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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007
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N-Gauge Coal Mine

Part of an N-gauge layout of mine I made in the 1980's.

The mine itself (the hole in the hill) was a fun little project.

I started with one of those cases that a PA unit comes in; pretty good sized. I cut the ends out so I'd have a U-shaped plastic channel which would form the roof and sides of the mine shaft.

Next, I took some light gauge aluminum kitchen foil, crumpled the heck out of it, flattened it out, crumpled it again, and so on for about ten cycles until the wrinkles in the foil were both very fine, and very pronounced. I spray painted it black. Then I put the foil inside the U channel, pretty much right up against the walls. This makes "walls of coal."

Then I took some fine balsa wood and built the mine timbers by gluing them together inside the foil-covered U-channel; you can see them in the picture, above. I put little "grain-of-wheat" bulbs at each junction of the timbers where the timbers would be hitting the roof on the sides.

I covered the 4th side (the cover) in similarly wrinkled and painted foil, which created the floor.

I put a mirror at the end of the channel at 45 degrees. What this does is when you look down the coal mine, your eyes hit the mirror at the end, and it looks like the lights take a turn downward — it effectively doubles the visual length of the coal mine, so instead of 8 little lamps, there are eight at one angle, and 8 more at 45 degrees. The effect is quite convincing — it seems like the mine just goes way down into the hill.

Then I simply mounted the whole assembly in the side of the hill and adjusted the hillside to create a reasonable looking mine entrance not likely to drop rocks on the workers, etc.

Sadly, I never thought to take a shot "down the pipe" as it were, and the layout was given to a young man who seemed to be in need of a little cheering up some years ago.

Doesn't mean I won't do it again, though. 😊

#train #ngauge

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