Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

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Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Thu Jan 22, 2015 1:44 pm

Some years ago, I found four bits of 1/4" plywood in a skip. They are 13 1/2 x 23 1/2" and have been put to the side pending the day when I might actually do something with them. That time has now come, and all of the bits and pieces I've been gathering up and hoarding for the last 35 years are to be used for a variety of projects.

rsz_2015-01-22_125010.jpg
The plywood in question
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So far a 009 layout has been planned and is well under way, the base has had a frame built under it to hide the wiring and a few other things, and I've stuck 1" Styrofoam to it to make the ground as this is easy to carve into shape. One of my pet hates is model "ground" that is uniformly flat, without any humps and hollows, streams, gullies and the like. Hopefully I can make a good enough job to avoid this.

I've always had a fondness for the micro layout, and have been a frequent visitor to the late, great Carl Arendts page. The SAP line caught my eye, as it is a very simple idea, but totally unlike anything else, with a lot of operating potential, as well as the chance of actually getting the thing finished in a reasonable time frame. I looked hard at making a copy, and then thought that it would be just that - a copy.

So, I've changed the premise round a bit, and come up with the idea of the sorting / bagging / loading facility for a cat litter mine (off stage). I found some downloaded printies of cat litter boxes (I'm certain they came from somewhere here, and a big "thank you" to whoever created them) which gave me the idea. The track plan remains the same, although I've never been too happy with the idea of a CD and case for the turntable. I can see it breaking with use, and being a right b****r to replace.

I work in IT recycling, and have access to lots of dismantled hard disk drives. These have lovely motors in them, with super smooth, very precise bearings. I've thought for a long time that one of these with a single drive platter covered in a wood deck would make the basis of a really nice turntable, and have a prototype under construction. (A fringe "benefit" is that with a RC car speed controller properly attached, rotation speeds of 7200 rpm can be achieved, although track alignment could be fun.)

Baseboard construction is planned for the weekend, so more as I have it.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby docnjoj » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:24 pm

Sounds like a great project, lesmond. In "old days" we used to rewind CDRom motors and use them to fly lightweight R/C aircraft with good success. I'll be watching your remotor situation with interest.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:24 pm

I'll be watching from here. :)

On the turntable, I just built a CD case TT and although I'm sure it could be broken, I can't see how. It is quite strong and stable. It will be turned by hand, like the real ones of that size... and MUCH larger.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:41 am

David - thanks for that, I've quite a few CD / DVD drives ready for stripping too, will have to keep some aside for experiments. I'd thought of the drawer mechanism to power a sliding factory door.

Ken - my main concern are the plastic fingers that grip the CD, I'd hate to have to dig the whole thing out to change the base if they did break. I've no doubt that the concept works, though. My Mk1 will also be hand turned, all being well the protopyte will take good shape over the weekend.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:09 pm

Understood... that idea for the sliding door using the drawer mechanism is a neat one too. Gotta study that one. Hmmm... take a look at the head positioning system too while you are in there. 8)
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sat Jan 24, 2015 9:51 am

Ken.. will do. All being well I'll get an hour or two tomorrow for a fiddle, and maybe some modelling too.

Timber cutting & gluing this weekend (as well as a visit to the mother in law - woohoo!) so there should be progress early next week. I've already a piece of pink foam cut to make the ground, so once the plywood box is made for the works that can be attached. No More Nails to make it stick to plywood and a quantity of dead lead acid batteries on top of the whole thing for a day or so seems to work well.

Two interesting discoveries this morning so far. A pillar drill & sharpish drill bit makes an excellent milling machine for pink foam, and I've a hole cutter exactly the same size as the outside diameter of a hard disk drive splindle mounting plate.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:04 pm

A few developments today. Plywood was cut courtesy of B&Q yesterday, so the two long sides are well under way for the base. Glue will be set tomorrow, so I can fit the sides, then make the ends. I'm going to have to raid my late father in laws garage for some more clamps.

