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Member postings for IanT

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

Thread: Views Inside the Sieg Factory in Shanghai
23/01/2021 15:51:42

The Horse is considered to be 'hard working' by the Chinese - so it's probably something like 'Hard Working' 'Special' (for) 'West' .

I learned some Cantonese when I lived in the Far East and could sometimes get a free beer by speaking it out loud in my favourite local bar. The Chinese seemed to think my linguistic attempts were extremely funny - simple phrases (from my tourist guide book) producing howls of laughter. I was never sure if it was my pronunciation or that some wit had amused himself by thinking up amusing things for dumb Westeners (like me) to say. - probably both


Thread: Creating your own scale drawings
21/01/2021 00:16:58

Buffer, I think we are all of a similar mind here but some further thoughts for what they are worth....

For my models, I prefer to have factory drawings if possible but sometimes work from other sources, for example small scale drawings or artwork that were published in trade or modelling magazines. Modelling older British railway prototypes, they will have originally been made to Imperial dimensions but when trying to measure something from a drawing, it's often hard to determine the exact dimension.

However, for many parts you can be fairly certain that the builder didn't use an odd size (unless there was a good reason for it) so if I measure something that looks like it's 5 1/2" - I'll probably decide that it was 6". Or if a wagon side has 5 planks and seems to be 37-38" high - I might decide it is really 40" because it's more likely that the builder used 8" planks (rather than 7.5" ones). Not sure I've explained this very well but I hope you get the general idea. I find it's harder to make these judgements with scaled parts. I should mention that I'm just getting the 'larger picture' at this point - marking where bolt holes etc will go but not adding the actual bolt etc.

Having got the full-sized drawing(s) of the larger bits, I then scale the part (in my case by a factor of 22.6) and make any adjustments required. For wagon stock, I have a pretty good idea of what full-size screw fittings (bolts heads etc) were used to hold the various different parts together - and what their scaled size is. I have tables of things like pre-war Whitworth bolts/heads (scaled from full size down to G3) and also generally know what kind of screw sizes etc I'll be using (e.g. small BA generally).

So I guess in summary, I draw the larger parts to full-sized scale, marking the position of fittings but probably not adding them at this stage. I then scale the drawing down and add in the fine detail afterwards, intending to use known parts & materials that match the requirement. It's certainly not perfect science but gives reasonably good results for my rolling stock.

Hope this helps sow some ideas. The best way to find out what works for your particular 'job' is to draw/design a part of it and see if the end result makes you happy. If it doesn't - redo it until you find a method that does - then do everything else. Better to get your process/method up to scratch right at the beginning, rather than spend a lot of time getting half way through and then deciding that you need to start all over. Unfortunately, I speak from recent experience....



Thread: Model boiler safety calculations
20/01/2021 12:00:54

Yes, of course model boilers are unlikely to explode Dave - because they are designed (over-engineered) not to.

But don't under estimate the ability of a small minority to do dumb things given the opportunity. I often hear folk raging on about the 'dumbness' of the current boiler regulations and why they don't make sense for 'this' or 'that' reason. They seem to miss the key point that (these days) it is crucial to have Public Lability Insurance. My Society became Incorporated (a Limited Company) a few years ago, simply because it helped to lessen (but not remove) the liability risks that Society Members (potentially 'Partners' previously) might otherwise be subject to, should an accident occur.

That accident of course is not limited to a boiler explosion, in many ways that is the least worry. I have seen a large live steam loco nearly exit a high level track with a child sitting under it's path. Fortunately, it didn't come completely off (just overhanging) but it would have certainly done harm if it had. In these ambulance chasing times, a compensation claim would have been a high possibility.

What's this got to do with the Boiler code? Well there is only one insurance company here in the UK that will 'actually' provide Clubs/Societies with insurance cover (try getting it anywhere else in practice) and they have accepted the Orange Book as the necessary guidance in this area. It's been negotiated between the various parties involved and is a pragmatic solution to the problem. If they required all boilers to be painted with polka dots - it would be simpler to just do it than risk not being insured for public liability.

