N Scale Freight Pallets Part 1 – Australianizing Micro Engineering (Part No. 80-144)

Australian Standard domestic freight pallets measures 1165 x1165mm and are designed to fit perfectly into the RACE (Railways of Australia Container Express) container of the Australian railways. 1165mm scale down to 7.3mm in 1:160 scale.

Micro Engineering Part No. 80-144 is a `kit’ for 24 `skids’, which are like pallets without the bottom cross boards. They come moulded onto a sprue with six skids on each side of the central sprue. Our task therefore is not only make sure they have correct dimensions but to also add some bottom cross boards.

The ME skids measure out at 7mm wide, close enough to our desired 7.3mm.

ME pallets sprue & ruler

The skids measure up one cross board too many for a 7x7mm pallet.

ME pallets sprue & ruler 2

The boards on the underside of the pallet were made using 0.020×0.030”styrene strip from Evergreen. Rather than cutting off each skid before applying the styrene strip I made use of the sprue holding them together to stick the strip to six skids at once and save a lot of fiddly work. The strips were glued on to the underside of the runners so that they lined up with the first, third, and fifth upper cross boards, as counting from the end furthest from the sprue. See the photo below:

ME pallets applying strip to underside

When the glue has set, and that means waiting an hour or two as you will need a good strong bond, you can start trimming the styrene strips to match the length of the upper cross boards.

ME Pallets trimming underboards

Then you can trim the pallet from the sprue by making the cut on the outside edge of the fifth cross board from the non-sprue end. Wise folks will paint their pallets before doing this cut.

ME pallet boarded, trimmed and painted - comparison

The ME pack of 24 skids cost about A$10.00 plus postage.

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Back to Single Track T-TRAK modules

G’day Folks, these modules have been a bit neglected, and my posts about them even more so. As I (hopefully) enter the recovery phase of a cold/flu type virus I was able to work at painting up the track on the project. I didn’t get out all the modules, just the ones in need of painted track, plus the trestle module which was kept in the same box. Here is the overview:

T-TRAK modules September 20th 2015 002

This is a view of the corner module that will form the scenic break between the open dairy country on the left and the dense bush-land on the right. The other modules will form a steady transition of scenery as the viewer follows the line around from the module on the left across `the back’ and around to the module on the left. Fortunately the dairy farmers of the Camperdown & Cobden region like to have lots of Pine and Cypress Pine plantations as wind breaks.

T-TRAK modules September 20th 2015 004

This module will represent a small version of the loading shed siding that existed for Curdies Creek Lime (forgotten the official company name at the moment) at Curdies Creek:

T-TRAK modules September 20th 2015 007

This is another view of the corner junction module.

T-TRAK modules September 20th 2015 001

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Sadler’ Sidings – 05 – Some merchandise on Shed A platform.

G’day Folks, An update on Sadler’s Sidings.

First an extra building next to ‘Shed A’ cobbled together out of old POLA kit parts. It will become either a workshop for Sadler’s or a separate business leasing the building.

SAdlers Shed A 15-05-15-1 1200W

SAdlers Shed A 15-05-15-3 1200W

Second, some pallets with merchandise are now on Shed A’s platform, I will follow up exact details later on my Pallets post in N Gauge Forum:
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=27624.msg302171#msg302171
Please note that I am not overloading the platform. In real life a well functioning and efficient  warehouse operation would keep lots of items on the move or stored away in its proper place. Otherwise not only is there confusion and delay, it is very dangerous and limiting to workmen and forklifts etc.

SAdlers Shed A 15-05-15-2 1200W

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Some more wagons for Sadler’s Sidings

G’day Folks, I’ve been working on rollingstock lately.

First off I’ve rebuilt one of my old Fybren Models ELX open wagon kits. I shortened it to fit under an Aust-N-Rails ELX resin tarpaulin. I then fitted shunter’s steps made out of folded brass ladders and small rectangles of styrene. Then followed them up with some folded staples for other bits and a styrene rectangle for the logo. Paint was Humbrol 113(?) carefully brushed on and then followed by two light coats of hardware/discount store spray paint. Decals are a mixture of G&R and Bills Billboards. The VLX is also a rebuilt Fybren kit fitted with a Spirit Design underframe with details etc much the same as the ELX except only spray paint used for VR oxide red. White paint is Tamiya acrylic white carefully brushed on. Others have done far better than I with these models, but I am satisfied with them as `shunting fodder’.

VOCX & VLX - 1200pxl

The green van is an N-TRAINS NSWGR HLX that in my theoretical world has been bought by Sadler’s as a private owner in captive service on the broad gauge. Tamyia spray can paint for this beastie. Will work on decalling and details sometime as I want it to resemble the prototype Sadleirs vans, but not be an exact copy.

