Wheel-fitting Heresy

The standard approach to putting wheels on axles seems to be – well – to put the wheels on the axles. The assumption is that the wheels are complete: they have their tyres and crank pins. It’s easy to see why that would be the standard. If you buy your wheels, they naturally have tyres […]


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Studying the Copse

While waiting for The Girl to finish her roller skating class on Sunday, I had some time to sit in the car and study the copse to the left (north) of the pasture in more detail. Returning to Flickr, I had to find my reference material once again, and along the way, I amassed a […]

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Pasture gets more shapely

Armed with a utility knife and a Stanley Surform, I hacked great swaths of Styrofoam away from the hills. It’s curious that so many modellers like this material. It’s messy and the dust sticks to everything. While easy enough to form it into hemispherical lumps, dips and bowls are difficult to form. Then, what if […]

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Rough and Scrappy Scenery

There has been a pile of Styrofoam where the pasture belongs almost since the layout was installed. Indeed, I think that stand-in landform was a heap of scraps left over from the basement renovation. With the success of the mock-up, however, I was ready to commit to the scene. To support the test backdrop, I […]

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Playing with Wire

With the coming scenic modelling, I decided to pick up some florist wire and see what it was like to try to create a tree-like shape a la Gordon Gravett. Michaels didn’t have the paper-coated stuff that Gordon uses, but they did have big spools of this plastic stuff, and it wasn’t very expensive. So […]

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Crank pin parts

The crank pins for 1120 are much heavier than those of 622, and as a result much easier to fabricate. Most of the time in their fabrication went to tapping them for 0-80 bolts as my tap kept binding when I tried to reverse it out of the holes. Even so, the pieces are tiny, […]

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There is a point after you’ve accumulated some hours with a tool or technique when it becomes enjoyable. I think, after five years with the lathe I am finally there. Sure, there will always be parts that will challenge me, but simple ones, like these bearings enable me to get into a rhythm of turning, […]

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Finding the slots

Although, being jig-made, the slots are probably in the same place on the two axles, the question remains: where exactly are they? The right-hand (red is always right in my workshop) end is noticeably off-centre, while the left-hand looks pretty good. Our eyes are fantastic at noticing things that are not straight or centred, but […]

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Slotted axles

Once the jig was made, slotting the axles took a remarkably small number of swipes with the hack saw. Percy’s 1/8″ axles, being made of 316 stainless, were much tougher than this 3mm 12L14 steel axle material from Northwest Short Line. I made a little go-no-go gauge out of a couple of pieces of wire […]

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Axle Jig

Percy helped me determine that a keyed connection between axle and wheel works best for me. I don’t have a milling machine, and so a jig is the only way to make the slots in the axles reasonably precise. My thoughtful wife bought me a four-jaw chuck for the lathe for my birthday, and it […]

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