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    • May 15, 2020 3:07 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      M&K Sugar Mill

      Aloha,

           OK, we are moving from ideating to doing on this one (see A Question of Basics -- Techniques for Large, Simple Structures). In brief, the idea is to convert my pink foam into a reasonable facsimile of a the sugar mills on O'ahu.   From my photographic research, these were large, had a huge stack for the power plant, a covered areas to unload cane, and tracks to store the empties.  For my purposes, this is to serve as an "anchor project" to set aside that lobe of the layout as the place where the Triple O (our analog to the OR&L) picks up sugar from the M&K Sugar Co. (initials are from my last name and CINCHOUSE's maiden name).  In time, I plan to fill this area out with the outbuildings for the plantation (engine service area, workshops, whatever).   For now, the mill has to say "Hey! That's a sugar mill!" as part of the long range effort to better anchor the Triple O in time and place.

       

          I have learned at long last to start with a a mock-up.  The material, in this case old boxes, is free.  Yesterday, Youngest Daughter helped me to cut up the boxes, and we got about as far as the unloading shed:

       

      We ran out of material, I tried to be lazy and tape together a frame, and, well, no...

       

           Today, while the 1:1 crew was involved in their homeschooling, I scrounged more boxes and proceeded to cut.  I moved it all out on the railroad to get a sense of size, staging the 1:24 crew to help me see this in proportion (and because I enjoy staging these guys!).  The first shot is the primary viewing angle:

      From front to back you see a passing siding on the mainline, the M&K's engine service track, the M&K's empties track, and the can unloading track.  Again, there is simply no room to do much with the track, so the cane trains will have to pull their loads into the mill and out the other side.

       

          The next shot would be visible from our lanai.  I placed the shipping box there to break out the outline a bit.  I thought it could serve as an entrance or connected outbuilding.

      I might add a ventilation "shed" (not sure of the word here; in the pictures it looks like a little house on top of the structure) on top of that roof, too for similar reasons.

       

          The next shot is the "back." I  figure this could be where I put the molasses tank (represented by the cookie tine) or fuel dump for the power plant (The Triple O runs on coal).

           The overhead shot really showed me how big this thing will be:

       My first thought was, "That's a lot of surface area to cover with crimped aluminum from salvaged beverage cans!" I am going to have to weigh going commercial on the siding  Financially it'd probably be a wash, though I am sure buying the siding will be better for my health and ultimately less frustrating.  I am thinking that a plastic siding will also facilitate the addition of plastic pipes, vents, rails, etc. as the mill and complex evolve.  My second thought was more aesthetic.  Is this too big?  Does it "over dominate?"  Need to think on that!

       

      More fitting and fiddling to come before we start cutting the foam.

       

      Eric

       

       

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at May 16, 2020 9:17 AM EDT
    • May 15, 2020 5:08 AM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Eric,

      Sugar mills are huge and in the small towns did dominate the skyline, they were the reason for the towns existence. 

      Can you go up the hill behind it to get more buildings in?

      Usually the trains pushed their wagons into the mill but there is no reason why they could not pull the wagons through the unloading area.

      Don't know about Hawaiian mils but in Australian their boilers used the left over fibre from the crushed cane as fuel.

      I am going to follow this build very closely as I going to make one as well.  Mine will use real corrugated iron from an old aboveground swimming pool.

      This post was edited by GAP at May 16, 2020 9:20 AM EDT
    • May 15, 2020 10:35 AM EDT
      • Pleasanton, CA
         
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      Eric: a small suggestion: think about breaking up the roofline. make the main structure taller. Then also consider using different siding on the smaller section of the building, like it was added later. You will, possibly, get more visual interest by having the contrast.

