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    • September 27, 2020 2:25 AM EDT
    • Had a little steam up at a friends place Saturday evening.  Took a couple videos, one of the Shay and one of my wife's Pearse 0-4-0 running just before dusk.   Enjoy!  


    • September 26, 2020 12:01 PM EDT
    • So he is in Denial then over the fact he likes steam?  They have 12 step programs for that!  LMAO! Mike

    • September 26, 2020 10:07 AM EDT
    • Rooster said:

      I don't even like steam!

      Sure you do. Otherwise you wouldn't watch and comment.

    • September 26, 2020 1:11 AM EDT
    • It wasnt enough, been dry as a bone ever since.  We might get some rain late Sunday or Monday.  We are in a drought here, counties to our north are starting to impose burn bans due to how dry it is and harvest just getting started, so lots of dry crops that could burn.   

    • September 25, 2020 7:05 PM EDT
    • Mike Toney said:

      Been nicer had it not been a steady rain most of the day. But live steam doesnt care about rain!!


      Would like to see some rain in south central PA and certainly on the west coast which is much needed. Consider the rain a gift!

    • September 25, 2020 7:02 PM EDT
    • Been nicer had it not been a steady rain most of the day. But live steam doesnt care about rain!!

    • September 25, 2020 6:44 PM EDT
    • I don't even like steam!



      Nice run Mike !

    • September 25, 2020 2:36 PM EDT
    • Some live steam in the rain from a couple weekends ago. It was a wet and dreary day, but we ran trains none the less. First up is my Aster 2 truck Shay(which is For Sale BTW).  

      Next up is my friends Aster Jumbo

    • September 21, 2020 1:59 PM EDT
    • Hi Igor and everyone:


      I haven't had much time the last week, was very busy working with my buddy to build the infrastructure for the new laser location. Also, my dad lost his battle with cancer and passed last Wednesday, and I haven't been in the mood to post.  He almost made it to his goal of 90 years and having been on his pension longer than he worked...another two months would've done it.  He had a good life, enjoyed his career, raised a good family, and for the most part, excellent health until recently. He passed quietly holding my sisters hand. We should all be so lucky.




      Larry found your posts on the Templot forum and showed them to me, you are vary industrious and I applaud your ingenuity making frogs and track with your available tools. A small bench top cnc mill would allow you to make frogs like we do in aluminum and would be a good investment and education for you. I have a Sherline cnc mill purchased 25 years ago to teach myself machining, and I still use it for engraving boiler serial number plates for my vertical and horizontal boiler production. Careful and patient watching of classified adds should lead to a deal sooner or later on a used one, or just by one new if you can afford it.


      We do have jigs for #5 and #7 straight exit turnouts. Building the actual track we use 12ft (3.65 meters) lengths of steel strip. It actually goes very fast including building the transition curves. It is difficult to splice pre-built, or already built sections of track as described in previous posts, and storage of many sections of track  would be difficult even in Larry's large facility. Also, we never know what size or shape the railroad will be until a final plan is approved by Larry, so we could easily end up with much unused sections of track. Most of the turnouts are built in networks, again because splicing them is more time consuming than building them together. Even a straight yard ladder using number 7's from our jig would go faster if we build most or all of them at once on the welding table instead, than trying to splice many individual turnouts...this may seem counter intuitive, but believe me, after building track for over 6 years now, I know what works best for us.

      That being said, there are many times when having a bunch of pre-built turnouts is very helpful, such as installing crossovers, or the diamond crossovers, or just turnouts for sidings and passing tracks, so the jigs allow Jenn to quickly build many them, and have proven very reliable after building dozens of turnouts.


      My jig design is simple, just two pieces of 1/4" MDF, laser cut with tight tolerance to our rail width. One piece is simply a base board with pin holes for dowel pins to locate the second piece...obvious in these pictures.

      Jig in two parts

      Jig assembled

      We have right and left hand jigs for both sizes, and we can easily laser cut a different size if the need arises. Jenn simply pre-cuts many lengths of rail, then rolls the curve until they drop right into place without tension, the parts in the frog location are used to align the frog with the rails so it is not skewed, then she welds braces which have also been pre-made in bulk at the sizes needed. This system has worked great for years.


