Moving train ferries

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Les
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Moving train ferries

Postby Les » Wed May 29, 2013 3:24 pm

During the last few months I've been experimenting with getting small train ferries/powered car floats to move, if only to rotate through half a circle to hide behind the backscene. I started off with a large "lazy susan" on which the ferry was mounted, as suggested by Giles Barnabe in an early issue (?Issue 25) of MTI.

Then, wanting to do away with the rotating "sea" (i.e. lazy susan) I've gone on instead to try attaching the craft by a stiff wire, hopefully not too visible, to a slow-rotation unit from a photocopier which I was kindly sent by a fellow- modeller following a discussion at Narrow Gauge South West some years back. The ferry has small wheels (HO bogies cut in half) set up into its hull on which it runs.

Attached are some pictures of my test rig to date and two partly built ferries/car floats, one to 1:32 scale and one to 1:24. Both are made from card as can be seen from the photos.

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Postby Jon Randall » Wed May 29, 2013 4:50 pm

Very interesting Les.
I was wondering if it would work if you kept the wire under the baseboard and mounted a magnet on it as well as one under the barge :?:
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Postby Les » Wed May 29, 2013 6:30 pm

That's a good idea Jon, which I'll experiment with. A problem I found is that the ferry can easily move quite jerkily - that's why I ended up with rail wheels with pin-point bearings underneath it.
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Postby Glen A » Wed May 29, 2013 7:00 pm

Wow Les.
Great idea. Haven't seen that done before.
Have you tried adding more weight on top just to see if that dampens the jerkiness (or makes it worse :? ).

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Postby Les » Wed May 29, 2013 9:04 pm

Thanks Glen. However, I got the idea from Giles Barnabe, so can't claim it's mine - just expanding it. That's the great thing about this hobby, ideas are freely shared :D

I have tried adding weight to the boat and it does help quite a bit but the main problem seems to be any roughness to the "water" surface which the wheels tend to catch on. As I want to represent wavelets by stippling layers of white glue over a painted base, this might make thing worse, so I'm thinking about trying to stiffen the wire, which is still slightly springy.

Will keep updating as things prgress.
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Postby Glen A » Thu May 30, 2013 7:36 am

I was going to ask about the base.
I thought later that maybe you could put a sheet of glass over the top. This would be a nice smooth service and hard (so the wheels don't wear tracks in it over time). But if you want a ripple surface then this won't achieve the effect your after. (unless you can live with the ripples under the glass).
If you did put glass on the top, you could have a different motor turning the ripple effect under the glass. A moving ripple effect - now that might work for you?

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Postby John New » Thu May 30, 2013 9:08 am

Lateral thinking. It's only a small area could you move the scenery leaving the ferry static? Visually I'm guessing the effect would be the same.
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Postby Les » Thu May 30, 2013 11:45 am

Several good ideas there, gentlemen 8) I shall work on this - as you say it's only a small area - the water area will coverabout 2ft front to back and 1'6" side to side.
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Postby cjwalas » Thu May 30, 2013 4:34 pm

What an excellent idea for a model! I'm really intrigued by this and looking forward to seeing you sort it all out. Thanks for showing us this.
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Postby Eee Gee » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:11 pm

I love this concept!

I can imagine using it as one component in a Rube-Goldberg type layout that was composed of many separate modular "tiles" that could be plugged together as desired.

In this case, the train would enter the ferry and a relay switch would shut off it's power while simultaneously activating the ferry's rotation arm. Upon making it's quarter turn, a second relay would shut off the ferry's power while simultaneously reactivating the train, which would continue on it's merry way.

What fun! :D

Imagine if a whole group of GnATTERs got together with various tiles containing automatic passing sidings, turntables, ferries, elevators, etc and assembled them into one glorious modular machine!

EeeGee

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Postby Fenway » Mon Jun 03, 2013 2:46 pm

John New wrote:Lateral thinking. It's only a small area could you move the scenery leaving the ferry static? Visually I'm guessing the effect would be the same.

