Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sometimes it doesnt always go to plan...


Its about time for another post me thinks.
As the title says, sometimes the best ideas and plans in my head don't always work and below is a classic case of that. This time it was inspired by some recent posts regarding the influx of mini motors from China and in this instance some tiny 3x4x12.8mm which were ordered sharpish from here EBAY LINK

After some initial thoughts I came up with the idea of using these as a miniature axle motor and just fit some wheels onto each end. The idea sounded right in my head and once the motors have been delivered I carried out some simple checks just to make sure the ideas would physically work, so far so good.
Next on from this was to find something to motorise using this new design. I had a choice between a small shunter type or a bus. The bus idea appealed to me but at the time a lack of some suitable donor vehicle lead me to try the shunter option. I had an etch for a Ruston 48DS lying about so the basic structure was put together so I had an idea of the volume I had.
To start with I machined up a set of 4 wheels using the lathe. The rims were made from some Nickel Silver and the middles from Paxolin. These were then pressed onto the motor shafts to see what they looked like.
Next was the chassis design and construction which, to be honest sort of 'evolved' as it took some time trying to figure out things like mounting the motors. I came up with a design that looked like it would work eventually though.
At this point I was getting quite excited until it was wired up and tested. Then it became apparent that this design might not be as good as it was in my head. The problem is the motors just arent powerful enough to deal with something like this. The chassis design had wire pickups to the wheel rims and even with these adjusted so they are hardly touching the rims, the wheels refused to revolve at all. If I am having trouble already then the chances of it pulling itself along is negligible.
Its a shame really but I am now thinking it would be best to put this to one side for now and come back to it sometime in the future once I have figured out a better was to motorise it. Things don't always go the way I hoped they would!

Anyway, on a better note, the 14xx is finished (apart from its decoder) and I am extremely happy with the way its turned out (thanks Steve). Thats another engine ticked off my list!
Julia :o)


OMG! I just noticed I havent really explained the 14xx! So here goes...

So, the original boiler was stuffed full of lead but I found it just wasn't heavy enough to pull anything. The idea came to replace the lead with a big slug of tungsten but as all the lead was stuck fast with super-glue I decided to replace the boiler section. This was scratch built with castings fro N Brass and my rivet tool  was used fr the first time to do the smokebox details. The tungsten (recycled dart) was then machined to be a snug fit inside the Brass boiler.


Monday, 30 May 2016

OK, its time to have a catch up on things.


Its been a while I know but I don't want to end up posting about things that don't really deserve a post in their own right. I would much rather save up a couple of bits and put it all together into a single post. Then, hopefully, it makes my stuff a little bit more interesting. Im far from the the fastest of people to produce things. This weekend I was at the Railex exhibition and saw Mick and Alan who were aiming to produce a layout in a weekend, that amazes me as do anyone else who can 'knock things together' in a weekend. The 22xx engines of mine are a classic example of my speed. These were started over the Christmas break (2015 before anyone asks!) as a 'quick project' and as you can see below they are still very much work in progress.
Anyway, enough of my waffle, here is a bit of an update on the bits and bobs I have been doing...


In previous posts I have shown progress on some CNC machined wheels. These were ultimately for the Dapol Q1 which I attempted to convert a few years back. Anyway, this work then prompted a complete overhaul of the engine and the result of which can be seen below. The list of work was as follows...
  • Re-wheeled with home brew CNC machined wheels.
  • Replaced the intermediate gearbox with a new CNC machined body and MOD 0.2 gears.
  • Replaced the coupling rods with a pair of custom etched ones.
  • Replaced both CV joints with a couple of my designed and 3D printed joints.
  • Reworked the tender wheels by replacing the steel axles (pin points) and insulating bushes.

Its lots better than the previous version by quite a bit, there are no more wobbly wheels anymore and it runs much smoother.  The engine has a slight bit of 'cogging' at slow speeds which I think might be a slight discrepancy between the worm and the worm wheel but I am in two minds if to strip and replace or see if a decent bit of running improves it. Next step is to fit a decoder.


