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 PRR 'FM' 40 foot flat in HO
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Dutchman
Administrator

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Posted - 03/15/2021 :  09:19:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Beautiful metal work, James.



Bruce

Country: USA | Posts: 33524 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/17/2021 :  10:56:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Jim and Bruce. I intend to operate this car, so it will get painted. And I'll use my 2nd hand ultrasonic cleaner for the first time beforehand. I doubt I'd take time to do something just for show until the layout has at least 80% of the planned scenery and structures.

I finished the brake equipment but decided to leave it off till I'm finished with soldering - not the time to find out how temperature sensitive epoxy is. So I started on the stake pockets. Porter filed a notch into the side of his aluminum XActo miter box to shape the pockets. I used a .0625" slitting saw in my milling machine to make a slot in a piece of steel scrap. The saw wasn't running particularly true, so the notch is a bit wider than 6 scale inches.

Then I cut some 1.75mm strips of .010 brass. I pressed it into the slot with a small file's handle, then snipped each pocket off. I tinned the mounting surfaces of a dozen with my 100W gun. Then I located each (prototype spacing is uneven) and sweat-soldered them by placing one tweezer point on each mounting surface.



It took a while to work out the best technique for using my jig: holding the free end of the strip down with the blade of a screwdriver while pressing the file handle down. And a couple appear to have gotten pinched by the tweezers. But with solder, a re-do is usually possible.

I've got the next dozen made, maybe tomorrow. Then to rope staples (4), grabs (8) and drop steps (4).

Footnote: My modeling caliper is a 1970-vintage Craftsman vernier with english & metric scales. The easiest way for me to use it for HO scale feet and fractions is to measure 3.5mm, 1.75mm, .875mm etc. The net tells me (on this site) that Micro-Mark announced an HO scale digital caliper in 2012, but it seems to have been discontinued. The right micro-controller hacker should be able to fiddle a digital caliper chip to print out HO scale without involving the manufacturer.


James

Country: USA | Posts: 6913 Go to Top of Page

deemery
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/18/2021 :  10:29:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Apparently Micro-Mark didn't get enough pre-orders to make the HO digital caliper worth doing. That's too bad, I signed up for one! You'd think that it's "just software", right? ;-)

dave


Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

Country: USA | Posts: 8980 Go to Top of Page

CNE1899
Engine Wiper

Supporting Member


Posted - 03/18/2021 :  10:56:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
jbvb,

Read thru the thread. Really excellent brass work and soldering. I'm just starting to solder up my Z scale tank car,
so this is helpful.
Scott
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=53506



Edited by - CNE1899 on 03/18/2021 10:57:55 AM

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jbvb
Fireman

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Posted - 03/19/2021 :  10:57:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Scott. Dave, I know some maker/tinkerer hobbyists and will see what those communities know about caliper chips.

Yesterday and today I got all 24 of the stake pockets installed. Late afternoon, I changed to Tix low-temperature solder and installed the end grabs. This evening, while watching/listening to a Rapido presentation on the HUB Division's on-line Railfun, I did the side grab irons, also with low-temp solder. I find the American Beauty likes this job best when set to about 80 watts.



The grabs are bent from Tichy 0.0125" phosphor bronze. There are two handednesses of side grabs. All 4 end grabs are identical, but all 8 need 4 bends each. This is because I didn't think I had enough #80 drills to drill 16 holes in .015 brass. I should see if it drills easier when annealed to full soft (heat red hot).

Next step (excuse my pun) is bending drop steps from DA .010 x .018 brass strip. I will make the bonding surfaces as large as possible, but the Tix solder is fairly strong. Finally, 4 roping staples next to the bolsters.

Those will be the last soldered parts. I'll clean the soldered assembly, epoxy the brake gear in place and paint with my airbrush. I'm going to blacken at least the projecting steps, grabs and stake pockets. I don't have enough blackener on hand to dip the whole thing, and would be a bit concerned about corroding joints loose even if I did.

Were I doing this again, I would make the necessary jigs and silver solder at least the flanges to the side and center frame members. Maybe the bolster sub-assemblies too. I've made those parts shift a bit several times while applying coupler mounts, floor stringers and stake pockets.


James

Edited by - jbvb on 03/19/2021 11:03:16 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 6913 Go to Top of Page

Bernd
Fireman



Posted - 03/20/2021 :  08:34:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
James,

Don't know how I missed this one from the beginning. I should have smelled the solder fumes.

Nice to see somebody else using the shiny gold colored material. Nice clean job soldering that all together. Looks great.

I need to stop by the shop more often.

Bernd


New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Country: USA | Posts: 4004 Go to Top of Page

Michael Hohn
Fireman



Posted - 03/20/2021 :  08:50:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Very impressive, James.

Flat cars are the sort of model you want to turn over to see the complexity. Of course, thatís not encouraged.

