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Cladding material

Which to use, brass or steel?

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Zan02/09/2021 15:07:14
282 forum posts
19 photos

It’s time to clad my small 7 1/4 loco boiler. The barrel is 12” long and dia. 6”

insulation will be a thin sheet of suitable material (1-3mm]

question is, do I use steel or brass. I have some 24 g brass in stock but it seems a but flimsy although it is about the size recommended by Martin Evans in his loco construction book.

Brass can be difficult to paint, in the long term while steel is a lot easier, but there is the possible problem of rusting due to weeping clacks or dribbling safety valves

in steel I would use 22, or 24g and in brass I think 20 or 22 would be better. Cost is not an issue.

Is there anybody with any experience of using steel, or do people think it’s a no no?

Howard Lewis02/09/2021 15:19:39
5348 forum posts
13 photos

Steel would be protoypical, but prone to rusting. Might be better if you could blue it. Presumably the blue oxide film gives better protection from rusting.

(c/f "Russuian iron" for cladding of boilers on full scale locos in the early days of the 20th century. )

Can you get black steel in sheet form?

Brass would be less likely to corrode, but be more expensive.

Howard

Brian H02/09/2021 15:21:02
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2230 forum posts
113 photos

I have used steel, of a type known as zintec which is zinc plated on both sides. It is easy and cheap to obtain and is used for the casings in refridgerators and washing machines etc. and takes paint very well.

I cannot advise on longevity as I only kept the engine for 5 or 6 years.

Brian

Durhambuilder02/09/2021 15:25:11
69 forum posts
5 photos

I’ve clad my previous two boilers with thin stainless steel having bought a couple of cheap pedal bins for the purpose.
Just need to be careful you can get a big enough piece out of them whilst avoiding any holes, there is also the benefit that you get a nice rolled edge at one end. From memory the 4.5” dia boiler was done using an 8” round bin which cost about a fiver.

Zan02/09/2021 15:33:54
282 forum posts
19 photos

D builder, Interesting, I hadn’t considered stainless.
Brian I thought galvanised steel was difficult to paint, all to do with atomic bonding You see a lot of painted galvanised railings with sheets of paint falling off

pgk pgk02/09/2021 16:06:16
2324 forum posts
293 photos

Has anyone tried Farm Oxide paints on their models? Available in many colours if one shops around - albeit in larger cans. Straight to metal, silk finish and obviously pretty robust and easy to brush.

pgk

bernard towers02/09/2021 17:07:25
303 forum posts
85 photos

If you make it from steel sheet why not get it zinc plated after you have cut and fitted it, that way the edges are plated as well?

Nigel Graham 212/10/2021 22:19:37
1712 forum posts
20 photos

Galvanising (and electroplated zinc?) is not very receptive to ordinary primer, but appropriate primers are readily available.

Jon Lawes12/10/2021 22:34:59
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657 forum posts

This all seems a lot harder than just using Brass. It's really not that expensive when you consider its the finishing touch and will be one of the most visible parts of the locomotive.

I used Acid #8 (I think its called) etch primer and have had no problem with flaking or similar; I then painted used an automotive enamel which went on like glass on the boiler barrel. The only places I had issues was the side tank where my son painted over our decals with a varnish which subsequently reacted with the enamel and wrinkled.

Mike Poole12/10/2021 23:06:05
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Moderator
3075 forum posts
72 photos

I think the paint not adhering to galvanised steel is because of a poor process. Cars all use zinc coated material and peeling paint is not a problem. Brand new galvanised steel often feels a bit greasy and I think it needs a good clean and suitable primer.

Mike

Grindstone Cowboy12/10/2021 23:22:15
714 forum posts
58 photos

Galvanised iron usually takes paint better if left out to weather for a while - although that probably wouldn't be a practical solution for a loco.

Rob

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