 These two engines are turning into another 'slow burner' project (I cant really afford another one!). I must admit though that I am particularly pleased with how these are turning out and I can say that to date these two are the best engines I have ever produced. Currently I have been working my way through the brake gear for the engines and once this is done it will be onto the tender brakes. Sadly the plastic brake bits you get with the tender 'kit' from the association doesn't seems to fit so I put together an etch for the brakes so I just need to work out how to fit them.

Rivet Press

This is the latest thing off of my workbench. There are a few future projects where I will need something to form rivets so I came up with the idea for this tool.
Its based upon a pair or parallel jaw pliers which were produced to punch holes in metal. The advantage of using these is I could remove the bits designed for punching holes and replace them with some bits to form rivets. These were turned up on my lathe from silver steel and hardened. The 'pointy bit' is adjustable using a M3 thread and locknut so the rivet pliers can be adjusted to suit various thickness's of metal. I am happy with the resulting formed rivets on standard 0.2mm thick Nickel Silver sheet and I am looking forward to using it in anger sometime in the future.

So you lot are now upto speed on what I have been doing. There are a few other bits and bobs in the pipeline but I will post about those when there is enough progress to show you all.

Julia :o)

P.S. Highclere is due to go to the CMRA show in Stevenage Jan 2017. I'm feeling the pressure already!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Boxpoking about


So what have I been upto since my last post I hear you all ask. Well, I have been mostly CNCing stuff.

I have a Dapol Q1 which has been treated to a conversion a while ago. For those of you who remember it I ended up writing an article for the Model Railway Journal which ended up in issue 211. The problem was that I was never happy with the results. While the engine did run it wasn't upto my standards as the wheels were a kind of hybrid of dapol and 2mmSA.

As with many things in life, the older you get, the more knowledgeable you get and this is a classic case. Since my last attempt at conversion I have rethought an approach to producing the wheels for another attempt at getting something I am happy with. This time armed with a CNC mill I made a start...

This is how the wheel started off. A 3D model of a scale wheel with a 2mmSA rim attached, from this I can generate a CNC programme. In my previous post I showed how I turned up the blanks from Paxolin and added the association rims.

The wheel blanks were clamped in a rotary table and clocked with a dial test indicator to ensure they were centred correctly. I had a frustrating time getting the DTI to fit the milling machine because of the depth on the Z axis wasn't enough. This meant I had to make a little bracket (seen clamped to the mill chuck) which was a pain.
Once the wheel was centred the programme was then run. The milling cutter is a 0.5mm slot drill which conveniently was suitable for all the milling and drilling operations. The programme took about an hour per wheel. It seemed to take forever to do all 7 (6+1 spare) spread over a number of evenings.
And these are the result to date. The backs need tidying up a bit on the lathe but other than that the next step is cutting some axles and fitting them to the chassis.

Am I happy with them? Definitely, they look like Boxpok wheels and fingers crossed they are an improvement on the previous attempt.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Not gone, back once again.

Hello Folks.

Wow, was it really October last year when I made my last blog post? Doesnt time fly when you get on with things. With many of my other projects, enthusiasm comes and goes, thoughts appear and ideas are tested. To be honest the vast majority of the time it doesnt feel like I have enough to warrant a blog posting so instead of waffling on about nothing in particular I do try to save up things a bit to hopefully make the blog posts interesting.

So, what have I been upto since my last blog post I hear you all ask? Here is a summary of the bits and bobs I have been playing with, it might be interesting to some? I really hope at least a single person gets some inspiration from it all...

1. GWR 22xx

 This has been a project that has been ongoing for a bit now. I restarted it over the Christmas break as the layout was once again packed away for the festivities. As per pretty much all my projects the starting point was a scale drawing which was then added into AutoCad where the size, shape, and gearing was worked out. In the particular case of these engines the CAD drawings were then imported into Inventor (my 3D package of choice) where I have a nice little plugin that converts the 3D into G code ready for my CNC.

