Dragonfly's Workbench

What are you up to on your workbench
User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:52 pm

So, over the past year or so, life has gotten in the way a little, as it tends to, leading to the stalling of Clatter, and a general stall in all things trains, really, and my hobby room being used as a general holding pen for pretty much anything else. In the past couple of weeks, though, I've had a nice thorough sort out, and rearrangement of storage. So now, I do actually have a workbench again:

IMAG0242a.jpg
IMAG0242a.jpg (155.98 KiB) Viewed 1246 times


I do have plans for a few kitbashes and other projects, but right now my priority is digging out all my stock from wherever I've kept it, check it all for damage and/or maintenance issues (quite a lot hasn't been run for a good 17 years), get it all running well, and keep tabs on it all. So the first tool to be created is a database.

I know a few of you will have a spreadsheet, database, or software for this, so it might be nothing special, but I'm happy with it so far. It's far from finished, but the basics are all in place now.

Technical info: SQL Server 2012 backend, MS Access 2016 frontend. It doesn't NEED to have the SQL backend; MS Access is up to the job itself, but I'm a data analyst, system developer/administrator, and a computing student, so this is my bread and butter at work, so I was quite happy to apply my work skills to my hobby.

So, the first screen is the navigation/list screen. The different "types" of stock are listed in buttons on the left, each bringing up the list of "classes" for that type.

db01.jpg
db01.jpg (73.7 KiB) Viewed 1246 times


The "code" bit is explained when we press the "Add New" button.

db02.jpg
db02.jpg (27.71 KiB) Viewed 1246 times

db03.jpg
db03.jpg (34.46 KiB) Viewed 1246 times

db04.jpg
db04.jpg (35.37 KiB) Viewed 1246 times


Hopefully intuitive. The "Class1" is the overall type of stock, and the "Class2" helps to arrange classes within their Class1. So E:Eastern would include examples like the A4, B1, Thompson coaches, etc. T:TOPS would include such as Class 58, HAA, etc. A:Standard includes 80xxx 4MT tanks, Mk1 coaches, 16t mineral wagons... Countries can be added as needed by pressing the + button next to that field.

So the "code" shown on the list page is made up of the Class1's letter, Class2's letter, and the class's own code.

Attachment limit hit. New post please!
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:56 pm

Opening up a class (let's go for the B1) shows a list of all stock items of that class. This view shows the item's code (class code plus a suffix), details, location, and most recent service date. More on services later.

db05.jpg
db05.jpg (47.32 KiB) Viewed 1245 times


Again, clicking 'Add New' creates a new stock item for that class, and brings us to this form:

db07.jpg
db07.jpg (65.91 KiB) Viewed 1245 times


The first four fields are the class (the first three are read-only, the fourth for subtypes, such as BSK, TSO, etc for coaches), followed by length (for DMUs), a few other self-explanatory details, and the Marker. Markers are just those little coloured circular stickers, which I affix to the bottom of duplicate items (those with the same running number), with or without a number, 1 to 9.

db08.jpg
db08.jpg (41.6 KiB) Viewed 1245 times


The ID suffix is the final part of the item's code. In cases where a marker is present, it's the marker's Code (B5 for Blue 5, G0 for Green blank, ...), otherwise it's the final two digits of the running number.

So, once that's saved, it returns to the list. Going back into an entry shows this screen:

db06.jpg
db06.jpg (86.65 KiB) Viewed 1245 times


Same fields again, really. Most are read-only, as normally they won't change, but the location, marker, protect (boxed/wrapped in bubble wrap, or unprotected), ID suffix and DCC ID can change periodically, so these are editable. Also shown is a log of all past services/check-overs the item's been through. Pressing the + button creates a new service.

db09.jpg
db09.jpg (43.26 KiB) Viewed 1245 times


Date is self-explanatory. The cosmetic condition, functional condition (couplings etc) and mechanical condition are all assessed as OK, Minor Issue, Major Issue, and Untested. The Specification is overall level of quality, so most newer items are A-Spec, most Lima-era items are B-Spec (although with replacement couplings and refurbished motors, they can become A-Spec), and really poor items may be C-Spec (I haven't had the heart to catalog something as this yet though). Intention is Keep, Sell, Repair to Keep, Repair to Sell, or Spares. The Work Needed is also self-explanatory, but will be used to flag items needing work later on.

