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2 hours ago, Happy Hippo said:

I remembering having a slight argument with a civil servant in the provisioning branch.  He could buy in xxx nuts washers and bolts far cheaper than my team.  Again, it was cost over content as he was totally ignorant until I enlightened him, that rather special nuts, washers and bolts are required to stop parts of helicopters falling off when they are in flight.

 

My team, both male and female civil servants, were fastidious in cross checking who was getting what and why, especially if specialised parts were needed.

 

They spent quite a bit of time ensuring the stuff we  were going to buy in matched the technical specifications required.

 

While I'm on the logistic side, all this would have been for nothing if the people running the storage and distribution had screwed up and issued the wrong item.  It did occasionally happen as inputting a NSN (Nato Stock Number) incorrectly could have consequences...

 

3 hours ago, Happy Hippo said:

I remembering having a slight argument with a civil servant in the provisioning branch.  He could buy in xxx nuts washers and bolts far cheaper than my team.  Again, it was cost over content as he was totally ignorant until I enlightened him, that rather special nuts, washers and bolts are required to stop parts of helicopters falling off when they are in flight.

 

My team, both male and female civil servants, were fastidious in cross checking who was getting what and why, especially if specialised parts were needed.

 

They spent quite a bit of time ensuring the stuff we  were going to buy in matched the technical specifications required.

 

While I'm on the logistic side, all this would have been for nothing if the people running the storage and distribution had screwed up and issued the wrong item.  It did occasionally happen as inputting a NSN (Nato Stock Number) incorrectly could have consequences...

If the codifiers (the persons assigning the NSNs) had done their job correctly, the grade/ finish specification (& batch traceability) of the special nuts, washers and bolts would have specified, I know I used to be one - working on an Army comms system. Sounds like some Bean Counter decided to downgrade the coding, thus falling foul of The Law of Unintended Consequences due to a lack of knowledge/ time      

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3 hours ago, jamie92208 said:

  He was incandescent about cost cutting in the Civil Service that had reduced the number of vets who knew how to deal with such outbreaks. All in the name of cost cutting but no regard to keeping essential knowledge  alive. 

 

Jamie

Those of you will remember the number of hospitals we used to have that would have a spare ward or two to cope with a glut of emergency admissions.

 

These were not cost effective and not only were they closed but in some cases so were whole hospitals.

 

Every winter or if someone even breaks wind too often, hospitals are stretched for beds and local or even national emergencies have to be declared.

 

Perish the thought that an epidemic of national proportions might come along and overwhelm the system...

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9 hours ago, Happy Hippo said:

Sometimes job descriptions do not do the person doing it justice.

 

My grandfather was a railway fitter TVR then GWR.  His brothers were all equally qualified.

 

But they didn't just 'fit' things, they would repair them: Not just a case of replacing a part, but often making that replacement part from scratch.


In the 1960s, I knew a couple of brothers who restored old cars. If they couldn’t source a needed mechanical part, they would go to a Glasgow Corporation bus garage and have the part made for a “consideration”. The mechanics there were still mechanics, not just fitters. I wonder what they would do these days.

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14 minutes ago, Happy Hippo said:

Perish the thought that an epidemic of national proportions might come along and overwhelm the system...

Don't be silly. This is C21. Can't happen. 

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5 hours ago, Canal Digger said:

I gave up (& retired) trying to convince management (in the MoD Civil Service) of the folly of putting all the work out to contractors rather than 'in-house'. "But look at the money saved by reducing MoD staff", came the reply, a few years later no internal experience left (not even enough to monitor the contractors effectively) and surprisingly the costs rocketed, quality/ performance dropped.


An organization I worked for outsourced its IT functions and transferred its existing IT staff to the contracting company. While you could possibly make a case about the sense of transferring of systems analysts, coders etc., they also transferred all their business analysts. That meant that there were almost no staff left in house who knew how computer and business systems fitted together, other than the very few of us who had refused to be transferred and (luckily) had enough clout to make the refusal stick. 
 

As the inadvisability of that move became increasingly more apparent over the next few years, former business analysts were quietly absorbed back into the parent organization, under various different job titles.

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Posted (edited)

Watching Piglet and his team on the NYMR series they often had to make items they could no longer source from elsewhere.

 

Similarly the teams on the many refurbishment programs such as The Repair Shop and Drew Pritchard's Salvage Hunters Restorers. 

 

Admittedly there are probably fewer of these skilled people around these days. 

Edited by Stubby47
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1 hour ago, Stubby47 said:

Watching Piglet and his team on the NYMR series they often had to make items they could no longer source from elsewhere.

 

Similarly the teams on the many refurbishment programs such as The Repair Hop and Drew Pritchard's Salvage Hunters Restorers. 

 

Admittedly there are probably fewer of these skilled people around these days. 

From personal experience, the worst part to have fail is a casting.

 

I know that a skilled welder can sometimes repair them, but I don't  have that level of skill:  Fortunately we know someone who does.

 

I have repaired a couple of castings where the threads have stripped.  Basically it's the same as the advice I've given Douglas about trashed boiler bushes:  Overbore, tap out the hole and fit a new bush which is threaded internally and externally.  The hardest part is getting the part held rigidly and at the correct angle to bore it out to match the original.  Once it's in the machine we leave it and don't move it after the tapping of the bore has been carried out.  

 

 Once the threaded bush has been screwed in it gets drilled to form a keyway between the casting and the bush.  The pin that's inserted stops the bush turning if the fitting ever needs withdrawing from the casting/bush.

 

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Castings 

 

Its all in the pour allegedly 

 

It used to fascinate me (and still does) how the molten iron just flows through the mould and settles.

 

 

I used to love watching the processes in the foundry 

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55 minutes ago, Happy Hippo said:

From personal experience, the worst part to have fail is a casting.

 

I know that a skilled welder can sometimes repair them, but I don't  have that level of skill:  Fortunately we know someone who does.

 

I have repaired a couple of castings where the threads have stripped.  Basically it's the same as the advice I've given Douglas about trashed boiler bushes:  Overbore, tap out the hole and fit a new bush which is threaded internally and externally.  The hardest part is getting the part held rigidly and at the correct angle to bore it out to match the original.  Once it's in the machine we leave it and don't move it after the tapping of the bore has been carried out.  

 

 Once the threaded bush has been screwed in it gets drilled to form a keyway between the casting and the bush.  The pin that's inserted stops the bush turning if the fitting ever needs withdrawing from the casting/bush.

 

 

At the first (and by far the best - until the bean counters closed it and moved us ten miles up the road :angry:) Bear used to visit the tool stores on a fairly regular basis - often related to homers, strangely :laugh:.  One particularly popular item was a metric helicoil tool (I was rebuilding a Suzuki RM250H Motocross Bike at the time) - they had every size imaginable.  Anyway, I got chatting with the stores guy and asked him if he'd been offered a job up the road - nope, he was out the door when the site closed - and he was understandably unhappy about it.  I mentioned that I'd really miss the ability to visit the stores as and when required; at that point he looked at his watch, remarked that it was tea break and he'd be gone 20 minutes.  He unlocked the door into santa's grotto, pointed to where the helicoil tools were and said "you'll be alright finding what you need, won't you...?"  Bear got the message loud and clear - and I didn't need him to repeat it.  I've now got a full set of metric helicoil taps and insert tools (plus a bag full of inserts) that would certainly have ended up in the skip in a few week's time.  And guess what?  It's very, very rare that I need to use them now that I have them - no way would I be without them though. 

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When I was on my first Squadron in Singapore in 1968 there was a rather amusing incident when a spare part for one of our Hunters wasn't locally available and had to be ordered from UK on the 'Early Bird' priority system. I don't recall exactly what the part was except that it was something fairly small so the engineers were somewhat surprised to receive a signal saying that it was being despatched by a special flight. A couple of days later a Belfast arrived and a very large crate was unloaded, which was found to contain............. a Canberra tailplane. The stock number on the order had been a tad inaccurate but no-one had apparently realised that a Hunter Squadron requesting a large bit of Canberra was, shall we say, unusual.

 

Fortunately there was a Canberra Squadron about two hundred yards away that took the tailplane off our hands and the part we needed arrived on a scheduled VC10 flight a day or so later.

 

Dave

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Posted (edited)

That reminds me of when I was stationed at the NAD Souda Bay, Crete in the ground support shop. We ordered some unremembered small part and got a prop feathering switch for a P-3C Orion. Supply did not want it back initially but it eventually made it way back. Darn, I thought that it would have looked kind of neat on a model railroad control panel!:yahoo_mini:

Edited by J. S. Bach
To add some information.
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1 hour ago, simontaylor484 said:

Castings 

 

Its all in the pour allegedly 

 

It used to fascinate me (and still does) how the molten iron just flows through the mould and settles.

 

 

I used to love watching the processes in the foundry 

 

In the mid 1990s I talked to a chap at the California State Railroad Museum who had worked at ALCO and who had seen the cast- steel beds for some of the Big Boys being poured. Apparently it took days to set up and involved a large team of very skilled men under the direction of one of the most senior foundry supervisors. The chap I was talking to said that nowadays it wouldn't be possible to do it as the necessary expertise simply doesn't exist.

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7 minutes ago, J. S. Bach said:

That reminds me of when I was stationed at the NAD Souda Bay, Crete in the ground support shop...

 

When were you at Souda Bay, Dave? I passed through there several times in the '70s and '80s flying F4s.

 

Dave

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Posted (edited)

On the subject of manufacturing. 
 

 

If you look hard enough, nothing has changed. Very little in fact. In fact I’ve even found new build reciprocating fully enclosed Bellis & Morcom type steam engines for sale in India, where they are made to run on biomass from some admittedly rather fragile looking Yarrow boilers. You never want a fragile Yarrow boiler!

 

On the subject of western manufacture, it is smaller, but still capable of great things. Even seemingly massive things, like overhauling a UP Big Boy. Heavy engineering is still very present, with company’s like P&H mining equipment etc, or whoever owns Bucyrus Erie. There are also plenty of artisan craftsmen kicking around, and plenty of people who would like to be in such a job.

 

My generation, while the most technically advanced of any generation in history, is sorely lacking any sort of physical stimulate, instead it’s all virtual. As an example, if you want a model of a tank, you can get a supremely well detailed virtual model of say a Churchill Mk 5 in a game like World of Tanks. Or even a fantastic model of the USS Chester* in a game like World of Warships blitz. But it’s not the same as having it right in front of you, and it’s even more satisfying once you have put it together. 
 

My generation is also according to the “forth turning” theory; going to be a generation of artists. I believe this. Even now, some of us are realizing just how little satisfaction they actually gain from virtual things, and are buying or dreaming of more of whatever it is they want in the physical world. As an example, look at the small miniature engines being produced in China, and are getting sold to young mechanically minded people in the west. 
 

While I have been lucky enough to not be completely overcome by the virtual world, I have seen how good it is. Yes, it is good, but no match for an Airfix Churchill Mk 5. I spoke earlier of my generations lack of physical stimulus, and I think this is why they were so entertained by my lecture on steam compounding. It opened a different world to them, albeit obscure. 
 

So no, there is no lack of artisans in the world, and I wouldn’t say it’s going away either. In fact, people like myself and others will probably make it much bigger. 
 

 

*believe me, I have one!

 

Douglas
 

 

 

 

Edited by Florence Locomotive Works
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Dave Hunt said:

When were you at Souda Bay, Dave? I passed through there several times in the '70s and '80s flying F4s.

Dave

Yes sir, 1972-73. Two (of many but the only scanned ones) of my photos from there:

1915200044_SoudaConnie.jpg.ec36086003a0c764f454557ae58796ed.jpg

 

1288430658_SoudaC-130.jpg.5314311311d483187fd868a96602147f.jpg

 

 

I do not recall many RAF birds on our side; I guess that you were on the Greek side? One that I do remember was a Vulcan that did a one-plane air show when it departed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by J. S. Bach
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30 minutes ago, J. S. Bach said:

Yes sir, 1972-73. Two (of many but the only scanned ones) of my photos from there:

1915200044_SoudaConnie.jpg.ec36086003a0c764f454557ae58796ed.jpg

 

1288430658_SoudaC-130.jpg.5314311311d483187fd868a96602147f.jpg

 

 

I do not recall many RAF birds on our side; I guess that you were on the Greek side? One that I do remember was a Vulcan that did a one-plane air show when it departed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That first picture must represent the farthest a Connie ever got from home!

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4 hours ago, Florence Locomotive Works said:

That first picture must represent the farthest a Connie ever got from home!

I can remember  seeing Connies and Super Connies at Heathrow which would have been about 1959 I think. Lovely looking planes.  

 

As to foundries.  When We needed castviron wheels fro the horse tram, we used a small founfry in Huddersfield. They allowed 2 of us to go and watch the pour for the first two wheels. It was a fabulous experience. You don't think of iron behaving like water. They had to weight the mould down with over a ton of weights so that the upper half didn't float off the bottom half. The same foundry cast the ironwork for the half scale replica Iron Bridge that Fred Dibnah was involved in. The manager/owner shoed me where they had laid out the 20' mould on the floor of the foundry. Apparently  when they first poured it, from one end, a wave went down the mould then solidified part way back. They scrapped that one then did a second go pouring from both ends, that worked.  I'll try and find the photos that I took of the wheels being cast.

 

Jamie

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Somebody else booked us a walk around Attingham Park this morning:  I was hoping to look at an on line auction where there is some O Gauge GWR stuff going under the hammer.

 

As a result I think my wallet is safe!

 

At least the weather is a bit more pleasant than the last few days.

 

I think I might have some bacon for breakfast.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Happy Hippo said:

Somebody else booked us a walk around Attingham Park this morning:  I was hoping to look at an on line auction where there is some O Gauge GWR stuff going under the hammer.

 

As a result I think my wallet is safe!

 

At least the weather is a bit more pleasant than the last few days.

 

I think I might have some bacon for breakfast.

 

 

If you are visiting Attingham in a couple of weeks you will be able to visit the mansion again for the first time in over a year.

 

We are reopening the basement area initially. My understanding is that the upper floors may be reopened in July although this seems a little up in the air at the moment. 

 

We have a volunteers viewing next week so it will be interesting to see what has been done.

 

Enjoy your walk.

Edited by coastalview
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6 hours ago, Florence Locomotive Works said:

That first picture must represent the farthest a Connie ever got from home!

A friend of ours was in the US Navy and flew in the surveillance aircraft version from Japan to monitor radio signals from North Korea.  He was a linguist. 

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19 minutes ago, Tony_S said:

A friend of ours was in the US Navy and flew in the surveillance aircraft version from Japan to monitor radio signals from North Korea.  He was a linguist. 

Those guys weren't just linguists, because they were on classified operations they were cunning linguists.

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4 hours ago, Happy Hippo said:

Those guys weren't just linguists, because they were on classified operations they were cunning linguists.

When Dennis did his assessment on joining the navy they identified that he had linguistic skills. So he was asked for his preference of language. He asked for Arabic and Farsi. He was told the US would not need such languages so choose again. He chose Mandarin and Japanese as the language school was in  California. He was from New York. 
Tony

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No. 1 Son has just submitted his undergraduate dissertation which has some great long technical title but is basically about some details of glaciation in the Lake District. I mention this here because he was explaining to me how sediments can be dated to particular interglacials by their biological component - particularly the type, size, and quantity of hippo remains. Hippos were particularly plentiful in certain interglacials - great herds of them throughout what is now the Severn basin. I though that might be of interest to some.

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