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    • June 25, 2020 4:58 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      You're doing tremendous work Eric, I'm looking forward to your further efforts on your mill, it's looking very cool.

       

      I love your involving the whole family in your projects, that's so great to see.

       

       

    • July 3, 2020 8:10 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      I received my hot knife and new guide.  I carefully set up my work area, counterbalancing the foam with a calibrated coconut:

      Despite my tropical counterweight, I still managed to bump the foam, jam the knife into the bench, bend said knife, and get a carefully randomized squiggle:

      Despite myself, all four walls are cut and even reasonably square.  They'll do for the core of the mill building.  I placed one end wall for a final size check:

      Tomorrow we celebrate our Independence, so progress will stop.  The next step is to glue the walls together, cut the 2x4 braces for the corners, and mount the lot to the backerboard.  After that, it'll go back on the railroad to revalidate the unloader shed design and for  more out-building brainstorming.  This whole thing is becoming a series of projects within projects, which is fine.

       

      To all my fellow American citizens and residents...Happy Fourth of July!  To everyone else, have a wonderful weekend!

       

      Eric

       

       

       

    • July 13, 2020 2:57 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Our card reader broke, so no pictures to prove it, but work continued this weekend.

       

           Saturday, I test fit my foam walls.  Even by my standards, it wasn't going to work!  I found my template for the rook peak, taped it to a wall, then taped the walls together, and sliced away.  I didn't even to have to use the calibrated coconut for this one! Similar hot-knife work went into the walls.  Then, it was a matter of taking some shishkabob skewers, cutting them into thirds, and driving them through the foam to hold everything together while the glue set.  Today, I returned to the foam core to add more glue fillets.  

       

           Today, my old nemesis, "Jigsaw," came out for the first time since the Mik challenge with the 2x4.  In fact, the remnants of same-said 2x4 came out of the shed.  I had to use "Jigsaw" to cut open a soda syrup barrel we are using as a rain catchment, and figured, as long as the thing was out of the closet, I might as well see if I can cut a straight line.   Nope.   I measured, measured again, then measured, braced the 2x4 on a low picnic table, lined up the blade on the line, and still botched it.  I am not sure by what laws of alchemy a straight metal blade cuts at an angle relative to the vertical, but clearly I have to either a.) find the correct incantation, or b.) keep practicing.  Despite myself, I ended up with four 14" lengths of lumber that will serve as braces in each corner.  Ultimately, I plan to use deck screws to hold the mill to the backerboard base. I plan to drill tap holes in the backerboard, then use a drill to anchor those 2x4s with deck screws.  We'll see...

       

            Speaking of backerboard, I opted to snap it just shy of the loading / empties track.  I had thought to use it as a base all the way across that part of the garden for the engine service track and the mainline station area, but that would've made this project unwieldly.  It's big enough as it is!  The backerboard got a coat of water sealer as a precaution (need to get more; one spray can was insufficient).  It also got pencil markings for the mill location and the various tracks.  More fiddling and sketching again proved that this project is as much a landscaping project as a modeling project!

       

           The next step after I get the core mounted is the roof.  I think I am going to use plastic sheet as it is light, usually available, should add rigidity, and because, why not try something new? The only drawback I see would be interior access, but, as I don't intend to detail the inside, I am not sure this is an issue.   I can always add an access panel to the mauka (mountain facing) side.  Most of the mills had a top structure, presumably for ventilation and lighting.  I also plan to run the stack through the roof, rather than having an external boiler building.  This is an issue of space. Sure glad I test fit everything one more time!  Once I am at this stage (hopefully sooner rather than later!), I feel comfortable ordering the siding.   

       

          I had a some thoughts on the unloader area, but I'll save you from them until I have the photos.  I am finding the constraints of space and the desire to present a logical work flow in my stylized mill are presenting some intriguing design challenges that, while creating delays, are actually rather fun to work through.  

       

      Pictures to come.  

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

    • July 13, 2020 9:02 PM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      the key with 'jigsaws' is a 'jig' or 'guide' affixed to the object you are cutting.  As to the angle bit...check the bottom and find the relevant Allan wrench.

    • July 14, 2020 8:44 PM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Eric if you have a square of some sort place it in the bottom plate, and if it’s like my old one there is a wing nut on the end to adjust to where the blade is square to the base, or check the blade and make sure it’s not bent from the base of the blade where it conneats to the saw. 

      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • July 19, 2020 11:13 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      Progress lurches ever forward...Thanks to Tim and Pete L for the tool  tips.  To be clear, here is my nemesis:

      I assumed it was a jigsaw based upon the informative sticker.  The white table was my work surface.  I had tried to cut along a carefully measured line, but, yes, a "jig" or steel square would've made a huge difference... Next time!

       

         Below please find a series of  photos I took as I sketched and fiddled my next steps:

        

      This was really, really informative for me.  This thing is BIG!  I mentioned the tight clearances in my last update, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  There are some real space constraints that will impact how we proceed.

       

          Speaking of "proceed," OD joined me yesterday to put in my not-so-square bracing.  She began with the obvious comment, that someone with actual saw skills should cut the wood next time.  I offered to get out the saber saw to square the edges, but she decided that would just make things worse.  When does she graduate?    I drilled tap hole into the backer board, she held the 2x4's, then I screwed in the anchors.  I had to back them out a bit to allow the braces to pivot to the vertical.  More comments from the help followed... OD then decided to get a picture of yours truly doing work, in this case lathering Titebond III onto our supports:

      She hit upon the idea to use scrap foam to  fill in the gaps.  No piece of scrap goes to the trash, and we have three coffee cans for scraps based upon material (wood, foam, other).  Anything in these containers is available for projects of any sort without first asking.  I had forgotten we had foam in them...The net result looked like this:

      Perhaps some day I shall invest in more and proper clamps!  

       

          I manhandled this back onto the lanai, scrounged up the mock unloader shed, and the results are below:

      My original plan was to have processed sugar come out of the left, where it would be wheeled over to load onto box cars at the edge of the backerboard.  I am not sure I have the clearances to to that.  I am now weighing extending the shed the full length of the building and its roof all the way to the loading track.  Many of the Islands' mills had cane go in on the left and out on the right.  My landscape prohibits that, so it all has to go and come from the same side.  I am also weighing a raised platform in the whole shed area, which, of course, would facilitate loading on one track and give the impression there was a depression for the unloader's conveyor on the unloading track.  I have been thinking about how to simulate that conveyor, too, but I have to figure out the cane in / sugar out flow a bit better first.  More mock-ups to  come before I sacrifice more material to the project!

       

         Our local primaries are in early August.  I sense  roofing material may be in abundance shortly...Plexiglass is not readily available, it would seem, but I have to check the Big Box stores, too.  Backerboard may be an option for the roof, too.

       

      Progress will be slow, so I thank you for your patience.  This industry will define a third of the Triple O, and it will anchor it in time and place.  The allowances for constrained space - and crummy saw skills - cannot reduce the end results ability to say "sugar mill."

       

      And with that, I think I'll run some trains!

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 19, 2020 11:30 PM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      Glad to be of assistance.  Did you locate the relevant point for the Allan wrench on the jigsaws underside?

       

      That said, for reasons unclear, I recently received a realtors flyer for 'hot property deals' in Hawaii.  Since when were human sacrifices part of the down payment?  And what's this about yearly bloodletting?

       

    • July 26, 2020 10:15 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Tim, yes, I did find the allen wrench screws.  I assume you mean the ones that hold the blade in place?  I will pay more attention to these the next time I meet "Jigsaw" in single combat... As for housing, that sounds about right... If it's only an annual bloodletting (I use the cash substitute), you have a great deal!

       

      Back to the project...I took some a break from preparing to recieve Hurricane Douglas yesterday to tinker with some mock-ups.  In both, I extended the loading / unloading area the length of the mill.  The first option I am weighing is to cover the whole complex:

       

      To be frank, I have some real concerns about the margin for error here once I move the complex onto the railroad.  Oldest Son joined me to modify the mock-up so that the loading track for the Triple O's box cars would be exposed:

       

      What this may sacrifice in terms of being prototypical I feel it gains in terms of being doable ( i.e. margin of error, tools and skills, and material).  Frankly, I think it looks better, too.

       

          I think I now see a plan going forward:

      1. Cut the frame for the loading / unloading shed from foam.  As suggested, this will be a "wooden" structure to vary things up.  The side facing the box car will be open. 
      2. Lay foam horizontally around the structure and inside the shed to serve as the core  for the loading deck and walkway.  We can cover this with craft stick planking on top and carve "stones" into the sides (Pennsylvania than Hawai'i, but it is consistent with material on hand on our railroad.).  If there is a better material we can cut, scribe, and paint, I am all ears!
      3. Simulate the conveyor going into the mill. The loading deck will give the appearance of depth, especially if it breaks over the area that would hold the conveyor.  We'll cut an opening in the mill for the conveyor, backed with foam on all sides so you can't see any deeper into the mill.  I am toying with approximating a conveyor, as it could, conceivably, be visible to someone curious enough to put down their drink and look into the shed.

