Commander Wolf

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About Commander Wolf

  • Birthday 01/06/89

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    c0mmander w0lf
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  1. Hi all, I'm mainly a train guy, but I have a mild interest in architecture and an opinion on what I want in building design. This year I decided that I would build a house for our LUG's annual Christmas show, and of course it took me basically the whole year to design and build something I liked. I actually started with three design "concepts" that I felt were worth trying to implement: "open" house, "indoor-outdoor" house, and "workshop" house (this one). I won't say much about the former two since I may still want to build them in the future, but workshop eventually won because I had more issues shrinking the other two (more on that in a bit). The concept behind the workshop house is simple: the bottom floor is entirely workspace and the second floor is entirely living space. That's it. I build scale models for my trains, so I originally intended to make a scale model for this house, but it very quickly became apparent that a scale model would be really, really big, even after I reduced the scope (fewer rooms) of the design. It was only on the third revision that I finally decided to make it more of an "architectural concept" than a scale model, and tried to design it with the same level of fidelity as say a Creator or Modular building. And that's the one I actually built. In this design I also tried to manifest some themes I'm indirectly interested in exploring: the contrast between old and new, open floorplans, and the inclusion/intrusion of nature. For example, the workshop section of the house is built to suggest brick, something very heavy, while the top is designed to look more modern, something more light. The kitchen/dining room/living room are all in the same space, and the only private sections are a bathroom and bedroom. Finally the workshop has wide sliding doors on both ends such that it can essentially be transformed into an outdoor space. Finally, because I was looking at Creator sets for inspiration, the house also folds open down the center. I'm not sure how much play value there is in a thing like this, but at least you can see inside. Looking at the furnishings I can elaborate what I meant when I said "architectural concept" vs "scale model": in this house there isn't explicitly all the things you would need to make it livable, which is what allows to not be huge. There isn't like a shower or a kitchen sink or a refrigerator, rather there is a suggestion that there is a bathroom and a kitchen in their respective locations. Most of the furniture is stolen from official sets. I'm really not into furniture as much as the building-level idea. Those doors aren't really supposed to be clear, but I couldn't find anything opaque, and I wanted viewers to be able to look into the rooms. Finally there is a laundry room on the roof and an opening thing that was supposed to be a skylight (you can see it in the LDD model), but the old skylight piece turned out to be very hard to get. I think that's everything I have to add; there is of course a full gallery if it ever gets moderated, and if you are in the SF Bay Area you can see the house for yourself at the BayLUG Christmas display.
  2. Any link to these? There's actually supposed to be another greeble on the feedwater heater to make it look rounder, but it requires the "backpack bracket" in black, which I wasn't able to get at the time. Totally forgot about it 'til now though, but would still like to see other options. These sorts of things are annoying because there still really isn't a good 1.5 stud round element. It's not a matter of track compatibility, just a matter of how our club runs trains. In general PF is a more convenient power solution than 9v, but during multi-day club displays people so far haven't shown that much inclination to run PF trains, so I would like the ability to run 9v. In practice it means that it needs to be pushed by an external power car and as such you want it to have as little rolling resistance as possible because the 9v motors don't have much torque at low speeds. Regarding the PF motor choice: the E-motor is indeed very fast when the loco is running light, but it's likewise very under powered if you are pulling anything of substance. Whether I do change to double Ms or something else probably depends on how much I end up regularly pulling with the thing, so TBD.
  3. Pretty sure you can't use the 9v cables on the 4.5v motors without modding. The connectors are entirely different. There is a 9v Freestyle motor that looks very similar to the old 4.5v train motors, maybe that is what you are thinking of?
