2018 RM Auction

I volunteered again for the RM Auction in Fort Lauderdale on April 6th and 7th.  The time put in is the major fund raising event for the Sunshine Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers’ Club. 

The cars start inside the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center.  This year there was something else going on at the center, so our space was smaller than in years past.  We only had about 340 cars.  The first team pulled the cars from the hall and drove them to a staging area outside the building.  My team drove the cars from there to the entrance next to the auction block.  We were then pushed to the foot of the ramp and drove it up onto the auction block.  After the bidding we were pushed to a turntable and out of the building.  Then we drove to the entrance where the third team pulled them into the building; sold cars over here and still-for-sale cars over there.  We were not supposed to run the cars inside (except for the drive up on the block.)

My first two cars were a 63 Renault Caravelle and a 59 Autobianchi Bianchina Transformable.  Both were small cars with stick shifts with unmarked shift pattern2. Then I got a big car, a 93 Rolls Royce Silver Spur II.  It started once when I tried it.  Then it died and had to be pushed or towed the rest of the time. 

Later on I got a 41 Lincoln with a 12 cylinder engine.  Once the battery was replaced, it ran fine.  I drove some other cars on Friday, but lost the list.

One of my Saturday cars was a 61 AMC Metropolitan Convertible.  My first car was a 57 Metropolitan, so I was right at home.  Other cars included a 91 Alpha Romeo Spider.  That was a very nice well behaved car. 

The 60 Mercedes-Benz 300d ‘Adenaur’ took two of us to figure out how to start it. 

A 68 Jaguar D-type Alloy Recreation with right hand drive nearly had me trapped.  I think I’m going to have to get some yoga/gymnastics/contortionist lessons before next year.  

There were a number of other cars such as Porche’s and Corvettes, which I didn’t record.

My final ride was a 63 Volkswagen Deluxe “23 Window” Microbus.  The final bid was $170,000 and didn’t meet the reserve. 

Building my own structures

Still making new buildings.  The roofs have been a problem.  I was going to try concrete as shown by the Stoneworks web site.  The compound shape for my house was a little to much for that.  So I switched to iron sheets brazed together.  I tried welding but the sheet metal is two thin.

Trains and Sawdust

In the past year, besides working on the truck and my rose gardens, I’ve been writing a program, cncDraw, to create G-code to drive my CNC milling machine.

I call it a 2 1/2 D machine. The working dimensions are approximately 12″x15″x2.5″ (X,Y,Z). It’s considered to be an engraving machine and I’ve made some nice name tags for my roses.

Screen shot of my program.

The first thing I designed was an outhouse, because the 4 walls can be cut in one piece.  The black lines are V-grooves. Red lines are cut through and the green areas are slots cut with an end mill.

Currently I’m working on a model of my house.  Originally I used a scale factor of 24:1, but that turned out to be huge.  The trains are nominally 22.5:1.  The final version uses a scale of 32:1.  This may be a bit small, but it will fit inside some of the loops in my garden railroad.

The structures I had were built from plastic kits.  When I took them in for a hurricane, they mostly fell apart.  Florida sun and humidity are not kind to the glues that come with kits.

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More about trains

I’ve been working with JMRI which has really nice graphics, but so far I haven’t been able to figure out how to set up a schedule and let the trains run automatically.

So I thought I’d look at Rocrail, which is supposed to be good at that.  The graphics are not quite as nice as JMRI’s and the GUI interface can be awkward.  For one thing, the fonts are too big to fit into the boxes on the screen.  Another thing that I find annoying is that clicking on OK after updating the info on a locomotive takes you right out of the locomotive section.  One thing that I do like is having pictures of the locomotives in the GUI.  Being able to pick “that one” instead of having to remember whether it’s the Rugen or Waldenburg locomotive is great.

Here are the pictures that I took for Rocrail.

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Using JMRI for my trains

I’ve been trying to control my garden railroad by computer for years. I have a test layout in my living room. I’ve installed the Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI) and now have it running 4 trains.  Each train can be run independent of the others.  Yes you can cause a train wreck (Uncle Fester would be proud.)

My passenger train is drawn by a Rügen steam loco from LGB.  The decoder was installed when it was built around 2000. I haven’t been able to modify the control variables, so it has 3 running speeds: creep, fast and fly off the track.

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