I spent April 2011 completing the construction of "O'Brien Steel Construction Co.". It was built using the Showcase Miniatures "Sunkist Packing Shed" kit, the construction of which is fully documented in the Structures section of this web site.
I wanted to surround the property with a model of a chain link fence. The entire length of the space dedicated to this structure is 36 inches long. At first I thought about making the fence in-place in the scenery, but later realized it might be easier to build most of it "offline". I cut a one-inch strip of wood and cut and installed "poles" into the "ground". The poles are made out of 0.032" brass wire. I would have liked something a bit thicker, but that is the thickest I had on hand.
I bought some wedding veil material at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft. For a few dollars I have enough material to put chain link fences up around all my properties! The size of the openings varies depending on which veil material you get, so find something that fits your scale. After cutting the material a scale 6 feet wide, and a strip long enough for the entire fence I was building, I superglued several lengths of 0.032" brass wire along the top of the fence. After that dried, I glued the whole thing to the poles I had already planted. I made a small part of the veil stick out above the top brass wire, because that is what seems to be done in the real world.
After attaching the veil, I took the board to the garage and used a cheap spray paint of flat aluminum color and sprayed the entire fence. I then cut out a section of the scenery and permanently installed the fence (glued to the side of the roadbed). This can be seen in the photo below. Needless to say, blending of the ground will be done in the near future.
I was then going to build a static, permanently open gate and the remainder of the fence. However, as I was contemplating its construction, I realized it might be a neat idea to build an actual moving gate. The idea being that the property is closed off except when rail traffic needs to come into the property. I then built the two fence sections on the short side of the property. The gate took a bit of experimenting to get the correct translation of motion from the Tortoise switch machine that drives the gate to the gate moving in the right direction and swing open far enough to avoid blocking a train. The finished assembly is shown below.
I had to break away more of the scenery to be able to place the Tortoise, and to route the wires to the Digitrax DS44 stationary decoder that controls the Tortoise. Since the structure is against the backdrop of the layout, it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get the Tortoise to fit and still provide the lateral motion needed to control the gate. I actually had to break off a piece of the Tortoise's mounting to get it to fit next to the roadbed. The photo below shows the overhead view of the configuration. The Tortoise moves its rod left and right. The brass wire that is the top of the gate is one solid wire that is bent at a 90-degree angle going into the brass pole that provides the pivot. At the bottom the brass wire is bent at another 90-degree bent that provides the friction point against which the Tortoise wire pushes. The brass wire is then bent another 180 degrees to allow the Tortoise wire to push against it as it moves in the other direction. The distance from the pivot pole to the 180-degree bend was determined through experimentation to allow the full swing motion of the Tortoise to move the gate the full 90-degrees of its travel. Part of the plywood base upon which the structure is installed had to be carved out to allow the Tortoise to fully swing to the right. When I finally found the best position for the Tortoise, I marked its outline with a pencil, and glued it down with Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue. The Tortoise is directly glued to the benchwork base. Five-minute epoxy glue could have been used as well, but there is very little pressure exerted on the Tortoise, so Aleene's might allow easier removal of the Tortoise in the future, should the need arise.
To prove that it really works, see the YouTube video I posted. I'm switching the gate via the throttle that sends a message to the decoder that causes the Tortoise to move. If you turn up the volume you can hear the Tortoise moving, and maybe even me pressing a button on the throttle. I connected a 2000+ ohm resistor to the output of the stationary decoder to slow the movement down. I feel that this speed is about right for a gate of this size. After rebuilding the earth around the facility, the business is now open. The road switcher is pulling out a boxcar full of new, shiny objects packed in crates.