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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Right, MSE's LMS 4mm scale tubular post upper quadrant semaphore signal kit. (What a mouthful!)

Complete set of parts as delivered showing fret, ladder, wires, tubes, white metal castings, lens glazing and a base plate.



Following perusal of instructions I strated on the arm by burnishing both sides of the fret parts with the fibre glass burnisher (NOTE: the fibres are dangerous and will end up in your skin like splinters and are incredibly difficult to see or remove. Parts can be burnished under running water or I found food preparation gloves made from PVC not latex gave excellent protection without loss of dexterity as most actions involve the use of tweezers, pliars or soldering iron anyway)



You can see the two parts that were removed from the fret. Before removal I brushed a little flux onto the back of the arm and the front of the spectacle plate and applied a toush of the solder to the clean iron tip. Then touched the tip to the spec plat and this instantly put a thin veneer of solder in the triangular pice of the spec plate. Position the blade ontop and apply the soldering iron tip to the front and it melts the solder between the two bits making a hot solder sandwich and ruslts in a finished and complete blade and spec plate as shown.



Before moving the spec plate from the fret I drilled out the spindle hole to 0.8mm with a pin vice and appropriate size drill. If people are interested I am happy to show the tools that I used too. The other hole to drill out is the very scary 0.4mm hole that the operating wire connects to up in the far right corner of the spec plate. This I did in three steps using a 0.3, 0.35 and finally an 0.4mm drill to open this out without breaking the fret.

Once opened out you can solder in a spindle from some supplied 0.8mm wire. I drilled an 0.8mm hole in the pice of timber you see and stuck the wire in it. Then threaded on the spec plate and made the soldered connection from behind. Snipped off the spindle protruding through the front and filed with an emery board (wife's nail file type).



After that I cut the post and butt to size from the 2mm and 2.5mm brass tube respectively. I have chosen to model a 16' Starter and a table of sizes and scale lengths is included in the kit which I used to size the lengths. I cut the tube with my Xuron track cutters as I don't have a minidrill or Dremel type of tool, nor a razor saw for that matter! Will get there later I guess, maybe fathers' day perhaps. The track cutter worked well, very slight ovalation of the cut which was easily rectified by using the correct sized drill that match both tubes internal bore and thus reamed out the tubes ever so slightly.
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Continuing on with the action, the spindle bearing which holds the arm spindle is 1/16" tube and is soldered in a cruciform arrangement exactly 4mm from the top of the post. I once again drilled a 1/16" hole into the timber to keep the bearing vertical.



You can see that at the 4mm mark I filed using a round needle file a groove into the post which resulted in a smoother joint between spindle bearing and post. This isn't in the instructions however, just something I thought would be good!

I found the pins to be more than adequate at holding the whole thing together enabling both hands free to solder. Applied some flux with the old paint bruch, tinned the iron and applied to the joint. Too easy and no clean up of the joint required.



Once soldered in I cut the bearing down to size, allowing about 1mm to protude on either side of the post. I used the Xuron cutters again and drilled out the inside of the bearing tube with an 0.8mm drill to take care of any distortion. Next came a dry fit of signal arm spindle and spindle bearing which was quite exciting I must say! The holes in the block of wood prooved most useful.



Next came the soldering of the butt to the post whish was pretty straight forward with the post simply forming an interference fit inside the top of the butt and a little solder applied. This was then filed down to a bit of a bevel and smoothed all over with some emery which has come up well.

 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't have areal good close up of the butt to post connection but will get one later.

I then added the butt to base plate and soldered it up. I differed from instructions by drilling out a 2.5mm hole in the base plate and inserting the butt into this hole, applying solder and then filing flat. This gave access right through the tubes if I wanted to insert the LED wire up it as per another thread on here.



Lots of blobby solder here but I used a solder wick, reheated it and sucked most of it up. The hard part was keeping the signal perpendicular to the base plate in all planes however this was achieved by sight fairly easily.

I then clamped the base plate to my timber block to provide a firm platform for the attchment of the balance arm bracket that was easily folded up from the half etched fret item and then soldered to the butt. Sorry for the slightly blurred image here.



You can see the red pen marking in the middle of the bracket. This was to mark the centre line of the balnce weight pivot from the baseboard and the block of wood once agin prooved a useful assembly jig. Finally I assembled the balnce weight by pretinning the two arms on the fret and sweating them together as per the signal arm. I then tinned two separate balance weights and applied them in the same manner building up a complete balance weight assembly. Once complete I drilled out the axle hole and the operating crank holes with the appropriate micro drill bits in the pin vice. No power tools needed here!



Thats all I have photos of at the moment but I have connected the balance weight arm and axle assemble, installed a lower ground grank and installed the working LED as a signal lamp. I will add these photos too if there is some interest.
 

