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Author Topic: Snowplow Project  (Read 1407 times)
jonathan


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« on: December 10, 2017, 07:30:18 AM »

There use to be a-half-dozen-or-so modelers on here who would share projects, so we could all learn from their successes and failures... basically tinkers. They taught me a lot. I miss 'em, and I hope we get some more folks who like to share.  In the meantime...

A fellow clubmember of mine handed me this old snowplow model, and wondered if I might enjoy tinkering with it.  I think it may be an old Athearn model from late 60s to early 70s (just a guess).

DSC_0954 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Don't think they're made anymore, and I don't have anything disparaging to say, so hopefully the moderator won't mind my sharing this project.

I'll start with the outside and work in...

I fixed the broken stirups with a tichy ladder.  Just cut up the ladder and drilled a few holes:

DSC_0979 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

You may also notice I did a bit of touch up, weathering, and added window glazing. Couldn't get a decent photo, but I also fixed the snow throwing guide, so it easily flips from right to left.

Added some metal wheels to the rear truck:

DSC_0978 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

I absolutely HAD to add a working headlight to the thing!  This is a brass headlight. I drilled a hole in the bottom, behind the mounting post.  Then prepared and inserted an SMD (warm white):

DSC_0977 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0973 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0971 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0970 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0969 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

On to the inside:

The old rubber band trick never worked too well.  Here we see that two small rubber bands were suppose to be connected to a drive shaft... which in turn, caused the plow blade to turn:

DSC_0962 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Instead, I took an old can motor from a '70s brass loco and attached it to the drive shaft. Don't worry. The brass loco got a new motor.

DSC_0964 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

To get things lined up, I cut and filed a notch in the floor, to which I will add silicone gel, when I'm ready to make everything permanent:

DSC_0966 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

I know what you're thinking... "Holy crap! Jonathan, that's going to be the world's fastest spinning plow blade."

Yes, well this is the part of the project I'm noodling with right now.  

I'm using a 9v battery to power the motor and headlight.  I considered adding pick ups to the wheels, along with a decoder, to run off track power.  Instead, this will operate either DC or DCC and have a toggle switch to do the old on/off thing:

DSC_0967 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

If my math is correct, I can use a 30 ohm resistor (2 watts?) to let the motor receive about 3 volts.  That about the minimum current needed to get the motor running.  I considered using two AA batteries, but they would require replacement too often.  Anyway...

Here's the plot twist...

I went out Xmas shopping yesterday and intended to stop at one of three Radio Shacks located near my house.  I needed a micro mini toggle switch, a 9v battery connector, and some resistors. All three Radio Shacks were gone!  In fact the nearest one, still open, is nearly 50 miles away.  Nervousness and depression came over me like a tidal wave.  I hate shopping on line. In fact I was going to call this thread 'R.I.P. Radio Shack!'  

Perhaps, I'm being a bit over-dramatic.  I really, really hate shopping on line.

So, here I sit... waiting for parts to come in the mail.  While I'm waiting, if anyone out there is real handy with electrical algebra, feel free to knock me in the head and tell me the right resistor size to use.  Imma tinkerin' here...

Regards,

Jonathan
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 08:01:18 AM by jonathan » Logged
WoundedBear
A Derailed Drag Racer


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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 09:45:52 AM »

Right on Jon. Good work. If I could ever get some of my projects done and back to the railroad, I would post more pics.

Maybe after the holidays.

Sid
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dutchbuilder


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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2017, 10:58:07 AM »

There are motors for sale with a build in reduction gear.
maybe an idea?
I know you hate the internet but have a look at banggood or dealextreme.
Those Chinese are dirt cheap and the shipping costs are free.

Ton
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J3a-614

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« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2017, 10:58:55 AM »

You're right, Jonathan, you have an Athearn rotary plow.  

The prototype was built very late in the history of the Lima Locomotive Works under license from Alco (which held the Leslie rotary plow patents).  They used Shay engines to power the wheel, a very different arrangement than normally used on a rotary.  They were built as steam plows meant to live in a diesel world and were oil fired, with fuel and water from a tender supplied by the railroad.  Boiler orientation was reversed from normal because of this (normally the firebox was at the rear, like a locomotive, which made sense when plows, like locomotives, were coal burners).

Four were built (two for Union Pacific, and one each for Soo and Rock Island).  I believe both UP plows have been preserved, surviving to the end of service with steam power.  Most if not all other surviving rotaries had the steam equipment replaced with electric motors, their power coming from a B-unit that had its motors removed and wiring altered to supply the plow.

http://tycotrain.tripod.com/athearn-rollingstock-resource/id147.html

http://limalocomotiveworks.com/rotary_snow_plows.html

http://www.tycoforums.com/tyco/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=11735

Check out the former C&O tender from a 2-8-8-2 with this UP plow.

https://donstrack.smugmug.com/UtahRails/Union-Pacific/UP-Snow-Plows/i-RFXK2zh

https://donstrack.smugmug.com/UtahRails/Union-Pacific/UP-Snow-Plows/

http://www.trainweb.org/highdesertrails/up/UPRotary.jpg

In action a steam rotary sounded like a locomotive, in particular a geared engine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtiCOBfvc-I

If B&O didn't have rotaries, they should have.  Other eastern roads did.

http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/mow/193%20RotaryMorris%20Park5-1963JimGillin.jpg

Have fun!
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 11:07:42 AM by J3a-614 » Logged
Terry Toenges


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« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2017, 11:27:57 AM »

Good job on it. I can relate to your lack of Radio Shacks. I'm 50-60 miles from anything I seem to need in the big city. The internet has become a way of life for me now. Amazon and Ebay keep my wallet drained. Will you be dumping snow on your track to watch it in action?
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jonathan


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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2017, 12:21:29 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, Gents.

