Saturday, 24 October 2009
Paul's Model Engineering Blog
I have been interested in model engineering on and off for many years. Time and circumstances led to doing something about this interest a couple of years ago when my Son Nick was very interested in the trains at the local model engineering club and wanted to get more involved.
For Nick aged 10 to get involved, that meant that Mum and Dad had to get involved as well. The club activities are very interesting involving running both 5 inch and 7 1/4 inch railway layouts and Nick really enjoys it. However, a good part of the fun is from owning and running your own Model locomotives, there are two choices, you can build or you can buy. We decided to build.
I served an engineering apprenticeship many years ago so the whole engineering part of the process whilst not completely new to me was pretty rusty.
As for anybody setting out to build a model locomotive, the question was what to build and how big to build it. Having looked at the various options, we settled for a 7 1/4 gauge GW 1500 steam locomotive.
This is a pretty ambitious first project but my thinking is that whilst the bits are bigger, the actual work involved for a 7 1/4 gauge locomotive shouldnt be a great deal more than for a 5 inch or even a 3 1/2 inch gauge.
I liked the design of the loco in that almost all the moving parts are located outside of the frames making access for lubrication and minor maintenance a straightforward matter. I also liked that it has a good reputation as a powerful locomotive capable of pulling a good load.
The picture at the top of this post is the full sized example of the locomotive in the Steam museum at the Severn Valley Railway.
I have spent a lot if not most of my first year in the hobby, re aquainting myself with basic engineering practice and setting up a workshop in the garage.
Building the Locomotive started just over a year ago with drawing up and ordering laser cut and marked frames, buffer beams and rear buffer uniting plates. as well as ordering some castings from Reeves.
Progress so far is to acquire and make some loco parts and to turn a quantity of perfectly good materials and tools into scrap. Happily, the parts bin is slightly fuller than the scrap bin but to be honest, at this stage there aint much in it. Things are improving with practice.
Given the startling costs of some of the castings for this locomotive, I am also looking at alternative ways to produce the parts I need. At the moment, I am using a CNC milling machine to make many of the parts that would traditionally have been castings.