Of course none of this applies to anyone operating a boiler in a private setting but should an accident occur (of any kind) then they'd need to be very sure that their private insurance covered them.

So let's be clear. Society/Club boiler Inspectors make sure that the boilers they examine (within the scope of their competence) are safe for use within the given guidance. In doing so - they are not trying to work on the limits of engineering safety but within the limits of established practice set by practical experience. Their work is well documented and is therefore an important part in demonstrating good faith/observance of the contract made between the modelling organisation and the Insurer.

All this refers to the 'smaller' boilers generally covered by the UK's Orange Book. Anyone contemplating designing/building larger pressure vessels (steel boilers for instance) clearly need both professional help with design, build and test.

Btw - a Shell Test to 2 x WP done properly (e.g. the pressure is increased in gradual stages) should have no adverse effect on the working life of that boiler.



19/01/2021 09:46:04


I attended one of the Southern Feds Boiler Inspector seminars a few years back. They provided guidance 'notes' in this area which I think may be sufficient for your needs. Most boilers are inspected on the basis that they are a "recognised" design (e.g. one that's been published) - and of course they are normally over-spec'd anyway.

If you'd like a copy of the notes, I'll scan them for you (assuming that I can find them). Please PM me.



Thread: Not the only president causing problems.
18/01/2021 17:19:53

Made a mental note of the spring tempering method Dave, will try it when the time comes - good idea, thank you.

Lovely casting for the pony truck too.



Thread: Files - what do I need to know
17/01/2021 23:50:13

Hard to give exact purchasing directions - but as general guidance

  1. Always buy good quality files - you don't need too many to get going. Good ones will last a long, long time and give you much better results.
  2. For my (small) modelling work, I use generally 4" files - both flat and triangular, in medium and fine cuts. I prefer one edge of the 'flat' files to be smooth (e.g. safe). Buy handles that suit the file length and tang
  3. A good set of 'Swiss' files will last a lifetime if looked after. My 'Swiss' set are by 'Stubbs' and still giving good service after 30+ years. The smallest flat, taper square and half round seem to get used most.
  4. I only use new files on non-ferrous and they don't ever see ferrous use while being used for such
  5. I have lots of old files in various conditions for ferrous. Some I just keep in the unlikely case I ever get around to re-cycling them, some are used just on castings and I even have some that can still do good work when required. They are mostly 6-8", all cuts and shapes.
  6. All (even my rubbish files) are kept in racks, so they don't bang together.
  7. Personally, I don't use wire file brushes or cards. I do have several chisel shaped brass 'scrapers' to clean debris out, working with the line of teeth.

That's about all I can tell you. I still can't file as well as I can machine things and probably never will but sometimes you have no real choice but to file something and then it's much better to have a good quality tool to do it with.



Thread: Not the only president causing problems.
15/01/2021 19:59:28

Coming along Dave



Thread: Arduino CNC
13/01/2021 17:19:21

Neither had Michael - but I found this summary more useful than much of the stuff on YT.

bCNC - Product description

I also noted that they are recommending going to a 32bit GRBL (not Arduino) - which I had already looked at a little - at least a version that runs on the (infamous) STM32 based "Blue Pill" - of which I already have several ( they used to be about £2 each).

Most of the bCNC videos on YT seem to be focused on PCB production but it seems capable of much more. Of course, I'd need a CNC machine first...



Edited By IanT on 13/01/2021 17:20:50

Thread: Interesting shaper-Newey
13/01/2021 15:07:42

OK - you will be able to find it at the bottom of this page. Been a bit cheeky and used the G3S website.

It will be there for a few days - or until I do the next update....

G3 Society - Downloads



13/01/2021 14:41:58

Sorry about that - I normally test my my links but obviously not this morning.

I don't seem to be able to post PDFs here - so I'll see if I can find an alternative...



13/01/2021 12:15:23

For anyone interested in the 'Shapemaster' - someone on one of the shaper groups found this link, which gives more detail of the specification. It has some unusual table tilting features but having no 'knee' may be a little limited in cutter height adjustment/clearance.

