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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: Ballaarat construction series
08/08/2021 17:26:37
Posted by geoff walker 1 on 08/08/2021 14:35:27:

Luker, that's a fine little engine you've made and in such a short space of time. Enjoyed the video doesn't she run well.

If I was 30 odd years younger I'd be tempted to have a go, but not now, not enough time and too many other things to do.

In the 20 or so years I have been visiting Australia I have been to the coastal town of Busselton on many occasions. First spotted the full size Ballaarat in 2018 not longer after it took pride of place in the visitor centre. A handsome engine beautifully restored. At the time I commented that it would be suitable for modelling and low and behold here we are. I like others will enjoy you're build series.

Are you an Aussie Luker? All the best


Thanks Geoff, she is a lot of fun on the track. One of the benefits of virtually checking everything before building it. No I'm not from Aus but I have done work there. Some of the local vernacular was used in the series to make it more interesting. I hope you and the readers find the series of interest. It’s always tricky writing a construction series; I try to keep it interesting enough so that non-builders won’t get bored.

I was invited to the 150 Year anniversary this year in Busselton, but unfortunately I could not attend. Maybe one day I'll get to see the old girl!

07/08/2021 07:34:25

The valve glands on the steam chest as well as the piston side cylinder cover has some interesting detail...



07/08/2021 07:30:07

One casting that might be difficult to find is the smokebox door, but this could easily be built up or machined from a disk. The cutout at the bottom is something unique.


07/08/2021 07:28:00
Posted by Phil H1 on 06/08/2021 20:25:04:

I would have thought that the wheels can be taken from another design? Maybe even the cylinders too? There is bound to be an engine out there already with similar sizing?

I think you may find similar castings, any inside frame Stephenson 5g model with similar bore and stroke could probably be modified. The cylinder castings and cylinders are shown below. The fancy cutouts around the steam ports are only to improve the castability, and aren't necessary (besides these are at the bottom and on the large loco this was covered in cladding).



05/08/2021 15:53:40

Thanks guys; Jon I like the wiki page!

Jason; there should be enough dimensions to make patterns. If any are missing it wasn't intentional. I have no doubt that there is no casting I can come up with that you can't fabricate! But for the average builder or even the beginner I don't think any of the parts will pose much of a problem (to fabricate). The cylinders will require a decent torch, and some of the detail can be left out to simplify.

With the price of hacksaw blades and files I think the laser cutting comes out cheaper, I’ve started cutting up my old band saw blades to make hacksaw blades… laugh

04/08/2021 15:59:20
Posted by Rob McSweeney on 04/08/2021 14:21:52:

Anyone done a build cost estimate on Ballaarat yet?

I can’t help with exact costing because most of the materials came from scrap or left over stock from one of my previous builds. The design uses common bar stock and metric fasteners available from pretty much anywhere. The main items were as follows:

Laser cutting $138 (this includes the frames, linkages and boiler - laser cut and rolled)

Castings from scrap

All boiler fittings machined from risers or non-ferrous hex bar, depending on the position

All copper steam lines from refrigeration tubing

Paint - 2k automotive paint

I used a model engineering trade gauge someone gave me but this will be replaced as soon as I make a batch of gauges for my current loco.

04/08/2021 07:09:24

And a video of the little one going around our little track...

04/08/2021 07:07:31

Hi everyone, here's a video of the real Ballaarat resting in state...

Thanks to Jacquie for sending it through!

20/07/2021 13:40:48

Hi All, the first installment of the little Ballaarat is in the current issue. I'm quite excited about sharing this build! I hope everybody enjoys the series. Here's a small animation of the design. I removed the back panel to make the backhead more visible.

Thread: advice old British motorcycle
06/07/2021 17:16:06

Any late 50's twin cylinder. Parts are interchangeable for the most part, kick start easy and have that lovely sound that only a twin can produce.

My Ariel 650 has BSA heads and rockers…

Thread: Surface finish when turning.
27/06/2021 08:15:27

Hi Robin, I normally don't get involved with online prognosis because there could be any number of reasons for what you getting there, but in this case I feel your pain! I had something similar when I bought my lathe and it was actually a design issue on the machine itself, and very specific to the machine, so may not be applicable to you. Most of the modern Eastern import gear head lathes sold with CQ numbers suffer from this. If you drop us a picture of your lathe and makers code, and its the same as mine I'll take some pictures with a short write-up and post...

Thread: What's in a Word? ME 4667 Postbag
20/06/2021 16:50:57
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 20/06/2021 15:41:59:

Strong stuff, and unfair in my view because Mr Martin's article isn't gibberish or jargon, not guilty! As such stuff goes, his is a relatively gentle introduction to a difficult subject, admittedly not to everyone's taste.

