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About Daedalus304

  • Birthday 03/28/90

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  1. I think it was on the right track but just one step short. If they were to do a Chief again, have the set include 1 Locomotive and 2-3 cars, but have instructions and parts for a B-Unit and instructions/parts for 3 variations of each car. That way you have one $120-$150 set that has one loco and three cars, and high value for duplicate purchases, since each purchase would yield unique additions.
  2. Type E Coupler for LEGO Trains

    I really love this idea and would be totally down for these if the price isn't prohibitive. I've looked into trying out Kadee O-Scale couplers which are about $7-$8 I think, which is right about the most I could see paying for these. Certainly would not mind if they turned out cheaper than that, though. Two thoughts I have regarding the design - 1. Instead of using magnets to line the couplers up, is there any way you could fit some sort of centering spring instead? That seems like it would be a simpler and possibly more reliable option. The auto-coupling wouldn't line up the best on sharp turns I'd wager, but that doesn't seem like too big of an issue and I wouldn't care at all. 2. Thinking a little bit ahead, it might be cool to put some sort of very small hole through the pawl release. With a hole there, someone could theoretically loop a bit of string through it and have it connected to a tiny motor inside the engine for a hands-off uncoupling without needing some sort of mechanism in the track bed. Or, perhaps, offer an option for a slightly more expensive pawl release that's magnetized. In that case, we could hide magnets in the yard track bed and it could release when the coupler is stopped over the magnet, like the way the Kadee option works.
  3. Increasing Speed

    If you are running four motors off one battery and one receiver, you haven't got enough power to go around. Go down to just two motors, or get another Battery Box/Receiver. For your locomotives, I would check your wheels and rods to make sure they can spin freely. I've seen a lot of people who have built Tony's trains using the black Friction Pins for their drive rods, and that will absolutely devour your power. If your wheels won't free spin for a few rotations you have things too tight.
  4. Incredible model, absolutely amazing level of detail. All your models have been great, but it seems like you've managed to outdo yourself here!
  5. [MOC] Coos Bay Lumber Co #10 & #11

    Thanks! I plan on having one eventually, but at the moment my layout is little more than a flat loop. My plans are to first get the main loop established and once that's the size I'd like it, I'm going to see about adding in a small branch line for the logging stuff. Depending on what's available as far as crossovers and switches go, I'm planning to have the branch line cross through with the main line and use some of that rail for a short distance, going from outside the loop to the inside. Thank you!
  6. [MOC] Coos Bay Lumber Co #10 & #11

    Thank you! The answer is pretty mundane. I didn't have enough curves slopes for both sets of pistons and keep forgetting that it doesn't have them and I need to order more. Thanks! The chassis detailing is a big part of the reason I went for these locomotives specifically - the saddle tank is so high and tall that I could hide the battery in there and not have to sacrifice any detailing. I'm glad to hear others enjoy those details as much as I do!
  7. I hear you! Having only a month sure does bring a quick pace to the whole thing. It's very nice to be done with it! I certainly don't envy the judges. A lot of great entries have come in and I don't know if I could choose between them!
  8. I've had this pair of locomotives built for a while, but they had a rather long wait for their drive rods and then another for the stickers, and then again after that I needed to get them photographed. The real Coos Bay #10 and #11 were both originally in the line for restoration, and #11 is actually currently being restored. #10, however, has had a much more unfortunate tale - sold between a few different railroads with the intent of eventual restoration, but along the way more and more parts were lost until finally it was no longer considered a reasonable cost. Sadly, the real #10 has been scrapped. I came across the Coos engines on a search online for some engines to work in my eventual layout's yard. I wanted a short, nimble tank engine with a wheelbase less than 2 track segments long, and I wanted ideally a large saddle tank so I could fit all my PF in there and still have a high level of detail. During my search I found the Coos Bay #11, and then learned about #10 as well, and they fit the bill perfectly. Even better, they were locos of logging heritage - which means they match up pretty well with my mallets. Each one is powered by a single M-motor hidden in the firebox. Their individual strength is modest, but definitely sufficient for the yard work they're intended for. They also double head nicely, and have a surprisingly decent amount of strength together. Having a pair of locomotives like this, built for a purpose, makes my railway plans feel just a bit more real. A couple more pictures of them can be found in their Flickr Album. I've got a train show coming up in a couple weeks and hope to be able to get some good footage of them running the yard! Many thanks to Andy Mollman for the excellent stickers and to Zephyr for the fantastic-as-always drive rods!
  9. [MOC] - 4-wide FYRA

