Jan 20 2013

Free-Mo

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My Free-Mo Refinery Modules

This page will chronicle the design of my first Free-mo modules.
So what is Free-mo… Free-mo is an international standard for an open module or “Free-Module” design where the standards only dictate the end-plate specks, height, basic track specks, DCC and the electrical connectivity. Anything in-between the end-plates is up to the individual modeler including the length and shape. Free-mo is intended to be a point-to-point operating layout. Which is more in-line with real railroading and less toy-like as are other club layouts that have trains running around in circles at full speed.
For more info go to http://www.free-mo.org/
The image below is the most current concept. Click on the image for a larger image.
As you may have noticed there are 4 modules that make-up my first attempt at Free-mo. While this may seem a bit ambitious for a first build, they are not my first modules I have built a number of modules when a member of another module club. Note: the Harbor module will be a future additional display.
From the image you can see that there are two basic module designs in fact the left and right hand modules are identical modules just rotated 180deg. The center two modules have the same dimensions and are similar in design. These center two modules are the main focus of my Free-mo module project which was to make a oil-petrochemical plant.
So why the unusual skewed design, with Free-mo the minimum radius is 42″ and I wanted to build a module that extends off the side of the main display so I needed to exit the display at 45degs. That was the basis for my first approach in design.
Upon my first interdiction to Free-mo I noticed a similarity to dominoes that is that they connect end to end. This end to end method makes for a very long narrow display.
So my second idea was to figuratively through in a couple of double dominoes to change things up a bit. Like in dominoes doubles let you expand in different directions. So my display will accomplish that.
While this domino comparison is a bit simplistic it is the basics of my final design.

The Geometry and Dimensions

Initially the design was for four 24×72″ modules with the two outer modules having a 45deg bump-out. I later increased the inner two modules to two 36×72″ modules that narrow to 24″ at either end.
Working with the local Free-mo club I came up with what was the best dimensions and the current geometry of the design.
The image below gives these dimensions.
The end modules stayed virtually the same though a small adjustment to the 45deg bump-out was made so that the offset dimension between the two modules came in at 120inches or 10feet.
The center modules where increased from 72″ to 76.3875 inches or 76″ and about 25/64th. Why such an odd number well we needed to have the track centers on the outer modules to be 149inches. This is ideal for the center-to-center dimension of four 45deg curve modules.
I could have added the 4.3875″ difference from the original 72″ to the 45deg bump-outs but this way it gives me more real estate for my tank farm.

Defining The Modules

The 45deg modules

The two end modules like I mentioned earlier are basically the same. Though later in the future when I define their designations they will become different. Sidings and structures will be added to make new delivery point destinations.
The current make-up of these modules is a code 83 mainline track running down the center of the 24″ module with an additional code 83 mainline track splitting off through a #8 turnout on a 44″ radius to the center on the 24″ bump-out. With an additional code 83 service loop for the refinery splitting off also through a #8 turnout on a 26″ radius crossing the mainline at a 60deg angle and exiting the module off center on the bump-out. This service loop will be isolated so a reversing circuit can be installed.

Refinery Module A

Module A has three zones a Truck loading zone (zone A1) and the power substation (zone A2). “We’ll call these zones the North side, just as a reference.” A Rail Tank car holding yard and a tank farm (zone A3) on the south side. Track consists of a code 83 mainline track running center the length of the module with an alternate code 83 mainline splitting off through a #8 turnout running parallel to the mainline. After the turnout there is a pair of #6 turnouts feeding a parallel code 83 run-a-round line. This line connects to the code 83 service loop. This service loop feeds five code 70 sidings feed from #4 turnouts. The parallel line, service loop and the sidings will be isolated from the mainlines.
Buildings and structures
Oil receiving tank-farm (Walthers, Tichy Train Group, Plastruct Inc ect.) oil tanks will populate the area next to the sidings on the south side of the module.
A Truck Fuel loading area well be the location of the north side. This north truck yard will have a McGraw Oil Company building and Truck fueling platforms. A Walthers Truck fueling platform would be nice but they are out of production. So I will have to settle on ConCor kits.
I have a few Walthers piping kits that I will use to detail the module as well as chain link fencing and other miscellaneous detail. I will need to gather a few fuel tank trucks as well. I have a couple now.

