Our production is about 30% more efficient in our new, more comfortable surroundings. We plan to spend 2013 on hiatus from advertising & trade shows & instead bring to market the many kits we have in the queue & fill reserved orders.
Tools & Tips
We offer tools of our design, and tips, some of them our ideas, and others we thought worthy of passing along.
Stationary Power Filer
Attached are photos of our stationary power filer. We made a wood part to go into the slot where the miter goes onto the table saw and attached a cradle to hold the Sawzall & jammed a steel rule under the assembly to lock it in place. we used some hard 3/16” neoprene above & below the Sawzall. I made two plywood plates which clamp over a Sawzall blade and drilled a hole for the tang of the file. We have a set of files with cylindrical tangs. You could also use the sanding sticks mentioned below by gluing a dowel into the handle of the sanding stick. The variable speed foot motor control allows both hands for holding the work.
Sanding Board & Sanding Sticks
Cut a piece of melamime to the size of a sheet of sandpaper & glue on for a flat sanding plane.
Cut a piece of wood to the desired size & shape, and glue on sandpaper to create a sanding stick. Double sided cellophane tape also works well for the sanding sticks.
Chile Ristras in Truck
Here is how Heinz does it in his own words:
The chili ristras:
You need seeds of Italian parsley (the one with flat leaves). Take a loop of thread, dip the part with the bend into a puddle of AC glue and then into the parsley. When dry repeat that. Then knot the thread ends to a viga or wherever you want the ristra to hang. The cacti: I made two little flat plaster squares (ca. 2“x2“) to be used as a mold. I scraped a simple flat cactus shape with about a dozen leaves into one of these pieces. All leaves must have a connection to its neighbours. Some small air canals were scraped as well and a funnel to pour molten lead into. The second piece of plaster was fixed onto the first and then the lead was poured inside. The leaves of the casting were twisted a bit in all directions and two or three of these castings, painted and glued into the same hole, make a fine grown cactus. The fruit are red sand grains glued to the leaves. The ocotillos: Were the easiest. Some single end twigs of heather got a little red foam dot at the end to represent the blossoms. Several of these twigs were then glued in the same hole. That’s all.
We would add to this our idea to cast the cacti leaves in resin as it is much safer than working with lead. Tom & Julie
PS: More of Heinz' great work pictured below:
Adobe Warehouse & Church
Onion Skin Wash for Cumbres & Toltec Colored Hydrocal Rocks
We were inspired to do this after visiting The Blue Ox in Eureka, California (#1 X Street, right on Humboldt Bay). A highlight for us on the self-guided tour, which includes hand-powered stationary tools, sawmill, blacksmith shop & logging skid houses. was the Alchemy Shop. Here, they make their own stains, varnishes, glues & much more, often from natural materials harvested in the forest.
We saved the skins of some yellow onions, and boiled them for about three hours along with some vinegar and baking sode. After they came to a boil, we turned down the heat so the liquid just did boil, and checked it about every twenty minutes. It was reduced in volume by roughly 80% after about three hours, so we strained out the onion skins.
In making Hydrocal rock castings for our layout, we end up with a lot of rubble, which look like small rocks, scale 6" to 3', mostly 1'-2' range HO scale. We submerged our entire collection in a margarine tub in the onion skin wash & left it overnight. We then strained out the wash, and saved it for re-use. We then submerged the rubble in an India ink & alcohol wash. The result, pictured here, satisfied us as approximating the rocks seen along the Cumbres & Toltec. Our layout is set in the fictional town & environs of Wolf Creek, Colorado, & our backdrop mural includes Mt. Sneffles in the San Juan Mountains.
The wash costs less than 25 cents, materials are readily available in any basic household kitchen, and the result is a product so safe it is edible!!!
Have Fun, Tom & Julie
AMK Tree Arbor Jig
Now avaiable for you to create evergreens like the one's we sell. It takes us two minutes to create an arbor with our jig. The jig illustrated is one of the production models at Gatepath, a non-profit in Burlingame, California, that employs the handicapped and produces our evergreen tree arbors.
Wire, rope, rope comb & wire cutters not included. Wire pulling loop and branch support blocks are included.
$60 plus shipping & sales tax in California complete instructions, fully assembled
AMK Gluing Wand & Rail Joiner Tool
The only tool on our bench we use more than this one is our Opti-Visor!! We sure botched the appearance of a lot of models before we discovered this simple way to minimize the amount of glue on a model.
We call it our "Andersen Model Kits Gluing Wand & Rail Joiner Tool", but, more specifically, it is for cyanoacrylate glue, or "ACC". It is double ended, one for "Purple" or "medium set" ACC, and the other for "Blue" or "quick set" ACC. The purple colored end has a 1/32" thick by 1/16" wide spatula, for dolloping medium set "purple" ACC. The blue colored end has two .015" diameter stiff wires, closely parallel to each other, such that a glop of quick set ACC is held by its surface tension across the prongs until deployed. This works especially well for such wire things like grab irons, which can be pressed into their holes and glued after with the quick set ACC.
They do take a little regular maintenance, using a knife to scrape away any excess dried glue, and the prongs need to be bent such that the blue ACC glops nicely across.