This is the setup. As you might realise from the majority of my photos my workbench is basically my PC table so when the machines are out the PC takes second priority.
This is an image of the CNC chopping up some PCB material. In this instance its a sideframe for one of the tender chassis. The cutter is a 1mm diameter Carbide slot drill (for those who are interested!
Once all the bits I need are cut out its then a case of soldering the bits together as per a etched chassis. They are accurate enough not to be reliant upon the axle holes to line everything up.
This is the resultant of the tender bits an bobs to date. The motor is a 2MMSA component. These two chassis are destined for a dapol 22xx tender body.
And this is one of the chassis to date. There is still lots to do which I work through once I have figured out what to do. Its the first tender engine I have built replacement chassis for so there are new challenges for me. I have designed a little bracket on the engine that means the worm can be easily removed if needed, to me its an essential part of a chassis.

2. Q1

I have decided to remake the wheels for my converted Dapol Q1 engine. The originals didnt run as concentric and wobble free as I would have liked so I have made a start on a new design.
The first part of the idea was to turn up some wheel blanks which use standard 2mmSA wheel rims. The blanks are made from a Paxolin type of material bought on Ebay, the rims are glued into position with a spot of loctite.
These are the blanks to date ready for profiling. The three on the right are scrapped parts which didnt 'turn' out right (it happens) and as you might have noticed I have seven passable wheels so there is a spare just in case of future errors.

More will follow on this as I make progress.

3. Mamod

A bit of a curved ball this one but at a toyfair over the holidays I picked up this for the total sum of £35.
The original thought for this was to replace the chimney and lave it at that but of course its changed now. As my confidence with the machines I own is growing the ideas are starting to develop, so there are some small plans for this now. It doesn't involve making a chimney though, does anyone know where I can find one?

4. P.C.

OK, so not modelling but worth mentioning. Over the holidays I invested in a laptop PC. This is a departure for my as previously its always been a desktop PC. The BIG advantage is that I now have CAD-TO-GO and recently tested this out at the ST Albans show where I demonstrated my CAD work. It seemed to go down well so hopefully I will be doing more of this at shows in the future.

Right, I think thats this blog up to date now. Let me know what you think...

Julia :o)

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Before and After, Opinions Needed


I have taken a couple of the wagons that have been mentioned in previous blogs and subjected them to a bit of weathering. This time though, I have changed my approach and tried out a selection of the newish Humbrol washes to see what sort of results I can achieve.

Below are a couple of photos showing before (left) and after (right) to show what I have achieved. Now before I carry on with the remaining wagons I thought it would be wise to post this and canvass everyones opinion first. Apologies for the not-so good quality photos but hopefully you can get a good enough idea on what they look like.

So, what do you think?

Julia :o)

Monday, 26 October 2015

Going Old Skool (& MHR stuff)


Yes, do not adjust your monitors, I have added the transfers to the china clay wagons.

OK, so its a departure from my normal 1950's/60's stuff but I do have a plan for these. It might work or not but the idea currently is to rub most of the GW stuff off and re-livery them to suit something a little more appropriate. It then will hopefully just a case of comming up with an excuse why they ended up in deepest Hampshire.

The other thing worth mentioning is on Saturday I had the pleasure of popping down to the Mid Hants Railway with my railway friend Andy once again. It was the Autumn Steam Gala and a thoroughly enjoyable day regardless of the weather. The highlight for me was definitely having a mooch around the various new (and old) workshops at Ropley, I haven't been around them before and I was seriously impressed by them.

 There were some more unusual trains too...

Julia :o)


Got these through the post today, some castings for 6mm driving wheels and I am impressed with the results so far.


Monday, 21 September 2015

An Insomniacs guide to the SVR Autum Gala 2015


I thought I would add an entry to my blog about this years Autumn Steam Gala, this is a must see event for me. The difference is that I have suffered a bit from Insomnia for a while now and to sleep in my van parked in the station car park has somewhat eluded me. The mixture of change, excitement, and late nights all come together to make it next to impossible for me to get any sleep, unfortunately this year wasn't much different. I did still really enjoy myself though...

