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Clayton Wagon Leaf Springs

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James Burden15/09/2009 19:55:48
93 forum posts
4 photos
I am currently building a 2" Clayton Wagon, and according to the drawings the leaf springs are to be built up with 16 swg  x 1/2" strips. The drawings do not specify Spring Steel, and is shown in the chassis arrangement, all called out as BMS.
This may be a silly question, but should these be spring steel? Has anyone else built a Clayton, and if so what was used for the springs, and how have they performed?
Thanks is advance
Colin Reed15/09/2009 22:25:17
14 forum posts
Not on a Clayton, but a rebuild/mod of a 2.5" POP steam lorry. We used 5/8" x 16swg spring steel for the extra leaves we needed (with suitable heat treatment after forming) as that's what had already been used on the original build. Probably not the cheapest place but we got it from Reeves .
James Burden16/09/2009 13:02:11
93 forum posts
4 photos
Hi Colin,
Thanks for your reply - do you know anywhere I could find out about Heat Treating spring steel? I've never worked with Spring Steel before, I am assuming you need to anneal before working / setting the radius, but do you then need treat the finished springs again before use?
Colin Reed16/09/2009 13:22:02
14 forum posts
Hi James
Reeves supplied the spring steel in an annealed state. I'll be seeing my father-in-law (who set and heat treated the springs) later, so I'll asked him exactly what he did.
Phil Ashman16/09/2009 13:29:17
33 forum posts
Hewsons also sell annealed spring steel, and in the size you need, 1/2" x 16swg. He also gives instructions on how to heat treat it on the web site. I've used this, and it's good stuff.
Colin Reed16/09/2009 13:58:45
14 forum posts
Link to the Hewsons page Phil mentioned.

Edited By Colin Reed on 16/09/2009 13:59:02

nick feast17/09/2009 20:20:45
75 forum posts
7 photos
Hi James,
I built a Clayton wagon with mild steel 'springs' which was fine. In any case you will only be able to drive your wagon on a smooth surface or the tiny fire will be vibrated to pieces on anything else. Its probably only worth doing the front axle with spring steel as the weight of the driver will make it difficult to get the spring rate right on the rear axle and trailer. This is probably why Robin Dyer didn't bother to try.
When you get to building the engine my article in ME describing my Q1 design recently shows an easy way to build the crankshaft which also improves the smoothness. Dimensions are very similiar.
Good luck
Nick Feast
James Burden17/09/2009 21:31:57
93 forum posts
4 photos
Hi Phil,  
Thanks for the Hewsons link, never heard of them before, but seems like a good site for future reference - they seem to be well priced as well.
Hi Nick,
Good to hear your thoughts here - my main concern with making springs out of mild steel was that they may flatten out and not return to the original setting under the weight of the driver - but if you have not had any problems, it doesn't sound like a problem. I have only recently subscribed to ME, could you tell me when your article was published, as I would like to have a look at that.
Thanks again,
David Piddington18/09/2009 12:36:34
11 forum posts
You may be interested to learn that I made many of the patterns for this model (not the wheels though) as part of my work for the then suppliers of castings - A J Reeves &Co. Ltd - and was often in communication with the designer Robin Dyer. I believe the reason for not having working springs lies in the conception that as this was a "tow truck" with the "ball" for attaching a trailer, there was no actual need for springs. I seem to remember that Rob had a separate trailer with which to drive his model and those that have followed have done similarly. This confirms Nick Feast's reply though from a different direction.
Happy Steaming anyway
nick feast27/09/2009 20:38:43
75 forum posts
7 photos
Hi James,
 Re the crankshaft you need ME no.4357 published 31 July.
The articulated trailer I built for my Clayton also had mild steel springs which were in effect solid. I am about 6 ft tall and even when sitting down I think my centre of gravity would have demanded a hefty anti roll bar if working springs had been fitted! Suspension was provided by a thick seat cushion mostly.
When you cut the hole in the floor for the boiler it is too small on the drawing. I suggest you get a boiler first and cut the hole to suit. Leave space for a good thickness of lagging too.
Drummond Randall22/10/2020 15:33:28
1 forum posts

Please can anyone help me? I am building a Bullied Q1 in 10.1/4" at 1/5th scale and have made the engine frames now being painted. I am in the process of designing the tender and have found the problem of leaf springs, of which there will be 6. I did a rough calculation as to its weight and am guessing at 3/4 ton including driver and a full tank of water. I expect to have to allow 1" travel movement for the axle boxes, and have found a potential supplier of 20mm x 2.5mm CS70 spring steel strip. I would like the springs on full display to be working. Please can anyone advise me as to what problems I shall have regarding loading and deflection?

Many thanks,

Drummond Randall

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