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Member postings for Simon Robinson 4

Here is a list of all the postings Simon Robinson 4 has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Is Buying a used live steam loco cheaper than building one?
10/08/2019 23:58:20
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 10/08/2019 20:12:37:

Worth joining a club, not least to get an idea of what is involved in a build and deciding if you want to take on what will be a multi-year project. Plus you will get advcie and backup for when you get stuck.

They can also help ensure you don't buy a lemon secondhand. Just because someone is selling in good faith, doesn't mean they are aware of all the pitfalls that might stop you getting a boiler test ticket, for example.


I think I will join a club especially with the amount of money involved in either buying or building its good to get advice and help.


10/08/2019 23:55:15
Posted by Steambuff on 10/08/2019 18:26:21:

Why not look at a Loco kit .... Polly Engineering for example.

Not cheap but you will get the support (UK based) if you have an issue.


Edited By Steambuff on 10/08/2019 18:27:26

I’ve just had a look and they look really good and relatively cheap for a 5” gauge loco kit. It would be the best of both worlds! The enjoyment of building it but without need for lathes and milling machines and a running loco in a relatively short time.

10/08/2019 16:24:57

For many years I’ve been interested in either buying or building a coal fired live steam loco. Either 3.5” or 5” gauge mainly for personal use but might consider running it at shows.

While eBay can be quite expensive if you are lucky it’s possible to get a used 3.5” live coal fired loco for around £2000 as a buy it now with some work required to get it going and boiler certified. Quite a bit more for a 5” gauge.

As for building one as a beginner I do not have a suitable lathe or milling machine and you can easily spend at least £1000 for a reasonable used lathe suitable for 3.5” gauge and able to machine ferrous metals and probably the same price for a milling machine. Then you need to learn to use it and have plenty of space to accommodate the machines. The sheet copper suitable for a 3.5” boiler can probably cost over £150. Then there is time to build the loco which can run into years.

So I could imagine by the time you have bought the machinery, plans, materials like copper, silver solder, brass etc you’d not have much change from £5000.

Any thoughts on this?

Thread: How much is a Chinese made GWR 5” gauge 14xx loco?
10/08/2019 12:32:02
Posted by Derek Lane 2 on 10/08/2019 11:02:12:

Was it Keith Appleton

Yes it was Keith Appleton

10/08/2019 00:07:27


I was watching an interesting YouTube video on modifying a 5” gauge GWR directly imported Chinese made loco (14xx). The YouTuber has kept the price a secret.

The build quality is good but there are some areas for improvement hence why it’s being modified.

Any ideas how much one of these would cost? I have looked all over google and can’t find it. I know Silvercrest does them but they are quite expensive and directly imported ones are cheaper.

Thread: What is the cheapest coal fired live steam locomotive?
24/05/2019 23:52:22
Posted by Steambuff on 24/05/2019 18:05:11:


I think we need a little bit of information from you ....

What are your 'Railway' interests ... Standard or Narrow Gauge .... GWR, SR, Welsh, Quarry etc

What do you want to do with it ... Ride behind it or sit in a deck chair and watch it go round?

Where are you planning to run it? Is their any physical size/weight/cost limits?

I own 16mm (SM32) + 3.5" + 5" gauge Coal fired Loco's (Both purchased RTR and Home Made)


Hi Dave

I was thinking of 3.5” gauge but of no particular region and either standard gauge train or narrow.


24/05/2019 15:34:27

Whats the cheapest new coal fired live steam locomotive I don’t mind Chinese built locos? Any gauge will do just the cheapest.


Thread: Slot Machines: How does a mechanical one arm bandit mechanism work?
06/06/2018 18:38:20
Posted by Brian G on 06/06/2018 14:54:26:

Aren't the payout cams located to the left of each wheel as in this video, and simply bolted to the wheels?


Edit: Hopefully this time with player controls

Edited By Brian G on 06/06/2018 14:55:38

Thanks for showing the video very helpful

06/06/2018 13:00:07


I know a little about how a one arm bandit works, you pull the lever it sets off a clock and releases the brake holding the wheels. Let go of the lever and the spring activates the ‘kicker’ which sends the wheels spinning.

My questions are:

1) The 3 payout disks correspond to each wheel and are located to the left of the 3 wheels. How does each payout disk connect with each wheel. For example. How does disk 1 connect to wheel 1 when the other two disks are between it and wheel 1?

2) How does the kicker spin the wheels and do the wheels rotate around the axle independently while connected their relevant payout disk?

Thread: Is Aluminium wood primer any good at preventing exterior wood rotting?
11/05/2018 23:58:51

Posted by Trevor Crossman 1 on 11/05/2018 18:38:19:

Hi Simon​ , I'm not sure if aluminium primer would much improve an already very good product. I live in a wooden clad house which has been painted with Cuprinol shades and not one board has rotted over the past 15 years or so,the I repaint the 'weather' side annually and the remainder bi-annually. My workshop is similarly constructed and painted and that too is okay, only one board has had rot where a hidden ants nest piled a load of soil up inside the wall void due to my less than perfect damp course under the bottom timber. Make sure that the tin is very well stirred before use because it does settle out in storage. Trevor.

