Author Topic: Mini mining layout  (Read 20829 times)

NGPhil

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Mini mining layout
« on: July 08, 2011, 11:00:20 AM »
I thought I would start a new thread for this in response to Batey's inquiry and because I had been planning on doing it anyway.  I've had a lot going on modeling wise lately but just haven't taken many photos or posted anything about what I'm doing.  Right now I'm building a 36" x 45" mini mining layout.  I've got the frame built, sub terrain built and am about 50% complete with track laying.  I am posting a diagram of the layout though it's changed in a few ways.  It features a dock scene on the front side with a barge docked for unloading ore.  A mine at the opposite end for loading ore in the cars and a good bit of grade change/tunnels etc. throughout.  I built a Grandt line 25 ton diesel for it and bought a BCH MinitrainS Plymouth and re gauged it to hon3 for motive power.  I just finished a 3d model for the ore cars that will be put to work on the line and ordered my first set of 5 of them to finish.  See below:


The operations planned will include some operating elements.  The barge will have an opening in the center where the cars dump that will dump into a hopper located under the layout.  The hopper will transfer ore material up to the mine via a pulley driven belt system to eventually deliver ore back to the cars on the other side of the layout with the push of a button.  I'm in the design stage for this system but have got most of the parts and had a successful pulley/belt system proof of concept test.  I also bought one of 2 sound systems to be installed under the layout from ITTP (http://ittproducts.com/) which is the seaside sound system.  I recently bought a tugboat kit to go at the dock and I want to try to scratch build a fishing boat and the barge.  I'm currently building the engine shed which is a lot of fun.  I'll get some pics up soon.  I'm planning a lot of lighting throughout the layout and fun stuff because this is ultimately going in my kid's play room for us to play with.  I want to make it interesting for them to keep them interested.

Here's a trackplan to give an idea of what I'm doing.

« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 11:03:59 AM by NGPhil »
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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 10:31:43 AM »
I had some time this morning and the sun was shining bright so I decided to take a few pics for the thread.

The first shot is a current status shot of the layout itself.  Excuse the mess, but this is a work zone!



I know it's kind of hard to tell what's going on in that shot but reference the track plan and ask if you don't understand.  So far the grade is roughly a tad over 4% pretty much throughout the entire run except for the upper left part of the photo along where the dock is where it's level.  I've tested both the GL 25 ton and the Plymouth and they both handle the grade with no problem pulling a few cars loaded with lead up the grade so they actually out perform their real life versions.  It's pretty impressive considering the grade is on a curve and the turnouts on the bottom of the image are also on a 4% incline.  They run smooth front and back through the turnouts in all directions and even push cars down through them with no problems.  I spent a lot of time building those turnouts for perfect operation.  You'll see in the next pic that the throws aren't necessarily to scale but they're fully functional and very easy to operate.  Remember, this is for kids to play with so it needs to be durable and easy.  I did the servo driven turnouts in the past and swore I'd never do it again.  In the old days they would stop the train to throw the switch, so that's what I do.



I just took a DPDT and filed the switch post down to slide a brass tube over it and then a brass rod inside that tube and cut a little diamond out of brass and soldered it all together.  Still have to paint them but I'm waiting to get some other stuff done first.  I know it's hard to see in that photo but the throws are soldered to brass plates that extend under the ties in the turnout and the ties are soldered to the plate.  Bulletproof in terms of strength.  There is also a light indicator there that's hard to see.  They're 2 little grain of wheat bulbs painted green and red respectively.  They're wired into the other side of the DPDT so that when the switch is open to the main it lights green etc.  The lighting is powered off it's own 12v transformer and switched from the panel (not installed or built yet).  I'll have a light switch to turn on all exterior scene lighting (track signals, lamp posts, outdoor signs etc.) and another for all internal lights (buildings).

Below are some shots of the first building for the railroad, the engine house.  It's basically scribed basswood siding with columns glued on the back for support.  Tichy windows/doors and then painted and stained with AI wash.  The only pieces that are dry are the end with doors and the long wall with doors.  I just inked the other parts this morning before I took these pics and they're sandwiched in between a big stack of lumber right now to dry.  I'm working on the foundation after I finish this post and mow the lawn and hopefully I can get it put together tonight or tomorrow.









