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Author Topic Next Topic: Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad
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Posted - 04/20/2020 :  1:46:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
so i am calling the office done for now. when I make this diorama part of the actual layout I may add some more stuff to the scene, for sure I have to extend the fence and add some taller trees, but for now it is good enough to move on to something else. I am not sure if I am going to build shay #8 or build the working strip coal loading tipple, both are really high on my list of things to build.

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Posted - 04/20/2020 :  3:13:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
a few with a train in the image

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Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/21/2020 :  02:26:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That whole scene turned out great!

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Michael Hohn

Posted - 04/21/2020 :  08:46:32 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Looks terrific! In every way.

Edited by - Michael Hohn on 04/21/2020 08:49:42 AM

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/21/2020 :  11:32:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great scene!!


"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

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Posted - 04/21/2020 :  5:44:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks everyone

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Premium Member

Posted - 04/21/2020 :  8:41:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What they said,


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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  07:33:03 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just getting caught up in here, Jeff. Outstanding scenery and modeling as usual. I'm happy to see this thread is still going strong. Keep up the great work!


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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  10:32:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
As Doc Brown said, “pardon me for the crudity of my model”.

This is a pretty crude, but very effective, mock up of the strip coal tipple. The goal with this mock up was to be able test a few things, hack it up and modify it, and get the design concept finalized before I start building a good final model. another thing that happens in the mock up preliminary stage is that along the way I tend to start looking at ways to simplify the design. I typically find that the best designs accomplish the task with the fewest number of parts, and each part is the simplest it can be.

One big game changer was changing my design to use servos instead of push rods. When I first started designing the tipple my vision was a bunch of push rods running up through the layout to each gate. After watching a Luke Towan video on YouTube I was directed to a website that sold all kinds of servos and programmable servo drivers. The new design will be a bunch of mini-servos along the top over each gate, then all I will have is wire harness that needs to be plugged in, and the controls can be located anywhere without the need to connect push rods.

Another way I wanted to simplify the design was to see if I could just use gravity to store and make the coal flow. My first thought was that I would need a large remote storage bin that I would fill with coal, then I would need a conveyor delivery system to move the coal from the large bin up to the small “to scale” bin in the model. I also thought that the coal would not flow from the small bin to the gates because the slope on the bottom of the prototype bin was only about 35°. You may think that if the prototype could do it the model should, however things don’t always translate and I don’t have little people with shovels to free up frozen coal piles. Over 30 years ago I built an HO scale tipple that loaded coal and I had a lot of issues with how much angle it took to make coal flow by gravity. As you can see with this mock up I know that in O scale I can keep the prototype angle and it all works fine, however the smooth styrene bottom of the hopper helps and I will be building my model with a black styrene bin covered in wood to ensure the inside is smooth.

What I needed to test are the following

1. If the model is built with the scale dimensions and bin slope will the coal flow out.
2. If the chute is built to scale will the coal fill the hopper car in the middle
3. Will the gate be able to control the flow if I use a servo
4. How much coal will the bin hold, and how many hoppers will it load
5. How can make the mechanism strong yet make it look to scale

The mock up is a big success, the tipple works amazing, it empties fine, the servo control is great, and there is more than enough space inside the tipple to store enough coal to load about 48 hoppers, so I do not need a complicated remote storage bin.

As I mentioned already, the bin will be made from black styrene and covered with real wood. The inside of the bin will have no partitions. Since the back side of the bin is not visible I am going to extend the bin up inside the shed walls to increase the capacity of the storage bin. The loading shed will be a cover that will slide over the top of the plastic bin and serve two purposes, first to be able to fill the bin, second to be able to access the servos and mechanism.

The gates will be made from brass and the bottom edge tapered to be able to move the coal easier. A black steel rod will be attached to each gate and run up the face of the front wall where it will pass through the bottom of the top bracing of the bin. Lucky for me the shed that Babcock built over the bin fits over the bin bracing and will provide the perfect cover for hiding the rods. The rods will have a pivot just above the top brace of the wood coal bin and a second rod will connect to the servo. The pivot allows the lower rod to move in a linear direction while the upper rod follows the arc of the servo throw. The rod system on the mock up is more crude than I will make it but its function is the same. On the lower rod I will have a connection where I can connect the board levers that the prototype had, that way on my model when a gate opens the long lever will move as if a little person is pulling down on the rope to open the gate.

