I have been retired for two years or so. I do part time consulting that pays well for the hours worked, but it is not a major load on my retirement activities. In other words, not a lot of hours at one time. I still have the problem of too many creative hobbies, with my silver work and 3D printing at the top of the list.
The 3D printing, except for the creative and CAD drawing, is mostly start and forget; letting the printer run for 5, 6 or more hours without attention. That run time is available for anything else I want or need to do. I have to remind myself to stop starring at the CNC action. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s like the swinging watch… “You are getting sleepy…”
Of the many things I am able to do, one thing I would really like to get back to is the real machining work in building a live steam locomotive. A live steam boiler and a steam engine (motor) would also be a project on which I’d like to be working. I have the necessary machine tools. I feel so guilty not using them now that I have the tools and opportunity. Read the other posts in this category and you see there have been false restarts. Yes Judge, I plead guilty.
I have an excuse. A fairly a valid one. Summers in Texas can be unbearable with the heat and (recently) the humidity here in the Dallas area. It’s always hot in Texas in the summer, but the humidity has been more like Houston than the normal – far northern (away from the coast) – Dallas.
My garage workshop… Continue reading
Maintaining steam but not building speed on the A3. I am coasting at the moment. A honey-do piano stool restoration has taken over the workspace in my shop. Staining, shellac and urethane require a fairly pristine atmosphere. With the cool temperatures and now (finally) a bit of rain the drying process is slow.
Staining is over but I am looking at about three coats of shellac and then a coat or two of polyurethane. Sanding between coats of course.
The teardown and rebuild is the easy part but finish work is laborious. Metal chips flying soon.
I have constructed the tender coupler pocket for my Pennsy A3 switcher project. There is a write up in The Hobbyist Machine Shop HERE. There was a lot of work in re-making that little component. It was very good practice in fabricating small parts for silver brazing. Hop over and take a look.
I didn’t take a lot of pictures. Let me know what you like to see. I am not really trying to produce a how-to, but I do like to post some of the action.
I am catching up on my Kozo Hiraoka Pennsy A3 Switcher project reading. When a project has been on the shelf for a while, I find it good to revisit everything I have done in the past and refresh what lies ahead in the project. It’s all good.
Building a project like this is very detailed. Each step is not all that bad and Kozo has a very good process of explaining the how-to. My enthusiasm is increasing as I can clearly see that nothing (yet) seems to be beyond my current shop tools and my abilities. It’s all now just having the materials and doing.
A project like this is not inexpensive. But since I am doing my best to make it enjoyable and not a construction race to finish, I can spread material cost over any time span with which I am comfortable.
I am still doing my silver work which has now become self-supporting and in fact providing some cash flow. I should probably be building the A3 with sheets of Sterling silver. Uh… No, maybe not.
OK, it’s all about the parts. Making all the bits and pieces. I just love how all the parts fit together and that I have total control of turning raw materials into something totally relevant to the project.
There is a certain aura of enjoying the process of using the tools, a gut feeling, something visceral. It’s like driving a sports car. There is a feeling of knowing what your car can do and being able to use that multiplied ability that such a machine provides. Same as using a screwdriver or a vertical milling machine. It’s that ability and control of power to use tools to make things, that is so much of being human.
Whoa! Spinning off into… Continue reading
What I have in my left hand is six pounds of brass engine parts. It doesn’t quite look like it yet but it will get there. I examined my brass stash for the A3 project and it wasn’t as complete as I thought it was. The stash is good but a few things had been “borrowed” and/or are otherwise missing, or I didn’t figure materials as close as I could.
Actually this is probably 300% more than I needed but with projects like this there are minimum amounts that can be ordered. That’s OK as it will all get used at some point in time. I often cut down stock on hand that is too large rather than make a special order for a tiny quantity. If I look close enough at certain stock I can see smaller parts hiding inside, that my tools help me cut out.
That’s the nice thing about metal milling machines and metal lathes. Excess material is not much of an issue. The hard part is when you have to put some back on…