The Bridges at Saltash

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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

Whilst I've been concentrating on trackwork, my colleagues at Wimpeewey have been busy adding to the number of completed buildings in Saltash:
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Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

With the pressures of building a new exhibition layout...AND supporting an existing exhibition layout....as well as my volunteering responsibilities at Crich…..I'm having to start to tidy up my work area and pack Saltash away for a few weeks so I can unpack The Bridge to get a few unresolved running issues addressed in time for a double-weekend of shows at the end of May/ beginning of June.

Hopefully I'll still be able to get on with a few bits of building design and printing....but no layout building jobs will be possible. :cry:
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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I'm finally back working on the layout...…. Having re-assembled the layout boards and pulled everything out of storage, I've been able to work out where I got to with things before having to pack away to get The Bridge out.

And I've made some progress:

Trackwork at the Plymouth side now all complete apart from a final cut of a piece of track. This phots shows two single track train sensors...the white gantries ...and there are four track power supplies to sections of the track. One of the DCC system boxes will sit inside the left curve.
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Behind the scenes trackwork showing the three-track flexi-traverser complete with all its track sensors..two triple-track, one double-track, and two single-track in place. There's also five track power connections in this shot...and leads for the two servos driving the flexi-traverser. Three DCC system boxes sit in a line here:
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All the trackwork for the Saltash station side of the bridge is also complete...including the custom point that sits in the end of the bridge viaduct. This photo shows a single train sensor on the approach to Saltash and four trach power connections. Not surprisingly, there's a DCC system box here as well. This area still needs a couple of sensors for the stopping points in the station....these will utilise low power laser beams and IR sensors. I still need to work out the placement of them! :
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This next photo shows a little more detail of the track sensors, and one end of the flexi-traverser.:
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I've also been working on the CAD designs for a few more buildings. This one is the very first building I've done for the Plymouth side of the bridge:
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

This is why I love Google Earth......
SaltashStation.JPG
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With resources like this resolving detail to this sort of realism, who needs to make site visits!!
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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I've made quite a bit of progress over the past few days.....but only one photo to show for it!...

I've modelled and printed a few more buildings and a long section of water's edge scenery (incorporating a boat yard area) for the Plymouth side. And, moving back to the Saltash side, I've done some major assembly work on Saltash station. I've extended and reprinted the platforms so to incorporate a couple of laser sensors within the platform area:
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The photo shows a view from the oppositer direction to the Google Earth screenshot in the previous post. The station building is in two parts...the body of the building and the roof section. This is to accommodate one of the laser transmitters and a small mirror to bounce the laser beam across the tracks. On the opposite side of the tracks will be a vertically mounted laser sensor with a small mirror above it to reflect the laser beam down to the sensor. The white box on the left of the platform holds the other laser transmitter...and there will be a similar arrangement for the sensor.

I've built all the electronics to power and drive the sensor circuits....which leaves me with just the track power switching for the point to finish, which will complete all the electrical wiring so I can do some commissioning of the power and sensing systems.

A couple of the tasks I need to get sorted sooner rather than later are assembling the main spans of the Royal Albert bridge, and initial painting of the stone piers. The former job will allow me to complete the trackwork....and the latter will let me fix down parts of the bridge to the base boards.
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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A few shots showing the details of the laser detectors I'm using....

Firstly the sensor at the west end of Saltash station. There's room for the transmitter just off the layout....but the sensor has to be disguised as shrubbery, so I've mounted the diode vertically and put a small mirror above it ….just like the top half of a periscope:
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Now the sensor at the other end of the platform. Here there is nowhere ideal to locate the transmitter pointing directly across the platforms, so I've had to hide it in the station building and use a mirror to turn the laser through 90 degrees to go across. As with the other sensor, it's in a "periscope" and will be hidden in a tall and broad hedge that runs along the edge of the platform:
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PS The crap finish on the roof is deliberate!!

Here's a shot with the station building roof removed:
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And finally, here's a shot showing examples of all the electrical/electronic additions to the track:
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Front to back..
….a gantry holding a track sensor. A LED shining down and a LDR underneath a hole in the track bed
...breaks in both rails of the tracks...between the marked arror heads
...track power feeds. Two sets here, one in front of the track breaks, and one set after. Wires are soldered directly onto the base of the rails.
...at the junction of the unpainted and painted ply, Breakable joints in the track to allow assembly/disassembly of the layout. Several sleepers have been removed from one track end to allow the joiner to be slid back for storage (rather than taking off and having to keep in a tin or box!)
….and the laser train detectors as described above. One issue you may have spotted is that the laser detector cannot distinguish which track the train is on, or detect a second train. This is something I will live with....and partially get round using combinations of other sensors, or work around to avoid!
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

No photos to show this time.....but progress made in a few areas.

