Workshop Wednesday

Discussion in 'General' started by yardmaster, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    I think 506-515 were ten wheelers. I don't believe they had external valve gear, 57" drivers.
  2. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    I've been piddling with sound levels of late, but I will be taking a break from such today. Today it's...

    Exhaust stacks... on GP7's.

    You see I've got this "thing" for GP7's. I don't know what GP it was exactly, but the my first cab ride ever was aboard a Rock Island GP? over in the in the RI's Armourdale Yard engine service area at KC, KS. This would have been 1958 or so, and I was 6 or 7 years old. Seeing as GP7's were the largest group of 1st generation engines on the Rock Island, I'd say the odds are huge that I was aboard a GP7.

    From that first ride, I've had a long history with GP7's. I've ridden in/on them, worked off them, worked on them, run them, from various roads, in many different places. Love the sound of the 567 in them, all of it. I like GP7's.

    SO, it's a no brainer that when I devised my KC&G roster, as was the case with the Rock Island, the Frisco, and likely many other RR's, the GP7 is the single largest group of a single type on my KC&G roster. (I also have a fetish for F units... but that's another story for another time.)

    During my formative years with my KC&G theme (mid-late 1990s), I was originally modeling 1970. When I revived my KC&G theme a couple years ago, I decided to back date it to the early 1960s in order to gain a few elements.

    That introduced a minor annoyance: Exhausts.

    You see, for my 1970 era, my KC&G Geeps I had made all had flared-type spark arrestors, which was the most common type found on the prototype roads in the KC&G's theoretical region.

    That's fine and dandy, for 1970. Not so fine and dandy for the early 1960s. Most railroads didn't have spark arrestors on their GP7's in the early 1960s. (Our beloved Frisco being an exception with their homemade "box" arrestors they begin installing on their GP7's in the mid-late 1950s.) So it was that any KC&G GP7 that had passed over the workbench many years prior to its revival had... you guessed it... flared spark arrestors installed.

    The little stub exhaust EMD stacks on my KC&G GP7 models was removed long ago to make room for the flared arrestors to be installed. In the past I've been unsuccessful finding suitable stacks from detail suppliers, and besides, I'm not going to spend $10-$12 (plus tax and shipping) to purchase in pairs those gold-plated ones (must be gold-plated) on eBay.

    SO... I just spent some time seeing what I could do about this arresting development. Here's the result:


    The above, fabricated from brass tubing, compare favorably to the stacks on the Atlas Gold GP7's I have, and smaller than the oversized stacks on the Bachmann GP7.

    Agreed. It seems silly of me to make my own stacks when some may be available if you scrounge and pay dumb prices for them, but, seeing as I can make my own and I can remove the flares safely... I figure I'll back date all of my KC&G GP7's to EMD OEM type stacks. Last hurdle will be a simple way to mount them.

    I reckon when I receive GP7 #'s 409 and 412 back from the Whiz Kid... I will likely back date their exhausts eventually, or at least that's my I plan. (After I run them a while and enjoy them with sound. After all, it's been over 20 years since they've been in service on a layout!)

    Anyway, I'll roll my own and call it good. Experiments indicate I can do this. Biggest challenge is cutting them the same length. It must be within a few thousandths or the mismatch in height is obvious. However, I think I've figured out a way to make a jig for cutting them the same length that I think will work. If so, then I will make enough in one sitting to retro-vert the one's I have with flared arrestors. Shame I cut the skirts off the GP7's I started building years ago (that I will be finishing). I would have been more comfortable with all of them still having their skirts on, but at least there it will be 50/50 with four of them having their skirts cut and four of them with skirts. Future GP7's (and I'm sure there will be more) will retain their skirts. Doesn't this blow yer skirt up?

    Why am I so silly about GP7's? Well, I just really like them, probably because of the roll they've played in my history with railroads and railroading. For example, here's repost of a very poor pic I snapped my first time at the controls of a GP7, as well as my first time over Bridge No. 1 on "The Mountain", as it was called. This is from November of '74:


    I still remember the above pictured experience like it was yesterday. The train was moving at about 8 MPH and slipping at times, for a sander was trying to clog. (Wet, cold, nasty day, and those old sanders liked to do that on such days.)

    Lands what a trip it was that first time up The Mountain! It hooked me on mountain railroading, and from then on such railroading has been my favorite.

    Since I snapped that rather poor pic so many decades ago, I've run trains up/down The Mountain, and over that bridge, innumerable times, but none of them ever made the impression of that first time. Although, I will say that it was very cool running a set of Alco helpers shoving heavy sand trains up that grade!

    So, there you have it and there you are.

    Whew, this has been such an exhausting subject.

