Monday, July 7, 2014


Really getting back on the blogging wagon so to speak.  Partially as I'm excited about the Cameo and the potential to assist in making precise parts.  I'm a bit nuts about precision and nothing ruins my day more than having one component slightly off and messing up the whole structure - maybe not ruining it - but something that will bug me every time I look at it.   I did some intricate stuff with the roof truss cutout in Part 2, however, I really see me using it more for basic parts for structures.  I figured a good place to start is the gas washer complex for B-Furnace.   It's a rare mostly free-lanced structure for me - I'm using some measurements of similar washers from HAER drawings, but using photos I took at Bethlehem Steel last year from the deck of the arts center of the washers for either their B or C furnace.   To refresh memories, B Furnace as a dust catcher modeled on a prototype formerly at Central Furnaces in Cleveland (most of Blast Furnace B is based on that prototype, except for the furnace stack itself which is partially based on USS Duquesne #3 furnace) .   There is no precipitator in this complex as both furnaces share a dual precipitator plant modeled almost exactly on the prototype at Bethlehem A furnace and located behind that furnace on my layout.   The washer plant has two main wash towers and two downcomer pipes with additional water sprays in them.   There are multiple platforms on all four towers.  Getting the platforms to match is always tricky and my previous method was to create one and then use that as the template.   This time with the Cameo, I started by drawing the base plate in Silhouette Studio.  I then copied this drawing to use as the basis for all the platforms.  Since everything should be in exactly the same place, I'm hoping the pieces will naturally align the towers and maintain the same spacing throughout.
Initial drawing

In addition to the base and the platforms I created the caps for the upper part of the washers, many platform supports (very small pieces) and rings for some sort of donut ring of undetermined function near the base of the down comers.    I fit the whole thing on a single 12x12 sheet, the max the Cameo can handle.    I started the cut using a sheet of .030.   If I haven't mentioned it before the Cameo uses a cutting sheet - its a 12x12 tacky piece of acetate with a grid that matches the drawing screen.  The sticky nature of the sheet is good when cutting thin plastic and paper and card stock as it holds the pieces in place that are complete cutouts - without it these would fall off and get jammed in machine or even shifted and then cut again.  With .030 and .040 plastic I've omitted using the cutting mat as the machine doesn't cut through the thick styrene so no worries.  I also am feeding in media that is probably a little thicker than the machine is built for so not having the mat keeps the thickness down.
Smaller drawings - less components

For whatever reason, the plastic shifted and the cut shifted out of whack halfway through.  It also had trouble with the cuts close to the edges and with the knife running off the end of the styrene and not being able to get back on.  So I broke the components down into 4 separate files and am cutting them one at a time using 9x9 sheets of plastic.  I reduced the cut window to 6x6, but I wanted some extra room on the plastic to prevent run-off.   Also, the feed roller can only be moved in to about 8" so there would be a feed problem with smaller plastic, however, you can feed smaller pieces of material in using the mat, just not the thick styrene
Cracks and seams added to drawing of base

I thought about it and went back to the base drawing and added concrete pad seams and also cracks.  The cracking was done using the freehand draw function.
Gas Washer base - used some pencil graphite to emphasize the concrete seams and cracks .  Also notice the platform supports - broken off and a strip behind of additional pieces.

I cut out the base on .040 styrene and no problems occurred during the cutting with the 9x9 piece.
Base with towers dry fitted 

The circles on the baseplate basically mark the exact locations of where to glue the towers.


mike said...

I'm not sure if you are familiar with the old Fox show "Firefly". There are paper models out there that look like they might be a good candidate for your new machine.

Jim Musser said...

Hi Mike,

Yes, good show. I wasn't aware of those models but there are a lot out there for free. About two years ago I found this Czech fellow online that was posting a free paper model of the Colonial Marine Transport - Sulaco from the motion picture Aliens (and Aliens 3) He was up to about 20 sub assemblies and wasn't done posting - he was posting another sub assembly every few months. I downloaded one and started building - took about 30 hours of work and there were another 20 or more to go - I gave up at that. The finished model is massive - around 4-5' long If I ever have lots of spare time,.........