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Sunday, January 27. 2013
Steam Department Update 01-26-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 15:43
Steady progress on a number of fronts in the steam shop this weekend.
There are no photographs this week as I spent most of the afternoon inside the firebox with an air hammer !.
On 1630 it was a case of pushing on with the same key tasks:
· We had a setback in the morning when the new tube roller, that had finally arrived, proved to be too small in diameter for the firebox tube ends. The intent with the new roller had been to simultaneously seal the tube end into the tube sheet and make the flare, which is the first step towards beading the end of the tube. Plan B was therefore adopted !. The expander can be used to fully seal the tube ends into place. It is just a slower process requiring a good deal more heavy work from the operator, which my wife would probably say is a darn good thing in my case !. Essentially, instead of air hammering each tube once to set it into place, fully sealing the end requires that you do this three times. Each time the expander must be released by hammering the central pin, turned a little, hammered back into the tube end to seat it and then air hammered again.
Using this method, by end of day, we had set all but a few tubes higher up on the fireman's side. All the tubes we set this weekend were subject to the full process so they are sealed and ready to rolled in the smokebox to seal them into the front tube sheet. (The firebox end must be fully sealed to ensure that the tube cannot move before the front end is rolled ). In addition a number that had been set last week were fully sealed.
The objective of this approach is that we now have a substantial number of tubes that can be sealed into the smokebox tubesheet, so that we can keep on working in the smokebox when the patch team needs access to the firebox.
· This week we had free access to the firebox as Dennis and Mike were finalizing the remaining holes in the patch away from the firebox. The patch should be ready for final fitting next weekend.
· Ed continued with the pipe fitting. We have now reached the stage where I have to locate the pictures of how the cab fitting looked before stripping so that the cab end of the new pipes can be set up correctly.
· Richard and Lorne removed the timber supporting the cab awning. That became a fairly brutal process. Since it was held to the cab by coach bolts and the timber had rotted, allowing the bolts to turn, cutting the nuts off in the cab was about the only method of getting the timber off the cab;
· Vince was setting up for machining the spacing ring that we need to fit one of the super heater flues. No one is real clear why but the hole for the top right super heater flue is about 1/4 inch bigger than all the others so requires a spacing ring when the flue is rolled into the sheet.
In other areas:
· The decision was taken to set up the new compressor as a direct replacement of the existing one. That means we will not set it up fully until the weather improves. However we will need to ensure that it is fully tested before we start the replacement as we will have nothing but the Sullair as an air source while we do the switch;
· Lorne continued the cleaning of the Shay truck. Hopefully we should be able to finally inspect and repaint that shortly;
· The new high pressure line for the planer was assembled;
· A number of tasks were progressed on 428:
o Tom is working on machining the new axle box wedges on the shaper;
o Jerry continued grinding out the axle box channels in preparation for welding in the reinforcing plates;
o Work restarted on reassembling the air pump.
Sunday, January 27. 2013
Here is another report, heavy on photos, aided and abetted by images taken by Jon Fenciki, and just a whole lot of activity by the volunteers.
This a a very good example of how projects should work in the shop. Four days ago Jon Fenlaciki brought in a window that needed repair, from Indiana Railroad 65. We noted what we thought should be done and supplied info to Jon on purchasing new wood. Jon did exactly that and delivered some new mahogany Saturday morning. Before you knew it the stock had been roughed out and planed, and here - Bob Kutella, Rich Witt, and John Faulhaber are setting a jig for cutting the stop cuts for new tenons. Jon was on the spot, making decisions as needed and helping with the work. A real team effort.
The tenons are being nibbled away by Rich Witt and John Faulhaber on the table saw.
Rich has the new bottom rail complete, ready for final fitting, while Jon displays the original piece, the reason for the work.
It is always good to throw in a quiz question to see if the class is paying attention. What is it? Maybe some peanut butter and a glob of creme filling? See next photo for the surprise answer.
The new bottom rail has been fitted and the window reassembled. Rich Witt is using an epoxy product that is both an effective adhesive and also serves as a wood repair filler. The window is clamped up and will be ready for sanding and refinishing the next visit to the shop by Jon. Our new motto - "One day and done!"
