Finescale - of a sort?!

Discussion in 'Area 51' started by Peter Insole, 26 December 2016.

  1. Tim Watson

    Tim Watson Western Thunderer

    Annealing brass will usually work with just heating it to dull red and letting it cool. You will have to do it multiple times, after each little bit of bending, because it work hardens very quickly. Immediately quenching the brass in water might improve the annealing process. Good luck!

    simond likes this.
  2. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    You do occasionally see some signs on roads that make you laugh, one I saw at a school announced ' Do not enter through gate when locked' :confused: but some not all ways official, during my truck driving days I had just cleared the tunnel from France into Italy to descend the old road down the mountain to Torino, someone had stuffed a large carboard sign in a tree at cab height with words painted on it in good old English ' Next bleedin' stop Heston services 1,580 miles '
    which is approximately the round trip mileage :D.

    Last edited: 14 February 2021
  3. Rob Pulham

    Rob Pulham Western Thunderer

    That reminds me of a business trip that I took with a colleague from Wakefield to Stoke on Trent.

    My colleague was driving so I had time to gaze out of the window at a great lake where the Trent had burst it's banks. As we passed along the edge of this lake about 50 yards from the land, a sign stuck out of the water saying the immortal words "Caution Road Liable to Flooding!"
    eastsidepilot and Peter Insole like this.
  4. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thank you so much for the tip Tim. You have provided me with a little bit of extra confidence in ordering more bar and having another really good go at it!

    I really like the distinctive shape of those levers and just could not stand the thought of compromise. I must have five of the jolly things, so giving up is not an option!

    My gas torch is only a basic, DIY plumbing, propane/butane canister job, so you have indeed proved my sneaking suspicion that it was simply not capable of dumping anywhere near enough heat into the bar. I did manage to get the brass "ruddy hot", but that is not an engineering term is it? It certainly wasn't red anyway!

    The failure has knocked me back a bit, and I know that I will have to put much more thought into handling techniques when I finally reach the proper, glowing stage?!

    Expect a few more conflagrations along the way!

  5. Tim Watson

    Tim Watson Western Thunderer

    You don’t need to handle the handles when they are hot, Pete, but they will need reheating frequently. Basic plumbing torch should do the job, but you could always augment with a gas hob if you’re allowed to use it.

  6. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Oh, yes. Got it now thank you Tim!

  7. Osgood

    Osgood Western Thunderer

    Or the sign somewhere up Holt way put out by a farmer -
    Under which some wag had written
    twinned with
    Pommes de Terre
    Last edited: 16 February 2021
    76043, InvernessTMD, Rob R and 4 others like this.
  8. simond

    simond Western Thunderer

    A diversion off the A55 carried a warning sign

    “Slow! Sheep on Road”

    a wag had added

    “this means ewe!”
  9. eastsidepilot

    eastsidepilot Western Thunderer

    So a sign for Pete could be this one ....:eek:

    download (11).png
    Sorry mate :D
    Peter Insole likes this.
  10. Tom Insole

    Tom Insole Western Thunderer

    I'm going to add an old joke here... Seems appropriate,

    "We refused to accept my dad was stealing from his job as a road worker. But when we got home all the signs were there..."

    Ironically there are some signs at home but not road worker ones.. I could name a few as "Hainault", Bus stop signs, I can picture another enamel sign but I for the life of me have gone blank what was written on it. They weren't stolen though!! :))
    eastsidepilot likes this.
  11. Tom Insole

    Tom Insole Western Thunderer

    Just spoken to the boys at work. They were telling me the stuff you’ve got won’t do the job as it’s too brittle, Dave tells me fossil bronze is what you want or stainless, I might even be able to get you a little off cut of stainless if you’d like some ;)
  12. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Whew, what a malarkey?!

    Brassware; part two:

    While I try to make up my mind about the bent handles job, there are still several more non ferrous bits to be getting on with. The trouble is, I don't seem to know how to make my life nice and simple!

    Surely, at least the little injector would not require anything other than fairly straightforward fabrication?


    The peculiar nature of the slightly prone and rather bashed up beast is that it is fitted onto studs in a pattress on the footplate/tank top, while at the same time poking it's nose through a hole in the backhead flange.