So that's all, for now. I'm currently working on an alternative list menu for listing items by their location (online and working, but no images yet), listing items with outstanding work needed, and listing items which haven't been checked in a to-be-determined amount of time (which could be different for locos and rolling stock).

So, apologies if you read this part of the forum looking for "real" items, but my laptop is as much a part of my workbench as my Dremel, wire brush, or isoprop. Plus, for now the actual workbench is literally just one loco at a time being turned upside down, wheels cleaned, run up and down on the test track module, wrapped in bubblewrap, and put in one of the plastic storage units.

Thoughts? Ideas?
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3290
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby alex3410 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:39 am

fascinating stuff! i have an ongoing project with something similar and its always interesting to see how others do it

nickbrad
Posts: 829
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 11:53 am
Location: Lincoln, UK

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby nickbrad » Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:19 pm

That looks a great idea, I'd love to do something similar, but I need to make some storage cases first, atm, stock is in boxes all over the flat, mostly shoe boxes. They are wrapped in bubble wrap at least.

User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Fri Sep 16, 2016 8:24 pm

alex3410 wrote:fascinating stuff! i have an ongoing project with something similar and its always interesting to see how others do it


Thanks very much. That's the idea, to show "my" way of doing this, give people inspiration for either making their own systems or maybe ways to add to their existing ones.

This community is all about sharing ideas, as much as anything else, so this is just me sharing what I think I can contribute positively to.

nickbrad wrote:That looks a great idea, I'd love to do something similar, but I need to make some storage cases first, atm, stock is in boxes all over the flat, mostly shoe boxes. They are wrapped in bubble wrap at least.


Until recently I was in similar situation - everything was in plastic underbed tubs and shoe boxes - unfortunately, though, NOT bubblewrapped, so I've got a few buffers to glue back on, ladders to scratchbuild, couplings to replace, etc. But I've not done as much damage as I had thought. (except for one tub which I dropped while moving house, and bits of four locos went EVERYWHERE - got most of it back, but a few bits... :-(

Anyway, the solution: Get yourself down to Wilko; they've got four-drawer plastic units at £10 each. I've gotten myself seven of them over recent months, three for tools, four for stock. The drawers are the perfect size to get quite a bit of stock in. Hang on, I'll get a photo...

Overall view:
IMAG0264a.jpg
IMAG0264a.jpg (147.01 KiB) Viewed 1205 times


Stock storage (note the coloured stickers again, to identify and classify (green = steam locos, blue = diesels, red = coaches...)):
IMAG0265a.jpg
IMAG0265a.jpg (117.63 KiB) Viewed 1205 times


Tool/other storage (including my "to-do list" of locos needing work):
IMAG0266a.jpg
IMAG0266a.jpg (145.99 KiB) Viewed 1205 times


Oh and Home Bargains are doing little ones at £3.99 each. I bought two...
IMAG0267a.jpg
IMAG0267a.jpg (95.96 KiB) Viewed 1205 times

...for pens, little paint tins, offcuts, spare couplings/wheels, small tools...
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 3697
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby End2end » Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:11 pm

It's the answer to the age old question.... What do you buy the man that has everything?........... STORAGE OF COURSE! :lol:
But those plastic drawers are brilliant. :) I have 3 sets of the four drawer ones, 1 double width one with 3 deeper drawers and 8 smaller than A4 size ones.
I removed the 2 sets of front wheels on one of the 4 drawer ones(they have solid feet on the rear) and used them on the main one I use most so it can be moved around easily.
I will say....any rolling stock not on the layout is not only in the drawers but in thier proper boxes too. Tut tut gentlemen! :mrgreen:
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:13 pm

Aye, I try my best to keep things boxed nowadays, but due to a number of factors, most of the older ones have been lost.
At first I was a kid, so didn't understand the value of boxes. I did have a bin bag full of them, but more recently an ex decided to throw them away. Not happy about that.
Then, a large amount of my stock is second-hand and never came in boxes, so those are never going to have them.
As for the newer stock, no, I have no excuse. I've got another load of boxes in various places, that I should reunite the stock with, but it'll be a while before I get around to it. Until then, bubblewrap it is :-)

So, I'd also mentioned earlier that I have plans for an actual project, so I might as well reveal what one plan is:

It's a second-generation APT. Now, I know what you're saying, the Inter-City 225 IS the second-generation APT. And yes, it is. So that's what I'll be working from.

apt2-sm.png
apt2-sm.png (63.54 KiB) Viewed 1179 times


So essentially, it's a 225 with the general arrangement of the APT.

