Working HO Scale Rotary Dumper

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by martyuk, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. martyuk

    martyuk New Member

    Sorry to keep you waiting!!! DUMPER UPDATE!!!

    Hi Guys,

    Sorry - It's been awhile since I've checked on here - I haven't been getting an messages saying there were replies to the posts!

    Firstly, Elliot... Your question about the cars and on the tracks. The dumper barrel has a couple of plastic lips on it, which a piece of HO rail sits in-between. So I just used a couple of excess pieces of rail, and super-glued them onto the barrel platform - and then have lined up the tracks at either end so the cars go from one to the other. Then I've soldered a power hookup wire on each rail, that runs back to my DCC feed - to give the locos power as they go across the platform (the platform length was just long enough for them to lose power...) So I've painted the cables, and they come off a post (build out of hollow plastic tubing) - to look like hydraulic lines or the likes, and yet have enough slack for when the dumper inverts.

    My 810:1 motor has arrived, and it's a monster. It's a lot noiser than the old one - being as it's about 5x the size... but moves the conveyor well. I'll just have to find a way of deadening the sound a bit before building scenery over it!!

    I've also done my modifications on the coal mine to accept the conveyor belt, and I will be posting a video soon of the improved coal mine working - and the mechanics of it, for those of you who like the "behind the scenes" action! I have also painted the main building of the coal mine, and varnished it so the paint stays on nicely. It has the well used look now, and you'll be able to see it in the video.. but I do have some pictures, which I will try and add to my website at some stage!

    Also the latest update on news for the dumper... It's failed!!! well.. not totally.. there's been a build up of coal in the plastic runners of the kit, which has been causing havoc with the motor trying to spin the barrel. the plastic gears that do drive the barrel end up spinning on the metal shaft. which is preferable over stripping the teeth off the dumper, as that would be a lot more work to rectify. So my fix is going to be (hopefully this week) using some V-notch pulleys that will cradle the dumper for the most part, and thus will roll with it as the barrel rotates - and any coal that gets in there will fall out as it rotates around. I've also had issues with the clamp mechanism - getting coal in it too, so I'm hoping to surround the bolts in some plastic tubing or something where they go through the bottom of the dumper, to help stop coal getting in the actuator.

    As this maintenance is fairly heavy-duty (the problems started just after fitting the new conveyor motor and getting that going) - so I've had to take the conveyor back out again to remove the dumper from the layout for the work to be carried out.

    I've also taken the opportunity to upgrade the electrics a bit, as the control was just a bundle of wires all soldered together, and the relay taped under the dumper. Now I've actually put headers on the motors and limit switches, and made a circuit board to hold the relay and the likes. I've also built into this a power supply circuit, to take up to 35V AC or DC power, and regulate that to both 12VDC for the relay (to reverse things) and 6V DC for the motors.

    Also as the trigger, I've made it able to take 15VAC, and convert it into 12VDC to trigger the relay to start the process - so I can hook it up to a DCC accessory decoder I have - so I can start the dump process using my DCC throttle.

    Also, the vibration device is run through this, and will be able to be controlled on and off via another accessory output from the decoder, and will once again be able to take the AC input trigger, and convert it to 12VDC to switch the relay on or off, and supply 3V to the shaker, via a couple of resistors, to drop the 6VDC enough.

    So keep tuned for some photos, and updates of the Rotary Dumper Version 2!!!

    Cheers also for your continued support - I wouldn't be still doing this otherwise - I would have lost patience with it, and gone and done something else - but the fact that I know I have other people interested in my project, and how it will all work together keeps me going, to make it better, and work more reliably!

    Thanks for all your comments and questions!

  2. martyuk

    martyuk New Member


    Hi all,

    Just a quick update to say that my modifications of the dumper, to sit on rollers, and thus make the rotation smoother are currently suspended... I've been working on it, and got it all re-assembled. I tested everything along the assembly stages, and everything seemed fine, but now it is all back together, when the barrel spins - it stalls slightly against something.

    I have an idea of re-designing the roller system, as at the moment, the rollers are attached to the end walls of the tray, and I'm guessing it's one of these that has become buckled as the floor of the tray has been glued back together.

    I am going to have to take a break on the project, as I'm off on tour around the UK for the next 3 months with work (I'm a lighting tech for theatre shows/concerts/corporate events etc) - and won't get any time off until the end of the tour! Also my other problem is I have limited tools at the moment, so getting the precision required is proving a bit difficult and frustrating!

