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Member postings for Derek Drover

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

Thread: 3 1/2 Britannia
16/11/2014 13:19:29

I'd disagree... My father built his Brit back in the 70's and fitted sealed roller bearings in it.. I don't know where he got them from (I doubt he'd remember now either), but this engine still goes strong and there's little chance of the axles/bearings wearing out. It can be a fiddle finding some of the right size, but it could save a lot of work in the future.

Have you looked at "Simply Bearings" website?



Thread: Cutting Sheet Brass
15/11/2014 13:22:43

I clamp the sheet between some strips of mild steel... there's no chance of the cutting blade eroding into the steel and it'll maintain the edge.. if you drift off a little then its also easier to file down to the steel edge.. very fine blades are necessary and it elbow grease !!

Thread: LBSC Doris
10/11/2014 21:34:01

There are a very good range of loco's in 3 1/2 inch gauge... I have a Netta, which is a very powerful little engine.

The Doris may not be the best for a novice, but if you're prepared to take your time and learn as you go, it'll turn into a very fulfilling project.

As for other "good" loco's of this scale... There's LBSC's Maisie, Princess Marina, or personally, of the big tank engines I'm a fan of Martin Evan's Jubilee.

Have you looked at the list of engines you can get plans/parts for from AJ Reeves ?? They show some good illustrations to give you an idea of the type of loco. (There are also other suppliers out there - usual disclaimer!!!)



Thread: Slowing Down the 920 Lathe - Issue 219
06/08/2014 20:14:52

Also agree... after a little "fettling", these are actually very capable machines, and can be picked up at a very good price on the second hand market.

First thing I did with mine was replace the topslide mount.. a simple enough job which makes a big difference. 2nd - rear toolpost for parting off. 3rd, thrust bearings and a new leadscrew/nut for the compound slide.

Am still thinking about how to do the tumbler reverse...


Thread: Soft-pop safety valves
17/06/2014 20:15:50

Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a drawing/design for a "soft pop" safety valve? I'd like to make some for my Simplex as I'm fedup of having valves that leak till they're tapped with the coal shovel.



Thread: Free Plans to be available on this website
16/05/2014 21:03:05

I gather there was once a design published in MEW for a weir pump suitable for the runningboard of 5" loco's... any chance of this appearing??



Thread: Helping young people
10/05/2014 13:08:22

In the 80's we had the pleasure of making a screwdriver.. this required knurling on a lathe, and hammering out red hot steel to form the flat... and then made a garden trowel.. again hammering out red hot steel..

No safety goggles, just a cotton apron (we still had our ties on.. VERY flammable as I found out when I left school and burnt it!)

I just cant imagine school kids of today being allowed in the same room as a piece of hot steel !!!!

Thread: Smoke box sealing material?
21/04/2014 17:50:39

Well, seeing as I have a tub, I've used Bosswhite.. got in a right mess cleaning out the smokebox beforehand though... good job I didn't have my Sunday Best shirt on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will see how it takes in 48 hrs or so.

19/04/2014 19:03:33

Hi all.

I'm curious to know what people use to seal their smokeboxes? I'm having a little difficulty with my Simplex, the holes at the bottom of the smokebox where the pipes pass through. I did use "fireclay", courtesy of Screwfix.. I have a ruddy great tub of the stuff of which I only used a "smear"... but after a number of runs its become brittle, cracked up and has now all disappeared (probably up the hoover!) Has anyone else used such stuff... do I need to use it heavily and thick???? or is there an alternative which has some degree of flex??

Cheers... Del.

Thread: Simplex double acting water pump
28/03/2014 19:30:48

I'm not entirely sure why there was a modified design, but this one is supposedly less strain on the eccentric due to the reduction in water movement.

There is the issue with clearance from the weighshaft, so trying to put it in/out with the weighshaft isn't possible. If you refer to the below website, there are a number of hints:-


This includes a "notch" which allows the pump to be removed with everything in situ. It works.


