Modelling the E&N in HO Scale in my basement

January 5, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

So it’s been a little while since I last posted an update, but can say there’s been only a slight amount of progress towards the basement, due to family visiting and spending time with people who want to spend time with me. Life does have to spend some time out of the basement at some point y’know!

Anyhow, a few updates with photos and links to follow:

I’ve got the workbench area painted, and have been building a few code 83 turnouts (2 #6 regular and 1 #6 wye so far) for use within the wye leading to the workbench track. I’ve also taken advantage of PWRS’s sale on Atlas Code 83 flextrack and ordered a fair amount of it for use within the staging yard and helix. Should be showing up sometime reasonably soon. I’ll get the staging yard trackage done first most likely, though time will tell exactly how well that plan goes!

Cam and I also went to acquire several sheets of 3/4″ G1S plywood and had the helpful folks at Home Depot do the bulk of the cutting of the sheets into strips useful as “shelf brackets” of sorts for the trackage along the peninsula. We also got a few pieces cut for the staging yard and the major flat spots like Parksville. Several hours worth of debating, planning, etc. have led to a near final decision to build a 1 turn helix at the end of the peninsula to lengthen the run between Bryn and the Parksville industrial area (namely, the team track and National Silicates). A fair amount of 3D thinking to make sure that one decision doesn’t sink the chances elsewhere along the line.

Lastly, I spent a fair amount of time in both CadRail and Illustrator coming up with a plan to have “Goodship Lollipop” help us with building the helicies and corner segments. So for those not in the know (which would be everyone except Cam, Michaelea and myself), Goodship Lollipop is a company which owns two computer controlled cutting/routing tables. Basically, save me the pain and frustration of having to cut perfectly perpendicular corners on curved segments to build the helix pieces. Was a little expensive, but likely a lot less fustrating and less than doing them on a laser cutter. Thanks to¬†Timothy Horton for giving me the inspiration to have a computer help me out with those bits. Onto the Bolt Supply House to get the ready rod and associated hardware to get the helix into a more 3 dimensional shape!


2 Responses

  1. Rick Schonfelder

    Can you tell me what kind of company do I need to look for in order to get plywood cut like you did for your helix? Someone with a CNC cutter or is it something else?

    What sort of CAD drafting do they need in order to get this going?

    How did you join your segments? and how many sheets of plywood did you use to get how many helixes levels?


    June 26, 2011 at 6:01 am

  2. Jon Calon

    Hi Rick,

    You may find this sort of solution somewhat hard to locate, but talk to some of your local sign shops. If they do custom wood cut signs, then odds are likely they either have the equipment or know of someone who does.

    It was indeed a CNC cutter he had, though a rather dated one as the format I needed to supply him the file in was, as he described it, “The earliest/oldest one possible. If you see a “hammer and chisel” beside it, then odds are likely that’s the one. Was a fair bit of back and forth between myself and John at Goodship to get a file that worked. As I mentioned, I used Cadrail for doing up the initial pieces, exported to Illustrator via PDF and then laid out on the sheet in Illustrator. Sadly, the 60 degree arcs of 26″ radius curves turned out to be just different enough from the 120 degree arcs that they were unusable in the helix. Once in Illustrator, I also needed to weld the shapes together to make continuous shapes that would work for the cutting software.

    As for joining the segments:

    Cam and I decided on the following for the readyrod spacing:

    30 degrees apart on the inside and outside. This would make for 4 sets of holes evenly spaced in the 120 degree arcs, offset from one of the ends by 2″. I picked up 4″ long mending plates from Rona and we screwed the pieces of wood together using these mending plates, and one of the holes in the mending plate was drilled out just a little bit to accommodate the readyrod which goes up through it. Works quite well, and eliminates the wood splice plate which sits underneath opposing train traffic. At some point I’ll likely take some pictures.

    And to answer your last question…If everything worked according to plan, we likely would’ve only required two sheets of 4×8′ plywood. But since we used three of the 120 arcs for the base, and couldn’t use the 60 degree arcs, I needed to get another sheet of 4×8 cut with more 120 degree arcs.

    If I was to do it again, odds are far more likely I would’ve inquired more with the industrial laser cutters to see what I could do with their equipment and gone that way. I have a funny feeling the cuts would be more precise with a laser than a physical router and the 60 degree arcs would be usable.

    Hope this helps!

    June 26, 2011 at 9:30 am

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