Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Plus thirty

More than thirty years ago I built a turntable for a railroad. A turntable (for the railroad challenged) is a piece of equipment that a railroad could roll a piece of equipment onto, turn it and it would be reversed. It was also used at engine facilities to save space, one or two tracks would be for connection with the railroad yard and there would be "radiating" tracks in the engine facility. Above is a picture (not my railroad). My turntable was originally for an engine facility. I had grandiose thoughts of lots of steam locomotives sitting around waiting to hit the track.

That planned railroad is long gone. But I saved bits and pieces including my turntable. Now I've decided to duplicate (approximately) a turntable that was in Bryson, NC probably in the 1920's or so. So I've been modifying my plan, adding scenery, and adding track. I reached the stage where I needed to make changes in the turntable. I'd devised two brass fixtures to hold the wheels "under" the turntable but I had not considered the need for "fine" adjustments. I saw a need to be able to change the vertical alignment on either end. So after more than thirty years I went back to the drawing board.

After dimensioning what I would need I set about removing the old brass fixture and fashioning new ones. Not much has changed when it comes to working with brass in all of these years. Jewelers saws and files. Drills and drill bits. I did use a drill press I didn't have years ago. And them it happened.

One of the small nuts I'd used on a small bolt grew wings. This nut (just to give you an idea of size) is a 00-90 which is 5/64" hex .040 inches thick. Small. I did my best caricature of CSI with my small flashlight in a dark room, on my hands and knees. No luck. It's in the room somewhere. So I racked my brain. I had some nuts I'd used on turnouts. They are too big. I scratched my head.

We were living in an apartment when I built the turntable. Hmmmm I was using a storage case with lots of drawers to store stuff. Did I move it from the apartment to the house to the next house and even if I did were there any nuts left? I went to my work shop and started looking. I found a small paper package. Back then it cost me $.40 for a dozen nuts. I can tell you they cost more. Inside were three nuts. I needed two.

After plus thirty years I still had what I needed. NUTS!

Git er done.