After busying myself for a while with the bogies and couplers, it’s time to start detailing the flatcar. Though they are not that striking at first glance, the details will significantly add up to the overall picture. And since they are the most visible parts, I’m starting with the trusses or more specifically the queenposts.
This time, believe it or not, we’ve had three battery-powered units in service, most of the time each had its own operator, too. Alas, the weather didn’t play along all the time, so a spontaneous layout extension was realized at the roofed porch. My No.1 braved the rain several times and did quite well. The encapsulated electronics really pay for themselves.
Since the operation session draws closer I’m focused on having a working interim result rather than completing all steps perfectly. So the ramp is now being put into working order. First off, the individually constructed bents have to get connected. After that, it’s planking time.
Based on my lessons learned during the last operation session, I’ve already started to mount couplers to the bogies. The result works very well, however I’m not quite happy with the looks: too clumsy, too heavy. So I’m trying a more delicate approach for the second coupler.
In order to prepare for the next operation session, I set myself the goal to arrange for some operations. So this time there will be no new waggon, but a loading ramp and some cargo.
The ramp’s design is inspired by Scott Perry’s Blog, who has published a very nice and extensive series. If you look for a step-by-step guide, you can find it there.
Our Summer Operation Session was a lot of fun, but most of all it was informative. I learned three very important lessons concerning my flatcars:
- Frame-mounted couplers need large radii
- Bogies need clearance for operational reliability
- Bogie-mounted couplers increase reliabilty
Besides other insights, the Summer Operation Session 2020 revealed that my Porter needs a better stowing place for the shunting chain.
On the one hand the chain easily drops from the loco if it isn’t properly secured, on the other hand it’s quite fidgety to fixate the chain at a given lenght. So I more or less spontaneously got the idea to tinker on a chain winch.
The first steps happend on a whin and I was sure that they wouldn’t succeed, that’s why I didn’t take any pictures. But after I realized I was onto something, I made some after the fact.
This operation session was scheduled rather spontaneously and spurred me into building a prototype for a flatcar. Accordingly, I was quite expectant concerning the experience I’d gain with the new waggon.
Since we only had a relatively short time for operations and I was preoccupied with test runs, there are only a few pictures. In return, I learned lots of lessons.
After preparing the frame and floor boards, construction can continue with the underframe. The main components are the body bolsters, needle beams and trusses. Unfortunately, I don’t have got a complete set of diagrams, so I had to guesstimate concerning the longitudinal and cross trusses. However, it’s not rocket science.
Based on my experiences from the flatcar experiments I’ve decided to construct a prototype for 26′ flatcars. The model is going to be built from red cedar and purchased Piko bogies.