<![CDATA[milanbranch.com - Blog]]>Thu, 11 Aug 2022 19:08:46 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Side Panels]]>Thu, 11 Aug 2022 23:25:27 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/side-panels
I’ve installed the two side panels for the I-280 bridge scene. The panels are painted the same color as the fascia on the front, but I chose a camo green for the inside. Sheet foam will be installed next to the panels to create the surrounding sloped landforms and I’ll be able to try out my new electric foam cutter. I’m excited to also try some new scenery materials in this scene including VMS Smart Mud 2.0 and some very high grass tufts. In addition, there will be some standing water under the bridge from the short rain burst that just past and which you can see on the backdrop. 

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<![CDATA[Eastern IAIS]]>Wed, 10 Aug 2022 18:40:43 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/eastern-iais

There are several Iowa Interstate modelers in my region. My friend, Colin O’Brien, models the eastern Iowa area of the line and has started work on his signature scene – an iconic bridge over the Iowa River in Iowa City (that’s a lot of “Iowa’s”!). Colin is a meticulous modeler, so the scene will be spectacular. The top photos shows the IAIS QJ steamers crossing the bridge (photo: Frank Grizel). Colin’s work on this scene will be included in an upcoming book I’m working on for White River Productions. 

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<![CDATA[Laser Testing]]>Mon, 08 Aug 2022 03:16:20 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/laser-testing
I did some tests this evening with my new xTool D1 10W laser. I used a 9mm thick piece of Midwest Product’s Craft Ply. I ran two tests – a cut power test and an engraving power test. Shown above is the engraving test with different power percentages across the top with the speed down the side. As you can see, the laser cut the material very efficiently. The hole in the lower right was three passes at the 100/15 setting. It cut through the 9mm like butter. Crazy!

I think I’m going to like modeling with this machine. :)


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<![CDATA[Apogee Fun]]>Sat, 06 Aug 2022 21:40:08 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/apogee-fun
I just picked up these neat 3D models from Apogee Locomotive Works – a 28-ton motor that will run under catenary along with a 28-ton diesel slug. The slug will eventually be teamed with a custom diesel design that I’m collaborating with Apogee on. Fun!  These models will be powered by NWSL Stanton drives. Coreless motors which run like clockwork I’m told. 

These engines will be featured on a couple of freelanced modules that I’ll take to shows. The modules will feature mountainous scenery with dramatic bridges and lots of water. 

The third model on the right is a high voltage rack. I don’t plan to include that model in the locomotive, but it’s a cool looking model which will be used in a freelance substation. 

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<![CDATA[Jumping into Arduino Programming]]>Fri, 05 Aug 2022 21:23:52 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/jumping-into-arduino-programming
I’ve been researching different lighting systems to build light into the layout for eventual night ops. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to take the plunge and program my own LEDs using a Sparkfun RedBoard Plus along with a Qwiic Shield with plenty of prototyping ports for a bunch of lights. There are a good number of YT videos that easily explain how to set up the Arduino code to light, dim, and flash LEDs, so I hope the process will be straightforward. I also picked up a cheap breadboard and connecting cables on Amazon to test each setup before soldering anything permanently to the RedBoard. 

Taking this approach saves quite a bit over the hobby LED controllers on the market. 


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<![CDATA[My Mind is Muddy]]>Fri, 05 Aug 2022 21:15:07 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/my-mind-is-muddy
Arriving just in time for some ground modeling – VMS Smart Mud XL 2.0. Yes! I’ve been waiting to try this interesting product. For anyone that follows Martin Kovac’s amazing modeling site called Night Shift on YT, he covers the use of Smart Mud often. You can check out his videos here.

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<![CDATA[Some British Inspiration]]>Fri, 05 Aug 2022 16:41:26 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/some-british-inspiration
Sometimes one has to get some inspiration from the excellent modelers across the pond. Picked up these four books recently. 

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<![CDATA[A Surprise Encounter]]>Mon, 01 Aug 2022 17:30:17 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/a-surprise-encounter
On my way home from the St. Louis RPM yesterday, I traveled a different route than I normally do. The route took me through Eldon, Iowa, which is home to the iconic American Gothic house made famous by the artist Grant Wood. So, of course I drove by to have a look. I didn't take a picture because everyone knows what the house looks like, but I was struck by how tiny it was. Cool, none the less. 

But as I started out of town, an object in the heart of main street caught my eye – a colorful Rock Island diesel on display. I stopped by and met a very friendly host named Becky Taylor who gave me a personal tour of the engine and two cars as well as a neat museum and model railroad. I was the only person there at the time and had the run of the place. Fun! Plus, they allow visitors to explore the diesel and caboose and even ring the bell and blow the horn. What more could a crazed railroad enthusiast want? 

I’ve included a slideshow for your viewing pleasure. :)

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<![CDATA[Sound Conductor]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2022 03:49:04 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/sound-conductor
The photo shows a new product under development with myself, Iowa Scaled Engineering, and Scale Sound Systems – the Sound Conductor. This will be a handheld device that an operator playing the role of conductor would use. It’s a sound generator that reproduces all of the sounds associated with the handling of cars apart from the locomotive sounds. The unit will include realistic looking 3D printed controls and a Scale Sound System speaker for supreme sound fidelity. 

Sounds included: 
• Penny whistle for push moves with a caboose (or if you will, a riding platform)
• Car brake wheel and release
• Multiple coupler crash and release sounds (played randomly)
• Angle cock for releasing air between cars

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<![CDATA[Corn Crib]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2022 13:44:36 GMThttp://milanbranch.com/blog/corn-crib
I’m working on an abandoned corn crib that will be placed within a large cornfield on the layout. The metal screen is a Plano product and the galvanized roof is from Grain Belt Models. It will be painted and weathered to look rusty and overused and will include some vines that have grown up the side. It should add a nice touch to the field scene. 

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