Introducing the Shapemaster



Thread: Interest in pictures of models
12/01/2021 14:42:33

"the same as Cherry's, but nowhere as good."

Very few peoples are... including mine! crying


Thread: Not the only president causing problems.
12/01/2021 14:38:16

Always good to see a 2.5" engine getting restored Dave. I'm sure you've already found this but the B&O Museum has this reference:

B&O Museum - No 5300

No 5300 Photos



Thread: Interesting shaper-Newey
11/01/2021 15:17:59

Went to have a peek at the Newey (pricey but I guess it depends on it's condition) - and spotted this smaller machine

Shapemaster - eBay

Not heard of them before. It appears they were made by an American company (Young Engineering Labs) based in St Paul (Minn) - but the seller is here in the UK.

As always - Caveat Emptor!



Thread: 1/2'' scale drawing sources
11/01/2021 12:08:47
Posted by RRMBK on 10/01/2021 20:26:25:

You may also find the Gauge 3 society at of interest although this tends to be more for completed locos.

hope this helps

When I joined the Gauge '3' Society, there were no RTR engines and very few wagon kits. It was a 'scratch builders' scale and very much based on large live steam engines (often LBSC designs) - so you either built your own engine, purchased second-user or commissioned one (and waited two-three years for delivery).

These days we have a very wide range of ready to run engines in both live steam and battery electric, kits to build the same (Barrett Live Steam Models J65 is now available in G3) but 'scratch-building' is still very much a part of our Members activities. Many of these members are also members of the N2.5GA - and run their locomotives in 'Driver Hauling' mode at their Rallies as well as at Society GTGs.

But quite apart from G3 Live Steam engines there are also some very nice models being built from a more traditional Railway Modeller perspective. G3 is very good when modelling early Victorian Railways for instance, because they were quite small locomotives and lend themselves to detailing, which G3 enables. But we do seem to be attracting some very good 'scale' modellers from the smaller gauges too. Good examples of both can be found on Western Thunder - but I like this GWR Saddle Tank as an example of the fine work folk are doing in G3 these days.

GWR Saddle Tank in G3

For myself, I own a 'vintage' coal-fired G3 GNR Atlantic (so I guess that counts as RTR) but everything else has been (or hopefully will) scratch built. Whether I will ever finish my main 'G3' project ('Hyperion' - LNER 3-cylinder A3 Pacific) remains to be seen - I do some work, re-do it, go away (and do something else) and then come back again. So whilst I'm not the best model engineer in the Society (or the most productive one by a long chalk) I'm afraid - scratch building both live steam and other models in Gauge 3 is still very much alive and well.

Although you could also just buy a Kingscale 'Britannia' instead I guess!



11/01/2021 11:20:52
Posted by Bazyle on 10/01/2021 21:35:41:

My understanding is that the main following of 1/2" scale in the USA is for narrow gauge prototypes running on G1 track. There is or was a magazine something like 'Garden Rail' that specialised in it.

Gauge & Scale is a somewhat complicated area in the US (even more so than over here).

Many N/G railroads in the US were 3ft gauge, so when running on 45mm track, the correct scale is 1:20.3 also described as Fn3 by companies such as Accucraft. But there are (were) companies producing 1:24 (e.g. 1/2" ) scale products but the connection between scale and gauge was/is often very loose. In the US "G-Scale" and "G-Gauge" tend to get used to mean different things, the only commonality being the 45mm gauge.

In Europe, "G-Scale" generally means a scale of 1:22.5 on 45mm track - which is what LGB used to model their metre-gauge N/G railways. In Germany, the Spur II standards all use a scale of 1:22.5 but on four different gauges to represent Standard gauge ( Spur II - 64mm), Metre gauge (Spur IIm - 45mm ) and "Feldbahn" on 32mm and smaller gauges. Perhaps strangely, there was a small German manufacturer of US-prototype engines and stock called Magnus but I'm not sure if they were Gauge '3' or Spur II - the two being nearly the same but not identical (63.5mm vs 64mm track gauge and 1:22.6 vs 1:22.5 scale).