I've moved on further with the wiring for the electronics, but can't complete the runs until I know exactly where the Tamar bridge components will finally sit. I've gathered the parts for the Tamar bridge and have started printing the remaining components so I can get the main assembly put together...which will then allow the wiring to be completed.

I've also started looking at the construction of the backdrop. I've sorted out how I'm going to make the backdrop so it will come to pieces for transport...and how I can hang lighting on top of it. Having purchased the necessary wood, the next step here is to get pieces cut to size and get the quick release joints sorted (made from hinges with the hinge pin removed & replaced with a pin with a handle on.....like theatre scenery hinges!...but smaller).

Progress over the next week or two will slow a little as I have other commitments. I suppose I ought to retire so I can take advantage of all the extra spare time it will give me.

Hang on!! I did that five years ago. Where has all my spare time gone???!!???!
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

A significant visual change in appearance for the layout:
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As you can see, I have the backdrop sections and the side extension covers almost finished.....

The backdrop sections lift off and separate into five bits for storage and transport, and are held together....and to the layout….by scenery hinges. The side extension covers are similarly held by quick-release clips. The left hand side cover is merely cosmetic, but the right hand cover hides the two curves where the track leaves the layout. There's still verticals to add to the back of the covers so to complete the separation of the public side of the layout from the off-piste side!
Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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With the backdrop boards finished and in place as far as I can go at present, I've changed direction again.....

Here's a first dry assembly of the Royal Albert bridge main sections. A very accurate and nice fit indeed.:
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And I've been busy creating more buildings on the Plymouth side. Here's an overall shot showing the variety of buildings printed......every one totally different!:
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Finally for this post......the very first ...and rough & ready....dry assembly of the Tamar bridge. Ignore the two supports under the deck....the elastic bands are not strong enough to make the bridge self-supporting. Not forgetting I've not strung the suspension cables yet! ;) :
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Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

AGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Sorry! But appearances can be very deceptive. I've just spent most of today modelling one dwelling...the best description I can give it!

An innocent looking small pair of semi-detached bungalows....refined and compact.
OMG1.JPG
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Now look at the back garden!
OMG2.JPG
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OMG....a pair of multi-floor mansions......with a stunning view across the Tamar! Took me ages to get it modelled right.....
Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by rvn2001 »

WOW! What a difference from the front to the back. Awfully deceptive.
Thom Welsch

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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

Well....

Today's the day I'm having to put work on Saltash on the back burner for a couple of weeks so I can get The Bridge ready for its final appearance for the time being. I need to tidy up and pack the layout away....but I'm likely to be able to do the odd bit of CAD and printing work.

After the dry assembly of Tamar bridge I spotted that I'd made an error in working out the deck height above the water. Not an issue on its own....but the Tamar bridge ended up out of proportion with the Royal Albert bridge, and looked far too high. So.….adjustments have been made to the CAD files for the bridge towers and the inboard and outboard chassis of the track run-arounds. I've reprinted the bridge towers...but the run-around chassis....4 of them...are the 4 largest 3d-printed parts I've ever produced, and I have two 10 hour and two 14+ hour print sessions to get done!!!

One good thing about having to pack the layout away......it keeps my workshop somewhat tidier that it is now!!! And I get an idea of how the build and pack-up tasks are shaping up....how things pack away, etc.
Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

The layout is back out in the workshop...…and I've started in anger on shaping the scenery.

I'd previously cut a piece of insulation foam to an approx. size to form most of the scenery for the West side of the layout. I marked five metre contours on the surface and then , using a sanding drum in a Dremel type tool with a flexible shaft attached, I gouged/sculptured a staircase to the contours. 5m is 11.1mm, 10m is 22.2mm, etc
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I've sliced the foam into two sections down the centreline of the bridge viaduct and am starting to create the road sections. This shot is just starting to show the contours of the land
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This phase of the build is one of the messy phases....a good dust collection system is essential. Something I don't have.....I just use a vacuum cleaner to suck the foam dust/shavings on a very regular basis. Hope it survives a second layout!!!!
Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

A second layer....or should I say half-thickness layer....stuck on one side of Saltash station, and a lot of sanding and sculpting...
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Its very messy......but good fun. Just not so much fun for the vacuum!! And getting there...….