    If this is meant to be cheating, I'm afraid you've done a poor job of it - the point of cheating is supposed to be to make things easier for yourself!! I can't speak for the judges, but as a fellow competitor I can definitely say that you've done something really cool that I think really meets the spirit of the competition. This is one of, if not THE, best 4-wide builds I've seen. Best of luck to you!
  10. Thanks, guys! It certainly is a crazy prototype. Here's the basics of it: The engine frames are actually built upside-down, and the boiler is attached to each engine by the 4x4 turntables over the 2nd and 3rd driver. If you disregard the red sections, basically what I have is two very close pivots under the boiler for the engine frames. These wheelsets can pivot freely as needed to negotiate turns, and this is not hindered or limited by the gearing (In practical application, that is. Off the rails there is indeed a point where the boiler will reach it's flexible limit and the wheelsets won't pivot any further - though that requires a lot tighter a turn than R40). The gearing is connected solidly to these engines, though, so when they rotate underneath the boiler it actuates their respective half of the flexing mechanism. Also, since the bend mechanism works in two halves like this - S-curves aren't a problem. Getting this system smoothed out to take out all the backlash in the gears, keep everything lined up at all times, and most importantly making sure that the resistance in the Bellows mechanism didn't prohibit the drivers from getting the motion they needed to prevent derailing - that was the trick, and I'm really happy with how well this final product works. If I couldn't have gotten this mechanism right, I wouldn't have built the locomotive at all. A lot of much more complicated systems were trialed and thrown out for various failures before I found a spare one of the Bionicle gear levers in a corner of my desk and upon closer inspection I realized that the teeth on the gear were lined up perfectly for a straight connection - which is a luxury not many other gears had. For a long time I had been working with "1 x 7 with Gear 9 Tooth Double Bevel Ends", but the teeth don't line up nicely at all with that and to get the angles straightened out took too many gears; which introduced too much backlash and so forth. I thought about those, and I think those would work even better than the hose segment I'm using - I just didn't have and couldn't find any in the right size. I'm definitely going to keep an eye out, though - this does work, but more efficiency is always great. :D
  11. "There's a prototype for everything" I've heard that said several times in the LEGO train community since I started building, and the longer I go the more I see the truth in it. Long boilers with crazy overhang is a problem we often run into pretty quickly in the LEGO world, but it was a problem for real-world engines as well. One solution, attemped by Baldwin in 1910, was to make the boiler of the locomotive itself flexible - using a flexible metal bellows in the middle. Of course, they weren't so crazy as to actually put boiling hot water through these flexible bellows - the boiler itself ended just before this segment. Instead, all the hot gases used for the superheater, a water reheater, a water preheater, and more were stuffed in there. It's really an amazing idea, and I'd suggest you read up on it more here: History of the Flexible Articulated Mallet I've had this locomotive on my "To Build" list for a while, but never really did anything with it. I knew two things for certain, though - A) I was going to build it with a boiler that would flex in curves and only in the curves, and B) I'd never be so damn foolish as to try to get this monstrosity to go through R40, and would instead take advantage of the wide radius turns. Enter OcTRAINber. This engine would easily be long enough to look silly through turns, and would be really fun to try to speed-build. I was set. And then, the rules came out. Must be over 70+ studs for a permanently coupled pair - it's 85 studs over the coupler, so - Check. Needs a video of a swoosh through R40 curves - Che... oh no. The first two weeks of October were taken up trying to make this work. A reliable, flexible boiler mechanism that could make it through an R40 curve without derailing or experiencing too much friction, and a mechanism to keep the boiler bending ONLY in turns was an absolute must. 2 weeks and one incredibly lucky part discovery gave me a great solution for everything - except the bellows themselves. I tried just about every LEGO tire I could find that was the right size, but none of them could compress right and in the end I had to find a non-LEGO solution. A 3-studs long section of some Shop Vac hose became my Bellows, and I truly believe that this was the only possible solution. Either way, I was out of time. It was also a great opportunity to try out a few new build ideas - the platform for the headlamp, a new way of building the bell, and some chassis-mounted roller bearings to help the extremely off-balance boiler pivot and turn smooth and easy. Whatever the outcome, this was great fun to build despite the stress. Having a full half of the contest time burnt up just trying to get the concept ironed out certainly provided some amount of worry, but in the end I've got a unique, interesting mechanism that is a whole lot of fun. I am definitely going to continue working on this engine. Just, maybe a little break first. There are a few differences in my model from the "real thing", primarily the positioning of the bellows. The real engine had these just over the rear driver of the front engine, but because of the way the engine needed to be articulated and because of the precision needed with the boiler-flexing mechanism I had to move it back a few studs. I've slightly re-positioned a few of the other details to try to help balance this out aesthetically. This is the outside of the boiler in an R40 curve, where the pipes need to both hinge and telescope smoothly to let the boiler bend: And here is the inside of the boiler in an R40 curve, showing how tight it needs to be able to pinch in: Because the pivot points are so close together - the 2nd and 3rd drivers, the back half of the locomotive has a lot of hanging weight. This is supported by a couple roller bearings just in front of the firebox, above the last driver. There are a lot more pictures in my Flickr Album, if you'd like to see more. Soon, hopefully, I will find a good way to show the mechanism inside the boiler that controls the flexing. But, of course, pictures aren't quite the same as the real deal - the SWOOSH!!
  12. BrickTracks: different curves, PF/9V compatible

