Scratch making a signal

Discussion in 'Specifically for scratch builds' started by York Paul, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm going to post this topic here as pretty much everything I shall be using will be scratch made or etched, the subject is making an upper quadrant signal in O Gauge using mainly scrap brass material and only a few etch items such as signal arm, cast lamp case and weight bar.

    So this signal once built is going to form part of the Birchall Tunnel diorama which I shall start quite soonand is modeled on Leekbrook Junction's Number 1 Up Distant on the Churnet Valley line, this signal was located 860 yards north of the junction clearing point and was situated on the Leek side of the Birchall Tunnel on the embankment. For the purposes of my scene and to add some interest I shall show the signal in the cutting near the tunnel portal.

    First job this afternoon was to make a jig to hold the brass tube in place and drill a few holes, the jig is just made from lolly sticks PVA'ed onto a block of hard wood with drill hole points marked in ink, the dot on the sticks denotes where the centre of the lamp lens is. Here was the test piece to see if it worked... some of the holes are out of alignment and this tube was then scrapped once I'd sussed out a good way of working.


    [​IMG]
     
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  2. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    The signal I'm making will have a scale size of 22' 6" which is pretty much what the original one was because all these signals come in a set standard of sizes, to make this I'm using two size of tubes, a 3.4mm diameter for the upper post and 4mm for the lower end, both tubes will make a snug slide fit inside each other for soldering. A tip when cutting brass tubes is to roll the tube under a sharp stanley blade then the tube will snap with a clean break.

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  3. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Next you'll be fitting ground signals .... time for a sanity check :avatar:

    Paul
     
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  4. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    :avatar::avatar::avatar:
     
  5. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    So a 22' post will look like this against a train, the upper post is 100mm and the lower post is 70mm to rail height with an internal overlap of 20mm to create a straight but joint as can be seen in the picture. My Ivatt tank has had cylinder drain cocks fitted but I'm not happy with the result as they sit too low... tomorrow they are coming off for modifications.


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  6. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    On the real signals all fittings are held in position with 3/4 inch bolts and cast rectangular clamps on the thread end, my model signal will mimic this using scrap etch soldered to 0.7mm wire holding the fittings in place, from the top of the post the first holes are the top stay on the ladder, the next holes in pairs are the arm spindle casting then the lamp bracket with back stop plate on the other side, below this is the contact box and finally the wire stay hook. The ladder bracket is drilled at 90 degrees to all other holes, the wires show how I did this.


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  7. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Finally with a very poor picture taken in failing light here is the scrap etch made ladder bracket with bolt plate, tomorrow I'll make the arm spindle bearing and lamp bracket with back stop buffer.


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  8. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's the result of today's work, starting on the signal head pretty much everything is in place now except the damper arm, backstop block and contact box. The arm is an etch by MSC and the cap is from Scale Signal Supply, everything else is scratch made.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    And the rear view showing the back blinder baffle, the two pins sticking out on the left of the post will hold the backstop block in place, tomorrow I'll make a sprung rod which will go from the back blinder to a dummy contact box, this rod will stop the arm moving beyond the 45 degree point.

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  10. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    The whole signal tube now made up with spun base casting attached, this will hold the signal tight on the baseboard and the tube extension will take a servo mount and screw fasten the signal from underneath. The thicker lower tube was cut to 70mm in length which equals the 10' 1" LMS spec for signals over twenty feet in height.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Lovely modelling Paul. :thumbup:
    Where did you find the plans for this signal build?

    Kim
     
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  12. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks Kimbo, still quite a bit of tidying up to do yet particularly on the square plates around the stay wire casting which I'm not too happy about and also the spindle bearing.

    I'm working from the book A Pictorial Record of LMS Signalling (Standard Semaphone Signals and Signal Boxes of the LMSR) , L.G. Warburton, Oxford Publishing; Noodle Books 2nd Ed, 2010, ISBN 978 1 906419 41 7

    or if you can get copies (which I haven't) of LMS Journals Issues 1-8 published by Wild Swan, which may have more detailed specs on the size and positioning of the various signal castings that isn't given in Warburton's book which does have plenty of exact scale drawings abate resized for printing.