  4. Well, it's been more than a year since I started work on my last locomotive MOC, the China Railways QJ. Having built most of the practical engines (not too big for R40 curves) that I was visually interested in, I had to wait a bit before my interest was piqued again on the locomotive front. My inspiration came from running the QJ at most BayLUG meetings for the past year and change. The QJ isn't necessarily unreliable or difficult to set up, but it's still not very convenient: the model isn't that easy to move around or manipulate due to the size, the tender, and the number of fragile bits. The lengthy drivetrain with its fair amount of friction and torque also prevents the engine from generating smooth low-end torque. Finally, BayLUG still runs 9v at most of our shows, and the QJ can't easily be converted to run on 9v. So this is really my second locomotive to be born of functional requirements (the first was my U30B): 1. It should be easy to transport [from here to there] and move around [a layout] 2. It should be designed with robustness as a key feature 3. It should be easily convertible between PF and 9v operation 3b. The PF components should be easily removable (also helps with charging) 3a. It should run smoothly when pushed [by a 9v power car] Requirements 1 and 3 really insist that this engine be a large tank engine: for 1 I don't need to deal with a tender when transporting or moving and for 3 it needs to be big enough to fit all of the PF stuff. It actually took me quite a bit of time to zero in on the X-10-a as large tank engines are apparently pretty rare in the US and North America: it seems that even most of our branch line and shunting steam engines were tendered. But eventually I found a drawing and the work began! What I learned from the QJ is that if the weight of the loco is properly distributed, one powered (and tyred) axle is good enough to generate usable torque. From this notion I designed the chassis to have exactly that one powered axle, which I could easily remove to remove tyres and gearing for 9v operation. For the same reason, the driven axle isn't cranked either; in the QJ I would have had to remove all of the cranks and all of the wheels to access the tyres or gears. The lack of cranks on the driven axle also lets me keep the chassis articulated, which should help minimize rolling resistance for 9v operation (say compared to a 6-coupled flange-blind-flange configuration for the drivers). The drive rods are made using the half-pin in rod-track technique, and there's a bit of a hack: the connecting rods have to go around a corner due to the articulation, so the travel is longer than the usual three studs, and the connecting rods are both loosely pinned down and made of flex. As far as I can tell this arrangement doesn't add significant friction, probably because the corner is very small. The engine is designed to be powered with two M-motors, but I'm using the E-motor right now for the novelty. Unfortunately it wasn't quite possible to get as much weight as I would have liked over the driven axle: the battery box must go behind the boiler due to its height, and that really limits weight distribution options. The loose 9v motor in the front is simulating the weight of a second M-motor, and it helps bring the net weight over the driven axle to maybe 60 percent? Here you can also see how all the bits come out of the engine: almost all of the top surfaces are detachable. Whether this is convenient enough to fulfill requirement 3 remains to be seen. Construction of the body is actually very similar to that of the QJ: structural integrity is mainly provided by studs-out beams and everything else is studs up. Stickers are created at 300DPI and printed on 3M 3200-L mailing label material. This is a small detail, but it is actually one of my favorite parts, inspired by and stolen from 60052: And finally a video showing the locomotive running. The first 70 seconds is PF running and the last 20 seconds is 9v running. For PF running I'm using the AAA battery box with AAA Eneloops and the aforementioned E-motor. The E-motor is actually pretty neat: it has a wider dynamic range than the other PF motors and it is quite quiet as well. Sadly it is a little bit underpowered as well; I'm geared down 3:5 and you can still see it struggle a little in the corners during the PF segment. The 9v segment is a bit hazy, but we ran out of sunlight because DST. The engine is actually smoother than I would have guessed in the unpowered configuration: you can see how it basically doesn't lose *any* speed in the turns, and the regulator is only turned up to notch 3. Alright, I think that's all the commentary I have on this. There is as usual a full gallery if it ever gets moderated. There's a bunch of build and reference pics there that I didn't show. Have a nice day.
  5. ... and a bonus video with the freight cars in action testing the layout at our annual Christmas show. Come visit the display if you live in the SF Bay Area!
  6. This is the sort of thing I've been messing with, and I'm going to be testing at least one car with this config at the BayLUG Christmas show: I like this metal-axle-in-railing thing because it's both purist and reversible. I used this technique in my PRR P54s, and they seem to have held up well, but on the freight cars (or at least the tank car, which I am testing) there seems to be a lot of friction from the wheels (not the axles) rubbing against the rails. I need to find more of the newer wheel-axle assemblies so I can insert washers between the wheels and the rails and see if it makes a difference The other downside is that the bearing things aren't quite aligned with the centers of the axles, but you can almost not tell:
  7. I was going to contest you on that, but I think you are right. Somehow I thought that these had bottom doors, but looking again, that doesn't seem to be the case. Good catch! From a functional perspective I would definitely prefer to use the stock wheelsets, but they are so egregiously hard to build around if you want an American truck aesthetic that you basically have to use the Technic stuff. You can mitigate the friction a little with lubrication, but even then you are limited to trains of maybe 4 to 5 cars if you are running on 9v power (which our LUG does). It's on my to do list to see if I can make a reliable truck with popped out wheelsets, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
  8. Wow, that's unfortunate news; thanks for the heads up. Without BBCode does that mean there will not be any way to write formatted content outside of the editor and have it display properly?