    Thanks to someone who had nicked the water cock handle, the awfully tight clearance for the outermost stud and nut is evident in the above image. One on t'other side is the same by the the way. Quite how on earth the the assembly was actually installed - or indeed ever removed for servicing had me utterly flummoxed until, of course, just before I had finished making my model!

    An "Ah-ha, daft apoth" moment came a bit late!

    First off, the easy stuff...(?)

    hSAM_yx5204.JPG hSAM_yx5205.JPG

    The original injector body is single bronze casting that includes the water inlet pipe and shut off cock, the overflow pipe (returning directly back into the well tank, a large, circular three studded flange for the live steam inlet on one end, and the four stud baseplate.

    Complicated, but not too bad with some careful thought.


    I was hoping that the method was more or less the right way to go about making it all up, but there is still a bit of work to do on the invisible soldering here I'm afraid?

    hSAM_yx5209.JPG hSAM_yx5213.JPG

    Rather than trying to cut two slivers off a large, round bar and then hope to drill the centres, plus three stud holes in perfect alignment for the steam pipe flange without using a lathe led to a bodge:

    I have made both sections as one lump, with a fairly wide slot filed all round to represent the gasket. The whole was drilled through, tapped and firmly screwed into the main injector body with a plain ended stud that can later be inserted and soldered into some quarter inch copper pipe. Getting the triangle of holes set correctly perpendicular when tightening up on the thread was a bit tricky!

    So far so good?


    I seem to be getting away with it, thus far anyway..?

    BR Tony, AdeMoore, Bagpuss and 17 others like this.
  13. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Part three: This is where the fun really starts..

    Despite still not having worked out how the prototype injector fits in place, at this stage anyway, the continuing desire to build the model in self contained units, wherever practical, prevails.

    As previously mentioned, the injector is effectively attached to both the footplate and boiler, with the live steam supply pipe descending to it from a valve on the top manifold, while the feed pipe heads forward above and along the running plate to the single clack. With hardly any plumbing visually extending below said plate, it allows the facility of lifting the complete boiler and fittings to be a relatively straightforward exercise for access to the motor and gearbox. Well it would be, if it were not for those four awkward little studs on the injector baseplate?! I really do not fancy the prospect of having to disconnect and reconnect loads of pipe joints, nuts, etc., whenever the occasion demands.

    Having already faced an issue with the gauge glass blocking access to the removable firebox, the answer seemed to be to use a similar bracket arrangement off the backhead, thus keeping the whole shebang in one piece.

    Hiding such a fitting called for a little ingenuity, and a fair amount of faff! I think I am becoming something of a delamination expert?...


    After undoing and removing the appropriate boiler mounting angle, the task was not quite so easy with the particularly 'orrible, fluffy muff-duff stuff to work on!


    Got there in the end...

    Oops! missed a bit:

    The fit is nice and snug, but I cut the angle of the extended section (to cover the rivet hole) into the upper, rather than lower face; leaving a slightly naughty gap. Fortunately, it will not be seen when everything is drilled and bolted back together!

    hSAM_yx5218.JPG hSAM_yx5221.JPG

    Having traced out the baseplate and cut out a slightly oversize blank for the pattress, I superglued it to the bracket to ensure that the four stud holes could be accurately centred and drilled through.

    I had intended to cut in and round off the brass nearest the vertical angle, but felt that it could introduce a potential weakness. Once painted with a slop of suitably gooey black, the tiny bit of extra material should be barely noticeable?


    Yes, I know I overcooked the countersinks a bit, but I wanted to make sure that there was absolutely no chance of an unsightly gap caused by one or more of the screw heads standing proud and lifting the bracket off the footplate!


    First coat of thinned black seems to prove the theory.

    A full paint job will have to wait until the remaining details are completed, more new, "pretend rivets" rather than temporary screws are installed and "shielding" restrictions are relaxed, enabling me to visit a local model shop, for both the pleasure and a fresh supply of enamels!

    hSAM_yx5231.JPG hSAM_yx5233.JPG hSAM_yx5235.JPG

    On the subject of rivets; the first two had to be made for fitting up the bracket.

    They were of the flush variety between the backhead and injector, so countersunk machine screws, with their driving slots eventually filled and smoothed will do nicely. They should however have conventional, though shallow, round heads on the angle side. Both subtlety and lack of space dictated that the screw ends and nuts had to be cut and filed down to extremely fiddly slivers.

