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Member postings for Luker

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

Thread: Fire Queen construction series
08/05/2022 14:05:43

Thanks guys...

Yep, it’s modelled in 5g (spot on... 1.25" to the foot or 9.6 scale factor). It’s a small loco, smaller than the Ballaarat, but with similar design tractive effort. The model is very close to the original, and the designer of the prototype was decades ahead of everyone else in many respects. The sub-frames are a boxed construction and incredibly strong even when scaled down for the model. There are a few cheats to improve strength for our track but not many…

One common theme in the series is how I dealt with tolerance stack up, both on the machining and assembling side of the build. With the sub-frames, slanted cylinders etc. small deviations ended up compounding very quickly!

08/05/2022 10:58:10

Hi fellow builders; here’s a sneak peak of my next construction series. It’s a complicated build; so the series does not focus on the detail but more on the interesting bits like the use of some ‘new’ alloys and machining techniques. The series also looks at some of the myths surrounding this exceptional loco. Just so that the old hands don’t feel left out, one technique (used to plate the expansion link) was in common practice before this loco was first steamed. I hope you guys enjoy the write-up! When the series get going I’ll add the odd photo etc. to the forum…

Thread: Ballaarat construction series
01/05/2022 18:42:53

For the guys following the Ballaarat series in ME; a fellow reader and builder is going to contribute to the series and broaden the design. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I'm looking forward to seeing it in print (I've just seen the drawings, so it will be new for me too).

On a somewhat related topic, I was doing some tests on my Ballaarat and needed a little extra weight. A friend of mine joined in the fun. I weigh a good 75Kg, my friend 90Kg. There was no shortage of power or steam, but there is a section with a rather challenging gradient. My William (3.5g tender 2-6-2 with very similar boiler size and weighs about the same) slips on this section with two adults. I’m reasonably sure the Ballaarat would take another person before slipping; next time…


26/04/2022 06:54:46
Posted by David-Clark 1 on 25/04/2022 22:12:26:

...Model Engineer had (I think) 60 pages but is was actually about £350 cheaper to print a 68 page magazine.
So readers got 8 extra pages for free. However there was not quite enough money in the budget to fill 8 extra pages so that is where the old reprinted copy came in. I think Model Engineer went back to 60 pages but it was after I left...

I really do feel for the editors of these magazines, it’s an unforgiving job juggling everyone’s ‘wants’ while walking the financial tightrope! I think authors that are innovative, can do their own designs and still string words together coherently are very rare. Then of course they need to have the time to do all the drawings etc. for very little money. I wonder how many pages (in a magazine) can be filled with articles from this dying breed of writers! I personally enjoy reading the ME magazine; it has a nice balance of journalistic articles and technical articles.

Thread: Ballaarat construction series
16/04/2022 11:23:44

Hi Tom, here is an exported JPEG of the boiler GA, I’ve added two views that should give you all the dimensions you were looking for. If I’ve missed anything please let me know and I’ll update the drawings and post them on the forum. I did have a look at the design and I do need to point out that this design was specific for stainless, and although not difficult, would require some re-work to make it suitable for copper. Items like the lower gauge glass position and steam volume are specific to the top of the crown and for copper this is where changes will be needed. If not done correctly it will affect the performance of the loco.

The water space between the wrappers also needs to be checked for copper to make sure you won’t get steam jacketing especially with nominal calcification. Counter intuitively the stainless boilers outperform copper boilers due to this and other factors.

section through top cl boiler.jpg

boiler ga.jpg

15/04/2022 10:37:20
Posted by tom hardy on 15/04/2022 09:23:22:

hi luker

we dont know how to upload your pdfs but if you send the relative drawing as an attachment to my e mail that should work


Hi Tom, other builders may also need these drawings. Let me see what I can do, hopefully I can upload something to this thread...

15/04/2022 09:06:16

Hi Tom, ok I see what you're looking for. There are multiple sheets for the boiler in my drawings, but I condensed them for the articles. All these dimensions are on the detailed sections.

Can one of the admins help me with uploading pdf's?

15/04/2022 06:01:57

Hi Tom, this should do it. You shouldn’t have any issues converting the boiler design for copper. Just check the stress in the crown area if you remove the crown stay for rod stays (Aus boiler code). I’ve found the code is a little light in this area… (see: Modern boiler construction methods for the model engineer)

ballaarat boiler backhead.jpg

Thread: Material for wheels
09/04/2022 05:59:52
Posted by Michael Callaghan on 08/04/2022 18:43:28:

Thanks chaps, I will take a look

One more option... You could laser cut the inners (blind river and/or solder) and shrink fit a tire on (hollow bar). The spokes are square anyway...

Thread: Modern boiler construction methods for the model engineer
09/04/2022 05:55:03
Posted by Dave Smith 14 on 08/04/2022 23:05:41:


Similar to you I used FEA on ME boilers. First photo a section...

Hi Dave,

Steel boilers tend to solve nicely in FEA, they don’t have the non-linear material properties typical with copper. Your simulations look good, and it’s good to know that other model engineers are using modern techniques to move the hobby forward!

It’s interesting that you also found the (crown) rod stays in the Aussie code to be marginal. For the Stirling mentioned in the article (my avatar loco) I built the boiler to that code using crown stays and I also found the code to be marginal (in fact there’s a few aspects of that code that can be improved upon). I also had to do a little redesign in this area. The crown stays are stronger and all my later boiler designs use this configuration.

