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I was searching for HO working conveyors on RR layouts the other day and found surprisingly little, to nothing at all! But I came across this thread's link at the model RR forum while searching for clues how to build a coal mining conveyor for a new layout I started work on last month. The Youtube vids are excellent, and I absolutely love the work you and your wife have invested on this model. You have some really great ideas, and your model is incredible, wonderful and detailed.

I started work on my first 12" section of brass tray for a conveyor yesterday. Wow, what job it is to learn how to make good solder joints, first off. My first attempt at a 45° seam for a 1/4" angle to a 1/4" strip to make one side of the catch tray was gawd-awful, the second one turned out ...actually pretty amax=zing.

I am going to use a different approach to the belting system. I searched and found some 2mm x 15mm x any length cog tooth belt used for scanners, the teeth are 1mm deep and the pitch is 2.3mm. The belting is very flexible, the cog teeth are very realistic to what I've seen in gravel mining operations in Michigan, and will give a good base to move material up a steep incline. Adding "paddles" will be a cinch, they can be glued to one face of every three or four cog teeth to add capability. In scale terms, the 15mm belt equals a very common size used in the US, close to 4 feet wide. The belt trough looks like this, but with the upper "wings" at 45°.

\ .............../

This is a design I was intimately familiar with as a boy, exploring in my hometown gravel (pit) quarry behind the C&O (formerly Flint & Pere Marquette RR) depot.

The timing belt could be used in a conventional manner with the teeth inward, but it will be more helpful to turn it inside-out. Belting is a couple of dollars per meter, I can glue the ends together with super glue easily enough, stepper motors (geared to 18 RPM) are $2 USD, idler pulleys with ball bearings are $3, and cog pulleys are $3, all this is plentiful on eBay and dirt cheap. I already have a lot of brass shapes that I got from a hobby shop going out of business quite a while ago, so I can build a large, multi-belt system for $20.00...and a ton of time.

I like what you've done with the framing, but I don't have that much patience. I will likely build a jig and then bend the wire zig-zag, lay it out in two pieces, one atop the other, to make X's out of Z's, and then solder the bits together inside of brass angles for the legs, instead of doing each individual wire as a separate piece.

Thanks so much for posting your photos and details of the workings. The more the better! Cheers!


[PS: Modeling the Pere Marquette RR as it was in Michigan when it got purchased by the Chesapeake & Ohio, now known as CSX, or the Chesapeake Seaboard System. Please take a moment and look it up, the PM, or even the original F&PM as it was called when they laid the rails through my hometown in 1872 heading north to Flint. It ran through my backyard as the C&O in Northville, Michigan, when I was a kid, where I got to see one each of perhaps the last running C&O 2-8-0 and 2-8-2 locos making their final trip north to be scrapped and turned into automobiles.

After I did a little research last month February 2018 I realized the Pere Marquette was one of the most amazing railroads in the world. Starting in Buffalo, NY, it crossed the St. Lawrence Seaway at two points into Canada, ran across Canada and crossed back into the USA through a tunnel in Port Huron, and over a bridge into Detroit. From there it met up with its first 26 miles of track laid in the mid 1800's between Bay City and Flint, and continued on to Pere Marquette, now Ludington, on the shores of Lake Michigan. At that point it then connected the west side of Michigan via the first open-water RR ferrys in the world, crossing the expanse of Lake Michigan to three ports in Wisconsin! Other rails headed down to Chicago as well.

The system was purchased by the Chesapeake & Ohio, the buyers of the 60, mighty, 2-6-6-6 Allegheny's built by Lima Locomotive Works just south of Michigan in Lima, Ohio, the most powerful (non-experimental) locomotives ever built, anywhere.

The Berkshire 2-8-4's used by the Pere Marquette are now world famous, as No. 1225 (as in Christmas Day, 12/25) was spared from the scrap heap by a sentimental Pere Marquette employee just because of its number, and is still in use today! It appeared in the movie "Polar Express", a story written by a Michigan man, and inspired by his love for that locomotive - which still gives tourists rides from Owosso, Michigan.

Then I found out that Mr. Shay lived in Michigan and designed the famous Shay geared locomotives for his lumber company. These were the first geared locos, were enormously successful, and also built by Lima.

Then I found out that Detroit was long the world's trolley capital, with 842 miles of trolley tracks! I had no idea what a huge role Michigan played in railroading until just this last month.

I was reading a Facebook group for my hometown, and they posted a few photos of the trolley that started operations there at the turn of the past century. It sparked and rekindled my interest again in RR-ing, and I dug out my broken down, 1965 Rivarossi 2-8-8-2 "Chesapeake" (N&W), which was a total mess and had no tender. So I went on eBay and bought a replacement, a "new" Rivarossi Silver Limited Edition, with small wheel flanges, so I could have a nice display model for my office. That got me reading history, and digging deep into articulated loco stuff for the first time. The Norfolk & Western is perhaps the most famous builder and user of the extremely successful 2-8-8-2's.

