Parksville MakerSpace director John Eyre, right, discusses a part he created on a 3D printer for model railroad enthusiast and Makerspace member Allan Clark, rear, at the Makerspace facility in the basement of the McMillan Arts Centre. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville MakerSpace members ride the rails

New room added for model train enthusiasts; workshop set for Jan. 21

Steam locomotives from the 19th century and 3D printers from the 21st are forming an unlikely partnership. And it’s happening in downtown Parksville.

Parksville’s MakerSpace will unveil its new model railroad room Sunday, Jan. 21, with a workshop and demo for model railroad enthusiasts and those interested in learning more about the hobby.

The session will start at 1 p.m. in the Parksville MakerSpace, located in the basement of the McMillan Arts Centre building at 133 McMillan Ave.

“We’re trying to integrate the cyberworld with what I call the crafty bunch,” said Allan Clark, a longtime model railroader who teamed with MakerSpace member Jim Bennett to conceive the model railroad room.

He coaxed local MakerSpace founder and director John Eyre to consider space for model rail enthusiasts as a logical base for another group of tinkerers and crafters, who may also benefit from the expertise of those who work in other disciplines.

“I’m happy to have the model railroading group in here, not because I have a history or interest myself, but because I can see a whole range of things you can do with a model railway that would fit everybody’s interest,” said Eyre. “There’s woodworking, model house-building and scenery, painting backgrounds and setting up tracks. And you can use all the electronic control systems we have here to control the trains. The computer guys or control systems and electronics people can get in there, as well.”

Eyre put that to the test himself when, at the request of Clark, he modelled a sand dome for Clark’s refurbished steam locomotive and then printed it using one of the three, 3D printers at MakerSpace.

“I could do that on a lathe,” Clark admitted. “But it was like a nightmare. It was an exercise, too. I wanted to see if John could actually do it, and he took that as a challenge.”

Sunday’s workshop will include classes on model railroading and a demonstration on how to build scenery — including a “mountain” with a tunnel that Clark has already started using cardboard lath strips, a wood frame, several layers of plaster and some paint.

Bennett said the new room could be a space for those who would like to try model railroading but who don’t have the space in their own homes or garages. It could also benefit those who have previously operated model railroads but who have downsized and can no longer keep them at home.

“This layout we’ve got here is going to be an operating railroad,” said Bennett, adding there will be a portable module that can be removed and taken to link with other HO-scale railroads, including at gatherings like the Vancouver Model Train Show. “We’ll have a warehouse here, and an operation to get a rail car here and take it to the warehouse for loading, then pick up another car.

“Rather than just watching the train go around in a circle, you’re actually operating it.”

Eyre described MakerSpace as a place for “STEM” practitioners — those oriented toward science, technology, electronics and math. Parksville MakerSpace includes computers, printers and other peripherals, a woodshop, a craft room with large tables, training and tutoring space, the new model railroad room and even a break room with pool and ping-pong tables. All Eyre needs is members to populate it, he said.

“When John told us his vision for the MakerSpace and asked us how we could help him make it grow, I knew, via my neighbour Allan, there were quite a number of model train guys,” said Bennett. “With model railroading you’re making something, but also in my early discussions I saw it was a way to help grow MakerSpace.”

For more information, call Bennett at 250-594-2893 or email theoceansidemakerspace@gmail.com.

Send story tips to:

editor@pqbnews.com

Just Posted

Work continues on Courtenay’s 4th Street Improvement Project

4th street will be closed to traffic between Duncan and Cliffe Avenue

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Pride Society of the Comox Valley set to kick off week-long celebration

The organization is celebrating Pride Week with a variety of events to bring the community together.

Cannabis facility planned in Courtenay

Design up to 100,000 square feet

Major private donation to Kus-kus-sum project

Frank and Bobbi Denton, longtime residents of the Comox Valley, have donated… Continue reading

BC Wildfire merges two Okanagan wildfires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Most Read