    The brevity of the description in no way conveys the effort involved! There are four more, albeit roundheads to do, so expect an interlude in the broadcasts.

    I have also got another brass nut to make for the front end of the injector body too, and it was while thinking of this that the "ah-ha!" moment finally occurred:

    Being a silly old fool, I had assumed that the nut was of the capping type, but oh no, no! Popping a spanner on and giving it a turn undoes the whole "nose" section of the body; effectively splitting it by roughly one third of it's length. Thus divided, and with the front portion drawn out, the rear section is obviously free to be lifted upwards off the studs!

    Hoh, hum!

    Working that out might have saved only a little bit of trouble, but as the job is so nearly done now, and more or less serves it's purpose anyway, it can jolly well stay as it is.

    BR Tony, AdeMoore, AJC and 15 others like this.
  14. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Plodding steadily along!

    The trouble with my health issues is that I will have good days and bad days, some particularly so. I am perhaps a little too determined to carry on, even it is for only a couple of hours in an afternoon?

    Here is a bit more of a catch up:


    At least I was able to make use of one of the broken handles for the injector water cock!

    The design is still a temporary lash up as the works drawings don't show the details, published photo's of "Dot" at Tywyn are far too pixelated to be of much use, while the original item on "Wren" went missing way back in the early sixties!

    Hopefully there is enough meat on the long, plain boss to be quite easily modified if and when more information is obtained?

    hSAM_yx5246.JPG hSAM_yx5249.JPG

    It rotates smoothly enough, providing some "play value", and so will do quite well in the mean time?!

    hSAM_yx5263.JPG hSAM_yx5265.JPG

    The big pipe union nut turned out to be a bit nightmarish, but came out OK in the end.

    I'm not really looking forward to making the lumpy great clack valve, with it's curved brass feed pipe and dished, four hole flange. I have also got to find some odd lengths of quarter inch copper pipe to finish the job too!

    The manifold steam cock at the other end looked like a walk in the park by comparison, so was tackled next...

    hSAM_yx5281.JPG hSAM_yx5282.JPG

    Yet more crazy filing down to shape and ruining the drill press bearings while polishing off!

    I felt a wee bit more confident about tackling another union nut for this one...


    But then I had one of those moments...

    It seemed perfectly reasonable that the nut would be pretty much the same as the others on the injector feed? Studying all the available photo's showed that all sorts and sizes were fitted to the loco's over the years. It was perhaps rather surprising to discover that "Wren" retains an original at this point - and the only one as well?!

    The additional effort of adding a distinct "shoulder" to the branch nut was deemed to be practically unnecessary, so I fully convinced myself that a plain one was the appropriate action to follow.

    Went downstairs to my workbench, set up my precious, dwindling stock of brass hex in the vice and started on it with a file. Got about half way round and suddenly thought to myself:

    "What on earth are you doing?"

    Oh well!

    The nut will have a shoulder then!

    hSAM_yx5290.JPG hSAM_yx5292.JPG

    There was at least no question about the valve spindle retaining nut. They were always plain it would seem!

    The real fun will be attempting to fabricate a nice, fine and delicately proportioned three spoked handwheel for this little item now?!

    Plenty more to do in the meantime while the jury is out!

  15. Tom Insole

    Tom Insole Western Thunderer

    Do you have a drawing for the handwheels? I might be able to help with that one. If you've not could you sketch something and send me a drawing. I could draw something up on the computer and print an example for you to try? Your brass work is very impressive!

    Something like this for example?
    Just a little guesswork but I can make something to a little more precise dimensions ;)
    Richard Insole and AdeMoore like this.
  16. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thanks Tom! It is indeed something along those lines.

    A 3D print would make a perfect pattern for casting in brass, which could then be dressed and polished up something lovely!

    It is a very tempting idea.
  17. Mudhen

    Mudhen Western Thunderer

    A couple of suggestions as I believe using a 3d print to produce a brass casting would not be inexpensive.

    The live steam guys have cast handwheels available, see link below for one example;

    Hand Wheels

    Alternatively if Tom can produce a3d print cost effectively you could work on it to get the necessary surface finish and we could then try spraying it with something like the Alclad metallic finishes.

    all the best
    AdeMoore and Tom Insole like this.
  18. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Thank you both Tom and Tim, your helpful suggestions have really succeeded in throwing down the gauntlet!

    I have had an idea rattling around in my head, with three possible solutions: One is the easiest, two is easy and three is the bloomin hard way.

    Trouble is, the easiest is not preferred, the easy is rather difficult as I don't have all the materials to hand, while the hard way will be the easiest as I've got all the right sized bits of brass available!

    Well, here goes then...

    Round the bend?

  19. Peter Insole

    Peter Insole Western Thunderer

    Well, I didn't quite "go" as it turned out. I spent the next three or four hours worrying myself silly about it before finally plucking up the courage!

    These two images show what I was after:

    horwichwren 1 Robin 1887 18inch locos ORIGINAL.jpg horwichwren 1d Fly.jpg

    As you can see, the original Beyer Peacock handwheels where rather elegant and slender affairs, with three slim rounded spokes.

    Something a bit like this....


    It is said that "There is a first time for everything", though if nobody minds, I would rather it would be the last?

    Nevertheless, by the wee small hours there was one utterly exhausted, but at the same time very happy chappie that finally collapsed into his bed!

    Yesterday afternoon seems like an age ago, but this is how it started...


    After a good old rummage around I was very relieved to discover that I had two very short offcuts of 3mm brass rod, just enough to cut the three spokes from.

    Accurately marking out, centering and then drilling for them into the 10mm hub was a bit hair raising for me! All the time I was quite convinced that I would have to spend ages bending, twisting and bashing the spokes into something resembling alignment?! I also hate starting off a drill on a curve and always tend to assume that the bit will suddenly go skidding away off course, or even possibly snap in the process?

    To my absolute amazement, each one ended up pretty much in the right place, and at the right fippin' angle too! I will never be quite sure how I managed that?!

    Now here is another part that was scaring me even more:

    To be scale, the rim was to be rolled from 4mm rod in some of that wretched CZ121 brass.

    My first thoughts had been to form and solder the full circle, then carefully drill 3mm holes right through from the outside, hoping to perfectly align them with similar in the hub and push the spokes through and home?

    No b****y way!

    3mm holes in a 4mm round rod? Got to be kidding, right?! Knowing my unerring ability to drill wonky at almost every attempt, it could only end in tears! I feared that the only option was an utterly crazy one?!

    An 8mm wide strip of masking tape was cut and rolled round each spoke to ensure accuracy, then flats were filed on the ends and on both sides of the spokes:

    hSAM_yx5336.JPG hSAM_yx5337.JPG

    With that task done, it was time to start the annealing job!

    Thanks again Tim Watson for the vital tip! I've not done it before, so it would prove to be interesting?!

    I found an odd, rusty bit of scrap steel that just happened to be fractionally less than the required inside diameter of the ring, thus allowing for spring back during bending.

    Jammy or what?!

    When applied, the little gas torch just about managed to briefly bring small patches of the brass to a dull, pinkish red. After quenching, the previously hard stuff was like butter, and came round nice and easy, or least for just a few moments before it stiffened up again though!

    Slowly, slowly, the jolly dance across the workshop floor bore fruit:


    I know that is "old hat" for the seasoned and highly respected engineers amongst us, but it was proving to be an enormously enjoyable, though quite tiring adventure for a creaky, prematurely ageing novice!

    Now for the really crazy bit:

    Chopping it all up into pieces...

    hSAM_yx5342.JPG hSAM_yx5343.JPG

    To my delight, I found that zipping out the little slots with a needle file was considerably aided by the annealing process too!

    The order was heat, quench and bend a section, (three times for each short length) cut, shape, fit and then repeat for the following two sections.


    Buoyed on by a fairly snug fit with the first section. The second seemed to fit even better!


    With two on, there was still a bit of leeway for jiggling, but the last section required rather more of a fuss to finally fit it all round!


    I had not yet separated the wheel from the rod when this shot was taken, as it was giving me something to grip when burnishing it up!

    Sorry, I'm not thinking of taking up jewellery as a new hobby. I doubt if I, or more particularly Mrs., I, could cope. She thought that whittled plastic was bad enough?!

    76043, BR Tony, Jon Nazareth and 37 others like this.
  20. AJC

    AJC Western Thunderer

    Chapeau. Congratulations, Pete, that's incredible.

    AdeMoore likes this.