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Member postings for norm norton

Here is a list of all the postings norm norton has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Don Young Combined Vacuum/Steam Brake Valve - Problems in achieving a tight fit between valve spindle and the steam brake valve
09/08/2022 22:19:14

Silver solder it. All the Loctites will soften at the temperature of pressurised steam, despite the temperature claims, and slowly fail.

Thread: Wifi range extender
03/08/2022 19:55:00

I was aware that 'wall warts' was an American term and something to do with power supplies sitting in wall plugs, but are the letters W,A,R and T an acronym? or does it just mean a ugly lump sticking on the wall? If the latter then the term is best left on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Thread: Issue with fire tubes blocking up 3.5" Rob Roy
13/06/2022 21:14:51


If the fire creates many fine pieces of unburnt material, and there is a strong draught carrying these products into the tubes, then those tubes risk being blocked.

Number one: do not poke or 'riddle' the fire bed as this will raise bits and pieces. Contentious subject as some drivers love to poke about while other wise heads will NEVER use a poker in three hours of steaming.

Number two: ensure there is only just enough blast from the exhaust to keep the steam production sufficient for running. If you see any sparks from the chimney the blast is too severe.

I don't disagree that Welsh Steam Coal is a lovely material but you should be able to steam well on anthracite grains (grains are smallest, then beans, then nuts)


Edited By norm norton on 13/06/2022 21:16:09

Thread: Is a 3" Cornish coal fire possible?
27/05/2022 15:57:53

Yes you are right Nigel, boilers can be approved, but the stress calculations are a science that only some seem to enjoy.

Two kW of fire energy has to get through perhaps only 1% or 2% efficiency so it might be only 20 watts of engine power?

Edited By norm norton on 27/05/2022 15:58:23

26/05/2022 16:59:41

I think you would have success with a 2.5" or 3" diameter fire tube inside a 5" Cornish style boiler tube. The grate could then support a 2" x 4" firebed which would produce more than a couple of kilowatts if 1" deep AND supported by an adequate draught. That should generate enough steam for a 2" stroke mill engine, perhaps bigger? Just my 'guesstimates' from running small steam locomotives.

I would use a compressed air blower jet, up the chimney, to start and stabilise the fire until there was enough steam to take over.

The problem will be getting a new design of boiler approved for use in public, but there is little doubt you could make a massively strong boiler from two tubes and two end plates.

Thread: Injectors
10/05/2022 19:22:50

Sounds good Bob. You will have more than adequate pipe sizes as I use only 1/32" larger for No4 24oz injectors. You should find that you will only need a weak dribble of free flowing water before you turn the steam on as the injector will suck like mad and get all the water it wants. The thing to watch is any trace of air leak in that water feed because the suction will pull in any air and then the injector will misbehave.

10/05/2022 14:47:59

The nominal sizes and flow rates are only an estimate to performance.

If it is of any help, I would suggest that you could easily use No3 or 16oz injectors on a 5" tank loco. The larger sizes tend to work more successfully than the smaller, and a No3 might fill half a glass in 10-20 seconds?

Thread: Cleaning Injectors
08/05/2022 11:31:48

I am surprised that no other small loco enthusiasts have offered a view so I will try and add a small bit of help Nigel.

The two cones that you see in the picture will come out on some makes of injector and if they do so easily then fine. But if they are stiff then leave well alone. On some of the good injectors they are pressed in. You also have another, third, cone pressed into the body and you must not attempt to remove this as its depth position is critical.

Undo the top nut and take the ball out.

If the cones come out, do not try to clean them with any type of abrasive or metal object; delicate wiping with a tiny wooden or plastic blade to remove any film is the most you should attempt. Do not poke in wires. Inspect the tip of the steam cone, which is the most delicate, to see it is still a good order and not corroded or mis-shaped.

You need magnification. Look along the bore of the injector toward a bright surface and check that you can see a clean, round hole. Similarly check any removed cones, and again when they are fitted back in.