       

      My office is splitting us into a week on / week off schedule, so I hope to start cutting the loading / unloading shed this week.  Hope springs eternal!  The primaries are in early August, after which I will go "shopping" for roofing material!

       

      Aloha,


      Eric

       

       

       

       

    • July 26, 2020 11:42 PM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      No...not the screws that hold the blade in place.  Rather, there should be another Allen screw (more than one, likely) in the bottom of the metal base, perhaps affixed to a small curved plate in the base.  That is what controls the 'side angle.'   Get that level, then tighten the screw.  At least that's how mine is, which looks similar to yours.

       

    • July 26, 2020 11:51 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Tim, well, what do you know?   Sure enough, there are two little screws on a curved plate!  I've had that saw for years...never dawned on me such things existed. Thanks!

    • July 27, 2020 9:51 PM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      Glad to be of assistance.  

       

      Good luck with the hurricane.

       

      Looking forward to watching the Mill take shape.

    • July 29, 2020 3:15 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      OD joined me on the lanai for some railroading today, and we turned to on the mill.  We both decided to go with the covered unloader track and the open loading track, both for looks and simplicity.  Before we started cutting, we drafted a 1:24 scale crewman to size out decking thickness:

       ...or... 

      One sheet of foam is a tad low, but two seem a bit too high. 

       

      We set the future deck aside and proceeded to the entrance / exit points for the unloading shed.  OD agreed to do the cutting if I agreed to whack open a couple coconuts.  After showing her how to carefully align the hot knife guide with a metal ruler, she quickly decided to use the vertical jig and to free-hand the thing.  Her results are below:

      Show off.  At least I have a lot of coconut water for a beverage mixture...

       

      Next up is the wall that faces the box car.   I am not sure if I want this to be open, which would allow for the staging of bags of "sugar," supplies for the mill, etc. or closed, which would make this much easier.  I am leaning towards leaving it open, with the foam deck and a foam top piece with "timbers" of TBD material holding it all up.  The "timbers" could actually run top to bottom through the foam, which would add some structural integrity.

       

      More to come...

       

      Eric

       

       

    • July 29, 2020 10:35 AM EDT
      • Peoria, NW of Phoenix, Arizona
         
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      Eric Mueller said:

      Update:

      OD joined me on the lanai for some railroading today, and we turned to on the mill.  We both decided to go with the covered unloader track and the open loading track, both for looks and simplicity.  Before we started cutting, we drafted a 1:24 scale crewman to size out decking thickness:

      ...or... 

      One sheet of foam is a tad low, but two seem a bit too high. 

       Eric , check the height with the car on the track, plus as a practical case, having to go downhill with a cart or hand truck of sacks of sugar into the railcar is way better for the workers than going uphill. Or you could dig that area down or raise the track a bit, enough just enough for the dock to be level with the car

       

       

       


       

       

      This post was edited by Pete Lassen at July 30, 2020 3:28 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

       

      Butt Modeler #2

       

       

    • July 29, 2020 11:32 AM EDT
      • Ormond Beach, Fl. 32174
         
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      I'm with Pete track is too high or the the building is too low why not raise the building up with pylonsconcrete pylons 

    • July 30, 2020 3:51 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Bill and Pete,

      Thanks.  This has been a week of blinding flashes of the obvious, such as "insert your ballot before sealing the envelope" and "sharpen the machete before opening the coconut."  I may now add "put the boxcar on the track before you test the deck height" to that list:

       

      The result shows that, with the track, the opening to the box car is 2 1/4".  You'll note the ruler in the photo.  I placed the tracks 12" apart (outside rail to outside rail).  Both tracks break from an R1 (2ft radius switch), come off 3xR1 (2ft radius) curves, have a 12" straight section, go straight into 3xR1 curves, then converge back into an R1 turn-out.  I had previously discovered raising / lowering the track in these tight tolerances lead to poor running and bad electrical connections, so I have to tinker with the platform.  I am not too keen on cutting an intricate latticework to support a deck for a number of reasons, but I am not sold on foam, either.  If there is something that I can cut, scribe, paint, and forget, I am all ears!  Bill, I think you used vinyl for your MIK 2020 build, right?  Is that is what is in the photo you posted here?

       

          I might add that, despite marking up the backerboard base, I grossly underestimated the size of the loading / unloading shed.  The intention was to have it come all the way to the track where the box car is.   Oh, well.  I sort of like it like this, and I think we can craft a nice roof over the loading dock with material on hand.  It also means I can leave the doors to the mill "closed" or just ajar, obviating the need for even the hint of interior details.  Make lemonade from lemons, as they say!

       

          The only other issue from this test fitting was clearance.  Komaka Iki's engineer barely cleared the door:

       Heck, the locomotive barely cleared the door!  I am worried that out on the railroad these tolerances will be too tight.  I plan to employ OD to carve about 1/4" out of the portal all around.

       

          Portal, wall, loading dock, and we are on our way!

       

      Eric

       

    • July 30, 2020 7:08 AM EDT
      • Curmudgeon at Large, Insurance Warrior
         
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      Eric, I would not worry about a 6-12 inch difference between the box car floor and the platform. Ramps were used  to bridge the gap between the platform and car, so does it matter if the ramp is a bit up hill? Also consider that the floor of the car will vary with manufacturer, and how worn out the springs in the trucks are. Plus I would also contend that you will be putting some kind of deck material on the foam board which will increase the height of the platform.

       

      Rock on, neat project.

      ____________________________________

      We don't stop playing with trains because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing with trains.....

       

    • July 31, 2020 2:04 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Bob, thanks.  I did plan to deck this, probably by scribing a sheet of plastic.  I am still debating what will hold up the deck, though.  Cut my fingers sharpening my machete today, so I have some bonus time to think.    

    • August 2, 2020 9:09 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Since I couldn't work on the mill this weekend, I did some thinking on my loading platform. Clearly, sharp objects and I are not on good terms, so  I will use a foam core, stacked two deep, with the plastic deck scribed to look like wood.  I'll cover the sides with stucco to simulate concrete.  This will hide the seam between the two pieces of foam, not necessarily be "wrong," and help get this project going.  Eventually, I can make a separate roof over the platform supported with wood (real or simulated) beams on one side and the shed on the other. 

       

      Thanks for the ideas!

       

      Have a great week!

       

      Eric

    • August 9, 2020 8:22 PM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Update:

       

      My fingers healed up, so I  was able to make some progress!  Despite OD's caution to the contrary, I cut the portals 1/4" wider all around  all by myself!

       

      Komaka Iki and his engineer seem much, much happier.  Feeling good about myself, I proceeded to cut the next wall, and I learned about error propagation the hard way:

      ...and followed it up by completely goofing my effort to  free hand the correction by gliding the cutter along the top of the straight edge:

      OD, who was by working on her Mini-Mik project immediately said, "Wrong tool, Dad!  Yo should've used the hot knife!"  When does she graduate?  Seriously, though, patching foam is pretty easy.  A bit of glue and patience with a dash of swallowed pride, and all was well.

       

           Next, I really, really took a look at the loading dock area.  My original plan was to extend it the length of the shed, but that won't accommodate the swing of the box car unless I leave a rather large gap between dock and car:

       

      Going with a long, skinny dock will give me more margin of error when I place this on the railroad, and, of course, I could build some ramps for employees to lay across the gap.  This is an option.  The other is to make the dock the length of the 12" straight track which would let me bring it right up to the box car.  The level in the picture below is where the shot doc would end:

      I could also be bold and carve quarter circles at each end. Bottom line in all  of this, I am very, very, very glad I had the foresight to test, test, and retest!  I vaguely recall someone else who made a building / portal / bridge / whatever that didn't accommodate locomotive or rolling stock! Can't have been anyone on this site, though! 

       

        Today, I found a 22.5 degree line on the cutting board I just bought three years ago.  After carefully making a template, I again attempted unsupervised foam cutting to make ends for the unloading shed.

       

      I forgot to photograph the foam work, but it'll do, trust me!  I originally used a 30-60-90 roofline in the cardboard mock-up,  but, as GAP mentioned, I needed to break what was almost a continuous roofline.  This'll look good.

       

          A few quick thoughts before I close this section.  I am holding this all together with foam glue.  Shishkabob skewers driven into the foam pin the pieces together.  Once I a done puttering with the shed, I will brace the corners with scrap lumber, too.  The primary election results should be out today, so I know which signs will have no use in November and thus will be available to  contribute to some other cause.  Once the roof is in place, I will figure where and whether to cut windows and whether or not I should still cut the wall in the unloader shed to at least imply an interior.  I may actually seal this all up with latex paint prior to that so I can get it out on thee railroad and test everything in place with trains running.

       

      Slowly but steadily, this project lurches forward!

       

      Aloha,

      Eric

       

       

       

    • August 9, 2020 11:45 PM EDT
      • Kenai, Alaska
         
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      Getting a straight car on a curved track to match up with a curved loading dock or platform is a pain.  I re-cut the Middleton passenger platform like ten times before getting a 'barely acceptable' result.  (That was before the big do-over, which let me work some straights onto the passenger siding - but now, I have to rebuild the platform)

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