Works In the Shop

7/17/21 Edition

*Modeling Starks WI*

*Woodboro WI*

PL&S Photos

Passenger Cars

Pickle Tub Cars

PLL Caboose #3

Logging caboose

Corn Crib

Black Jack's Bar

Ore Car Frames


NMRA Car Frames

Winter Project


Choo Choo Store

Pickle Salting Station

Moen Lake Bridge

Scale House

Photo Backdrops

Brainless Modeling

Other Projects

Fab Lab 3D Laser

Fab Lab 3D Printer

AP Projects

Christmas trains

DCC Help Link (NCE)

DCC Testing

Current Control Issues

Current Control Part 2

Help From DownUnder

Current Update

Club Projects

Modular Layouts

Meeting the Masters

Achievement Program




At The Clearing

Paul at the Forge


Contact Us

RR=CirKits, Inc.

Workshop Home












Paul's Hobby Work Shop


Father and Grandfather at Illinois Railroad Museum TLMRC Members Paul and Brian enjoyed Thomas the Tank Engine Day at the Illinois Railroad Museum.

A Green Hornet streetcar that used to be turned at 81st and Halsted Streets near Paul's grandparents' florist shop was running around the trolley line.

The Rock 4506 powered the Thomas train.

All worn out after seeing every exhibit hall, having lunch in the diner, and playing on the playground.


Update 6/14/21

Rico Station as modified to match Malcolm Furlow's San Juan Central Montrose Station

Update 6/8/21

Chimneys platforms wood and stone still to come.

Progress on the support for the upper level supporting Rhinelander town.

Freight Stations under construction the left will be finished in my John Olson paint and the right will match the Malcolm Furlow's San Juan Central colors.


Update 5/16/2021

Removal of the #6 Doble Crossover

The #6 double crossover had been presenting issues for quite a while and after breaking it into 2 crossovers I found that the manufacture designed it to have all 4 turnouts switched at the same time. For signal and control panel operation I set up each half of the double crossover to operate as a single crossover. This presented me with shorting internal to the crossover, I had to rewire the track leading to each section of the crossover and control the power by the switch machines, much like controlling frogs in normal turnouts. In the top photo you can see the 4 switch motors on the underside of the sub-roadbed that was removed. There were about 50 wires gong just to this section of track. The operators all agreed that only a right-hand crossover from the inside track to the outside track was needed and that it should be at least a #8. To build the new crossover on the sub roadbed and match the current track I removed the section to work on at the workbench. A replacement of straight track was installed, and the track was out of service for only about 8 hours.

These are photos of a HOn3 scratch-built Bobber Caboose under construction. It is built along the same lines for my Perch Lake Lumber CO. line as the work car below. The plastic was cut using a laser and the external frames were 3D printed. the frame of the work car is scratch from Evergreen plastic using Jim Vail's plans for a flat car. The bobber is on a frame with truck side frames from an HO standard gauge bobber and now has 24" wheels in HO 3' gauge. The work car has standard HOn3 trucks.

On the Woodworking side this table has been a Covid long project all done in the home wood shop. The legs angle out in 2 directions and the top is made from 4 boards cut and jointed then band sawed into an oval. Edge was done on the router table. The support between the legs were drilled on the drill-press with a special jig made to allow for the angle of the legs. Kreg drill system was used to attach the legs to the tabletop. My wife did the design and is painting it outside now with the nice weather.

Progress 4/4/21 On the Railroad Lights and Decoders

In the Shop A Planter with Laura



Latest Progress, filling in the town of Rhinelander. Cutting the foam to be the base of the town required crawling under the layout and marking the curve. The static in the room on the foam was such that it made my hair stand up to the foam. After marking the curve, it was off to the workshop to use the bandsaw to cut the curve. The last use of the saw was Brian slicing small limbs into boards, so it was a blade change and other adjustments. In the end I have the first 1" foam to fit into the town area.



Perch Lake Lumber Company HOn3 equipment

External Framed HOn3 Service Car coming together.

The HOn3 Layout is Operating

(Click Here)


Starting 9/27/2020

I am testing the locomotives by their storage location. By pulling trains around the layout both single and as consisted groups. Then each can be checked on JMRI via my NCE Power Cab connection. Keeping a spreadsheet with all the information can be stored for all locomotives.

SOO 459 Repaired 9/15/20

**After a Major Standard Gauge Derailment**

SOO 2-8-0 #459 lost a main rod bolt and ejected itself from the layout to the floor striking framework on the way down. During a 70 car three train operating session 459 dropped 10 cars in the Rhinelander Yard and was proceeding down grade with 10 cars and a caboose when a bolt came out of the main rod on the second driver. The motor driven wheelset , still connected to the main rod, caught a tie and flipped the loco and tender off the layout. The parts were in a area of the layout room with most of the damage to the tender. All the wire connectors were pulled out of the decoder as well as a few parts and 2-wheel sets breaking loose.