  9. These are indeed 1:48, 15" per stud. I may someday do a full writeup on the well car if I can make it more usable. The trucks are the same on the tank car and the gondola, though the pivot points are slightly different; I think this is a pretty good representation of any modern American bogie, albeit a little wider than I'd like: The truck on the flat car is a bit different, partly because it has to represent a slightly older truck design, mainly because it needs to clear the side panels: All the wheels are BBB wheels such that the side frames can be as narrow as possible (the net effect is more than just the difference in wheel thickness because you generally have to use 6L axles with official wheels). I haven't built multiples of any yet, I started gathering parts for a second tank car, but I want to build a few more unique models, see which ones I like most, and then duplicate those. So more to come soon on that front!
  10. Hi all, I wanted to comment on the forum upgrade: I think it looks great, but I'm sorely, sorely missing the raw editor functionality. When I'm writing a long post, I don't feel comfortable keeping it in the editing box for fear it could be deleted by whatever random event. I typically write long posts in a text editor with BB code and then paste it into the raw editor for final adjustments - without the raw editor I can't do this anymore, and without explicit saving functionality in the WYSIWYG editor, I'm still not comfortable writing a long post directly in the site. Please consider bringing back the raw editor if possible! (or let me know if it's actually right in front of my face) Thanks!
  11. Hi EB! I haven't posted in a long time, but I have actually been building stuff. I promise. I had been looking to put together an american freight train for some time now: I originally thought I could get away with building a long articulated well car (which would make up the entire length of a practically sized lego train), but the well car has proven to have more restrictions and less reliability than I would have liked, and as such it was time to build some regular freight cars. Tank Car All of these freight cars were actually designed in maybe 2014, but at the time I did not actually intend to build them, preferring the aforementioned well car instead. This tank car was completed first because I was able to acquire almost all of the parts through my local LUG. The only expensive parts were the 8x8 dishes on the ends, which are apparently quite rare. As much as I hate to be imprecise, the car is a little bit of a freelance: I did work off a drawing to get the proportions, but I apparently could not find a photo or model of the thing in the drawing, so the greeble around the the dome and platform is a bit of a guess. The ladders are also a bit disproportioned, but that is more of a convenience. This car probably has the most interesting construction of the three here: I wanted to use the various 8-wide circle parts, but I did not want them to make up the load-bearing structure (so you can't pull the car apart). Therefore the load-bearing structure is actually a Technic frame that kind of moves up and down such that the top and bottom set of circle parts can connect at alternating bulkheads. Flat Car Like the tank car this is a little bit of a freelance, but I really wanted a flatcar such that I could put random stuff on it, and modern flatcars at our scale are far too long to run on R40. I found two models for reference, and I believe my drawing is for the bottom one, but the car itself really takes more from the top one. This one was actually the toughest one to build. As I designed it in 2014, there wasn't nearly enough structural integrity and the wheels would easily rub on various other parts in curves. It took me quite a few iterations to increase the structural integrity to an acceptable level without compromising the overall appearance of the car (mainly not making it too tall). As you can see the details of the final design look nothing like the details on my original LDD build. Build-wise, the key to making it structurally sound was to make the studs-out sides the load-bearing element, and the difficulty was doing that while still giving the trucks enough clearance to pivot fully in an R40 curve. If you press on the car in a turn there is still a but of scrubbing, but for now I consider that acceptable. Hopper Car Unlike the other two, this car is actually based solely on a specific model! It is the latest one to be completed, and I think it is actually my favorite of the lot. It took me a while to get around to it one because I thought it would need a lot of parts, but it was mainly just the 1x2 rails (something like 100 of them) and they were relatively cheap. Construction is mainly studs up for the chassis and studs forward/backward for the sides. Each side is a studs forward and a studs backward section held together with rails on the top and bottom with some additional SNOT needed to go around the ends. It's probably the sturdiest of the three cars, but also the heaviest. Well that's it for now. There is a full gallery with a few more pics if it ever gets moderated. I do have a new locomotive in the works too, and it will be interesting.
