Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fitting the frame spacers

Now to join the sides with the spacer material.

chassis with tabs folded at right anglesThere are some fold-down flaps on the chassis etch.

saw and PCB with parallel cuts
The spacer material is PCB strip with copper-plating on both sides. The recommended method is to cut parallel insulating gaps into the strip. I need to leave enough copper on the outside to be able to solder the strip onto the flaps on the brass sides. Tried a file first but a fine-toothed saw along a straight edge is much quicker. Has to be done on both sides of course to maintain electrical separation.

When I tried the strip in position I found that I had cut the gaps too close to the outside, so the flaps might cross the gaps and cause a short-circuit. That’s the last thing I wanted, so before soldering the strips on I enlarged the gaps . Quite generously...

chassis showing horizontal spacer strips
Five horizontal strips in all. I soldered the 2 central strips onto the flaps, as it mentions in the instructions that they may obstruct the gears if fitted underneath.

vertical spacer at end
And one vertical strip.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fixing the axle bearings

chassis side with bearings
The lower row of holes in the chassis is for the 3 axles, the upper holes are for the various gear setups. Haven't decided how to do the gearing yet, so keeping my options open by soldering all the axle bearings. The holes are countersunk on the inside of each frame to hold the bearings comfortably.

bearings soldered into holesoutside (above) and inside view (below)

Hmm, a bit generous with the solder. I don't think this will be visible on the finished article, but decide to clean up the sides with a file anyway.

chassis side filed clean
Cleaned the holes with a cutting broach, so the rods turn smoothly in all six positions.

chassis sides held with rods

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The frame jig

Time to make a start. I’ve read throught the instructions, and it looks like there may be some challenging times ahead, but the first bit looks easy enough.

unfolded fret
A simple fold-up job.

jig folded and soldered
Went together very crisply. But before soldering I checked that the chassis frames would fit. One of the slits had to be opened out slightly with a scalpel.

jig with chassis frames and rod
This jig will keep the 2 chassis frames in their correct position while they’re joined together.

chassis in jig held by rods
This loco will have a "split-frame", ie the chassis is made of metal, but the two sides are electrically isolated. So this jig will keep them aligned while they're connected with non-conductive material. I’ve never made a loco, but I can imagine that without a jig, this would be a real headache.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Opening the box

So I've just received my kit for a 2mm finescale "08" diesel shunter.

It's in a solid box with a 36-page illustrated instruction booklet and a CD with further illustrations.

2mm Scale Association 08 diesel shunter kit - illustration on box

It's beautifully presented and obviously superb quality, but I'm initially overwhelmed by the number of parts and the small size of many of them.

brass fretone of the frets

maxon motortiny (but not cheap) motor

various small partsmore small parts

OK obviously I should have expected it, working in a small scale, but this is my first loco kit and perhaps it's the idea of building a loco as much as the kit itself that's daunting. (The "08" that appears elsewhere on pictures of my layout is a converted Farish model).

I've always felt as though there's some mystique about building a loco from scratch. I know some people feel similarly about building their own track but I never felt that. These two aspects are what many 2mm-ers believe puts potential modellers off this scale. Well I know making your own track is no big deal once you take the plunge, so I'm hoping that by getting this thing running I'll feel confident to tackle something else in future.