Moving on to motive power...  You can see in the last shot the front end of the GL 25 ton.  Below are some more of it.  I added that orange lens in the front because there is a TINY smled behind it.  If you've ever built one of these then you know that as the kit comes there is NO room between the motor and the back side of the front end.  The smled I used was insanely small.  Smaller than a pinhead and soldered  >:( to 2 30 gauge leads.  It's pretty much bone stock except for about 3 ounces of tungsten rods I glued in every nook and cranny I could find on the thing and it's still not enough weight.  I'm considering building another one from scratch using all brass and custom casting a pewter inner frame for it.  The kit plastic and motor don't cut it.





What you see in that second shot is just a little test piece I did for the look of the dock.  It's just 2 pieces of blue insulation board glued together.  The rock seawall was carved with a woodburner set on the lowest setting (I use a colwood burner which is an amazing tool.  The tips they have are fantastic for our kind of work...  No affiliation!: http://www.woodburning.com/toolshop/) and the sea is just painted with acrylic paints and topped with modge podge gloss medium in about 5 coats with some white tips brushed on in between the last 3.  It's got decent depth but I'm I might stick with envirotex lite because I love the depth it renders.  I tested building the tracks into the dock at the top but I ran the planks the wrong way  :(  They'll run perpendicular to the tracks on the real deal.

As a side note, I strongly advise to building these little mockups before doing the real thing to the layout.  It's a hugely valuable learning process and doesn't really cost anything but time.  That time is well spent though because you can find new tricks and if you mess up and it looks terrible you just throw it away.

Finally, here are a few shots of the BCH Plymouth.  I plan on adding some details and weathering soon but I need to hack some "real" couplers on the thing before I get into detailing.  Sorry this doesn't show much but honestly there is nothing to regauging these things.  Just pop the bottom off, slide the wheels out, open up the wheel openings in the "skid plate" and put it back together (see second pic).  A word of warning though.  They have a top speed of about 346 Scale Miles Per Hour!  I'm considering seeing if I can do something about that but it might not be possible to slow the thing down.  As long as  you limit the top end though they're fine.  They also have a neon blue headlight which I plan to replace, so be aware of that too.





I'm having a huge amount of fun with this project.  It gets you through the entire process of building a layout but you can do it in a reasonable amount of time by yourself.  Same reason people build modules i guess.   I'm just enjoying making it up as I go along.  There are a few things I wish I had done from the start though.  One, there is no storage track for cars.  They either have to be stored on the dock line or the main or in the enginehouse lead.  I can live with all of that though and really I think storing them on the dock line would make some sense.  I wish I would've given myself a little more room on the harbor side and the mine side (lengthwise the 45" dimension) since I had misjudged (lack of research) the size of an HO scale tugboat or boats in general.  I think I'm going to add a 3 inch extension on the harbor and mine side.  On the mine side I could use a little more room for the mine structure and the rigging for the conveyor belt on that end. Otherwise I'm pretty happy and having a ton of fun!
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ChrisS

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 02:49:12 PM »
Wow!  Everything about this project looks great, from concept to structures and motive power!  Will that tiny Porter be getting a job on this layout as well?



NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2011, 05:33:09 AM »
Wow!  Everything about this project looks great, from concept to structures and motive power!  Will that tiny Porter be getting a job on this layout as well?

Thanks Chris.  Yep, I hope to have the new version of the porter running around in the near future!

Here's a few pics from last evening.  I started detailing the interior of the engine/maintenance shed since it's right on the front corner of the layout and with the doors open I wanted you to be able to see something going on in there.  It will also be lit, so I wanted some life in there when you look through the windows at night.  The walls aren't attached to the floor and the floor is just in it's beginning stages of weathering.