    If anyone has any ideas, then let me know!!! Also, if anyone knows and tips for home machining/milling of parts I'm keen on that info too!

    Cheers all,
  3. martyuk

    martyuk New Member

    Newest update!!!

    Sorry for the really quick post guys... I dunno who, if anyone still follows this!! But I will keep posting for those of you who stick with me!!!

    Ive got the dumper working again, and it's all back together - just not in the layout, as I'm adding a couple of improvements to the circuitry - mainly for protection of the voltage regulators, the relays, and the decoder that will trigger the relays!! I've also changed the small plastic pinion gears that came with the kit to some beefier ones - the old ones became loose on the drive-shaft, and thus would just let the shaft spin - instead of rotating the barrel!! But the new ones are TIGHT and should work well!

    I've put up some new pictures of the updates - the rollers the dumper sits on, and also the new circuitry etc on my web page:

    I'm going to be away for work from tomorrow, but will try and check my emails on a semi-regular basis, and will be able to reply. When I get back home I'll try and get a video of it working and put it on my youtube channel!

    Thanks all - Hope you are all well!!

  4. reklein

    reklein Member

    Looks pretty good!!! Be sure to check out this months Railroad Model Craftsman because it has a freind of mines model of a working coal loadout. He also built a rotary dumper like yours but says the gears wear out quickly and is hard to maintain. He said some guy over here has built a machined aluminum working model and is offering it for sale around $2K. I'd like a couple please.:mrgreen:
    Hope you can get the RMC in the UK. Cheers BILL
  5. martyuk

    martyuk New Member

    I know this has now been nearly 4 years since I posted anything to do with this - Unfortunately work and life got in the way of modelling railways, and I don't even have the layout built any more.

    I was staying with relatives around my work, but they have since sold and moved house so I had the railroad dismantled, and it's all now in storage boxes.

    I also have now recently just bought a house, and now I have all of my boxes back off of my relatives, I was looking through all of my model railway parts and getting a bit nostalgic over not having had it set up in a LONG time, and the fact I never managed to update this with how the project was doing.

    From what I remember, I did get the dumper finished and refurbished - and also the coal mine finished again and the whole loading/unloading system to work.
    I found the rotary all boxed up in one of my boxes of railroad parts - and at some stage once I have some time again, the intention is to try and set up a new layout in my house and get the rotary dumper back out and working again.

    I have also made an N-scale dumper for someone in Australia - but again due to work it took a LONG time to build and ship off. I emailed the person I built it for, and let them know it was sent - but I've never heard if they've received it and I never ended up asking for any money for it due to the fact it took me so long to complete. It was a total scratch build aswell. I have a load of pictures of it and a video somewhere - which I will post up if anyone is still interested!

    Again, thanks to all of those who supported me and showed interest in my project back when I was getting it all to work and I had the time on my hands to dedicate to this! I hope again at some point I will be able to finish what I started and make myself a working coal mine/power station layout!

  6. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    Good to see you back, Hope you get something!! operating soon. I'm in a midst of a massive rebuild; 2/3rds of my railroad is gone, including almost all of my awesome mountain scenery. I have lots of stuff in boxes too, trying to get more and more out. My new design utilizes more narrow shelfs, and a helix to get a longer run, with gentler grades and curves. Hope to see some posts as you get stuff rolling.
  7. martyuk

    martyuk New Member

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the welcome back - I feel so out of touch with the whole modelling side of things! I am happy I now have my own house and my own space in which I can hopefully find to put a layout again! Time is my biggest enemy as all of my work is away from home - and often for a week or two at a time, so I have to try and make the time I do have at home count!

    I did unpack some of my railroad stuff from the boxes - my locomotives and DCC controller, and might have set a short bit or track up with a couple of switches and sidings on my desk and just run locos back and forth a couple of times!! Call me sad, but it re-ignited a bit of a spark to try and get a layout designed again at some point! Brought back the memories of working on my old one and seeing the conveyors and the likes all boxed up made me feel like I want to get it all set up and working again!

    However the task at the moment is some DIY around the house, and getting everything in a place and furniture and all that... but the good news is that I'm already starting to collect part-sheets of wood from other projects - which will quite easily be able to start forming a base-board at some point :)

    I'll keep an eye out on your posts aswell for your progress on you new layout! My reason for coming back today is I was actually clearing up and sorting out the hard drive on my laptop as I've got a new one to transfer things too - and I can across all the pictures from the build on the dumper. I intend to have a proper look through the forum as I am sure there will be a load more ideas and inspiration for me to get something up and running sooner rather than later!!


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