[WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

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[WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:22 pm

I know it's not woodworking but I thought I'd show a model I've been working on this morning.

J_38.png


This is a WWII vintage code key that was manufactured by Lionel. Although there's not that many folks using Morse code anymore, these keys are still in use. I was gifted with two of them. One is a very rare version in it's military issue box. I need to add some small parts, mostly screws and lock nuts but the big parts are modeled. I may add threads to the screws. There's some labeling on the base for which I need to find a suitable font and I'm searching for a good image of the Lionel logo from the period.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby davidheim1 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:02 pm

--. .-. . .- - -.-.--
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:05 pm

- .... .- -. -.- ... -.-.--
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby faust07 » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:18 pm

da did, did did da, Kasperle ist wieder da .. ;)
Please a translation of the Morse code .. :fro:
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby davidheim1 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:58 pm

I typed Great!
Dave replied Thanks
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby boofredlay » Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:14 pm

Nice!
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:24 pm

Still need to add the screw threads, labels, and Lionel logo. Having a hard time finding a suitable font for the labels.

Lionel Key 3view.png
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby CJRyan » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:38 am

Dave R wrote:Still need to add the screw threads, labels, and Lionel logo. Having a hard time finding a suitable font for the labels.

When you first posted this a few months ago I got curious and searched for it. Correct me please if I'm wrong, but it would seem that this is the same Lionel, whose trains I've owned since the early '50s?
And I hate to say it but from all the ones I looked at, I think you are missing an eye-bolt, I might be wrong...Never mind, I see you have it in your latest version.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:31 am

Christopher, you are correct. Same company that made the )-27 model trains. I have my father's prairie locomotive sitting here near my desk and a bunch of cars and track in a box. During WWII, they branched out to help the war time effort.

And yes, the screw eye hadn't been modeled in the first image but it is modeled now. It also needs screw threads.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Khai » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:09 pm

" I was gifted with two of them. One is a very rare version in it's military issue box. "

please if you ever get the time, can you take reference photos and post them for us? I'd love to have reference like that in the files...
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby tuna1957 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:46 pm

superb :thumb: :thumb:
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sun Dec 23, 2018 6:51 pm

Thank you! I was playing a bit this morning.
Lionel Key sketch xray.png
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby CJRyan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:27 am

That's a beautiful model! Adding the knurling, really did the trick!

I have that same locomotive but probably a slightly later early 1950's version, as it had pellets to drop down the smokestack and the transformer provided the forward/backward motion. I see that the one you have has a three position switch for that, so your train goes sidewards? ;)
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:31 am

Thanks. Threads are next, I guess.

The switch on the loco is really a 2-position thing. As I remember, it was always a little tricky to get it working correctly.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby baz » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:31 am

Show us the logo Dave, I have a huge bunch of fonts.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:09 am

Thanks baz. The logo is just the Lionel L.

The font I need is the one used for labels on the base. You can see it in these photos.






I think it was a standard font specified by the US Army Signal Corps or maybe the US Government during WWII.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby CJRyan » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:24 am

[quote="Dave R"]
The font I need is the one used for labels on the base.

Dave isn't it just one of the Tecnic fonts?
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:53 am

CJRyan wrote:
Dave isn't it just one of the Tecnic fonts?


Not sure. The fonts I found didn't match it.

I just did another search. Found one called Technic that is close but the 3 is wrong. Might be able to cheat it with a modified 8. Thanks.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby CJRyan » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:39 am

Sorry Dave, I hastily typed that in, Technic was what I meant. The "E" is a little different also, but close.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sat Dec 29, 2018 3:00 pm

No worries. That's as close as I've been able to come, too. i've been looking for some document that would list standards like this from that time. I'm sure there was something.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby tuna1957 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:33 pm

"Futura" maybe ?
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:42 pm

tuna1957 wrote:"Futura" maybe ?


Maybe. I'll check it out.

I went ahead and used Technic but modified the E and the 3. Might call it close enough for government work.
Lionel Key labeled.png


Now to create the Lionel L logo. I was hoping to find a decent BMP or other image to use but I think I'll be drawing it manually. Not a big deal, though.
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby davidheim1 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:36 am

Dave,
There must be 10,000 sans-serif type faces, and after a while they all begin to look alike. My best guess is the type face on the straight key is called News Gothic. My second-best guess is Futura. You can look up both (along with the other 9,998) on a site called fonts.com. It's also possible that Lionel created its own lettering for the straight key--something done by an underpaid draftsman using his Leroy lettering templates. Regardless, the font you chose looks pretty close to the orginal--definitely close enough for gummint work, as you said.
Best,
dh
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Re: [WIP] Lionel J-38 Straight Key

Postby Dave R » Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:08 am

Thanks David! News Gothic could be it. The font/type face appears to have been available in the time period. I had thought about but rejected the Leroy lettering sets based on the 3 but you could be right. At the time, other companies manufactured the key and other devices that use the same lettering. I remember some shortwave receivers and a direction finder receiver that I was given when I was about Ian's age. They had seen action in WWII. They had the same or nearly the same lettering on them. (I wish I still had them but they got passed on being too heavy to move.)

I guess I'll leave the labeling as it is on the key now, though. Your clues led me to find a set of fonts created from the Leroy lettering guides. My next overly detailed model might be the scriber and of course I'd need to model the templates. :D
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