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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2011, 08:07:17 AM »
Not a lot of progress lately.  I'm completely sidetracked on this engine shed build.  I just bought a bunch of details from vectorcut (gears/wrenches etc.) and  bunch of shop tools from Rio Grande Models (lathe, drill press, wheel borer, bench grinder, motors etc.) to add to the interior.  I'm having too much fun building this building to focus on finishing the trackwork on the layout itself.  My wife is taking the kids tomorrow so I'll have some time in between chores to do some modeling and I plan on trying to finish the trackwork.  I've got to build 2 curved turnouts and I'm behind on getting them drawn in autocad.  They've got to be custom to fit their locations so it should be interesting.  I figure I've got some time to work on the layout while I wait for details for the building.

Enough words, pictures!

Some furniture for the office.





overall

















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mecu18b

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 11:25:17 AM »
I love it!!!!!  Its very similar to my road. Modern narrow gauge left over from the 1900's transporting cement from the plant 20 miles to the port and into barges. Sort of a New England version of US Gypsum in CA. You have to keep taking photos. This is exactly what I keep saying about a layout for folks with limited space. A couple narrow gauge locos a bunch of hoppers and you can have a super detailed layout in very little space!!!!
Ted

BobH

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2011, 02:06:38 PM »
Really nice work! Yes please keep posting pictures...

NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2011, 07:47:04 AM »
Thanks Bob,  I plan to document every step of the project here.

Not a whole lot to report.  I haven't spent as much time on the layout as I would like lately.  I just had a new roof, gutters and downspouts put on this week so I was busy scheduling/coordinating that.  My wife has been studying for a Praxis exam (to be a teacher) and finishing her masters degree, so I've been playing mommy with my daughters more than anything else.

The original layout plan had used 2 #4 turnouts at the upper level to create the passing siding at the mine.  As I've been building the terrain and laying roadbed and track, I've altered the curves and locations a bit which resulted in an impossible set of conditions for #4's to work.  I didn't want to abandon the siding because I like the idea of having it up there.  My current plan will have a few (2 or 3) small industries on that siding to allow for the movement of more than just ore down to the dock. I like building rolling stock and want to have a few types of cars available to move items around.  So I decided to try to use curved turnouts at the top where the straight #4's were on the original plan.  I couldn't find curved turnout plans anywhere (didn't look that hard honestly) so I just drew one up.  I guess it's a curved #4 though it's actually a tad bit smaller.  I don't think anything other than a 4 wheel engine could make it through them but that's all I have planned for this layout anyway.

I just printed out the turnout plan and spray mounted it to a piece of foam core.  Then I use spray glue very lightly on the printed side to temporarily attach the ties while I'm building it.  I let the spray glue setup pretty good before I stick the ties down.  I've found I can build 2 or 3 turnouts before having to spray a little more glue on.  The plans get pretty messy because dust and grime sticks to it but it's still readable.  Plus, if it gets too dirty or unusable, it's cheap and easy enough to just print another one and start over.

Here's a pic of the first finished curved turnout.  I'm also building a Grandt line 23 ton box cab for the layout which you can see in the pic.



It's interesting, the 23 ton boxcab is IMHO a nicer/simpler design than the 25 ton GE and it runs much nicer.  Also since it's got a bigger cab there is a lot more space to hide tungsten for weight.  I bought a dummy version of the 23 ton and I'm working with NWSL to get a set of NS wheels for the dummy.  The dummy kit comes with derlin wheels/axles and my idea is to semi permanently couple the 2 boxcabs together and use the dummy for added pickup.  I'm kicking the idea around of scrapping that plan and buying another powered 23 ton and just double heading them to get more tractive effort out of them both.  I played around with double heading the 23 ton boxcab and the 25 ton GE and it's pretty impressive.

I got my order from vectorcut the other day with the tiny gears and tools which are amazing.  I highly recommend those products.  I'm actually impressed by how nice they are as I wasn't expecting much.  I'm waiting for my order from Rio Grande Models before I continue on the engine house build.

