Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Dryer Post

A couple of days ago in a post about progress on an HO scale grain elevator, the need for a grain dryer was mentioned. West Central Minnesota Grain is proud to announce that the grain elevator construction project is underway.

First a couple of photos of the style of dryer they have in mind-the tower dryer, which is becoming so common at elevators and large farms throughout the corn belt. They come in a variety of sizes, including huge, like the one in this photo:

And huger, like this one, which shows some of its innards in a cut-away:

But they aren't all ginourmous. Some are just pretty big, like the one we have selected for our location. It'll stand some 65' tall and has a diameter of about 14'. The basic structure is complete, as shown in this in-progress photo, taken today.

There are still a lot of construction problems to solve. Since this elevator exists in 1/87th scale and never actually dries grain, we have the advantage of using flammable materials during construction. For example, the roof and hopper bottom are cardstock. The vision also calls for some For Rent signs which will be used to fabricate the extensive walkways required around this style dryer. The decision on how to provide ladders and safety cages is still open, with some arguing that factory built components are the way to go while a few purists hold out for scratching the whole works.

Whatever is decided, perhaps the biggest challenge will be replicating the appearance of the vast expanse of perforated metal that makes up the great majority of the dryer's exterior. Since it's extremely impractical to drill thousands .07" holes reduced to 1/87th scale, it's hoped that a creative paint job can help simulate the appearance of the real dryer. A couple of cans of gray primer, a small spray can of "pewter", and some aluminum paint are the tools in the arsenal for this job. Time will tell if it's effective. If you never hear another word about the dryer, you can assume it wasn't.

Since time is under the control of the layout owner, there's no need to rush to finish this thing. Harvest can wait until the dryer is ready in my magical world.

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