    It's super awesome to see how these are coming along, they look great! Also, I'm very happy to see that the rail profile matches very closely (If not precisely) to the one LEGO uses. One of my small handful of problems with my ME curves is that the base of the rail is so tall that my BBB-driver locos ride on their flanges instead of the actual 'tire', which isn't super great for traction on my driver-powered locos. These don't look like they're going to have that problem!
  13. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    Oh right, I knew I was forgetting something. I've added a couple links and short write-ups in my last post just to keep the 3rd party stuff all together. Now that I've gone through all of this stuff it's actually amazing just how many 3rd party options there are now for us train guys. What a time to come into the hobby!
  14. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    For signals and such it's probably cheaper and simpler to run your own LEDs to the lights whether you use 9v or PF. The only LEGO train system that really had good support for signals was the 12v system. For 3rd party track, right now there are a couple that each have different types of products at the moment but they all seem to be working towards supplying a larger variety. ME Models (Injection Molded) has 4 larger turn Radii that they offer 4DBrix (3D Printed) has some modular switches coming out very soon, narrow gauge track, some switch motorization options, and some stuff for signals BrickTracks (Currently 3D Printed, plans for future Injection Molding) has larger radius turns, larger radius switches, and more. I've only got some of the ME Models stuff, and the wider radius turns are really nice to have. It comes in individual parts like the old 4.5v and 12v rail systems which brings a few tricky things into the mix regarding rail stability, but just a little glue on the rail tie/connector or a good sturdy ballasting will keep them in line. I'm very interested in 4DBrix's upcoming modular switches as well as the BrickTracks switches, so I think it's likely you'll probably find opportunities for all of them. Also, not track related - if you're going to be building steam engines I would heartily recommend you check out Big Ben Bricks. He sells high quality, injection molded steam engine drivers in more sizes than LEGO offers. If those sizes or styles still aren't enough for you and you're okay with spending a bit more, Shupp has a ton of other 3D Printed drivers you can order off of Shapeways. I haven't tried these myself but they look gorgeous. And last but far from least, hunt down Zephyr1934 and take a look at his fantastic custom drive rods. EDIT: Oh, and as Duq has reminded me, third party PF controllers as well: SBrick - Bluetooth Receiver, pretty much a straight up replacement for the standard IR receiver with 4 ports instead of 2 and a little extra power to the motors, though still limited by the LEGO battery box output BuWizz - Bluetooth Receiver/Rechargeable Battery Box combo, a higher power battery box than what LEGO offers with more capacity as well, with the bluetooth receiver built in. 4 ports like the S-brick, and the same dimensions as LEGO's AAA or Rechargeable Battery box except one brick shorter. PFx Brick - New controller coming soon that can use either IR or Bluetooth. Has support for a wide variety of accessories including lights and speakers. Also, since it was made with Trains definitely in mind it has a lot of neat motor control options for starting and slowing with more realistic speed curves. I haven't tried any of these yet, but BuWizz is the one I'm the most excited for due to the extra power and much smaller amount of required space. The price is pretty high, but it's basically the same as a LEGO rechargeable battery + an SBrick so it's not unreasonable. The PFx bricks modular add-ons are definitely going to give it a good boost in the variety department, too.
  15. TRAIN TECH Help, General Questions & Talk to the Staff

