Marchford Creek

Discussion in 'Entries' started by Bullhead, 7 February 2018.

  1. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Today, I made a mock-up of the Marchford Creek control panel.

    The black dots on the track diagram show roughly where the various led indicators will be. For some reason I decided to use surface mount leds and resistors – so, 52 tiny components (that I can barely see) to be soldered to a pcb with sub-millimetric accuracy. Let’s do this! Note: On the real thing, the switches will be in a straight line! The upper row of 6 on-on dpdt switches are for the Tortoise point motors, the lower row of 4 (on)-off-(on) dpdt are for the uncoupler coils, each switch activates one coil in each direction.

    The indicators will show for the traverser – alignment, occupation and over-run, for the rest of the scheme, turnout position and uncoupler activity. As the layout control is by DCC, nothing else is required.

    Here’s one I made earlier, this time attached to enamelled copper wire for use in a small building. VERY fiddly but worth the effort.


    Also this week, I’ve put some time into preparing artwork for the various pcb’s that are required. This has taken much longer than anticipated but is moving on well now. These circuits are for the IR detectors for the traverser (top left), the uncoupler coil arc suppression circuits (bottom left) and a Tortoise test rig. More to follow on these.
    jonte, chrisb, JimG and 1 other person like this.
  2. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Progress in the next couple of weeks is going to be slow to non-existent due to a major project at home. This involves decorating four rooms and moving my “railway” room to a different location. Long term the benefit is more working space for me and regaining of the “spare bedroom” by the domestic authorities – every one’s a winner!

    Some progress over the weekend.


    All the holes for uncoupler armatures and point motor mountings have been marked and drilled.


    The track bed areas and positions of structures have been marked out.


    Wiring looms have been added to the Tortoise point motors.


    And finally, the cut-out for the control panel has been cut out.

    Hopefully more to follow before too long.
  3. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    As expected there has been almost zero progress at Marchford Creek over the last three weeks. My work room has become a spare bedroom and all my gear is piled up near its new location waiting for some electrical work to be done before the new space can be made ready for use.

    I have managed to finish the artwork for the circuit boards…
    …and transfer it to some transfer film ready to apply to the boards for etching. Depending how the process goes, I will share details later.
    A drilling template has been made for the control panel, which will be made from this piece of aircraft aluminium. I came by a stock of this many years ago and it's very useful stuff.
    I have no experience of or access to CAD programs so have ended up using Microsoft Power point of all things. This is used a lot in my work and the drawing functions are very easy to master.
    Pencarrow, 76043 and chrisb like this.
  4. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    It is difficult to believe that more than two months have elapsed since my last post. It has been a busy summer but sadly not with modelling projects. As the days get shorter and the evenings lengthen, it is time to get back to the work bench. Unfortunately, my new workspace has not been completed yet so the kitchen table has been pressed into service for now.

    To get back in the groove, a simple van kit proved to be an ideal quick warm up project. A ratio SR uneven planked van from my to-do pile was selected. This kit has nice crisp mouldings and it all fits together very well. It waits now for wheels, buffers and a few other details before painting.

    Next up was to complete the electronic circuits for Marchford Creek previousy described. Initially, I had mixed results using Press’n’peel transfer film to get the artwork onto the boards. After some trial and error, the board preparation was changed to include a 1500 grit polish followed by careful cleaning and the iron temperature was optimised to get complete release of the image from the film. I’d be very happy to share more details of this process if anyone is interested.

    The boards pictured below are for the IR train detector and control panel. 1. After transfer of the artwork ready for etching. 2. After etching and removal of the transfer film. 3. Tinned ready for assembly.


    This board carries the arc suppression circuits for the uncoupler electromagnets described in an earlier post.

    [​IMG]Having produced all the etched boards, I completed this test rig (yes, another one!) for Tortoise point motors. It allows the function of the motor to be checked in each direction along with both the internal switches and allows easy set-up of the point throw.

    A Tortoise connector is fitted to allow testing straight from the box. For units with wiring already attached, this sprung pcb connecter block can be used. These are available in different configurations from Rapid Electronics and are a nifty and cost effective way to create removable connections between items.