I also thought the letters were a little harsh, with the author doing a good job in keeping the article and topic simple for most people to grasp the underlying principles. Seems people are very quick to complain about errors in drawings or poorly designed models but modern design methods like parameterization and linked 3D geometries don't find favour (at least if these letters are to be taken as the norm). If a designer uses all these CAD methods then models can be virtually assembled, the linkages tested and dynamically checked and drawings produced to a much better (building) standard than in the good old days of drawing boards. I for one enjoyed that article and found it informative, and make extensive use of parameterization, linked geometries, dynamic simulations, FEA and all other manners of jargon that you hear politicians say on a daily basis. laugh (for Howard )

Thread: drilling a bearing ball
07/06/2021 07:06:48

I had to replace a lost probe point a few years back. Normal inner ball from a std bearing was annealed similar to how Jason suggested; the only difference, it was heated on some dry sand (with a little dishwashing liq) and pushed in with a wooden dowel. Was drilled and tapped using HSS. Any concentricity issues are inherently solved by the small centre drill breaking, but even with a wobbler type probe if you centre it with your finger on the ball all will be good...

probe point.jpg

Thread: What is your favourite "unusual tool that you find useful" ?
05/06/2021 07:46:21

Press stick; used for center finding and assembly aid. Also good to stick charts to workshop walls..


04/06/2021 07:12:39

Looking forward to this thread!

Here's mine: Its a V-block set that can be used as an angle as well...

angle and v-block.jpg

Thread: Casting copper ?
28/05/2021 07:19:46

I would push a bar of the correct diameter in some sand and cast as normal. Copper tends to react with oxides so casting into any pipe needs to be done with the pipe very clean, and don't stand over the pipe when casting. Once poured, cover the top of the copper with coal dust, otherwise it "boils". Sand mix:

3% water

10% bentonite (from beauty shop-face mask)

5%coal dust

5%starch (cake flour)

rem sand

With such a simple mould you'll probably get away with 3% water and 10% starch (rem sand)

I'm surprised copper isn't cast more often, a number of the older models had copper chimney stacks...

copper chimney cap.jpg

Thread: Ballaarat construction series
22/05/2021 07:15:41

Yep this little loco is loads of fun on the track, and easy to drive (no pesky roof or cut-outs to take skin offcrying). She takes two large adults without slipping or complaining (haven’t connected another drive cart to see how many people she could carry). She has a constant lead valve gear so you just slip the reverser in full forward and you can forget about it until you parked in the station again. I haven’t found the valve gear to be lumpy (suppose that’s the benefits of dynamic simulations) and I can get my fingers between the cylinders for maintenance etc. I actually blew out one of the valve chest gaskets when I was (abusively) testing the loco and it was no issue to take the cover off and replace the gasket (just baking paper, no sealant) on the loco. I had forgotten to tighten two nuts and she still steamed for the rest of the day. Incidentally when I test a loco I do a proper job to make sure the design is sound.

I like the analysis of the gents in the manufacturing yard picture! Seems like, even in those days the person that’ll do most of the work is furthest from the loco.

Na, I just liked the look of that low pitched boiler and the odd valve gear. I actually didn’t know of the connection to Pretoria…

I call this my COVID loco; it was designed and built in the first 9 months of 2020 when we had a very restrictive lockdown.

21/05/2021 15:19:30

Hi everyone. Here’s a little sneak peak of my next construction series… hopefully not much longer before it gets published.

An exceptional video of the Ballaarat by Anthony Dawson (thanks to him for permission to embed it here)…

Thread: Wahya construction series
21/05/2021 15:07:51

Thanks Nigel. Everybody at our club likes the wooden cab, it's a little sad that the roof and back panels are removed for driving. But she looks good on the display stand.

The water valve handles look like that because the builders used a valve that lifted instead of the normal turn-taper valve. I kept the valve simple in the model but tried to capture some of this detail.

One highlight of the American type loco is the stability on the track with the compensated suspension over the trucks(bogies) and driving wheels. She really does glide; even on our rough track.

tender water valve.jpg

20/05/2021 17:03:13

The final installment of the Wahya series is in the current ME; finishing off the tender fittings. I hope the readers enjoyed the write-up as much as I enjoyed sharing the design and build. To close off the build I thought I would post some pictures of the ride-on seat (sporting fittings for the shovel etc. and hand break) and the full loco at our track. Thanks to everyone who sent comments both through ME and this forum, much appreciated!



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