That sounds similar to Douglas Adams' "Infinite Improbability Drive" where the shore flows back and forth while the waves remain perfectly still.

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Postby John New » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:53 pm

I was thinking along the lines of the car ferry body having a visible box side with open water scenery on it. (Think of a backscene hiding the fiddle yard) In front of this add a sliding scene showing the stern of the ferry and part of the ferry's side. That then slides aside as if the ferry was departing the quay revealing the painted open water scene behind. The scenic break being the gantry at the end of the pontoon ramp/bridge.

Smoke and mirrors I agree but avoidance of any jerkiness and risk of derailment of stock as that part doesn't actually move! Secondary bonus is a slight lengthening of the ferry as a fiddle yard.
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Postby Adrian » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:04 am

G'day Les
Really like the ferry idea.
Have you thought of using real water and floating the ferry ?
Would need careful shunting .... too many wagons on one side and it turns turtle.
Would need a working ramp to allow for different loads in the boat.
Would also need a 'shunting wagon' so that the engine does not board the ferry.
But would have almost zero friction.
Would possibly allow the use of magnets to move the ferry.
Just a few more ideas to confuse you !
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Postby Simon Andrews » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:18 pm

Maybe a ferry running in a shallow tray of real water, the water could be agitated from one side to create ripples. Electricity and water don't mix well but I seem to remember a model railway that ran through a tray od de-ionised water with no ill effects and the risk in your project seems less than that.

Ps are those life buoys or Cheerios in the wheel house of your mock up?!!

Simon.
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Postby Oztrainz » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:09 am

Hi Les and all,
As Chief Magneteer, can I inject a little sanity into any proposal to tow a ferry floating in real water with magnets?

One of the hard facts about magnetic attraction is something called the "Inverse Sqaure Law" which means the distance between the attracting magnets is critical to the attractive force exerted by the magnets. If you double the distance between the magnets you only get 1/4 of the attractive force that you had previously. If you halve the distance between the magnets you get 4 times the attractive force. Lets apply this and some other basic physics to a floating barge in water.

For a barge floating in water. the bouyancy of the barge has to exceed the weight of the barge for it to float at all. If you bring magnets into the equation the magnetic force exerted has to be enough to attract the barge toward the bottom hold it for towing yet be not enough to sink the barge when added to weight of the barge.

If the barge is bobbing about the distance between the magnets is varying. If the magnet force available to do the towing is varying you run the risk of:
1 - sinking the barge and it becomes stuck to the magnets on the bottom of the pond if the attractive force becomes too great
2- losing the magnetic tow effect and the having the barge drift away if the attractive force is reduced too much (more likely, especially if waves are introduced)


:twisted: :twisted: :idea: If you were to "sink" your ferry so that it ran along the bottom of the tray and the ferry had some wheels underneath it that ran along some tracks:
1 - would allow the barge to be moved along a fixed track on the bottom of the tray and with an identical path under the tray with some type of haulage (chain, locomotive on track, string with magnet) with the magnet(s) attached)
2 - the closer proximity of the magnets on the barge and towing mechanism results in a lot stronger magentic attractive force being available to tow the barge with less risk of a break away and the resultant "barge drifting off into the sunset" scenario.
3 - because the height of the barge deck above the bottom of the tray then becomes a known quantity, the loading docks at each end can be accurately built which then results in "first time, every time" accurate docking with rail allignnment
4 - The stronger magnetic force will also hold the barge in position at the dock which also reduces your chances of "splashing" a locomotive or car when shunting
5 - provided that you ran identical length cars with the same wheelbase the railheads on the tracks on the ferry could be attacked with a grinder at known distances along the deck to give you restraining dimples that the wheels would sit in during transit. This would reduce the chance of having a car or 2 going "overboard" during transit.
6 - I would caution against an automatic timer circuit for triggering the ferry, because shunting may not have been completed when the ferry departs the wharf resulting in a "SPLASH". However a simple "on demand" DC reversing circuit on the haulage track woud be sufficient to run the ferry journey hands-off if a loco with attached magnets is used as haulage power.
7 - add some muddy dye to your water to camourflage the underwater tracks

:shock: Thank heavens I haven't got to make this one work - but I could... :wink: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Les » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:01 pm

Thanks for all the iterest and suggestions gentlemen - has got my aged brain buzzing!