The coaches are standard unmodified Mk4s, the DVT's are a Mk4 with DVT cab and body as far back as the cargo door, and the power car is a Class 91 with the cabs removed and replaced with Mk4 ends.

The plan is to make an 8 (maybe 10) car set, as [DVT+Mk4+Mk4+Power Car] in APT-style "AP2" livery, and [Power Car+Mk4+Mk4+DVT] in InterCity Swallow livery.

I've got most of the parts I need (been collecting spare Mk4 and DVT bodies for a while), just need to source a couple of cosmetically-scrap Class 91s, and drum up the courage to take the razor saw to them.
Attachments
mk4a-power.png
mk4a-power.png (71.43 KiB) Viewed 1179 times
mk4a.png
mk4a.png (125.45 KiB) Viewed 1179 times
mk4a-dvt.png
mk4a-dvt.png (127.38 KiB) Viewed 1179 times
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2085
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:16 pm

Nice database :)
I had a similar idea and started a MS Access one, but realised I didn't know what fields to put in, until I actually catalogued what I had. (hate rehashing 50% of a database after realising lots are missing). So I dumbed it down to a spreadsheet, while I put the raw data in. (Will eventually convert to DB, when I am not concentrating on layout construction) Snapshot here viewtopic.php?f=22&t=44849&p=620929#p620929 and here viewtopic.php?f=22&t=44849&start=15 (also a shot of boxes)
The placcy drawers are a great idea, but my collection is so big, I'd need about 60! Currently stored in Cardboard boxes (light stuff) and large plastic shop Tote Bins (heavy stuff), which are about twice the volume of the drawers
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:50 pm

Thanks for the kind words TimberSurf.

Well, databases are my life 5 days a week, plus university too, so I've found it a good way to learn, as it gives me something to apply it to, you know?
Definitely agree about deciding on fields; it's taken me a couple of cycles through to get to this, really.

I had seen your spreadsheet version, when I was looking for "inspiration" (ideas to lift). The idea of rakes being stated, is a good one... :-)

And while Access is an amazing platform (no pun intended) for it, my current university project involves learning PHP, so I've started on a web-based version:

dbc01.png
dbc01.png (96.3 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


No new features yet, just a cleaner setup so far. More updates coming soon.

Secondly, I'm now proud to announce I've bought myself a new bookcase! *waits for applause*

IMAG0773a.jpg
IMAG0773a.jpg (87.03 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


Plenty of space on the shelves there, isn't there? Almost enough for a diorama or Inglenook type layout, wouldn't one say?

I mean, I wouldn't want to ruin the bookcase itself, and what happens when I move and need to dismantle it? How about a box that fits snugly inside each shelf?

So that's what I've done. Here's one, with it's intended contents:

IMAG0774a.jpg
IMAG0774a.jpg (91.59 KiB) Viewed 1020 times

IMAG0782a.jpg
IMAG0782a.jpg (114.81 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


So yes, a Metcalfe viaduct, in what will be a nice countryside scene, with a canal going through one arch, and a road going through another. Just for photographing stock on.

And the other, along with a hint of a plan:

IMAG0778a.jpg
IMAG0778a.jpg (66.25 KiB) Viewed 1020 times


This one will have it's own layout thread shortly. Basically a branch line terminus with a bit of shunting capability. The fiddle yard is a 3-road turntable in the front left corner. Hardly discreet, but it'll be a good compromise.

And yes, I have made sure they fit. To within a millimetre. My best joinery yet. The brackets are glued in, unfortunately, due to the thin-ness of the MDF, but they are holding together thus far, anyway.

...I'm getting far too many of these projects for my own good now. Clatter is still sat here unfinished, Shorting is due a complete restart, the AP2 is still in the 'To Do' drawer, and here I am starting two new projects.
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

Dad-1
Posts: 5471
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dad-1 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:29 pm

I will say I can't be bothered with such a refined stock control system, yet
without at least a basic record of what you have and where to find them
life would be more difficult.

