Friday, March 9, 2012

And so having re re adjusted the Helix Monster, exit our Hero, stage right...

After a one week delay, a few of the guys were able to come over to help me get the grades on the helix adjusted.. hopefully for the last time.  As I stated in an earlier post, I tried doing this before on my own, but with a Masonite backboard separating the inner and outer loops, it was nearly impossible to get it right.

Tom Callan, Jim Fawcett, and Ralph Heiss came over and we discussed our plan of action (where have you heard that one before..) Tom came up with the idea of drawing a chart/graph to plot out what the present grades were at 1/8th intervals around both loops using the iPhone app.

Here Tom holds up the initial chart we made, and is pointing out the fluctuating grades.

Tom went back and took two legal size sheets of paper, and redrew the graph to help us better understand where the big fluctuations and discrepancies were in the grades.

If we were to actually draw it out like a prototype grade profile, the helix would almost look as bad as this Ma & Pa grade profile chart.. OK maybe that's a slight exaggeration..

We started from the bottom of the helix and used the iPhone app to help with the adjustments. We loosened 1/4th of a section of loop at a time and re-adjusted it to get the 2.1-2.3 range we were looking for.  We methodically worked our way up the helix till we reached where it joins the upper deck.  Now the entire helix climbs at an average  of 2.1%, and I feel comfortable laying the rest of the track and wiring it up so I can run test trains up and down it. 

The original scene of the crime.. The spot where I first used the iPhone grade level app.  Here the grade was originally 5.7%, and now is 2.1%.

It really took a group effort to finally straighten out the grade problems on my backbone helix.  Even with the extra work and trouble, I still feel what I gain in extra operation and scenic elements, more than makes up for the aggravation trying to get the grade right.  If you're going to build a backbone style of helix, make sure you have some help.  The extra eyes and hands will make it easier to build than trying to do it alone.  Unfortunately, my problems have dissuaded Jim from building a double deck layout, though if he built a traditional helix, it would go a lot easier for him.    

And now for your viewing pleasure.. The original Bugs Bunny cartoon episode, Hair Raising Hare. Enjoy! :)


  1. Who cares about the Hell-ix! That video has everything! Monsters, steam powered kights, rabbits in drag, and robots! now get some track of that thing and shoot some video! LOL!

  2. Ralph, I figured you especially would enjoy that video. ;)