Switch stand mechanism mods

Reader Wayne Smith asked about the modifications my friend Chris Abbott made to the Sunset Valley RR garden scale switch stands I use to control the switches on my layout.
Switch Label photo Fascia-Labels-01_zps655faee2.jpg
(Click on the photo to read more about these stands)

Wayne writes:

Since reading your blog on the switch stands, I have purchased one of the switch stands to see if it would work on my layout.
However, can you advise how Chris made the connection at the base of the switch stand to the torque tube/crank, which is fed down through your wood base.
I assume he must machine it from the square section into a round section to make the joint.
Look forward to your comments and/or some photographs of how this works.

I asked Chris if he could provide some comments and since they may be of use to others, I’m quoting Chris here:

Wayne, sorry to disappoint, but there was actually very little machining involved. A short section of K&S round tubing was slipped over the square at the bottom of the turnout stand’s shaft to extend its length. This round tubing was cross-drilled to match the hole in the stand’s shaft where a long set-screw had been removed. A flat piece of brass bar was soldered to the bottom of this short tube to act as the throw lever for the Bullfrog. An even shorter tube section, just slightly larger than the shaft extension, was pressed into the pine shelf material to act as a guide for the shaft extension.

Chris also provided the photos, below (thanks Chris!)

Switch Stand Mods photo SwitchStand-Gubbins-01_zps09e3bccc.jpg
(Note the brass cube at the base of the shaft, between the legs of the switch stand. As it comes from Sunset Valley RR, this has a long set-screw in it that’s drilled so that one can insert a wire to link the stand directly to the head bar on a garden-scale turnout)

Switch Stand Mods photo SwitchStand-Gubbins-02_zpsf0aede3d.jpg
(These extension tubes are cross-drilled to match the hole in the above-mentioned cubes. A plate is soldered to the bottom each tube. This will become the lever that controls the Bullfrog)

Switch Stand Mods photo SwitchStand-Gubbins-03_zpsf301ed30.jpg
(Looking at the underside of a shelf. The lever has been drilled in a couple of places to give us some options when connecting the clevis that is part of the R/C aircraft control rod system used to control the Bullfrog. Note also that the extension tube passes through a larger brass tube that’s pressed into the shelf to act as a guide. Once installed on the layout, a small shot of WD40 sprayed onto the extension tube and allowed to work into the space between it and the guide tube keeps everything running smoothly)

 photo SwitchStand-Gubbins-04_zpsc6a8bf10.jpg
(The extension tube projects from both sides of the shelf. The switch stand will be mounted with small screws onto a pair of ties glued to either side of the extension tube, then linked to the extension tube with a screw. This allows the whole mechanism to be disassembled if necessary – although the stands were mounted on the layout at the end of February 2012 and there’s never been any reason to take them apart)

Wayne – it was a very good question: Thanks for asking and I’m glad Chris and I could provide an answer!

Peter’s foreground trees

One of the satisfying things about writing a blog is connecting with people you might not have otherwise. S scale enthusiast Peter Vanvliet, for example. Peter commented on a few of my posts, and I followed the link he provided to his own website. Since then, I’ve borrowed ideas from Peter – and he’s picked up a few tips from me.

Here’s an example: Through this Port Rowan blog, I introduced Peter to the Gordon Gravett scenery books. Peter has just posted an excellent photo-essay on making foreground trees to his website – using Gordon’s techniques as a jumping off point. Click on the image below to read it:
Peter Vanvliet - Trees photo PeterVanvliet-Trees_zps20cf319e.jpg

Once you’re there, go exploring on Peter’s website – there are many neat things to discover!

Finished: CML 1952 (+ two CN reefers)

 photo CML-1952-Finished_zpse99c7a01.jpg

Over the past couple of days, I’ve managed to build and weather the Crooked Mountain Lines boxcar – an NMRA heritage car paying tribute to the late Bob Hegge‘s O scale interurban empire.

This was a particularly fun project because I decided to modify the kit’s brake system, inspired by an unconventional rigging arrangement found on some Pacific Electric boxcars. The change is fairly subtle when the car is on the rails – but the rod that connects to the handbrake at the B end of the car was moved to the side sill to allow the PE cars to negotiate tight curves. I thought it would be a nice feature on this car.
CML1952-Brakes-Detail photo CML-1952-Brakes-04_zpsa833e7f7.jpg
(Click on the photo to read more about the brakes)

I’m very pleased with how this project turned out.

While I was in the airbrushing mood, I also weathered my second and third of three CNR eight hatch refrigerator cars:
Last two eight hatch reefers finished photo TwoByEight_zps559e584f.jpg

I followed the same process as with the first of these cars. Now that I have three of these on the layout, I’ll be able to run the occasional reefer block during harvest season.

And yes, I realize while looking at these photos that I have to paint the air hoses and glad hands on all three cars. I tend to add these hoses last, after painting but before weathering, and I sometimes forget to paint them. It’s been added to the list…