DRRR Pier – Part X

Tie Plates on On30 Track? OH THE TRAGEDY
Look. I KNOW that narrow gauge for the most part spiked directly to the ties without any tie plates. I know. Really .. I KNOW. If the fact that I am using tie plates on my pier disturbs the reader too much then you can simply close this web page. For everyone else ..

  1. I am not modeling a REAL railroad. It is imaginary.
  2. Firstly .. it is On30. If you make the assumption that it represents 30″ gauge track then you have to know that that gauge was not use very much in the United States. Some few logging lines and a light passenger rail out West I think. Other then that .. you will find that gauge in South America.
  3. Having stated point #2 – my layout is On30 and exists in ‘my universe’ around the Deep River in North Carolina. Note that this is not THE Deep River in North Carolina .. but .. MY Deep River in My North Carolina in My Universe. Evidently in my Universe there was quite a bit more tectonic activity then you had in your universe. In mine, the episode of mountain building that lifted the Appalachian mountain chain from Canada to Alabama also lifted the Deep River area of North Carolina. That’s not THAT far-fetched .. IMO. Western North Carolina has the Appalachians running though it. The Deep River runs from just West of Greensboro down to about level with Raleigh where it turns sharply to the East (if I am looking at the map correctly). That area West of Greensboro is perhaps 100-mi from the North Carolina Appalachian chain in your universe .. in mine .. they (Appalachians) slide South that 100-mi.
  4. The consortium that came together – formed when The Brawnstetter-Lugoff Sand and Gravel Co. and Carolinas Aggregates merge as the Lugoff and Camden Aggregate Co. in 1930 – purchase the entire 30″ gauge railroad with all equipment from a mining operation in South America that went bust. The moved this to the Deep River area of North Carolina to create the Deep River Railroad specifically for moving Aggregates for the Lugoff and Camden Aggregate Co. (need to re-think that name).
  5. Finally .. the DRRR is profitable as it’s purpose is moving those aggregates for the company. That being said .. and since they are in place they can also move other items. The LCAC keeps it’s track in tip-top form including using Tie Plates on the Pier!
On30 Tie Plates
I modeled these On30 Tie Plates last year. I found a drawing from the turn-of-the-last-century of a Southern Pacific Tie Plate. Cool! With every dimension given it took little time to create a Sketchup model of the thing.

Note: This is just a starting point. From this I modified/scaled the plate for my On30/Peco Code 100 rail.

With the Southern Pacific Tie Plate scaled down to my On30 gauge track I then needed to modify the dimensions so that the thing could be printed in FUD (Frosted Ultra Detail) at Shapeways. The basic limits being the 0.3mm minimum wall thickness. A good example is if you look at the original drawing, the edges of the plate taper down to 1/8″. That calculates to something like 0.0026~” in 1:48. Not going to happen. That 0.3mm minimum wall thickness is about 0.012″ which gives around a scale 1/2″ thickness.

So. With dimensions adjusted for 3D printing I re-worked the Tie Plates and then stacked them on a sprue for printing by Shapeways.

3D Printed On30 Tie Plates
Last year I had these On30 tie plates printed at Shapeways. I think these are a good example of the limits of the 3D process. They are at the VERY limit of what can be printed in FUD.

Here, in this photo, I have just finished cleaning them up and sticking to some blue tape in prep for rusting up.

(also at the VERY limits of what my camera is capable of)

.. and painted. I used some Rust-Oleum rattle can brown and while it looks ok .. the paint remains too soft for me (I suppose I need to let it dry for a week). The problem came when I started to slide the tie plates under the rain .. the paint would scrape off too easily. For something like this I need a paint that dries nice and hard. Still .. it worked.
.. and spiking down. I know .. I know. Should have painted the rail before doing this. Lesson’s learned and all that.
Photo Op
With the On30 track in place, time for another photo under the layout lighting. Again .. nothing is glued down .. just sitting in place for the photo.
Just scraped the top of the rails with a razor blade for the photo .. need to clean up the edges. Ha. Prob going to go back with a brush and touch up here and there where the rail is shiny .. but pretty happy so far.

The ‘rust’ is Dr O’Brien’s weathering powder. Will prob come back and seal everything with some matt spray then use some AI wash to tone down that rust and make the tie plates ‘pop’

Note: One thing I need to do is figure out how to get the lights where I model to be closer to what you see when the model is under the layout lights as colors are brighter there.


DRRR Pier – Part X — 5 Comments

  1. your tie plates are well done. i was trying to figure out how to do that. i dont understand the 3d process you used. could u tell me about hat. tks

  2. I have been considering this for some time for a On30 pier I am planning. I also wondered if you thought about modeling the plate with spikes in place so that the rail (code 100) could slip through? That is what I am contemplating now. I would imagine if the plates are on sprues hidden under the track web they could be placed at the correct spacing without much difficulty.

    In any case great idea.

    There is a person selling a similar item on Shapeways site, is that you too?

    And one last question, have you placed your plates in 3D warehouse on Sketchup? I for one would appreciate being able to modify it without reinventing the wheel so to speak.

    • Jay. It is just within the design parameters for FUD to print the spike heads. I measured the Proto87 spikes I used and they are about .012″ wide/thick. FUD has a minimum wall thickness of .3mm/.0118″. The problem you would run into is that FUD is pretty brittle. I tell people that it .. to me .. is similar to clear styrene. I just think that any spike head extending out from the tie plate long enough to clamp on the rail would snap off. You could I think make a spike head that would *appear* to clamp the rail (stubbier) .. but that would require gluing the rail to the plates.

      Just saying that .. you would have to back off from a more realistic spike to something more like those on commercial flex track in order to work. .. that’s JMO of course.

      yeah .. you *could* incorporate sprues to space the tie plates .. just seems that it would be just as easy to use a three point track gauge for that .. and the cost would have to be considered also.

      re: store on Shapeways. I had them on Shapeways .. my store – http://www.shapeways.com/shops/fuzzypossum .. and my tie plates – http://www.shapeways.com/model/645616/on30-tie-plates.html?li=productBox-search .. I have them ‘not for sale’ .. as I re-arranged the print and Shapeway’s software wasn’t happy with the sprues connecting the plates (too thin) .. I need to re-design AGAIN. (my original design had a short stubby sprue under the bottom of each plate .. I was trying to get around that with this version.

      I can upload a tie plate to 3D warehouse (and I will do so) .. or if you want to play with them I can send you the .stl file for a single plate easily enough.

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