Saturday, 6 May 2017

May 2017 meeting

Back in Edinburgh for this month's meeting. Alisdair, Alistair, Andy and Graham were joined by special guest star Nigel Cliffe, who among other Association jobs is the wheel elf gaffer. Nigel had brought along a box of chocolate brownies and some wagon wheels for inspection.

The chocolate brownies were exceptional. The wagon wheels (2mm ones, not the 1970s chocolate biscuits) were also precision works of art, as were the press tools for inserting the wheel centres ... 

 ... into the correct size of tyre, then, using a second tool, pressing in an axle at the correct back-to-back.

Nigel went over the process - principles and practice - in some detail, and we all had a shot at making wheel sets. We ate the brownies, which had a calming effect; we sipped tea; we relaxed. Then came the sucker punch ... this was not simply part of the Association's educational outreach program. Gaffer Cliffe was looking for new elves! In vain we attempted flight; the brownies had done their work, and we could barely move. Escape was impossible: we were cornered. Press-ganged, you might say. The story will continue in a future blog entry.

We had lunch, then started on the main task of the day: fixing Sauchenford's illumination. The existing halogen bulbs gave uneven lighting - bright spots separated by pools of darkness. A reel of LED lighting was deployed:

along with a reel of masking tape, and after an hour of gradual alterations we had eliminated the halogen bulbs altogether in favour of three LED strips on a lighting bar, arranged to project further in front of the layout so that the trains are not in shadow while the backscene is in sunshine. (These are Nigel's wagons on the layout, by the way). 

We were bothered by a reflection pattern from the rails, due it seemed to the regular spacing of the LEDs, until experiments with tracing paper at a 3cm distance from the strip, acting as a diffuser, solved the problem. Running the LEDs at about two-thirds brightness (using a digital control bought on the Internet) seemed to give the best effect.

After that it was back to the tea and coffee and general chat. Alisdair produced his Caley Jumbo for a progress update - he's been working on detailing the tender most recently, with brake gear and lamp irons evident. But it has nae lum! Not yet anyway. 

Alisdair was not saying whether it will have a proper Drummond built-up chimney, or a BR-era stovepipe. Time will tell. This loco-building clearly requires a special diet, however, as Alisdair demonstrated at the lunch stop on a recent Caledonian Railway Association tour of South Lanarkshire:

Reliable witnesses state that he also consumed a large slab of cake after polishing off that "snack". Apparently he's in training for the North East Area Group's "big tea" at their 35th birthday party in two weeks' time. Where will it end?

1 comment:

  1. I have thought for years that wagon wheels are smaller than I remembered

    You put our own local group to shame with your productivity