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Randim Stackum & Wrackem Inc
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Randim Stackum & Wrackem Inc Reply with quote

Hi all,
After some discussions with some other Gnatterboxers and a long hard look at the radio-controlled forklift trucks mentioned here
http://forum.gn15.info/viewtopic.php?t=3593, I have managed to source 2 RC forklifts for the same price that I bought my remote-controlled Tamiya forklift. They arrived yesterday. The r/c forklifts are a nominal 1/20 scale.

The Tamiya unit needed some gremlins sorting in the contol box (assembly incompetence on my part Embarassed ) and in the mast - (2 holes needed de-burring to allow the moveable mast to lower correctly) Testing for this unit is now complete and it behaves very well.

Today was mock-up day to see if everything will fit and how the pallet stacks are to fit the trackplan.

The r/c forklift truck is a lot smaller than the Tamiya unit and has a much lower reach. Various combinations of pallet width and rack thickness were calculated before arriving the mock-up dimensions.
Here is the size comparison


The pallet rack was mocked up using some scrap foamcore. The final pallet rack will be considerably thinner in its dimensions.
A big "ThankYou" to Michael for the printy backscene.
Here is the Tamiya forklift in front of the pallet stack

And here is the Tamiya forklift at maximum stretch


Here is the r/c forklift in front of the pallet stacks

And here is the r/c unit waiting to load a pallet on the wagon and the tracks that are yet to arrive


Here is what happens when both forklifts mix it. It gets a tad congested


Now all I have to do is find some drivers at the right price that will fit. Very Happy
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KeithB
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look about half-way down this page for "Earl":

http://www.seltd.net/cgi-bin/ez-catalog/cat_display.cgi?account=X344897;search=17;search=Dudez%20'n'%20Babez;limit=category;v=2.0;item_count=0;order_by=;layout=system:layout_0100.xsl

Also have a look here for all kinds of appropriate bits and pieces:

http://www.modellbierkisten.de/
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Keith,
I hadn't seen Earl before. I'm running a spreadsheet with conversion to $Aussie for the stuff on the modelbierkirsten site so I can work out how much my wishlist is going to cost, assuming I can it approved by the "boss".

Space constraints (A2 overall size) limit me to the 1/16 scale Europallet at the largest(75mmx50mm). My feeling is the 1/22.5 scale Europallets may be a bit small for the forklifts at only 54mmx36mm. Volume for each bay in the pallet rack is about 80mm wide by 60mm deep by 90mm high. The load shown in the photos above is 60mm wide by 60mm deep by 70mm high.

After some test running on the mockup yesterday, it is going to take some Gniffty forklift driving to line things up and gnot biff the racks when getting "stuff" in or out. Hopefully loading and unloading the flatcars at the end of track should be easier. But first I have to lay track and find/build suitable flatcars and a loco
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Willow Creek Traction
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey John;

Gonna be fun watching to see where this goes Very Happy

Bet it would be quite a draw at a show Cool
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dreaded project creep has occurred -
New details to be incorporated in the layout are:
1 - Operating rail access lights for each loading bay(green light when train is permitted to enter building and head to the loading bay to pick up or drop off the flat car, red light at all other times)
2 - Operating rail access doors on each track(door opens when access light changes to green and closes when loco retreats behind the backsceen, access light changes to red)
3 - Gents "1/2 mile" siren under the layout to announce that the train wants admittance to the forklift area. Maybe I've worked in warehouses and around forklifts and trains for too long Twisted Evil (Perhaps I ought to leave this one out. Confused Neighbouring layouts at an exhibition might be less than impressed Shocked )

Now for the next request....
OK someone on this august group of modellers must have designed, built and commissioned a reliable powered sliding door over some tracks at some time.The key here is reliable as the door will open and close every time the train moves. I've had a good look around using the Search function and so far come up empty. Anyone got any ideas that won't break the bank?

