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Member postings for Jon Lawes

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

Thread: Cost and Weight: 3 1/2 vs. 5 gauge
12/06/2018 09:13:13

I've probably overstated my leg issue; my day job involves clambering over large helicopters so I'm not quite as bad as all that, but its good advice regardless.

I can see the advantages to maisee (specifically with regards to the simpler boiler and slide valves) but I think its the two driving axles that put me off. The LMS 4F does look right up my alley however. Don Young's work does seem quite positively spoken about. That looks like a prime contender.

Thanks for the tips, I will also keep attending the club nights. I wouldn't dream of asking to drive other peoples locomotives however, I just couldn't bear the risk of causing damage to someone's pride and joy.

11/06/2018 12:26:10

Thank you, I shall investigate.

11/06/2018 09:14:53
Posted by Russell Eberhardt on 11/06/2018 09:05:11:

Weights - 3.5" about 1/3 of 5"

Costs - castings and materials about half.


Thanks Russell, that's a useful guide.

11/06/2018 09:11:05

I'm rapidly approaching 40 (Signal passed at Danger?) but my bigger issue is I'm an amputee. dead lifting heavy items isn't too much of a problem but carrying over a distance is a little more problematic one legged.

I'm still mulling this over between thoughts of fitting in a relatively quick build freelance steam wagon in the meantime (as discussed before on another thread, using a gear/chain reduction on a Stuart Sirius for motive effort, very simple boiler, minimum of castings. Focus on ease of build rather than accuracy in that case).

I'll attend a few more club nights and see what feels "right" for me. I hadn't considered the Speedy before but the more I look at it the more I like it. I guess I want something that has a fair bit of realism but still is achievable by someone with very modest skills. I want to use this as a learning experience, but to such an extent that I'm in my 80s before I get steam up for the first time!

Thanks all,


10/06/2018 20:28:47

Good points, thank you. Not just manhandling it but storing it too I guess. My mantlepiece isn't THAT big!

I quite like the look of speedy. It would appear every type I look at has equally keen advocates and harsh detractors. I did wonder if a larger 3.5 inch gauge model would be a good compromise; something like a Britannia is more complex but with cheaper castings errors are not quite the earth shaking issue they could be.

Thanks for the food for thought. I'll keep thinking. It may take me longer to decide than to build!

10/06/2018 19:06:05

I'll try rewording. Is it vastly more cost effective to go 3.5 inch gauge over 5 inch or are the differences not significant enough to outweigh the disadvantages?

10/06/2018 08:54:22

As you may have guessed from some of my posts on here I like to plan things ahead comprehensively before I cut metal!

I've been weighing up the advantages of different project types, from Steam Wagons to Traction engines and rail locos. I had thought that it was pointless doing a steam locomotive as I didn't think I had a track near me, then I was lucky enough to find a group 40 mins drive away with a 5 gauge and 3 1/2 gauge track. This means suddenly my preferred project is viable. After a short chat with some of the experienced engineers there I was heading towards the idea of a 5" gauge locomotive (probably a firefly, Simplex or something of that ilk) as the building of a larger locomotive presents something more tangible; more capable of doing work. However I've realised that the larger it is, the heavier it is, and also the more costly the materials. Although its a project likely to span many years I don't want it to be held up on a regular basis through lack of funds.

So my question; is a 3 1/2 gauge locomotive much more cost effective to build than a 5 gauge? Would it be more suitable to making on my Myford? And does the reduced size make things more fiddly for my fat fingers to operate once complete? I have hands like shovels, and not the scale kind.

For two comparable models (a firefly in each size for example) would it be realistic to say a 3 1/2 gauge loco would be 3/4 of the cost to build considering the cost of castings and boiler copper?

Thanks for everyone's help, I'm currently doing a lot of soul searching about this, and since my grandfather died a few months ago I don't have anyone close to me to discuss such topics (leaving quite a void I have to say).


Thread: Pet identity chip reader
10/06/2018 08:45:48

All the RFID tag will give you is a serial number, you would need access to the database to give you any useful and useable info. In the days of Data Protection I suspect that would be very difficult to use. It would of course speed things up to be able to read the number directly to a vet over the phone.

Thread: Stuart Engine as motive power
05/06/2018 19:43:20

I'm in North Dorset, near Shaftesbury. That annual show sounds fantastic, a couple of hours drive but sounds worth the trek!

