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Dave's Park!

Dave's Park!

Co-op Feed Mill

The feed mill was one of the first structures I bought for the layout - long before I had even built the benchwork. I bought it as a used built-up and actually had no idea what it was. I only knew I liked the look of it. Having posted these first two photos on a couple of mrr forums I was told it was a Heljan feed mill. That sounded good enough for me. Middletown would have a feed mill.

Right from the beginning I thought the door to the store part (to the right of the three windows) and the rear doors looked too small. Checking the measurements it turned out that the doors were only 70" in height - too small even by European standards. I replaced two of them with Pike Stuff doors as you will notice in the last few photos (at the bottom of this page).

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At the time that I drew out a lot for the mill I left enough room behind it to have a couple of slim silos but never gave much more thought to it. I planned to buy or make the silos and simply set them behind the building but when the time came to set up the mill I thought that since it was one of the two primary industries in town it warranted a little more thought than simply standing two silos behind the building.

With a very little bit of knowledge of such things I started researching feed mills and silo systems. I was fascinated! The more I read the more I wanted to read. Eventually it came time to stop researching and actually build something. I settled for a silo design that was uncommon, to say the least. It is an octagonal wooden structure. Its rustic simplicity and its century-old charm is perfect for a small place like Middletown.

The silo began as sheet styrene with a v-groove board design. I actually started by cutting the sides of the main body. I scored the styrene without cutting right through and bent it to the desired shape. I took my measurement for the octagon from the inside of the main body and then I drew and cut a pattern for the top and bottom so I could test the fit.

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I cut the tops and bottoms for two silos out of a sheet of .040 thick styrene. I glued a bottom in place leaving three sides open so it would be easier to insert the top. Once the top was glued in I closed the three sides and glued the vertical seam.

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The roof of the silo starts with installing the fill pipe in the center. Four of the eight roof segments were glued into position so that the segments in between could be sanded for a perfect fit. With the roof on the first silo I simply repeated the process for the second shorter one.

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With the silos built it was time to prepare the lot. As with other structures I wanted to build up to the level of the sidewalks. I started with card stock half the thickness of the sidewalk material and cut out the shape for the entire lot. I then added the front parking lot and the walkway to the door of the office. I also installed the truck entrance for the dump pit at the back of the building. I had cut out the existing sidewalk at that location because initially I had not planned for that driveway.

The fourth photo in this next group is of all the parts for the silo/mechanical area at the rear of the building. The elevator was a Rix kit. I had purchased it without the silos because their silos were too big for the space I had available. The silos needed a concrete base and there was a second base for the elevator and elevator shed. The elevator shed and the dump pit were stick built based on online photos of similar structures.

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The last four photos show the Co-op Feed Mill completed. The doors that were changed up are seen here. Finishing touches included the pipes from the elevator to the silos as well as the fill pipe for hoppers, paint, signs, sidewalk repair and weathering. Grassy areas will be done when the grass for the entire area is done.

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For those who may be curious about how the feed mill works:

Everything passing through the elevator first enters the building either from the dump pit or from pipes at the bottom of the silos. The smaller silo stores corn, the main ingredient in the feed. The larger silo stores the finished feed until it is loaded into hoppers for bulk shipment or bagged for sale from the store.

Trucks bring the grain to the mill and dump their loads into a dump pit at the rear of the building. From here an auger system takes it into the main building where it takes one of two routes. The main ingredient, corn, being the largest quantity, comes in from the dump pit and is sent back out through the elevator to the small silo and stored until needed. Other ingredients in smaller quantities are kept inside in smaller bins until needed.

To make the feed the corn is brought in from the small silo, mixed with other ingredients and then pelletized. The pellets go through the elevator to the large silo until ready to load into hoppers or to come back inside to the bagger. And that is, in a nutshell, how the feed mill works.