Control stand update and question

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Ralph, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    A couple of months ago I posted a picture of this model of an EMD
    control stand after finishing the "drum" that holds one of my model railroad power packs. The throttle and reversing lever are operational as is the horn cord that activates a continuous loop tape of diesel horn sound. I've recently added a simulation of the independent brake valve. Pulling the handle to the right activates a can of compressed air hidden behind the instrument panel and makes a hissing sound. The bell switch to the right of the brake activates another loop tape of train bell sounds. This has been a fun project that lets me enjoy a sort of train simulator. Guests seem to like the interactive nature of the stand.

    My question is about how to model the large automatic brake valve wih its cast metal seamless curves. I used sheet metal over a wood frame for the top of the throttle drum but am not sure how to create a smooth surface for the brake valve.

    I'm including a picture for reference. Its from the cab of an actual F unit at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. They were kind enough to let me use the photo as a guide. The automatic brake is the large structure on the right side of the second photo.

    Thanks for your ideas!

    Attached Files:

  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Here's the real thing!

    Attached Files:

  3. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Ralph, That's just comming right along:)

    What about if you framed it up and then covered it with fiberglas cloth stretched tight, add several coats of resin, sanded it smooth and then finished it off with a gel coat. I've never actually done anything like that myself but I've seen 1/4 scale R/C airplane fuselages built like that with no seams.
  4. BDC

    BDC Member

    Ralph - That's sure looking good! Do you get union benefits just by sitting behind the stand?:p You could also add a tape of dynamic brakes. I wish I knew where to find that sound, but if you take a trip to the Rocky Mountains, you'll be sure to hear it! Keep it up!
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    the scale is probably off, but to me it looks like the container for l'Eggs stockings or whatever they are.
    Or maybe a large chocolate Easter egg?:D
  6. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Thanks for the fiber glass idea. I have a friend who builds his own canoes out of wood strip covered with fiber glass. I could ask him for pointers on how to cover the wood frame. I was also wondering about bondo or whatever it is that people use in autobody repair.
  7. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Raph, Yeah good idea ....BONDO......A whole lot easier to sand and shape than fiberglas....but you have to work fast, the stuff sets up quick.

    PS: Don't do it in the house....BONDO stinks like last week's socks!!:eek: :D
  8. gerbs4me

    gerbs4me Member

  9. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Ralph, nice job. Having sat behind one of those for real and operated an F unit, I would feel right at home. I think a wood frame with a coat of bondo would do the trick. I assume that the reverser changes the direction of the trains on the layout and the throttle actually controls the train speed? Neat idea! What gauge are you operating on your layout?

    Greg Elems
  10. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member


    Holy S**t Ralph that is just incredible! I had no idea you were building this (I missed the previous thread). All I can say is I'm am totally blown away. What a great idea!

    :D Val
  11. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Ralph,
    Even having seen this before I still have to echo Val!!
    I think with a sharp rasp you could just carve this from pine, then seal and paint.
    If you want to fiberglas it, carve it from balsa rather than framing it. Or carve it from styrofoam, then fiberglas. Either way, use gloves.
    I know it seems that the resin would attack the foam but I remember seeing this method (glass covering a foam form) used in an old Hot Rod mag to build a fuel tank. I guess you have to seal it first.
    Bondo would work over a solid form for smoothing but I don't think it has a lot of strength on its own .
  12. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Thanks everybody! I appreciate the ideas. Greg, getting the thumbs up from some one who has actually been behind the controls of an F unit is high praise indeed! The reverser and throttle levers do control direction and speed. I've hooked them up mechanically to the controls on my MRC power pack inside the drum. I model in HO and am keeping F units alive longer than they probably served on the Penn Central. :)
  13. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Ralph, your welcome. And FYI, PC f units went on to work for Conrail a few years. Keep up the good work. :)

  14. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Thanks Greg, that's good to know! I didn't realize I was being so prototypic. :)

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