    I'm going to throw in some more information, since I feel like PF trains are really being undersold here. I'm going to headline with an extraordinary claim here and say that as a whole, Power Functions is without a doubt the key to all around more realistic and more powerful locomotives. I make this claim for several reasons: Variety of motorization choices, better power, finer speed control, more operation options on your lines, wider variety of track configurations, and better railyard options. Seriously, in all of these Power Functions wins just about hands down, and I'll tell you why: 1. Power Functions has 4 different motor types to choose from, the PF train motor being a more powerful equivalent to the one and only 9v motor option. These different motors have different rotational speeds and torques to choose from, and the M, L, and XL motors can all easily be geared up or down to help get the perfect Power/Speed ratio you need. The 9v motor's power and speed are both tied to the track voltage, so if you want your locomotive to travel slower you're taking a proportional hit to your power as well. The way the PF electronics work, you get much more power at lower speeds and you can specifically build slow, lumbering powerhouses that can pull ridiculous amounts of weight. Also, because the limited choice of 9v motor, many steam locomotives classes are off the table unless you either build a powered car or forego using proper drivers with moving rods. A 9v 0-8-0T that moves under it's own power with rods is not going to happen. 2. Having each engine under their own power means you can have multiple engines on the same line that don't have to be doing the same thing. If all you are wanting is a simple loop or two and are fine with that, then 9v is okay. But if you want two trains to share the same loop for any amount of time with a 9v setup, then they need to be headed the same direction at the same speed. If you have, for example, a branch line that shares a short run with the main line before branching off again, perhaps into a yard, it can be very tricky to make sure that your engines are okay to be synced up or that you're not going to cause an electrical short. Again, if you're just looking for something simple like a loop or only want to run one engine at any given time then this is very nearly a non-issue; but multi-engine operations on more complex layouts are PF's stompin' grounds. 3. Most of the time the biggest points awarded to 9v over PF are these: It's easier to use 9v because the PF electronics are bulky, and changing out batteries is annoying. These are both true. But, IMO, the advantages start and end there and they are not the achilles heel for PF that they are made out to be. There are many good examples to be found of incredibly compact and amazing looking steam and diesel engines built with Power Functions. It is more difficult, but the challenge is well worth the effort. Not every engine can be built realistically with PF, but 9v is even more limited due to the single style of motor. As for the batteries, I have found that even my most power-hungry engines can get nearly 4 hours of life off a set of batteries. You can invest in some rechargeable AAA batteries, or if you don't want to partially disassemble your locomotive then the PF Rechargeable Battery Box is great. It's expensive, yes, but 9v Train motors are very expensive and are only going to get worse, so IMO it's a fairly close race price/value wise. If you are just starting out, the amount of money you're going to spend buying old 9v motors plus the incredibly expensive 9v track is going to far, far out-pace the cost of the initial PF investment. 4. Third-Party options are right now another thing PF has going for it. Custom track is starting to make a (relatively) large boom in the LEGO train community. Wider radius turns and switches are showing up all over, and all-plastic has the double-whammy advantage of wider variety and significantly lower costs. The only 3rd party manufacturer I know of who has 9v product right now is ME Models, and their metal track requires special adapters to connect to the LEGO stuff. The 9v options will expand down the road, of course, but they will always be more expensive. Also in the PF Playground you will find S-Brick and BuWizz, bluetooth controller alternatives to LEGO's Infra-Red Offerings. These are both more expensive than the default PF equipment, but they offer even more options and opportunity for realistic, powerful control. And, if you are down for making the trade-off for price vs compactfullness (Note: not a real word), The BuWizz is both a super-powered rechargeable battery AND receiver together in one unit, a whole brick shorter than the PF battery box. This should be relatively easy to hide in almost any train out there, even 6-wide diesels with 4-wide hoods can probably hide this thing behind the fuel tank. Power Functions isn't always the easiest, but it is incredibly rewarding. I understand that it's not for everyone, and these forums are filled with die-hard 9v fans who have their reasons for sticking with it. My intent here was to offer a wider perspective on the seldom-mentioned strengths of Power Functions. In the end it all comes down to what your goals and intentions are, and if none of the strengths of PF are worth the extra effort to you and 9v sounds like it's what you want, by all means do go the 9v route. I've made a lot of extraordinary claims above, so before I go I'm going to leave a few links to some Power Functions locomotives. Small PF Steamers: Bricknerd's 2-4-0t Prussian Steamer Jayhurst's Vulcan Iron Works 0-4-0T Medium-Sized Steamer: Cale's CNJ 4-6-4 Large Steamers: Shupp's Erie Triplex Video Tony Sava's Hudson & Shupp's Triplex My Santa Fe 4-8-4 There are plenty of great 9v engines out there as well, of course, and I heartily recommend checking out Carl Greatrix, Swoofty, and Steinkopf for a good variety of 9v stuff. Either way you go, welcome to the LEGO train community and I wish you the best of building and happy tracks ahead! :D