Sunday, December 30, 2012

Air Brush Spray Paint Booths - Part 2

I always enjoy going to see Thayne.  We had lunch together and toured his layout.  He's made a lot of progress!  I'm going over there with the photo lights and will take some pictures soon.

Thayne has an incredible spray booth that he built himself.  Here are the photos:

The room was a bit dark and I didn't have my heavy duty lights with me, but I think you will get the idea.  Here is the booth.  It is stand alone and made of expensive wood.  There is a large lazy susan in the pit (designed to contain a spill) and plenty of light furnished by a fixture resting on plexiglass.    The photo doesn't do it justice as the craftsmanship is superb.

I didn't measure it but the booth is more than two feet wide.  Thayne has his brushes mounted on the top left, as well as his pressure control and trap system.

The sides are plywood and you can see the thick plexiglass on the top.

Here is the right side with the brushes and controls.  Thayne's shop is so nice it makes you want to sit down and build models.

Here is the trap and Schrader valve combo that controls the air pressure and moisture.  The two air brushes are very clean and quite secure in their mounts.   A clean painting area is critical to good model work.  I had the chance to see Thayne's latest model and the paint finish was immaculate!

There is a handy drawer down below where he keeps his paints.  This is one nice system!

It is a beautiful unit.  I'd like to have one of these myself.

The filter is easy to remove, and the exhaust fan is mounted behind it.  This is an A/C brushless squirrel cage bathroom fan with a pretty high CFM rating.  Its the biggest bathroom fan that he could find.  The fan is vented through piping out the window.

Here is a close up of the fan system.  The fan cost about $100 per Thayne, but a good one is well worth it.

Now, I'm not saying you need to build a spray booth this fancy, but the cost of this unit is far less than a Micro Mark Spray Booth below at $445.00!!!  It just takes a little more work.  One thing I've noticed on this unit is that the light window is acrylic.  Paint will adhere permanently to this, so you'd need to replace it with glass.  Acrylic will melt under certain incandescent lights as well.

Got ideas and tips on air brush booths?  Post them below!

Air Brush Spray Paint Booths - Part 1

We were chatting about spray paint booths on our club group this morning, so I thought I'd post some information that I've collected on them.  I've built all of my own booths since they are very expensive to purchase, and usually too small to be effective.  Here's what I've learned.

Here is an article on my old paint booth, still being used by a friend.

Here is my current booth:

The box is wider than than the ones that you can buy, and taller.  This gives you room to paint larger objects like bridges.   It is just a simple two chamber box.  There is a room behind the filter.

I use an elevated lazy susan that is designed for working with clay that I bought at Michael's.  It is aluminum, so it is heavy and won't tip over.  It also cleans easily.

Here is the part I love about the booth.  I paint things for other people and never quite know what kind of lighting I'll need.  So the top of the booth is a glass panel.  Now I can sit any kind of lighting that I need on top of the booth!  Currently I use a 2 foot long double florescent fixture with 6800 Kelvin clear bulbs, like my layout has.

Here of some photos of my booth disassembled for a fresh coat of paint:

Here are some photos of a clever unit built by a fellow on the FineScaleMiniatures forum.

That squirrel cage blower is perfect for getting the kinds of CFM's pulled through the unit.  Be careful that it is not too powerful as it will pull the paint away from the model in mid-stream!

When I built my last booth I made sure that the filter I used was the same as the furnace filter I use in my house.  That way I always have a supply handy.

Here is one big problem.  Lighting is VERY important in a booth and should match the lighting used on your layout.  Be sure to use strong lighting and to keep the electrical parts outside of the box.

Here is a great and inexpensive spray booth design by Gary Phua.  Our NMRA Division built four of these for an airbrush clinic that I taught many years ago and I hear they are still in use today.  It is totally portable and can be made for less than $50 I think.  The only thing we did different is that we used a storage box with flip up lids.

Here is a photo of where the flip top portable spray booth was used:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

026 The Augusta Railway - Family Project

Ah, nothing like an evening with the family.  I really do want my little girls to participate in the hobby, but it take great fortitude and patience.  LOTS of fortitude and patience.

The spots I repaired are dry now.  So I lightly sanded them and gave them a coat of Glidden primer.

In order to protect my work tables, I cut a spare piece of hardboard and put on the top as seen here.  Then when painting I cover with old newspaper.  I stopped using plastic sheets as they are too slippery and messy.

Walmart furnished me two cans of interior latex flat paint, one base white and the other Mediterranean Tile Blue #10854, both in their ColorPlace brand.  Each gallon is about $11.50.  

I have here two paint pans, new rollers and my paint cup, along with a new 3" high quality brush.

We are first going to paint a few small pieces of hardbaord with primer so that I can test a few cloud painting techniques.  Let's call in my trusty assistant, Taylor!

Taylor (age 7) is learning how to paint.  She is wearing old clothes so that nothing gets ruined.  The floor is covered with a drop cloth, damp rags are standing by, and spillage risk is reduced by giving her a paint cup with very little paint in it.  She is using a new 1.5" sable brush.  The goal is to get her familiar with some of the basics without risking the layout.

We are learning how to properly load and wipe the brush so that the heavy paint is on one side, and not all over the handle or ferrule (metal band that holds the bristles.)  She is making long, horizontal strokes, being careful not to drip paint on the surface or floor.  Taylor is also wiping drips off the edge of the board and trying to be very neat.

Princess #2 has to paint as well since big sister is doing it.  Mommy smocks her up in old clothes and an apron.  This should be funny.  Hey...we all started somewhere.  She is 2.  I didn't get to paint until I was six!

Rembrandt has given the surface a good coat.  Daddy and daughter take the time to critique her work and train her eyes to see tiny imperfections.  She is very good at it!  I let her paint another board with the goal of making it even better than the first one.

