Monday, November 26, 2012

Starting Over

The long and expensive process of building my HO model train layout has begun. First I had to remove the old track and strip the base. Spent some time reworking the wench cable system to beef it up a bit. Today I ordered a swaging crimp tool and some more cable ferrules. I just am not happy with two of the smashed with a hammer connections. A failed joint would be a disaster.

So the process began with gluing down 1" rigid foam. This makes a nice sub straight. Reduces track noise and easy to add and remove for landscaping.

Todays project was this routered out pocket to mound my plywood helix structure. Boy what a mess that was. Still picking out little pieces of blue foam from my clothing, my shop and our cat.

A nice and tight flush fit.

Side view of the 405 degree helix up to the second level

The layout will have three main line exterior loops and who knows what on the interior.

Paper template of a Number 8 turnout.  Turnouts like this with remote swtiching can run close to $40 each. I need a dozen just to get started.

2 inch track spacing.

Had to adjust the track centers, somehow my original lines were only spaced 1 3/4'
So for now this is about as far as I can proceed without parts. Good progress though.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bob's Disc Golf

One can tell, and I now I remember by this One Free Round Coupon that the year was 1979.

Disc Golf in the Northwest had a colorful history full of pioneers and legions in the sport of "Frisbee" and "Disc Golf. One of those players was Doug Newland. Being the current Regional Director of our sport, Doug had the opportunity to connect with a man I only remember as Bob, a business man, who had heard of this new found fun.

So lets just say that all the players in the region were excited and many helped to install the course with the Northwest's first concrete tee pads and baskets for that matter. Besides the baskets and signage Bob purchased a new trailer to act as the office and clubhouse, even had a candy bar vending machine inside.

Percentage wise at the time most of the "Golfers" lived up in the Seattle area. Traveling 50 minutes on the Freeway to Bob's was infrequent so there wasn't a lot of play on the course. Tournaments were the only way to attract distant players from Portland Oregon and Vancouver BC.

1979 was the year of the $50,000 Invitational Frisbee Disc Golf tournament in Huntington Beach. To receive an invite you had to place first, second or third in a regional qualifying tournament. Our's was here at Bob's Disc Golf. I think I placed Fourth. Doug qualifyed and I had to stay home.

Home then became the trailer at Bob's Disc Golf and I was the new acting Course Pro. A lonely time with no players and my friends in the California sun. It wasn't until they all returned that I learned the tournament organizers relaxed their stance and let non qualifiers compete.

Oh well, if I had gone I would not have been able to empty that vending machine.

Bob's course eventually was removed, sold to the Parks Department where the baskets sat in storage until installed at Fort Steilacoom. Now that's another story.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mini Man


The forgotten and mis-understood Mini Man. I hope there are few of these classic awards out there still standing on trophy shelves in Seattle or Portland.

I was down cleaning my shop the other day and ran across this special memory.

During my years of being Regional Director and Tournament director for the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) up in the Northwest, I did a number of projects that I felt was for the players that went beyond helping with the politics and installation of the two main courses at the time, North Park in Seattle and Fort Steilacoom in Tacoma. I always felt that if I liked something so would others.

During my tenure, I created and financed quite a few custom hot stamped golf discs, minis, towels, tee shirts, score cards, newsletters and the like including the Mini Man Trophy.

I loved spending my time and money to help support the growth of the sport back then. So did most of us. For me the most satisfying “art” piece was the Mini Man Trophy.  This trophy took months for me to complete. In the early 80‘s, trophy shops didn’t offer figures for our sport.

These Mini Man trophy’s were not finished in time for the awards ceremony but eventually were awarded to the recipients.

I started by going to a toy store in search of a toy figure with adjustable joints. After some modifying I made a silicone rubber casting mold and went to work casting during the evenings after work.

I used scrap pieces of clear acrylic, plexiglass, glued together and then machined to create a base. On a lathe I turned scaled discs. After assembly there was painting and lettering.

Boy I wanted to win one of these so badly but all I have to show is four left-over rejects and, luckily, some pictures. I can only hope that the memory of the Mini Man lives on.