10/01/2021 21:23:09

P.S. I should have mentioned that whilst there is quite a lot of old 1/2" scale stock still around here in UK (and being run) the scale for 2.5" gauge started to change to 17/32" between the wars and that is the norm these days (or 13.5mm in metric - a scale ratio of 1:22.6 if using CAD).



10/01/2021 21:10:48

Victor Shattock was born in Devon, emigrating to Calgary before relocating his family to California.

His American standard gauge (spirit-fired) steam engines were scratch built at 1/2" scale to run on 2.5" gauge track (e.g. same as pre-War Gauge 3) and his railroad was set-up indoors in the basement. The details are given here - and there are links to some old black & white movies on YouTube that are very interesting.

Victor Shattock - Gauge 3 in the USA

Brainspark - As far as I'm aware, there are no modern drawings (or castings) for US style G3 engines available at the moment. LBSC did produce some US 'style' designs for 2.5" in the early 1930's - some details can be found in the N2.5GA "Overseas designs" but they may not really suit your needs. See: N2.5GA Designs

However, in G3 it is quite possible to fabricate the parts rather than use castings but the designs may be more of a problem. I don't know what is available in the US apart from Kozo Hiraoka's engines (the Pennsy A3 might be a good start and could be scaled down).



Thread: Have You considered getting a 3D printer
10/01/2021 10:37:01

Here's another example - a support 'saddle' for a DC motor.

I've printed several versions of these - a good example of something that can be simply done with 3D print - that would probably be more time consuming using other methods...

// Sadddle for DC (Drill) Motor
// IanT
BL = 107 ; // Base Length
BW = 60 ; // Base Width
BD = 20 ; // Base Depth
ML = 107 ; // Motor Length
MR = 39 ; // Motor Radius
HD = 25 ; // Hole Depth
HR = 3.1 ; // Hole Radius (Clearance)
D1 = 20 ; // First Hole Distance
D2 = 70 ; // Second hole Distance
difference () {
translate ([0, -(BW/2), 0])
cube ([BL, BW, BD]) ;
translate ([0, 0, (MR + 6)])
rotate ([0, 90, 0])
cylinder ( ML, MR, MR) ;
translate ([D1, 0 ,0 ])
cylinder ( HD, HR, HR) ;
translate ([D2, 0, 0])
cylinder ( HD, HR, HR) ;

And the end result...




10/01/2021 10:22:09
Posted by Howard Lewis on 09/01/2021 14:36:56:

Knowing NOTHING of CAD, it sounds like there would be two learning curves, CAD and then the 3D printer (Once a decision had been made on which CAD package, and then the printer to buy )

I would need a TOTAL idiots guide to both.


I had the same concerns Howard - but a friend of mine suggested that I try Open SCAD "to get me going" and that's what I did. I am now working with Solid Edge 2020 but I still find SCAD to be a very good way to design simple (but useful) objects for 3D printing. I try to make them quite flexible by defining key dimensions as variables - such that they can be simply changed to print essentially the same shape for a different use.

At first glance, Open SCAD programmes look quite intimidating but they are really very simple combinations of basic shapes. There was some discussion about 3D printed "T-Slot blanks" not so long ago - and I published an Open SCAD programme to generate them. Here it is again.

It's very simple really (I'm not a programming Guru !) and can be altered to suit any T-slot size...

// T-Slot Filler - IanT
L = 75; // T-Slot Length
HR = 1.5; // Hole Radius
BW = 14; // Bottom (of Slot) Width
TW = 8; // Top (of Slot) Width
BH = 4; // Bottom (of Slot) Height
TH = 9; // Top (of Slot) Height
difference () {
union () {
cube ([L,BW,BH], center=false);
translate ([0,(BW/2-TW/2),0])
cube ([L,TW,TH]); }
translate ([L/2,BW/2,0])
cylinder (TH,HR,HR);

And the object it creates...


Open SCAD is a very easy transition into 3D Printing - and is much easier to learn in small (but useful) steps than a full blown 3D CAD system in my view. It's free to download and I was printing my first 3D designs the same evening - and if I can do that, so can you.



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