Here's where I'm at on the layout itself.  It's progress but not very much.  Just doing a little bit here and there as I get time.  Unfortunately, this weekend is pretty much shot.  I'm going to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix http://www.pvgp.org/pvgp/site/default.asp today and I've got to paint the interior of a house I'm trying to sell tomorrow.  The PVGP is very cool if you're into cars.  Anyone from this area ever go?  It's become a yearly tradition for me and my brothers.



That's about it for now.  Hopefully I get a little more time in the evenings this week and can get some more stuff done.
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Wolfgang

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2011, 01:08:42 PM »
Great work! I like your curved turnout.
How does the boxcab run? I'm thinking about converting my Grandt Line 25-ton SG to NG. :-)

Wolfgang
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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2011, 06:22:03 AM »
Thanks Wolfgang!  The boxcab runs great even without added weight.  It runs better than the 25 ton end cab diesel.  It has a simpler pickup scheme and the gearing seems better.  Shouldn't be any issue at all to narrow yours.  I'm fairly certain that the SG and NG versions are identical but the NG version has it's wheels and gears pushed in on the axles.
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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2011, 07:05:20 PM »
Slightly OT, but I'm distracted lately.  I tend to wander off into other projects frequently.  Been too busy with work and father duties to get many large chunks of time in on the layout itself so most of the work I've been doing is little projects.  I've got to wait for a new swiss motor and gear tower for this C-19 so it won't distract me in the immediate future.  Just thought I'd show what I'm messing with right now.



I've slowly been building the 23 ton boxcab.



I've finally started hacking on the BCH MinitrainS Plymouth.  I found this cool picture in the November 1974 RMC of a Plymouth so it's sort of my inspiration.  I hope to add a bunch of the details from the photo to the BCH superstructure.  I'll try to fabricate the "grille?" from brass.



Here's where I'm at.  Not much really.  I got rid of that HUGE exhaust stack and added a headlight.  Not exactly the same as the RMC Plymouth but I'm not trying to replicate it, just capture it's look.  I'm working on the coupler issue.  You guys might have noticed I'm a Sergent coupler fan.  They're great and I think they offer a little more flexibility in some regards than the old stand by kadee's.  For example, here, I was able to cut the back off to shorten the length and squeeze the back closed since it's made of metal.  I'm building up new end beams (white styrene piece in the photo) to give me something to attach the coupler to.  The stock BCH piece doesn't have much between the grill and the coupler.  The photos I've been looking at of Plymouths usually have a beefier "bumper" so that's where I'm going with it.



Finally, here are some shots of the vectorcut stuff.  I really like this stuff!  I built the lathe and some other tools but need better lighting to photograph them.  I need to move on to the roof rafters/roof on the engine house.  Lots to do. Lots to do.



That's all for now. 
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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2011, 05:31:04 PM »
Been playing with this BCH Plymouth.  Here's where I'm at.  If you look closely, inside the headlight is a tiny yellow square.  That's a SMLED!  It's smaller than a pin head and has contacts you have to solder to on each side.  I think this project took 4 destroyed LED's before I got one right.  I got rid of the ridiculous neon blue light in the cab and rewired the circuit board and fished the new wires up to the headlight w/ 30 gauge wire.  Phew!  Finally got proper couplers on this guy too.  I'm liking how it's turning out.



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bullbrauch

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2011, 10:48:03 PM »
Looking good Phil!  Are the couplers at HOn3 standard height?   I'm also a huge fan of the Sergent couplers, Love 'em!

Brandan
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NGPhil

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2011, 05:55:30 AM »
Thanks Brandan.  Yes, the couplers line up w/ a kadee coupler height gauge.
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Wolfgang

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Re: Mini mining layout
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2011, 08:30:07 AM »
I think this project took 4 destroyed LED's before I got one right.  I got rid of the ridiculous neon blue light in the cab and rewired the circuit board and fished the new wires up to the headlight w/ 30 gauge wire.

Sounds very familiar to me! For my ELNA I've used about 20 SMD LEDs for this six lamps.

Wolfgang
« Last Edit: August 01, 2011, 08:32:39 AM by Wolfgang »
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