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antyeates1983

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  1. I've gradually been adding the remaining smaller details, which seems to take up a lot of time. This first photo shows those at the front end. The lamp on top of the smokebox was included as a "fold-up" job on the etch (similar to a typical 2mm axlebox). The handle is rather delicate and hasn't survived the process of soldering it together, but I don't think you can see it well anyway. I will make the lens using PVA glue after painting. The smokebox door handles are made from etched handrail knobs, while the smokebox hinge is made from some bits of scrap nickel silver. The "taps" beneath the smokebox are a bit over-scale, but this was as small as I could get them, again from bits of nickel silver (the handles are 0.2mm wire). The vacuum pipe is bent up from 0.5mm annealed copper wire as I couldn't get a sharp enough bend in the equivalent width of brass wire. Following Pete Wright's article in the 2mm Magazine (reprinted in the Loco Bits and Pieces booklet), I soldered on thin fuse wire collars at the top, and just used solder to represent the thicker iron section at the top. The coupling hook is a spare from a wagon etch as I forgot to include any on my etch for this loco. All of these bits were soldered on - easier said than done as they are rather fiddly! The vacuum pipe at the rear of the tender is made in a similar manner, as seen below (apologies for the large water droplet on the side of the tender - this was taken after washing ready for painting). I must now make the missing vacuum pipes for all of my other stock! Here you can also see the tender handrails, made from 0.2mm nickel silver wire and etched handrail knobs. With these, solder is used to make them round. This next photo shows two attempts at making some of the boiler pipework. The left-hand one was the first attempt, but was deemed far too big and I reduced the diameter of each of the bits. This is really getting into the realms of approximate representation! These are glued in place under the boiler using Araldite, as I figured I had zero chance whatsoever of soldering them on without the bits of the valve all coming loose. You can see the pipework in place in this next photo, along with most of the remaining bits. The loco handrails are again made from 0.2mm nickel silver wire and etched handrail knobs. The main handrail is all one piece, with 9 knobs to fit at once. It is soldered where I could get at it from the inside, with the remaining knobs glued into their holes. The rather ugly but characteristic feed pipes on the firebox were made from brass wire with little fuse wire collars to try to represent the fittings at the top. The whistle was a brass turning made in the mini-drill using files and multiple attempts. One or two tries would probably have done it except it took me some time to realise that the reason it kept falling apart was that I was using brass tube rather than solid rod! The valves in the top of the dome are simply brass tube with the tops flared out using a drill bit. They were an absolute pig to solder on straight. In this view you can also see the sandbox lids. Presumably they were circular on the real thing but I had to cut away quite a lot of the rear to get them to fit against the smokebox. I'm not sure whether I etched the holes too far back or what. At this point, the loco and tender are ready for the paint shop. I think I will apply a coat of primer and then see if there is any more filling work needed. More lamps are needed on the loco roof and tender, but I haven't etched one of the correct pattern - they should have both forward and backward lenses, I think, and the lamp iron slots on to the side rather than up inside. There is one glaring omission: the cab interior. I didn't include this on the etch (no idea why not), so I will have to cobble something together as it is pretty conspicuous. But I figure it will be better to fit this after painting anyway. One more detail that I have made but will fit after painting is the tablet catcher to go on the cab side. The photo below shows one as etched and another one assembled, before cutting the rod to length. It's not a particularly accurate model, but again its small and will be blackened so will hopefully be good enough.
  2. Time for an update on this engine. I've been progressing this build in between other things so it has been quite gradual to develop. This first photo shows me milling out as much clearance for the coupling rods as physically possible. Part of the problem was that the phosphor-bronze footplate is quite thick and extends further down than the real footplate, so I removed the worst offending sections, identified by trial and error with the chassis. For future locos I suppose I will design in these cut-outs to begin with! Next up, I decided to tackle the loco brakes. I thought this would be a pleasant task, as I had designed a similar etched jig to that used for the tender brakes, which had worked nicely. This held the brakes and was designed to bend them up into the correct position for attaching the pull rods etc. However, I hadn't accounted for the fact that I had drawn the half-etched fold lines on the wrong side of the loco jig. I initially bent these folds up on the inside as expected, then discovered that the brakes were back-to-front. Needless to say, trying to bend them back the other way broke them off the jig and I had to go freestyle. Well, in fact I gave up on it for a week or more before I had another go. Then ensued an extremely fiddly business of trying to use the pull rods as a jig while soldering everything up. After a few more weeks of trying on and off I finally ended up with a reasonable set of brakes. One set are illustrated in the photos below - there is another mirror image set for the other side. As you can see, each set of brakes is located in the upper holes in the corresponding loco frame, and spaced out from it by short lengths of brass tube soldered on to the back of the brake shoes. Incidentally, I had made life extra hard for myself by making the shoes/hangers themselves from two etched pieces. This would have been OK when they were on the jig... The theory is that they will be retained on the final chassis by connecting the lower cross rods to the opposite side with lengths of insulated sleeving. I've chemically blackened them. Next up, time for the dome and chimney. I reasoned that I needed to attach these sizeable lumps of brass before any of the finer details on the loco body. For the dome, I opted for the method where you first file a round rebate in the end of a length of brass rod, before putting it in the lathe. In this picture you can see me turning the main body of the dome to diameter with a semi-circular ended cutter (so as to make a first approximation of the flange). I had first drilled a hole in the bottom to hold the mounting spigot later. The semi-circular cutter just has a rake back underneath and was ground from a tool blank with my cheap (Lidl) mini bench grinder. Here's the dome after parting off at the top. I then soldered it onto a mounting spigot which I chucked in the lathe to turn the bell shape with a graver. I didn't take any more constructional photos of the dome or chimney, but below you see them in place on the loco. The dome has has it's bottom shaped with files (a horrible job because of the danger of damaging the vertical sides), and two holes drilled in the top which will take the valves that I've yet to make. Because the chimney has a thin base, I decided to make it instead by the "hollow out the bottom and squash it onto a tube" method. Unlike for the Scrap Tank, this time I annealed it before doing the squashing, with the help of my wife who wields a blowtorch! By the time of this photo, you can see that I've also soldered on the cab beading and the number and works plates (which I had included on the etch). For the cab side beading, I had made an etched strip with a hole in either end, calculating the radii of the corners. This worked on one side, but on the other I just could not get it to match up (inexplicably!) and had to fit it in two pieces! The vertical rail Is a piece of nickel silver wire (0.33mm I think). The cab roof beading and rainstrip is just made from the same wire, soldered into slots that I'd etched into the roof. In addition, it's quite hard to see here, but I've tried to file away the erroneous vertical sides to the steps - thanks to Alisdair for pointing out that in Highland days these locos just had flat steps. Now I know, it is obvious to see in the prototype photos! To bring things up to date, the last things I did were to turn the buffer housings and the tender tank fillers. This photo shows a buffer housing being made, just before parting off. I haven't made the actual buffer heads yet, and am thinking of making these from silver steel rod (or at least nickel silver) rather than brass. So as to avoid having to paint them. Finally, you can see them in place on the tender (those on the front of the loco are identical). The filler caps were an even simpler turning job, although they could do with some tiny representations of the clips and hinges to break the symmetry.