I have the second layer prepped for the other side of the station.....but gluing is an overnight job, so I'll get that done this evening.

The next job will be to fit the buildings and road sections...once I have all the buildings printed and the draft road sections prepared!

And then there's the other side of the river to do.....
Doug Kightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

Good progress over the past couple of hot days...

West side ground surface ready for the "fitting" of the scenery items (station, houses, and road surfaces):
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And progress on the east side groundwork:
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These photos illustrates some of the steps in the process quite well....
* overlay scenery with satellite image drawn up with contour lines...I've used 5m contour lines from an OS map
* stab through with a Sharpie to create dots...see folded back overlay on RHS!
* remove overlay and "join the dots"
* knife/saw/sand out a "staircase" to the contours. Photo shows three "steps" partly done.
* use Sharpie to scribe lines along bottoms of all step uprights. This gives marker lines for the remaining step.
^ sand ground surface to give smooth ground surface....being careful not to completely obliterate the Sharpie lines drawn in the previous step.

And do clear up on a very regular basis. Chuck larger lumps and vacuum up the dust! Here's my second bin-full of waste!
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Doug Kightley
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Nutter
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by Nutter »

That scenery work looks like a medical emergency about to happen in my case but keep up the good work :o
Mike
DON'T knock it at least I am trying to do something, with only one good hand.

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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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Steps removed from the foam....all done by sanding I 'm glad to admit!
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That foam does smooth off very easily...I've been enjoying working with it!

I took the opportunity to go to a fairly local model show yesterday.....to keep up with the chat..and to look out for any ideas to help with the layout. And I came away with three provisional bookings for the layout..and a couple of bookings for two of the three same shows to demo 3D printing. Could that be as punishment for not having the layout ready early enough, I might ask??

Back to work on the layout today....and I've moved back to some CAD work on the remainder of the buildings. I have to say I'm surprised that there are almost 280 buildings on this layout....there's a lot less area of scenery compared with The Bridge (which has 350 buildings)!
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

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I thought hobbies were meant to be relaxing and enjoyable.....AAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Sorry about that. I set one of my printers off on a 16 hour plus print yesterday afternoon...for the second attempt. The first ran out of filament whilst I was out about 15 hours into the print!! And the print was for the layout....a redesign of one of the Tamar bridge runaround chassis, which I had redesigned and needed to reprint.

Looked at the printer first thing this morning....it had finished! Unfortunately, the print was an utter mess!! And the printer had gone into self-destruct mode. A bracket holding a cooling air duct was broken and twisted....and the tip of the nozzle had broken off. That's right.....the tip of the metal nozzle was missing....and the printer had been trying to print with a 1.75 mm diameter nozzle instead of a 0.4 mm nozzle. Not a pretty sight! Like a sausage machine gone berserk!

Anyway....ten hours later and a new cooling duct and bracket fitted (printed on my other printer), a new nozzle fitted, some stripped threads sorted and a general tidy-up of wiring around the head later.....and I think I'm back in action. Or at least I've started printing parts for the first of three orders that have come into the TTG shop in the past day or so!

And progress on the layout? Not very much....half a dozen building CADs done...which are now in the queue for printing!!
Doug Kightley
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dkightley
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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by dkightley »

Five & a half days later......and I'm still stressed!!

3D printer problems continue.... I'm having further problems with my poorly printer! Its now got yet another new nozzle and now has a new throat tube with a second PTFE liner!!! And I'm still struggling to get decent prints out of it!

And I've also lost two or three days due to a slightly longer than expected PC upgrade that had been planned over the weekend....which ended up most inconvenient for other things I've got on! I had several little problems...the worst being that I spent over three hours trying to get the localhost web server up and running on the new PC.....until I finally found a mention that IIS v7.0 does not include 64 bit ODBC drivers, and you have to enable the 32 bit versions. Doh! Why didn't I know that? Locate & set the flag....and it sprung into action! Easy! At least I have a PC that starts up from cold in around 20 seconds....rather than anything between 3 and 6 minutes!!

So....very little progress on the layout. I have done a few hours on the flexi-traverser.....fine tuning the servo linkages and smoothing surfaces and freeing up the moving parts. Once I clear the backlog of shop orders, I should be able to get back into things.....
Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk

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Re: The Bridges at Saltash

Post by martink »

The idea that hobbies are stress-relieving is a very common misconception. Their actual purpose is stress-balancing, since how much you do is under your control, so that you can always maintain a constant amount of stress in your life. After all, if you ever do ever become stress-free, the universe will sense this and take drastic corrective action - very risky!

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