Paint is flying everywhere with little Katie Perry.  Mommy (pit crew) has to replace her apron with a new one.

I keep a box full of colorful craft paints just for this purpose.  She like pink and purple.

Clean up time!  We use about 10 gallons of water cleaning up the little squirt.  She had paint everywhere!  Taylor had lots of fun and did a pretty good job, especially considering her age.  She's a chip off the old block!

Katie has her own brush stroke technique.  I need to send her to Grandma Izzie's house for a week of intense training.  Izzie is quite a good painter.  One day I'd like to hang out in her painting room and learn some things, too.

I'm amazed that the white wall next to her is still white!

Ok, maybe painting her nails is next.

Tomorrow we'll paint sky and maybe try some clouds.

014 - Richlawn RR v2 - Naming Towns and Locations

Here is my first attempt and putting names, towns, and other text on the layout.  Mostly this is so that Rick and I can communicate over the phone, and not that this is set in stone.

Click on Track Plan to Enlarge

013 - Richlawn RR v2 - Making it Operational

I had a nice chat with my friend Rick while my kids were throwing things at each other in the playroom.  Is Christmas vacation over yet?   I now have a bad cold of some kind and am under the weather, so I'm going to work on the track plan instead of painting the backdrop.

I told Rick that my opinion of the current plan is that is works in the room for his room preferences pretty well, but is operationally inefficient.  With a few changes the layout would work great and accomplish most of his goals.

Here is what we agreed to do:

  1. Hidden staging in the room next door's closet space.  Rick to provide the measurements.
  2. Wye at the staging yard throat to direct traffic across the railroad in either east or west directions.
  3. Theme of the railroad is switching in Louisville, with traffic moving across the line in a east/west fashion.
  4. Cassette loading system for rolling stock, ~3' lengths, racked above the back wall.
  5. Name the walls so we know what we are talking about.  Helps to have directions.
  6. Cassette loader on the back wall.
  7. Move the yard from "Town A" to the back wall to expand it.
  8. Shorten the peninsula to remove the pinch point.
Lot's to do, so let's get cracking!

Before we get started I want to check and see if a wye can even fit in this area in order to feed tracks to the closet in the next room.  Let's clear out the trackage and see if it can fit.

Oh yes!  Plenty of room and no turnouts in the walls.  Ok, let's start with the main yard.

We are moving the main yard to the back wall.  First, we'll put in the mainline and main passing siding, making sure that we keep 24" radius curves or larger, and stay off of the swing gate.  Plenty of room.

A basic train will be a 4 axle diesel (GP) and five 40 foot cars, along with a caboose.  This is about 45" of train.  All passing sidings and yard tracks must hold this.  My first attempt was to stack the yard ladder to the right, but the curves restrict the length of the tracks, so this won't work.

Here I put the tracks to the left.  Works much better, though I don't like curved ends to a yard.  Before we go further, let's test this.

I put together a train with a Geep, five cars and a caboose.  The mainline has plenty of room!

The main passing siding fits the train well.

The yard lead is long enough for the train.

The last check is the shortest yard track, and it is more than long enough.  In fact, too long.

I chopped some of the curved yard ends off so that it looks better.

There is a loco servicing track on the right.  That completes the yard.

I went back and put in the wye to feed the staging yard.  The purpose of the wye is to be able to send a train either east or west, and to receive it west or east.  You can also use it to turn locomotives.  The problem I have is that we wanted to put the Buck & Loretta's cabin here, but it would need to be a level up and there is too much track for an incline here.  Guess we'll find the happy couple another home.

I'm not sure the size of the closet yet, so I'll just rough in a four track staging yard.  That will give the operations four trains to cross the mainline and pick up/deliver cars.  Enough for a small operating session with three people or less.

The staging can also be a fiddle yard if more trains are needed.  Any track can feed a train east or west.

So here is the new yard and the wye staging system.  Looking good!

Next we need to work on East Louisville (until Rick gives it a better name.)  This siding is way too small, so let's start over.

I was able to move the turnouts further apart with no issue, but I don't like that siding track as it is too close to the wall/window.  Will have to move it.

I just put in some industrial sidings for now, and we'll figure out what they really need to look like later when we lay in the industries.  There is lots of room.

Ok, for that yucky peninsula problem.  First, we'll eliminate the pinch point and make it clear for the swing gate.  I'll put in the benchwork as to where I'd like it to stop.

I drew an open swing gate for measuring purposes and made sure it cleared and had room for a person to walk in.  This works!

I need to put Buck and Loretta somewhere and the bottom, left hand side of the room is a good spot.  The tight turnout on the left didn't need to be there, so I took it out and will put in a nice 30" radius turn which will make a perfect spot for Loretta-kins.  To get to the peninsula, let's feed it off the main as its own track system so it doesn't interfere with the operations of the fast moving freight trains.  I'll plug in more temporary industrial track in this location which could be great for a large "against the wall" structure.

We run out the train and test the clearances.  Mainline clearance is good.  That'll do!

 The siding is just BARELY clearing, but does clear.  We'll leave it alone for now, but I'll keep my eye on it.

Next, let's work on West Louisville (until Rick renames it.)  I'll put in a small passing siding as this may be a very heavily tracked area.  We'll come back to it later and place industries.

Now for the cassettes.  Rick want's to have a cassette rack on this back wall and the ability to feed the cassettes onto the railroad without having to turn them around.  That means they need to connect on the front of the yard.

I drew a 36" cassette, which I think is the longest you should ever use as the get unbalanced if longer.  It will feed into its own receiving track at the end of the yard (which could double as an industry along the riverbank.)

Here is the layout as it stands now.  Rick, take a good look and let's chat tomorrow.  Let me know what you think!

Closer look at the plan.

Have fun!!!