C2 Project News

Mid August 2017

Extra Mid August Working Party

Inspired by the progress made in recent weeks, Andrew, Dave 1, Dave 2 and Paul met up for another additional extended weekend working party in mid August.
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Mmmmm - I smell bacon in the workshop! The works staff were fitting new tyres to the pony-truck wheelsets of NG/G16 Garratt 130, and had taken advantage of the tyre heating rig to cook breakfast! Happily they shared some with us too.
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Once the bacon was cooked, the wheelset was lowered into the hot tyre and left to cool.
Paul and Dave 1 started the working party with a discussion of the tender chassis rebuild plans. As part of this, a scheme for the battery box was proposed. Dave 1 took measurements, and will draw up the proposal at home.
Paul had bought a new milling cutter, and set it up in the Wanderer milling machine to make slots in the ends of the locomotive brake cross beams. The slots are designed to accept the pins which locate the brake block carriers. We also took delivery of more ground stainless steel bar with which to make said pins. Paul turned the ends of each pin (the main diameter was correct as bought) to make them fit the cross beams.

After a couple of days work, all was ready, and after a lesson in welding stainless steel from Robco, Andrew welded the pins into the ends of the cross beams.
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Paul used the 'Wanderer' mill to slot the ends of the old brake stretchers, ready for the new pins to be fitted.
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Loco brake stretcher set up for welding. The elaborate clamping arrangements ensured that the pins remained in line and minimised weld distortion.
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Andrew welds up a brake stretcher.
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Loco brake stretcher ends. The stretchers and pins were machined by Paul; Andrew welded them together.
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These are the eyes for the safety chains that will provide a secondary connection between loco and tender. They will also provide additional fixings for the loco rear bufferbeam.
Meanwhile, Dave 1 cut and shaped some lengths of angle section to make a couple of cross members for the tender chassis, which will provide additional longitudinal restraint when the tank is attached. The bolts between the tank and the chassis should provide most of the restraint, but, to cater for the possibility of a very heavy shunt, additional longitudinal restraint gives an increased safety margin.

Dave 1 also cut, squared off, drilled and countersunk a piece of plate which will act as a rubbing plate under the tender rear drawbar. A simple component but it's mind-boggling how many bits there are in a locomotive!
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Sliding plate for the chopper coupling on the tender, made by Dave 1.
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Dave 2 has been milling a long block of steel into a channel shape for use as tender brake brackets
Dave 2 continued work on manufacturing the tender brake hanger brackets. He set up a milling cutter in the Bridgeport mill, to make a long, deep slot in the steel billet he had prepared at the last working party. Once the slot is cut, we will slice off sections to make the brackets.

After several days of milling, it has become apparent that it is a very slow process. Too slow in fact. Dave 2 timed each cut, and calculated that it would take well over 80 hours to create the slot; clearly not practical. One of the problems is that we are using a high speed steel cutter which cannot be used for heavy cuts, and it is narrower than the slot we are cutting thus requiring two passes per cut.

After searching around the workshops, Dave 1 located a tungsten carbide tipped milling cutter in another machine which is almost exactly the width of the slot we want. At the next working party we will try this cutter, in the hope that it can take deeper, faster cuts, and bring the operation down to a realistic timescale. We may give the task to someone other than Dave 2 though, as we fear he is sick of the sight of that steel billet now!
Clare had a day off firing steam engines on Saturday, and helped us on the C2 Project. She started by cleaning and applying primer to the tender rear drawbar rubbing plate which Dave 1 had made.
Next, Clare turned her attention to the tender spring hanger brackets and equalising beam pivots. After a good few hours work with a wire wheel, these ten components are now cleaned up, and we can decide how to repair them.
It should be a relatively easy task to ream out the holes in the spring hanger brackets to take bushes, but the equalising beam pivots are badly worn. Dave 1 has come up with a plan for cutting the old spigots off, drilling the bosses, and pushing new stainless steel spigots in. A job for next working party.
Tom joined us again and, after helping Dave 1 shunt the wagon with the tender chassis frames on into the erecting shop, completed the grinding of the lower edge of the tender chassis front plates. This edge is now straight, and ready for the bottom flange to be welded on.
Dave 1 ground off parts of the flanges up the sides of the tender rear buffer beam where these will be hidden by the tender skirt. It will make aligning the tender tank on the chassis easier.
At some stage of its career, the tender chassis has been attacked with a gas cutting torch, probably to make changing brake shoes easier. This left some very ugly flame gut notches in the bottom plate. Therefore, Dave 1 ground the edges of most of the notches straight and, with Paul's assistance, cut sections of plate to fill them. With weld preps ground onto all interfacing edges, these are now ready to be welded in.

A job not too far away now is the fitting of the tender hornguides. They are bolted to the frames with fitted bolts, so Dave 1 measured up the existing holes in the frames. This allows us to draw up new fitted bolts, and to purchase tools to ream out the holes to accept them.

We ordered the roller bearings for the tender recently and they should be delivered soon. The wheelsets and axleboxes are ready for them to be fitted.

Meanwhile, Paul put the finishing touches to the loco steam brake cylnder crank.
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Dave 1 grinding out the remnants of some 'rough' Chinese workmanship on the tender, ready to patch in a replacement piece of plate.
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Dave 1 and Paul made these plates to fill holes gas-cut in the tender frame. Although it will all be out of sight underneath, we still want it to look neat!
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Colin and Paul did a lot of work on the steam brake crank at the previous working party. Paul put the finishing touchers to its shape and tapped the hole for the return spring. It's now ready to be cleaned up and painted.
Andrew has become very proficient at machining and welding up coupler heads. After making some minor adjustments to the locomotive front coupler head which he made previously, he welded up the tender rear coupler head and machined it too. Dave 1 applied a coat of primer to start to protect against corrosion. Andrew has now started to machine the chopper coupling hooks, so it won't be long before the couplings are all finished.

To round off the working party, Dave 2 gave the milling machines a good clean down, then helped Dave 1 shunt the wagon with the tender chassis frames on back to the C2 Shed. Meanwhile, Andrew gave a spare tool cabinet a thorough clean, so that we can use it to keep some of our tools (those we only use in the machine shop) in. It will save carrying heavy clamping sets, etc., back and forth across the yard!
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Andrew has finished fabricating the chopper coupling for the tender, and is making progress with the hook, pin, eccentric and bob-weight.
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Andrew did a great job cleaning up this old tool locker and stencilling it for us. We now have a place to keep our lathe and milling tools in the Boston Lodge machine shop, rather than having to carry them back and forth from our shed every day.
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Number 4 in the news! Apart from this website we don't do much publicity, but at Quirks we caught the attention of Cliff Thomas of the Railway Magazine and this piece appeared in their June edition.
We'll be back at the FR in 10days time for our regular end-of-the-month working party, which will run from Thursday to Monday over the bank holiday. Hopefully lots more progress to report!

And finally, a sneak preview of some samples for our next items of merchandise...
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We're looking at increasing our range of merchandise, and have been considering some mugs. This sample reproduces artwork of number 4 painted by our friend Peter Dennis.
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Another possible mug is this colour-changing one. When cold, it appears all black. However, fill it with a hot drink and the body of the mug turns white, revealing the design. This side features the number '4', as badly painted on the smokebox of our loco in later years!
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The other side features the Chinese forestry railways logo, which is also the loco of our project.
August Bank Holiday 2017