Model Railroading with PCNC

After seeing an advertisement for a PCNC 1100 in Livesteam Magazine, Dick Hofsheier of Banks, Oregon scheduled a demonstration with a mill owner registered in the Tormach referral network.

A retired Director of Circuit Research at Intel Corporation, Hofsheier has shifted his affinity for invention into the comforts of his garage turned small-scale machine shop. “Before purchasing a PCNC 1100, I had a hand-operated mill and lathe I used to hog out various parts for my assorted hobbies. I already had some of the collets and tooling that I now use with the Tormach.” In addition to working on hot rods, Hofsheier is a member of the Willow Creek Rail Road, a large scale model railroading club in the nearby town of Brooks, Oregon. To the delight of his grandchildren, Hofsheier has laid 1200 feet of track that snakes and winds through his yard, crossing a 60 foot trestle, 20’ steel girder bridge, and a 25’ tunnel. To see photos of the trains, tracks, and works in progress, visit the Coyote Ridge Logging Railroad Company website. “I’m in the process of building a 1:8 scale steam locomotive with my PCNC 1100. I started the project last November and the overall length should be around 7' when completed. All the individual parts will eventually get mounted on the frame. The cross bar shown in the frame photo is about 1.75x2x16 inches; I machined it and the rectangular hole using the 1100.” Using a set of drawings from a similar project in Florida, Hofsheier uses AutoCAD LT and Cut2D for CAD/CAM and G-Wizard to calculate feeds and speeds. To date, Hofsheier has cut about 50 parts for the locomotive project, some which have taken up to five hours on the mill. With the exception of castings for the trucks and wheels, the entire project will have been built from the ground up. “The coupler pocket was the hardest part so far, he said.”It involved separate runs and layers. I had to cut one layer and then rotate the part. I have friends who are machinists and operate local machine shops, and this is always a great resource to have when you have a question. For me, the project has been a fun learning curve.”