Sunday Cutting Cores

Last weekend I started drawing the walls for two more buildings, the first to go digital is the Toronto Carpet Building 7. It was ready to start cutting the cores out this weekend. After a trip to Credit Valley on Saturday to pick up more 0.030″ styrene sheet, today it was on to the cutting process.

Cutting the first of the 8 cuts today, and nearing the end as the walls start to take shape into the evening.

The first thing I learned today, is that the Critut software is buggy. I hate Cloud Based Software, call me old school if you want, but software actually installed on your system means it should work, even if you don’t always have the newest feature. After well over an hours frustration, I finally got back into the application. Once in, I started setting up he cuts, because of the height of the walls, and the layering to create depth before adding brick, I neede six sheets of 12”x24” 0.030” styrene. I don’t need the whole sheets, but needed more than half of them all, but the unused parts are plenty big for other layout buildings, no waste from that at least. What was wasted was a 12”x18” piece where the sheet didn’t load in the Cricut right, and I didn’t notice, it wound up making a mess of the sheet, and cutting through the cutting mat. It seems, when the Cricut loaded the mat, it misaligned and thought the material was in a different location.

With the layers, three of the four walls have 4 layers to the core, and the last has 3 layers. The 4th layer is just for the ground floor, and I had a scaling issue with them, where they didn’t align properly. Fortunately, these were the smallest parts of the day, and recutting them only took 20 minutes or so to figure out what the right size should be, set up and cut. All in all, I ran 8 cuts today, as everything was simple shapes, they were reasonably fast cuts, the longest run was about 1:45. The Cricut doesn’t cut all the way through 0.030” sheet, but at most a single score down the cuts is enough to get window openings out, larger seams just fold and snap like cutting large sheets of styrene.

Cores for Toronto Carpet “Building 7” cut out and ready for cleanup and assembly, the left 3 walls have four layers, the right most, only 3!

Now I really need to get onto doing the CAD work for the windows and doors for this building! That will be my next step, drawing, having them 3D printed and casting. Fortunately, this building is only 51 windows and doors…though there are 12 different window size/patterns and two unique doors…

Starting the drawing process for two more buildings

No sooner have I made progress with one actual construction project, was I back at it with the drawing work on the next two buildings for the layout. Progress breeds progress, it certainly didn’t hurt last weekend to have the Daytona 24 Hour car race to watch and keep me motivated and at home.

First up, the last part of Toronto Carpet, the southern end of Building 7. Only a few bays make it on my layout, but it is hopefully going to be a signature building on the west end of the layout. Lots of windows, a lot of different styles (I think my count was 15 distinct sizes/shapes), and some great architectural detail. I have drawn a couple of the windows for 3D printing masters to make resin castings from. I need to get onto the work of finishing them and ordering a print for making molds, but that’s a motivation and time issue more than a skill one.

CAD Work, my working sketch, and a picture of the south elevation today.

The second building, will anchor the western corner of the layout, and again sadly is only a very small part of the building. While it is much less fancy than the Toronto Carpet, it has its own unique elements in the details, and the large hexagonal chimney will stand out. The portion of the Canadian General Electric plant has posed its fair share of challenges. Doing this without drawings is a fun challenge. Counting bricks to get heights and widths. As you can see below, it took me a long time to get the roof line to feel right. I realized the issue is the end parapet wall is higher than the side walls, once I adjusted for this, the height I needed with the right pitch appeared. For this building, in looking through my parts bins, I have either previously decided or have just got damn lucky, and have windows that are right or close enough to right to do this building with a selection of Grandt Line and Tichy windows. I needed a couple more sets of one type, but those are ordered and on their way.

Working hard to get the roofline of the eastern elevation of the Canadian General Electric plant, checking scale with the cast hydrocal chimney, and the building today.

I also did some very rough sketching of the other two buildings which are not yet started on the peninsula of the layout. Both are large, one, the Gillett Company Factory is the largest structure on the layout, at 38″ long, but only 2-6″ deep! The second, the Gillett Mill, elevator and power house, is actually the only complete structure with no compression on my layout, everything else has 3 sides and is against the backdrop or the layout edge. The only other structure with four walls is compressed to fit in the Brunswick Balke Collender powerhouse! The Mill will be its full real world footprint. The sketching has allowed me to get an estimate of how much styrene I need for the buildings, the answer, more than I have, but less than I thought. I will buy some more big sheets in the next week or two so I can at least start cutting cores for these buildings while I work on windows for them both.

Tuesday Train #336

Amtrak 100, wearing a 50th Anniversary paint scheme is seen at Sunnyside in Toronto heading west/east as VIA Train 97/Amtrak Train 64, “The Maple Leaf” from Toronto to New York City on Sunday January 22, 2023. The loco seems to be in rotation on this run now, possibly till its next maintenance inspection having shown up in Toronto every other day for a couple of weeks now.

Hinde & Dauch Finally Built

Sometimes projects just become, a drag. I knew this was a risk choosing to model an industrial area with early 20th century buildings that have lots of windows. One project in particular has become a bog down. It eventually drove me to scrap the work I had done and buy a Cricut to try a new approach to cutting the windows. I basically tossed the walls I had started, and re-did the cores with the Cricut. This turned out, to be about the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time, but the actual finish trimming still took a very long time, as you can see, there are a lot of windows in the wall, and making an ugly cut or messing up an opening became a bigger pain the further into the wall I got.

On Friday this week, I decided this was getting done. I had 17 window openings to go. I started working on them during my breaks during my work day. By the time I was done work, between my breaks and lunch, I was down to 10 to go. I hit a bit of a hurdle as the last 8 resin castings for the windows were not well cleaned, and had a lot of flash to clean up. Once that was done, and the windows complete, it was on to actually trying to get this thing together and standing on its own.

Starting a Friday with 17 windows to finish trim and install frames, and working through them as the day goes (the first image was after I’d done a couple).

I had the tower interior and the western wall attached to the base, and done work to add stiffeners to the base in the hopes that this would actually have strength to be handled. The building gets as narrow as 0.5″ where the layout wraps around a door frame into the closet. As the walls started getting together, I had bought some 0.100″x0.500″ styrene for building bracing, and it worked perfectly between the upper two rows of windows to add strength to the building and make it totally rigid when handling. This is good as I have had visions of this building flopping itself to pieces while being handled for painting and detailing.

Definitely free standing!

I started the CAD work for the 3D printed windows and wall templates in June 2020 (June 1 to be exact according to the dates of photos and files), so its now been a 2.5 year plus project to get here, and I still have painting to go. Because of the size of this building, I can’t paint it until the spring and weather to let me work on our patio!. It is too big for my paintbooth! Since I can’t paint it, I’ve taken my printed draft signs and taped them onto the building to at least help finish the scene a bit. If nothing else, all the pins holding the walls up and blocking tracks are now gone, so the layout is at least looking a bit more complete, and It can be operated without equipment running into the pins in the tight clearance on the factory siding.

All the structures on the east end of the layout are now assembled and at least partly painted. Since I can’t paint Hinde & Dauch till spring on the patio, I’ve taped my test sign printouts on to help the look for the next few months.

This is 100% a mental hurdle cleared. This building was one that has been staring me in the face, taunting me. It wound up however, driving me to buying a better too in the Cricut and improving my building making techniques so that I advanced a bunch of other buildings in 2022 while it stared at me, daring me to finish the windows. Well now I have, and boy am I happy with how it looks. Already on to the work of drawing the next building, so more to come.

Repaving a Ripped out Crossing

Finally getting back to doing some layout work. Decided after work on Friday to tackle a quick task, repaving the crossing I ripped out in early December. Now that the check rails are adjusted to hopefully stop derailing cars, I was ready to repave the crossing. My chosen way for paving is using deep hole drywall putty, tinted grey with acrylic paint.

For fixing the crossing, I used some 4×6 dimensional lumber wood strips to protect the flangeways, and give me guides for the “tool” i made from a bit of heavy wood block, a brick of wood just wide enough to smooth the drywall compound. One of my lessons from the first go round of road paving, was that I did a terrible job keeping plaster off the rails. I don’t want to have to spend as much time scraping the rails clean again.

The road crossing ready to pave, mixing up way too much plaster for this small fill, my “tool” of a small block of wood and finishing the crossing.

It felt good to work on the layout. I’ve written many times about my motivation ebbing and flowing with how I feel. I’ve been feeling I really want to work on the layout, but haven’t been able to figure out what to work on.