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  • Topic: A Question of Basics -- Techniques for Large, Simple Structures

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    • April 28, 2020 3:19 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      A Question of Basics -- Techniques for Large, Simple Structures

      All,

       

          I received a suggestion to consider shoe-horning a sugar mill onto the Triple O, which is a logical next step, as it not only help to anchor the Triple O in time and place, but it would serve as a reason to have any of a number of other facilities - fuel for the mill, service facilities for the locomotives, loading docks for outbound bags of sugar, etc.  In short, the mill would become a focus for that part of the railroad and be the reason other buildings come into being going forward.  Out here, these were massive.  The advantage  from a modeling perspective is that they were simple, with the photos on hand basically showing huge, corrugated metal covered buildings and a towering stack.  I have to review books make a site visit to the surviving structures in Waipahu before proceeding, but I wanted to ask a very basic question:  how to begin?

          The outward simplicity suggests a frame covered with corrugated metal. I am actually considering a PVC pipe frame, but I am not sure how I would emulate the metal sides beyond drink, cut, crimp, glue, repeat... The usual issues I have with local supply and local environmental challenges (heat, salty air, water, termites) apply, but  I have to canvas the stores once the quarantine lifts, too, to see what sort of material I can readily procure locally.

          To better frame the issue, below are an overhead and "primary viewing angle" of the only possible site for this structure:

      There is no room to move the tracks, though the POLA shed could go away.

       

           In theory, the outermost tracks are the mainline and passing sidings of the Triple O (our analog to the OR&L).  Here, in the town of Pu'u'oma'o, plantation supplies and empty boxcars would go where Diesel Dan is currently sitting with the plantation's snap track.  The mill would sit where those two buildings are (gifts from my very talented father-in-law) and extend over the innermost track where Komaka Iki sits with his string of still-to-be-finished cane cars.  This is where cane would be offloaded into the mill.  An indoor transfer facility would obviate the need for internal details, which is OK with me, to include the lift to take the cane up into the mill.  Clearly, there needs to be some selective compression, and I am going to have to focus on out-buildings that scream "plantation."  I am thinking mill and power plant at a minimum. 

       

          For the moment, this remains a thought project as I wait for the quarantines to lift, but I think it is a necessary, but doable feature on our railroad.  It is exciting to go from "Can we get and keep trains running?" to "Why are trains running in the first place?"

       

      Thanks for any suggestions in advance,

      Eric

       

    • April 28, 2020 5:01 AM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Eric,

      Put the mill up the side of the hill, the carrier (off loading facility) can be where the cane cars are, with raw sugar out via a hopper built over where "Diesel Dan" is sitting.

      All connected both up and down via a covered in conveyor system, mills used mile of conveyor belts.

      There is no reason why the mill could not be 2 or even 3 stories high, the mill I am planning will be something similar just to fit it in.

      If you modelled one without compressing you would need an extra block of land just to fit in all the ancillary buildings and service areas they were/still are huge.

      Below are images of the mill in one of the towns I lived in, you can see in one of the images that input and the output were side by side with the processing being done to one side.  From memory it was an L shape to fit it into the land area.

      There is an image of Millaquin mill which is where I am now and it still operates and supplies the distillery next door with the molasses used for making Bundaberg Rum.

      https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=babinda+sugar+mill+queensland&qpvt=babinda+sugar+mill+queensland&FORM=IGRE

      For corrugated iron look at using foil cooking trays run through a craft paper crimper it weathers well and looks like corrugated iron.

      This post was edited by GAP at April 28, 2020 1:26 PM EDT
    • April 28, 2020 5:21 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      For the moment, this remains a thought project as I wait for the quarantines to lift, but I think it is a necessary, but doable feature on our railroad.  It is exciting to go from "Can we get and keep trains running?" to "Why are trains running in the first place?"

      Thanks for any suggestions in advance,

      Eric

      That's always the fun part. Having your RR evolve from a simple, what I call "trains through the tulips" to giving it a purpose for it's existence in the first place. Transporting products from one customer to the next customer in the supply chain. 

