My Modeling Tool Modifications:

Here are some tools that I have made or modified at a low cost, instead of buying expensive commercial products.

HO Equipment Surface Plate

HO Surface Plate

This is easily made from some good straight aluminum plate, and a bit of careful work with a table saw to cut the flange grooves to the proper gauge. I find it handy for aligning running boards and scribing lagging separations.

Tubing Tool

I like working with acrylic, it's just so easy with a table saw. I'm not sure where the idea came from, but probably had to do with blast furnace modeling, which deals with a lot of larger diameter tubing. This odd tool is basicly a long 'V' Block with an adjustable stop. I could cut a slot into it  to act as a miter block, but so far the edge has served well enough for a cutting and scribing guide. The 2nd picture shows it setup to square up the ends of rough sawed 3" PVC tubing for blast furnace stoves.

Tube Tool  Tube_Tool2.JPG (336945 bytes)

Oxygen/Propane Torch:

A regular Microflame torch with hose adaptors, small flame tip and oxygen and propane cylinders from the hardware store. 

This torch generates a very small and hot flame which is excellent for soldering brass parts without unsoldering adjacent pieces, and it has the capacity to heat to solder flow temperature most HO brass locomotive parts.

Oxygen is the original oxidizer gas used with the Microflame torch, But early on they encountered problems shipping it through the mail, so they switched to 'Micronox' gas and larger diameter tips. This stuff didn't work out very well for me, and it was very annoying having to change out the little cylinders every 5 minutes.  So I stopped in to the Microflame headquarters in Minneapolis when I happened to be there sometime in the '70's, and picked up a hose adaptor set from them. Then I purchased one of those oxygen/propane torch kits (BernzOmatic and the like) that you can find in the hardware sores for about $50. All I really needed from the kit was the oxygen valve. I have since seen oxygen valves available separately at some hardware stores and probably from various tool catalogs. I was able to get some more small flame tips (#1003S) from Microflame recently, but I don't know if they still have any adaptor hose sets (#2002) available.

The 1.1 cubic foot oxygen tanks last a reasonably long time, but I open the torches oxygen valve only when I'm applying heat and then close it. I let the fuel gas burn to keep it lit during a soldering session. Also I remove the valve from the oxygen tank if I won't be using the torch for more then a day or two, to prevent slow leaks. Propane or butane is fine for fuel gases, but don't use MAPP® gas, it will clog up the flame tips.

I mounted the torch parts, with hose claps and a bracket, on a box with casters with a cake tin on top, so I can store all my soldering tools and supplies in a handy, somewhat mobile, carrier.

My Torch  My Torch  My Torch  My Torch


Tiny drill press:

I got the press assembly at some Train Show, but I can't recall where, or who made it. Sorry... The motor is a  Wecheer WE-251 'Rotary Detail Carver' available for about $25. The micro drill chuck is $5.50 from Micro-Mark.

I found a short plastic tube to adapt the rotary tool to the press and then used tie-wraps to fix the cord. The press parts needed a lot of filing and cleanup to get it operating smoothly. A little 'L' hook hangs the accessories. 

This little tool is great for drilling all those .020, .015, or .012 handrail holes in car sides.

Small Drill Press


Dremel Table Saw upgrades and accessories:

I added the Micro-Mark 'Accuriser' upgrade kit #60898 (no longer available), the blank blade plates #70225, 40 tooth carbide, and extra-fine steel, blades. Check out Micro-Marks selection of Dremel table saw accessories. The upgrade kit contained a strengthening bracket for the rear of the saw, a new drive belt, and a very nice precision rip fence.

In addition to installing the upgrade kit the saw needed further improvement. The surface of my table saw wasn't very flat, compared with my Sears 10" ground cast iron surface. By attaching a large sheet of med-fine sandpaper to the Sears saw surface and rubbing the upside down Dremel's surface on it, you can see the high spots and slowly true up the hard plastic surface. The blade raise/lower control is an awful little black plastic knob , so I replaced it with a crank handle I found somewhere. You could make one out of acrylic or brass. It makes a lot of difference when operating the saw ! Then I added some brackets to store the saw accessories conveniently

I made my own sliding table for the saw out of acrylic, but now I see that you can get one from Micro-Mark, theirs is bigger but less versatile.  I recently added a sliding stop for quick and easy setup of crosscut jobs. Double stick tape on the bottom of a small blocks of acrylic makes a great cutting jigs for repeatable cuts on odd shapes. 

Another useful accessory for the table saw is an acrylic push stick to keep your fingers away from the blade while cutting.

Dremel table saw support:  link

Small Table Saw  Small Table Saw Table Saw Guide


Grit blaster/ Air Eraser Booth:

I built this from a discarded drawer, a cut down picture frame and a piece of glass (for the top), PVC fittings, a sloped styrene sub-floor, respirator filters, and various hardware fittings. A W.R. Brown  HS342 Mini-Sandblast gun is installed inside with the air line passing through a small tube in the side of the booth. There is a capped fitting at the bottom of the sloped floor to remove used grit.

This tool could be seen as a bit overbuilt, but then sometimes projects take on a life of their own ! I have a friend who successfully used an old cardboard box with some clear plastic duct taped to it as a temporary sandblasting booth. To each his own...

Air Eraser Booth  Air Eraser Booth  Air Eraser Booth



Dremel Router Table:


Unimat XL mods: