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Discussion Starter · #101 ·
Dear model railroading friends.

The organizers of TrainsMania 2017 have updated the website of the exhibition; you can find Consolidated Nickel at the section "the (exposed) layouts" under "scale H0" (sorry guys, the site is in French).
By the way, the organizers of the event are LR Presse, publisher of many train-related magazines, both prototype and model.

www.trainsmania.com
http://www.trainsmania.com/les-reseaux/

P.S. for Allegheny1600: with regards to your question "how many km do you travel for exhibitions?", the Milan-Lille-Milan trip will take 1906 km. We will leave on 25 April, make a stopover at Nancy, arrive at Lille on 26 evening, install the layout on 27. The show takles place on 28, 29, 30 April. On 30 evening we disassemble and load the car, on the first of May we drive and make a stopover in Mulhouse, and on 2 May evening we arrive at Milan. And, by the way, the morning after, one of us will leave to Dusseldorf for a professional trade fair (Interpack 2017), which has little to share with railroads. As a result, our car will stay in the garage as it is, loaded with layout and all, for another week.

All the best from Milan

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Hello Mario & Bice,
Thanks for your responses, more wonderful work!
Oh my! You really are dedicated, I could not even contemplate driving that far, let alone operating for three days, then driving back again. Not to mention, then going off to another fair afterwards.
I once did a weeks railfanning in Germany followed by a trade fair in Holland, followed by a holiday in Greece (which was much needed!). I simply could not do that again, even with the holiday!
Kudos to you both.
John.
 

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Discussion Starter · #104 ·
Hallo Greyvoices.

We had already dreamed about taking part to an exhibition in the UK. Crossing the Channel with our contraption would be for us an all-time-high. We have no contacts with the organizers of exhibitions in the UK. Any suggestion from your side will be welcome (for 2018).
Having the chance to meet you, see you masterpieces, and personally hear your real-world railroading experiences would also be great.
Meanwhile, we are continuing (in the available time) maintenance/improvement to our stuff. We will keep you posted.

All the best from Milan.

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
Dear modeling friends.

After the structural/functional modifications, we are proceeding with aesthetic add-ons. We decided to install a safety fence around the winch of our hoist. Here is the photo "before modification", with the winch installed on a concrete plate at the base of the diagonal girder, no fence.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

We built the structure of the new fence with pieces of 1-mm piano wire, soldered together with the help of wooden templates.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

After having milled away the excess solder, we carefully glued pieces of stainless steel wire mesh on the inside of the structure. Few points of cyanoacrylate are enough to keep the mesh in position.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

Then, we did the usual weathering of the part.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

Here is a photo of the fence after weathering. The remaining solder, grooved by the action of the milling bits, somehow imitates the appearance of prototypical arc welded joints.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

Installing (horizontally) the finished part took some time and effort. The working place was cramped, and the presence of the inclined elements of the previous structures was deceiving for the eye. We worked with set squares, caliper, and a small level, until the enclosure was flat. Four drops of cyanoacrylate fastened the four "legs" of the fence, which remain partially buried in small holes that we drilled in the uneven ground.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/

Note: the object at the side of the large pulley of the winch is another aesthetic add-on. That was the focusing motor of a defunct camcorder, which stayed for years in our junk pile. We did some modifications and weathering, and now the piece vaguely reminds (at least to us…) some ancillary equipment, like a large hydraulic unit.
But, after the installation, one question came our spontaneously: "and the lights?" Most probably, we will install some light poles around the winch area.

To be continued.

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #106 ·
Dear modeling friends.

We are completing some aesthetic modifications to our rotary dumper and mining machinery. First, we added another railing to the walkway. We build these new parts as sub-assemblies that can be installed with minimal, or no modification, to the existing structures of our layout.
This railing is made of a latticework of 0.5-mm steel wire, on a base made from a 2 x 2 mm strip of hardwood. We machined the back of the strip to match the existing profile of the side of the existing walkway (which is made of steel).
https://flic.kr/p/32684103662
This is the railing after machining and finishing, provisionally installed to check that the piece fits correctly. The "new" railing is facing the hoppers, while the "old" was already in position, facing outside
https://flic.kr/p/32837549205 https://flic.kr/p/32022856863
We installed two danger lights at both ends of the walkway, and did weathering of the railing and light poles before installation.
In the prototypical world, the walkway is manned only during maintenance, and never during operations. Our lights are 2.6-mm LEDs, installed on steel poles. We always grind, with 600-grit paper, the housings of our LEDs, to obtain non-directional, diffused light.

We did a photo session of the completed dumper module; in most of the photos, the only lighting comes from the on-board array of LEDs. In a couple photos, we added subdued cold-tone illumination from a dimmable photo lamp.
https://flic.kr/p/32796296106 https://flic.kr/p/31994496514 https://flic.kr/p/32022798143 https://flic.kr/p/32796250446
Further, we decided to install other danger lights inside the fenced area of the hoist of our mineshaft. Our hoist is easily removable for maintenance (2 screws from below). We took out the part, installed the 4 poles, and did the wiring. We re-weathered the entire hoist, since drilling, touching and machining had worn off the previously applied patina.
https://flic.kr/p/31994542724 https://flic.kr/p/31994445264
For the same reason, we re-weathered other parts that recently underwent scheduled maintenance:
The hopper/diverter unit at the base of our mineshaft:
https://flic.kr/p/32796229496 The underground silo/dosing unit/conveyor assembly, which loads the hopper/diverter and the 2-way skips:
https://flic.kr/p/32713810121 When this unit is installed, only the conveyor is visible. The silo and the dosing unit remain hidden behind the underground landscape. In the prototypical world, this conveyor would have had a length of hundreds of meters. In H0 scale, it would have exceeded our transportation capabilities :)

Best wishes from Milan

Mario & Bice
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
Dear modeling friends,

We exhibited at Trainsmania 2017 in Lille, France, on 28, 29, and 30 April. A "bravo" must go to the organizers (LR Presse, publisher of the Loco Revue magazine). The show took place at the Grand Palais of Lille; logistics and hall access with materiel was top-level, the halls were heated and lit also during the day of installation, and in the evening of dismantling. Catering and accommodation for exhibitors was also taken care of by the organizers, as in the other EU leading model railroading fairs (and this IS definitely a leading fair), and on Saturday 29, even a cocktail party for the exhibitors was organized.
https://flic.kr/p/34507489975
During the 3 days of the show, we had been swamped by a colossal flow of visitors. Many of them were "real" model railroaders; they asked interesting questions, and we had already met some of them at previous fairs. Some guys had also built, or were building, mining layouts, and were eager to get information on operational conveyor belts. In fact, we did not have much time to see the other layouts. And, as usual, after a show of this caliber, we were dead tired.
https://flic.kr/p/33697247763 https://flic.kr/p/33664748554 https://flic.kr/p/34466185656 https://flic.kr/p/33665089904
The only relatively free time was in the morning before opening time, but we also had to do the usual preparations, setup, and verifications.
https://flic.kr/p/34376787901 https://flic.kr/p/33664974434
This was the first time when our auger-operated dosing units have been operated in a modeling show, clocking up 25-plus hours of continuous operation. As seen in the previous commissioning tests, the new units, compared to the old rotary-cone units, have improved flow uniformity and throughput.
https://flic.kr/p/34346459692 https://flic.kr/p/34376616561 https://flic.kr/p/34465854956
As maybe seeable in the photos, we have added further (rather heavy) weathering to our steel structures, due to the fact that the lighting conditions at exhibitions tend to create bad unpleasant reflections on the metal. Especially, we airbrushed our rotary dumper section.
https://flic.kr/p/34346572392 https://flic.kr/p/34121713080 https://flic.kr/p/34465996456 https://flic.kr/p/34466019066 https://flic.kr/p/34466158296
Some videos of Trainsmania 2017 begin to appear in the Internet, and some blogs have also mentioned our contraption
(skip to 5 minutes 30 seconds)
http://us.leforum.eu/t11904-trains-mania-e...LE.htm?start=15
(Page 2, Sunday 30 April, Tuesday 2 April, and later.)

Anyhow, after such a satisfying (and exhausting) overdose of modeling, we will not touch our layout for a while.

P.S. the team of LR Presse has extensively filmed and photographed the layouts at Trainsmania 2017. From what we heard, they will prepare a special edition of their magazine with the reportage of the fair, and a DVD.

Best wishes from Milan

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Dear modeling friends.

We will exhibit again from 29 September 2017 to 1 October 2017 at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel in Leipzig, Germany.
The BDEF, Bundesverband Deutscher Eisenbahn-Freunde, public association for the diffusion of the railroading culture (full-scale and model) has invited us at the show. In fact, we will be guest exhibitors at the stand of DBEF.
Everybody's invited.

After having not touched our modeling stuff for a while, we are doing some emergency maintenance/improvement and functional tests. We must test one module at a time (we do not have sheltered space available for the entire layout). Taking into consideration our "other" engagements, and our (non-model railroading) summer holidays, the date of the Leipzig fair is closing by at an alarming pace. Better to ready our layout in the next couple weeks.

For the lovers of the Internet, the French online model railroading magazine aiguillages.com has published a video with shots of Consolidated at the Montelirail 2016 exhibition, complete with our interview. On their website, an excerpt of the video is available:


The full-HD video is available on pay-per-download. NO, we do NOT get commissions on these videos.

This video pre-dates the installation of our high-throughput dosing units. These units are visible in recent videos that somebody has filmed at Trainsmania 2017.

One video that we like (apart from its awful background music) is this:


Other similar recent videos of our contraption are also available from the Internet.

See you in Leipzig

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #109 ·
Dear model railroading friends.

We have received from Dr. Franz Rittig of MIBA the news that the edition n. 113 of 14 July 2017 of their prestigious MIBA SPEZIAL magazine contains an article about Consolidated Nickel Mines.
Their photos were taken at the Sinsheim show of June 2016, therefore the very latest modifications to our layout are not shown.
Herewith you find the link to their website with the summary of the edition n. 113.
By the way, only the German edition of this magazine is available.

https://shop.vgbahn.info/miba/shop/spezial+...uktbeschreibung

All the best

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
Dear railroad modeling friends.

From 29 September to 1 October we exhibited Consolidated Nickel at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel 2017 of Leipzig, Germany.
We were invited by the Bundesverband Deutscher Eisenbahn Freunde e.V., a public-funded agency for the diffusion of the railroad culture. The managers of BDEF had met us and seen our layout at the Faszination Modellbahn Sinsheim in 2016. The BDEF invited 11 layouts from Germany, Belgium, France, and Italy. In total, the fair had approximately 30 layouts.
http://www.modell-hobby-spiel.de/de/branch...n/anlagenschau/
So, we exhibited under the aegis of BDEF, and with their signs at our stand.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
To be noted: in one photo, there is a "megalomaniac" sign with the name of one of us. We did NOT stick this sign, it was the organizers who did it (we tried to remove it, and were warned not to do it).
The organization was perfect; the exhibitors were booked in a business hotel 2 km from the fairgrounds, there was direct vehicle access to the halls, all the exhibitors had a private locked cabin for their material and belongings, and the exhibitors' parking was just next to the halls.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
The fair covered all the segments of modeling, but railroad modeling alone filled up the huge hall n.3. As usual in Germany, the commercial exhibitors posted record sales figures.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
And, as usual, it took to us 8 hours of tough work to erect our stand. On one side, we continue to rationalize the assembly of our contraption, on the other side, we continue to add other pieces.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Friday morning. Just some time to take some photos before the opening to the public.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
The mass of visitors at Leipzig was overwhelming, and we did not have any free time.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
A good thing was the fact that everything worked. Over the years we managed to improve out time-between failures; good thing that we did not use any of the many spare parts that we always take with us. In parallel, we did several aesthetic additions to our landscape:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Our improved weathering is now visible in the photos: real rust on real steel, plus wash and pigments.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Here, our friend Leszek Lewinski of Polska Makieta Modulowa H0, shooting his film:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
The publisher VGBahn also had a stand at Leipzig; they made us a present of some copies of the numbers 9/17 and Spezial 113 of their "MIBA Magazin", where they had recently published articles relevant to Consolidated Mines:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
In the end, the Modell-Hobby-Spiel was a pleasant and motivating (and very tiring) experience.

All the best from Milan

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #111 ·
Dear modelrailforumers:

Herewith the link to the video of Consolidated Nickel, taken by Mr. Leszek Lewinski of Polska Makieta Modulowa H0 at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel 2017. Leszek and his team are formidable model railroaders (they had presented in Leipzig their new layout "Karnin Gorzowsky with the utmost success), but they are also excellent cameramen (and they have professional video gear).


The commentary is in Polish, but the language of model railroading goes beyond any linguistic barrier.

All the best from Milan
Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Dear friends.

Herewith please find an update of the construction of our railcar positioner no.2. Meanwhile, we decided that this unit with its track ad a short string of cars will be a stand-alone exhibit. We will keep in operation at Consolidated Nickel our good old positioner no. 1, since we cocnluded that the more modern-looking no. 2 does not fit well with the rest of our layout.

Shuttle, drive, and gears installed.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Detail of the drive and gears - all these parts come from our junk pile:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
First operational test; the visible pieces of wood are spacers, required to obtain the correct height of the positioner arm:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
One provisional arm is installed, and apparently everything works:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Several work-hours later, the definitive arm is installed. This tiny piece of metal has a rather intricate construction, and is designed to engage the Accumate couplers of railcars (a string of ACF Coalveyors from Atlas). In prototype, these cars are are rotary-dumper compatible. Also some covers and embellishments are installed.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Coupling sequence:
1) Positioner arm in position, ready to engage the couplers:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
2) Engaging:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
3) Couplers engaged; the arm is not 100% finished, it still needs some de-burring and finishing.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
Traction test, at the head of one railcar; the coupler and the arm remain locked together:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
To be noted, most of the (few) existing H0-scale railcar positioners are designed to push strings of cars, and do not have the capability of engaging the couplers, or pulling cars. A coupler-compatible positioner arm is another step up in complication/building madness.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/...eposted-public/
The next step will be the installation of all the pieces and a concrete-tie piece of rail on a suitable base, addition of embellishments, details, and weathering. We are also mulling over the (not-so-simple) construction of an H0-scale cable-festoon system to feed electricity to the actuator of the positioner. To be noted, in our positioner no. 1 the power supply comes from the 2 electrically isolated rails that carry the portal-style positioner. In our no.2 monorail-style positioner, we need a cable that follows the movement of the positioner shuttle (as in prototype).

All the best from Milan

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
Dear friends.

In the end, we have decided to install our railcar positioner no. 3 in our Consolidated Nickel layout. After ca. 6 years of honorable operation, our positioner no. 1 goes to retirement and becomes a static exhibit.

We completed the installation of covers/carters/embellishments to the machinery of the new positioner:
https://flic.kr/p/39373286154 https://flic.kr/p/39373315014 https://flic.kr/p/40084430711 https://flic.kr/p/40051688062 Now, the only missing embellishments are the fictitious bearing covers of the pulley shafts; we will turn and mill these parts from a 5-mm steel rod.

Now, we removed all the machinery of the positioner, and concentrated on the wooden base (concrete in prototype).
https://flic.kr/p/28303697299 We spent many hours measuring quotes of our rotary dumper, and decided how to match the exit ramp of the positioner. We did finishing and de-burring, machined a flange, made from 6-mm plywood, and glued it (after very careful centering and alignment) to the exit ramp.
https://flic.kr/p/25212391027
Herewith the exit ramp, halfway during finishing operations:
https://flic.kr/p/28303697299
Herewith the "coarse" alignment phase:
https://flic.kr/p/39185525945 https://flic.kr/p/40084228421
For the "final" alignment we installed the dumper, the terminal module supporting the old positioner, and the new exit ramp on a large flat sheet of plywood (sorry, no photos). After very careful leveling and alignment of the rails, we finally drilled the holes of the two 2-mm bolts that keep together the pieces.
The exit ramp will be supported by concrete pillars; we are modifying the height of the old pillars to the quotes of the new pieces, also adding some parts (capitals and cross-bracings) to give some realism to the contraption. As soon as completed, we will post some photos.

