GnEWBIE Snowflake Entry

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GnEWBIE Snowflake Entry

Postby Eee Gee » Fri May 31, 2013 6:24 am

Ok, I am new here, and a little swept away by the creativity and enthusiasm of this crowd. Having FUN with your hobby. What a concept!

So I'm ready to plunge into the Snowflake Challenge.

I don't exactly have a theme yet, except that it's going to be Christmas oriented, whether a toy factoy or a city scene. I guess it will be a process of discovery, like Christopher Columbus, except with trains instead of boats, and pizza instead of - what? - a new trade route to the east.

OK, forget the metaphors. Not my strong suit. Point is, I am going to harness this contest to have a tabletop layout by December 24!!!

I don't have a pizza box.

Being anti-fun, my doctor dosen't want me around the steamy, fatty, spicey, glorious stuff. However, I've learned from other posts here that 16 x 16 is a standard size. If I build a foamcore base 15 x 15 I should be safe, so I built it:

Image

If I complete my project, my reward will be that I will order a pizza and celebrate. I will send a picture of my pizza box layout to my doctor for Christmas. :D

If he doesn't fuss much about it I will let him play with my trains. :D :D

There will be much rejoicing.

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Postby Eee Gee » Fri May 31, 2013 6:38 am

I am greedy. Therefore, I have decide my Snowflake Pizza will have at least two or three levels of track.

I built columns for the 2nd level out of foam core:

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Once I installed them, they looked like this:

Image

Then, I made the 2nd level:

Image

Finally, I added it to the columns:

Image

Right now, the white foam core makes my entry look pristine and fresh, like a wedding cake. Do not be fooled. Though I love Christmas, my favorite seasonal shows are Bad Santa and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones version, thank you very much)

In the end, my entry will be sweet, but it should also have an edge of darkness, of darkness overcome.

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Postby cjwalas » Fri May 31, 2013 1:09 pm

This really does look like a fun layout and I like your approach of making it more architectural than landscape. What kind of rolling stock are you going for?
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Postby Eee Gee » Fri May 31, 2013 5:57 pm

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement.

For rolling stock, I'm thinking on the bottom level I want freight carts, maybe something like the old underground delivery system in Chicago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MoNyzmWz_Y

I want a passenger train on the second level, and up on the 3rd level, where the radius is even tighter, some sort of self propelled taxi, something like Juergen created here:

http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=9071

I've never created anything in Gn15, so this is going to be fun.

The style of my stuff is going to be tinplate. Here's an armored train I constructed on an old Marx mechanism using brass and sheet metal:

Image

Then I started building standard gauge equipment on O gauge mechanisms. I call it STDnO. Here's a size comparison:

Image

So in this case, I'll be building tinplate on top of my old HO scale mechanisms. The result should be unabashedly toy like and silly, which I hope will contrast against a more dark and stern cityscape.

Eee Gee

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Postby Artizen » Fri May 31, 2013 8:40 pm

This sounds like just my type of layout!!!
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Postby Eee Gee » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:51 pm

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your kind words. Last night it occurred to me that if this pizza layout becomes tall enough, and if it is used as a centerpiece at the Christmas table this year, I need only get myself put in charge of seating arrangements to protect myself from unwanted conversation with distant relatives by placing the layout between us :) (Of course I'm joking. I always wind up getting sent to the children's table where I belong, any way!) :D :D :D

Seriously, I pushed up to the third level of track and have the basic superstructure completed:

Image

I've also included a kids-eye-view since kids spend more time looking at these things then the rest of us:

Image

Next, I can start adding some of the details and textures that will make the layout more interesting. Lately I've fallen under the spell of Gerry Bullock's Dickensville{ I wish - no it's Gerry Snelson's}, and want to disrupt the bland deco lines of my superstructure with outcroppings of peaked roofs and dormers and chimneys like in he shows in his tutorial.

I can learn a lot from the members of this group!

EeeGee

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Postby Artizen » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:30 pm

Now if you can make the top track levitate up and down that would be really cool!!!


