UR92 Fascia Panel

A few weeks ago I burned up my Dremel trying to cut a new hole for UR92 panel. (Fortunately Dremel has a 5 year warranty and the Dremel company replaced my Dremel with a new Dremel 4000.) Well I finally finished the hole with a drill, a jigsaw and a file. And today I wried it up and tested it out with my new UT4D throttle. Very Nice!

New Programming Track

I also set up a more permanent programming track installation. I ran Loconet, power and a USB cable to my PR3 and situated on my desktop with a foot of UniTrack. I download the latest version of JMRI and Digitrax SoundLoader. I haven’t used DecoderPro in a couple of years and was pleasantly surprised that it has been updated to DecoderPro3 which has a sleeker interface ad seems easier to use.

Decoder Programming

After installing Digitrax DH165K1a & SFX004 SoundBug decoders in Kato SD40-2 (see video),  I used SoundLoader to load the Digitrax SD40-2 sound file, it’s as easy as pie and only took a few seconds. Then I used DecoderPro 3 to change CV’s in the loco. The loco runs great, but I’m a little annoyed about lighting control. I can’t figure out how to keep both headlights on dim always and only bright when I hit a function key. I’d also like to move the ditch lights to something like function F12, but the Digitrax decoder is limits them to F0-F3. I may remove the Kato light pipes and replace the ditch lights with SMD LEDs, but that’s a project way in the future.

Sep 032012

I installed a Formica Fascia on my layout and ended up with a few flaws. (see: Formica Fascia Failure) I ordered a product called SeamFil that is color matched and designed to repair Formica chip outs and fill seams. These are the results.

I’m not too happy with results. The seams did not fill. The chipouts don’t lok much better. It’s not the perfect fascia I was hoping for, but I’m going to just live with it.


I’ve mostly completed the major benchwork for The Industrial Lead. I have a couple of tasks to complete:

  1. Install drawer fasces.
  2. Fix Formica chips with SeamFil

But at least for now I’m able to move out the woodworking tools, clean up the major dust and start focusing on actually building the railroad.

View in youTube: The Industrial Lead – Benchwork Complete


I’ve spent the last few weeks prepping to put Formica atop my fascia. I was hoping for a truly professional look. In preparation. I mounted a 1/8″ hardboard fascia as backing. I reinforced the top and bottom edges of the hardboard by laminating additional strips of 1/8″ hardboard to the backs of the original hardboard. These reinforcing strips would also act as a guide for the bearing on a router flush trim bit. I bought a 30″ x 144″ sheet of black Formica and glued it to the fascia backing with contact cement. I trimmed the Formica with a Harbor Freight trim router with a Skil flush trim bit. Everything went good up until the trimming. What a disaster. I totally botched the trim job and it was super messy.


I attribute the botched trimming to a few reasons.

  1. I didn’t have a suitable guide for the router bit bearing. Maybe I should have installed a half inch of reinforcing strips, the problem I was running into is I couldn’t always get them to match up.
  2. The Harbor Freight router. The bit slipped from the collet twice. The face slipped numerous times.
  3. The Skil flush trim bit has an 1/8″ gap between the bearing and the blade. And naturally the 1/8″ hardboard fell into this gap several times, causing chip outs.

Now what to do. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy if I don’t fix the problem, so my options are:

  1. File out the small imperfections as best I can and cover the major ones with a smaller “trim” strip of Formica.
  2. Remove the fascia and do it over again. With or without Formica.

I’m leaning toward just ripping this out and going with a hardboard fascia.


Jul 012012

Lower Fascia

I started installing the lower 1/8″ hardboard  fascia. I had it cut into 6 1/2″ strips at Home Depot, but I wish I had just taken it home and cut it myself because most of the strips are not straight. The fascia is glued with PowerGrab adhesive and tacked with brads. I used a screws and clamps to help hold it into place while installing. I routed out openings for drawers (which causes a terrrible dusty mess).

I’m still considering a laminate countertop fascia. I think the finish would be much nicer. I kind of like Formica Black Matte.

Formica 909-58 Black Matte

Formica 909-58 Black Matte



I bought 2 1/2″ drawer sides at Rockler. The sides are nicely machined 1/2″ thick birch, they have a 1/4″ dado slotted out for a drawer bottom. I bought some 1/4″ Baltic Brich plywood for the drawer bottoms. Assembling the drawers is fairly easy: cut to size, test fit, glue, and clamp. I made three drawers. two for the east side and one for the south side. The drawers will be painted black before installing.


May 292012
Graffiti - Munk

Graffiti - Munk

I’m at a minor standstill while I wait for some supplies…


More T4 Slim Fluorescent Lights

I’ve ordered more T4 lighting from CYELITE. This time in blue. I’ll be using these along the south and east valance as nighttime lighting. I haven’t ordered from CYELITE before, but they were a bit cheaper than the last place I ordered from and offered free shipping. I really like the T4 lights. I want to get these lights installed before I install the valance fascia.

1/2″ Blue Foam

This is not available in the Seattle area, usually you can only find 1″,1 1/2″,& 2″ blue or pink foam. Well I found out you could order the stuff online from Lowe’s and pick it up at your local store. So I ordered two sheets of the 1/2″ Extruded Polystyrene Blue Foam. I want to get the foam down before I install the layout fascia. This won’t arrive until June 12.

Drawer Slides

I’ve designed the layout to have a few drawers below the deck; two on the east side and one on the south side. I had some drawer slides, but I wasn’t happy with the height of them. I looked on eBay and bought two 14″ full extension drawer slides and one 10″ full extension drawer slide. They are sold by eBay seller GlideRite Hardware. I’ll install these after the fascias have been installed and routed out.

While I Wait

I’ll probably work on some minor paint touch-ups, cut sky boards, paint skyboards, and maybe fiddle with some track arrangements. I’m getting close to completing the benchwork and excited to get on with the layout.

© 2012 Greg Amer
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