  12. The LDD model has two battery boxes because I ultimately wanted to have the entire power train in the locomotive itself, but I originally didn't have all the parts necessary to thoroughly test that configuration. I would consider this a feature though; you can choose to power it whichever way you like! I also originally had the idea of putting an old smoke generator in the engine and that probably would've needed a separate battery pack... Yes! Finally got around to taking new pics and videos this weekend: So yeah, here is the final, cleaned up and polished model: It was actually a pain to configure it with the lipo battery and all the electronics in the loco. In my original design the receiver was literally half a stud too far forward for the cables from the motors to reach, but structural integrity issues prevented me from moving it any further back. Thus, I had to move it forward and jam a whole PF extender cable into the gap in order to bridge something like 2-3 studs worth of space. Super, super lame. That being said, it's way more convenient to have the power functions contained exclusively in the loco, and you get rid of those goddamn cables. With the removal of the cables I tried to make some sort of cowling/flaps to fill the gap between the engine and the tender, but I couldn't make anything that worked. Nonetheless, the placement of the battery box means that you can push on the rear of the dome assembly to power the loco on and off, a la the similar mechanism in set 60052 - also very convenient. I was unable to reduce the gear ratio below 1:1, but I did manage to fix most of the switch/joint picking issues by moving making the 2nd axle the tired axle instead of the 4th and using a thin O-ring for traction. For reasons which are still not quite clear to me, the 2nd axle has better grip such that it doesn't need a fat O-ring, and the thin O-ring greatly helps keep it on the rails. This unit is numbered as IAIS 7081, which is the least modified of the 3 QJs here in the US. I originally wanted to use the Avery 18865 labels that forum member dr_spock had recommended because they worked very well on my FM H10-44, but they don't seem to work well on dark base colors, so I had to keep using my tried and true but not-as-good 3M labels. ... and that's that for this project. There is a full gallery, but most of the pics have already been posted. Have a nice day! Looking forward to this one too; I didn't find any other Lego QJs before mine, so I'm curious to see what other people do.
  13. On the "boxcars" (did you mean "gondola"?) I think the wheelbase should be a little longer; ie the bogies should be at the edge of the cars rather than the 2-ish studs in. Otherwise nice job!
  14. Thanks for your thoughts folks. Will try to post some video once I can clean it up a little more. Yeah, the wires definitely need to go. I need to get the LiPo battery before I can jam all the wiring into the locomotive itself, but hopefully soon. I've attached the latest LDD file I had before going to build the real thing - it's probably 98% complete relative to the current state of the model, but it should be easy to figure out the last 2%. Like I said I've never tested the configuration with the LiPo battery (though the LDD file will tell you were it's supposed to go) so you'll have to see if that works. Do post if you make one though, especially if you can improve on the design! qj_small_150831.lxf
  15. ... annnd here it is in the flesh! After placing and receiving all the various bricklink orders I needed, it took another week to put the thing together and work out the first round of mechanical issues. I would say it's in a good 'beta' state now where the appearance is close to final and it'll drive forward and backward through all the Lego track geometries and pull a decent amount going forward as well. I was pretty replused by the BFBFB driver arrangement for a long time, but it looks a bit better in brick than in LDD and probably is more accurate in the end. This wheel arrangement still tracks more poorly than the fully articulated wheel arrangement though; the wide spacing between flanged wheels (idle and driver) tends to make all wheels more prone to picking switches, and even moreso the little guide channels in the switches. Still don't have a LiPo battery so I haven't tested the configuration where the battery box and receiver are in the loco rather than the tender, but I'm pretty confident it should work - it'll also get rid of those damn wires between the cab and tender. I really like this tender though; almost as cool as the one on the T1. Still on the to do list: Stickers for logos, etc. Fix/replace a number of greebles that are crappy/don't work Gear ratio is currently 1:1, but ideally should be more like 1:1.5/2ish; currently there's really not much torque until you get to notch 3ish. Make it not derail going backwards through s-curves while pulling/pushing something heavy Still missing various parts from window panes to lipo battery Lubricate - maybe Load test