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Well done Sir.
Than looks brilliant.
Let's have the other photos. Are you willing to take commissions?
 

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Well done, LF! beaten me to it.

A few points:
1. Drill the holes in the arm and other componants before removing from the fret - it's a lot easier.
2. Burnishing - can be done with 1200 grit wet/dry paper - again before moving from fret.
(If using fibre-brush adjust so that fibres only just protrude - this should prevent them breaking off.)
3. Making the pivot tube snugly fit the post - not strictly prototypical as the pivot bearing was a casting bolted onto the post. I've made up a small wood jig. This holds the post in place; a hole takes the pivot tube and keeps it at right-angles to the post while the soldered joint is made.
4. The same jig also holds the post steady while soldering on the balance weight pivot bracket.
5. Fixing to base - I haven't quite got that far but I intend tapping the inside of the post and holding it to the base with a small countersunk screw put in from under the base - and then soldering.

Re the LED - yes please, do post photos, be interested to see how you've done it compared to my experiments.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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Just another modeller
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9,983 Posts
Well done and what an excellent set of photo's and commentary - if you could complete the set as you progress its a thread that would serve the forum well by being "pinned" by Doug and placed on permanent display as a "how to" in the forum to encourage others!

Nice to see you doing so well with all those new tools too :)

As to those scary small holes, its good to use a taper reamer on them and it saves using all those small drills - if U need I can arrange a set from about 0.3mm upwards for you when you visit later this month (but remind me by email before U come as I don't normally have them on display)

Richard
 

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What an excellent sequence of photos and commentary


My example of that very kit is still in the bag, although I have looked at the contents and read the instructions more than once.

I really must give it a go.

John:
I would love to see a photo of the jig you made.

David
 

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David,

Noted re jig. Haven't anywhere to store pics on the internet at present, and I'm likely to be moving up to broadband from present dialup shortly, so there will be a delay. It's basically a couple of bits of MDF stuck together to form an 'L' shape. Post lies in the corner of the L where it can be kept still and the appropriate holes are drilled into the horizontal base to take the pivot tube at right-angles to the post, hold the pivot wire while soldering on the arm etc.

Regards,
John
 

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QUOTE Noted re jig. Haven't anywhere to store pics on the internet at present, and I'm likely to be moving up to broadband from present dialup shortly, so there will be a delay
Understood, and thank you.

David
 

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That's one of the best pictorial "how to's" I've seen for a long time.

Thanks for posting it, & it should encourage people to take the plunge too.
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks all, hardly qualified after first attempt to take commissions!! Have a go your self first and see how easy it is. This is my first ever soldered anything!

Carrying on, here is a photo of the installed balance lever and non working crank. No real point of trying to make the crank work unless operating it from parallel to the baseboard (ie above board).



Here is a similar view of the detail. To ensure the balance lever didn't get soldered up when securing the axle in place I "painted" the balance lever bearing with a permanent marker pen that apparently the solder doesn't stick to. The instructions call up oiling the bearing but I didn't have any oil nor did it elaborate on what type to use. I assume some form of sewing machine type oil would have sufficed however the lever works fine using the marker pen method.



By the way I am going with a larger size of photo to hopefully make up for my lack of macro lens capability in my Nikon!

This is the front view of the signal showing the modified LED complete with the casting top from an MSE Adlake lamp casting, simply cut off with my sprue cutters and filed smooth, CA glued in place on top of the filed LED. Note that the lamp bracket is slightly askew. This is because the triangular bracket on the fret went into orbit somewhere in my loft when releasing it from the fret. That meant that I decided to fashion the diagonal from the leg of the LED instead to provide a robust electrical connection. Twisting the LED leg through several turns to get it to end up in what you see is a miracle in itself and frankly is barely noticable after the signal arm is in position and obscuring it.



The reverse view of the lamp hopefully giving a slight indication of what I did. The legs of the LED (anode and cathode) are vertically orientated ie one on top of the other. This had some advantages and disadvantages in assembly. The main advantage was using the lower leg as a part of the bracket mentioned above while the disadvantage was that the upper leg need a wire soldered to it. Once it is painted black however and the wire secured I am positive no-one will pick it out on the layout!



A slightly closer view of the rear of the lamp showing the wire soldered to the LED. Note that the rest of the signal is live and is the positive feed and then only one wire is required as the negative to make the LED work, saves a wire.

 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I then secured the signal to my block and prepared it for installation of the track sensor plate which is the lozenge shaped sign that tells the driver that detection is in place and he doesn't need to contact the signal box in any way (that's my take on it - if I'm wrong someone here will sort it out
)



Once agin the item was burnished on the fret and lightly tinned to the reverse. The obverse carrys 4 indentations representing securings to the post, vertical pair and horizontal pair. I chose horizontal and filled the two vertical ones with a touch of solder, filed nice and smooth after installation. I applied a little flux to a clean part of the post at the height suggested in the instructions and after getting a firm hold with my tweezers I sweated the sign in place.