I think the problem with crown stays comes from the old days where the silver solder came loose with subsequent heating, but with welding this is not a problem. I’ve also seem two boilers recently where the cross strut was left out, and the comment was that little plate does nothing. Took a little explaining as to why that little plate is so important for the crown stay!

For the record, I don’t want to create the impression that all boilers need to be verified with FEA. If the design is published, or proven and built to the drawings then no calculations are needed and you have to assume the designer has done his bit. The only reason I have had to use FEA in my designs is because they use materials and manufacturing techniques not commonly used in ME.

09/04/2022 05:49:59
Posted by Jon Lawes on 08/04/2022 17:11:38:

I love this application of modern techniques to our hobby. Brings it into the current age whilst maintaining the spirit of ME.

I think I'm a data nerd. When I was younger my cars all had as many gauges as there were things to measure...

Thanks Jon, aren't we all!laugh

08/04/2022 17:07:51

The recent articles in ME on my methods of boiler construction using 'modern' techniques and materials hinted to the FEA simulations I do on all my boiler designs to check that they are safe. Here's a short video of two very different boilers I have built, one a Martin Evans copper boiler and the other the Wahya. Both simulations evaluated the stresses for the pressure test and the running conditions of the loco when in service. The failure modes for the pressure tests for the two different materials are similar but for running the design considerations are different. I hope you guys find the videos interesting... Something different in ME...

Thread: Backyard Foundry - oil burning furnace - moulding and casting a spider
03/04/2022 15:49:18
Posted by the artfull-codger on 30/03/2022 22:27:52:

Hi Luker these hall mirrors were for the wife,to give as presents to family,members,I'm always on the lookout for ready made "patterns" to use for castings these were made from a resin ornament, if I'm loaned anything I make a copy in petrobond with type metal which was used in the newspaper industry as it does not shrink when it cools,I also use roses metal which actally expands when it cools, we used it in the glass trade for setting armourplate glass doors into channel rails we chiseld it out & replaced it with modern rubber pressed in with a hydraulic press, needless to say I salvaged all the scrap, it melts at the boiling point of water, thank you for your kind words.


I really am spoilt with the 3D printer, if I need a pattern I just draw it up and print it overnight. Next day I can normally cast the component. Not like my first loco where all the patterns were from wood. That alone took a few months!

03/04/2022 15:44:14

For the fellow foundry-men...

30/03/2022 10:58:58
Posted by the artfull-codger on 29/03/2022 19:22:32:

dscf0481.jpgdscf0479.jpgHi Luker, sorry about the delay re "yorkshire rose" these are traditional yorkshire roses not with lots of separate petals [& they have to be displayed the right way up!!] & a few other snapshots of castings I've the past.

These are astonishingly beautiful! That rose would work really well in a nice jewellery box for my misses...

Thread: Micro rivets
21/03/2022 06:22:13
Posted by Die Hardenedbedway on 21/03/2022 05:52:00:

Forget the above guys, posted in haste. looks like they will have what I require. Unless anyone else has any suppliers they can think of ?


If they not structural pins work. Just use retaining compound instead of peening the back ends.

Thread: The RSME spring live steam meet
21/03/2022 05:44:10

Hi Guys, a fun video of our Sir George (club loco). I took the film yesterday during our steam meet...

Thread: Engineering tuition recommendations
18/03/2022 11:15:16
Posted by JA on 18/03/2022 08:59:03:
Posted by Old School on 18/03/2022 06:53:57:

The other option is to find a mentor who is prepared to share his skills. I have been lucky I have friend who lives 15 minutes away a very skilled engineer who spent his life as an engineer and designer.

You will also find people who are prepared to help in specialist areas of your hobby and share their skills and knowledge.

I have always thought of this is a near ideal option. I now wonder if it can be combined with Zoom as a one to one meeting.


Zoom or something similar is a really good idea! The young builders at our club often send pictures and videos to each other on private groups for advice and guidance. We have experienced builders on the groups that normally help with pictures or a voice-note. The rule is you need to be upfront if you actually haven't performed the task yourself.

Thread: Rear section of boiler wrap holding in place
09/03/2022 14:43:31
Posted by Michael Callaghan on 09/03/2022 13:03:56:

Hi chaps.I am having fun and games with the rear section of boiler wrap for a 5 inch gauge Stirling single I am building. Apart from one boiler band in the front part of the section the only way I can see the wrap holding in place is by clamping the rear edge under the cab front edge. Is this the correct method or is there a better way. There is not much space between the boiler and the frames and main wheels on a Stirling so just want to be sure that the wrap is correctly held in place. Thanks

Hi Michael, I used rolled angles to keep the cladding in place, then you don't need to fix it to the cab. The outer angle is fixed to the cladding but just rests on the front cab plate. The inner angles are fixed to the cab and not the cladding. My boiler can expand without any rigid fixing to the back cab. My cladding also doesn't go between the frames and boiler, and the back strap is not functional. Hope this helps...




Thread: Backyard Foundry - oil burning furnace - moulding and casting a spider
08/03/2022 04:45:55

Thanks Graham. Yep I keep sanding and polishing outside my workshop! Roses in wood sounds interesting, please could you post some pictures. I'm always looking for gift ideas for my better half!

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