    I used to have a whole stack of LMS signal spec drawings dated from between 1937 up to the post war modified spec for upper quadrant signals 1946 all stamped at Crewe drawing office but sadly when I moved to East Yorkshire some twenty years ago now they were sadly and unceremoniously disposed of by the previous other half... ah well never mind we all move on hence that is one of the reasons why I'm so pedantic on getting my modeling to be as near accurate as possible.

    The etches I have in stock are a mix of Scale Signal Company, old Midland Railway Centre stock and MSE, I think MSC have the edge but some of his stuff is not so hot as his stock drawing for etches come from various different ex trader sources. Jon Fitness at Bolton's Bits is currently in the process of designing a new range of etches (particularly to mind is his new etches for a GWR 1946 tubular bracket with landing and trims). He will be selling etches for scratch builders and builds to commission, so that may be worth a peek if sourcing stuff to scratch from.

    BTW I'm really liking your 4F and 4MT loco additions on the video.:thumbup::tophat:

    cheers Yorkie
     
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  13. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    For folk interested in scratch making their own 7mm scale signals this link may be of interest as a source for obtaining high quality components when they become available.

    http://boltonsbits.com/7mm Etches.htm
     
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  14. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks Paul. Yes I’ve been in touch with Jon a few times, some of his builds are just incredible, he’s a very clever modeller.
    I’m wondering if Roger has copies of the LMS Journals or possible they may be in the AMRA library, but like most places that’s closed at the moment.
    I’ll ask him.
    Kim
     
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  15. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Have you seen the Somerset & Dorset 45' offset bracket signal he was commissioned to do? It's an amazing piece of craft and I understand is destined for that huge S&D layout of Bath Green Park.
     
  16. Gloria Aldridge

    Gloria Aldridge Full Member

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    Hi Paul,
    Love your modelling skills . Your signal you are making looks brill. The idea of using 2 different thicknesses of brass for the post is a very good idea and as you quite rightly said will slot into each other. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.
    Kindest regards,
    Gloria.
     
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  17. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks Gloria I happy you like this little signal, today I have been scratch making the backstop and damper rod along with a dummy contact box... all gobbledygook lingo to non signal people I realize but basically these bits will stop the arm in the correct "off / on" positions. I'll get a couple of progress pictures up tomorrow. :thumbup:

    best wishes Yorkie
     
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  18. Gloria Aldridge

    Gloria Aldridge Full Member

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    Hi Yorkie,
    Glad you liked my post I put up about your signals.Ours are GWR signals but kit form which I built up and painted the signal arm. These will never rot as they are for outside use in all weather's. We did think about building our own but with our Cornish weather and salt air from the sea would eventually rot them. So decided to go down this road of buying kits. I know this is a lazy way of doing things, ad it's not the same as building your own.
    Kindest regards,
    Gloria.
     
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  19. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Today the signal head was finished, previously I'd made a dummy contact box and that was connected to the down rod from the back blinder, it was a bit fiddly getting everything to work smoothly but the arm now stops correctly in both on and off positions. Signals which were positioned out of vision from the signalbox were fitted with contact boxes, these devices were in effect a rotational reverse polarity switch worked by the movement of the signal arm, the contact boxes carried low voltage (9v DC) circuits which functioned indicators on the block shelf in the signal box. The signalman would then know if the arm had cleared or if it remained on... anyway that was the principle so here is the front view of what's been made.

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  20. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Here is the rear view, the contact box is the little round object with a drive rod fitted from the back blinder. The arm has had a rear spectacle frame added which will then hold the coloured aspects in place... still quite a bit of solder cleaning up to do yet but that can wait until tomorrow now.

    [​IMG]
     
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