Thread: Drain Cocks
16/03/2014 18:19:27

Why not go for steam operated cocks... then you don't have the flaffle of making linkage, just routing a steam pipe and an extra fitting in the cab.


Thread: What did you do today? (2014)
15/03/2014 18:53:19

Put my 3 1/5 Netta through its 4-yearly hydraulic test - passed, then the general steam test. Not only did she pass that, but even the damned injector worked !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now that's a first !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes.. I'm HAPPY !

Thread: roller / ball bearing races
19/02/2014 11:50:39

Both my 3 1/2 Netta and 5" Simplex use phos-bronze axle boxes with Silver steel axles. You only need to ensure that they're well lubricated and try to keep grit out of the rear axles. Over time the grit will penetrate the bearing faces and wear them out, but its a compromise of ease of production and cost vs longevity. They should last for many years, even with a good amount of running.


Thread: Titch or Juliet
16/01/2014 10:47:37

Personally neither. They're small and frustrating to learn to run due to their small size. I'd suggest something with a larger boiler/firebox, where there are plenty of examples built, and can be seen running. Something larger will give better performance on track and greater satisfaction, even pull passengers happily. I have a 31/2 Netta which is not a complicated engine (even with internal stephensons valve gear), but there are other LBSC models I.e Maisy, which can be great little engines. Also Martin Evan's Jubilee is a cracking loco.. with a lot of parts easily available laser cut (all the plate work can be bought laser cut and soft-soldered).

I know a lot of people say go for 5" i.e. Simplex... but I have one of these and its no easier/harder, but blooming heavier !!

Just my personal thoughts on the question before I'm hounded to death by those who think differently.


Thread: Simplex Ashpan
28/12/2013 19:08:12

I just picked up this thread....

I finished building my Simplex this year, and I've built it with an ashpan with grate that drops out when you extract the retaining pin. This is pretty normal practice.

I've deviated from MrEvans' design a little due to the poor clearance I have above the top of the horns to the foundation ring. There's not a lot of room to play with, but I knocked up a cardboard template to ensure it worked.


Thread: Horwich Crab Boiler
17/12/2013 20:52:12

Hi John.

Whats the barrel diameter & length.. then whats the length of the foundation ring section? I presume the foundation ring width is nothing special, and slips between frames as standard for 5" gauge?

Hi Ray, I know the boilers on the real engines were different, but model engines aren't so picky... so long as it looks similar outside proportions and is a published design (to please my boiler tester).

I sometimes wonder why I started this project in the first place..... basing the running chassis on the Enterprise, but stretching the frames out has proven such a difficult task... and understanding the drawing information (or lack off!!).

Cheers guys


17/12/2013 11:51:49

Does anyone have a drawing with the dimensions of the boiler for Don Young's Horwich Crab design???

I'm working on a long design project of a 5" LMS Fowler 4P (2-6-4- tank), which has a parallel bellpair boiler.. the Crab one looks very similar and might be what I need.... if it can be designed in to fit..



Thread: At my Whits End :(
14/12/2013 15:28:23

Hertfordshire water is almost liquid chalk, Cambridgeshire isn't too bad.

My 3.5 Netta has an 11oz injector, which is more than enough to use when stationary.. I rely on the axle pump mostly.

Thread: First lathe recommendation.
11/12/2013 14:21:17

I started off with a mini-lathe (a Clarke - it was actually pretty good), but found I needed something bigger. At the time I was working with 3.5" loco's, but having bought a Chester 920, its big enough for 5" as well. Its also capable of screwcutting (which the mini lathe was not!!).. it does have a gearbox arrangement, even though you still have gears to swap around, but its something I have learned to live with, based on a budget.

I know its a Chinese machine, but for a price, its not a bad machine, and there's lots of advice on how to improve them and tailor them to personal preferences. They've been knocking these out since the 80's.


Thread: Water gauge problems
23/11/2013 07:49:53

I had erratic readings this year on my newly commissioned Simplex, it was down to a buildup of muck which had accumulated in the bottom fitting, so blocking the water feed into the bottom of the glass. After clearing this out and further steamings this has not recurred.

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