 Sadlers Van & VLX - 1200pxl

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Sadlers Sidings – 04 – Laying track on a SideTrack Module

G’day Folks, I have some photos and commentary on laying track on the Sidetrack modules.
The quality of some photos may be a bit below par due to being taken outside, at night, under a single light, on our front verandah, when day to day life events and temperatures allowed me to work.
The photos come from the laying of track on two 160mm wide and 250mm track length modules (248mm woodwork length). The displayed sequence is correct although the photos may alternate between the two modules. The 160mm width is to allow for some more space for either 3 tracks or industrial structures behind the rear track. The 250mm length is partly because of the single point on the 2 to 3 track transition module and because I was starting to run out of room on the table! I will play around with ideas for corner modules a bit later.
First off, PAINT the modules to seal them, both outside and inside.
Then mark out the edges of the track locations for the Kato Unitrack which has a 25mm width on its plastic ballast, and which for Sidetrack using Peco Set-Track points has a 35mm track centers.

Marking out Track locations

Marking out Track locations

Next mark out two lines 20mm from the ends of the modules and running parallel to the ends. Then stick down sheets of 3mm thick balsa wood between the two new lines and at the total  width of the number of tracks you are going to lay. This forms a roadbed/underlay for the conventional N gauge track so that its height matches the Kato Unitrack. When glue has dried, paint!

3mm Balsa roadbed

3mm Balsa roadbed

Taking your 30mm (or so) long piece of Unitrack (in this case it’s just the Unitrack base threaded on to some existing flexible track) and on the underside mark out a line 20mm from the Unijoiner end.

MArking out Unitrack end piece for trimming of Ballast slope

Marking out Unitrack end piece for trimming of Ballast slope

Turning the Unitrack upside down, cut through the ballast slope edges of the Unitrack until you touch the actual track base.

Cutting off ballast Slope Cut 1

Cutting off ballast Slope Cut 1

Then from the top cut off the sloping ballast edge until you reach the transverse cut.

Cutting off ballast Slope Cut 2
Cutting off ballast Slope Cut 2

Then break off the ballast slope.

Cutting off ballast Slope Breaking off ballast slope

Cutting off ballast Slope Breaking off ballast slope

When you have done this for both sides drill holes for the track pins. The first hole is drilled through the hollow column under the Unitrack, This is Kato’s built in fixing point.

Drilling for track pins 1

Drilling for track pins 1

Then on both sides of the track drill holes in the corner between the outside of the Unijoiner pockets and the beginning of the ballast slope.

Drilling for track pins 2

Drilling for track pins 2

Take some Silicon Wet Area Sealant, or similar, to use as a glue for the track. This wonderful stuff feels weird on the fingers, does actually hold the track down, and yet will peel or rub of when you need to get rid of it.

Silicon Wet Area Sealant

Silicon Wet Area Sealant

Apply three dabs of the Silicon sealant in the spots shown.Ber careful to keep the area where the Uni-joiners go clear of sealant, tricky, but necessary.

Applying Silicon Caulk

Applying Silicon Caulk

Locate the track into its position and push down into the Silicon paste. Use a 1mm thick steel ruler to allow you to work out the 1mm overhang.

Fixing down Unitrack End 1

Fixing down Unitrack End 1

Carefully push a track pin in to the first drilled hole. Then follow this with pushing in two more track pins into the other two holes. Because of the wood frame these last two pins will not push all the way down. Carefully using a nail punch hammer the pins into the wood frame.

Fixing down Unitrack End 2 Track Pins

Fixing down Unitrack End 2 Track Pins

When you have let the first piece of track set in the silicon for a few hours you can locate and fix down the adjacent piece of track using a jig made out f two Peco track spacing jigs.

Fixing down Unitrack End 3 Using track spacing jig

Fixing down Unitrack End 3 Using track spacing jig

Because this end of the track has some rail sticking out the end I used Xuran Track Cutter to trim it back to length.

Fixing down Unitrack End 4 Xuron Rail cutter to trim ends

Fixing down Unitrack End 4 Xuron Rail cutter to trim ends
All done for 2 tracks
All done for 2 tracks

How the other module ended up.

SideTrack 2 to 3 Track Transition 1

SideTrack 2 to 3 Track Transition 1
SideTrack 2 to 3 Track Transition 2
SideTrack 2 to 3 Track Transition 2

For all sorts of tips and tricks for fitting Unitrack in with conventional gauge track go to pages 19 to 21 of the Australian T-TRAK Guidelines at:
http://t-trak.nscale.org.au/guidelines

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Sadler’s Sidings – 03 – Building a `Sidetrack Module’

G’day All, This post covers the making up a 160mm wide (125 +35) and 248mm long (multiple of 50mm less 2mm for Unitrack overhang) Sidetrack Module. i.e. this module will allow for three parallel tracks.