    Next on the agenda is assembly of the control panel and IR train detection boards.
    Ian_C, Lyndhurstman, chrisb and 6 others like this.
  5. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    A bit of progress was made today with the High Level Hudswell Clarke.
    The crew are ready for work.
    HC Crew.jpg

    Pickups and wiring have been added so the chassis is now complete apart from the rear sandboxes, which need to be added after the wheels to leave clearance for a wheel press to be used.
    HC chassis 1.jpg

    HC chassis 2.jpg

    Finally, some touching up and weathering has been added to finish off the cab interior painting, completed by the addition of some real coal in the bunkers. This was crushed to a reasonable looking size and fixed with PVA over the liquid lead that had been added as ballast in the bunkers. The lead was mixed with epoxy and pushed into position to avoid any long-term effects caused by the possible reaction between the lead and PVA.

    HC cab 2.jpg
    HC cab 1.jpg
  6. PaxtonP4

    PaxtonP4 Active Member

    It's been years since I've seen home etched PCBs. I thought everyone sent them off to China these days. It's one hell of an effort to do it your way - I admire your persistence.
    Bullhead and Lyndhurstman like this.
  7. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Nice. I presume you don't have an issue with rim scraper and compensated axle? I've moved towards back-of-the-wheel-rubbing because I couldn't get a trade-off between pickup pressure and freedom of movement.

    Nice work. I particularily enjoy your eye for colour and patina on the non-ferrous fittings. And the duckboards look sutiably grotty. Good stuff.


    Bullhead likes this.
  8. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    I've not looked at the economics of getting one-off boards made and there are only four to do. Being a bit miserly I decided to stick with the diy route. Back in the 80's I used individual rub down transfers for each solder pad and track! Compared with that, this method seemed like a breeze.
    Best, Peter
  9. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Jan,
    Thanks for your kind comments. I looked long and hard at the pickup method and decided to go with the scrapers. They are made from 0.25mm beryllium copper wire and with the extra turns are very springy. On bench testing, they stayed in contact very well with the wheel rims as the wheels moved vertically without exerting too much drag. If I can get my track nice and flat they won't have too much flexing to do!
    Best, Peter
    Lyndhurstman likes this.
  10. PaxtonP4

    PaxtonP4 Active Member

    You get 10 boards (100 x 100) for about £12.
  11. richard_t

    richard_t Western Thunderer

    Double that if you have to pay import duty and PO/Carrier charges. HMRC/Border Force seem to be having a crack down at the mo.
  12. PaxtonP4

    PaxtonP4 Active Member

    No - you are entitled to import goods up to the value (including post) of £15 VAT and Duty free.
  13. richard_t

    richard_t Western Thunderer

    The 15ukp limit includes the postage as well - which typically takes it over the limit.
  14. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    In the last couple of weeks, I have made a start on re-working this old attempt at a Terrier into something more up to date. The kit is from Westward and I originally built it to OO gauge with a rigid chassis and Romford wheels in about 1985. It was intended to represent LSWR no 735 but was never correctly detailed for the prototype.
    A second chassis was constructed to EM standards with full springing in the early 90’s. It never turned a wheel and was ultimately binned. A few years later, I had another go with a new chassis from Branchlines, this time with a simpler configuration but still it was a complete failure due to my lack of skills and patience at the time.

    The body kit is a pretty good representation and will be retained with only minor modifications to portray 32636 in lined BR black livery. The white metal body was constructed using epoxy as my soldering skills were pretty much non-existent at the time of building. Any suggestions for something that will strip the paint without weakening the epoxy would be gratefully received.

    Yet another Branchlines chassis had been purchased some time ago in anticipation and was brought out into the open for this project. Again, working to EM standards, the chassis was constructed according to instructions (something I have only recently started doing routinely!) and in the light of knowledge gained through a lot of reading and in constructing some other (successful) projects. The unit was paired with a LoLoader gearbox from the excellent High Level range and a Mashima motor. The two front axles are compensated by means of a diy beam and High Level low profile horn blocks. Getting this to work was a minor triumph and only minimal tweaking to the beam was required to get everything level.