    • May 15, 2020 11:56 PM EDT
      • Chaco, Paraguay
         
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      here comes the partypooper:

       

      coal for a sugar mill?

      down here, the sugar plants work(ed) that way: the canes are squezed through two cylinders, the liquid sugar runs through gutters into big kettles. the kettles stand above fires, fed with the squezed out canes.

      the cylinders of the mill are moved by steam fired with the same canes. (or by animals going in circles)( oh, imagine, what they fed to the animals! offcuts and leaves from fresh canes)

      so in went cane - out went sugar, ashes and in some cases rum. no outside energy input needed!

       

      as your layout theme does not look ultra-modern to me, something along these lines might be more fitting.

      (well, i live in the third world... , but the first sugar plant with additional energy input (gasoil) in this land was built about 30 years ago.)

      This post was edited by Korm Kormsen at May 16, 2020 9:20 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

       

      My Chaosplace ->  

    • May 16, 2020 2:10 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Gents,

       

      Thanks for your comments.  My mock-up did not survive the night on the lanai, but I hope to incorporate most of your suggestions next round of "Fun with Packing Tape," in particular Jim's suggestion to break up to roofline.  GAP, with regards  to your thoughts on using the mountain, I had thought a water tower and a pump house for that area.  More would require some landscaping,  and I  am not sure what can and cannot be moved up there.  From a visual perspective, I am also worried too much on that mountain top would further erode what little sense of "distance" I have.  I am trying to  get just enough visible to draw visitors off the lanai and down to that section of the railroad.  That bridge to the bottom right of the birds-eye-view crosses a gorge that serves as a divider, if you will.  

       

      Tackling the technical aspects next, Korm and Gap:

      1. Era.  Korm, yes, I am trying to keep my theme roughly 1880-1920, modified to suit my own tastes and interests.  Much of the equipment ran out here from the late 19th century through the end of WWII and the end of rail, so I have a lot of latitude with regards to motive power and rolling stock.  The flag changed three times in that period; how people made money remained constant.
      2. Mill fuel.  The Hawaiian mills did use waste product from the cane processing to fire the boilers.  I had assumed (there I go assuming again!)  that this was only part of the fuel solution.  It never really dawned on me to consider that this was enough to fuel the boilers.  The OR&L and, from what I can tell, the plantation railroads,  changed from coal to oil pretty early in the 20th century, and I assumed (got to stop doing that!) the mills did the same, explaining the lack of obvious facilities to transfer coal.  I really appreciate your insight on this point.
      3. Track Plan.   Most of the photos of O'ahu mills show what you suggested, GAP, with sidings rather than pull-throughs.  Space not prototype dictates my choice here, but,  as it turns out, by shear dumb luck I am on the "good" side of "prototypical." That magnificent little book I found, "Fowler Locomotives in the Kingdome of Hawaii," by Jesse C. Conde, has a track plan for the Heeia Sugar Plantation.  Three separate tracks passed over the cane carrier, curved sharply on the other side before coming together, then split again into a three track yard for the empties.  Heeia is just west of the next town over, so this is a doubly nice coincidence, as it adds a touch of the local history to an otherwise generic project.  

      Thanks again for the guidance!  More boxes and staring to follow! 

       

      Aloha,

      Eric 

    • May 17, 2020 2:08 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Paper Cut-outs, Part II:

       

          After GAP's questions about the mountain, I thought "long rage" shot might be in order.  If you were enjoying a beverage on my lanai and watching the sun sink below the Ko'olaus:

       

      The red thing on the mountain behind the mill is a coffee container, standing in for a water tower.  There is little room to either side of it (forward and back relative to this picture), and, as mentioned, to the left (towards the avocado tree) things would be hidden and, in my opinion risk what little sense of distance I am able to achieve by blurring the mill complex to much into  our "mountain range."  I'd like to reveal just enough from this angle to encourage folks to get up and trot over to see what it is there, and I hope the water tower and visible aspects of the mill will achieve that.