Refinery Module B

Module B has five zones a petrochemical plant (zone B1) and the cooling pond (zone B2) on the north side. Oil delivery platform (zone B3) Refinery (zone B4) and Tank farm (zone B5) on the south side. Track consists of a code 83 mainline track running center the length of the module with an alternate code 83 mainline splitting off from the right through a #8 turnout running parallel to the mainline. After the turnout there is a pair of #6 turnouts on the south side feeding a parallel code 83 run-a-round line. This line plus its siding via a #4 turnout services the tank car loading station. On the north side is a code 83 service loop connecting to the alternate mainline via a #6 turnout. Branching off the service loop via a #6 turnout is a code 70 feeder with three sidings, off #4 turnouts servicing the petrochemical plant. The parallel run-a-round line, the service loop and the sidings will be isolated from the mainlines.
The Zone designations are for mapping the placement of buildings and structures.
Buildings and structures
Oil receiving tank-farms (Walthers, Tichy Train Group, Plastruct Inc ect.) will populate the south side of the module on each side of the Oil refinery (Walthers Cornerstone Series #933-3013 North Island Refinery Kit).
A pair of Walthers loading platforms will be placed between the run-a-round line and its siding.
On the north side the petrochemical plant will be scratch built from various Walthers, Plastruct Inc and Vollmer kits. This plant will be a future installment.
Walthers piping kits will be use to detail the module as well as chain link fencing and other miscellaneous detail. Various other out buildings will also populate this module.
A vehicle service tunnel will connect the north side with the south. This tunnel will also contain piping connecting the refinery in the south with the petrochemical plant in the north as well as the truck fueling station an the A module.

The Left Hand 45deg module

Module LH45deg. Here is the proposed layout of the Left Hand 45deg module it has five zones, (zone L1 and L2) are retail rows here I will place small retail stores and eateries. (zone L3) is where the underpass will be placed and the rest is otherwise undefined. (zone L4) is a future warehouse space and delivery point. (zone L5) yet undefined. Track consists of a code 83 mainline track running center the length of the module with an alternate code 83 mainline splitting off from the left through a #8 turnout on a 44deg radius to the 45deg bump-out. From the right there is a 26deg radius service line which crosses the 44deg radius mainline at 60degs. Future trackage will be parallel mainline which will run across the underpass and trackage for the warehouse yard .

The Right Hand 45deg module

Module RH45deg. Here is the proposed layout of the Right Hand 45deg module it has five zones, (zone L1 and L2) Might be a future Container Yard. (zone L3) Is a future diesel service facility. (zone L4) is yet undefined. (zone L5) is a future warehouse space and delivery point. Track consists of a code 83 mainline track running center the length of the module with an alternate code 83 mainline splitting off from the right through a #8 turnout on a 44deg radius to the 45deg bump-out. From the left there is a 26deg radius service line which crosses the 44deg radius mainline at 60degs. Also future trackage for the warehouse yard .

Current Inventory

This is my Current Inventory of building kits. I will update this list as my inventory grows. I will add pictures of the finished kits as time allows(see color camera). Until then I will just post the cover art (B&W camera).
Part # Description
IMAGE
Zone Used
Quantity
933-3013 Walthers Cornerstone Series North Island Refinery Kit This kit is assembled.
B4
1
933-? Cornerstone Series Tall Oil Storage Tank (These are older kits w/o berm)
A5, B4 or B5
2
933-2913 McGraw Oil Company – Kit
A1
1
933-3006 Cornerstone Series Interstate Fuel & Oil – Kit One kit is Tanks and fueling rack only.
A1
2
933-3104 Cornerstone Series Oil Loading Platform – Kit
B1 or B3
3
933-3105 Cornerstone Series Oil Piping – Kit
throughout A&B
2
933-3182 Cornerstone Series Sanding Towers & Drying House
R3
1
933-3800 Cornerstone Series Art Deco Highway Underpass
L3
1
9063 Con-Cor Cambria City fuel rack
A1
1
9061 Cambria City fuel depot
A1
2
322-113 Heljan Diesel Sanding Rack
Undefined
1
 570-1015 Plastruct Inc Oil Storage Tank
A5 & B5
2
 570-1018 Plastruct Inc Side-By-Side Vertical Tanks
A5 & B5
1

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