Something Sexy

I’ve had the last two weeks off work and had big plans to get started on building my new layout. I was salivating at the opportunity to make some bench-work; I had a plan; I had tools; and I had materials. The only problem has been that I’ve spent the bulk of the time available to me installing #%&+@#% lighting boxes. I had one last day free of work, lawn mowing and domestic chores to put some work into the layout and I was determined to do something really sexy. But the better half had other plans. She decided that Sunday morning would be a great time to visit Bunnings and of course a side trip on the way there to the tip would make the trip even more productive. There’s nothing very sexy about dumping plasterboard off-cuts at the tip is there? 🙂 I got home, had a bite of lunch and made a resolution that I wasn’t going to come out of the shed before something sexy had emerged in the layout room.

I’ve spent a good bit of time this past week thinking about the next piece of bench-work I wanted to build after the section I wrote about in my last post. I knew what I wanted to build and how I was going to do this but I was going over in my mind the best way to have the end of the pre-existing Morpeth interact with the new section of layout. It’s easy to draw a line on a plan but when you have to actually build the thing the details are a bit more complicated. What I wanted to do was build the section of layout that runs parallel to the section that was detailed in the photo the other day and then build a third section that would connect these two. The problem was that building the interconnecting pieces had knock on effects on pieces of layout further down the line: I would have to make decisions about these now when I wasn’t contemplating building them yet. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if I was starting with a clean slate and simply building from one point and keep going till I got to where I wanted to be. But things are a little more complicated when you’re actually trying to connect two already existing layouts with a range of different materials and ways of joining these physically and electrically. I didn’t want to make a decision that would cause me more headaches and work down the track because I hadn’t foreseen something.

In this instance I was having a hard time making a decision about the most economical way to cut up very expensive materials (especially sheets of 12mm ply) for the storage sidings (which are yet to be built) and connect these to the curve of track which will form a triangle at one end. What I needed to know was exactly how long the storage sidings would be. As I hadn’t made a final decision on this I was having real trouble making decisions about the other end of these sidings. The reason I hadn’t made a final decision was that the end of the storage lines are in close proximity to the entry door and I really wanted to check clearances prior to finalizing the length of the sidings. I needed to make sure there was enough clearance to get through the door and to do this satisfactorily I needed to build the bench-work in this part of the room. So instead of building the section of bench-work I’d been planning on I moved a good five meters away and built the section of bench-work nearest the door. This happens to be the section where the turntable will reside so I got to get my Millhouse River turntable out of the box it’s been sitting in since it arrived from the US in late 2014 and play around with installing it in its own small section of bench-work. Very sexy indeed! 🙂

I’m not normally prone to modern affectations in language such as acronyms like OMG! but if anything deserves an OMG! then the Millhouse River turntable does. The bloody thing is built like a tank! This photo shows the underside of this monster. I’d turned it over to draw a circle on the ply ready for cutting out with a jig saw. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to take a really good look at the undercarriage of the table. Look at that sweet little star-spangled banner! 🙂

I started by doing some measuring and then built a frame from 3×1″ pine to hold the turntable. I cut a hole in the 12mm ply and after a bit of trimming and adjusting dropped the table into position with everything upside down. The turntable is mounted from below using those large wings you can see welded to the sides. To get the height of the rails on the table the same as the approach roads you have to shim the table down by adding small blocks of wood between the underside of the ply top and these wings. I had to add over 22mm of shim underneath which were made up of some 12mm and 9mm ply and some white styrene and it’s still about 1mm too high. I’ll come back later and add another styrene shim to bring the table’s bridge down to match the height of a length of Peco track which is what I’ll use in the storage roads.

This is as far as I got with the turntable bench-work today. In spite of its rather spindly look it’s all quite solid and I’ll add bracing to the legs next weekend. The entry door to the room is just out of camera range to the right and there’s more than enough room to enter comfortably.

With the clearances on entry to the room so tight, building this section of bench-work has allowed me to assure myself that there was enough space to comfortably open the door and enter the room. The way an operator will get to the operating well between Morpeth and Queens Wharf is by passing around the end of these sections of bench-work adjacent to the far wall. There isn’t an inch to spare space and there’s a train line that will run along that wall which is yet to be built. In addition I now have an exact measurement of how long the storage sidings can be as they will run toward the camera and pass to the left along the back of Morpeth. Of course I’m a long way from actually being able to turn a locomotive on the turntable as it needs to be wired up and hooked to some approach tracks. As it wasn’t supplied with an Australian compatible power supply I’ve had to source one from an Australian supplier but even after it arrives it will probably be a fair while before I wire it up.

Sexy? That depends on your interpretation I suppose but I reckon this is about as close as you get to sexy in this hobby so I’m happy 🙂

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