Thread: Flash Steam
04/06/2018 16:02:47

I was quite impressed at one of the steam car flash boilers, I think it was doble, who had a system of quartz rods that pushed the control valves for the fuel supply shut as the temperature rose, providing closed loop feedback control for the heat supply.

I'll probably still end up going the route of a conventional boiler but the draw of exploring "the Sentinel that might have been" is pretty strong!

04/06/2018 12:11:43

I'm sure you would still need some sort of safety valve so maybe that needs to be certified in some way?

It's a very grey area, until I asked here I was getting very conflicting opinions.

03/06/2018 21:57:33

Very helpful indeed, thanks

03/06/2018 21:42:51

I've finally plucked up enough courage to visit a club this wednesday, I'm looking forward to chatting face to face with like minded souls.

I'm currently just juggling ideas; I like the idea of building a steam wagon but want to make something that looks like it could have been made in-period despite being to my design. I've a lot of ideas rattling around but nothing concrete forming yet!



03/06/2018 21:08:16

As I understand it the actual water capacity is restricted to what is within the coils at the time, which is likely to be a cupful!

03/06/2018 20:25:01

A very simple question from me for once, but still daft no doubt.

Do you need a boiler certificate for Flash Steam / monotube boilers?

Does this mean getting insurance for using anything powered by a flash steam boiler would be problematic?

I'm still thinking of unusual methods of powering a Steam Wagon (not a faithful replica of an existing model obviously!) and as the Doble steam cars used flash steam (powering a 2 cylinder double acting uniflow engine if wikipedia is to be believed) I think it could have some potential.



Thread: "It" comes to life again
03/06/2018 18:59:25

That looks fantastic. I like the high running boards of this design.

Thread: Material for gas gauge lens for riding mower.
03/06/2018 17:37:51

I hope this has helped you Mark... frown

02/06/2018 22:26:45

I was going to suggest watch crystal glass. It's available in a complete myriad of sizes. usually the sizing is described as 383 for 38.3 as described by pgk pgk above.

Thread: Stuart Engine as motive power
02/06/2018 12:55:04

Excellent points raised, thank you.

I would still love to do a traction engine, I didn't realise a 2" fowler was an achievable option. I'll resume looking into that as a possibility.

I haven't looked at the JHSDE but I now will! Thanks for the lead. Same goes for the Avery.

As much as I admire the PYRE I feel its a little small, and still a little toylike. I mean no offence to those who have built them, its still a great piece of engineering in its own right, and more than I have achieved so far.

The fact they might need a flash boiler could actually be an advantage. As a child in my grandads workshop I read, reread and read again J.H Bensons "Experimental Flash Steam" and think a flash steam boiler could be quite an interesting prospect for an undertype. Again, food for thought.


02/06/2018 12:28:16

Although I would love to build a live steam railway locomotive I think I would prefer something that could be useable on a whim, therefore my postage stamp back garden isn't really suitable as any railway would be very short indeed! As a result I considered both Traction engines and steam wagons, but I suspect due to only having a lathe a traction engine is out. I would wish to make something of a good tangible size; although I am amazed at the beautiful models people make in the smaller sizes I would like something a little larger.

As discussed in another thread about Undertype wagons I'm now thinking that I would be best off designing something that suits my facilities (i.e. the ML7, my inability to make anything other than tiny castings etc). As a result both overtype and undertype steam wagons are currently being considered, but to my own design. I like the idea of an undertype as I figure I could base the design around using a stuart marine type engine or similar, suitably geared.


With correct reduction I reckon this would make for a smooth and powerful undertype wagon capable of pulling a small load. Is that a fair comment?

The only thing I don't like about this idea is that I don't really like the type of boilers used in an undertype; I would prefer an overtype boiler. However if I make an overtype would I be best off buying castings for a traction engine in order to make my source of power?

I'm still in the early stages of deciding what to do, as you can probably tell. I have no real issue with making my own homage to a design rather than accurately replicating it, but I would still like it to be something I am proud to display rather than feel I should hide as it feels cobbled together!

Any pointers, tips or experiences would be gratefully received. I don't heed every piece of advice I'm given but I do appreciate every bit! smiley I'm mainly trying to generate discussion that helps me clear things in my mind and discount unsuitable ideas.

Thanks, Jon.

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