Hi Thanks for your advice Trevor. What would you recommend for the underside of the shed floor? It’s tongue and grove on an underside frame of 1” x 1” that will be mounted on 3” x 3” pressure treated posts laid flat on a solid concrete base.

I thought of creosote by the smell is rather off putting for my family, I have some cheap Wilkinson’s red cedar wood preserver....Any other ideas of what I could use?

11/05/2018 17:48:47

I’ve heard they use aluminium wood primer on boats. But is it any good on exterior soft wood at preventing the wood rotting.

I have a new untreated shed and I’m coating the sides in Cuprinol shades paint. Is it better if I do the areas at high risk such as the bottom of the frame etc in Aluminium wood primer or is my Cuprinol good enough?

Thread: Help making model of Walschearts valve gear.
07/04/2018 19:53:46
Posted by Redsetter on 07/04/2018 17:22:30:

Excellent project! My father made me a model of Walschearts gear about 50 years ago, using mainly cardboard and drawing pins, and we both learnt a lot from it.

A set of drawings for a locomotive such as Martin Evans Simplex, Don Young's Black 5 or even LBSC's Tich will give you good dimensions for the components. You will need to model the valves and ports as well in order to see what is happening.

Greenly's "Walschearts Valve Gear" and Martin Evans "Model Locomotive Valve Gears" got most of it right and are well worth reading, though some of the finer points of design are glossed over.

There is a lot of variation in the design, and generally the gear has to be designed to suit a particular locomotive. Once you get started you will see why.

You will find it fascinating, but dangerously addictive.

Thanks for your reply. I will try and find those drawings. A cardboard model of Walschearts seems a good place to start.

07/04/2018 15:53:29

Im trying to better understand how Walschearts valve gear works. So I have decided to make a working model of it, that I can hang on my wall. Does anyone know where I can find the dimensions of the different rods and parts eg the Radius rod, Combination lever, expansion link etc. (With the dimensions I can calculate them to the scale of my model)

I have looked at engineering diagrams on google images and the proportions of rod length vary. Some for example have the radius rod the same length as the combination lever.

Does the rod length vary in different locomotives and are there variations on the design of Walschearts valve gear?

Thanks in advance.

Thread: Diesel engines for miniature gauge locomotives?
24/03/2018 22:01:23

What kind of small Diesel engines are fitted to miniature gauge locomotives such as 5” gauge and 7 1/4” gauge?

It’s always puzzled me because small diesel car engines would probably be too big to fit inside a locomotive body for those gauges.


Thread: How do you fix a leak in steam loco copper fire box?
17/03/2018 15:59:09


I know some one who has a coal fired 3 1/2" gauge live steam locomotive. There appears to be a leak possibly from one of the stays inside the copper fire box. Water drips slowly when filled but can't see exactly where it's coming from. This is a very difficult area to reach. All I know is its from the top crown of the firebox. The boiler is silver soldered.

How can it be fixed?

Thread: Argos sheds are they any good?
13/03/2018 21:18:29

I’m thinking of getting a 7’ x 5’ shed from Argos for £229 made of feathered edge board.

Does anyone have any experience of these sheds are they any good?

I did once get a cheap shed some years ago and it was rotten after only 3 years.

I want the shed to be dry for storage etc.

Thread: Do I have too many ideas and interests?
05/03/2018 01:01:59

So in the space of about 8 hours I’ve thought about building a live steam loco, then a scale model tram, then a scale model of a 1938 stock underground carriage and now a highly elaborate Austrian cuckoo clock (minus the mechanism) made from wood with cable cars etc....Each idea I get fascinated about look at YouTube videos of it and really get the tast until another idea creeps in.

My interests: Model making, Railways both real and model, London Underground, woodwork, gardening, landscape and townscape painting to name a few lol...

Some might say having lots of ideas is great but problem is you never decide what project to do and nothing ever gets started.

Thread: Steam locomotive more technologically advanced than modern airliners for its time?
14/02/2018 16:22:15

I think the steam locomotive was far more technologically advanced for its time than any jet airliner is today.

Even looking at an A1 Pacific there is far more to it than the jet engine. The jet engine is relatively simple, fans that get smaller as the force air into a narrow appeture to combust it. Attached to wings a body and tail.

The steam engine is far more complex than that. Fire tubes, superheater elements , firebox stays. Even the complex shaping of the firebox end and boiler barrel that holds immense pressure, a pressure able to pull hundreds of tonnes of freight. All manner of steam pipes and tubes, water injectors, lubricators. Accurately timed valves and Walcherts valve gear that to this day I have difficulty understanding.

So is the Steam locomotive far ahead of its time compared to airliners?

Thread: what is the cheapest price you’ve seen for a 5” gauge live steam loco?
09/02/2018 21:47:50

What is the cheapest price in recent years a 5” gauge live steam loco has been sold for?

Ive seen one on Ebay a flying Scotsman for £2800. It’s not been run in 15 years, the boiler needs re-commissioning and a good clean, rust removal, a new coat of paint. Is this the starting price you could expect for one that’s in working condition but needs good tidy up, or have you seen cheaper?

What is the average price for one in working condition?

Thread: Digital Calipers from Lidl, Reliable?
08/02/2018 18:12:49

I just seen some metal digital calipers advertised at Lidl for £8.99. At such a cheap price are they accurate and suitable for model locomotive engineering?

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