:lol:
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Postby Gerry Bullock » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:18 am

Eee Gee wrote:Hi Ian,

Lately I've fallen under the spell of Gerry Bullock's Dickensville, and want to disrupt the bland deco lines of my superstructure with outcroppings of peaked roofs and dormers and chimneys like in he shows in his tutorial.

I can learn a lot from the members of this group!

EeeGee


Careful now, I may be responsible for the Virtual Exhibition however Dickensville is the creation of Gerry Snelson. :wink:
That'll be the day when my modelling is as good. :lol:
So little time, so many ideas!!!!! GerryB.
http://gn15gnutt.blogspot.com/

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Postby Eee Gee » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:04 pm

Apologies to both Gerrys. Hopefully, there's enough talent going around that you'll both be flattered that I confused you with the other! :D :D

Ian, a levitating track would be awesome! How to do it :?:

:idea: The first idea that comes to my mind is, if you've ever torn open the CD ejecting mechanism from an old computer, there is a rack and pinion assembly hooked up to a dc motor. If you could harvest these from four computers and mount the racks vertically to the four columns, you could attach the corresponding pinions to under the track and hook all four motors to a common power source so they would raise and lower it in unison. This is beyond my skill level, but I think it could be done.

On the other hand, I am toying with the possibility of adding an elevator to the central core so all three loops are accessible to each other.

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Postby Artizen » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:55 pm

Levitating the third level and the elevator could be done with compressed air? Will the elevator throb and glow like the Tardis control panel? :lol:
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Postby Oztrainz » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:43 am

Hi Eee Gee,
Elevating inspiration is a gnear as "The Stamping Ground",
check out page 14 http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=2779&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=325

:twisted: :idea: If my motor gearbox drive was replaced with a stall type motor, and
you used a rack and pinion drive on one column and long parallel slides in channels on the other 3 columns to prevent the moving bit from twisting as it moves and
with fixed stops at either end of travel..... :wink:

I'm gnot saying it might be easy, but it just might work :?:
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Postby Glen A » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:09 am

Here is my very simple idea for your elevator in the middle (as you have suggested).
The elevator car is circular, and in the very middle is a hollow tube running down through the centre of it.
At the very top of your tower is a small pulley wheel. At the very bottom of the base is a hole exactly in the centre.

On the roof of your elevator car, attach a string. It goes up, around the pulley wheel at top, and back down - through the tube in the middle of the car - and out through the hole in the middle of the base.

When you pull on the string at the bottom the car should go up. When you slowly let go of the string the car should come down (you may need to add some weight in the car to help come down).
The string through the middle should help keep the car in the centre of the shaft.

If you can get it working slowly pulling on the string, then you can think about motorising it. A simple crank handle, a stall motor or limit switches are all possibilities.

No amount of electronic trickery will make something work if it doesn't work in 'manual' mode. So that is your first step. Get it working manually and then worry about the next step - if you think it needs one.
Good luck!

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Postby backwaterscotland » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:43 am

Impressive construction work

There's something in the styling that makes me think of Fritz Langs Metropolis - I could see it being 1920s Sci-Fi styled, maybe with robot-driven locos :wink:

Andy 8)

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Postby vsmith » Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:26 pm

Wow if any layout ever called for a Flash Gordon train, thats it :D
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Postby Artizen » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:10 am

May I introduce to you the Kansai Airport Flash Gordon train - (taa-dah!!!!) http://www.flickr.com/photos/hikarisupe ... otostream/
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Postby Adrian » Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:33 am

G'day Eee Gee
I went away for the weekend and this happens ...........
Like the idea of 'going up' to increase the visual impact and using it as the centerpiece of a Christmas dinner table setting.
Sorry to hear that the doc. has spoilt your fun re. the pizza box (I won't tell if you don't)
regarding the elevating top track have you thought of a motorized car radio antenna ?
Might be a little difficult to hide the mech. but would give you lots of vertical movement.
By the way, like the design of the towers .... but then recently did a trip to NZ first for bureaucratic reasons, second to see Napier with all its 'Art Deco' buildings ... which I loved.
Keep up the good work .... its coming along nicely.
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Postby Eee Gee » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:21 am

John, Glen, Ian and Adrian,

Thanks for all the ideas and references for the elevator. I'm going to take some time figuring out the best way for me to engineer and power it and you've given me some excellent ideas to work with.

Luckily, I can build it independently on the bench and drop it into the center core of the pizza when I'm happy with it. Also, if something goes wrong or I need to make tweaks later on, I can pull it out without wrecking the rest of the project. Ian, you'll need to let me borrow your sonic screwdriver to make it glow like the Tardis control panel, though. :wink:

In the mean time, tonight I started soldering up an industrial-looking elevator cage and will post pictures when I get the chance later in the week.

Andy and vsmith, YES! Metropolis and Flash Gordon are major inspirations at this point, but also Bladerunner and Brazil. Right now I'm toying with the idea of aging and decaying the "modern" superstructure and then planting it with smaller, more textural buildings, something like the way barnacles grow on neglected vessels.

I can't really say how it will turn out but I'm having fun. :D

Thanks to all for your encouragement and ideas! :D :D :D

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Postby Eee Gee » Sat Jun 08, 2013 7:33 am

Hi Friends, hope you all had a great week! :)

I found some time to put together an elevator car out of sheet metal and brass to test out some of the ideas thrown around here last week:

Image

At first, I started putting together a caged elevator shaft, but finally decided to keep it simple and used two vertical steel rods held top and bottom with pieces of plywood:

Image

I put two lugs on the elevator car to capture the rods so it slides up and down steadily and built a sheave topside to raise and lower the car. So far, it works OK manually.

Image

Hopefully, I can put a low RPM motor on it this weekend to test the assembly and start working out the electrical switches to cut off the power when it reaches top and bottom.

Good times!

EeeGee

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Postby Glen A » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:28 pm

You have got a great solution there!

The only thing I can suggest is that maybe you want to consider another two lugs the at roof level height. It will most likely work great like you have built it running manually, but if you are going to put in limit switches (and they are micros switches) depending where you place them, they may force the cage off balance. The extra lugs will make sure it always stays upright.

Otherwise it looks great, and I am looking forward to see the next step. :)

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Postby Artizen » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:14 am

A microswitch on both posts at the same point vertically will mean the cage has to squeeze between them rather than get pushed across slightly to pass. One of the microswitches can be a dummy as it is only there to exert equal pressure as the cage passes. Hope you understand what I am trying to say here! :D
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Postby Oztrainz » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:59 pm

Hi Eee Gee,
Looking Good. Have a look at following link for a set up with limit switches
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=3963&start=125
The way it works - The motor has to be a DC motor. I used DC gearhead motors from a local electronic shop. The motor is controlled by a separate circuit for each direction of travel. These circuits are a mirror image of each other when it comes to polarity. The circuit is very basic, consisting of a DC power supply feed to a centre-off double pole switch, two limit switches and two diodes. The DC power supply feed goes the the centre terminals of your centre off switch. The polarity to one side of the switch is the same as the centre terminal but crossed for the other teminals. This gives you a reversing switch that is off in the centre position. This is the starting point. From each leg of the switch, the wiring goes from the postive side contact to the limit swich to one side of the DC motor and and back to the other contact on that side of the switch. Make sure that the leads from the limit swiches go to the same side of the DC motor.

For each side of the circuit, the limit switch is set up so that it breaks the circuit to the motor when it is tripped. Wired across each limit switch is a diode such that when a particular limit swich contact is made, the diode will allow the current to pass ONLY when then motor is reversed when the reversing switch is thrown to travel the other direction. This diode allows your cage to move back off the limit switch. As soon as the cage moves off the limit switch, the direction switch will continue to feed the motor from the other side of the circuit until the other limit switch at the other end of travel is triggered. This gives you a foolproof circuit that cannot be over-run if the direction switch is thrown the wrong way.
CAUTION make sure you have the diodes the correct way around. If you have these diodes the wrong way around they will overide your limit switches and you have an "uncontrolled" circuit. I did this on one of my doors and the gearhead motor had enough "Ooomph" to smash my door supports.

Wire in any speed control resistor/potentiometer between the power supply and the one of center terminals on your reversing switch.

For testing - set you cage up in a middle position. Apply power (either way doesn't matter), whichever direction the cage moves, trip the limit switch at the end of travel before the cage gets there and hold the limit switch down, the cage should stop and remain stopped until the reversing switch is thrown the other way. Throw the reversing switch the other way, the cage should move the other direction and test the other limit switch the same way.
If the cage does not stop when the limit switch is held down, turn the direction switch to off immediately and check your diode polarities and which limit switch is being fed by the reversing switch.

Clear as mud??? :?: :wink:
It take longer to explain than it does to do the soldering involved in setting it up.
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Postby Adrian » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:24 am

G'day Eee Gee
Now that is what I would call an elevator !

A work of art that looks really functional.

I will echo the remarks from Glen.
Originally I thought that the micro switches could be above and below so not giving any side thrust to the cage but then I remembered that you had three levels to stop at.

Also John has good description of wiring the limit switches which does sound more difficult than it actually is ! :shock:

One thing we don't yet know is how comfortable are you with electrical things ?
Does the thought of 3 or more wires break you out in a sweat or are you happy with transistors, integrated circuits and relays :?:
It does make a difference in our answers ---- personally I would use a microprocessor in this case but I wouldn't advise it to the majority of the members here.
Different horses for different courses.

Can't wait to see the elevator installed and running.
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Postby Eee Gee » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:05 am

Hi Glen, Ian, John and Adrian!
Thanks for all the suggestions, gents. :D

First off, Glen, I took your advice and added the additional lugs to the roof of the elevator car. It really reduces the amount of deflection and twist so the car will stay in line instead of trying to bind.

Ian, I see exactly what you're saying. In a way, you're addressing the same sort of issue as Glen. By balancing out the two switches on either side (even if one is a dummy) I can prevent twist and deflection. good call!

John, I have read your post several times to absorb all the info contained within and think I am almost there. I was picturing a circuit similar to the one you are describing, with a DPDT knife switch with the central neutral and opposite polarities for the two throws. Then, I was thinking of making a brass spring switch for the ceiling and floor of the elevator shaft.

I pictured it working like this: Positive power would cause the elevator to rise, but when it reached it's limit at the top, it would cut it's own power on the cut-off switch above. The only way to reactivate would be to throw the knife switch to negative causing the car to descend to where it would cut that circuit's power on the cut-off switch on the floor.

The knife switch would allow kids (and adults bored with the dinner conversation) to manually stop and start the elevator at intermediate floors.

Big question is: Do you think I still need the diodes to protect the circuit in the scenario I've described? To tell you the truth, I'm new to diodes, but I'm here to learn!!

Adrian, you ask how comfortable I am with electrical things. :oops:

To quote from Steve Bennett's response to John Garaty's 500th post: " All that lectrickery, would give me nightmares" :shock:

Seriously, I'm comfortable with mechanical things, OK with electrical stuff, and totally befuddled when it comes to electronics. :cry: Hopefully, as I spend more time here, you folks will be able to lead me into the 21st century. :D

In the mean time, just to show you how backward I am, here's the other project I'm working on right now:

Image

It's a Hero's Engine made from a copper toilet float and steam ports of copper tubing. Below is an alcohol stove made from aluminum cans. Temporary superstructure by Erector. You fill the float with water, and when it boils, steams jets out of the ports and spins the shaft pretty good.

Last night I managed to get the engine to turn this gear box and crank arm:

Image

Eventually, I want to use the power from it to make these copper wings flap up and down:

Image

So, as you can see, I have a ways to go before I work myself into modern times... :D :D :D

EeeGee

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Postby Artizen » Wed Jun 12, 2013 4:55 am

This forum needs a LIKE button! (And I thought installing working chimneys on my current build was just the duck's nuts.)

This is sensational - please keep posting photos.

I particularly like the steam kettle. :D The wings aren't too shabby either. :D Maybe mixed in with a little Emmett whimsy on my next layout? :D
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Postby Tomo » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:21 pm

EeeGee,

I appears you have a inventiveness of the same caliber as Professor Fate! You have aYouTube video in the making with the "Winged Contraption!"

Tomo


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