Milan Branch of the Iowa Interstate RR

Category: Operations (page 1 of 3)

Folding brackets for staging

We just had a brand new Menards open in my town so I promptly went shopping for materials for my three staging extensions. I picked up some aluminum L-channel and 1/2 in. birch plywood to make each extension, but I also needed some sort of swinging or retractable bracket to support the extensions. I was apprehensive about the brackets because I thought I would need to design and fabricate them and I wasn’t looking forward to that work.

But, in the shelving department I ran across an inexpensive product that made my day. It’s a retractable 12 in. bracket that works fantastic and was only $4.50! Very good quality. See pictures below.

For two of the extensions I plan to add a wood cross piece so that the bracket will reach out far enough to hold it up, but the third bracket will be attached directly to the fascia for the Eagle Sub. extension.

If anyone’s looking for a well-made but low-cost folding bracket, check these out at Menards. Made by Storage Shop, #225-2254

3D printing to the rescue

3D printing is a godsend when one needs a custom design produced. 

Recently, I needed a faceplate to mount an Arduino module for my reversing unit as I’m getting very close to completing all track work on the layout. I asked my friend, Michael P., if he would print me a faceplate that I designed in Tinkercad and he obliged. Thanks, Michael! Below is a photo of the finished plate sitting on top of the module along with another 3D printed IR sensor holder from Iowa Scaled Engineering. Both components will work perfectly for installing the reversing system. Since I don’t have a continuous run, it’s going to be fun to work on the layout as a train moves back and forth.

Michael also sent me several different sizes of drainage pipes. Perfect timing as I start to work on my river scene. 🙂 Below is a photo with an HO figure for scale.

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. 

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