Signals

Down Home

Down Home 1
Completed Down Home
The first signal to be constructed is the Down Home, and is sited on the embankment at the right hand end of the station.

The post was milled to a tapered profile from 3mm square brass. The arm, balance weight and ladder all being MSE components. The lamp is my own turning fixed to a small piece of L section brass. The finial is an old (overscale) OO handrail knob with the stand filed off to leave just the ball, a length of 0.5mm phosphor bronze wire being soldered through the ball, then tapered to a point in a mini drill. The base of the finial was added from a small scrap of 0.010" (or 0.008" - can't remember) nickel silver when the finial was soldered in place on top of the post, it was subsequently sanded back to be just a little proud of the post on all sides.

The drive rod is 36SWG (0.0076") phosphor bronze wire threaded through the balance arm bent through 90 degrees and up through the rod guides (which are small pieces of 0.3mm ID tube soldered to the post oversize and filed back to a more acceptable representation of the rod guides), at the top another 90 degree bend allows the wire to pass through the arm. The ends of the drive rod wire are snipped off and flattened to secure.

The glazing in the spectacle plate is 'Canopy Glue' which dries clear. Once dry it was coloured with Staedler fine marker pens, the greeny blue being just that - coloured blue and once dry over coloured with green. The lenses of the lamp are just simple dots of Canopy Glue on the painted lamp case (although they don't really show).

The signal is operated by a phosphor bronze wire passing down from the balance weight arm to a crank below. This crank is pivoted and passes through a hole (which limits its movement) in the under-baseboard support. The end of the crank has a hole to accommodate a wire from the memory wire actuator that is used to control the signal.

Down Home 2
Down Home Signal in position on the layout

Up Advanced Starter / Shunt Ahead

Advanced Up Starter
Basic Signal at an early stage
Advanced Up Starter
Position of Adv. Starter showing the retaining bolt
The Up Advanced Starter is the only signal on the layout that has more than one arm on a single post. The post was again milled to a tapered profile from 3mm square brass, the pivots for the arms again being 0.3mm ID brass tube (cut and filed to length after soldering to the post). The finial is again a cut down 4mm scale handrail knob with 0.5mm phosphor bronze wire providing the spike (and anchor into the top of the post).

As with the other signals on the layout, the post has been soldered into a square hole drilled and filed in a flat plate which is big enough to allow the foot of the ladder to soldered to it too later in the construction. This plate also has a length of 8BA threaded tube soldered to it to allow the finished signal to be securely anchored in place on the layout. Additionally, a length of U channel (milled from 8mm square) brass is soldered immediately below (and around) the signal post which will provide both a pivot point for the cross shaft of the under-board operating arm and allow a hole to be drilled and filed in the bottom of the U which will allow the throw of that arm to be constrained effectively providing end stops for the signal arm throw.


Advanced Up Starter
Advanced Starter Arms
Advanced Up Starter
Advanced Starter with arms temporarily in place
Advanced Up Starter
0.3mm ID tube being fitted for rod guides
The Up Advanced Starter Arm is from an MSE etch, the Up Shunt Ahead Arm though is one of my custom etches (including the 'S' which was attached to the face of the arm to indicate that it was a shunt signal). Both arms have a piece of 0.3mm brass wire soldered through them to act as the pivot.

Because the faces of the signals on this post face and are visible to the signalman in his box, neither arm has been fitted with a rear blinker - a small washer from one of the MSE etches has been used to retain the arm pivot in its tube.

For the drive rod guides, over-length 0.3mm ID tube was soldered to the post then filed back to be a more suitable size.

The platforms are simple rectangles of 0.010" nickel silver with holes drilled to accept the stanchions of the guard rails, which were formed of thin phosphor bronze wire. When soldering the platforms to the posts, it was necessary to use aluminium hair grips in judicious places to prevent other previously secured parts from becoming unsoldered! The ladders are more components from the MSE range.

Down Home 2
Completed Up Advanced Starter Signal in position on the layout before final bedding in

Embankment signal controls

Advanced Up Starter
Under-board pivot arms
Advanced Up Starter
Servo connection to Advanced Starter Signal
The under-board gubbins to move the signal arms comprises a pivot arm which acts within the U channel that extends down below the signal posts. These pivot arms have a hole near one end into which a flexible steel wire (guitar string) can act which allows any over-run from the servo throw to be accommodated. The other end of the pivot arm projects through a hole, this hole effectively constraining and limiting the amount of throw that can be applied to the signal.

The servos are mounted in a piece of vertically mounted plywood. A length of 0.7mm nickel silver wire is used to transmit the rotation of the servo horn towards a crank. The connection between the straight wire and servo horn is through a piece of tube soldered on the head of a 14BA bolt. A couple of turns of wire wrapped (and soldered) around the 0.7mm wire either side of the tube on the head of the bolt retains the wire yet allows full movement in any direction. Doing this allows the rotary motion of the servo horn to be converted into a linear push/pull motion.

The nickel silver drive rod is bent through 90 degrees at the crank (secured with another couple of turns of wire). Near the crank pivot a length of guitar string soldered in place which will give a flexible movement to the signal under-board pivot.