I spent hours the other day checking my two independent stock lists as a
variance of 2 wagons reared it's head. Now fixed, but it's a serious problem
once stock gets beyond a certain figure (currently 389 wagons)

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 10562
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:52 pm

I like the plan for a "could be" generator car in a mk 4 rake, giving it a beyond the wires capability, then there's also the possibility of putting a cabless electric loco into a diesel set like the Voyagers to take advantage of the overhead sections of a route. Chiltern's DVTs would look the business with one of the new "double pans" on the roof. The east coast rakes put up some sparkling performances when they had a real live HST on the tail end while they were waiting for the DVTs to be built. The HSTs were intended just to be a substitute DVT but first the engines were run to keep their brakes working, then they we're allowed to contribute to the traction.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
Dragonfly
Posts: 360
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:49 am
Location: Stoke on Trent
Contact:

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Dragonfly » Mon Dec 19, 2016 4:04 pm

Dad-1 wrote:I will say I can't be bothered with such a refined stock control system, yet without at least a basic record of what you have and where to find them life would be more difficult.
I spent hours the other day checking my two independent stock lists as a variance of 2 wagons reared it's head. Now fixed, but it's a serious problem once stock gets beyond a certain figure (currently 389 wagons)
Geoff T.


Aye, that's one of the issues that led me to make this (aside from being a geek). Plus I wanted a way to keep track of items that I needed to work on, whether it was finding a replacement coupler or major damage. Although, a whiteboard, or post-it notes would have sufficed.

Bufferstop wrote:I like the plan for a "could be" generator car in a mk 4 rake, giving it a beyond the wires capability, then there's also the possibility of putting a cabless electric loco into a diesel set like the Voyagers to take advantage of the overhead sections of a route. Chiltern's DVTs would look the business with one of the new "double pans" on the roof. The east coast rakes put up some sparkling performances when they had a real live HST on the tail end while they were waiting for the DVTs to be built. The HSTs were intended just to be a substitute DVT but first the engines were run to keep their brakes working, then they we're allowed to contribute to the traction.


Hmm, I hadn't thought of it as a generator car, really. More just a standard power car, but put in the centre of the rake as per the APT, as opposed to at the end as per the 225. But you have got me thinking... I suppose a "3rd generation" version, more-or-less a Pendolino made from Mk4 stock, would complete the transition between APT and Pendolino without too much effort (pantographs on the DVTs or one of the Mk4s... that's all it'd need, really)... Ah, so that's another project to do :-)

Not to mention I've been planning on making an electric Class 58 (the originally proposed Class 88) for a while too.
=Doug
| Dragonfly | Current projects: Kidneston (00) / Clatter (N) / Much Oakley (N) / Workbench |

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 10562
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:38 pm

I started looking at the possibilities for easily converting existing types to twin power systems when I read the makeup of the Spanish train that was involved in that disastrous crash. It was a high speed electric train (loco each end) on the TALGO system. The loco part had been split off from the train and a specially built cabless diesel loco inserted between the original electric and the rest of the train, and configured to be driven by the controls in the original locos. I couldn't find out if it had it's own traction motors or supplied the ones in the original loco.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
Mountain
Posts: 2682
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby Mountain » Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:02 am

Regarding boxes for ones trains. Apart from their protective qualities I've been puzzled why boxed items sell more secondhand, as a boxed item can hide a damaged item. While we all expect slightly more for a boxed example, this is only due to the expectations of the model railway industry in the RTR field.
Scratch built or kit built items often don't have a box or if a kit built item has a box rarely will if fit the kit once built, so one does not expect such an item to be boxed. Therefore the value remains the same boxed or not.
In practical use, it is true that boxes get in the way when one has to get stock out or put stock away on ones layout.
However for storage use if one has a house move etc, they are protection against damage.
Do I buy a boxed example and pay more or unboxed? To be honest, I prefer unboxed to save myself some money! If both are the same price, a boxed one if I get the chance to open the box to check it over, but only because the resale market is higher for a boxed example.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3290
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Dragonfly's Workbench

Postby alex3410 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:07 am

I have been working on one in php for years :oops: :lol:

I first did php in uni and fell in love with it, I got on with it so much better then any of the other languages we tried. I now get to use it daily as a web developer and having this personal project to work on has taught me more then anything else. The reason why it's taking so long is every time I find a new better way of doing things I tend to end up starting it all again from scratch :lol: or we get busy at work and I don't touch it for months

Either way the value of a project you enjoy working on form an educational viewpoint is invaluable. I am happy with the invested time because of what I have learnt from it - even if I never finish it :lol:


Return to “The Workbench”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest