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Old 01-07-2012, 12:14 AM
rich c's Avatar
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Scratch building inexpensive brass signals that operate

My bedroom sized layout has 29 signals on the mainline. The cost of commercial signals would pay for one, two, and maybe even 3 locos. Keeping with the theory that I would rather "build it than buy it" here is my solution which resulted in having operating brass signals, for about $2 each.

PROTOTOTYPE RESEARCH
While railfanning in Denison Texas I found a Katy target signal, that I thought would look good at my depots in Sand Springs and Broken Arrow. The three views below, were my references for building those signals.



When using electrical components, I usually test them before installation.



It is necessary to shape the L.E.D. The example is below.



Next the target "shield" will be made by cutting it from an L.E.D. (panel mount) holder. For safety's sake, use a tool to hold the piece while cutting.



The next task is to cut and assemble the mast. Note ** If you have elevated road bed add about 4 scale feet to the total mast height.



Wiring the mast for the signal comes next. For N Scale I use the remnants from decoders that I have installed. Whatever wire that will fit through the hole is adaquate. To make the side hole I use a v shaped or square file and go about 1/2 way through. To complete the hole I use a .045 and .033 drill bits. This is a good time to solder the resistor to the base of the mast.



The signal head can be attached, see enlargement inset.



Make the finial, shape the head of a straight pin, cut the pin length and glue the finial to the mast with hobby cement.



Solder the ladder at the base and top. I use premade brass ladders. * Note the ladder is narrowed at the top, on the prototype.



Insulate the wiring and connections with shrink tubing and paint the signal



Scrape paint from lense, paint the hood over the lense with black so light doesn't come out the top. Next, install the track designation sign. Notice in this photo it still has the Denison D.



Check your work and compare it to prototype.



Install in the layout and enjoy.



Thanks again for your time.
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Sand Springs Railway NScale layout:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sstrains/
http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/h375/rwclcook/
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:50 PM
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Nice job, should be a little easier in HO scale.


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Old 01-07-2012, 02:19 PM
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Thanks Andy,

Yes, it probably would be much easier in HO, and the L.E.D.'s more readily available. It is a fun project though, I made 4 more of them this morning, that should complete all that I need for my Katy depot.

I wish that I could learn to present the builds as wonderfully as you do. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your work.
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Sand Springs Railway NScale layout:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sstrains/
http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/h375/rwclcook/
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:25 PM
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Thanks Rich, The Milw. Rd. signals were a little different than yours but I think the principle will be the same. I will have to try one someday.


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Old 01-07-2012, 03:09 PM
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Andy,

I read somewhere that the Milwaukee Road was the first system to use electric signals. I wonder what those early signals looked like.
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Sand Springs Railway NScale layout:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sstrains/
http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/h375/rwclcook/
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Old 01-07-2012, 03:27 PM
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That I am not sure of, I will have to do a little research. I know that during the 50's till mid 80's they used three light targets, elongated.


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Old 01-07-2012, 03:48 PM
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Nice job Rich....very well presented, & easy to follow. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-07-2012, 04:04 PM
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Thank you Jim,

I am never sure if I should enter the information all at one time, or slowly so folks can ask questions as it goes along. What's your opinion on that? I would like to make it convenient for readers.
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Sand Springs Railway NScale layout:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sstrains/
http://s1106.photobucket.com/albums/h375/rwclcook/
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Old 01-07-2012, 04:46 PM
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Cool

Thanks Rich. Now I'll add this type signal to the layout.
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Old 01-07-2012, 04:50 PM
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Rich, you are doing a fine job either way you post it. If questions come up folks will ask no matter what.


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Andy Kramer, Modeling the Milwaukee Road in Wisconsin--- The Milwaukee Road is alive and well and running in my basement!
MRHA member since 2003
www.milwaukeemodelers.net
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