"One Perfect Part at a Time"

3/4 Scale

Timing is Everything

I have been setting myself, meaning my workshop, up for the last decade or so, to have the tools I need for retirement. I have succeeded nicely. I just have to force myself to realize I have reached that goal.

I have retired so I have the time and need to start using my shop in its full extent. I am heavy into lost wax silver casting and CNC micro machining. That will continue. But there are other projects I have put off, “for when I have the time.” The Kozo Pennsy A3 live steam locomotive is the most “machine shop” intensive of those put-offs.

I have just posted the pictures below of the A3 work completed that was put on the back burner many years ago, just waiting for this time in my life. These are the tender trucks and the tender frame. The front steps are here too. The coupler box is made incorrectly (oops!) so that will be a re-do.

I have a drawer full of brass sheets, and plates, and bars. Enough to be close to all the material needed to finish the tender. So it hasn’t been for the lack of material this project has been on the shelf.

I am not going to get into all the details for my reasons. Let me just say that priorities in life can change and can change again. As before, when I started with a machine shop project of this size and complex details, it is not the finished product that is the primary goal. It is all the details and skills in the construction that provides the fulfillment. The locomotive will be grand when finished but it is the trip to get there where I intend to find my enjoyment.

Weird maybe, but… Continue reading

Hold on… What’s going on here? Oh my Goodness…

Pennsy_A3Something has snapped. I am actually thinking about dusting off the Penn A3 project. Wow! Is it a dream or am I retired? Oh yeah, I am retired now.

I have the Kozo Shay, Climax and Heisler live steam locomotive how-to project books on my shelf as well as the Pennsylvania A3 Switcher. Are they ALL possible now?

Ha! They are possible but probably not all probable. But I never say never.

I have decided to stop chasing the buck, even with my on-line e-store “Ramblin” Dan’s Store” (RDS). I want to spend my time making things in my shop. RDS will hang together for a while but I decided not to try and increase or even maintain the e-business. It has always been a very low profit and I ran it more for the experience of operating a business.

Any for profit “Business” I do will probably be with my silver work (Lost Wax Casting) as I really enjoy working with very hot liquid metal. Of course the skill can be used for making small brass locomotive castings.

I started the ¾” scale project because Kozo provides excellent guidance in his books and the size of the parts are reasonable. The drawback is where to go to run the locomotive. I think there are club tracks in the Houston, TX area, but nothing in the Dallas area that I know about.

That has made me consider Gauge1 which has many various scales involved with that track size. Generally, it is used with any scale between 1:13.7 (7/8N2 or M scale) to 1:32 (Number 1 Scale)

The 7/8N2 grabbed my attention because it is only slightly bigger than ¾ scale (6/8) but runs on a very common gauge track although this is 2-foot narrow gauge in prototype. Most… Continue reading

Dauntless Received

I received the Dauntless kit a few days ago. Back on 9/22/11 to be more accurate. The kit is basically a box full of die cut wood parts. Just what I expected. The hull size is 49.5 x 14 inches.

I am currently looking for a flat working surface upon which to construct the hull. It needs to be fairly large but somewhat portable. I want to be able to move the large construction out of the way when necessary to work on other projects.

What I will use is a hollow core narrow width door and probably cut down the OAL a bit. They are generally 80 inches tall and I only need about 60 inches. I know how to splice the end back into the cutoff. I have done it before. I only need 15 inches in width but may have to go to a narrow standard door of 24 inch width. Half (one panel) of a 30 inch bifold is the perfect working surface, but hard to find.

For the boat I already have a (probably CNC) project to make several inline motor mounts from aluminum. Sketches are already on my desk. I need to refine it in CAD. More info to come. This is going to be a long project, I think.

This will probably be the last I publish about the general boat construction here. Check out the RoboBoatBlog.net for more about non machine shop construction.

What I will include here are any machining or metal projects that relate to the boat construction. I am thinking of things like making my own brass propellers and other interesting bits and metal pieces.

Dauntless Ordered

Dumas Model of the Dauntless

Oh boy… I am in big trouble now. I have a new passion. It is the construction of the boat Dauntless. I just haven’t seemed to be this excited about a hobby project made from wood since I was building and flying model airplanes. This is liable to become an obsession. There just something about a model boat that is going to be four foot long or there about.

I especially like the idea that I am going to be doing a lot of engineering and special construction for this project. Everything from the control system to the smallest hardware detail will be under my decision on how it will be made.

I also see a lot of fun in operating the boat once it becomes water worthy. I would really like to find some locals in North Texas who have the same interest. I am not looking for help but rather kindred souls who also build and operate large scale boats.

Another scheme I am harboring (pun intended) is to look for opportunities for products I can offer in my web store. I am thinking various components for large scale model boats that perhaps I make in my machine shop. I am thinking drive shafts, fittings, maybe even cast parts (from pewter) for ships fittings.

Cutting Slots

I present a few more action shots on the X3 mill. The DRO is wonderful for cranking in the proper cutting dimensions even after a careful layout. The layout marks confirm the location but the caliper like accuracy of the DRO makes sure the cut is exact.

These parts will be used to braze up the coupler pocket for the A3 tender. I am not showing all the work involved, just some of the unusual. The saw here is the same thickness as the brass plate. I am cutting two layers at the same time. That way opposite sides will be exactly the same. The pieces will be assembled like an egg crate.

The cuts are made on one side of the vice but unseen inserted on the other side of the vice is more brass material the same thickness. This is to keep the vice clamping equal so that it doesn’t “rack” when tightened.

I will be posting more pictures of how the coupler pocket is assembled and finished.

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