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Member postings for Paul Lousick

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

Thread: Building a 4" traction engine
05/09/2019 04:02:10

Hi Karl,

Make sure that you do lots of research on different engines before you commit. There is a lot of work and expense in building a larger model. Also check the physical size of the finished model. Not all 4" scale engines are the same size. It depends of how big the original engine was. My engine is a 6" Ruston Proctor SD but is a similar size to a 4" Fowler. (the original only weighed 3.5 ton.) Almost finished after 7 years work.

It is also good to join a model club and talk to their members about the pros and cons of their engines and where they purchased parts. Different part suppliers sell a different style of the same engine than others. Castings and drawings could be simplified and not have all of the features of the original full size engine. I purchase my drawings and castings from Live Steam Models and were excellent although the drawings did have a couple of small mistakes. I orderred all of the casting at the start of the project as it was a cheaper option. Other materials and tools bought as I needed them.

I live in Australia and our model clubs include indemnity insurance with your membership and the boiler is inspected free. The professional built and inspected option is much more expensive. It would operate at full boiler pressure instead of reduced pressure for models but is not required for a smaller engine.

Most drawings sold for model engines contain some mistakes. Some more than others as they seem to be drawn by drafters with little experience and are not thoroughly checked. Also check that the size of material shown on the drawing is available. Imperial size members may not be available and only in metric. (a set of model drawings only cost a couple of hundred dollars/pounds instead of thousands for professionally drawn. Ya get wot ya pay for)

Good luck, Paul

Thread: Cheapskate Sandblaster
05/09/2019 03:13:23

Thanks Rod,

Recently had some blasting done with a professional wet blaster using crushed glass which did an excellent job. I already have a cheap sandblaster that works with air but not 100% happy with it. But that price for a Karcher attachment I will have to get one.


Thread: Mini mill or handtools for this job (rectangle with slots)
03/09/2019 23:16:43
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 03/09/2019 13:24:23:
Posted by Paul Lousick on 03/09/2019 10:25:57:

They are not precision machining jigs [ .... ]

My reading is that they are precision locating stops


It depends on what you call "precision"

Woodworking precision = 1/32" or maybe 1/64", Metalworking precision = 1/1000"


03/09/2019 10:25:57

They are not precision machining jigs so why make them so complex ? They are used on a router/saw table and are located in drilled holes on a wooden top. The stepped slot is not necessary.

A simple slot in a piece of flat bar would be just as good and would not require the stepped location dowel/nut. It could be made from a piece of round bar with a tapped hole. The hand wheel could even be replaced with a standard bolt.


clamp e.jpg

03/09/2019 03:32:30


A mill would be the quickest and easiest method but not too hard to do it with hand tools.. Drill a series of holes (smaller than the width of the slot) and use a round file to cut between them. Then use a flat file to finish the slot to width. Or just a hole at either end of the slot, use a round file to make it big enough to insert a hack saw blade and saw down each side of the slot. Finish with a flat file.


02/09/2019 23:05:34

Easily made with hand tools if a mill is not available. Any mill would do


Thread: Loctite minefield
01/09/2019 00:11:06

The selection of thread lock will also depend on the temperature of the horn blocks. If they are attached directly to the boiler you could assume that they would be at the same temperature.

Saturated steam at 100 psi has a temperature of 170 degrees C. Loctite 243 is guaranteed up to 180 degrees. (200 at slightly less retention) and can be dis assembled with normal tools. Check the steam pressure/temperature tables if you are operating at a different boiler pressure. If higher temperature, you may have to use one of the higher strength Loctites but they will be harder to dis-assemble.


Thread: Grinding cup wheel help
31/08/2019 14:27:53

Agree that grinding dust is not good around a lathe but for a one-off application, Cover the ways to protect them and do a good clean afterwards. Similarly on the odd occasion where I use a tool post grinder.

Although I don't have the free hand grinding skills of an expert, I have successfully ground my own Acme cutters from HSS with a standard bench grinder by hand using a profile gauge to check the angle. Thread grinding gauges are inexpensive. Also use one to set the tool perpendicular to the lathe axis.

thread grinding gauge.jpg


Edited By Paul Lousick on 31/08/2019 14:28:28

31/08/2019 09:16:54


Did you see this previous post about grinding your own lathe cutters. The simple grinding jig published in Popular Mechanics and a wheel mounted on a lathe spindle would be slow but OK for a one-off project.



Thread: bronze or brass
30/08/2019 14:34:47

Bronze should be used for all fittings that come in contact with heated boiler water because brass can corode and become brittle. (dezincification) Brass fittings can be used for the cold water and for the steam lines.

Bronze and gunmetal (a type of bronze) is normally a bit darker and redder than brass. Turning bronze produces long stringy swarf where brass tends to chip. Drill bits tend to dig in wnen drilling bronze.