       

           Jim, I took on your idea of "breaking up the roofline," too:

      I plan to lower the unloading area about an inch to further break up the roof line.  This was the modification too far far, though, with the mock-up material on hand!  I would also lower the structure on the roof, too.  After the photo, I oriented the box in the foreground vertically, and, frankly, it looked better.  I am going strictly with 30-60-90 angles.  These are very, very repeatable.  I figure on a building of this size will seriously amplify an measurement errors!

       

          Finally, Jim. with respect to materials, I reviewed the photos.  The unloading areas were not fully enclosed, and the beams holding up the roofs in those parts of the mills seem to have been visible more often than not.  To better illustrate what I mean, welcome back to my model tools my Sharpie:


      That should be something readily achievable (famous last words!).

       

         That is as far as I can go until I get my Hardiebacker to serve as a base (hopefully this week!) and I can see how this looks with a train going through it.  I am again reconsidering my choice of materials, but I am satisfied with the overall dimensions now.   In the meantime I have to finish the cane cars!

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at May 18, 2020 8:50 AM EDT
    • May 17, 2020 4:28 PM EDT
      • Bundaberg, Queensland Australia
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Paper Cut-outs, Part II:

       

          After GAP's questions about the mountain, I thought "long rage" shot might be in order.  If you were enjoying a beverage on my lanai and watching the sun sink below the Ko'olaus:

       

      The red thing on the mountain behind the mill is a coffee container, standing in for a water tower.  There is little room to either side of it (forward and back relative to this picture), and, as mentioned, to the left (towards the avocado tree) things would be hidden and, in my opinion risk what little sense of distance I am able to achieve by blurring the mill complex to much into  our "mountain range."  I'd like to reveal just enough from this angle to encourage folks to get up and trot over to see what it is there, and I hope the water tower and visible aspects of the mill will achieve that.

       

           Jim, I took on your idea of "breaking up the roofline," too:

      I plan to lower the unloading area about an inch to further break up the roof line.  This was the modification too far far, though, with the mock-up material on hand!  I would also lower the structure on the roof, too.  After the photo, I oriented the box in the foreground vertically, and, frankly, it looked better.  I am going strictly with 30-60-90 angles.  These are very, very repeatable.  I figure on a building of this size will seriously amplify an measurement errors!

       

          Finally, Jim. with respect to materials, I reviewed the photos.  The unloading areas were not fully enclosed, and the beams holding up the roofs in those parts of the mills seem to have been visible more often than not.  To better illustrate what I mean, welcome back to my model tools my Sharpie:


      That should be something readily achievable (famous last words!).

       

         That is as far as I can go until I get my Hardiebacker to serve as a base (hopefully this week!) and I can see how this looks with a train going through it.  I am again reconsidering my choice of materials, but I am satisfied with the overall dimensions now.   In the meantime I have to finish the cane cars!

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

      Eric,

      That looks really good.

      I agree with lowering the roof of the unloading area it will give more appearance of height to the mill building.

      Consider lowering the roof height to upper side of the lower piece of tape near the mill building, if that makes sense.

      The unloading areas were more of a lean to than a shed usually open ended but enclosed part way down the side to keep out rain in the wet season.

      Consider the smoke stack between the mill and the mountain as that would also explain why the water tank is there i.e. close to the boilers.

      You could also add extra small add on areas (like the unloader) or buildings at each end of the mill.

      Also some mills had chain drives that hooked onto the front wagon coupler and that was used to pull them through so no loco was required.

    • The following users say thanks to GAP for this useful post:
    • May 18, 2020 8:56 PM EDT
      • Mount Vernon, Missouri
         
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      I enjoy watching your technique of figuring things out, thinking, figuring, testing, thinking, then making it happen.

      Dennis

    • May 20, 2020 2:12 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Thanks, Dennis.