The spatula doubles as a rail joiner tool. We use an ultrafine needle point plier to grasp the rail joiner gripping the bottom and then push it onto the spatula to slightly spread the top flanges. Our joiners for our HOn3 code 55 rail are so tight as supplied, we actually damaged a turnout trying to slip one on. By spreading the flanges just enough, track & turnout assembly goes easily & smoothly. Measure the track base thickness with a micrometer, then file the spatula to about one or two thousandths over that dimension, into a slight wedge shape. This will size it to the rail joiners you are using depending on your track, and it still works just fine for dolloping ACC.
Once you have used one, there is no going back...
AMK Gluing Wand & Rail Joiner Tool $7
Shipping Charges & Sales Tax for California where applicable added to these prices
Our own Gluing Wand, don't stay home without it!!!
Contact us to place your order. Pay by Check, Credit Card or Money order. 650-740-7074 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't have the scale dimension stripwood needed, you can set up your hobby table saw to cut the size you need. Cut a piece of 1/4" oak to a length just less than the front to rear dimension of the top of the table saw, and a width of at least 1". Set your rip fence to the width of the dimensional lumber needed. Clamp the oak to the surface of the saw using two bulldog clamps, sold in office supply stores. Take lumber larger than that needed, & run it through the saw, using a push stick to hold it down. The oak on the left keeps it exactly in place from side to side.It works even better when doing a batch rather than one strip. We were out of HO 2"x8", and ripped ten 2"x12"s in one pass.
When following instructions building a kit, use a yellow highlighter as you proceed. This reduces the chances of missing a step, and gives an instant look at where to continue after looking away to do the work. It also leaves it readable for the future.
Build a test car to check your turnouts or track by attaching a set of trucks to a rectangle of plexiglass the width and length of your longest piece of rolling stock. You can view what is happening with the flanges of the wheels through the plexiglass, and check the clearances on the ends of the car.
We have a lot of Mt. Albert Scale Lumber. Not only do we provide it for our kit line, but we do a lot of scratchbuilding for our own HOn3 layout. We built a shelf under the bench where we fill the kit boxes with components, and had the lumber arrayed in order of size in the plastic retail bags, and the bundles of bulk stock from Mt. Albert. This was problematic, the bags tended to get out of order, and every time we pulled a piece for a kit, we had to fight to find the bag opening.
In the photo is our solution: We cut 10" long tubes from 1" PVC pipe and glued a squeare of .020" styrene on the back end. This keeps the wood in, but also serves to keep the tubes from rolling. The 10" length leaves 2" sticking out (no pun intended). The tubes also work well for partial lengths. To get to the partials, just grasp the full lengths removing them from the tube, then dump the partials on the bench. Replace the full lengths as a bundle, and drop in the unused partials. Cost under $10.
We used the Mt. Albert labels for size, and felt pen when we didn't have a label.
We keep six of sizes of wire, .012" through .040" which we use in our modeling, and use as inventory for our model kits. We store both 12" lengths as well as random pieces. We built a rack from 6" lengths of 1/2" copper pipe, which is 1/2" ID & 5/8" OD. EMT electrical condiut would be chaeper, but we already had the copper. We placed a plug of 1/2" dowel into the bottom by wrapping it in just enough electrical tape for a friction fit, and drilled 5/8" holes into a block of wood for each one, and labeled both the size & material of the wire, as well as it's source for restocking. This takes up about 10% of the space that was used when we had the wire stored in a number of jars. Like the scale lumber storage, random lengths can be accessed by lifting out the copper tube, grasping the full lengths, and dumping the random lengths onto the bench for selection, replacing the full length batch.
This one from our good friend at Shayfixer, Phillip Floyd (see Links & Friends page), another example of his absolute genius:
Phil's method of joining track is to join all connections with rail joiners, which are then soldered. He uses a wet sponge for a heat sink so as not to melt the plastic ties of flex-track. Dap a little liquid flux at the junction to be soldered, then, get a drop of solder on the tip of the soldering iron, and touch the junction just until the solder flows. Solder a lead to the underside of the track near the frog on any turnouts prior to installing, drill a hole where the lead is and snake through the sub-roadbed to be wired below.
Once the turnouts an track are all soldered in, accomplish the isolation gaps byusing a diamond tooth cutting wheel on a moto-tool, making the slice as plumb as possible, being careful to only cut the rail and not the plastic tie below. Then fill in the gap by squeezing just enough gap-filling ACC to fill the cut, wiping any excess off with your finger.
The result is smooth trackwork. You will never notice the isolation gaps.
Check out Phil's great web site and supurb recondition geared locomotives and his Testraxx units at www.shayfixer.com. (You know you really want a shay!)
We need to drill the hole in an HO scale Grandt Line brake wheel out to .025". We drilled a hole in a piece of scrap plywood just the outside diameter of the brake wheel, & cut a groove leading to the hole the same size as the sprue the wheel was attached to. We clamped the plywood into the vise on our drill press, hold the sprue & wheel onto the indent in the plywood, & drill the hole.
We use these wheels for the O scale baggage cart in our Contention City Depot kits.