Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

ISE fast clock

I spent an enjoyable evening installing my Iowa Scaled Engineering fast clock which includes two wireless slaves. 

The beauty of the ISE setup is its simplicity, ease of installation, and minimalistic look which fits my personal aesthetic perfectly. 

I started by measuring the printed circuit board footprints so that I could make accurate cuts in the layout fascia. This was critical because the faceplate screw holes are fairly close to the circuit board and I needed to make sure not to cut too much fascia away. I made paper templates from the measurements and taped them into position; scribed the outlines onto the fascia; and carefully removed the wood with my DeWALT oscillating multi-tool. 

The DeWALT oscillating tool makes quick work cutting through the fascia.

I have a separate 12 volt power supply that feeds several of my auxiliary features around the layout, so I ran the feeders to the main clock and I was up and running. 

I like the clean format that ISE has built into their system.

The two slaves are also powered by the 12 volt supply. They tie into the main clock via XBee receivers which work very well. Again, the slaves are clean and minimalistic which is a great look.  

I plan to run the time ratio where an eight hour work day is condensed into roughly two hours of operating time. 

The great bridge saga continues…

Today I received an update from my friend, Clark C., who is helping construct the two Rock River lattice truss bridges for the branch.

Clark is a true craftsman. And in the tradition of craftsmanship, he is testing the design approach to the bridges. Below are two images that show a “test bed” span. He is testing such things as lattice thicknesses, materials approach and heating the acrylic to help form it for alignment, etc. All this attention to detail is greatly appreciated and it will make for a spectacular presentation once completed.


Also: this last weekend I was at Trainfest in Milwaukee promoting the ProtoThrottle with Michael Petersen and Nathan Holmes. It was my first time at Trainfest and although it was rather grueling standing for almost eight hours both days, we all had a great time.

Nathan had graciously agreed to 3D print both bridge abutments and the one pier I needed. I plan to “skin” the three components with plaster and then distress, chip, and weather them to fit within the scene. Below is a rough setup showing the girder spans in approximate placement.

New addition for the track gang

It’s been a while since my last post and not much has been happening on the layout because of business commitments. But I did add a new tool to help me with the remaining track laying – four custom track weight/gauges.

Since I’ve been working with a machining company to produce faceplates and handles for our ProtoThrottle, I asked them if they would machine some steel to help me hand lay my track more efficiently. They agreed, so I sent them some simple drawings and, bingo, relatively heavy track gauges that will work perfectly for my code 70 rail.

These are going to be a welcome addition because they’ll hold the rail securely in place because of the steel’s weight. Plus, they will come in handy for other uses where I need extra weight to hold something in place.

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