At present I am thinking over whether the light and door contols the train or vice versa and how to how to to automate it so that the train can't hit a closed door. Although a few dings in each door would probably be highly prototypical. Smile
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shortliner
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you do the door operations with a couple of old CD drawer drives?
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jack,
That is the sort of inspiration I was looking for - at least it has a rigid rack and suitable pinion available at the right price. Add a couple of microswitches and some diodes. Maybe I can use LED's as indicator lights and the diodes as well??? Hmmm
A reed switch between the rails behind the backscene and a magnet under the loco and I may have a winner Very Happy
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Glen A
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oztrainz wrote:
At present I am thinking over whether the light and door contols the train or vice versa and how to how to to automate it so that the train can't hit a closed door. Although a few dings in each door would probably be highly prototypical. Smile


Sounds like an interesting project!
I would have a microswitch on the end of the door slide, so the power only goes to the track when the door is fully open. (or a section of track either side of the door anyway).
That stops a train driving into the door.
The harder part is stopping the door closing on a wagon which has uncoupled from the train and left across the door way. Murphy says it will happen. Twisted Evil
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More_Cats_Than_Sense
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glen A wrote:

The harder part is stopping the door closing on a wagon which has uncoupled from the train and left across the door way. Murphy says it will happen. Twisted Evil


That can be achieved with an infra-red emitter and detector, it can stop the power getting to the door mechanism if there is an obstruction in the opening.
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like I ought to issue the operators and myself radiation dosimeters Question Twisted Evil
What with magnets under the loco and in the locomotive motor, track voltage generating huge electromagnetic fields, radio control forklift trucks with assocaited electric motors, and now i/r detectors on both doors maybe that the operators are in danger of glowing in the dark and thus negating the requirements for layout lighting Question Wink
Oh yes I nearly forgot the lethally brilliant electronic flashing load generator (electronic dice)
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Glen A
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oztrainz wrote:
At present I am thinking over whether the light and door contols the train or vice versa and how to how to to automate it so that the train can't hit a closed door. Although a few dings in each door would probably be highly prototypical. Smile


Idea I've just been thinking about this again (yeah dangerous, I know Twisted Evil ),
but why do you need to have automatic detection on everything Question

Surely you are going to be there to drive the forklift right? or are you going to fully automate that too?
So if you are going to be there to drive the forklift, then you can just manually control the doors and the train as well and you won't have any crashes (unless you have a brain malfunction Twisted Evil ).

Keep it simple, right?
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Glen,
I'm also still trying to get my head around where the layout is to be driven from - front, back or side Question
If I have 2 operators the equation is easy, one drives the train from the back, the other drives the forklift from the front. If I only have myself then I have to swap loads behind the backscene as well as driving the forklifts from out front. Difficulty in seeing where the forks are will probably prevent driving the forklifts from behind the backscene. In an 8-hour exhibition session, I'll probably wear my shoes out commuting between the front and back of the layout, because the pace for a single operator could get frenetic if things are to be kept moving.

Hence my thoughts about automating the doors and lights. Provided I can make it bulletproof, it is 2 less things that add to the effect that don't have to be conciously thought of when driving the train. There is probably more than enough thinking being done keeping Mr Murphy at bay when I am driving the forklift making sure I dont biff the racks, drop a load, or fall off the layout. Embarassed
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Prof Klyzlr
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear John,

Let me pose a "operating principle" question to you...

what will be the "Master" for the layout?

- The train?
- the factory/environment?
- or the forklift?

To wit

- If the train is under manual control, it becmes the "Master".

All other devices must follow it's lead, and stay out of it's way.

This is easily achieved in terms of the dors and 1/2 mile siren,
by simple detection systems.

IE drive "at" a door, and it opens for you.
(You didn't "ask" it to,
or have to manually activate it,
it did it automatically in response to the train approach)


- If the "Environment" is the master,

then the doors opening/signals display/and 1/2 mile siren set the "beat" for the operating sequence,

and the human operators must move the trains and forklift "in step" with the layout's machinations.

(This again is fairly easy to achieve,
but has the opportunity to "bite" a new operator if they don't get "their bit" done in time...
This may require strategically placed "PANIC STOP" buttons,
so the layout operator can assist the "new shooter" to learn their assigned task, or clear a "Workcover Approved fault condition")

- If the "forklift" is the master,

the train operations and matching environmental gate/signal/siren FX can all be easily animated,

such that the "arrival show" happens,

The train stops at the required position

the forklift then has 90 realtime seconds to swap pallets,

The Siren sounds, indicating the trains immenent departure,

and the "departure show" occurs.

Repeat ad naseum... Wink



Now, where the REALLY trick stuff happens is strategically placing "isolation" switches in the various circuits,
such that you can "disable" various parts of the "automatic" fucntions,
and thus force them to become manually controlled.

