Things are getting really serious on the CTC build because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it isn’t blowing a horn at us! Unfortunately, I first need to stuff and wire a large pile of control panel boxes that David built, and also finish the design and construction of a custom 10 telephone line PBX machine.
I’m already salivating with with sweet and savory anticipation of serene sirloin steak aromas of celebration rising above the seemingly-endless build-out of the CTC machine! Try to out-do that alliteration, my friends!
Sorry. I’ll try to recompose myself. Just a bit.
Anyway, today was an A&O milestone (David’s word, not mine.) The two of us picked up the two large hot-rolled steel lower panels for the CTC machine at Rocky Mountain Waterjet in Greeley. I really like using the services of a local and small supplier! (A+ for their service.)
This large panel has an active width of 60 inches, the same as prototype US&S panels. Mostly out of view, on the far right, is a short 12" wide “wing” panel (prototype machines were usually 30" wide here.)
Fortunately a first prototype CTC Column PC board fit just fine and that was a great
relief! David has his hands on a signal lever shaft on that PC board, trial fitted on the back of the panel. The custom-turned bezels fit just fine. They will be held in place from the rear with 1/2 inch diameter snap rings.
After we picked up the panels I countersunk the perimeter mounting holes to accept #6 flat head wood screws. By design there is an extra 3/4 inch mounting flange that runs around the perimeters of both panels, except for the left side of a short 12" wide wing panel that abuts the main steel panel.
The wide cutout at the top is where the model board and associated occupancy lamps will go. I already have an acceptable bid but am holding off because once those arrive, I*** will ***drop everything else and work only on the machine.
Notice that the steel panel rests on a desktop with a drawer… David has been busy applying his carpentry skills to the construction of a “portable” i.e. rolling cabinet. This oversize desk is mounted on 4 large casters, so that it can be easily rolled out of the Dispatcher’s office for periodic access to a mechanical room. Here is a rear view of the desk, minus desktop and upper cabinet frame. The shelf halfway down and along the rear of the modesty panel will serve as mounting locations for the Arduino processor and other associated electronics. Visible along the top and rear is a large desk drawer on smooth gliding ball bearing tracks. This drawer will hold train sheets, pencils and erasers…
Trainsheets? Consider for a moment the steel panel photo. There is a giant horizontal cutout where the model board panels will be surface mounted. These will be photo-reproduced in aluminum. Magnets won’t stick to them, just as magnets would not stick to a prototype US&S model board. I learned while dispatching A&O 1.0 that magnets weren’t really needed, and often got far behind of the action, but keeping the trainsheet current was golden! I know, a lot of model railroads use magnets as a crutch to deal with the accelerated pace of the model compared to prototype. But to slow things down a bit, and help the dispatcher, we plan to have a phone system that lets the DS finish current work and receive stopped-on-red complaints only when he/she is ready!