      As for what a sugar mill looks like in Hawaii, I have no idea. But as a truck driver I have been to sugar mills down in Georgia. They are huge facilities, and if I remember correctly lots of pipes and over head racks running hither and yon carrying who knows what. There are also lots of large metal buildings around here, and they all basically look the same. 

      My materials of choice for most of my buildings range from coroplast to PVC to plexiglass, depending on what I have on hand and the size of the structure. I also have to take into consideration the weather in this neck of the woods. Rain, sleet, snow, hail and wind from below freezing to high 90's. Larger structures I usually use the coroplast since the size of the building adds to the weight. Smaller buildings I'll go with the PVC, since it's weight will help anchor the building. All of these materials are readily available around here and I find them easy to work with and reasonably cheap. But I also have a moderately sized shop to work in(my garage). They also give you a large gluing area to adhere your final covering to.  

      I have used the soda can and crimper method to make corrugated siding, but I found it too tedious, especially for  larger buildings. My go-to material for corrugated siding is the Precision Products sheets that come in a 16" square sheet. But that's just me. 

      That's gives you a basic run down of how I model a building, and the materials I like to use. Others choices may differ. 

      And I hope that helps you out a little anyway.

       

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • April 28, 2020 9:40 AM EDT
      • Waverly, Alabama
         
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      Ken Brunt said:
      ...........................................

      I have used the soda can and crimper method to make corrugated siding, but I found it too tedious, especially for  larger buildings. My go-to material for corrugated siding is the Precision Products sheets that come in a 16" square sheet. But that's just me. 

      ..................................

       

      Ken, I've never found having a beer or twelve tedious   But your mileage may vary.

       

      Eric,  this sounds like a great project for you and the Mueller clan.  I will be following with great interest.

      ____________________________________

       

    • April 28, 2020 1:32 PM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Dan Hilyer said:
      Ken Brunt said:
      ...........................................

      I have used the soda can and crimper method to make corrugated siding, but I found it too tedious, especially for  larger buildings. My go-to material for corrugated siding is the Precision Products sheets that come in a 16" square sheet. But that's just me. 

      ..................................

       

      Ken, I've never found having a beer or twelve tedious   But your mileage may vary.

       

      Eric,  this sounds like a great project for you and the Mueller clan.  I will be following with great interest.

      After about 12 beers you may find staggering around trying to remember your looking for a crimper tedious..............;)

       

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • April 28, 2020 2:09 PM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      The coroplast ( campaign signs, usually free for the taking AFTER an election)does need some structural bracing inside to keep things  square and give it a little heft. On the corners they add gluing surface too! 

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • April 28, 2020 7:32 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      All,

       

      Thanks!  I remembered i have a bunch of pink foam that we used for the Mik.  Maybe we could count, mount, and cover that?  Due to size, I think I'd have to fasten the structure to something to hold it in place.  Time to save some carboard and start working on the mock-ups.

       

      As for hoppers, out here the mills refined and bagged the sugar.  The OR&L shipped the final product to the docks or the local industries bagged and ready to go, so this project will follow that model.

       

      Some studying to do here before some hapless cardboard gets converted into shapes.

       

      Eric

    • April 29, 2020 2:02 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Cliff Jennings said:

      Eric, Winn Erdman has made some fabulous buildings, beginning with foam insulation board. If you have an October '18 GR, he wrote an article about it there. 

       

      https://grw.trains.com/magazine/preview-the-magazine/2018/08/preview-the-october-2018-issue-of-garden-railways-magazine

       

      I recall an extensive build-log on one of his big ones, over on MLS, but I couldn't find it. If someone has a link they could share...

      He probably lost all his pics and finding the article would prove frustrating ....

      Cut glue  with Titebond III and pin  nail for speed. Coat with Spackle or vinyl concrete patch

      QUIKRETE 20-lbs Vinyl Concrete Patcher.

      edit to add: I used stucco tint to color my cement . Chips blend in ...

      This post was edited by John Caughey at April 29, 2020 2:06 PM EDT
      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • April 29, 2020 4:25 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Probably right John. That vinyl stucco sounds nice and synthetic, does it bond well to foam?

       

      Eric, I had a lot of fun with a foam mill model a few years ago. I used a construction adhesive intended for that material, and cheap coated deck screws. Never went beyond this stage (superseded by an acrylic model), but it was a blast to work with a material that was so light and easy to cut & form.

