January 21, 2018

Playing with action figures?

The fun of O Scale


New Zing 24 with 40W laser cutter
It was a busy weekend with work on various projects. First was a photo shoot for a potential book project.  In the process I took some fun photos. The shot above shows engine Haupt being watered. O scale is big and detailed enough that you can actually remove the tender's watering filler cap and place the water hose in it. Then one can hit the sound function to simulate the water gurgling.  An editor from an N Scale magazine once said to me, "O scale is like playing with action figures." He might be right.


After that, I got my new laser cutter, a Epilog Zing 24 with 40W,  set up.   The new laser cuts really well.  It's nice to be able to cut 24 inch long material now. With O scale models the extra size is handy.

The former laser, an Epilog Mini18 25W,  was about 12 years old. It still worked well, though the laser tube had lost some power.  I plan to sell it. It's in very good condition. It would be a great way for some one to get started with a professional grade laser cutter. Send me a note if you are interested.

The old laser cutter used a 15-year Dell laptop with Windows XP.  It was missing some keys and the battery was dead so it had to be plugged in to work, but it still worked.  Nonetheless, it was time to replace it.

I ended up with an HP Envy 2 in 1 touch screen laptop with Windows 10. Epilog lasers work best with CorelDraw on Windows OS, so I  got a Windows 10 machine.  I also got a Bamboo stylus, which makes drawing on the screen much easier. The laptop also came bundled with MS Office.

My current laser cutting work flow is to do my design drawing in Adobe Illustrator CS5 on my iMac. Then I send the file to my laptop for import into CorelDraw. From CorelDraw I can print to the laser or use the new (to me) Epilog Job Manager. My old laptop did not have the Epilog Job Manager. The Epilog Job Manager.software is really neat. It makes setting up the cutting jobs much easier to organize and to tweak settings.

Back to the work flow, Adobe went to an expensive subscription service for their software so they are no longer supporting CS5. I have been experiencing trouble with Illustrator and In Design on my iMac.  I don't wish to upgrade to the Adobe subscription service. So I am learning to use CorelDraw in more detail with the idea of dropping Adobe Illustrator. It's a shame as I really like Illustrator, but their subscription costs are too high for a small business.  The nice thing about CorelDraw is they provide a complete suite including photo edits in their one price package. So far, I like drawing on the screen with the stylus in CorelDraw.

Roof with simulated tar paper and battens
The last project of the weekend was to finish the wharf warehouse. I added a tar paper roof with battens. Then I added doors. The building is done except for some weathering and interior detail, which will be very minimal as the interior will be difficult to see.

This building is pretty big, about 18 by 10 inches. But I like the chunky look of O scale structures. Now I just need some more action figures.


Finished building on wharf

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