The actual operating SEQUENCE of events doesn't have to change,
but the ammount of "user interaction" required to succesfully get a train

backstage > Onstage
pallets swapped/moved according to "random direction"
Traon Onstage > Backstage

is increased.



To take a practical example, I have a "warehouse gate" accross a spur on my current layout.

a train required to spot some cars in the warehouse must stop clear of the gate, and use the horn to "call the warehouse" for permission to enter.

In practical terms, the operator hits a "random On/OFF"timer, and gets either a GO or NO GO command.

Assuming they get NO GO, they wait a spell before trying again.

Assuming they get a GO response, They manualy trigger the "gate open" toggle switch,
the matching "signal" drops to GREEN,
and they can proceed into the warehouse.

If I had made the gate "auto-opening", that would be a "Train = master" situation.

If I had set the gate on a timer, and the "train engineer" has to be either IN or OUT of the warehouse without getting caught, then that would be a "Evironment = master" situation.

Hope this Helps,

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

"...waiting for the warehouse gate to swing open,
and the entrance signal to turn green,
while I'm holding up traffic on 42st St,
with my 4 car train and NYCH S4 #11,
somewhere in the wilds of Brooklyn NYC, at 03:00AM..."
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all, after some rethinking caused by the last couple of messages and some extended practice with the r/c forklift truck on an A3-sized space, some things are becoming evident:
1 - the forklift is going to be the rate limiting step, It will take however long it takes to get a pallet off the flatcar and and put it away in the nominated space in the racks. The loco will have the ability to swap out and delivery the next load to the other end of the layout well before the forklift has offloaded and reloaded the other flat car, whether the doors on the to the backscene are automatically or manually controlled.

2 - As supplied the r/c forklift is not very "user friendly" when manoevering in tight spaces. The minimum amount that the forks can be raised/lowered or the forklift moved either forwards or backwards makes it very difficult to accurately line up in front of a pallet. A friend has suggested wiring in resistors across the lift and traction motors to help make things more controllable. (More on this when I pluck up the courage to tear a new operational forklift to bits)

3 - This now means that the flat car will need to be well weighted down low to withstand biffing by the forklift truck when picking up or placing a load on a pallet. It may also mean that the loco may have to remain attached to the flatcar to supply some addititional inertia to the flatcar, and not retreat behind the backscene during loading as originally planned.

4 - As originally planned, When flatcar A is loaded:
a- change lights and open Door A
b- the loco would enter from behind the backscene,
c- pick up the flatcar A from the loading bay,
d- drop flatcarA behind the backscene,
e- change lights and close Door A
f- couple to flatcar B,
g- change lights and open DoorB
h- propel it to the other loading bay,
i- uncouple and retreat behind the backscene,
j- change lights and close DoorB
k- wait for flatcar B to be reloaded.
l- while waiting, swap load on flatcar A for a different load from those behind backscene
When flatcar B is reloaded, the cycle repeats but for flatcar B. My main reasoning behind choosing this cycle is that it gives the loco driver more to do. It also simulates industry where locos are usually kept moving from job to job.

If the loco has to remain attached to the flatcar being loaded in the loading bay and the door remains open for the loading bay with the loco, then the cycle becomes much simpler:
a- depart with loaded flatcar A
b- drop flatcar A behind the backscene
c- close Door A
d- couple to flatcar B,
e- open Door B
f- propel flatcar B to the other loading bay
g- wait for flatcar B to be reloaded
h- while waiting, swap load on flatcar A for a different load from those behind backscene

5 - As to what is the Master on the layout, my feeling is that this will be whatever is moving. If the train is moving then the flatcar is either loaded awaiting departure or being shunted to be unloaded at the next loading bay - ie the forklift should have nothing to do (unless it is swapping a load from the spare bays to a nominated bay). If the forlift is moving then the train is waiting for the flat car to be reloaded. Environment cannot control this layout due to the variablity in loading times with the forklift.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make those resistors variable! What is the voltage of the R/C forklift? Maybe add some weight to the forklift?!?!
Doc
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick check in, The layout idea is looking good John. I thought I recognized that printy Laughing. Feels a bit strange here with everything stacked in card boxes. I could probably use a little fork lift myself right about now.
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Doc
The r/c forklift runs on 6VDC. There are 4 AAA batteries hidden under the driver's seat in a concealed compartment.

