wheels to become sheaves. The cable is actually waxed model ship rigging "rope" which works quite well for this. I made the buckets from brass since I wanted some weight to "droop" the cable and styrene buckets wouldn't hold up outside.




Here is the tipple end, the buckets just run around this sheave and back to the other end. I wanted to make this look as "prototypical" as I could and it will receive a bunch of details and a guy with a hook-end pole to tip the buckets. I thought about making the buckets actually tip, but that bit of work failed to operate right and in fact it knocked the buckets off the cable...so the guy will unload the buckets.





Here's a close up of a bucket. I made them from .015 brass, cut and bent to shape and soldered together. You can see the "rough scale" hanger attachment so the buckets won't hit anything on the drive or towers and still go through the sheaves properly.





You can barely see the buckets high above the Gila Tram's yards but the action adds some interest to this end of the layout and is cool to watch while running the tourist trains below. When the 100 degree plus weather cools off, I will add more to the scene, but right now it does what I wanted to do and I am a happy man. Now I will be looking for some other "tinplate" scheme...maybe a milk car that throws out the cans at the station or a giraffe car with bobbing heads through the roof. If I failed to explain something, just ask.

                         Woodie 

Last edited on Wed Aug 24th, 2011 01:11 am by W C Greene



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 Posted: Wed Aug 24th, 2011 01:16 am
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Paladin
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Now that is really something.

Couple of questions if I may.

How did you tie off the rope

Is there a tensioner to help keep the rope tight. Sure as God made little apples its gunna stretch.

Don



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 Posted: Wed Aug 24th, 2011 01:49 am
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W C Greene
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Howdy Don-the cable is tied together, some CA applied, and then trimmed down so as to not cause a problem when running through the sheaves. The drive end has 2 2/56 all thread rods and nuts that can tighten or loosen the drive sheave. The cable (model ship rope) seems to work well and if it goes south, I have a roll of about 500 feet left which may last the rest of my lifetime. This has been up & running almost a week in 105 degree heat and no stretching has been noted.  Of all the working junk I have built, this is probably the most complicated, it is an ongoing project.

                 Woodie



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 Posted: Wed Aug 24th, 2011 08:31 pm
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bobh
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Very interesting project.  I hope your cable stays the proper tension when the temp. drops.  Hopefully it won't be an issue.

You guys in Tx have sure had a hot summer!

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 Posted: Thu Aug 25th, 2011 02:55 am
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Herb Kephart
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I can see a new tourist attraction-

Ride the buckets!

Look into the upstairs windows of the hotel to see whats going on!

Never mind that it's too far--they wont figure that out till they are up in the air, and the buckets swaying will make them too airsick so they won't complain when (and if) they get back down safely.

Herbie 



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 Posted: Thu Aug 25th, 2011 01:06 pm
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Dee Rail
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Hi Woodie

Having worked in a ski resort for 10 years I know a thing or two about cable ways and I have to say that is one excellent job you have done.

I especially like the hanger arms for the buckets.

Great work:2t: 



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 Posted: Thu Aug 25th, 2011 02:34 pm
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W C Greene
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Thanks Stuart, I tried to make the bucket hangers "more scale" but found out that sometimes scale and actually operating aren't compatable. I may go back & make the fastenings look better, but right now I am just enjoying watching the line run. This was a complete departure for my usually rail centered modeling.
Herb-I thought about a guy in a bucket...maybe..

Woodie



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 Posted: Sun Aug 28th, 2011 04:08 pm
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shayboiler
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Woodie, Wow that looks great, I have to get over there and see this in person, you sure have done a lot since the last time I was there.

John

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 Posted: Mon Aug 29th, 2011 07:52 pm
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W C Greene
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Here's a photo of the drive end of the bucket tramway.




You are not supposed to look at the whacked up balsa & bass wood structure it will be all covered with a "house" later on. The unmodified r/c plane wheel (drive wheel) is driven by a tiny 6 volt geared motor from John which runs great on 3 volts-2 AA batteries wired in parallel. I have had some suggestions about how to make this work, but I did what I did. The output shaft on the motor has a piece of silicone fuel line (more airplane stuff) slipped on it and that drives the wheel on the bottom of the rim. It takes about 3 minutes for the buckets to cross the 5 foot "canyon" and looks fine working. The little guide wheels were made by turning grooves into some tiny r/c car wheels. As my granddaddy would say-"may not be so much for looks, but it sure is stout!". You can also see the 2/56 all thread "slack adjusters" under the drive wheel, slack is adjusted by loosening or tightening the nuts on their ends. I hope this helps illustrate what I devised.

                     Woodie



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 Posted: Mon Aug 29th, 2011 10:42 pm
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pipopak
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W C Greene wrote:
  Now I will be looking for some other "tinplate" scheme...maybe a milk car that throws out the cans at the station or a giraffe car with bobbing heads through the roof. If I failed to explain something, just ask.

                         Woodie 

The Atomic Missile Launch boxcar!!!. We Want!!. We Want!!.



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