      I must go to Stavers and finish the air drops for the machine shop, but here is couple pictures I promised to post of what it looks like outside since tearing out the outdoor loop.


      First, a reminder of how it used to look...



      After Larry Larry and his sons have done some demolition and excavating.



      The terrible smoke and air quality conditions are apparent in the recent picture...where are the hills?


      Off to Stavers





      AKA Gearhead

    • September 21, 2020 1:44 PM EDT
    • Btw, probably i read over it, but what do you use for your ballasting(if i use the right word)

      Seems granite or similar around 2-3 mm in diameter?

      Thanks in advance, Best Igor.


    • September 11, 2020 3:15 PM EDT
    • Thanks a lot Karl.

      Just keep it coming, wonderful.

      I hope you dont mind that i basically copied your idea and i would like to do a own thread next year (you know time, it is running quick & a lot to do) with my "inventions" based upon your ideas.

      Just keep it coming, track work, wood work, cars, bridges, heck and yes the tools you use, the info(how what and the name for more info) on the mill was very handy.

      Fine details are very appreciated by me.

      Why could you not do this in the Netherlands eu

      Probably i will skip the hammer proof pvc for frogs and make them from aluminium.

      Have to invest in a mill and lathe anyway for making my own steam engines(thanks to Billy19?).


      What i dont get, if you dont mind me asking:

      You basically tackled everything incl gauge flange way gap tool for the frogs, a gauge for the frog to wing rail, wagon/car clearance ect.

      Yes i took a good close look at your work, but:

      Why did you not make some jigs/molds for pieces of track that will show up a lot of times like the strait pieces or a 3 4 5 or 6 meter or what ever in radii curve?

      I can understand that the curves are not really standard and you must built in a transaction curve/piece(i hope you know what i mean) also.

      It would save Jenna lot of time, instead of fiddling around with those magnets.

      Just put the steel strip into the designated places---->weld---->next.

      Probably also handy for rebuilding a piece of the layout, in my opinion, that is.

      Sorry for the bold question i hope it was not inappropriate.


      Glad that you and all that are over there are more or less oke, a house can be rebuild, furniture can be bought, memories stay, stay strong!



    • September 11, 2020 1:56 PM EDT
    • Hi All:


      Looks like a few people made it to the steamup despite the fires and smoke, we're heading down there shortly. I adjusted the cameras as best I could last night while cleaning the shop, so there is a decent overall view from a couple of them...unfortunately, a couple are software zoomed and the focus is off so they are pixelated. I don't know the IP addresses so I can't fix it myself, maybe after I get there I can figure them out.


      Staver Live with more overall view


      Got the Laser moved into position in the machine shop and next week we can start work getting it hooked back up. Larry is happy to have it out of his office, although his office is bigger than the machine shop.

      Here's where it used to be...

      Laser office


      And here is its new will be better to work with in the machine shop for various reasons.

      New location


      Here is a teaser of a new bridge I designed and built for Larry which I will discuss when I finsh the curved yard story.

      Train on bridge


      Happy steaming, must get to Stavers and run a train and deliver some parts to some steamer friends.





      AKA Gearhead

    • September 9, 2020 8:06 AM EDT
    • That was/is quite a project!

    • September 8, 2020 4:31 PM EDT
    • Back again:


      So after finishing our first Tandem turnout, we had many more turnouts to build very quickly since we were running out of time before the steamup. By this point in the build, we had mostly finished re-sheeting the yard to make it wider, but now we had to print out the entire yard on heavy gage (46#) paper and lay it out. I printed all of the 2'x2' squares, and Jenn tediously trimmed all the edges down to the alignment marks. We then taped all the squares together from both sides until the entire yard, from bridge to bridge was one giant sheet of paper. At first, it looked like I must have made a terrible mistake, it just didn't look like it was going to fit...but it turns out, that just a tiny misalignment at one end, leads to what looks like insurmountable error at the other, just one little wrinkle can make it align terribly. However, we kept adjusting using our previous alignment marks from our test fit of the mainline curve, and slowly, we got the hang of shifting the paper by creating small wrinkles at the alignment points, then working the wrinkles out towards the ends of the loop...low and behold, it ended up fitting perfect.