Prior to installing the sign I had leapt ahead with allder installation. Rather than create a 5mm slot with a Dremel like device that I don't posess I sized a drill bit that looked like it would create a hole large enough to receive the ladder stiles if inserted in it. This prooved to be about a 1mm hole and I drilled two holes into pre punched marks using my new scriber courtesy of Richard! Now it would have been better and easier to have done this marking out with the benefit of the scribed longitudional line previously marked onto the base plate however I soldered the post in the wrong way resulting in said scribe marking appearing now on the under side of the base plate - most helpful!



While having drill in hand I drilled a further 1mm hole right at the base of the post at the rear to take the wre for the LED to be threaded through later. I used this hole to secure the signal base plate to the timber block while playing with the ladder as can be seen in the following photo. Here I have fully tinned the ladder while on the etch by lightly burninshing with the fibreglass pen, more gently now to alleviate the shards of fibreglass that end up in my hands. Once burnished I apllied a light application of flux using my paint brush and then the tiniest of touches of solder to the clean tip and then run along each stile and rung resulting a perfectly tinned ladder etch on both sides. All very easy yet probably one of the activities that scared me the most initially. The ladder has its upper most rung removed with the fret cutters and then filed with the emery board to remove any traces of the rung. I then folded it as per instructions. I roughly sighted the bottom end of the ladder and cut of ecess rungs leaving a couple of stiles that could be poked through those previously drilled holes. By the way the distance of the ladder bottom from the post is given in the instructions for various ladders and that is all I used for this one.



Once cut roughly to size and secured in the lower holes I kept a close eye on the top before making the bottom secure in the two holes as per the photo. Once secured a touch of the iron secured the ladder to the mounting block installed simply from the part supplied on the etch; cut, filed, and slid over the pole. I decided to make mine a little more realistic by spiltting it at the front. This also eased installation too.

 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Once I was happy with the ladder at the top and the bottom I then burnished and tinned the stays as supplied on the fret. Two pairs are provided however given that this is one of the shorter signals at 16' I decided to use one pair centrally mounted. Whether this is prototypical who knows however it appears from signals that you build it and you will find te prototype somewhere!

The stiles were secured by tinning the pole with flux and a hot tinned iron at the point I wanted them to join however they are not meant to fall at the same point as a rung on the ladder so I offset mine slightly. Now I didn't want the heat of this application to melt my track detection sign either so I made them alittle lower but they look fine to me.



Next came the safety hoop which was formed from th fret, burnished and tinned (seeing a pattern developing yet?) It was wrapped around the shank of a 7mm diameter drill bit as suggested in the instructions and when let go it springs out to an 8mm size which apparently is correct.



I then faffed around trying to secure it 4mm below the centreline of the signal arm bearing (near enough and don't play too much with it after!)



There was probably some jig I could have built to accelerate this proces but that will develop as the next 50 or so signals do.

A nice closeup showing the bearing, lamp, ladder, hoop etc all in place.



A broader view showing the entire signal with all construction soldering now completed except for thback blinder which will happen after painting (tomorrow!)

 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I then used super glue (CA) to secure the LED wire roughly down the reverse of the signal so that when painted it should appear to look like some sort of conduit.



And the day ended with a final assembly of the arm in the signal spindle bearing and much gloating and self congratulating followed by a glass or two (or three!) of fine Western Australian Shiraz and a delicious corned beef while waiting for the FA Cup Final to sceen. Cheers
 

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Words fail me, so you'll have go make do with these guys -



David
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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844 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 15 May 2008, 23:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As to those scary small holes, its good to use a taper reamer on them and it saves using all those small drills - if U need I can arrange a set from about 0.3mm upwards for you when you visit later this month (but remind me by email before U come as I don't normally have them on display)

Richard,
Anything that will assist in the process is most welcome so yes please put one aside at some time as I know you will be getting ready for the perth MR show at the end of the month so easy does it.
Cheers,

Paul.
 

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Paul Hamilton aka &quot;Lancashire Fusilier&quot;
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Great to see Sol Cambell out there agin. Most missed in our household, especially by my missus


QUOTE (john woodall @ 18 May 2008, 05:00) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi LF,

A great Job.

Good to see ex-Arsenal beat Cardiff.

John
 

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Re losing the triangular bit forming the underside of the lamp-bracket - likewise with mine. I cut a bit off the surplus fret and used that.

Your wire to the LED - what sort is it, exactly?

Regards,
John Webb
 
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