Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Introduction to this project

Front view of Merriwa S052 Concrete Silo, with D150 in the background
Elevation view of Merriwa S052 Concrete Silo

Plan view of base of silo foundations with dimensions.

Hi Gang
I have had a recent
thought that while I have to construct 5 by Merriwa S052 Grain Silos in HO, I might as well do it through a blog, and at the same time show some of the construction methods, that I use and get feedback from other modellers as to their thoughts on the subject.

In the next few months it is hoped that this blog will show; methods of construction, tools required, materials used, skills learnt in the process, links to suppliers, computer programs used to achieve certain results and plenty of patience.

This project started a few years back when Ian Millard showed me a few photos of the Merriwa So52 Silo, and suggested that I might be able to build one for him. The idea appealed to me, and so I set about researching the information. Now if any of you have researched any information you know that it can be frustrating and very involved.

I already had basic knowledge about the silo, regarding its date of construction and silo type. What I didn't have was a plan and and detailed photos. This basic plan information has been
sourced in the mean time and backs up the information that I have sourced on site, on my original site visit a few years back. I have recently travelled back to the site 2 weeks age to
finalise some measurements and working photos that are necessary to get the detail for this project.

STEP 1. Go to the site with camera and tape measure (and other things).

With the growth of hi meg digital cameras, you have the ability to take hi resolution
photos that not only allow you to see the detail better, but also allow you to zoom further into the photo and still have a clear view of the smaller detail components. I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ28 with 10 megapixels and 18 x optical zoom. I have a 2 gig SD card, which will hold "LOTS" (Technical term many many photos) of photos even when the camera is set at 9 meg per photo. I like the larger setting as it allows me to zoom into the photo without loosing detail. very handy when you cannot get close to the detail.

So armed with the my son Tim, the camera, my note pad, pencil, pen, another pen, expendable staff (measuring stick) 8m/26ft tape measure, new ladder (as seen on TV), we set off for Merriwa at 4.30am on a grey Sunday morning from Picton (using the Tom Tom, up the M5, M7, Putty Road, Golden Highway to Merriwa, a trip of around 4 1/2 hours. Breakfast at Denman then a short hop to Merriwa, when the silo greets you as it slowly appears, from the surrounding valleys.

I have a great many photos of the silos from a past trip, but unfortunately they were of a much lower resolution, and the detail was not ideal. There was also some of the finer measurements that made no sense and needed clarity.

I processed the photos on site by removing the SD card from the camera and placing it in my laptop and viewing the photos and seeing if any more detail was required (I love technology - it really is instant). Once happy with what information had been gained, it was time for another run down the Putty Road (Now there is a fun trip---Not)

Drawing up the plans.

This step fairly involved, and can be broken down into sub steps to make it a little clearer.
I like to draw plans in 12 inches to the foot, then I can reduce them to whatever scale that I wish to work in. This process has served me well over the years and "works for me". So if I was to do the model in HO or 7mm, I can scale down the drawings and just adjust them for available material sizes.

To do the drawings I use Turbo CAD V16.2 Platinum, however earlier versions of Turbo CAD are available on the net at a very reasonable price, as are training videos to make the learning curve much easier to cope with. Word of warning, to use these CAD programs involves a great deal of time to understand the program and it can be a very steep learning curve, but the time taken is well worth while, so do persist. I also use Corel Draw to draw etches and again this program has a great video tutorial that can be purchased online. For 3D prototyping you will need a good 3 D program so that you save any of you 3D files as STL files to export to companies such as Shapeways or Rapid Prototyping.

NEXT WEEK ---Step 2 Planning the Model