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One of the ends will be fitted at once, the other will be carefully marked out and drilled for power / sound / lighting / control connectors. I've all this to a standard system using XLR,D and stereo jack connectors, so no big problems there.

The Mk1 turntable has also taken more shape, and now has a lower mounting plate made from ply, and bolted to the mounting holes already on the motor.
It now looks like this (from the side, and upside down):

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and like this from the top:

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The next stage is to make a ply top (between 4 and 5" in diameter) with a center cut out to snugly fit the sticking up round plate that locates the screws which hold it all together, which will be glued to the top of the whole thing.

I tried and failed miserably to produce a half good looking circle in ply this morning using a CD as a marking out template, cutting round the outline freehand with a jigsaw, and sanding the edges afterward. It looked like nothing, and while it won't be seen, I'll know its there and won't be happy about it.

So, I'm going to call in a favour or two with a laser cutting firm based across the road from my workplace and get them to make me a few. This will save me endless bother trying to make the things.

For this Mk1 version, which will only turn 90 degrees at most, power will be fed to the track via two wires soldered to the track and running through two small holes drilled through the ply base and the hard disk platter below. For the Mk2 and subsequent variants, I'm thinking of self adhesive copper tape and wipers, or possibly spring loaded plungers (from a bayonet light fitting) to carry the current to the track. I've also an idea for a sector plate, but that's down the line a good way.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:35 pm

Bit of a busy week work wise, so not a lot of progress before today.

I collected the laser cut disks for the turntable earlier on, they are 6mm MDF, 100mm diameter, and just the job. I'm all pleased that the centers came too, they can go into the "useful wee bits of wood" box for some other project. 6 for a fiver seems fair to me, and all.

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I've one mounted to the rest of the mechanism, now to let the glue dry overnight, then drill the holes for the power feeds to the track.

[
rsz_2015-01-29_131217.jpg
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:42 pm

Looking good! Giving me ideas too. :D
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:37 am

Cheers Ken - its good to be actually making something again.

Some progress this morning - emergency job on in work, so to keep busy while recovering files from a "dead" PC, the sides went on temporarily (screws only, no glue yet 'cos I need to make the shorter sides). Mrs not too happy that I'm on work on a Saturday, so I'm thinking flowers on the way home .

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Pink foam cut more or less to size and in place, though lots to do yet before it finally goes down:

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and the outside ply (to cover all of the joins and give a nice finish to the thing when varnished and with brass corners) roughly clamped on to see how it looks:

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I've not thought of a suitable name for this one yet, but as it is a cat litter mine bagging / loading depot, I've got the thinking head on....
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby fatmac » Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:26 pm

Pusspee Mine. :lol:
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Sat Jan 31, 2015 4:41 pm

I like the baseboard. It is going to be fancy too!

By the way, just 'thinking about flowers on the way home from work' won't do it. You need to STOP and get some! :lol:
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:30 am

Fatmac - liking that one - its in the hat!

Ken - Flowers were trumped by a phone call asking for a small grocery shop on the way home, so brownie points have been regained.

All being well the baseboard will turn out ok. I've a friend with a guillotine and folder for metal in his (big - he makes air conditioning ducting :D ) shed so forming the brass corners shouldn't be too hard, given the cost of brass angle as opposed to sheet.

Minor progress last night. I cut a straight piece of Hornby train set track down a bit and centred it on the turntable. The length looks about right, it will hold a skip or flat wagon without any trouble, and possibly a very short critter type locomotive too, to save the workforce too much pushing heavy loads of freshly mined cat litter ore.

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I'll remove the missing sleepers and solder a piece of PCB in their place later to get power to the track.

The middle and sides of the track will get covered with tread plate Plastikard, and the rest a wood deck to carry the "works". I'm thinking model compressed air operation with air tanks, lever / valve assembly and operator.

I'm also wondering where the last 25 years have gone, and why I didn't do all of this sooner :?
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Wed Feb 04, 2015 3:37 pm

Not a lot of progress this week so far, mainly due to an enormous amount of work arriving in, and waiting for the postman to bring some parts.

However, I've been on the lookout for a while for the right angle crossing (its a piece of Atlas HO track) to go inside the shed where the magic takes place out of sight. Its shown here, right at the bottom of the picture:

aerial.jpg
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(This picture is borrowed from the carendt.com site, and shows a level of modelling I woud love to reach :D )

They are available on Ebay, but are in the US and quite pricey (£12 - £15) for what they are as well as a bit of a wait for delivery. Google of course knows everything, and it turns out that Gaugemaster are agents for Atlas track. So, one quick phone call later, and two of them - 'cos you never know - are on the way to me for £20 delivered.

I've a few thoughts about the building where the mined cat litter is bagged too, but they are mostly unformed as yet. I'm thinking of timber with a corrugated iron roof, in good repair, with a covered loading dock where the boxed bags can go for onward shipping.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby rue_d_etropal » Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:38 pm

For Atlas track, I always check out Gaugemaster , Atlas HO 90deg crossing. I think Bachmann do something similar, available at HattonsBachmann crossing, , but would need to remove base possibly, and remember Gaugemaster don't charge postage if you spend a certain amount.

When it comes to track dimensions, I always check out Gaugemaster website. For ordering, if they don't have it in stock, it can always go on backorder, and you will eventually get it. I had to wait for a year for some Peco figures, but knew that I would eventually get them, as long as Peco continued making them.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:01 pm

Little progress over the last few days, due to a heavy cold and a numb brain as a result.

The end panel is marked up for drilling, and I've an idea of the final "look" of the whole thing. If I get a minute later I'll attempt a drawing.

The postman brought some bits:

rsz_2015-02-06_132152.jpg
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so the basic electrics will be the next job.

I've also come up with a name - as the actual cat litter mine is offsite, and this is the processing area, "The Bagging Shed" seemed appropriate.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:55 pm

Some careful measuring and drilling done, and the 2 XLR sockets and double phono socket are in place on the end board.

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The 5 pin XLR will supply power to everything - 16V AC & 12V DC from the Mighty Command Box of Power which lives on the floor and converts 230V AC to less lethal voltages, and has standardised connectors for four small layouts at once, as well as a range of other voltages which may be useful at some point.

The 4 pin XLR takes 16V AC to a hand held DC controller, and controlled 12V DC back for the track feeds. I'm going to have four switched sections, to enable more than one locomotive to appear from time to time, just for the fun of it. There will be a very small control panel built underneath the roof of the shed with section switches built in.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:51 pm

Painfully slow recently, I've managed to glue two pieces of wood together - not sure if that counts as "progress" or not :(

I've also drawn a 1:1 plan of the whole thing, and worked out what is going where. It needs a few tweaks, and a bit of fleshing out, as well as some clearances increased, but the whole thing is taking good shape. Its drawn in pencil; apologies as it is hard to see.

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I'm going to operate the sliding door using an R/C servo and a flexible cable hidden inside the Bagging Shed so that the works are invisible.

I'm a member of the Model Electronic Railway Group (MERG) who produce a kit to drive a servo from a switch for a bank breaking £1.86. With any luck (I've a few servos about the place) the whole mechanism should cost less than a tenner.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:08 am

Looking forward to seeing that servo setup. :D
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:26 pm

Ken - I've it more or less worked out in my head, I'll attempt a drawing of what I'm thinking of and post it. The more people that look at it, the more likely any glaring errors of mine will be spotted :D

Slight progress tonight. I'm trying to do something at least every other day to keep it moving along. As part of my job I scrap redundant PCs, this gives me access to lots of "dead" computer PSUs. There need slightly careful handling during dismantling, but yield lots of lovely colour coded wire as well as other useful bits and pieces.

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As I've spent many happy hours lying under layouts at exhibitions in the past tracing wiring faults ("we only had blue wire" is still ringing in my ears!) I like to keep things tidy and colour coded. I've added the jumper wires from the baseboard edge connectors which will connect to the tag strip tonight.