It looks like a simple repair which is much better than I expected when it happened. The two other trains were a 55-car ore train and a CNW steam passenger train all under steam. An RS1 came down from Rhinelander to back the train, which had no damage back to the yard. All traffic was stopped as the train was left standing on a single-track main line. Mainline trains were placed in sidings while the equipment was recovered. Found an image of the wires on line and printed it.

SOO 459 is back in service...


The HOn3 Track is Ready For Wires(Click Here)

Progress in the workshop, a Shop Sparrow for the Three Lakes Shop.

On the right a new Shop Sparrow for the Three Lakes Shop, this one out of Plywood. On the Left is the original that Brian and I found while camping at Lake Thompson east of Rhinelander in the early 1990s. We each made new ones that hang in our shop in IL. This one I made on my original Montgomery Ward Power Craft Jig Saw.

I have decided to advance the testing and signaling with LCC to the layout level. I am keeping the Demo / Testing module but will be installing LCC on the Perch Lake Lumber Company HOn3 Layout. (for Progress click here)

To be able to do this requires that I build the layout. While the 2 wall shelf units have been built for years, other module activities and club work on modules for the Division convention and the Make It! Camp has kept me busy.  Isolation has provided time for layout construction.

Over the last week I have been able to build the extension of the layout that includes the lumber and mining areas. This are is basically 4.5’ X 5’ with a curved end having a rock wall with a curved trestle.

Construction has used available lumber which had a purpose long forgotten. But the furniture grade quality allowed me to make the necessary elements for construction.

I did have to relearn the proper way to rip lumber on a radial arm saw. As Sharon will testify, I have come a long way in ripping with this power tool.  I have been Inside and outside ripping lumber of 328’ liner feet with the saw which a few years ago took much prodding for me to even think of.  I was not comfortable ripping with a tool that I have used for years to crosscut and dado. Just an aside this is the Radial Arm Saw I received from Keith, after the Elmhurst flood on Spring Road, and rebuilt and upgraded into service with Sears Craftsman replacement parts.

I have also added a staging yard to the layout on a shelf over the work bench and Ham Radio equipment. This will allow me to store trains and operate with more than a fancy loop. While Lumber and some mining will still be our main operation tourism has brought the need for more provisions into Perch Lake and so we will be having mixed trains serving on our now Common Carrier Line.
I have a small section to build out between the lumber mill and the staging yard but have all the wood to finish this section.  I have decided to raise the shelves over the work desk and also use the lowest shelf for the staging yard as this does not require me to venture out and purchase the 2 replacement shelves that will replace the ones used for the yard. A side benefit is that the lighting mounted on the shelves will not have to be moved but will provide better light for model building.

Backgrounds will be printed when the Fab Lab Three Lakes reopens but until then I have the painted sky to work with.   

I have the Demo /Test Module for LCC along and can use it to hook up to the layout. Here it is without the power supplies and NCE PowerCab in place.

With the LCC system I can detect the blocks and control all mainline turnouts.

Perch Lake Lumber Company Layout in HOn3 Layout Design, each square =6"

The colors are for block detection

2010 Standard gauge design ( the old days )


Please remember to keep your locos running. Get the locomotives out and run them to test and keep the grease from turning to glue.


The new configuration of my upstairs office This is the New Demo / Testing Lab for DCC, LCC and Arduino.

The Demo / Testing Lab is designed to having 3 blocks on the track to test detectors and allow for programming and testing locomotives.

DCC is supplied by a NCE PowerCab with a USB interface to JMRI. This allows me to program and test locomotives and well as experiment with WIFI connections via JMRI.

The LCC system is set up with, from left to right, A BOD4-CP, control point, a Signal LCC interface card, an 8 output Stall Motor Driver (SMD-8), a Tower LCC Interface card, and an I/O Test board. All these components are from RR-CirKits, Inc. An LCC USB Buffer connects the LCC network to the computer for configuration.

The Orange wires feeding the blocks with DCC have a Current Transformer (CT) that detects current passing thru the orange wire and reports back to the BOD4-Control Point (CP). The White wires have NCE BD-20 Detectors that work with the Arduino Signal System that we use on the TLMRC Modules and teach at Make It! Camp.

There are currently power supplies for the PowerCab, LCC and the Switch machine.