Mike



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Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/20/2021 :  09:06:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
James, I made this simple styrene fixture to help me make uniform Stirrup Steps. I used it a lot while working on my Cars Certificate.











Bruce

Country: USA | Posts: 33524 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/20/2021 :  10:51:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Bernd & Mike. Bruce, the steel die I cut makes stake pockets on a similar principle. I decided to emulate the prototype's drop steps, where the steel strap was twisted 90 degrees at the top, using DA .015 x .024 strip. This mounting also avoided crossing the slight offset visible between the bottom of the side frame and the bottom of the end channel:



Happily, my flat-jaw pliers (picture is fuzzy, will re-take tomorrow) are about 15 HO scale inches wide. I first made 4 90 degree bends, making a 15" square shape with a gap at the top. Then I used the soldering tweezers at 80 watts to heat-anneal the brass mounting Ls. Then I twisted the Ls at the top 90 degrees with two pairs of pliers, tinned and sweated the step into place. Only two of the corner grabs came off while doing this, and they went right back on .

I also got a little clever with the roping staples (cable loops, possibly other names) next to the bolsters: To save myself holes, I used round-jaw pliers to bend a 180 degree J shape on the end of .0125" wire. Then I drilled a single #75 hole right above the corner joint of the side frame. I passed the wire through, touched it with flux and heated the bottom flange of the side frame over the hole. The solder from that joint flowed onto the wire, securing it. Then I cut off the extra wire inside the frame.

When the drill got dull doing the 2nd hole , I was really channeling model railroading from the B&W era: I picked up a fine stone, put the thickest lenses in my binocular magnifier and sharpened the drill. Took me about 5 tries to get a decent point, but it finished the job.




James

Edited by - jbvb on 03/25/2021 10:03:04 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 6913 Go to Top of Page

robert goslin
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/21/2021 :  01:19:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice work James. I admire folks who can work in brass. Certainly a lot more work than styrene, but will be far more robust.
As Mike said, with so little to look at on top, everyone will want to see the underneath, so worth putting all the effort in, And especially as it's for the achievements program.
Maybe one day I will start it too.


Regards Rob

My current build.
http://railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=53468

Country: Australia | Posts: 2953 Go to Top of Page

jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/23/2021 :  12:05:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Robert. Old MRs have shown me reasons to use brass, and several figure in this project. for instance, small metal details are much more durable than most other materials. An example is the Carmer Cut Lever. The Pennsy thought highly of them but they vanished before I started hanging around the tracks in the late 60s. There are etched versions but none match the pivot location and depth on the FM flats:



By heating red hot all or part of a brass wire, I can anneal and re-anneal it. First I annealed all but the ends and bent it to the basic offset shape:



I heated it a bit more thoroughly than I planned, but I'm within the range in pictures:



Then I re-annealed the S-bend in the middle and punched a hole through the center with a steel pin. I didn't drill because I didn't want to remove material from something hanging off the end of an operating car. Pete M. had given me Cir-Kit Concepts 1/8" brass brads for doorknobs. But I hammered one through the small hole in the lever. Then I drilled the end sill channel. I tinned just the tip of the brad with Tix low-temp, touched the hole with flux and slipped the brad through. I put the tips of the tweezers on the ends of the brad at 70 watts for a few seconds:



The lever moves on the pivot. Now I have to repeat that for the other end. Getting the S-bend wide enough to punch is necessary, but doesn't always happen. Maybe a smaller hammer.

After that, brass air hoses attached to the train line pipe behind the end sill.


James

Country: USA | Posts: 6913 Go to Top of Page

George D
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 03/23/2021 :  12:30:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Beautiful soldering work, James.

George


Fly Army

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jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/24/2021 :  10:26:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, George.

Now I'm down to 4 brass parts, but the Cal-Scale brake wheel I dug out out of the parts drawer went flying while I was trying to solder it to the brake staff. I will go back to this tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is an air hose:



I have '1mm x 0.3mm' brass tube from Precision Metals (which might now be part of K&S). It's .020 inside diameter, so worked as brake pipe connectors. I wrapped a copper zip cord strand around the bend for an angle cock and flattened the end to make a gladhand. There are nicer looking commercial products but this will survive operating.


James

Country: USA | Posts: 6913 Go to Top of Page

Orionvp17
Fireman

Premium Member

Posted - 03/24/2021 :  10:31:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
James,

I see a Merit Award in your future! Nicely done!

Pete
in Michigan



Country: USA | Posts: 7584 Go to Top of Page

robert goslin
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 03/25/2021 :  12:48:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very intricate work James.
You'll eventually find the brake wheel......after you have finished.


Regards Rob

My current build.
http://railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=53468

Country: Australia | Posts: 2953 Go to Top of Page
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