I like the idea of separate scenic modules joined together, having seen an HOe layout using this concept in a recent Voie Libre - it was pretty linear, only 15cm wide.

A sheet of glass is a briliant idea to give a smooth surface but to save weight (and possible breakage lugging it in and out of exhibitions - if it ever gets invited) I might experiment with that clear plastic sheet you can get from DIY stores. Then rubber-tyred wheels from broken toys "liberated" from the grandchildren might work rather than metal flanged ones and so not risk scratching the plastic.

Real water with ripples! Especialy with a fixed track which would solve the accurate docking and stability problems that magnets on their own might otherwise encounter - now that could be a goer.

Yes that is a Cheerios packet Simon, demonstrating that no expense is spared in the way of modelling materials. The real lifebuoys have yet to be built.

Since my last posting I have been pondering on all the ideas and in the meantime making some progress with the non-technical work of detailing the ferry. Will post some more pics soon.
Les

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Postby Adrian » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:07 am

G'day all
Les .... glad to hear that we have got your 'little gray cells' working overtime.
John ..... never said it was going to be easy ! (but Dave Rowe did it with his swans in the canal !)
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Postby Oztrainz » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:13 am

:shock: Ahhh but Mr Rowe's swans were an awful lot smaller than a loaded Gn15 train ferry :!: :!: :!: :wink:
And does it really matter if a swan swims off course :?:
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A different approach...

Postby chris69 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:25 pm

Hi,
here is a different approach.How about using one of the radio controlled tank models? They are cheap, about $20 to $30 a piece and allow complete free control when built in to the center. To stabilize use the rubber wheels on the corners. Just strip down the superstructure and as a bonus you can control something that rotates,like a winch. One thing, some of them run a bit fast and one would have to reduce the speed a bit with a resistor or so....
Just musing...... I love the idea of a moving ferry.

Here is a model link:
http://www.hobbytron.com/FiringThunder3 ... CTank.html
Cheers
Chris :roll: :roll: :oops: :lol: 8)
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Postby Les » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:04 pm

Another great idea Chris. I can foresee spending the rest of my modelling days trying them all out! Many thanks to everybody :D
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!!!

Postby chris69 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:01 pm

Glad I could assist in the confusion......

Cheers
Chris :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby Daniel O. Caso » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:06 pm

Also if I never actualy built it, may be this can be of any help.

(You must scroll down to approx. 2/3 of the page)

http://www.carendt.com/scrapbook/page80/index.html


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Postby Les » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:16 pm

Thanks Daniel. You got there first!
Les

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Postby Daniel O. Caso » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:55 pm

Les

Don´t misunderstand me. It is not about who was first there. I´m sure others have done it before. That´s wasn´t my point.
I thought the drawings could be of any help.
I really would love to see it working. I made the design but never buuilt it and thought this could be a chance to see it done.
Carld saw it at the small layout design group where the idea was discussed.
Even the possibility of using leds to create an illussion of waves movement in the rotating water surface.

For sure, if I can be of any help just let me know.

Daniel
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Postby Les » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:34 am

Thanks Daniel. Sorry - didn't mean to suggest it was a competition, just complimenting you on a great idea :D I like your track plan too, plus the fact that the ferries have another port to go to, not just disappear behind the backscene, which was as far as my thinking had got.

The first (1:24 scale) ferry, inspired by the Reedham car ferry in Norfolk, is now nearly complete and I'm working on the 1:32 scale one, based on the tiny "Cromarty Rose" car ferry which used to work in Scotland. Will post some progress pictures soon. THen on to the actual layout! (Progress is slow at the moment as gardening is keeping me very busy).
Les


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