So far I built the base that I will build my model on and I marked out where column lines are and the track center. I was worried that the coal would not flow out to the middle of the car and cause the car to be off balance, however the coal lands perfectly in the middle of the car. I also had some coal slide off the car and fall between the hopper car and the bin structure when the coal reached the top of the car side. I cut a slot in the base that I could use to gather lose coal and not have it build up and go under a car causing a derailment. I may cover the slot and not use it, but it was easier to cut it now and not need it rather than finding out I need it an try to cut it with the model in place. The strip tipple site is about 55” off the platform so most operators will be looking across the layout at it and I think I could make the slot hard to see by painting it back and making sure the ground around the slot is black. The area all around the strip tipple was black soil so I can weather the ground and the slot all at the same time. If the slot shows in photos I could always build a temporary cover that I install just for photos. This is one of the things that have to be considered on a model railroad, it has to work and it has to work well, my model hopper cars are not heavy enough to pulverize coal that goes under them and they will derail, so if making the slot keeps the track clear and there are no operating issues then the slot stays because I want consistent trouble free operations.

In the test model I am just using the potentiometer that was supplied with the servo driver to operate the gate. The servo driver can be programmed to have the servo start and stop wherever I want it, which is really easy and super cool. I am now trying to decide if I want to have 8 individual controls (one for each gate), or do I want on control and a rotary knob to indicate which gate will open. There are advantages to both. On main concern with having 8 controls is one getting bumped on accident and there is no hopper car under that chute. If I have one control with a knob to select which gate then I don’t have to worry about a gate opening on accident. I also am considering having a safety button that has to be held down to arm the gate control, kind of like a dead mans brake, again that would make sure someone does not lean on or bump the gate controller. The advantage of having 8 controls is that it would feel closer to the prototype and if I had a two man crew they could be loading two cars at the same time like the prototype. The jury is still out on this one.

Edited by - Coaltrain on 04/23/2020 05:51:41 AM

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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  12:32:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Video of it in action

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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  12:40:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice indeed. I like the realistic spillage of coal you get too.


It's only make-believe

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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  3:36:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sully's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Jeff, looking at the photo......is there a possibility that the loading track was graded a bit higher on the outside rail, allowing a better chance of "hitting the center" of the hopper?
It might give a more specific prototype look at what is going on at a tipple vs. the rest of the trackage.

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Posted - 04/22/2020 :  5:35:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit danpickard's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Once again, nicely conceived and planned with the mock up process (for less headache with the nice version). I would personally be making the doors operate as 8 individual units, and include the deadman’s switch. The idea of making it at least a two button operation sounds like there would be far less cursing involved if one was to accidentally hit a button and open the doors when not ready. Cleaning up 48 cars worth of coal from across the track might make for an interesting article in the “Slater Creek Times”, but maybe not as interesting for the guy that has to clean up the work place incident.

Dan Pickard


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Posted - 04/30/2020 :  10:23:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
a few months ago I had full intentions of traveling to the railroad museum in Green Bay to photograph and measure the 37 ton shay they have, then I would be producing parts to build my new shays that I started to design. Obviously things have changed and I have had to put that project on hold for a short time (i hope).

I have moved on to building the Clifftop strip coal loading tipple, testing is done and I have settled on my basic design. I have laid out the main parts in a 3D model so I could visualize it and have some basic dimensions to work with. I have used the photos I have to make my best guess how the prototype was constructed, using images of similar ore and coal bins to fill in the missing information.

the construction of the bin will be a styrene liner for the coal bin with basswood laminated to it. I have eight mini servos that will operate all gates independently. I have decided to use eight individual controls. the gates will be controlled with a servo driver which I am replacing the controls with eight spring return linear sliding potentiometers. Tipple operators will pull down on the slider as if they were pulling down on the rope that operators on the prototype had to pull to open the coal gates, the spring return will ensure that the gates cannot be bumped and left open.

So far i am staining wood and constructing the styrene bin. The bin is made from .040 black styrene. the ends of the bin are 3D printed in black PLA to ensure accuracy. inside the bin I 3D printed three bin braces out of PLA. I also 3D printed the eight servo mounts from black resin on my Epax printer, along with some triangle shaped diverters used to eliminate the dead space between each gate. I am sure the prototype did not have any "diverters", but i also do not have mine-people to climb down and shovel out coal, so I would say we are even.

here is the progress so far

3D design of basic tipple

here are a few tools I 3D printed to help be cut accurate pieces for some of the more difficult items. the large block item allows me to cut and sand some wood shapes I can't buy. The complicated tool is used to create all the angled bin braces with all the notches. The tool with the holes allow me to drill holes in the long horizontal beams and the hole that in in the square socket allows me to center drill the ends of the vertical beams, this will allow me to use toothpick pins to reinforce all the joints since this tipple has to hold a lot of weight. the shortest tool is used to accurately cut angles on the ends or four of the front post.

here are images of the bin construction.

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Tyson Rayles

Premium Member

Posted - 05/01/2020 :  07:31:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great work on the house, very realistic scene1

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