The locomotive may be controlled by the PowerCab or JMRI cabs as it moves across the track each block that is occupied will show up on the BOD4-CP via a LED. If I have the network monitor screen active on the computer I will also see all communication between the LCC nodes. This allows me to view the events that any change in the track or the pushbuttons on the test board create as well as the events that are a result of the events that occur. (The train enters block 1 and the event ending in o7 is displayed but that event (occupancy of block 1 causes the signal board to send an event to the turnout control to move the turnout motor) an event ending in 31. MT01:

Thanks to Daniel Kubarych of the ARHS for his guidence on the configuration of this project.

We see the loco in block2 the yellow light is on indicating the block is occupied and the red LEDs are flashing. 

When the loco moved into block3 the Green light came on and after it cleared block 2 the yellow light went out and the Red LEDs stopped flashing. 


Working all alone during Isolation

Why Do I look Like This? Because I am in here with my close-up glasses on. In order to replace the track in front of me The Red X Marks the Spot where I was working. The issue was that I had to replace a section of track that was code 70 where there should have been code 83. I believe we added that section of track where a #8 turnout will go later. The code 70 was mixed with the remaining code 83 while we built Rhinelander Yard that has code 70 rails. There were bumps going in and out of that section of track. Back on 3/21 this car, in the middle of a train, left the track and hit the floor. The cars in the train ahead of this one kept going and the ones behind just stopped on the track. 3 of the 4-wheel sets from this car flew across the floor and had to be searched for. Looking for a reason that this car would have departed the rails I only found the section of code 70 track between code 83 that could cause a car to derail. Replacement was the only answer. Because we are all on our own these days, I moved all the tools I might need onto the Bradley Yard so I could do the track work with only 2 trips under the layout. I also spiked the yard tracks while I was under the layout and cleaned the points on the commercial turnouts at that end of the yard. I believe the corrosion that showed up in between the points and stock rails contributed to locomotives stalling at that location. In addition, I found that I had wired the #8 turnout with 8 conductor wire but had yet to wire the frog. I have setup the parts and tools to correct this which should help the movement thru this section of the main line. I have also found that the commercial turnouts from Walthers frogs are able to be connected and conduct around the plastic insulation. I am installing frog power wires and new connectors to the Tortoise switch machines to power the frogs at that end of Bradley yards. .010" Evergreen plastic is inserted into the green connectors to prevent them from sliding sideways and shorting the SPDT sections. CAT 5 wires connect the turnout socket to an eight-connector barrier strip for each turnout.


LCC Clinics

LCC Development for Layouts and Modules Started Friday 8/16/2019 with Clinics in March 2020. The DuPage Division Clinic was successful, but the rest have been postponed or canceled due to the restrictions on gatherings greater than 10 and for the health of our fellow Model Railroaders. October 18th, I gave the LCC Clinic via ZOOM to a meeting of the Fox Valley Division. From all reports this was successful.


Check out Club Projects for the rebuilding of Mantua 4-6-2 and more


Structures under Construction for Scenery


Printing Ore car frames for MDC Ore Cars


*Passenger Cars*


Laser Cut UDP Panel for DCC controls

Note the connections are at the top to avoid dirt and shorting


Super detailed Kadee Logging caboose


Woodboro Warehouse

Photos of scratch built PLL #3

Here are some of the parts going into the model. Interior walls were cut from .020" evergreen siding and painted a light green which conforms to the interior of prototype caboose. The floor is also cut from Evergreen plastic and painted with Floquil Foundation as is the underside of the roof. Die marks in the roof were removed and extra bracing was added before airbrushing. The doors were only detailed on the outside so i added frames and 3 panels to the inside before painting. Hand rails and grab irons were paint black as were the steps. Windows and doors, inside and out were painted Boxcar Red.

Additional cars under construction include Way cars for HO and HOn3 from my own drawings and including interior details. These were cut on the Laser cutter at the Fab Lab in The Three Lakes School. Drawings are available to scale these cars to S or O scale.

These are test sets of cars cut and assembled to look over the size and shape.(left is HOn3 right is HO in each photo)


*Woodboro Store Progress**New Warehouse Drawings*



Taking a ride on my Private Car to the BSA Merit Badge Session



"Current News" Help Me I am Melting

Using Circuit Breakers on DCC layouts


The WC / SOO Line Rhinelander Scale House


Atlas Signal Tower Kit bashing Project

tower2The Kit-A-Long Projecttower box


Kit bashing a boxcar into a Fictional Prototype near Wolf Creek MT

Black Jack's Bar


Lelah Starks Certified Seed Potato Warehouse, Starks WI (SOO MP 227)

Modeling Starks WI


Woodboro WI founded by the Woods Lumber Co.

Building a model of Woodboro WI, General Store and Warehouse


**Building Pickle Tub Cars in HO and HOn3**

Scratch Built and Kit bashed rolling stock


Modular Layouts


pl&s logo Perch Lake and Superior paw




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