P1040901

This is the base design for my new hand-held controller. Along with a new case and display, I’m going to refactor the software to provide a cleaner interface into the clients (locomotives). Right now my ‘phase A’ handheld knows a little too much about the clients, I want a more disconnected sort of protocol. Anyhow, I’ve gotten everything to fit but the graphic interface required some new hardware so that has not been tested (other than a basic smoke test). I’ll need to write the code for that and then port parts of the old handheld code into it. The keyboard, knob and Xbee interface should not have to change much, I just need a calibration step on the kbd and store that into eeprom. I’m going to have a usb interface into this so I can write a tool on the PC to setup the function keys and display.

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shack1

shack2

My new building. Everything is cut from sheet styrene on my Probotix X90. I do love this machine and working with styrene. It cuts like butter and you only have to run the router at about 7600 rpm so it’s pretty quiet.

Anyhow, this is a tower sort of depot near the south end of my bridge. It’s on stilts, With all the windows I’m going to have to make a decent interior, frosting the windows is not really an option I don’t think. Work in Progress as is everything.

people

Here are a couple of people I’m working on for the porch of my shotgun house. The originals were 3D printed, then I made molds from those. These are resin cast from those. Casting resin seems to be an art form unto itself, it’s difficult to get a perfect cast. Bubbles in various places produce voids, frequently in the face and feet. These came out pretty well though. Just need to clean them up a bit more and do some painting.

houseA
houseC

Here is my ‘shotgun house’. So called because you could shoot a shotgun through the front door and out the back without hitting anything. These were very common in the early 20th century, easy to build, standard lumber sizes, reasonably cheap. Often used in ‘company towns’.

Anyhow, this is my take on one. The sides are cast resin, I made two masters using (many) strips of .060 styrene to get the siding effect. Those were used to make two rubber molds, one with the brick base and one without.

For the house, I poured three of the brick base and one without, then cut them out on my band saw. The windows and door openings were cut on my X90 3D router, (cured resin cuts very much like styrene it seems, sweet). The floor and roof are just straight cut styrene sheet ‘score and snap’. The window and door inserts are also cast from resin. Everything is painted with rustoleum flats- brown, white and for the roof, black. I have it wired with white LEDs inside and on the porch but don’t have 12v out in the garden yet. Soon.

combine

Latest Project. I picked up this passenger/baggage car along with the caboose at the ECSLTS train show last month. This one was $30. Good deal. Finally got to work on it some. I’ve disassembled and painted all the parts, pulled out the bulbs and put in white LEDs. A few 3D peoples will populate the seats. I also got the nice shiny truck from ECLSTS. Scale is good. Looks like it has a load of zombies…

depotA

depotB

Some pics of the final buildout of my train depot. Cut from .060 styrene on my Probitix X90. Finished up with Rustoleum flat cammo colors from rattle cans. This should fare much better out in the elements than my wooden structures, plus styrene is way way easier to work with than wood.

I use Inkscape to draw the plans, then the free version of CamBam to make the G code cutting paths. The X90 uses a Dewalt dwp611 palm router driven by a super PID speed controller. All cuts are made with preciseBits 1/32 inch 2 flute endmills.

phonethrottle

Yes, I know this is a little weird but I want a knob AND a nice user interface (ala smartphone) to run my trains so I am working on this design. The Knob and underlying circuitry communicate directly with the 802.15.4 network. The phone is just there for the user interface and graphics. Bluetooth is used to communicate between knob/wireless controller and the phone. A custom app runs on the phone. I have the infrastructure working for this, its just a matter of smushing all the components into this small space and refactoring the software a bit. Both the case and the face plate for this were cut on my Probotix X90 3D router.

depot1

depot2

Still have a ways to go on this but it’s coming out pretty good considering I don’t know what I’m doing 🙂 This is all cut out of .060 styrene sheet using my X90 3D router, Inkscape and Freebie CamBam.

I’m finding I much prefer to cut styrene as opposed to sheet plywood or blocks of pine. Styrene is an ideal material, it cuts easily, produces WAY less ‘chip dust’ and can be assembled with Testors sorts of plastic model glues and paints. This particular design is based on a photo from the VA Tech archive, a picture is in one of the posts below. I actually wasted only a little sheet on this one once I got the correct spindle rpm and feed rates figured out.

Raw cutting fresh off the router.
styA-sm

Here I’ve added the 1/8 inch square strips and the window trim, then I shot the thing with some light brown primer.

styB-sm

I’ve been doing some experiments with the CNC router, trying to cut styrene. I’ve messed up and melted a sheet or two but now I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m working on a standard N&W depot, this one is at Winfall, VA. I found the pic on the Virginia Tech Photo Archive.

winfall-1

Anyhow, what I have found is that styrene needs to be cut with a slow RPM and a decent inches per minute feed rate. I’m using a 1/32 inch bit at 7500 RPM and a 25 IPM feed rate. You also have to cut shallow, anything more than say .030 or so will start the dreaded melt. So I do three passes to get through 1/8 inch styrene (.125 inches). This produces a big shower of nice plastic chips or ‘saw dust’. This is what you want to see.