  3. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    If I get the time today, I'll be putting the finishing detail on the 4010 and I hope it will be ready for the microblast booth and then paint. Then I'll finish up either the 185 or the 3800. The basement shop is nice on these brutally hot days.
  4. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member

    Myopic vision can bite 'ya sometimes.

    Was focused on getting the fabricated exhaust stacks close to the size of the Atlas Gold exhausts (which may be noticeably undersized?) when instead, perhaps I should be matching the P2K exhausts?

    Thus, here's the resultant up-sized version. (Stock P2K exhausts in the rear.)


    Okay diesel freaks, which size looks right to your eyes? The revised version above, or the original version of previous? I'm undecided.

  5. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    I like them both Andre. Would suggest you leave them alone to add variety to your fleet. That's just my opinion, Rule One takes priority!!! It's your railroad and I'm sure you can justify whatever you want with a cover story to match. I feel you are a deep thinker from all of your posts.

    rjthomas909 and Sirfoldalot like this.
  6. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    They look spot on. Good work.
    rjthomas909 and Sirfoldalot like this.
  7. Coonskin

    Coonskin Member


    I may leave the models w/flared spark arrestors as is... but it does bother me that it's not quite like it should be for the early 196os. The flared type arrestors didn't seem to come into use here in the Midwest until the mid-1960s. Hm. Perhaps I need to go back through my Rock Island, Mop, and KCS books and pay attention to when the flared arrestors started appearing? It was 1964 or '65 on the Frisco.


    Thanks. Must say it was turning out to be quite piddly and a time sink. I don't know why I will sometimes get so focused on a small detail that probably won't make two hoots in the bigger picture!

    All fer now.

  8. I think both are totally passable Andre. If you decide you need to change them I have both the factory ones and I also have aftermarket sets with the flange around the bottom. I can always make a mold and either send you the mold or some castings.
  9. Jim James

    Jim James Staff Member Staff Member

    I know what you mean, Andre. Sometimes a certain detail makes or breaks a model for me but others probably would never notice, no matter how much research and effort I spent on it.
  10. rjthomas909

    rjthomas909 Member Supporter

    Been working on adding one final (yeah right) section to the Crawford and Cherokee. I have just about enough supplies to construct a module that would pair with the Weir City wye module when stored in pairs. It would be a simple module that could be used as a diorama and just straight track. I am considering a fence line crossing the tracks with a cattle guard toward the east end. It would be between the Brush Creek and MoPac modules and could be used as a switching lead for arrangements with a partial setup, alternately placed on the end of the East Cherokee module with the interchange/coal marshaling siding.

    Happy Wednesday All...great stuff posted this week!

    -Bob T.
  11. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    Well, its not Wednesday but the 4010 is at the stage where I take pictures and study them to see what I messed up, forgot or put on crooked.

    Attached Files:

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  12. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Don, you do fantastic work on your steam locomotives, can't love them too much. My steam locomotives are my favorite with cranes and boom cabooses coming in a close second.

  13. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    What decoder do I need for a Bachmann Spectrum wireless DCC system? I know absolutely nothing about DCC other than what it does, a digital signal so you can run more than one locomotive on the same track. And it will control several different devices like turnouts and lighting.

    I have a lot to learn but I know I'm in the right place to find help.

    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  14. Iantha_Branch

    Iantha_Branch Member

    Your system should be able to control any brand of decoder. What engine are you wanting to install a decoder in?
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  15. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Ethan, thank you for your help. I have a couple of N scale 2-8-0 steam locomotives and a black and yellow RS-1 to get started. The other locomotives can wait awhile.

    Here's a couple photos of the DCC system.


    IMG_20190811_145731.jpg IMG_20190811_145804.jpg
  16. meteor910

    meteor910 2009 Engineer of the Year Staff Member Supporter

    SLSF 4010 - Amen brother!
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  17. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    Is it a Bachmann 2-8-0? Here's something I found on a Bachmann 2-8-0, but there may be more than one version:
    Here's info on an Atlas Classic RS-1:

    You don't have to use TCS decoders; you can use any decoder that will fit. I have been buying super-cheap Lais DCC decoders:
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  18. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Thank you Gary for the links, a lot of good information on how to install a decoder in my locomotives. Looks like the steam locomotive install is pretty involved when put in the locomotive itself, would it be easier to put it in the tender?

  19. gna

    gna Member Supporter

    Well, I am out of my depth when it comes to N scale. In HO, it is usually easier to put the decoder in the tender. One still needs to separate motor, power pickup, and lighting leads under the loco shell and solder to the decoder leads. If it's easier to have the decoder in the tender, and there's space, put it in the tender.
    Joe Lovett and Ozarktraveler like this.
  20. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett Member

    Thank you Gary for the tip!!! I'm out of my depth when it comes to DCC but I know if have questions there is help on this website. We have a great group of knowledgeable members.


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