Crossing Paths

Crossing Paths
Model Melbourne trams

Friday 26 June 2015

Digital Pyromania.

I have recently become the part owner of a small domestic laser cutter, the other parties include the bride and her brother, ( the same one that assisted at last years Caulfield exhibition). As the bloke who had spent twenty five years in the caper of moving parts, it has now been designated my task to assemble and commission this device.

As the bride works at an educational institution that has this sort of equipment at her facility, she has been delegated the OH&S guru and chief troubleshooter, the brother in law will be the video tech who will post the results on YouTube or Australia's funniest house fires.

All together on the kitchen bench.
(not to be operated inside the house!)
As it came in kit form, there was some tidying up of sharp edges and some rough looking 3D printed components. The unit went together well due to the detailed instructions.  The 'fun' part with most things computer related is finding and uploading to appropriate drivers. The main circuitry is Arduino supported, running Java software, so those familiar with JMRI decoder Pro will know what fun and games can be had when starting out. This is the A3 version, so big enough for O scale.
The concept is similar to CNC engineering, X and Y axis, instead of spindle speeds, it is laser intensity cooperating with feed rates. As I did not go the CNC path in a previous career, my CNC exposure was pretty much stuffing a felt tip pen into the morse taper of a CNC milling machine and drawing shapes on a blotter pad, after feeding it punched tape from an old telex machine at trade school. Things have changed since then.
There will now be more time in front of a computer.
It is a good thing that the bride is not only my I.T Guru but also has this technology at her work place, so the learning curve will be a family affair. As part of the package CNC software was included. Therefore plenty of learning about Vectors, EPS, DXF, AI, and SVG, WTF!
"Let the flames begin"
So far testing is going well, I have managed to plot and cut squares in paper with this rather expensive etch-a-sketch, and still not sustained a burn or lost an eye.
Safety first in the great outdoors.
So there we have it, I now have the means to produce detailed, straight and square models, now I will have to grab a note book and a tape measure and then head off to the tram museum at Hawthorn.
From under the intense beam of light.
P.S. Just because I have this, does not mean I will do all your projects. I am not that bloke with the ute that will help you move house on the weekends.



Friday 12 June 2015

Two birds, with one stone and a brand new arrival.

It has been somewhat busy around here since the last post, I have proceeded with some structural works around the junction, in the time being the household has made welcome a new arrival, much to the delight of my now two older girls, they now have a baby brother. All is well, and I am glad that I have stockpiled materials previously to tide me over until the next chance for some expenditure.

Now and try and fit a DCC chip in this!

The junction module is in the process of being filled out with structures. The low relief back scene will have three terrace houses to the right, the depot administration building to the left. The right foreground will have a Victorian weatherboard home and across the junction, a service (gas/petrol) station/motor mechanics workshop.

The kit for the 'servo' is a Metcalffe card kit, as the whole building is way too large for the site available, the fore court and retail outlet will be separated from the two storey workshop at the back, the workshop will become the administration building for the tram depot, thus two birds, with one stone.

"Contents may vary from that displayed on box"

The 'servo' has a rather small footprint,  and the modellers licence is getting a good workout,  compressive detail and some forced perspective, that and the fact the intended model was not meant to be built as a triangle has provided some construction entertainment. As the 'servo' is modelled on the early mechanics workshop of the earlier twentieth century, with kerb side pumps, itself fast becoming a rarity with the competition of large oil company sites with multiple pumps on large corner allotments.

The servo

The depot administration building has worked out quite well across the depot throat from the servo, the contrast of two competing interests, the car and the tram, the car is gaining ground after taking a small foothold right on the doorstep of the tram, this also adds to the inner urban clutter, where the tram shed is 'back of house' in regards to the street scape, hidden off in a lane way as most services are.

The Depot Office

As I have stated in the past, the Metcalffe kits are a great source of inspiration, sure you could follow the instructions to the letter and have a structure exactly like the one on the box and on most layouts across the world, or you can get a little inventive, and kitbash it until it bears little resemblance to the original design, also there is scope to add extra detail and weathering, all that is required is a sharp knife and a sharper imagination.

Here are some more photos...

Across the junction looking towards the depot.

Inside the workshop.

From the Depot Shed roof.

An overall view showing the small footprint of the servo.
 All in all, a nice little project, The servo is fitted with LED lights in the ceiling for future illumination, given the small size together with multiple layers, the servo is now as solid as a brick outhouse.
From under the wires and now with a nappy bucket.