      I couldn't find a picture of the entire template laid out without the yard built up over it, this one is when we had about a third of them taped together, and it looked like it would fit well and my confidence was high everything would work out for the steamup. Joe would build super structure during the day, then Jenn and I would add the plywood top in the evening. We had to keep building turnouts so I must've neglected to get a good overall picture. So my last paragraph would have described what we were going through a few days later than this picture. At this time, we were building this curved network of turnouts.


      Templates on table


      Our welding table at the time was not big enough to build all seven, so we started by building these four first.


      Templot quad vurves


      As usual, the inverted printout of the template were used to build the is Jenn inspecting her work.


      Jenn inspecting quad turnouts


      Test fitting in place on the railroad.


      Test fit in place

      Another view


      And of course, Jenn had to make ties as well...


      Tie shot


      While building these turnouts we found out two things about our welding table, it wasn't big enough, and it had a bad warp where someone used a rosebud or acetylene torch to heat something up in the past. It was only 1/4" thick and wasn't built with precision flatness in the first place and did not have leveling feet either. We knew about the warp and had always been able to work around it...not so in this case, so it was a pain to build, although the end results were wonderful.


      After the steamup, we bought a larger 1/2" thick 900# plate, modified and strengthened the table frame and added adjustable leveling feet, then using very thin tapered shims I milled, placed, welded, and shimmed, until we were within .010" across the entire surface. I don't think it could be better without having the plate surface ground. It's an excellent surface to work on now, and the added mass just makes the table much more stable.


      Got to go to Stavers.






    • September 18, 2020 5:53 PM EDT
    • Hello Randy.

      Thanks for the interest.

      I take it you are aware these plug in whistle sounds are intended for Live Steam R/C locos. As such they use any spare servo channel which also powers them.

      They can also be used by battery R/C that employs regular Digital Proportional R/C control.

      I take your point about adding other correct sounds.

      If anyone has a good clear whistle of any prototype, it can be loaded into the device at the factory. Up to 16 seconds.

      To whet your appetite there will very soon be a device available that can store 5 + sounds by the user

    • September 18, 2020 5:23 PM EDT
    • Tony,  I would be interested in at least 4 of these as well.

      I would think It would be wise to get a recording for  EBT #12's whistle also since there are many of these live steam locos out there.  Do we know of any good recordings of #12?



    • September 18, 2020 4:17 PM EDT
    • Looks like you got all of their stock Pete; Sold Out.  I likely have several similar speakers in my electronics junk from old headphones and maybe even laptop speakers.


    • September 18, 2020 1:53 PM EDT
    • I have used this Radio Shack speaker in a couple of applications, including the whistle example on the video above.

      Specs include: "This mini speaker is 1-1/8" (29mm) in diameter and has wire leads."

      It fits an old 35mm file canister or a pill can as a baffle - I cut them down to just a bit larger than the speaker depth, make 2 slits for the wires, and glue the speaker in.

    • September 18, 2020 12:18 PM EDT
    • Nice!  My only live steam engine is a Shay, but I'm tempted to put that sound in it anyway! Not sure where i will put the speaker though. The water tank hides the servo and 4 AAA batteries, and the wood load hides the receiver. Maybe I an change to the tiny receiver Pete sent me with the Dx5e and get speaker, sound card and a receiver all in the wood load!

      I will check your website for ordering details.

    • September 18, 2020 11:00 AM EDT
    • Hello Jon.


      This is the first recording we will be using.

      3 CHIME Whistle

      Peter assures me it will be OK for many Gauge # 1  Live Steam locos.

      Thank you for allowing it to be used.

      This the ultra small pcb that simply plugs into any spare servo channel on an Rx.

      This is the LYN card, but the 3 CHIME version is exactly the same.

      A 5 CHIME version will be available at  the same time.