A used injector that has been fitted for a year or more will need a dilute citric acid (5%-10%) soak to remove limescale deposits. A couple of hours in warm/hot citric acid is good and an ultrasonic bath very helpful. Otherwise use a plastic syringe and tubing to flush it through during the soak. Be very careful not to damage a cone if they are detached or liable to fall out. I put a piece of silicone rubber tubing over the steam cone body to protect the tip.

If the injector has been contaminated by dirty water, especially well-fermented rainwater (!), the citric acid will not shift the muck and a strong alkali detergent cleaner will be needed, again hot and for 30 minutes or an hour. Do not use any strong acid that will attack the brass.

Thread: Help ! how to remove embedded diamond lapping particles on metal surfaces
04/05/2022 09:40:10

I agree that the Timesaver pastes are very good. I was fortunate in buying a 'trial kit' of all the four green and four yellow powders in small tins a few years ago. I am not sure if this kit is still available. You will have to spend about £100 on the set of eight small glass jars.Heritage Steam

I don't think that the use of diamond pastes on an engine or piece of machinery is wise - a few grains left will cause so much damage when it starts to run. Similarly perhaps with silicon carbide if you cannot do that good washing job.

Timesaver degrades quickly during the lapping process, you can feel it breaking down after ten or twenty turns. It works nicely freeing up tight gear teeth or a small acme screw in a nut you have just made. I have also used it on very small taper stopcocks.



Edited By norm norton on 04/05/2022 09:44:03

03/05/2022 11:44:55

Sorry, got my companies mixed up - last post should read Newton Tesla, not Transwave !

(edit facility vanished)

03/05/2022 11:04:57

I have in the past left my VFDs out in the cool, and dirty, air and apparently this is wrong. I spoke to the chap at Transwave and for our small power requirements of one horsepower or so they can go into a sealed enclosure with no air cooling. The waste heat they produce is just a few watts; even tens of watts will dissipate from a metal enclosure.

Transwave said to me that a common cause of circuit board failure was from spiders who became 'fried' in their explorations.

Edited By norm norton on 03/05/2022 11:07:26

Thread: Parallel Universe
07/04/2022 10:13:28

Yes, a worrying continuation of what new communications can achieve. As you say, a subject which might not survive too much discussion here? But I wonder if the ability of nations and large groups to deceive themselves has been going on in just the same manner since early times? A human frailty.

Edited By norm norton on 07/04/2022 10:13:41

Thread: Femi 782 bandsaw
11/03/2022 09:33:33

I have had one for a year, with the table, and I leave it set vertically as a bandsaw. Cable tie holds the trigger closed - push button on/off. I have bolted mine on a small metal trolley.

I like it a lot and use it often for cutting steel sheet and even 1/8" plate. One problem is the small throat of 2" being set just 4" back from the blade so you cannot, for example, cut a 10" x 10" sheet exactly in half. You have to plan any cutting out job carefully. Also the blade cut is not square to the table (out by 5 deg or so), the table guide frame cannot be easily used, and the mechanism for holding the blade head vertical is mechanically poor.

My new problem is damaging some third party blades by cutting stainless sheet - I seem to be tearing out teeth either side of the blade join. Perhaps I need to buy a better quality of blade and need to look into that; any recommendations?

There is nothing else like it for the price, so I am pleased I have it.

Thread: Setting up my workshop
01/02/2022 10:18:44

I do like seeing pictures of recent workshop builds and admire both the examples shown above. Well done.

But it made me think of workshops of old, and the ones I love to see re-created at industrial sites, and I used to play in at my grandfather's business in the 1950's. Carpenters shops ankle deep in chippings from a planer, a blacksmiths forge with earth floor, black dust and metal fragments everywhere, a machine shop with overhead line shafts and oil dripping over the lathes. Those are the places I am sure that many of us love to see and visit, but we don't want to work in them do we?

The one thing I would find essential any new workshop though is a 'dirty area' and fume extraction. A shiny, white workshop will soon look different after a couple of years of welding, angle grinding and paint spraying; or do people not undertake those techniques any more?

Thread: Can you identify this motorcycle?
25/01/2022 10:25:43

Well this thread has caused fun!

