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LNWR signal box build

19550 Views 77 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  dwb
One of my New Year's resolutions is to build a locomotive chassis kit, and this isn't it. Since I haven't soldered anything apart from small pieces of wire, I thought I would learn on something static. A couple of years ago I bought a London Road Models LNWR signal box kit (link) which seems like a good place to start.

So I've read the instructions several times; identified all the bits and pieces on the frets; I'm just about ready to start and can't decide how to separate the parts from the fret without causing any damage.

Do I use a really sharp knife or do I need a good quality side cutter of some kind?

I don't know - HELP!

(Once my camera batteries are charged, I'll post some step by step photos)
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***Hi David

If you are sure it should be through in all places, by all means have a go with a blade to fix it - many gentle passes rather than a hard go at it though. Also a blade with the very tip snapped off will be better - you want to scrape away a super fine slither, not cut, as this will distort the planks.

Re bending, I usually do it against a steel rule or straight file edge - locate the rule at the half etch line then bend against a hard straight surface - the ruler supports the flap as its bent and keeps it perfectly straight.

Re the soldering, I note you are using tacks at several points, and the look of the joint makes me think perhaps you are using standard solder and no flux?

The best procedure for long seam joints is:

(1) Prepare all parts by filing the etched cusp square - be gentle here, a couple of strokes will get rid of it! Now clean up the surfaces generally and then clean where solder is to go with a fibreglass brush or fine wet and dry.

(2) Option 1.
Add lots of flux to the area to be soldered and tin it/them with a very thin coat of solder (Then follow 3 on, but with very little added solder - just enough to "wet" the tip of the Iron.
(2) Option 2.
Hold the parts together and liberally apply flux.

(3) Soldering Iron set to between 370 and 400 degrees. Pick up a small amount of 145 degree or 179 degree solder with the Iron and apply to the parts, drawing the Iron along the seam. Stop as soon as the flux has boiled off

(4) If needed, add more flux and solder as appropriate. When it comes to solder "less is more" - you only need a very small amount and there is no need for larger lumps to hold parts together - it should be as thin as a paint coat!

Clean up the joint if needed using solder mop dipped in flux to remove any excess solder before going on to the next joint.



(PS: I very much prefer special shears/scissors to cut the frets - they cut perfectly to the part edge so no need for cleaning up dags after removal and handle up to 0.15" brass. As a bonus, the ones I had made under DCCconcepts label are fine enough to cut the fine etching "cusp" off the edge of etched brass too!

QUOTE (dwb @ 2 Feb 2009, 03:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I've just been doing some "tab" filing in preparation for the next stage and noticed that the etching for the planking of the veranda/platform is not completely through in all places. Is it wise to have a go at cleaning this up with a scalpel blade or should I leave well alone?

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*** Hello David

TIP - you should be using a 2 to 3mm chisel tip. Sorry, I should have mentioned that last post. (single sided chisel)

Small items: Use this method for all exposed seams, small items etc. "Thin" means spread out to almost nothing at all when I talk about tinning.

The best way is to clean both items with fibreglass brush and then carefully tin both items with a very, very thin layer of solder. (flux them and rub tip over the surface to be joined with almost no solder on the tip. "Less is more" when tinning).

Then, re-apply flux (be generous) and hold them together. Apply Iron with almost no added solder at all on the tip and the joint will flow together nicely with minimal solder thickness. Any excess will need little or no cleanup with a fibreglass brush.

re the existing joints with too much solder. Remove the parts and wipe over the area with solder wick/mop dipped in flux / Iron on top as your "broom handle". This will remove almost al excess and the remaining "tinned" surface can be cleaned up with the fibreglass brush or very fine wet and dry used wet. Just smooth any remaining tiny bumps really, and leave a thin layer of tinning in place as it will allow easy resoldering with almost no added solder. The tinned part should end up so thin that it won't really show under paint at all.


If you look closely at the platform brackets just under the end window you will see that I haven't mastered the art of attaching small objects to large chunks of metal. There are still great big blobs of solder and I haven't worked out how to get the solder to flow like paint on the big mass of metal. As I hope the step assembly shows, I'm fine with the small stuff.

Can someone give me some clues? Is this a case where the shape of the tip is important? I'm using quite a pointy tip at the moment.

<Endquote David>
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Hi Paul

look here for your Midland box - and footbridge kit too



QUOTE (Lancashire Fusilier @ 6 Feb 2009, 14:12) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I think you are going along well and will have really made a lot of head way into mastering soldering after this one.

I must get me one of those kits too I think for my Midland box. Looks like it will be the Dickens to paint when done though. Do you leave the roof off? Put in an interior?
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***Absolutely Magic David - the box + train looked really great.

I'll bet he's not cold with that fire - looks very toasty indeed. Perhaps set the voltage level CV for that function to about half so he doesn't boil the kettle dry too quickly

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***Hmmm you may be right. I was thinking ESU not FL4. It may be a case of another 5 to 10k on the LED then. Still looks good though - and its hard to appreciate actual levels from a video as they never really look the same as being in the room with them.

Kindest regards

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