    Current work is on constructing the brake gear in a modified form to make it removable as a unit. This is especially desirable as the pull rods run outside the wheels, so the brake gear can be clipped in place once everything is set up. The brake bearing holes were enlarged to take 1.2/0.5 mm brass tubing and the tube soldered in place. Having made a cup of tea to celebrate my cleverness, I realised that the increase in diameter from 0.5 mm wire to 1.2mm tube meant that the wheel rims would foul them. Pretty obvious really! The tubing was cut off, leaving only a thin slice filling the hole in the chassis side member. New holes were drilled slightly further from the wheel rims and new tubes soldered in place. Another celebratory brew was prepared.

    Short lengths of 0.5mm wire soldered into the upper links on the brake hangers locate in the tubes to anchor the gear in position.


    Whilst the A1X is not exactly appropriate for the geographical location of Marchford Creek, it is not unreasonable to suggest that such a useful lightweight locomotive could have been transferred in time of need by BR to carry out the light duties required.
    Simpas, chrisb and AJC like this.
  15. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Well done on the chassis - getting my Terrier to run nearly drove me round the bend. It has it's own thread though most of the chassis work is on my main workbench thread: 4mm - Brighton Works - An EM Terrier but also, here: 4mm - An EM workbench - genuinely astonishing news from the EM Gauge Society

    For stripping, I would be inclined to try Cellulose thinners and not worry overmuch if the body fell to bits; it looks as though a splasher has already come off. Since it's whitemetal the parts themselves will suffer no damage and the beauty of whitemetal is that it should go back together quickly. One thing worth considering would be to replace the handrails and handrail knobs with finer ones (0.3mm wire and N gauge handrail knobs). On such a small loco this makes a surprising difference.

    Bullhead likes this.
  16. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Hi Adam,
    Thanks for your comments. I 'm looking forward to reading your Terrier story later when I've got time to concentrate. Good call on the handrail knobs, they look huge now that you've said that! Regarding the missing splasher, it looks as though the wheel slots in the footplate will have to be widened slightly to accommodate EM spacing. I'll come back to this once the chassis is complete and side-play is established.
    All the best,
  17. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Hi Peter - Glad to be of help. If the Westward footplate is like the Dapol/Hornby one, then opening out will be in order.

    The smaller handrail knobs make a big difference for lots of small locos. I think I got mine from B&H Enterprises: Home - I'll check the packet when I get home.

    All best,

  18. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    Here is the detachable brake gear unit assembled.
    I just need to add a few more bits and the whole lot can be blackened prior to painting.

    Here the unit is attached to the chassis....

    ….and here with the wheels on.
    Getting the clearance right to allow for side play without fouling the pull rods took a bit of fiddling
    The old wheels have become very loose on the axles and are not running true after many many failed attempts to set the old chassis up. A new set are waiting safely in a drawer for their moment of glory. They will be treated with much more respect than their predecessors thanks to my new favourite device the GW wheel press. More anon.
    PaulR, jonte, Peter Cross and 3 others like this.
  19. Bullhead

    Bullhead Western Thunderer

    A couple of weeks ago I had some modelling time and picked up on a task I’ve long been avoiding – the dreaded single slip. Trackwork purists should look away now!

    The slip is the heart of the Marchford Creek system, at the very centre of the scheme and facilitating the majority of train movements. The challenge was to squeeze it down to the size needed to fit the available space and this meant some compromises. Chief among these was the fact that the blades are very short and therefore require more than the normal amount of force to move them. This has been dealt with to some extent by cutting into the rail head and sides with a piercing saw to make a dummy joint and reduce the thickness.

    Electrical connections for this caused a bit of head scratching and had me reaching for the EMGS manual, which has some useful guidance on the subject. Essentially, it’s all very simple and works as two turnouts face to face. This is true as long as both sets of blades are not in the normal position, when additional switching is required as per a diamond crossing.


    Check out these gorgeous cast brass chairs from Exactoscale! They were selected on the basis that they would lend more strength to the unit in critical areas but they look great too. At this stage, the plastic slide chairs were still to be added.


    The completed unit was tested with Tortoise motors. Using the standard steel piano wire supplied (0.7mm), there was not quite enough oomph, so I changed it for 1mm (Eileens) and everything worked fine. This picture shows the 0.7mm driver wire on the left and 1.0mm on the right.

    Simpas, Alan, AJC and 2 others like this.
  20. PaxtonP4

    PaxtonP4 Active Member

    No the £12 included postage.