Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Adventures in scratch building

Given that I'm only re-using three walls of the freight shed from Faller's Trossingen kit, and they make up less than half of the building, I'm basically scratch building the freight shed for Emsingen.

The shed as seen from the street.

... and the view from the tracks.

The lower wall is from the Trossingen kit. I cut off the original flat gable and added a sharper one.

Testing the effect with the card board roof.

... and the other side. I won't add a window in this wall.
The scratch build part will have loading doors as well, but I'll model them "closed", and glue them on top of the wall boards.  ... Oh, shoot! The sliding doors hang on the inside of the building. Sigh. Won't get around creating those wall openings.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Metrolink Highrailer in Burbank, CA

For Maintenance Of Way activities pretty much all US railroads use SUVs fitted with small wheels that fit on the track and guide the car.

Layout Computer Shenanigans

Snowy is the Ubuntu machine controlling my layout with JMRI. I used an old Antex Sonata multimedia case for this machine.

Last Saturday, there was an "electric smell" in the garage. It took us a little while to locate it, but, you guessed it, the power supply in Snowy was dead, and I immediately suspected a popped capacitor in the power supply. Time for a new one. I got the old one out, drove down to Central Computers and ... learned that this power supply is specially made for the Sonata case, and no longer available. Well, at least they didn't have any that would fit. So I ended up spending a little bit more and got a new CoolerMaster case with power supply included.

While at it, I decided to do what I always wanted to do and mount a computer screen in a corner above the layout. Big daughter is abroad for a year, and she's mostly using her laptop anyways, so that nice 17" monitor got mounted to a wall bracket and installed above the Emsingen roundhouse.

Today I put it all together again. Here are a few shots of what the setup looks like now.

The screen is mounted to the beam above the Emsingen roundhouse. The cables for power and video signal go down the server in the triangular channel in the corner.

The screen is big enough to show the JMRI layout editor view of the whole layout, plus imagery from hidden staging. The red lines show occupied tracks in Emsingen.

The server cabinet underneath the layout. The Emsingen roundhouse is right above the right hand side of the cabinet. The cabinet is normally pushed all the way into the corner like on this photo. However, it's mounted on wheels, so it's easy to pull forward and work on cabling at the back of the computers. 
On the left is Chef, our home server. On the right is the new Snowy case, and the UPS on the far right.
With the old case it always bugged me that I had to open a server cabinet door to turn on the computer. For the new setup, I took the power button socket from the old case, extended it and added a push button at the far end. The button is now mounted to the shelf on the side of the cabinet and conveniently accessible.

Snowy's power button is the small black push button mounted to hard board in the center of this picture.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I love our barista.

Monday, October 07, 2013

A Bridge

In preparation for a school project, Pascal decided this afternoon to build a through-truss bridge ...
All by himself...
From tooth picks and hot glue!

Even the beams running the length of the bridge are made from tooth picks. Pascal first built the end supports, then the lower beams and the truss on each side. Afterwards he connected the trusses at the top, and built the deck.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Attack of the Boy

This is what's left of our old kitchen mixer after Pascal wanted to know what it looks like from the inside...

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Emsingen Freight shed mock-up

I threatened to do a mock-up, and those things go together really fast. Building the shed from cardboard took me a mere 20 minutes.

The freight shed sits at to the "Gueterschuppen" track next to Emsingen station.
Emsingen main station and freight shed mock-up.
Aerial view of station area.

I want the shed to not look silly when putting two freight cars next to it, so it needs to be a decent size. Since I'm kit-bashing it, I'm assuming that it was originally built smaller, and expanded later to double its size. The parts I have call for a single-story building with a fairly low angled roof.

The footprint of shed feels a bit large but works well with the freight cars at the loading dock
The loading dock wraps around one side of the freight shed. Dock height will be set to meet car floor at level height.
View from the North. Station access road will pass behind the shed on the right of this picture. In the final model I'll extend the ramp a little bit closer to the curve. There will be stairs to the loading dock.
View of the shed from the street. The mockup is straight, but the ground is crooked. The loading dock along the street is made from wood and supported by wood beams, while the trackside arrangement and foundation are concrete.

Figuring out what the freight shed is going to look like

Now that the Emsingen station building is basically complete, I need to figure out what the freight shed is going to look like. This will be kit-bashed from parts of the attached freight shed included with the kit, and styrene sheets. Do I want two doors to the loading platform or one? Which wall segments will be built from kit parts, which from styrene parts? Do I want to build the shed to the size of roof parts I have? If bigger, should I cobble together the roof from cut parts, or build a roof from scratch?
So many questions to answer.

Before cutting styrene I should make a cardboard mockup.