       

      I actually enjoy this part of a project, where we take stock of the material, tools, and talent, mix in what is and is not available, and plot a solution to achieve the objective, be it a bridge or a building or a loco restoration.  Trying to stick to locally available materials saves on money, supports our local economy, and emulates what the real OR&L had to do.  If Dillingham and the boys couldn't make it, it had to come across the Pacific and that usually at a premium!  I also try to incorporate a chance to pick up a new skill or apply a new technique in these projects, even as we are developing a handful of "go to" techniques.  I have found this allows me to "learn through failure" at a limited cost, and. thus far at least, I have found those failures have led to new ideas or projects.  I was afraid to touch a tool before we broke ground on the Triple O in 2014, and now the kids ask to borrow the Dremel!

       

          Getting back to the project, the most convenient big box hardware store was pretty picked over.  No joy on HardieBacker or chloroplast.  We are in an era not seen since the 19th Century, when the arrival of a ship in Honolulu harbor made the news!  I am pretty sure of the overall proportions, though, with Jim's and GAP's suggestions, so I may try to cut the walls of the mill from my foam stocks.  I am mulling making a frame, or at least cutting 2x4 braces, for the corners in an adaptation of the frame on your Lucky Lizard Mine, Dennis.   That would give the building weight and provide anchor points to screw the building to the Hardiebacker foundation, when it arrives on Matson's new-fangled steamship!  It will also serve as anchor points should I decide, in the end, to use chloroplast for the shell.

       

      In the meantime, I have what I need on hand to complete the cane cars.  

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

       

    • June 11, 2020 3:02 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Off to the Big Box for HardieBacker tomorrow.  I'll also look for chloroplast, as I have found that forms a good sub-roof material.  Depending on cost, I may still use it for the core rather than my pink foam.  Either way, I'll bolt those 2x4 bits into the HardieBacker to serve as reinforcements for the corners.  I am still dithering between repurposed beverage cans and commercial sheet for the corrugated sides.  The price beverage in sufficient quantity probably makes the cost a wash.

       

      I did spend an hour a week ago having a good hard "think," trying to imagine the mill in operation as well as the construction process.  Givens the size of the structure, it occurred to me it is more like a landscape item, and I am leaning towards building the main building and unloader shed "on site,"  then fitting the outbuildings as I go.  This way, I can stage the project a bit and make adjustments as I go.  One engineering issue leaves me perplexed.  The unloading track should rise, so the cane could be raked out onto the waiting unloading belt and carried into the mill.  That feature is beyond what I need, but that rise would add to the illusion that there is something going on in that shed.  Whether I can physically pull that off in the constrained space will need some testing, and I don't see how I can do that testing without the building core in place.

       

      The mock-up is falling apart in my shed.  It is time to move forward!

       

      Eric

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

    • June 12, 2020 10:02 AM EDT
      • Chaco, Paraguay
         
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      why don't you leave the track without rise - and holow out the receiving area beside it?

      the belt could bring the cane not only in, but up as well...

      ____________________________________

       

      My Chaosplace ->  

    • June 13, 2020 12:24 AM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      Industries tend to be big - something that often slips modelers attention, where one sees enterprises barely bigger than the freight cars servicing them.  Now, my layout is a whimsical madhouse that almost has to be set on another planet, what with all the aliens, astronauts, monsters, supersized pixies, superheros, wizards and zombies running about.  But, I still kept the size bit in mind. The unnamed and undefined industry for Middleton on my indoor pike takes up seven feet of wall space - and I regard it as just barely big enough to be credible.

       

       

       

       

      Industrial structures tend to be a bit bland on the exterior.  That worked out fairly well for this unnamed background manufacturer in Nocturne Gate (a continuation of a prior Mik project) 

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Tim at June 13, 2020 1:25 AM EDT
    • June 17, 2020 2:12 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Quick Update:

       

      The arrival of my rebuilt LGB 2071D chassis stalled real progress, but Younger Daughter and I did place the backerboard:

       

      We sketched in the tracks, too, to facilitate some "head modeling."  