The r/c forklifts as they are not really controllable in small spaces. The smallest amount of travel forwards/ backwards I can get using the existing controller is about 10-20mm forwards and 20-30mm backwards. The smallest amount of raise/lower I can reliably get is about 10mm. This may be too coarse a limit for such a small layout. My feeling is that the minimum movements should be at least less than 1/2 of these distances for controllable operations in small spaces.

I was able to partially split the chassis but the front end where the mast is attached prevents the chassis from being able to be fully separated so that you can get at the motors easily.

I found the following wires under the circuit board that is exposed once you get the body off.

Wires from the circuit board to the motors underneath:
Red & Black - forward/reverse
Blue & White - Left/right - is an electric motor diving a worm gear driving the steering rack with spring return to centre off
Green and yellow - up/down - is an electric motor driving a winch with thread attached on the other end to the forkplate.
With a DC multimeter across each of these pairs of terminals shows +ve for when switched one way and -ve when switched the other.

I am thinking about cutting in some small resistors in across each of the red/black and green/yellow pairs under the circuitboard to reduce the speed of the motor(s) and hence hopefully the amount of over-run.

This will also lower the top speed of the forklift so it will take longer to travel between loading and unloading points. For such a small sized layout hopefully this will not be too big an issue as I am only tramming short distances.

Does anyone want photos or a description of how to get the forklift apart?

Royalty has now arrived at the RS&W. A group of Earls (thanks Keith) has arrived and I an trying to fit them to each forklift with the minimum amount of surgery. The seats on both types of forklift are too large and either Earl goes for surgery or the seats get modified or both. The challenge with the r/c forklift is to fit the driver and still be able to swap out batteries because the seat is part of the battery cmpartment cover that slides out backwards.

For the Tamiya unit, the motors and gearboxes powering the mast get in the way. This earl may lose his feet if he is not careful.

Work is also continuing on building assembly jigs for the pallet racks.

More photos coming once I have something worthwhile to show.
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oztrainz wrote:
3 - This now means that the flat car will need to be well weighted down low to withstand biffing by the forklift truck when picking up or placing a load on a pallet.


Biffing the forklift against a flat car can be expensive, especially in terms of lost revenue due to the flat car having to go to the repair shop every time some idiot biff's it.

An upside down U bar barrier placed next to the track at flatbed level and sunk in to the concrete where loading/unloading will take place (wire coat hanger or the like?) will not only save on repair bills, it will save the embarrassment of the forklift driver when he cocks up.. And he's/she's bound to sooner or later. Wink

I swear I had it in reverse! Embarassed
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a good plan! See if the resistors work (I'm guessing the 6 volts @250 ma??? for motor power), but U should measure current draw) so around 25-50 ohms should be a start if series. I think parallel will lower the current much less?!?!
Good luck
Doc
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stu wrote:
Oztrainz wrote:
3 - This now means that the flat car will need to be well weighted down low to withstand biffing by the forklift truck when picking up or placing a load on a pallet.


Biffing the forklift against a flat car can be expensive, especially in terms of lost revenue due to the flat car having to go to the repair shop every time some idiot biff's it.

An upside down U bar barrier placed next to the track at flatbed level and sunk in to the concrete where loading/unloading will take place (wire coat hanger or the like?) will not only save on repair bills, it will save the embarrassment of the forklift driver when he cocks up.. And he's/she's bound to sooner or later. Wink

I swear I had it in reverse! Embarassed


Hi Stu,
Yes the idea of the crashbar is a good one. It may also solve the problem of getting the pallets too far towards the edge of the layout and and unbalancing the wagon. However this will further restrict the already tight confines that I have for the forkies to play in.

My initial thoughts were to "plate" over the track so that I could use the empty loading bay track as additional swing room room, given that I have only 1 flatcar out being loaded at a time. The planned scratchbuilt heavy weight flatcars were intended to have enough inertia to resist "biffing" and still remain on the tracks. The other reason for having a lot of weight low down was to compensate for loads that had not been placed centrally on the flat car and were "lop-sided"

I had thought about beating the "Sultans of Biff" by placing a "platform" just below the height of the car deck, down the outside edge that was close (1mm or so) to the outside edge of the flatcar. So that if the flatcar was hit, it would be rocked into the platform and not dislodged from the tracks. If I can pinch your crashbar idea here on the outside, then I have a raised positive stop for loading the pallets against so that they cannot be "out of gauge" on the outside. This will prevent them fouling the door when they are taken "offstage" from each loading bay.