I arrived at Kidderminster Station on Friday around 1pm. To my surprise I also noticed that the entrance to the car park had a sign in the way saying the car park was full along with a smartly dressed guy standing next to it. The smart guy said that the car park was indeed pretty full but fortunately he let me pass saying I might be able to squeeze my van in somewhere. This to me was a bit unusual as I have never seen the car park this full before, I thought to myself 'this is getting to become a popular event'. Anyway, I managed to park up and went for a wander around that station while waiting for Andy to turn up.
There was a nice collection of engines on view already, the 14xx and autocoach was a pleasant surprise too.
Then of course there was the Royal Scot engine. I have never seen one before and I commented that it looked a very well proportioned engine. The engine looked superb and it fitted in to the railway scene really well. The whistle was a bit naff though! Once Andy has arrived and we had had a browse around Kidderminster we then headed off to the next station along Bewdley to get some fish and chips.
I don't know exactly why but am guessing that the Royal Scot engine had drawn in the crowds but there seemed to be a generous collection of photographers out and about. Above you can just about see Britannia pulling into Bewdley Station.
It looked good in the early evening sun. The weird thing though is what they were coupling it up to.
I guess there is no reason why such an engine would be used to pull a freight train, it just looked a bit weird to me though. Anyway, once that trundled off into the distance it was time to walk into town and get a fish and chip dinner.
Once we got back it had got suitable dark enough for me to have another bash at some nightime photography. It is sort of the highlight of the event to me, the fact trains are running 24 hours over the 3 days. The only trouble is I had 2 problems, the first is I forgot my remote shutter release thingy and the second is I am a bit rubbish at taking nightime shots. The above photo is an early attempt and it came out weird considering it was actually this dark...
Now that is the sort of picture I am happy with. The crowds had disappeared by now (don't know why) as it was now around 7pm so getting into a good position to take a photo was no trouble at all. Also having a new camera (Canon 700D) made it much simpler to experiment with settings.
Of course using long exposures makes it really hard to catch moving things, or more correctly things that decide to move when you are mid way through an exposure!
I know I said it before but the whole place just oozes atmosphere in the dark, I just love it! Anyway it was time to head off back to Kidderminster jut in time to see this leave...
It was then time to say our goodbyes for the day and settle in for the night.
So. I was at a steam railway, it was 2.30am and I couldn't sleep at all. So I did the obvious thing, get out of bed, grab the camera and go and take some photos. It was very quiet and serene until a train arrived but even they were trying to be quiet. The rest of the night was spent watching TV and cursing at myself for not being able to sleep, things weren't too bad until around 3-4am when the tiredness started to catch up with me,  it felt like I had to make a decision, do I get some sleep and risk sleeping late and missing a chunk of the next day or stay awake and grit my teeth and get through the rest of the day. I chose the latter this time.

At around 6am the place started waking up again and I was out and about with my camera to catch the morning chores.
It was a bit foggy on the Saturday morning, great for getting some nice atmospheric photos!
The morning progressed and the queue for the morning breakfast train grew longer.

As the day progressed the weather perked up and it ended up being a lovely autumn sunny day. As a result of the previous nights escapades I did struggle a bit, especially when I was sat on the train keeping my eyes open but I didn't let it ruin the day out. Saturday was a day to travel along the line visiting the various stations.
Royal Scot was looking resplendent in the sun.
There seemed to be plenty of people willing to get soot in their faces. I even noticed some safety goggles for sale at one of the stations.
I have now worked out why some southern engines had such large chimneys! This was Sir Keith Park doing its best to help along global warming!
We bumped into Will J and Tom E at Arley Station. Will was wowing the crowds with his models and layout of Victoria Bridge. It was nice to catch up with these guys once again.
While outside there was the opportunity to see scenes like this, they are not that common.
The workshops at Bridgnorth Engine Shed have always been fascinating to me. I wouldn't like to operate some of the machines though, they looked downright  scary. At least I could recognise what they were though.
And this was the final photo I took at the Gala. It was really nice to see autocoaches being used how they were meant to be with all the remote operating gear working.

And so that was the end of the day. I left Kidderminster for home around 6.30pm on the Saturday worn out and tired but very happy. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable 2 days indulging myself in one of my passions regardless of sleep or not, to me it was really worth it. A special thanks goes to Andy H too for keeping me company and being patient with me too.
I say this every year and I really hope at least one person will take my advice. If you haven't tried it out yet then go to the SVR autumn gala, OK it can be busy at times but to be surrounded by steam at night on a working railway totally transforms the whole experience. The atmosphere of the railway just comes alive, go there and soak it up!

Julia :o)