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  1. I'm going to have to dig out some notes from yonks back but I think I can see a way to make the key invisible during operation but visible when the engine is at a winding-spot. It's a trick with changing textures: when the engine is running the key is textured fully-alpha, but when it's alongside a designated winding spot the texture changes to make the key visible. I suppose the ideal is that you place keys around the layout, they act as triggers, when a loco stops alongside them the scenic key goes alpha and the loco key goes visible. You could actually ask on the N3V
  2. Belt and pulley is not only the quietest you're going to get, but also should allow you to get some ridiculously low speeds with minimal losses due to friction. You should be able to turn suitable pulleys out of wood or plastic and use rubber bands for drive, or try the mamod type springy wire drives. I have experimented with making belts out of strimmer cord but it isn't happy with small radii that you would have to use on the motor shaft.
  3. Well as we're onto place names I'd better add Loughborough, pronounced "Loogah-Baroo" by a friend from Sydney
  4. Well, there *are* occasions when you might for example be using the chuck key as a lever to slowly work a piece of round bar to and fro with a die held in a tailstock holder, but the thing to do in such cases is unplug the machine. I have found this method useful when making long threads because you can reverse the rotational direction to break the chips inside the die. My first attempt, when I thought I'd be very clever and just slowly power the work around mangled the threads when the swarf in the die blocked it solid. Using the chuck and key to go half a turn forwards and then a
  5. A very nice upgrade. I like the Airfix engines, the tender drives seem happy on my tight curves where other conventional chassis creak and groan their way around. I have two of them, one I got in a charity shop, one I already had in non-running condition minus cab and smokebox front, but after a lot of work all I have left to do for both of them is to replace three missing buffers and find out why one of them will only run forwards, not backwards.
  6. Yes, but looking at the firebox and cab, I have a feeling the way ahead here would be the James chassis and tender drive, and a Triang B12 body... Annoying, I have the opposite, the James body, and a B12 chassis and tender.
  7. Chadwick gives details for both the early large-boiler 7fs and the later small-boiler rebuilds. The lengths were obviously greater in the 7F, the firebox in particular requires cutting and inserting an extra length. I suspect the 4F boiler diameter would be appropriate for the early large-boilered version.
  8. Chadwick does give details of this conversion in his book. He chose a Patriot body but I've also looked at the Airfix 4f several times. Another body source might be the Hornby "James the red engine" which I got in a mixed lot of shells a while ago and have yet to lay on top of a drawing, it's got promise.
  9. You might mill or turn PTFE and nylon with no trouble anyway, most of the problems I experienced were trying to work ABS and styrene and recycled video cassette plastic, all of which had a tendency to melt instead of cut. You can try reducing the speed with the reduction gear and belts, if you buy a second countershaft you can get the speed a lot lower. Another trick I realised after buying some secondhand parts is to run them off a 6Volt or 9Volt battery setup. The long bed I bought had a 3-prong socket for the motor plug in one end cap and when I opened it up I found it was desig
  10. I get most of my parts for them from Expo, very good service. I've had my Unimat Classic for nearly 15 years, it's a wonderful item, and more than just the lathe/mill/drill. you can use it as an assembly jig when kit-building to get things square, slide a part into position and adjust it, slide it back and add the glue or flux, slide it together again and glue/solder. If you get some small diamond or carborundum slitting disks it will cut steel, just don't expect to turn or mill steel or hardened brass. The jigsaw when used very carefully will slice up tinpl
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