At present I am negotiating to purchase some standard sized pallets. If I take your crashbar one step further, and sacrifice the additional swing room, then not only can I have a crashbar that stops the the forklift hitting the wagon I can space the bar so that if it is just higher than the top of the flatcar and just wider than the width of the pallet away from the outside crashbar, then it will also positively set the inside positioning of the pallet on the flat car. This will prevent pallet loads being "out of gauge" on the inside. If I take this an additional step further then I can have lips under the platforms on each side that positively locate the outside of the bogies of the flatcar when it is shunted into the loading bay, thus preventing both "biffing" and shunting derailments. Kind of like an external re-railing track.

Idea Maybe I don't need a super-dooper heavyweight flatcar after all Question Maybe I can get away with a bodged HO flatcar rather than having to build one from the ground up Question
Hmmm..... More design thinking required Confused
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John Garaty
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Stu
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That works perfectly well Oz as long as the load has been lifted high enough to clear the top of the flatbed.

With the crash bar on the far side you still run the risk of derailments if the bottom of the pallet catches the car either on swing or lift. Only you know how much room you have to play with, with the swing of the forklift.

As an ex-forklift driver, depending on how realistic you want it to be and how high your loads are, prototypically the forklift driver has to be able to see either above or below the load when lining up for the load placement, so he either A: Raises the load right up (as long as it doesn't over balance the forklift, and there's enough height to do so) move forward and lower the load or B: Line up close to final placement, raise the load from just above floor level to a level just above where it is to be placed and then move forward and lower the load in to position.

I know that you mentioned that the forklift does not lift all that high, in reality in a tight space where head room is not a problem, the load would be lifted well above the car then swung in to position over the car and lowered. Can the lifting mechanism be extended to give higher lift?

Just food for thought and I hope this helps your project a little.
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all, A progress report,
A 1/2-sized 1:1 scale foamcore mock-up of the pallet rack area has been completed with track laid and and tested sucessfully using a Bachmann 0N30 streetcar mech and some stripped and "abbreviated" HO Lifelike wagons

With the assistance of Korschtal, some pallets and loads have been obtained from Europe. Very Happy Now comes the decision- Which ones will I test on the mock-up Question


Let's start with a 3-high load and see whether it clears the door...
Just Exclamation Exclamation


How about the lower deck?


Now let's try the top deck?


How about 4-high?
Might have to modify Michael's printy Confused


This ain't gonna fit Crying or Very sad


More abbreviation required. Now to shorten the flatcar even more and build a new wider deck for it


Also have to hide that streetcar mech...
How about something like this from Sweden Question

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Steve Bennett
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like fun John.
The pallet loads make a big difference and really help to give a sense of scale.

Taking things off at a tangent, how about something like the pic below for bringing the pallets onto the layout. With a pallet sized deck on it, of course Smile . I think a shortened Bachmann trolley mechanism would work well for such a vehicle and would make a second train for variety, just an idea Wink


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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Steve,
Oh no - I'd Gneed 2 of them Twisted Evil - one for each "Loading Bay"
I'll have to go to DCC Shocked Exclamation

Might also be a bit dangerous for the operators of these "Flying Flatbeds" - especially since I Gnow the calibre of my forkie drivers -
just one level above "creatively incompetent"

They've already dropped at least one pallet load today Embarassed
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John Garaty
Murphy was an optomist


Last edited by Oztrainz on Thu May 22, 2008 5:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Oztrainz
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Steve,
on a more serious note, what are the dimensions of the flatbed?

I am currently using the original unmodified steetcar chassis with KD#5's bolted under each end using the original body mounting holes. On 8" radius curves, because of the length of the overhang, the amount of coupler swing is significant. I am using the original Lifelike bogies with the X2F couplings on the bogies removed and replaced with Mchenry couplings with centring springs. Body mounted couplings on the flatcar are out because of the tight radius. The McHenry's are a bit sloppy but so far they appear to be working OK.

Here is a not very good photo of the extent of mismatch.


I really didn't want to butcher the chassis too much, but I am keeping a very close watch on what Will is doing in his "Baby steps" thread. I may have to follow suit.
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