Installing Signals

Wiring signals from above instead of underneath the layout is simple and much easier.  This method allows for future repair and removal.

First drill 2 holes at the position you are mounting your signal.  The small one is the size of the signal mast and the second is much larger for the wiring to easily pass through.

Insert the control wiring through the larger hole and make the connections to the signal wires, solder these connections and secure them with a spike so the wires do not touch. 

CAUTION IF THE SIGNAL REQUIRES A RESISTOR IN THE WIRING DO THIS BEFORE TESTING.  Install the control method for your signals and cover the wiring with tape.

Install the desired ground over top of the tape to hide the installation.


Installation of track power pick up wipers

In 2004 I submitted an article to Model Railroader for the simple installation of resistors for train detection.

Based on the same method, Brass pick up wipers will be installed across the axles of each truck on the car.  The insulator of each axle will be on the same side of each truck. So that each truck picks up power from one rail.

The brass wipers are gently bent around the axles on each truck.  Position the wipers so they are on the side of the axles that do not have the insulator.  Holes are drilled through the frame of the car so attachment wires can be soldered on to the brass pick up wipers.

A slight S bend will reduce the stiffness of the wire that passes through the frame of the car allowing better movement of the truck.  Insert the wires through the frame of the car and attach to the desired equipment you want powered from the rails.

Part Three - Dyed Sawdust
                Mixing Pan or Pail (deeper the better)
                Rubber Gloves
                Fabric Dye Color selection of your choice
                Sawdust – cleaned and dry
                Newspaper for drying
Before you throw out the excess dye you mixed for the foam you can use the remaining to color sawdust.  Add a couple of drops of liquid soap to the dye to help the sawdust absorb the dye.

The mixture of dye to water will yield lighter or darker color of the sawdust.  The Sawdust will absorb the mixed dye liquid so mix the sawdust until all has been equally blended.

Squeeze the excess liquid from the sawdust and spread the damp sawdust across newspaper to dry.  Allow to dry completely, this may take several days.

Part Four - Gravel and Stone
                Patio Paver Base material (local home supply store)
                Two Screen Strainers - 1- small and the 2nd one with a little larger openings
                Mixing pail, bucket or paint tray
The paver material is quarried stone into small sizes. 
The material needs to be dried before straining.

With the dry paver material place your strainers into the pail with the finer strainer below the larger strainer. 

Place the dried paver material into the top strained and begin to jiggle both strainers over the pail.  The stones will separate into size.  Once the batch has been sifted place each sized stones into a holding container.  Repeat the process until the desired amount of material is achieved.

Conclusion:  Application of the Ground materials
                White Glue – Mixed 50/50 with water and a couple of drops of liquid soap
                Old paint brush – to spread the glue
Apply the Glue onto the area which you will be placing the ground coverings. 
Sprinkle the stone materials first then the desired colored sawdust.

In a small container pour in the 50/50 mixed glue.  Add the Ground Foam and saturate the foam with the glue.  Moving the container to where you wish to place the foam, remove the saturated foam and place into the location.  This may be a little wet with glue but will yield a strong adhesion when dry.

Once the scenic area has dried vacuum the excess away.

Ground Coverings
by Ken Farnham

Part One - Ground Foam
Materials             Foam any thickness
                                Sharp Knife or long blade Razor knife
                                Mixing Pan or Pail (deeper the better)
                                Latex Paint (Hunter Green) or color for your scene
                                Rubber Gloves
                                OLD blender (Garage Sale special)
                                Cardboard or old piece of paneling (no Newspaper)
Cut the Foam into small pieces about one (1) in square or smaller.   Place the paint in the mixing pan.

Put on the gloves.  Place the cut pieces of foam into the pan with the paint.  Squeeze the foam to saturate it completely and then squeeze the excess paint from it.  Place wet foam on the drying area.   Leave to dry until complete dry, may take a couple of days.

Place the dry paint impregnated foam into the blender 3-5 pieces.  Start blender and add a couple more pieces once first ones have been chopped.  Do small batches so not to overload the blender.  DO NOT blend wet foam, this will damage the blender by overheating the motor.

The duration of blending will determine the size of the foam chunks. 

Part Two - Coloring with Fabric Dyes
                Mixing Pan or Pail (deeper the better)
                Rubber Gloves
                Fabric Dye Color selection of your choice
                Newspaper for drying

Foam can be dyed but will yield a lighter and spongier material.  This is done in the same manner as with the paint except you would use less volume of the dye mixed with water.

The ratio of dye to water will yield lighter or darker colors.  Not all dyes will yield the expected color on the container.

Saturate the foam in the dye solution, squeeze excess out and dry.  Newspaper can be used as a drying pallet.  Place in blender as before but foam pieces will not chop as fine as paint saturated foam, since the dye has little or no density compared to the paint.

Operational Model Railroad

Metal Wheels;  Metal Axles;  Plastic Truck

1000 Ohm Resistor