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Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

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Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby Curtis_F » Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:56 am

I’m a 3D CAD modeler with California Narrow Gauge as my favorite subject to model. I do my best to make my 3D models as close to prototype as possible in an attempt to capture the design intent along with the design itself. As such I’ve become a bit of a Blueprint Hound and go after just about any blueprints I get a whiff of.

Part of the hobby is designing parts for live steam models ranging from ¾” to the foot up to 8” to the foot scale but primarily in 1.6”, 2.5” & 5” scales. Designing live steam parts is always a challenge as the parts needs to be functional, producible and still look authentic.

I caught Narrow Gauge Fever when I read an article in Railroad Model Craftsman about the Nevada County Narrow Gauge #9. That was my gateway drug from Standard to Narrow Gauge. I wanted to build a live steam model of that engine (and still do) and in researching it I was swept up in the colorful history of the West Coast narrow gauge railroads and the neat equipment they ran. From there on chasing abandoned right-of-ways and digging through archives became part of the hobby experience.

This board looks like it’s off to a terrific start and I look forward to having some good discussions and debates in the years to come.


Cheers,

Curtis S. Ferrington
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Re: Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby GKMMR » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:13 pm

Hello all,
I am a pretty old model railroader, and came into the hobby via the usual Lionel layout on my fifth birthday. Except for a short hiatus in high school I have been actively involved in the hobby ever since (1958). My wife and I were two of the very fortunate folks to have seen the Gorre and Dapheted (1969) and spent a wonderful evening with John Allen.
On our next trip west we traveled through and stopped in Grass Valley, California, where I "fell in love" with the remains of the Rowe Shaft. One could still get right up to it and climb the steps to the top, which I did, and the photos and measurmensts I took have been very helpful. I also "lucked out" in that some years later when contacting a park ranger at the site, I learned that they had just found the original Empire Mining Co. plans for the Rowe Shaft. These plans are the genisis for the plans in the Western Scale Models kit of the Rowe, and my 1:20.3 scale model of the headframe.
Of course, if you are going to get into Grass Valley and Nevada City at all, you are going to get bitten by the NCNG bug. I certainly did, and have built two NCNG locos in 1:20.3 scale, the number 5 and the number 8. You can see these models in back issues of "The Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette."
I do have an outdoor railway, STRICTLY in 1:20.3 scale. Most everything is narrow gauge (45mm) but I have to confess that recently I have succumbed to the standard gauge bug and have constructed a model of the D&SL (Denver and Salt Lake) 2-6-6-0 mallet (it's honorary narrow gauge, really). This demands a track gauge of 70.64mm in 1:20.3 and I have made good progress dual-gauging the railway to run both standard and narrow gauge. Yea, dual-gauge switches and all. If you wish, you can see the model on Dave Queener's site Cumberlandmodelengineering.com. There is lots of fun stuff there. But, does standard gauge get BIG in 1:20.3. The mallet is almost five feet long!
When I am not out in the garden, I consult for the Accucraft Company, and do a lot of the pre-production work, sush as plans, colors, lettering, etc. and occasionally build a "master model" for the plant to copy. The recently announced D&RGW (yea, I know it's not West Coast) drop-bottom gon is an example.
Well, that's more than enough horn-blowing for now. I hope that you are all having fun out there, this is a great hobby.
George
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Re: Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby Solomani » Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:13 pm

Hi Curtis,
Sounds like you are having fun in the same area of the hobby I am. Over the past year I have re-acquainted myself with CAD and have been using Sketchup (because it was free) to do some work. Some of the limitations in Sketchup caused me to snoop around for something else but the multi thousand price tags slowed me down. Alibre offered a $99 deal for Alibre design and I have spent some spare time over the past couple of weeks to learn that program. I am using a model plan for a 15 ton Carter Brothers truck as my muse for learning the new CAD program.