I will be donating this to the club layout, as a novelty item. Wonít fit my layout scheme.

I was intending to push this with a ĎBí unit. So, seems that can be prototypical. Yay. Had also considered putting a tender shell over a small diesel frame like the 44-tonner. More trouble than itís worth perhaps.

I will check out the motors with reduction gears. I was wondering if there was such a thing. Although, Iím trying to keep this a low-cost project.

Interesting how how other folks have done something very similar with these plows.

Regards,

Jonathan
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J3a-614

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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2017, 12:58:27 PM »

Actually, even the B-unit can be a dummy.  It powers the plow, but doesn't move itself.  Movement comes from locomotives pushing, just as in steam days.  The rotaries that still operate today have a control stand in them to operate the locomotives behind them.

Said B-unit might be painted like the plow (in other words, it might be in a maintenance of way scheme), or it still be in road colors (this was common earlier, the B-unit getting its motors installed again and going back to helping pull trains after the snow season).  This suggests some fun with sound decoders if you want to spend the dough--nah, let the club guys do that!!

Modern rotary footage from the beginning of this year.  Note that the old SP plow here still has steam from a steam generator (such as used in a passenger diesel).  That steam is useful for heating for the crew and thawing out frozen equipment and melting ice buildup--and in the past at least, still was used to blow a real steam whistle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjBQ3MaBYiU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNOfnBqhEdQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYerlBZNBBI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTpKizlTO6A

And here's your fictional history. . .this rotary is the last Lima plow, the one that was supposed to have been built for stock and cancelled!!

Have fun!

« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 01:09:11 PM by J3a-614 » Logged
Len

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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2017, 01:45:59 PM »

Digi-Key has all kinds of low voltage motors available. Just set the filters for DC and the voltage and speed you're looking for:
https://www.digikey.com/products/en/motors-solenoids-driver-boards-modules/motors-ac-dc/178

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
rstroud

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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 02:15:34 AM »

Very cool piece of equipment!!
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jonathan


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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2017, 08:10:17 AM »

An update:

The end is in sight, for this project.

Silicone gel (caulk) to mount the motor to the frame:

DSC_0983 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

I used two 30 ohm resistors to get the inductor to spin at a reasonable rate.  The resistors get quite warm after a minute.  So I'm wondering if I did anything wrong:

DSC_0981 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Found a really tiny, supermicro mini-switch to use:

DSC_0986 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Using some 5-minute epoxy and a 5/32 drill bit, I mounted the switch through the exhaust stack, making it near invisible... well... once I add a bit of paint and weathering to the switch:

DSC_0988 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0989 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

DSC_0990 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Waiting on a 9v battery connector.  Then I can finish up the wiring and get this project on the layout.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Len

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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2017, 10:26:57 AM »

For supplying current to motors, you really should use 'Power Resistors'. They are designed to be under constant load of up to 1 amp, or higher. The circuit board resistors you're using really aren't. They aren't super expensve, and you can get them from many places. This is one: https://www.circuitspecialists.com/pw10-30.html

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
dutchbuilder


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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2017, 03:45:47 PM »

I personally would use a voltage regulator like a LM317 but as you have enough 30 Ohm resistors, i would take two resistors parallel = 15 Ohm and use four of these groups in series to create 60 Ohm.
The power dissipation is divided over eight in stead of two resistors.

Ton
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jonathan


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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2017, 12:16:32 AM »

Thanks much for the tip. I ordered the power resistors (not pricey). Iím a novice when it comes to electrical things. In my case, a little knowledge is dangerous.  Smiley  not in a hurry, so donít mind waiting for the right part.

I was concerned my current set up might cause a meltdown.

Regards,

Jonathan
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Len

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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2017, 05:55:29 AM »

With the power resistors you can use the loco chassis as a 'heat sink' to dissipate any heat.  Use original J-B Weld Epoxy (not the fast setting Kwik type, it's not as heat resistant) to fasten them to the metal chassis.

Len
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If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
jonathan


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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2017, 08:28:07 AM »

OK... the power resistors and battery connector finally arrived.  Been doing a bit of testing and soldering.

The frame is not metal on this model. I used a penny as a heat sink.  However, the power resistor does not get near as warm as the "regular" resistors, I had previously used:


DSC_0995 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr



Here, I panned back to get a shot of the electronics.  Just a bit of insulating and tidying up to complete:

DSC_0992 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr




And now, some final shots... Put the snowblower on the front of a train, to run it around, making sure the car tracks alright:

 
DSC_0996 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr


Finally, a couple shots of the motor and headlight switched 'on':

DSC_0998 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr


DSC_1000 by Jon Vogel, on Flickr

Not gonna prepare a youtube video just to watch a spinning blade, but you get the idea.

Regards,

Jonathan
« Last Edit: December 23, 2017, 08:32:32 AM by jonathan » Logged
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