  3. The next thing I did was to add the reversing lever and smokebox door, which you can see in the photo below. The reversing lever was included (as a single piece) on the etch, but I struggled to fit it between the splasher and the boiler. I think this is probably because of the splasher being a bit over-sized compared to the prototype. In the end I had to file a curved bit out of the lever. The smokebox door was turned on the lathe, doing the curve with a graver. It has a spigot in the back locating it in the etched hole in the smokebox front, and was drilled 0.3mm all the way through to attach the dart later. In this shot you can see the various holes drilled in the boiler for chimney, dome, safety valve and handrails knobs. These holes were all drilled on the Proxxon mill, with the boiler fitted to the footplate as you see here. I marked them out as best I could and then lined up the drill by eye. Perhaps surprisingly, it is much easier to drill very small holes at high speed on the mill than it is to do them by hand - I have much fewer breakages that way. In the photo above you can see the wheels test fitted in some spare "loose" muffs that I now keep for the purpose, after brush painting them with enamels. Those on the loco are the new 3D-printed Association wheels, and very smart they look too! It was at this point that I realised I'd forgotten to attach my carefully etched balance weights! However, I was able to stick these on carefully with Araldite. (The crankpins, incidentally, are also stuck on with Araldite.) Here are some of the wheels after attaching and painting the weights: My most recent efforts have been directed at the mechanism. This first photo shows my planned arrangement for the driveshaft. The motor (a Tramfabriek 7mm coreless from the Association shop) will be in the tender. The white "blob" attached to the motor shaft is the female end of one of the 3D-printed universal joints sold by the Association shop. Two of the male ends are attached to the (rather out of focus) sprue in the foreground. The sprue is larger than the joints themselves. The drive shaft is thin steel wire, and it will glue into one of these male ends. However, at the loco end, you see that I'm planning a different arrangement. Borrowed from Ian Smith, this consists of a hole drilled in the end of the worm axle, and a bent ring in the end of the driveshaft. It's actually easier to drill the hole than to bend a nice ring, so we will see how smoothly it runs. I haven't tried it yet as I still need to establish the correct length of the driveshaft. This next photo shows you the worm in place, along with the wormwheel and intermediate gear (it will drive the rear driving wheel, closest to the camera). I realised that I had not allowed enough of an opening in the bottom of the body to get the chassis in once the worm shaft was attached, so I had to rather awkwardly file and cut away more of the cab floor. Finally, here's a photo of my motor mount, which screws to the floor of the tender. It's the same idea used in my Scrap Tank allowing the motor to be removable. I'm getting close to the moment of truth (first test run)...
  4. These photos show you the progress so far on the loco body. The footplate is made of two layers for strength, both etched: a top layer of 0.25mm nickel silver and a bottom layer of 0.4mm phosphor-bronze. To enable fitting of the buffer beams and side valances, the p/b layer is smaller, and the underside of the n/s layer has a half-etched rebate around the outside. In this next photo you see the main etched parts fitted above the footplate, comprising the cab, smokebox front and splashers. There are a few missing etched details like the reversing lever and lamp irons, along with things like handrails and pipes that will be made separately. You can also see the boiler/firebox which is made from brass tube. I first turned it down on the lathe to leave the smokebox with slightly larger diameter, facing off the ends neatly as well. Then I cut the bottom of the smokebox off with the piercing saw. I also cut a slit across at the front of the firebox and back along the centre, before bending this roughly to shape with pliers. Next we see the boiler in place for test fitting. A lot of filing and fettling was needed to get it to fit in nicely. I had etched a transverse vertical piece in n/s to fit into a slot in the footplate and form the front of the firebox. However, I found that I had put the firebox front too far forward compared to the prototype, and had to modify both the position of the n/s front piece and the brass boiler. I filled in the resulting gap underneath the latter using an offcut of the same brass tube. The next photo shows the boiler/firebox soldered in place. The smokebox front is slightly larger diameter than the brass, so will need careful filing/sanding down to fit. Before soldering the boiler on I had soldered two 12BA nuts on to the top of the footplate at the front and rear, to hold the chassis fixing screws. The photo below shows the chassis held in place by these screws for test fitting, still with its jig ends attached.
  5. Progress will initially appear exceedingly fast because I'm trying to catch up with this blog! But rest assured that I was doing this construction in about November over quite a few odd hours. First up, here is the tender chassis assembled. The spacers are 6.4mm PCB with gaps filed in on each side, soldered on using the jig described in the previous post. The horizontal one is set slightly below the top of the frames so that there is somewhere for the solder to attach on top. The extra axle hole is for the body pivot, which I have yet to fit. It's designed to take a standard muff on stub axles, and my plan is to glue the body to the muff so that it can pivot up and down, resting not on the tender chassis but on the loco so as to put more weight onto the driving wheels. The Simpson springs are evident - made in the time honoured way from unwinding old Farish coupling springs. I don't know where else you can get thin enough phosphor bronze wire. They're soldered into the lower pre-etched holes on the frames. The upper row of holes on the frames are for the brake rigging, which you see in the following photo along with the built up body. My etch included a jig for putting together the brakes - I'll try to take a photo when I come to doing the similar one on the loco. The brakes are removable and just spring into the frames. At the moment they're joined across by 0.3mm wire, but this will have to be cut in the middle for insulation purposes, and rejoined with some insulating sleeving. Here's a better view of the body. It was straightforward except for the coal rail "gussets" (which were a right fiddle) and the flare. There are some gaps that need filling at the base of the flare, both inside and outside, and also I need to try and fill the corners. I etched the corners as a "fan" of separate spikes, hoping to fill them with solder. But that didn't work and the solder just wanted to wick down onto the tender top. Hopefully Milliput will work better. I etched holes on the rear vertical corners to hold the handrails, but haven't attached them yet. The motor will fit inside the tender, and there is just room to squeeze a 7mm diameter can motor through the top. I'm hoping to squeeze a decoder in beside the motor and I think it should be possible. Not quite sure which yet. I unwittingly cut down the available space by etching a vertical support to hold the transverse coal rail that goes right down to the floor. I'm yet to attach the tender drawbar but there is a hole etched towards the front allowing for a screw for this. I haven't quite worked out how to make this rotate from side to side at the same time as transferring the tender weight to the loco, so I need to study other people's writings to see how they have done it.
  6. Thanks - these are good suggestions. I should be able to try out the worm mesh soon as I think I have the correct gearset in stock.
  7. It's about time that I introduced my next locomotive project, which has actually been going on since before I started the Scrap Tank. It's a Barney 0-6-0. It started with the Worsley Works etch, but has morphed into a project using my own etches for the chassis and body, as well as for a 6-wheel tender (the Worsley etch provides the 8-wheel type). The main reason for not sticking with the Worsley etch was the fact that I wanted to do my own tender including axleboxes. I reasoned that I might as well make etches for the loco as well, to make construction easier and facilitate a built-in gearbox as well as including additional details. As with the Scrap Tank, I started with an AutoCAD drawing based on that in Peter Tatlow's book on Highland locomotives. The drive will be conventional with a motor in the tender and universal coupling to a simple gear train driving the rear axle of the loco. This arrangement allows the gears to be hidden in the firebox, whose location makes driving the middle axle more awkward. The plan is for the tender body to be pivoted on an additional axle muff at the rear, so that it transmits its weight to the rear of the loco via the drawbar. To give them a bit of rigidity and (hopefully) avoid the need for extra bearings, I opted to etch the loco and tender frames from 0.4mm phosphor-bronze rather than nickel-silver. A little bit thicker would be ideal, but 0.4mm is available from PPD. With this thickness I am using the 6.4mm PCB spacers from the Association shop to give me a width over frames of 7.2mm. As well as the chassis etch I've produced more conventional 0.25mm nickel silver etches for the loco and tender. Again, I drew the artwork in AutoCAD but followed my usual procedure of doing the "hatching" afterwards in Adobe Illustrator, which works much better for this. The images below from the etch artwork give you an impression of the format of the etches. The numbers are a new innovation (for me!) of creating an "instruction sheet" at the time of drawing the artwork, so that I know what they all are when I come to build the thing later! The tender etch is actually the larger one because much of the bulk of the loco comes from the boiler/firebox, which I'm making from brass tube rather than etching. Cyan and red things on the drawings relate to half-etched areas on the rear or front. Below is a photo of the real loco etch in nickel silver. The quality of etching from PPD is fantastic. Something else I now do is to always make at least two copies of any etch, even a "test etch" like this. The second one is much cheaper and provides spares of everything so as to allow for unanticipated learning experiences that often occur during construction. Otherwise I end up wasting time trying to fabricate replacements for some of the parts. (Of course, that may be necessary anyway if the ones on the etch aren't the right size!) The artwork for the phosphor-bronze chassis etch is generally simpler. The next photo shows the tender frames. I included temporary "extensions" with cross pieces to hold the frames. These are a loose fit. The modus operandi is to first hold the frames together using the Association frame spacing jigs, as in the following photo. The p/b cross pieces are then soldered in place. This then allows me to remove the Association spacing jigs as necessary to solder the PCB spacers where required, knowing that things are still positioned accurately. The various small holes in the frames are for Simpson springs and to hold the brakes in place. (Yes - this time I plan to include brakes...) Finally, here are the loco frames. The design is similar except that I tried to match the shape of the real frames and springs, and included an integral gearbox to hold the worm. I've soldered it up already here. This design doesn't allow for easy adjustment of the worm mesh (except by enlarging the wormshaft holes and fitting bearings), but in theory it should be correct to begin with. I'll find out later!
  8. It's high time I posted an update on the scrap tank, which is approaching completion. Painting started with a coat of grey Halfords primer from a rattle can. I then used the airbrush to spray the basic green colour all over. I find that Tamiya acrylics spray quite nicely, so I used a mixture of olive green and white, thinned about 50:50 with Tamiya's own thinner. This works for me spraying at about 15 psi (although I don't really trust the gauge on my cheap and cheerful compressor). After painting the basic green colour I used a brush to paint the black smokebox, cream cab interior, and various other details. I used enamels for the metallic colours. I carefully scraped the paint of the handrails to leave the bare steel colour. Here are a couple of views of the body shell after both painting and decals. The latter are the waterslide transfers printed by Railtec from my design and now available from the 2mm Association. Before applying them, I (brush) painted the body with gloss Humbrol Clear, which I am told is similar to the old Johnsons Klear. After a couple of coats I thought I had ruined it with some ugly streaks etc. But I persevered and applied the transfers. I sealed them on with more Clear and finally a spray coat of matt varnish (aerosol of "anti-shine" from the Army Painter range). At this point, the ugly streaks miraculously disappeared, along with any visible transfer carrier film. So I was quite chuffed. Next I turned to the chassis. The cylinder block was sprayed at the same time as the body, and below you can see it temporarily attached to the chassis for testing. Something you can see at the rear (to the right in the photo below) are the extra pick-up "skids", which I don't think I mentioned before. The design of the chassis didn't allow for the fitting of "Simpson springs", and I found that the current collection was dubious. Thus I fitted some phosphor-bronze wires with flattened ends that rest on the rail. I tried to disguise them to look like sandpipes from normal viewing distance. (Not as well disguised as the invisible brakes, however!) The skids substantially improved the current collection, and the loco now creeps along quite reliably on my test track. Time will tell how it performs "in the wild". Once satisfied that all was running (i.e. after interminable fettling of slide bars, realising that one of the wheels was wonky in its muff so fitting a new muff, etc.), I soldered on the crank pin washers (from the 2mm Association etch) and cut off the excess length of the crankpins with the piercing saw. To solder on the washers, I used layers of Rizla paper soaked in oil underneath them to avoid gumming up the motion. Two or three layers seemed about right. It's important on this loco that the coupling rods don't have too much sideplay, as there is no washer on the leading crankpin and hence it would be liable to come loose otherwise. With hindsight I cut these front crankpins down a bit too much. You can see the different in the following (poor) view. Here's a rear view. The cab windows (front and rear) were glazed with Micro Kristal Klear, a small bottle of which I have had for years. It's actually similar to PVA glue. What you can't see in the photo is that the loco is still missing any coal in the bunker, in which you can see the motor from above. You can also see the motor through the side of the cab, so I will probably cover it with black paper and fit a crew to further mask it. And I haven't yet fitted any couplings (functional or cosmetic!). The coupling hooks themselves were spare ones from a previous etch. I'll try to take some better photos at some point...
  9. Next I added some remaining details - the clack valves are impressions made by threading two short lengths of brass tube of 0.6mm and 0.8mm outside diameter onto a length of 0.4mm brass rod. All three of these came in a useful pack from Albion Alloys. They were covered in flux then soldered on with a small amount of solder, before bending the pipe to curve under the boiler. Fiddlier to make were the next bits, which I **think** are controls for the sandboxes - they sit either side of the smokebox. These were made in three pieces: a length of brass tube was soldered on to a 0.2mm nickel-silver rod, then the handles of the "tap" at the top were made by soldering another length of nickel-silver rod at right angles. Rather than trying to hold in place a tiny sliver, I used a much longer length which could be stuck down with double-sided tape, leaving one hand free to hold the other piece and the other to wield the soldering iron: The next photo shows one of these after cutting to size. I got quite good at making these because I mangled two by trying to solder them to the footplate, before giving up and using Araldite! Finally we see these parts glued onto the model. The body is finished now except for coupling hooks and the lump of coal in the bunker, so shortly it will be time for the dreaded paint shop...
  10. Here's a photo of the loco before the details referred to in the title were added. In this picture the motor is not fitted, so the cab looks empty. I was running it up and down the track under gravity after glueing the wheels into their muffs, checking that the motion was working. Actually I found that it was a bit tight and had to thin the slidebars further. The middle and rear crankpins have not yet been trimmed to length, so the temporary "washer" - made from electrical wire sleeving - grazes slightly against the bottom of the PCB footplate. The chassis paintwork needs quite a lot of touching up. I etched the numberplates recently as part of an etched sheet with other things on, and here is a cruel enlargement showing one soldered to the cab side. In fact, they turned out a bit big (I copied the design from the Banking Tank, assuming they would be the same size), but hopefully I will get away with it. Once the plate is painted, you might even be able to read the "HIGHLAND RAILWAY" legend. Next up, the handrails. Having written in the last post that I would fit the handrails after painting, I decided that it would be better to solder them in place. I started with the short cab-side handrails, which don't have knobs but just bend into the holes in the cab side. I made them from 10 thou spring steel wire, for both its colour and strength. Beneath the loco you can see one of the tank-top handrails ready for fitting, along with a 2mm Scale Association etch of handrail knobs. These needed to be opened out carefully with a small broach. Bending the semicircular deviation to clear the tank filler cap wasn't particularly easy as the steel wire is quite hard. After a couple of attempts I worked out that I could get a neat semicircle by bending it around a brass rod of somewhat smaller diameter. Because of the shape of the handrail, it wasn't possible to thread it through knobs pre-fitted to the tank, so instead I had to thread four knobs onto the wire and attempt to get them all into the holes at once without falling off the wire. Once in place (finally!) they were soldered with Yellow-label flux to get a good joint to the steel. The next photo shows the boiler handrail formed to shape with one knob threaded on to go above the smokebox. The other four knobs are sitting (loose) in the holes in the boiler sides. This was also a pig to bend to the right shape, and required more than one attempt. But eventually I was happy enough with it. Here's a final view with all of the handrails in place:
  11. In my role as Publications Officer for the 2mm Scale Association, I'm currently working on a revamp of the "couplings" chapter of the erstwhile 2mm Handbook. I was intrigued by the reference to Lin-Cup couplings, which I hadn't heard of or seen. So I went back to the June 1976 issue of the 2mm Magazine to read Lindsey Little's original article. His goal of "something inconspicuous, not too unrailwaylike, close coupling, sturdy and capable of being made by a squint-eyed tyro with ten thumbs" sounded promising... I decided to have a go at making some following the instructions in the article. If nothing else, this would allow me to photograph them for the new handbook. Firstly, here is a photo of a completed coupling, glued to the underside of a Buchanan Kits open wagon. The underside of the wagon is a mess because I had to remove the folded-up coupling "boxes" that I had previously fitted before painting. This illustrates a nice feature of the Lin-Cup: the "gubbins" is all hidden behind the solebars, with only a wire hook protruding beneath. Like an Electra, the hook hangs at a 45-degree angle (when the wagon is upright) thanks to the small lead fishing weight behind the pivot. The headstock of the wagon keeps the wire shank horizontal and hence the hook at the correct angle. Unlike the Electra, the pivot is on a 60-degree(-ish) angle to the headstock, so that when another coupling pushes against it, the hook both rotates both down and towards the vertical, allowing the opposing coupling to snap past. The coupling seems to have been more utilised in 7mm scale, in the form of the "Lincs" auto coupler (see here). But I haven't seen it during my (comparatively recent) involvement in the 2mm scene. Although I haven't yet tried them in operational use, I think this coupling has several benefits. Firstly, and importantly for me, it is robust and quite forgiving of misalignment. At the same time, it is probably the least conspicuous 2mm auto-coupling other than the fiddly Alex Jackson. Here is a comparison of wagons fitted with Lin-Cups (right) and Electras (left): It's hard to see here but with the Electras you can actually see the weights hanging down behind the wheels, as well as the pivot tube beneath the headstocks. There is a further advantage to Lin-Cups not visible here: you could still fit dummy representations of real 3-link or screw couplings, hanging down from the coupling hook. This is not true (I don't think) with Electras, where the delay "dropper" would get in the way. (As yet I haven't found the time to try making 3-links, it has to be said.) The next photo is a comparison with DGs, which prevent you even from fitting the coupling hook: When it comes to operation, the Lin-Cup lacks the "delayed action" facility of DGs, Electras or Alex Jacksons, where you can uncouple at one location and propel the wagons to another spot without coupling up again. But it makes up for this, I think, by (a) the above advantages and (b) the fact that you can uncouple using simple permanent magnets underneath the track. This works because the only way to uncouple is to reverse the train (taking the tension off the hooks) while over a magnet. Similar to the "Electra shuffle". Here you see two wagons as they would look while pushing along clear track (top) and while over a magnet (bottom): Notice that the couplings hang down quite a long way - this could be limited by putting some packing under the wagon floor to stop the "weight" end behind the pivot from moving up so far. Here are two end views to show how the coupling hook moves when over a magnet. The magnet here is actually fixed (temporarily) below the wooden base of my test track. So why are these couplings not so popular? Perhaps there is a fatal flaw that I am yet to discover, but I suspect it is partly the fact that they are not commercially available and you have to make them yourself. This turned out not to be too difficult, but it would be very hard without first spending a little time to make jigs like those recommended in the original article. The first is for bending the "frame" and just consists of two bits of nickel silver soldered together. The hardest part was cutting/filing one of these into the shape of an equilateral triangle, which I did by guesstimating. I've been making the frames from 28swg phosphor-bronze which makes it easy to spring onto the tube. The second jig is for soldering the steel hook to the tube. A jig is essential here as it has to be soldered at a 30 degree angle in one plane (so that it will pivot sideways) and a 45 degree angle in another (so that it will hang at 45 degrees in the resting position). I found a scrap bit of aluminium angle and followed the instructions in the article, drilling and filing a slot to hold the brass tube. It's hard to see but the section of aluminium against which the hook is sitting is bent up at 45 degrees. For the record, my tubes are 0.8mm (O/D) brass from Albion Alloys, which gives a nice free fit over the p/b frame. I scribed a mark at "5mm in front of the frame" to guide me, but I found that slightly longer is needed for the wagons I've tried so far, because the coupling hook extends through the headstock and prevents the coupling frame from being fitted right up against the inside of the headstock. The hook is made from the same spring-steel wire (or guitar string) used for Electras. In use, I fixed the hook to the jig with masking tape and held the tail end down with a bit of wood. I used Carr's Yellow Label flux and plenty of solder. A decently-sized soldering iron bit was helpful as the aluminium acts like a heat sink. Here's a close up of a finished coupling, once the fishing weight has been "crimped" on and secured with cyano. It's certainly no harder to make than an Electra, and I'm quite impressed so far.
  12. I've continued to add some of the never-ending bits and pieces to my Scrap Tank, and it's about time I recorded the progress. Here are sandboxes (I think that's what they are but wait to be corrected) - filed up from spare chunks of brass with a hole drilled in and a little turned cap soldered in. And here's one soldered in place next to the smokebox: In front of and behind the sandboxes, the tops of the locomotive frames (on the real thing) are visible above the footplate. You can just about see them in the next photo - I cut slivers of 0.25mm nickel silver and then had a fun job trying to get them to stay in the right place while soldering. It might be better to glue on these small bits, but I worry that they might then choose to come adrift at a later date. Working in no particular order, I next tackled the details on the smokebox door. The hinge was made from a length of nickel silver wire with some thin (5 thou?) brass for the straps. I made these as a U-shape and soldered the wire on before cutting off the scrap. (I suspect I picked this up from one of Pete Wright's articles in the 2mm Magazine.) The door handle is simply a length of 0.3mm wire with a small washer (which came from an old scrap etch from a wagon kit or something). The darts are made from 2mm Scale Association handrail knobs (the newer etched variety). I think they look better than those on my Banking Tank where I used twisted bits of thin copper wire flooded with solder. Next I turned my attention to the buffers. The type used are fortunately quite simple, being just a series of cylinders of different radii. For the Banking Tank, I made them all in one piece, but this time I opted to make two pieces. This will let me have a shorter shank "on show", and will simplify painting. This photo shows the two pieces. It's quite fun turning these up on the lathe with a thin parting tool. I made a spare to help ward off the carpet monster (who still operates even on laminate floors). And this is what they look like when put together: Soldering in place: Now it's starting to look the part. The most glaring omission at this point were the cab steps. Again I took a slightly lazy option and used some spare ones from my Banking Tank etch, with a bit of judicious filing. For some inexplicable reason I had lots of spare top steps and only one bottom step. This meant that I couldn't quite fit one of them together as designed (the main hangers are a double layer with slots in the back that fit folded tabs on the steps). But hopefully it looks passable. Unfortunately, I hadn't made any allowance for attaching them to the rear of the valances, having blocked them with PCB. So I drilled and filed away slots for them to fit, allowing me to solder them to the valances - I just didn't want to risk a glued joint as they will certainly be vulnerable. Finally for this report, something needed to be done about the cylinder covers, which still had unsightly fronts with holes in. I turned up some thin discs with spigots to cover these. Here they are before... ... and after soldering on the new discs. A bit of filler will be needed to tidy them up completely. It didn't help that the cylinder covers weren't particularly circular, but hopefully it won't look too bad once they are covered a bit by the body. There's not too much more to do now, although there are some bits of pipework under the boiler to be added, and the handrails to be prepared (although they will be fitted after painting). I'm not going to worry about brakes for the moment. If it works well enough to use, I can try to add them later. I've painted the driving wheels and started painting the chassis, so hopefully I won't lose momentum on the project now.
  13. The photo below shows the safety valve "saddle", as well as the tank filler caps (which were straightforward turnings from brass rod). The saddle was made in the same way as the new dome, with a thin flange squashed on to a rod. I soldered a spigot up inside it, and used this to hold the assembly while drilling out the three holes on the Proxxon milling machine. The front hole is for the whistle. The two main valves (not sure of the right terminology!) were made from 0.8mm brass tube drilled out at the top to form a thin flange. They were then soldered in place. The whistle was turned in the lathe from brass rod, although its extremely small size meant that it taxed my ability somewhat. On the second attempt I ended up with something that hopefully gives a reasonably impression from normal viewing distance: Soldered in place:
  14. As I mentioned, I wasn't happy with the over-thick flange on my original dome, so I made a new one using the "squashing on to a tube" technique that worked quite well for the chimney. Here we see the squashing stage in action, after drilling out and thinning the bottom flange. The resulting dome has a much finer and more realistic flange, as well as a better cylindrical shape, as you can see in the following two comparisons: Notice that the dome cracked around the bottom where it joined to the flange. I filled this with solder to arrive (after some careful filing and sanding of solder) at the following result:
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