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Yellow is 16V AC in and back out to the controller, red is 12V +, black 12V -, blue and grey are track feed from the controller, and white / purple are audio in. For the look of it I'll trim them to the right length and possibly bundle them using heat shrink when the baseboard is finished and the tag strip goes in. I like wiring, me :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:07 pm

Some more progress made tonight. The four sides of the "box" are now all in place, at least temporarily, and one of the long sides has been glued and clamped up to set.

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Prior to this I mounted the tag strip and amplifier, although I'm not happy with the screws (they'll not be seen, but crucially I'll know they're there) and will change them for ones with dome heads when I find some.

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The leads soldered last night will reach to where they need to with no problem - you'd nearly think they were measured! Once the four sides are glued into place and I make and fit wee blocks to reinforce the corners, I'll connect the leads to the tag strip.

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I've also acquired a greeting card sound module. This allows 10 seconds of sound to be recorded via a microphone and played back by pressing a button. As the turntable is to be "powered" by compressed air, I'm going to modify the module to be triggered with a reed switch with a magnet glued to the bottom of the hard disk spindle under the turntable deck. I've found an appropriate (free) 5 second sound clip of an industrial washing machine which sounds like a good hard blast of compressed air such as would be needed to turn the table with a couple of heavy hoppers of cat litter on it.

Slow but steady advances - happy :D :D
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby Nevadablue » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:28 am

I have some of those card audio things on order. I'll be looking for how you implement the thing. They do look interesting.
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:47 pm

Ken,

Not much joy (yet) with the card module, so far the compressed air blast (which sounds fine on my elderly laptop) sounds like white noise when recorded and played back. I'm still experimenting with the positioning of the microphone relative to the speaker to record the sound effect, though. Various other sounds record and play back ok, so the module generally works well.

I may well end up making up a short cable to connect the headphone socket on the laptop directly to the card module and take the microphone out of the equation.

The speaker also sounds very different depending on position and surroundings. I think a fairly shallow enclosure made from the end of a plastic yogurt pot may be the best option for good reproduction.

I've spent the last two days sorting and tidying my workshop at home, it hasn't seen much use for the last few years and was very cluttered and untidy, so not a lot of progress on the layout. All the initial woodwork is now done, so I'll solder the basic wiring next.

Edit - the screws that were annoying me are now changed!
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:14 pm

Some more progress today. I made and soldered the first lot of connections on the tag strip, and made the cable to connect the as yet unmade controller to the 4 pin XLR socket. I held the pairs of wires together with a short piece of shrink wrap.

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I now have 12V DC in, split into four for the servo control module, amplifier, lucky green LED (important, that), and yard / building lighting if I decide to fit any. There are also five sets of track feeds which will lead to section switches in a very small control panel mounted in the open back of the roof of the shed at the back of the layout so I can in theory have two locomotives running without problems.

Next is the final woodwork, then I can start working on the pink foam "ground".
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Re: Variant of the Carl Arendt SAP Line

Postby lesmond » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:19 pm

Some progress this week, although I've been sidetracked by the basic wiring for a 009 layout (the same size as this one 'cos its on one of the other bits of plywood) and lots of work. I reckoned that as the soldering iron, wire etc was out it was best to get all the same sorts of jobs done at the same time.

I've also built the MERG servo control module, and to my delight and amazement, it worked first time. I'm very pleased with it, and it should operate the sliding door perfectly. The only servo I had handy for testing is fitted to a model boat, but it all works well and has plenty of very fine adjustment for speed and end position at either end of the travel. The servo moves by flicking a toggle switch. Well worth £1.86.

It looks like this:

rsz_2015-02-26_213220.jpg
rsz_2015-02-26_213220.jpg (52.95 KiB) Viewed 4504 times


I'll get to the local model shop on Saturday, and acquire a servo and some control cable, so I can start thinking about the mechanics of the door mechanism. I've a mental image of how it should work, but no experience of using the flexible cable, so it will be all good fun finding out about it.
"Because I Can"


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