I too like blue prints as I worry myself with the unrealistic level of detail I want to put on my models such as scale but working nuts and bolts in F scale. I have built a pin truss bridge made to look like a Howe truss. I used bolts and nuts as close to scale as I could without making my own taps and dies. My next big project I expect to be a Central Pacific arch reinforced truss bridge as was used in the first years over the Sierras. There is an existing road bridge of the same general design in the California foot hills I will need to make a pilgrimage to.

Do you machine parts for live steam too or just do the designs?

Cheers,
John
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Re: Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby Curtis_F » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:57 pm

John,

I can, and have, done machine work, but I'm honestly just not that good at cutting metal. I know people who have a natural sense of how to machine parts and can just put a chunk of metal in a mill or lathe and get what they want in a quarter of the time it takes me. Generally I get parts rapid-prototyped and/or make patterns for castings for parts most people would fabricate so I can reduce the amount of machining I need to do.

Wood working I've done quite a bit of and enjoy. I spent one summer building four 5" scale 15" gondolas, a box car, a cattle car, two tank cars, and most of a caboose for a fellow back in Missouri. That was fun. In my youth I build a Carter 10ton box car in 1:20.3 on a 10" table saw. Like a saw mill I cut long strips of scale dimensional lumber (that took a while), then cut and sanded them to length and fitted them together with contact adhesive. That was before I got into photography and I ended up selling it without taking a picture. That was a mistake. Sooo many times I wish I still had that car, or at least a photo of all that blasted framing that was covered up by the siding. :)

Sketchup, like any CAD program, has it's quirks. I've only messed with it a bit, but it looks like a nice package.

Alibre is a really good program. I know several people who swear by it, and you can really push it to make complex geometries. And if you start working on locomotive designs you will run into some very complex geometries.

If I may ask, where is the bridge in the foot hills? Is it one of those up near Colfax off of I-80? I seem to recall an arched bridge up that direction.

Riveted steel bridges have a great elegance to them that concrete just can't compare to. I recently stole out from under Andrew...er. I mean recently purchased off of E-bay a 1910 reprint of some 1909 Engineering Magazines with drawings of the N.C.N.G. Bear River Viaduct in it. I'm slowly drawing it up in the computer to get a better idea of how it was built. There are a few details missing from the drawings, and it's being a real learning experience to work through it.


Cheers,

Curtis F.
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Re: Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby Solomani » Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:25 pm

Cheers Curtis,

The bridge is the Bridgeport covered bridge on the south fork of the Yuba river in Nevada County, CA. Here a website about it: http://www.ncgold.com/Museums_Parks/syr ... index.html

I have not made a pilgrimage to see it yet but have looked it over online and in the photos that are in the book "Bridges" by Richard Cleary.

I too have messed around with machining but even though I apprenticed for 3 years as a machinist while in college I am still a tyro and have much to learn. I have a 4" taig lathe that I generally make good brass into small cuttings.

I have been working in 1:20.3 but have not made too much yet. One pin truss bridge, now installed and my current project which is a "weed eater" car to cut the grass growing up through my garden railroad tracks.

I really like the idea of building in 5" scale because then I could build just like the "real" thing. Castings might be a bit expensive though. I saw your drawings for locomotives and that too conjured up an old dream of building a C&C locomotive in 5" scale. Probably only a dream until I can retire.

Best regards,
John
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Re: Introduction OR How to make yourself sound important.

Postby Curtis_F » Tue Oct 13, 2009 10:46 pm

Solomani wrote:I really like the idea of building in 5" scale because then I could build just like the "real" thing. Castings might be a bit expensive though. I saw your drawings for locomotives and that too conjured up an old dream of building a C&C locomotive in 5" scale. Probably only a dream until I can retire.

John,

Hmm, 5" scale C&C 4-4-0, where is that file...AH HA!

5_0 8-22C - lvl 1 assy.jpg


I actually have It mostly designed, including wheel patterns. It was a project from several years ago that went-by-the-way-side.

It would be nice. Maybe later in life I'll go back to it. :)


Curtis F.
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