All the best from Milan
Mario & Bice
 

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QUOTE (nickelminers @ 2 Nov 2017, 17:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Dear modelrailforumers:

Herewith the link to the video of Consolidated Nickel, taken by Mr. Leszek Lewinski of Polska Makieta Modulowa H0 at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel 2017. Leszek and his team are formidable model railroaders (they had presented in Leipzig their new layout "Karnin Gorzowsky with the utmost success), but they are also excellent cameramen (and they have professional video gear).


The commentary is in Polish, but the language of model railroading goes beyond any linguistic barrier.

All the best from Milan
Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
A superb video!
Thanks for the link and keep up the good work.
Bravo.
John.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 ·
Good evening Allegheny 1600.

Thanks for the comments of the video.
Herewith the latest developments:

In a sudden outburst of activity, we managed to complete in the latest days the operational part of the project. We assembled all the parts, and did the commissioning run of our railcar positioner no. 3. If you want to see the conclusion, skip directly to the latest photos of this article.

We machined the rotary couplers for the 4-car consist that will run on the positioner:
https://flic.kr/p/39307291255 https://flic.kr/p/39493945254
We took 4 USRA 55-tons cars from our stock, plus one gondola as buffer car, installed the rotary couplers for each 2-car section, installed metal wheels, checked tolerances of the bogies and correct height of the couplers:
https://flic.kr/p/40205202341
In the first operational trial, we tested the positioner alone, separate from the dumper; engaging/disengaging between the positioner shuttle and the couplers was OK, shunting of the railcars was OK. We did only some minor alignments/fine tuning.
https://flic.kr/p/26332759368 https://flic.kr/p/40172180612
And finally, we did the commissioning run; the positioner section, the dumper section, and the terminal section with its new pillars were assembled together. We connected the 2 separate controls for the dumper and the positioner, and we put the new rotary-equipped railcars into position. Note: in the photos there are 4 new rotary railcars, 2 of our old rotaries, and the buffer car. The buffer is necessary to allow contact between the shuttle of the positioner and the first 2 cars unloaded in the dumper. In a prototypical setup a locomotive pushes a long string of loaded cars until the first 2 ones have been unloaded in the dumper and pushed out; then the loco disengages and is used for other operations. The positioner shuttle cannot directly go into the dumper, and the buffer is what pulls the cars out of the dumper. In prototype, this operation, once primed, goes on with hundred of cars. In our layout, we have the limit of the length of the exit ramp of the positioner, which is designed for a 6-car consist. Today is pretty cold in Milan, and we elected to stay inside, with the resulting limitation of working in a cramped environment.
https://flic.kr/p/40205126491
Herewith a view, looking alongside the exit ramp:
https://flic.kr/p/28425250089
The shuttle of the positioner pulling out 2 cars at a time; the positioner arm engages precisely on the couplers:
https://flic.kr/p/39493820214
The drive of the positioner, and exit from the dumper:
https://flic.kr/p/25333594497
Detail of the arm, in the "engaged" position
https://flic.kr/p/39493760334
Shunting railcars alongside the exit ramp:
https://flic.kr/p/40204964221
A detail of the arm in the "disengaged" position, with the shuttle travelling back to engage another pair of railcars:
https://flic.kr/p/40204935521
Again, shunting operations; we did some final alignment of the rails between the junctions of the rotating section of the dumper and the fixed sections of the entrance and exit ramps. To be noted, the seats of the screws that keep together the pieces have an intentional built-in backlash, which allows a precise centering of the various sections.
https://flic.kr/p/26332456268
And finally, a photo of the entire dumper/positioner/exit ramp unit:
https://flic.kr/p/26332411278
Apparently, everything works; the commissioning run has had a satisfying outcome, and 4 brand-new rotary-coupler equipped railcars are now on the official roster of Consolidated. The new positioner has some advantages over its predecessor: it has a more prototypical design, and it has been built to more precise tolerances. Also, it is much sturdier than its predecessor, and the design considers an easier and quicker installation; these latest issues are of paramount importance when assembling the layout at exhibitions.