Edited By Paul Lousick on 30/08/2019 14:35:43

Thread: Help milling an angle
28/08/2019 11:10:20

You have said that the 60 degree angle is not critical.

Mark out the shape on the plate and rough cut (slightly larger) with a thin blade in an angle grinder. Then clamp it on top of the mill table with a spacer under the plate and finish the edge of the plade with the side of the milling cutter (The side cutting surfaces of the cutter are not normally used as much as the end and and this is an oportunity to save it for an end milling operation )

Re-clamp the plate end finish the other edges.


(PS. You have to type quickly on this site)

Edited By Paul Lousick on 28/08/2019 11:11:36

Thread: Grinding your own lathe cutters
27/08/2019 23:23:10

I recently found this article in a 1956 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine for a basic tool cutter grinding holder, used for sharpening tools on the lathe and written by Rodney B Wyatt.

Neil, any relation ?


popular_mechanics_03_1956_232 - cutter grinder.jpg

popular_mechanics_03_1956_233 - cutter grinder.jpg

Thread: Minnie traction engine build
26/08/2019 23:45:29

Bolting the hornplates to the boiler stays is common practice on model engines but it is not allowed in Australia for larger, steel boilers. Instead a separate mounting has to be added to the side of the boiler. Another requirement is that a 5mm tell tale hole has to be drilled axially in the end of the stays. These will leak if the stays within the water space of the boiler are coroded.

My 6" scale engine weighs 600kg and it is not good practice to place a shear load on the mounting bolts. Therfore the boiler on my engine rests on a ledge, welded to the bottom of the hornplates and the mounting bolts only take an axial load. I also do not like using threaded holes and all bolts have nuts which are easier to replace if a thread is damaged.


hornplate mount.jpghornplate mounting.jpg


Edited By Paul Lousick on 26/08/2019 23:46:40

Thread: Boiler testing pump - plans ?
24/08/2019 08:48:10

You will also need a pressure gauge. Not sure what your requirements are but for new boilers in Aust., we have to maintain 2 x the working pressure for a minimum of 20 minutes and 1.5 x WP for re-testing.

Slight leakage thru fittings is OK but not the boiler, as long as the pressure does not drop below the test pressure. (Keep pumping.)


Edited By Paul Lousick on 24/08/2019 08:49:40

Thread: Lathe tool holder
23/08/2019 23:22:09

Instead of a pin to secure the shim, could you use Loctite instead ?

Another option is to braze or silver solder to build up the surface. Then re-machine to size. Not so severe on your cutter.


Edited By Paul Lousick on 23/08/2019 23:25:31

Thread: Scale gauges
23/08/2019 00:37:31

The scale of your model engine (ratio between the the original, full size engine to the one you are building) does not have to be exactly the same as the scale of the rails (ratio between the width between the full size rails to the model rails).

Rail gauge is simply the distance between the 2 rails. Within reason, an engine can be re-gauged, to run on different width rails by changing the distance between its wheels.

eg. In Australia the small locos used in our cane growing fields are built to 2 foot gauge rail standards and must comply with government regulations to operate, even if they are used on private property. (laws brought in place because they also travelled across public roads). This is expensive and requires a lot of paperwork. If the locos are re-gauged by changing the width between the wheels to 1'-11.7/8" they no longer comply with the government standards and can operate without restrictions on private property.


Thread: Garmin sat nav
21/08/2019 23:47:21


The little lady in my Garmin has similar problems. At least she has an English/Australian accent. She does however give a distance to the street where I have to turn and I do not have to rely on a street sign. I do like the Garmin instead of the Tomtom which I previously owned.

I had to pay for map updates with the Tomtom. The Garmin has lifetime free updates.


Thread: Using the faceplate and dog on a Sherline lathe
19/08/2019 14:18:31


Answer to your question. " what then is the purpose of the faceplate and dog as the 3 jaw can be used instead"

If a work piece is turned between centres it can be removed from the lathe and put back on in exactly the same position each time. All 3 jaw chucks have some run out do not position the work exactly on centre. Adjustable 3 jaw and 4 jaw chucks with the aid of a dial indicator could get close but not as easily as using a centre hole on each end.


Thread: 4 jaw chuck axial allignment
19/08/2019 10:28:48


It is very easy to fix your chuck. As you have previously said " Checking against a backlit straight edge was utterly disheartening - some jaws were convex, some hollowed, others had uneven teeth (serrated jaws). A new chuck!!"

If its new, take it back for a replacement or a refund.


Thread: Protecting mild steel
18/08/2019 13:38:18

Lanonin is a good surface protector for polished metal parts of an engine if you want to keep the shiny silver finish.


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