Just as Noel says, and Duncan, the position of the exhaust and carb makes it a four stroke and the shallow head says side valve. The poor image makes it impossible to see the side valve chest cover that should sit just below the barrel, presumably it has been painted black.

This first image is of a 1940 BSA M20, side vale single, but the cover for the magneto chain is not quite the right shape.

bsa m20 1940.jpg


This second image is of a 1951 BSA C10, side valve single, and the chain cover is the right shape. Obviously this 1951 model has telescopic forks but a BSA marque expert would have to say whether this engine first came out in a rigid frame with girder forks a few years earlier.

bsa c10 1951.jpg

Edit: yes, found C10s going back to 1939 link

Previous identification by Micheal and JohnF acknowledged.


Edited By norm norton on 25/01/2022 10:34:10

Thread: Moving a Bridgeport
12/01/2022 09:41:28


A few years ago I collected a Bridgeport on a low bed car trailer. The supplier loaded it with a fork lift attached to the top eye. At home, I put a 2 ton engine crane around it to lift from the top eye and tried to ease the crane down the, now tilted and jacked, trailer and onto concrete. The problem was the solid iron engine crane wheels on solid axles - it all bound up and stuck to any surface on the trailer. No risk of a runaway! we had to pry bar it down with retaining safety check straps being eased in stages.

Then when it was on the concrete those wheels just dug in and would not roll. It was pry barred into the workshop door, then lowered onto steel bars to roll it into position - much easier to rotate, etc. You need heavy, long pry bars and at least three chaps. At least while on the engine crane it could not topple, once off the crane we took it very cautiously.

Best of luck.

Thread: Engineering as Art
12/01/2022 09:22:36

Lots of technical comment. The original question was along the lines of 'can these two drawings in ME be described as art?'.

In my view, yes, they are most attractive to look at and enjoyable. Are they technically imperfect, do they have flaws - yes that is inevitable as they are hand drawn to that individual's aesthetics. And that is what makes them special.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing hand drawings in ME, and equally shudder at the thought that the editor has converted many into cold, sterile, technically correct drawings.

CAD has done a great service in making dimensionally accurate drawings easily achievable, and I use it for that, but the result is cold and mechanical, and rarely beautiful.

Thread: phosphor bronze  or aluminium bronze
08/01/2022 15:00:27

You should be using PB102 bronze for boiler bushes (PB1 is acceptable) that are silver soldered to a copper boiler shell. The other bronzes mentioned contain lead (gunmetal LG2 5%, colophos 90 4%, SAE660 7%) and zinc, and there are reports that this can affect the silver solder joint. I think the Australian code says something about it but I am speaking from memory.

For a boiler to be tested the materials used should be certified.

However, I am sure that the use of gunmetal has been common, especially for turrets, and I would guess that people have been using colophos and SAE660 with no apparent failure. Some suppliers sell 'phosphor bronze' without being aware of the differences.

Edited By norm norton on 08/01/2022 15:00:51

Thread: VFD - which is best please ?
31/12/2021 12:33:11

Putting a VFD in an enclosure is understood for electrical and mechanical safety. But they have cooling fans and if they are going to run cool the enclosure (case) has to be massive or adequately ventilated itself. If it is ventilated it will pull all the same amount of dust in to gradually coat its circuit boards.

So which is more important, try to let them run cool and extend their lives, or keep them clean in a sealed box?

Edited By norm norton on 31/12/2021 12:33:44

Thread: DAB radio
30/12/2021 13:08:58

Many of the newer speaker systems or boxes will pick up your house wi-fi and play 'internet radio' It is the way the world is moving and it is more difficult now to buy decent quality 'radios'. Sony no longer make their excellent small one and have left the portable radio market. You also need the newer DAB+ receivers to pick up the reformed DAB transmission bands.

But I still have a DAB+ small radio playing through an old fashioned amplifier and speaker pair in the workshop - sounds reasonable and needs only one plug switch to flick on.

Radio in the workshop? Perhaps Andrew has explained why some of my jobs go wrong sad

I can still tolerate Ken Bruce and Steve Wright, but the rest of Radio Two is a disaster. Boom Radio is for us older chaps, and Classic if I get all cultural.

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