Nothing Like a Bit of Paint

I plunked along this week getting some track laid, namely the back track and the part of the runaround that meets the traverser. This involved various bits of aligning things so that the spacing on the traverser matches the spacing between the runaround and main. After some fooling about trying to line things up across the gap, I finally remembered that I own precision measuring tools. Using a digital caliper might be overkill but it was certainly easier.

Today I got a chance to get the traverser done at least for manual operation.

Third and final track spiked down.


Feeders for all the rails added and wired up to a terminal block. Short bit of bus wire added so I can easily attach alligator clips for test running.traverserwired

And then the fun bit, masking prior to track painting. I find masking at 1-1 scale fun, especially when no particular precision is required. I just don’t plan on the sides of the traverser being track coloured.traversermasked

And lastly, I carried the detached traverser table out to the back yard and sprayed the track with Rustoleum Camouflage Brown. The traverser won’t be very visible (hopefully) but I figured that it should be at least properly coloured and ballasted. It will also give me a chance to practice weathering the track.traverserpainted

Of all the tasks for the layout I have done so far, painting the track was probably the easiest. It is also easily the most dramatic visual change to date as one would expect from painting things.


Sign of Progress: Doing Things in Batches

I have previously talked about how I find encouragement in throwing out empty packages because it means I have managed to use up a retail increment of something.

Another sign of things getting done is when you start doing things in batches instead of by the each. In my case, I found myself needing a total of four pairs of track feeder wires for the two rear tracks coming off the traverser, the “back” track and the runaround track. Only four rails but they span the baseboard joint and will be cut apart so two feeders per rail.

After the tinning the ends on the first two, I realized that I could batch the cutting and tinning process. Compulsive optimization: the sign of those in engineering related trades. I then realized that batching things meant I had got beyond just managing the task and was now trying for more efficiency, so, progress!


Comstock Road Status Shot

After laying some more fiddle yard rail, I cleared all the tools and materials off the layout and took a helicopter shot from as high overhead as I could get. I wanted a photographic record to go with the recent milestone update. I also made a (very) crude first attempt (trackpad not ideal for freehanding straight lines) at cropping the photo. Will have to search out something more robust than the Mac Preview editor.

Anyhow, here it is with a few annotations related to past posts.comstockroadjul18 annotated

Making Train While the Sun Shines

The July 1st long weekend has been beastly hot here in Southern Ontario so I dealt with the heat by spending time in the cool basement. I got a number of minor things done or moved along.

Here is a shot of the traverser end of the layout which shows various things I want to mention.tiesdone

Firstly, note the clamped base of my Ottlite in the upper right hand corner. The light survived one fast trip to the concrete and I am trying to avoid seeing if it will survive a second. Another argument besides dropped tools for getting in some scenery foam sooner rather than later.

I printed out and glued down replacement templates for the bits of subroadbed that I had to tear up due to warped Homasote ends. This means that all the ties are down on the layout except for the cosmetic bits around joint anchoring screws.

On the anchoring screw front, I acquired some brass #4 Roberson screws to do the ends of the traverser tracks. Since there is no Homasote, just plywood, I can use a shorter, smaller screw. Just where nobody will be looking… I can see the merits of the hardwood block at the joint technique since it would allow the smaller, less obtrusive screws. Here is a comparison shot of the two sizes. It also gave me a rare chance to break out the yellow handled Robertson driver.fourvssix

Finally, I got a single rail on the main line up to the traverser interface and then, in a fit of enthusiasm, spiked down the center traverser track. This went quick quickly since I am using my supply of Right O’Way spikes that I deemed too large for visible trackage. No tie plates are required except at the interface for matching so I can just bang things down. First real use of the roller gauges made things go even faster. I can now convince myself that they actually work.

Of course, I went so fast I forgot put feeders on under the rails on the traverser. I will just do it ugly on the surface and pretend that it is a design feature.

Milestone Update

Back in January of this year (that I can add “this year” is a personal triumph), I listed some construction milestones for Comstock Road. I figured that the mid-point in the year was a good time to review and see how I am doing.

Here is the list pared down to that which was not already completed at the last review:

  • Trackbed – In Progress Done
  • Run a locomotive – short plain section with alligator clips will do. – Done
  • Basic landforms aka terra foama – not started but I am itching to get at that.
  • A turnout laid and wired with servo – one laid but no servo yet. I think I have settled on a mechanism but I need to make the first attempt.
  • Track laid – 25% complete
  • Rest of servos installed and wired.
  • Traverser on manual – traverser is built and aligned, ties laid but no track. – Done
  • Powered traverser – still wrestling with mechanism options
  • Layout backdrop and lighting valance
  • Operating session?
  • Building mockups

All things considered, I am pleased with my progress. There have been some off weeks but just about every week I have done something to move things along. Onward!


Traverser Leveled

I had been putting off completing the task of leveling the traverser due to the lack of success in my initial effort. I would get one bit level but getting all the traverser to level with that one spot was not happening. Eventually, I realized that I was attempting to level the traverser with the roadbed edge when what I needed to do was level roadbed with the drawer slides. After that, adjusting the table to level via normal drawer slide adjustment is easy. In other words, if the plane of traversal is not parallel to your roadbed edge, adjusting the table relative to the slide won’t help.

Here is the current state of the area with the first of the remaining ties glued down. From here, I will lay rail up to the edge and match it with rail on each of the traverser roads. After that, I will match the traverser roads with the other incoming tracks.traverserfiddled.jpg

That’ll Do


Second version of the roller gauge with the relieved center section. Second attempt at this design. Pro Tip: don’t part off the piece until you check that the rail actually fits in the slot.

I am getting somewhat faster at this. It took about 45 minutes for me to make it with all the measuring, re-measuring, calculating, and most especially, changing tools. The lathe came with a quick change tool post but only one regular tool holder. I have ordered some more holders and will probably hold off on the next one until the order gets here.

I have been plunking along on the tieplate infill and have gotten the traverser down to the fine adjustment stage. Time to get rolling on that.