July 30, 2017

Pier End in Context

The Other Pier End

With the "insane" pier end complete, I shifted gears over to the "other" end pilings.  Here are a few cropped images from the drone video that I used as a starting point:

Rather than messing with plastic, I decided to build this entire assembly using wood dowels, scale lumber, and my new best friend Formula 560 Canopy glue:

When I got to the third layer, I realized I needed to add the diagonal braces from the prototype. I makes some adjustments and re-glue some of the pilings while everything is still workable:

Thankfully, I realized the error in my ways before the glue completely dried—only a single piling should be between the diagonal bracing.  The next phase was to wrap the main assembly with the smaller pilings.  I trimmed the bracing with flush cutters, added several beads of glue, and then wrapped my small pilings around the entire assembly:

I didn't like how the bracing wasn't evident,so I added an additional layer of scale lumber to bring the details closer to the top.  Now to let the entire thing dry tonight:

Ready for Roadbed and Track

July 28, 2017

Shelf Layout Progress

In this week's work session, my friend and I got a chance to get the two boxes built-up. Most of the time was spent setting up the drill press to be able to correctly install the alignment pins.

Test fitting the 2x2 endplates; the holes and pins worked:

Added two holes for wiring, a third hole a 5/6" bolt, and finally a set of holes to allow for the modules to be cleanly separated:

Dry fitting and gluing the plywood tops in place:

Waiting for the glue to dry before the next session:

July 26, 2017

Portable Switching Layout

Started construction of the benchwork for Illinois Street shelf layout.   Cut two 12" x 36" long plywood tabletops as a start:

Adding 1x2 and 2x2 hardwood framing below the layout to provide some strength and make room for the low profile switch machines and other electronics.  Side rails are fine without additional woodwork— will eventually trim plywood flush, as it was a tiny bit longer than 36":

Cutting the oak cross braces to length:

Dry fitting the side rails and end/cross bracing:

July 23, 2017

Patience is a Virtue

Spent another insanely hot day working on the pier end.  After the initial coat of paint was dry, I finally had a chance to add on the real wooden parts to the structure.  Formula 560 Canopy Glue turned out to be my weapon of choice, as it will adhere wood to plastic, dries fast, and dries clear.

Once the large pilings were in, I shifted attention to wrapping the structure with the smaller pilings.  Several attempts were needed to wrap a painted plastic structure around the hulk to attach the outer pilings.  After lots of trial and error, including some ill advised attempts to use CA adhesive, I got things to work.  It turns out PRE-bending the plastic worked much better than attempting to bend while gluing.

While the NASCAR Brickyard 400 race playing in the background, I methodically attached the outer piers one or two at a time.

Around the time the race ended (it went to overtime) I was finished with this daunting task: 

For some context, here's the assembly placed adjacent to the under construction ferry slip:

Detailing and Paint

After assembling the prints together, I decided to go ahead and add the additional timers, along with some Tichy nut/bolt/washer castings.  I am looking to add interest to the most exposed side of the print, and draw attention away from any printing artifacts.

The next step was to apply a "base" primer coat to the entire assembly.  I stole a trick from my military modeling friends and instead of using a gray primer, I sprayed the whole thing with Games Workshop Chaos Black primer.  The idea here is to get my "shadows" for free.

After the primer dried overnight, I added some additional layers of Vallejo acrylic paint.  Some full strength German Camo Black Brown, and some washes of Leather Brown.  I'm debating about whether to add any additional lighter washes, as every time I add a lighter shade, the printing artifacts appear to be enhanced. As I'm modeling the pier much earlier than any of my reference photos, I also need to restrain myself from over-distressing the structure.

July 21, 2017

Beat to Fit; Paint to Match

Dry fitting the outer pilings and making modifications to the printed parts with my flush cutters.

July 20, 2017

Now with more layers

Pier prints look good, added some "pilings" and now I need to do more adjusting before glue and paint.

July 19, 2017

More 3D Printing Updates

Had some good success with the "subset" print.   Did some checking against the in-progress pier and also checked the fit of the plastic piling (the outer pilings will be "real" wood).

I may choose to make some size adjustments, but things look great so far.

Also considering adding some NBW castings to the print— the feature size of the inexpensive monoprice printer didn't really support adding them to the model.

July 18, 2017

Better luck with 3D printing

At the encouragement of a friend, I made some attempts at 3D printing the pier end.  I'm actually pretty happy with the results.

First prototype

Using a friend's Ultimaker 3, I made an "all up" attempt at printing the entire assembly in one pass.

Unfortunately, I got the scaling incorrect (saved the STL in "inches", but Cura expected "mm"). This led to a smaller than expected print— but the job still took over TEN hours to print. There are still globs of PVA (think glue stick) support that I need to soak/scrub away that are visible here, as the support structure is printed using a secondary extruder head.

Second Attempt

In parallel effort, I sent a subset of the design to a friend who has a Monoprice Select Mini 3D:

The idea here was to "automate" the construction of the the layers of the pier end, but still use plastic tubing for the piers.  This print exactly matched the CAD dimensions, which is awesome— but this may need "shrinking" to match up to the model I've been building.

July 16, 2017

More Pier CAD

Fun with TurboCAD yielded the next pass at the pier end.  I omitted the set of outer pilings, as I want to fabricate those with wooden dowels:

July 14, 2017


Got a chance to head to Switzerland last week, couldn't resist taking a picture of this little meter gauge switching engine.