       

      I had originally though to use the whole backerboard, as the mill is only part of a larger project to turn this whole area into the industrial zone where the Triple O delivers and picks up from the M&K Sugar Co.  I am worried that that might make things unwieldly, though, and it would make things unsightly as the area slowly still builds out.  At this moment, I plan to snap the board just mauka (towards the mountains) of the engine service track (fuel and water facilities are in the conceptualization stage; different thread way in the future, but it takes the guide off the Iwilei facility in Honolulu).  The plan for the mill complex will start with the mill building and unloader represented in the mock-up.  As I will need a loading area, the finished product would come out of the left hand of the mill, cross the unloading tracks, and end up on a covered loading dock on the empties track.  I theorize having all of that share a common base would help to keep everything aligned over time.  In addition to structurally sound, I am hoping this will also eventually present a relatively realistic or at least logical work flow.  Any thoughts?

       

      Diving conditions look promising this weekend, but I still hope to cut some walls and the  2x4 braces.

       

      Eric

       

    • June 17, 2020 3:41 PM EDT
      • Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
         
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      So many things to-do, so little time

       

    • June 18, 2020 3:14 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Bill Barnwell said:

      So many things to-do, so little time

       

      You've no idea!

    • June 20, 2020 10:18 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Set up to cut the foam core today.  I forgot  my hot knife was broken, so I tried the "scultping tool."  That didn't have the clearance to cut the pieces I need.  Looks like this project is on hold while I order a new hot knife...and a little jig to keep it vertical! 

       

      Progress now at a standstill, I at least may have sourced the pre-formed styrene locally, and, yes, it comes to the same price as the equivalent quantity of raw material in the form of beverage cans.  They routinely get Evergreen products.   Would the largest size of "corrugated roofing" (https://evergreenscalemodels.com/collections/0401-0mm-opaque-white-polystyrene-corrugated-metal-siding) work, following the 10 foot rule?  Evergreen also offers "large scale" siding for train cars (https://evergreenscalemodels.com/collections/12-x-24-large-scale-siding).  Thoughts?  I like to support local businesses when I can, both to keep them around and to dodge shipping charges!

       

      As I wait, I am going to try to rip a pine board I bought into 1/2" by 1/2" strips for the next flight of cane cars.  May as well try to master the complexities of the "straight cut" while I wait to continue the mill they will someday serve.

       

      Eric

    • June 21, 2020 2:04 AM EDT

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      Interesting project. 

    • June 22, 2020 3:33 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Thanks, Ray.  The hot knife and guide are on order.  The foam cutting tools get enough use across the board over the year to merit the investment.  Meanwhile, the pine is ripped into relevantly even strips for my other project - the "Mueller Family Mik-Lite."  Oldest Son and I are assembling kits based upon our cane cars with the idea he and his siblings have to come up with something that works as either rolling stock or motive power by end of summer vacation.  In the worst case of total non-participation, I have what I need to crank out a few more cane cars.  Progress happened, if not on this project than another.

       

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

      This post was edited by Eric Mueller at June 22, 2020 3:34 AM EDT
    • June 22, 2020 5:45 AM EDT
      • West Grove, Pennsylvania
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Update:

       Progress now at a standstill, I at least may have sourced the pre-formed styrene locally, and, yes, it comes to the same price as the equivalent quantity of raw material in the form of beverage cans.  They routinely get Evergreen products.   Would the largest size of "corrugated roofing" (https://evergreenscalemodels.com/collections/0401-0mm-opaque-white-polystyrene-corrugated-metal-siding) work, following the 10 foot rule?  Evergreen also offers "large scale" siding for train cars (https://evergreenscalemodels.com/collections/12-x-24-large-scale-siding).  Thoughts?  I like to support local businesses when I can, both to keep them around and to dodge shipping charges!

      Eric

      Both of those should work fine. I keep the siding in stock, just in case. 

      I use the 1/8" spaced siding for making bands around my water tanks. Just slice off the strips and glue it around the tanks. 

      ____________________________________

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

    • June 25, 2020 12:36 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Ray & Ken,

      A belated thanks to you both.  Still waiting on my hot knife...

       

      Eric

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