This is a ‘pull saw’ that makes cutting timber a dream. It takes a little getting used to and really requires that you let the saw do the cutting and not your pushing down on the wood:

Implement of separation

Implement of separation

A comparatively cheap plastic mitre box that does the job well if you don’t hurry:

Mitre Box

Mitre Box

Even though there is the mitre box to keep cuts square, marking them as square is a good habit that pays dividends in future work:

Marking the wood

Marking the wood

While the sides were cut to the full length of the module (248mm) the ends were cut to fit inside the sides to give a neat outer appearance. This means that the ends have to be cut to a length of  160mm less the combined width of the two side pieces. Don’t rely upon the theoretical widths, measure the real ones. Sidetrack, and its original T-TRAK,  can tolerate small errors (see down further), but sensibly keeping them to a minimum doesn’t stretch that tolerance:

Measuring combined width of both side pieces

Measuring combined width of both side pieces
Frame components placed out for assembly
Frame components placed out for assembly
Gluing corner blocks ot end pieces
Gluing corner blocks to end pieces
Clamping sides to ends
Clamping sides to ends

As you can see there are a couple of ‘ooops!’. Width is 161mm but that is less than 1% error and the `wonky’ corner was straightened up before the glue had set:

Checking the width

Checking the width
Frame finished
Frame finished

This end piece is an off cut from a previous module’s construction. One side was `dead on’ for the width, the other was 1mm too short. A bit of careful alignment of the corner blocks and it was overcome. Not recommended for your first few modules unless you are really limited on timber to hand:

Weird End Yankovic

Weird End Yankovic
Weird End overcome
Weird End overcome

3mm balsa for the top of the module. I find that prices here in Auz can vary quite a bit between individual shops and towns. There is no place to buy it in my own home town and so if my own stocks are low I purchase sheets when I see them:

3mm Balsa sheet

3mm Balsa sheet
Balsa top 2 panels clamped
Balsa top 2 panels clamped

The reinforcing spine was another offcut from previous work and I had apples stewing on the stove. No one will see it, except you dear reader(s):

Reinforcing spine fitted

Reinforcing spine fitted

An update to fitting the spine, make sure that you have worked out your track plan in terms of under the baseboard items before fitting the spine. I have had to remove this one to allow for an under the baseboard drop away magnetic uncoupler. I will refit the spine once clearances are worked out.

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Sadler’s Sidings – 02 – The Basic Modules – Drawings

G’day All, The modules that form Sadler’s Sidings have been developed over a couple of years of playing around with wood moldings, plywood, balsa sheet and other stuff in order to create a robust and light table top modular system which is suited to quick set up on the kitchen or living room table and is easily stored away. The T-TRAK modules are excellent for most purposes, as my working with them for over 10 years proves, but when it came to creating a small switching layout that could also be packed into comparatively small boxes even T-TRAK modules were too large. I also had in my mind my days as a tertiary student living in student accommodation and shared houses where most major woodworking tools were hard to store and use. These modules can be built using glue, small clamps, small mitre box, small saw, craft knife, steel ruler etc and the materials can be bought at hardware and hobby shops.
If they develop into a modular system it will be known as `SideTrack’ to fit in with the concept of making shunting layouts that feature sidings rather than a main line or branch line focus.
Basic 300mm by 125mm Side Trak 35 Module - frame & top top view 11mm
Basic 300mm by 125mm Side Trak 35 Module frame & top top view 11mm

The basic frame, reinforcing spine and corner blocks are all off the rack timber moldings. I first used pine moldings but have found that they are often a millimeter two smaller than the stated dimensions. Hardwood moldings appear to be more consistent.
The top surface is 3mm thick balsa wood mounted with the grain running across the width of the module to gain maximum strength. 3mm ply could be used but it is a real pain to cut with a craft knife compared to balsa.

Basic 300mm by 125mm Side Trak 35 Module - frame & top 11mm upside down

Basic 300mm by 125mm Side Trak 35 Module frame & top 11mm upside down

VERY IMPORTANT: Do not fix the central `spine’ until you have mapped out where you will have under the surface items, eg. magnetic un-couplers, switch(point) motors etc. You may need to move the spine to make clearance ofr them, as I discovered the hard way!

The width of 125mm just `worked out’ as I considered balancing the need for space for the actual industries against the need to have comparatively narrow modules for easy storage. The O scale equivalent width is 500mm and the experts in that scale can create quite adequate shunting layouts with that dimension – eg. Bury, Thorn & Sons at:
http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/15931-bury-thorn-sons/
Basic Sidetrack Module 125mm wide
Basic Sidetrack Module 125mm wide

The length of a module is a multiple of 50mm less 2mm to allow for the Kato Unitrack to overhang the ends by 1mm at each end.
The next BLOG post will be photographic description of actually building one of these modules.

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« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 04:05:28 am by T-TRAK_Andrew »

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