All the best from Milan

Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 

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Discussion Starter · #116 ·
Dear friends.

We are completing the latest touches to our railcar positioner section. We did only a partial weathering; we could not complete it, due to the poor weather conditions (we do spraying and painting in our terrace, not inside our apartment...) Meanwhile we installed the mock-up bearing housings on the four pulley shafts of ourrailcar positioner. In prototype, these pieces appear as large flanges, fastened to the frame of the machine by Allen screws placed into recesses.

We machined these pieces from a 5-millimeter C40 steel rod, turning them down to 3.5 mm outside diameter, and drilling a concentric 2-mm hole. Later, we put the rod into the rotary table/dividing plate of our milling machine, and drilled 8 0.6-mm holes as recesses of the screws.
https://flic.kr/p/39723744145 https://flic.kr/p/40577018872
We slowly cut out the final piece (a kind of a 1.2-mm thick washer) installing a thin cutting disk on the spindle of the milling machine, and keeping the dividing table in rotation by hand (both have a vertical axis of rotation). The tricky issue was to avoid the finished piece flying away at the end of the cutting operation. After de-burring of the side faces (with grit 800 silicon carbide paper on a flat steel surface), the pieces were ready for installation. Here a 20X magnification of the piece.
https://flic.kr/p/40619039891
We installed these parts concentric to the shafts of the various pulleys, and fastened them with cyanoacrylate, leaving the shafts free to rotate (the real bearings are inside, not visible; these pieces are only esthetic add-ons).
https://flic.kr/p/40619073771 https://flic.kr/p/39908443394
The next (we hope the final) step will be a re-weathering of the machinery, rails, base of the positioner, and the 4 new railcars, and a planned re-wiring of the console no. 1 (the one that controls the machinery and the rail section of the main module of the layout).

All the best from Milan

Mario & Bice
 

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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 www.cs.trains.com 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!

GT

[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&#8230; I found http://steamlocomotive.com, 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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Hello GT,
I feel it is my duty to come onto Mario & Bice thread in order to welcome you! I do hope they don't mind?
As you can see, my user-name is taken from the name and leading class number of those fantastic 2-6-6-6 locomotives and I used to actively model the Chesapeake & Ohio RR but mine* MY area was more focused towards coal country.
Although I no longer actively model the C&O, I have kept hold of my best steam locos including the Rivarossi Allegheny, BLI 'Texas' type 2-10-4 and P2K 2-8-4 and 0-8-0 types.
Please do feel free to discuss your modelling and/or reminiscences anywhere in this section: http://www.modelrailforum.com/forums/index.php?showforum=30 , in a separate topic, perhaps?
All the best,
John.

*Oops! A Freudian slip!?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #120 ·
Hallo GT.
Although a bit late from our side, a very warm welcome to Modelrailforum. You will find here tons of useful info, and many valuable friends ready to give help and exchange ideas.
Glad to know about your projects in model conveyors. The tooth belt you are going to use is well-suited for building paddle-type conveyors or bucket-type elevators, which allows you to run steep inclines or even go vertically (bucket type). We will all be glad to see the photos of your constructions. BTW, a little advice for your soldered metal constructions. Build suitable rigs/templates out of plywood and wood profiles, put the metal pieces in position onto the templates, and only when the pieces are solidly fastened, start soldering. The templates can be either discarded, or reusable. It takes a little time to build the templates, but spares a lot of time in attempts and/or re-machining of soldered pieces.
PS: it looks as if you a have a pretty sizeable collection of rolling stock.
All the best from Milan
Mad Doc & Nickel Queen
 
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