Not quite as fast as a speeding tortoise

I had a long morning finishing of some fencing at the back of the house yesterday so modelling took a back seat. I did however manage to do some test running of the Class 5A on my rather rough and ready test track which it passed with flying colours.

I took a video of the slow running. It’s only just over a minute don’t fall asleep.

GCR Class 5A The Final Countdown

The final part of the build while awaiting the chimney casting was how to fit the cab windows.

I drilled each one top and bottom and added a pivot pin.

GCR Class 5A Opening Cab Windows
GCR Class 5A Opening Cab Windows

After thinking about bits of tube etc. I realised that I could add some bottom ‘hinges’ in the form of pipe type bracket and do the same at the top but only solder one tab so that the bracket could be eased back to make the window unit removable for painting.

GCR Class 5A Opening Cab Windows

A few shots as she stands awaiting her chimney. I also added lead to the side tanks and as I suspected she now runs quite smoothly on the rolling road. I will continue to run in while awaiting the chimney and when the weather improves, I will dig my test track out of the shed and test run around curves.

GCR Class 5A Just awaiting its chimney
GCR Class 5A Waiting for its chimney
GCR Class 5A Just awaiting its chimney
GCR Class 5A Just awaiting its chimney

Whistling a Different Tune

Under the kind tutelage of fellow Gauge O Guild member, Ian Middleditch I have been playing with turning whistles.

First, I made a form tool from a length of 3/16 silver steel rod ( based it on a photo that Ian kindly sent me of some that he had made.

Once filed to shape the cutting end was hardened and tempered using my microflame (the last time I hardened and tempered anything was when I was at school).

Whistle form tool

Next I drilled out the centre to take a 0.8mm rod and then roughed out the larger top part of the whistle.

Then I used the form tool to create the final shape. It did create the final shape but I think that it would do even better on a slightly narrower piece of rod this one was 2.4mm and I think that a 2mm rod would create a better shape with this particular tool. In the event I touched it with the diamond file to finish it off.

I then parted it off and I took Ian’s advice and put a length of 0.8mm rod in the tail chuck and through the hole in the part so that it didn’t disappear into the mists when parted off.

Repeat the exercise for the bottom part and solder together on a length of rod with a 0.5mm spacer in between to create the whistle (I used a small piece of 20thou styrene with a hole and slot made in it to slip over the centre rod).

LNER D2 Whistle

The nuts were added after the whistle was made up and are from microbore tube filed in a pin vice to a hexagon shape.

GCR Class 5A Chimney troubles

The build slowed down a little when I realised that the chimney casting had the flare cast lopsided. This meant that when you had the chimney sat on vertically on the smokebox there was more flare at one side than the other. I tried to reshape it with bars rolling it over a former the same size as the smokebox but I couldn’t improve it much.

After some discussion with Brian, I emailed Laurie Griffin and Andy Beaton to ask them if they had anything suitable in their ranges that might do (as long as it looked right it wouldn’t matter which loco it was originally designed to fit). Sadly the nearest we got to was an LNER standard chimney from Laurie.

The next step was to ask fellow Guild member Mike Hopkins who has been posting some excellent stuff on the Guild forum where he has been designing in 3D then printing waxes and having them cast in brass.

I supplied Mike with a drawing a couple of days ago and he went away to draw it up.

Below are some photos of the wax prints prior to removing the supports and sending them away for castings. Photo’s copyright of Mike and posted with his kind permission.

GCR Class 5A little details

I had some Milliput out for making some modifications to some axlebox ready to make some castings of them. I needed a miniscule amount so it seemed a shame to waste the rest of what I mixed so I filled the back of the balance weights for the Class 5a.

They still need a little tidying up but they do look a bit better than just an etched skin.

Balance weights filled from the back

When I did my J63 I had some etched washers that were just the right size to make the front windows into opening ones by sticking them either side of soe glazing material and wrapping a strip of brass around them.

I wondered if I was able to turn a couple with a proper recess rather than a wrap-around overlay, now that I have a little more confidence with the lathe. I ordered a 3.5mm boring tool and when it arrived, I thought I would have a go.

I cut a length of brass rod and turned a section of it down to the required width and then drilled progressively bigger holes in the end until I reached 5mm in diameter. Then I tried the boring tool ad had a gotcha moment. The tool might be 3.5mm wide but it’s also 3.5mm deep and it wouldn’t fit when trying to centre it in the hole for cutting…. In order to get the tool in I would need a bigger hole than I wanted.

I scratched my head for a bit and then had a rummage thought the box of tools that came with the lathe. One of them had been ground with boring holes in mind but the corner of the cutting edge was chipped so while it would cut, I didn’t get a square edge to the bottom of the hole.

It was at this point that I remembered that I had bought a mini bench grinder from Lidl about 3 years ago and it was sat on a shelf under my bench.

Out it came and I had my first go at grinding a cutting tool for the lathe. Light touches soon restored the missing bit of tip and I now see what Ian meant when he said a sharp tool makes a lot of difference to how it cuts.

While I had it on the bench, I reground a couple more tools that had dings out of the edges too.

Front Windows
Front Windows with 5p

And one with the obligatory 5p for scale.

Scratch built Steps for a DJH/Piercy J27

A little quickie on the workbench today.

A fellow modeller asked if I would make him some steps to replace some that were missing in a DJH/Piercy J27 kit that he had bought.

My guillotine and some offcuts of brass sheet made fairly short work of making them. In fact the longest time came from working out how big the parts needed to be. Although I had been provided with a section from a drawing it had been photographed rather than scanned so it wasn’t square on enough to be certain that measurements could be scaled exactly from it. What it did allow was confirmation that taking sizes from the steps in an NER J21 kit was as near as I was going to get.

J27 Scratch built steps

GCR Class 5A onto the final detailing

A couple of sessions this weekend, have seen most of the brass castings and the backhead finished and secured in place.

Prior to doing that I had to make a cab floor or rather the front section of the cab floor because my replacement backhead fell through the section that’s not provided in the kit when I tried it in place.

GCR Class 5A cab floor

I added a couple of 2mm wide strips to the edges of the cab splashers and then soldered the additional cab floor to that which brought it to the same height as the rest of the cab floor.

After making the floor it gave me another option to secure the backhead so I made the back head and the cab gauges removable to ease the job of painting.

GCR Class 5A backhead removalble for painting
GCR Class 5A backhead removalble for painting

I folded a small piece of 10thou nickel into a U shape with a short leg to the front and drilled a hole for a 10ba nut. The idea of the U shape is to add a bit more strength to what is relatively thin sheet.

GCR Class 5A Gauges removable for painting
GCR Class 5A Gauges removable for painting
GCR Class 5A Cab view

I added a short length of tube in the corner of the cab front and splasher and the tail of the pipe from the gauge locates into it with the back of the dial fitting over the peg where the vacuum ejector pipe enters the cab. Not strictly prototypical I am sure but it means that after painting a small dab of glue will secure it in place.

A few general shots of the smokebox details which is where most of it seems to be on this loco.

GCR Class 5A Smokebox details

The clack valve is one of Jim McGeown’s from his most useful sprue of Clack and elbow castings as is the vacuum ejector elbow on the other side.

The lubricators on the smokebox are Laurie griffin and the small pipe and fitting is scratch built from tube, rod and scrap etch.

GCR Class 5A Smokebox details
GCR Class 5A Whistle and Vacuum ejector

The rather nice turned whistle came with the kit and is without doubt the best fitting supplied.

Still to fit are vacuum pipes and the whitemetal fittings – buffers, dome and chimney, then balance weights and some lead in the side tanks before track testing.

The end is most definitely in sight.

Connoisseur LNER Perishables Van backdated to an NER version

Once the doors were finished the rest of it went together pretty much as Jim intended. With the addition of LG vacuum, steam heat and couplings.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – final Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – final Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Final Details

I added a floor from the mount board that the kit comes attached to and I made the roof removable so that the back of the louvres could be blanked off should it be required.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Ready for Paint

GCR Class 5A Turned out nice again…

Amongst the castings in the kit were what I originally thought were a couple of Ross Pop safety valves but it turns out that they were in fact the lids for the sand boxes either way they were not great.

What a great opportunity to make something meaningful with the new lathe, thinks I.

So, I turned up a pair of sandbox lids

GCR Class 5A Turned sand box fillers

Finally, one with the obligatory 5p piece for scale

I have to confess that these were my second attempt. The first pair were okay but I hadn’t quite worked out how to make the two identical so there were some slight discrepancies in size – probably not really noticeable at this small size but I knew I could do better so I did.

After making the first two sandbox fillers I turned (if you will pardon the pun) my attentions to the oilers. While buying other castings I had bought some oilers for the side of the smoke box and a set for the footplate. Having examined the ones on the footplate more closely in the photos I realised that the castings would be correct so I turned up a pair of those too. They were very similar to make, aside from I drilled these 0.8mm to take a piece of nickel rod to mount them.

I could have left a turned stem on the oilers but I need to be able to bend it so I reasoned that rod would be better for bending as I thought a turned stem would be likely to break off.

And again, with the 5p piece

The collets and chuck were invaluable and this type of thing really satisfies my urge to make things…

NER Perishables van more body detailing

Next up came the complex but visually attractive NER door locking mechanism.
Made from scrap etch and brass rod. Although I didn’t take any photos the mechanism does work.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built door fittings
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built door fittings

Then I made up the basic body and detailed the ends. I was a bit clumsy and managed to melt one of the end post castings so I nicked one out of one of my kits and I will either get a spare from Jim when life returns to normal or make one from brass bar when I get to building it.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Body Details

GCR Class 5A just needs castings to complete

While awaiting more building materials I had some time in the workshop over the last couple of days and this has allowed the Class 5A to move much nearer to completion. All the etch parts are now on the body with just the balance weights to fit to complete all the etched parts.
From there I moved onto the castings, at the beginning Brian and I discussed the castings and since they were pretty poor (certainly when compared to the castings that came with my kit a few years earlier) and we replaced as much as we could but retained the Chimney, dome and Smokebox door. The dome and the smokebox door did clean up and don’t look too bad now but the Chimney when I examined it closely had some holes in the flare at the base. I filled them with lowmelt and reshaped the flare. This means that I will have to use epoxy to stick it on as I don’t want to risk any heat undoing the work on the flare.

GCR Class 5A Safety Valves
GCR Class 5A Boiler castings

The castings after clean up

GCR Class 5A Cab details

Cab interior details

GCR Class 5A Cab details
GCR Class 5A Handrails fitted
GCR Class 5A Last of the etch details.
GCR Class 5A Last of the etch details.

The Safety valves are from Laurie Griffin and they too had a prominent mould line across the top which required a bit of works to remove but still infinitely better than the reject whitemetal offering. I understand that this kit is now with Iain Young of Sans Pariel/CSP and that he intends to remaster all the castings. The kit will benefit greatly from that, I think.

Holding things for drilling/milling

While re-watching David LO Smith’s workshop video that he did for last years virtual show I was reminded that quite often the job itself doesn’t present the biggest problem for machine tools it’s holding the item securely in the right orientation that proves most challenging.
Needing to drill out some cast brass brake hangers and shoes I was struggling on how to hold them because the castings were ever so slightly miscast meaning that each part had to be slightly tilted to get the hole to go through cleanly without coming out of the side of the casting.
I thought I would share with you the method that I came up with.

I gripped the pliers in the small machine vice and bought the drill bit down in front of the part to check alignment, adjusting until the hole would pass through the casting correctly before aligning the drill bit over the point to be drilled. 
I have had these pliers for years and I removed the spring for a job and never put it back this means that the jaws stay where you put them so ideal for using both hands to do the set up. 
They have quite straight but quite narrow jaws (3mm for most of their length tapering to 2.6mm at the ends) and I wish I could buy another pair as using them for soldering many times has started to corrode the ends of the jaws.
Then to start drilling grip the handles of the pliers to keep the part in place and operate the drill with the other hand. I had to keep minutely adjusting the angle as I drilled each end of each casting but all six were drilled both ends without mishap.

Connoisseur NER Perishables Van more progress on the doors

From there it was just a case of keep adding the details to the doors

Connoisseur Perishables Van – More hinge details
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors

The ‘barrel’ of the hinges was made by filing a slot in a piece of 2mm x1mm bar using an oval file to give the slope where it meets the strap and then rounding off the other end. The RSU came into its own when soldering them on. I think it’s the first time that I have ever managed to solder on some fine detail without at least one part pinging off and requiring a search to find it or to make a replacement.

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Scratch built doors

NER Perishables Van backdated from a Connoisseur kit for an LNER Version

Despite building it at the same time I completely forgot to post this, following on from the Road van my second victim is a conversion of a Connoisseur LNER Perishables van from one of these – photo courtesy of Jim McGeown’s website

To a North Eastern Railway version with cupboard type doors instead of the sliding door on the LNER version.  The cupboard doors and their locking mechanism will need to be scratch built. LNER Wagons Volume Two by Peter Tatlow has photos and a drawing which will prove very helpful during this conversion.

We start off by cutting out the parts etched in the door openings

Once they are removed and put to one side for later in the build, the openings need to be trimmed back to the door pillars. I did this with the trusty piercing saw with a no 6 blade.

Once I had my door opening dimensions, I cut a couple of replacement doors and scored the planking on them using an Olfa Cutter (skrawker).

Connoisseur Perishables Van – Replacement Cupboard doors
Connoisseur Perishables Van – Replacement cupboard doors

These were soldered in with some strips of scrap etch soldered all the way around to prevent them being dislodged through handling of the finished van.

Once this was done, I started on the hinges. This job was made some much easier by riveting the edge of a piece of 10 thou brass sheet at the appropriate spacing (taken from the drawing) using my GP models rivet press and then cutting the strip from the sheet using my guillotine. I ended up filing a few down to width before I got my eye in despite scribing a cut line…

Connoisseur Perishables Van – More hinge details

GCR Class 5A Pickups fitted Running slowly getting there.

I haven’t had much workbench time in the last couple of weeks or so but when I have I have been slowly working on the chassis of the Class 5A fitting the pickups and getting it to run. The latter being a bit of a trial.

In order to make it so that the motor and pick ups can be removed without having to unsolder anything I made a frame spacer from a spare out of another kit and screwed a piece of Vero board to it

GCR Class 5A Vero Board screwed in place
GCR Class 5A Pickups fitted
GCR Class 5A chassis

This is where the fun began,  despite it running lovely when the motor was connected directly as soon as I added pickups in to the equation the rods started jamming at every turn which in turn forces the compensation beams up and down to one extreme or the other. This caused more than a few mutterings. One thing that I noticed was that in retaining the Dereck Mundy Crankpins at the rear albeit in a modifified form on the centre axle the thick boss was still causing issues by pushing the coupling rods in to an open-ended wedge shape. I had dismantled one side with the plan to carefully extract the crank pins and turn the bossed down on my Unimat SL. Life intervened and I bought a Unimat 3 early last week, so having collected it from Driffield on Tuesday, I did them on that instead.

GCR Class 5A Crankpin boss turned down

It now runs much better on the rolling road but I am sure that once I get some weight in it and on a test track it will be fine. The rollers on my rolling road are set a lit far apart and sometimes that introduces a bit of a waddle which doesn’t help when trying to resolve running problems. – Prompted by typing this, I found and added some small washers which have taken out some of the side play on the rollers and running has improved already.

Gladiator J6

One of the few remaining details to add to the body are the injectors which sit under the footplate tucked away behind the cab steps. From all the photos that I have of J6’s seeing what they actually look like is a real problem. Then I remembered that I had taken a few photos of the Injectors on the side of the preserved J52 while it lived at Shildon.

While I have a couple of good side views they don’t show the pipes and how they fit.

Then by pure chance I was looking through some photos that I took in the dark hall at York and found that I had indeed taken photos of each end

By cross referencing these with the end that’s visible on some better lit J6 photos I was able to confirm to my satisfaction that these are the same type of injector fitted to the J6 Now all I need to do is work out how to scale them to size – Despite taking quite a few shots at both locations none of them are side on allowing scaling from a known dimension.

The case of the missing Globe Lubricators

Modelling time has been in a bit short supply so far this week but I have managed a few bits and pieces. The key one being, on the back of a delivery of a second set of globe lubricator castings for the J6, I got them fitted. I had to order some more because I have misplaced the first lot but I am sure that they will turn up in due course…

Gladiator J6 Globe Lubricators

Still a bit of cleaning up to do under there.

Globe Lubricators on the Gladiator J6

GCR Class 5A Ashpan corrections

Over on RMweb Mike Edge (of Judith Edge Kits) kindly pointed out that I had the ashpan sides correct but fitted the wrong way around – slope to the rear instead of the front.

I am very grateful for this because it’s an easy fix (already done) and was a detail that I was struggling to find. The GA I have only show’s an outline for the ashpan and all the photos I have the detail is lost in the gloom.
I had forgotten to take photos of them before fitting so taking them off to swap them around gave me the opportunity to do so.

I measured the space where they were to fit and cut a strip of a sheet of 10thou nickel 30.5mm wide. From this strip I cut two pieces each 17mm long. This left a piece approx. 30mm long and I measured 5mm up from each opposite end and then cut the piece diagonally across.

I wasn’t sure that I have described that clearly so I knocked up a sketch in paint.

Once I had all the parts cut out, I placed each bottom edge in my hold and fold approx. 1.5 mm in and gave it as slight bend and then solder them together in handed pairs to give each ashpan side as below.

GCR Class 5A Ashpan sides