       

       

       

      Best luck for your project,

      Cliff

    • April 29, 2020 6:32 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      @Cliff:  Great! That means I can proceed using my pink insulation foam. We used it for the Mik, and we found it fun...and forgiving!  I can always weight it down with a brick or something.  I'll put the crew on sourcing material for the mock-ups.  Should I mount it on a plastic sheet?  We used a foam base for the Mik, thus far, all is well, but that was a smaller building and thus easier to repair if the experiment fails.

       

      @Ken and Pete:  I tried to find "Precision Products."  It came up as a lawn equipment company.   Trying to tie the search to model building was a dry hole, too.  We have a crimper on hand, but I would have to invite my fencing team over to help provide the raw material!

       

      @Gap:  A bit more research indicated that, yes, I should have a tank to hold molasses.  This was apparently used locally and exported as fertilizer.  As I see it, this is a multi-storied building with covered cane carrier a suggested.  A covered deck would lead from one side of the facility to the loading track for the finished product to emulate how things were done here.  The one thing I found strange was that for all the water this process used, there are no photos of water towers.  On O'ahu's Ewa Plain, they used Artesian wells, so maybe they just went straight from ground to use?  Or would the water storage have been internal to the mill?

       

      I am beginning to see a way forward that can involve all hands!  Just have to get Glitchy Gustav working..."He" looks "Fowler enough" for my purposes.

       

      Eric

       

       

    • April 29, 2020 10:04 PM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Eric, Home Depot, Lowe’s or whatever home center should have corogated  plastic looks like cardboard but all plastic, like I mentioned used in political signs and stuff like that.  But I think the foam idea may be better, probably cheaper and easier to shape and work with. 

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • April 30, 2020 3:42 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

       

      @Ken and Pete:  I tried to find "Precision Products."  It came up as a lawn equipment company.   Trying to tie the search to model building was a dry hole, too.  We have a crimper on hand, but I would have to invite my fencing team over to help provide the raw material!

      I am beginning to see a way forward that can involve all hands!  Just have to get Glitchy Gustav working..."He" looks "Fowler enough" for my purposes.

      Eric

      I guess I should have been a little more specific. Ozark Miniatures handles that product now. It's now called 3-D plastic veneer. 

      ozark miniatures 

      Plastruct is another company that handles 3-D plastic Veneer. It's basically an Architectural Model supplier.  

       

      ____________________________________

      "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --Martin Luther King Jr

    • April 30, 2020 6:02 PM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      @Gap:  A bit more research indicated that, yes, I should have a tank to hold molasses.  This was apparently used locally and exported as fertilizer.  As I see it, this is a multi-storied building with covered cane carrier a suggested.  A covered deck would lead from one side of the facility to the loading track for the finished product to emulate how things were done here.  The one thing I found strange was that for all the water this process used, there are no photos of water towers.  On O'ahu's Ewa Plain, they used Artesian wells, so maybe they just went straight from ground to use?  Or would the water storage have been internal to the mill?

       

      Eric, some pictures of a mill near where I grew up.

       A water tower, water cooling towers, molasses tank

       

       

       

      Water tower.JPG (154.3 Kb)
      This post was edited by GAP at May 1, 2020 11:12 PM EDT
    • May 1, 2020 11:19 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Thanks again, everyone.  I have decided once the blockade lifts, I'll make my run to Lowes.  The plan is to mount this thing on HardieBacker, which has served for years as the foundations of several of our buildings.  Then we can just build right on top, starting with the mill facilities and moving outwards from there.  Since we have the foam, that will serve as the mill's core.  It looks like it would be a wash one way or the other costwise between  beverage cans or commercial siding, but I'll have a better sense of that once we build a mock-up and I can estimate the surface area we would need to cover in "corrugated metal."  We had success converting can to siding in the Mik, but, yes, it was tedious.  

       

      I have to sack the house for cardboard.  Mock-up to follow, hopefully sooner rather than later.

       

      Have a great weekend!

      Eric

    • May 15, 2020 3:08 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Moving from thinking to doing and moving this to a new thread:  M&K Sugar Mill.   Thanks for kicking me over the edge!

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