Ballasting tool

The recent thread about a hypothetical ballasting car that would actually be able to work on a model railroad layout got me to thinking.
(Dangerous, I know.) Came up with an idea for such a piece of MOW equipment, but then decided that it would really work better as a hand-held tool (certainly not as operationally cool, but more effective).
See sketch at
http://www.geocities.com/bonezphoto/models/Ballaster.gif . (Note: this URL will cease to work after 10/26 when Yahoo! finally pulls the plug on GeoCities.)
DISCLAIMER: I haven't actually made one of these, so I have no frickin' idea if it would actually work.
I envision this being made out of cardboard and glued together; the inserts would seal off the slots that fit over the rail. (Of course, it would be nicer in soldered sheet brass; that, however, is a bit beyond my meager capabilities.) The size and shape of the openings would have to be determined experimentally; one wants the ballast to flow freely, but not *too* freely. And the side chutes could be angled down away from the track for a prototypical profile.
So what do y'all think? Might work?
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I remember seeing an advertisement for a plexiglass tube with slots cut in the bottom for the rails, designed for spreading ballast. Did you see it?
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On 10/22/2009 10:55 PM Special Agent Melvin Purvis spake thus:
>

No, but now that you mention it, if one made this out of plexiglas, one could simply cut slots for the rails instead of diddling around with inserts, since the thickness of the plexi is about rail height. Good idea.
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Special Agent Melvin Purvis wrote:

I have one made of dark grey ABS. I can't recall the manufacturer's (there's no brand on it), but it works well enough.
wolf k.
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Wolf K ( snipped-for-privacy@sympatico.ca) said...

I believe you are thinking of an item made by MLR Manufacturing.
I recalled this from the 80s and went through my back issues of MR and found their last ad in the June 1986 issue.
Forgive me for posting a binary to this group, but I will follow this posting with one with a 75 dpi scan (18k in size) to jog memories.
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On Sun, 25 Oct 2009 16:51:55 -0400, Calvin Henry-Cotnam

Just put the binary on one of those photo bucket things anywhere and post a link to it. Some NNTP servers won't accept binaries at all. -- Ray
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said...

They yet live!
http://www.mlrmfg.com/
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It's not a matter of forgive - there's hardly a usenet provider on earth that won't either drop the binary part of cancel your post entirely if you put a binary in a non-binary group. Don't even try - nobody will see it. *
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David Nebenzahl ( snipped-for-privacy@but.us.chickens) said...

Exactly. Binary attachments must be encoded into printable text, so there is really nothing special about postings with such an attachment, other than the fact the text does not have any actual words in it.
Filtering is done on size, so large postings to non-binary groups can easily be dropped. Encoded binaries tend to be a little more than double the size of the original binary file (because a byte is represented by two Ascii characters and lines end with CR and/or LF characters), so it doesn't take much to hit the limit. Since I kept the image as small as possible, I doubt many servers dropped it.
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On 10/28/2009 4:28 AM Calvin Henry-Cotnam spake thus:

I never saw that message: did you post it here?
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As you can see from the double quotes, your message created a nice little hole in the thread. Giganews simply threw the message on the floor.

You underestimate how thorough they are. Supernews before they became giganews did the same thing - if you posted anything that turned into a file, it went poof.

No, it's not. It's done on the type of data AND size. *
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On Oct 28, 2:09pm, pv+ snipped-for-privacy@pobox.com (PV) wrote:

Bingo. Google does the same thing. Dumps not just the attachment, but the rest of the post as well.
Every other news server I've ever used has done exactly the same thing.
~Pete
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On Wed, 28 Oct 2009 08:28:11 -0400, Calvin Henry-Cotnam

Astraweb dropped it like a hot potato, dude! Seems you are in error!
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The Seabat wrote:

Mine provided it.
wolf k.
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On 10/28/2009 4:31 PM Wolf K spake thus:

>

So did mine. So let's see what we have so far: a list of which Usenet providers retain binaries:
Verizon (my provider): yes Newshosting.com (Wolf K's provider): yes Astraweb: no Giganews: no
Perhaps others can add to the list. As you can see, the situation is far from one where all Usenet providers strip out binaries from "non-binary" (or all) newsgroups.
And I'm not even including Google Groups, which is not even a proper Usenet provider, but instead is a web based spam portal.
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It's not a bad idea, but what about the molded spikes and tie plates? One tool I've found that works really well is a paint edge tool. The fine bristles move the ballast off the ties while leaving it between them.
Puckdropper
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On Thu, 22 Oct 2009 21:28:17 -0700, David Nebenzahl

I seem to remember a whole bunch of years ago in one of the model magazines an article on how to convert a round Old Spice deodorant stick applicator into a ballast too that looked similar to what you are trying to do. You would cut slots in the bottom to match your gauge rail and then just file it up with ballast and run it along the track. Never tried it so can't comment on how well it worked, but sounded pretty good. Now if you can only find an Old Spice container that is round instead of those damn oval sized thingies!
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On 10/24/2009 5:53 PM The Seabat spake thus:

Interesting.
Let me throw something else into the mix here. It seems to me, even without experimenting at all, that such a device probably wouldn't work very well unless it was shaken by the operator. So I'd add another detail, which would be a small electric vibrator, to shake it consistently to make the ballast flow better. Probably one of those little vibrators they put in cell phones would work here (you can buy them really cheap from surplus electronics dealers).
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Well, crap, way to put something up with a limited lifespan.

If I get what you're talking about from lack of picture, I don't see why it wouldn't work, but I'm not sure it would be that much better it would be than simply using a paper funnel and smoothing it out with a piece of card stock.
Also note - soldering sheet brass is easy if you're not trying to make it look like artwork. All you need is heat - it's easier than electrical soldering actually. Give it a try sometime. *
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On 10/27/2009 12:01 PM PV spake thus:
>

Not to worry: it's still there. Turns out that Oct. 26th wasn't the "drop dead" date that Yahoo! had intimated: all the Geoshitties stuff is still up there. They're in a transition phase where people are redirecting their pages to new URLs.

Well, now that you can still see my drawing, you can decide for yourself.

Thanks; I might have to try that sometime.
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