It wasn't long before I decided I had to have the "Chesapeake's" predecessor, a 2-6-6-2 that was built specifically for the C&O, modeled by Bachmann Spectrum. What a fine model, and such a great display next to my old 2-8-8-2 (now with an eBay powered tender) and my new 2-8-8-2

When you give a mouse a cookie… I found, and came to realize that the enormity of the success of the 2-8-8-2 on there and from links all over the web. Then I discovered the truth about the 2-6-6-6 being the most powerful common-used loco ever built.

So I bought "new" Rivarossi model 2-6-6-6 "Allegheny".

And of course I just had to get three-truck Bachmann Shay. It was purebred Michigan loco, after all! And the Bachmann trolley and point-to-point trip control set-up became a must-have, since it harrkens back to my hometown roots. And who can leave out the world-famous Pere Marquette "Polar Express" loco? I bid on a Rivarossi 2-8-4 Berkshire, lettered Pere Marquette No. 1222, and won. Oh, and I always wanted a brass loco, so I found a reasonably priced eBay 1800's brass 4-6-0 and won that bid, too. I was on a roll.

I was never into the 4-4-0 "American", but by now I just felt like I needed that part of history on display as well and won a bid on eBay for an entire train, the Jupiter with 6 1860's era cars for just $60!

By now I had I restored my first loco, a Tyco 0-4-0 tank engine that dad gave me for my 9th birthday, and got all fixed, painted, and running. IT looks great, if I do say so myself (and I do). I still have my first Bowser kit-built 2-8-0, now a 0-8-0 that doesn't run but the motor still turns, so I cleaned it up and painted it to look respectable. Next I converted my N scale stuff into an HO scale mining train by kit bashing hoppers and a little 4-wheel diesel switcher. It runs great, and looks really cool.

By now I was addicted to bidding on stuff on eBay, and opening the "presents" as they arrived at my doorstep. Rachel, my mail lady, is a very sumptuous blonde, and I don't mind meeting her at the door when she delivers my new collectables. She kinda likes me too, and is always very kind and smiley.
So I got a weird, very ugly, B&O 0-4-0 camel just for grins. Then, somehow, I wound up with a pair of new Bachmann 2-6-2's that smoke. Thought it might make the house smell extra nice when my sweet wife isn't around to do that

Knowing I was going after the PMRR look, I decided to add a common 2-8-0 "Consolidated" to the roster, another "new" (inexpensive) Rivarossi. Of course, in between all this bidding that has been taking place since mid February, I have added the requisite coal hoppers, boxcars, fixed up and restored my operational 200 ton wreck recovery crane, added a logging crane and cars, several C&O cabooses (or are they "cabice"?) a pair of little switcher diesels that are 1950's transition era friendly, flat cars and gondolas, and some very snappy tankers which I am particularly fond of. I've pretty much got all the locos, I wanted, way more than I'll ever need, and just enough so I can prepare a turntable and roundhouse to accommodate. So from here on out it will be all about adding plenty of coal hoppers and other rolling stock to handle my logging, coal and freight needs.

Of course, display mode didn't last long and the time has come for happily getting started building a layout in my office to enjoy my neat collection in running fashion as I get back into MRR after a 50-year hiatus.

BTW in my travels over the years I've seen both of the remaining 2-6-6-6 Allegheny's, numerous times, in Detroit and Baltimore, one of the only remaining Big Boy 4-8-8-4's in Cheyenne, Wyoming, witnessed a 2-6-6-2 running up close and personal heading south out of Washington, DC, and ridden in the cab of a 2-8-0 in the Pennsylvania mountains. As a pre-teen kid I got to drive a diesel freight loco on a siding, as well as a Fairmont Speeder (a C&O track inspection buggy, gas-driven, carries a crew of two, and capable of 45 MPH.) What blast!

Ya know, I'll always have, and always will, love those Y6b 2-8-8-2 Mallet compound Chesapeakes that N&W are so famous for perfecting to power at a truely amazing 156,000 pounds of tractive force, and running full steam with a 120 car coal drag at 45 MPH! Not even the 4-8-8-4 Big Boys could match that, friends. But I have a newfound, educated respect for the gigantic 2-6-6-6's that I have seen so many times at Henry Ford Museum in Michigan near my hometown, and also at the B&O museum in Baltimore when I lived in WDC.

In closing, I am really looking forward to joining the MRR community on both the Euro and USA forums! This is a wonderful time to be alive, when we can share our modeling and ideas so easily and so enjoyably! This is GREAT!

And this is my first ever MRR forum post, anywhere, anytime. ]

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Jigs are a great key, thanks. I am now going to back to the beginning of this thread and read its entirety, and see if I can glean your secrets to soldering success. I did skim through prior, but only really read about preparing the wire for soldering. I went up to my local big-box hardware (Lowes) and picked up a small Bernzomatic torch kit and tried it out. After just ten minutes of messing around with it I began to wonder how I ever got along without one!
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