Another Slow Day

I hate it when I spend the whole day driving around looking for things, especially on my days off when I plan to make progress on the layout. But it seems inevitable, as many of these businesses I cater to are only open Monday to Friday 9-5 – ¬†right when I’m at work.

So, I try to make it worth while when going anywhere like this, and today I went to Plastic World. Funny thing what you can find right in the city…this place carries all kinds of plastics: ABS, Acrylics, Polyurethane, etc, but my aim was for the Polystyrene. You know, the stuff you make custom buildings from (and many other layout related things), usually packaged by Evergreen Scale Models and sold at LHS (for a high price).

To put things into perspective, the above photo is 5 sheets of 4×8′ polystyrene, one each in .020″, .030″, .040″, .060″ and .118″ (3 mm). An Evergreen package of .060″ 12×24″ lists for USD 12.00. The whole sheet of .060″ I got was about USD 32.00, and compared to a .125″ (3.2 mm) 12×24″ Evergreen for USD 22.50, I paid about USD 55.00 for a full 4×8′ sheet (50% saving on MSRP, which doesn’t include the LHS profit).

Granted, I have enough plastic to last awhile now, but what’s really missing is a laser cutter…hmmm (mind wanders off), or at least a guillotine cutter.

Oh, I did buy a few more items, some electronics components so I can do a few PoCs (Proof of Concepts) of¬†block detection. Looking at the differences between commercial BODs that employ solutions using linear comparators, to others that use simpler transistor circuits (such as NCE BD20a), and how that adds up to what I’m trying to accomplish on my own layout (potentially having hundreds of detected blocks for computer control).

Some of these circuits get their power from the DCC bus itself, and considering power usage of a single circuit (a sub-10mA level), spread across a power district/booster (or an entire layout), this could add up to 1 A draw, or more, for a number of blocks I’m considering. Taking those 1 A away does make an impact on remaining available power to the locomotives, and overall power budget.

I don’t have the answers, and google does not have them either, useless !@#($% search engine that filters all results. I miss the days when we used to get everything, and not a “filter bubble” of what google thinks we want. Or, maybe nobody does what I want to do and I’m getting nowhere.