Victor Humphreys is making some final fit checks and careful readying three end fittings for welding to the curved caboose grab iron. A lot of metal grinding and filing, foreign to a sawdust maker like me. It is looking good.
Victor Humphreys and William Peterson are busy completing the gray primer on all eight new windows for Chicago Great Western X 38.. Bill is a relatively new volunteer in the shop and seems intent on completing his 'apprenticeship' and joining the old hands club. Thanks Bill
We finished up a lot of 'small' projects early in the day before quitting time, so went on to the next steps for the two new doors for CGW X 38. That means setting up the mortising machine to plunge many slots in the door stiles and rails. William Peterson is making and installing new wood blocks for the 'hold down' clamps on the mortiser. Basically, almost every job is a different size and set up, and it takes some small time to get it ready. Set up complete, we made two mortises and hung an OUT TO LUNCH sign on the machine.
Now to continue the story of Chicago Rapid Transit 1024, from last weeks report. Tim modified (sacrificed) a carbide router bit and ground it for the custom profile needed for the "UPPER" tack molding on the 1024. That is the piece that finishes the edge of the large flat roof, while a similar but different piece is needed alongside the hip roof areas, that called the "LOWER" tack molding. The best product is very long pieces of stock to minimize joints in this rail. It takes many hands to to this work carefully, here done by John Faulhaber, Fred Zimmerman, and Tim Peters.
Fred then hand sanded many pieces of this, and finished the effort with prime painting all of them.
It can be difficult to visualize how a project's parts need to be made and to go together. Here is a mock up of a key element needed for the next two windows for Boston & Maine 1094. The small heel or haunch on the side stiles will support and anchor the rounded top rail. We used a variety of steps, jigs and tooling to make this part shown by Rich Witt.
Buzz Morisette is slicing thin strips of oak on a bevel cut. These will be replacements for damaged ceiling moldings in the private car ELY.
Dave Fullarton, Greg Kapka, and Richard Schauer were in the Barn 4 pit working on the group switch underneath rapid transit car CTA 2154.
As usual a lot of other work going on in the shop and around the property. I did not catch a pic of this, but we finished running six windows for heavyweight passenger car Illinois Central 3996, working with Roger Kramer, and also completed and surfaced the first of the door panels for the new CGW X 38 doors.
Friday, January 25. 2013
Another chapter in getting better photos for you: These are from the new camera, and getting them this far was not without DRAMA. But things are getting better. Next step is to get better resolution.
So - I was trying to take lots of photos in different situations, and the crew obliged with many projects going on. This report will be heavy on photos, thin on commentary.
We get questions all the time about the status of Chicago & West Towns 141. A lot of progress lately. The brake cylinder under the car floor was removed and new supports fabricated. Here Gerry Dettloff is adding mounting bolts while the weight of the cylinder is resting on a dolly.
You almost have to be a contortionist to get where you need to be. Gerry is on the other side tightening the nuts. His rosy complexion is mostly due to the effort of working under the car while it was about 10 F inside the barn.
In the shop new brake rod assemblies were fabricated, now complete with bushings and pins for installation under the car.
Special order clevises had to be sourced and then the rods made to the correct length. I already mentioned putting hardened bushings (two) in each clevis and one of a kind hardened pins made (four).
John Faulhaber is making stop cuts to define tenons for new door parts destined for Chicago Great Western X 38.
Meanwhile, Dave Rogan cut and fit quarter round molding for eight new windows for the X 38.
Buzz Morisette pitched in and began prime painting some of those windows. The race is on. Will we finish the windows before spring when the hoped for better weather will allow us to install them in the control cupola?
Buzz continues to be the driving force in restoring and rebuilding the ceiling in our private car ELY. Here he is cleaning old finishes from some delicate molding.
Buzz and Tim Peters confer on how to make a repair on one of the damaged pieces of ELY trim molding.
Buzz and Victor Humphreys are wrestling large panels through the table saw to cut them to size for installation.
Tim Peters and Frank Kehoe have set out some long heavy pieces of new hardwood lumber, moving to the next steps on Chicago Rapid Transit 1024. The first thing to be done is to push them though our 100 year old jointer and this machine will make a smooth straight edge on a rough cut side, which may come to us somewhat curvy. Then the stock is ripped to width on the table saw.
Some of the above lumber has been cut to width and now Tim and Frank are running it through the planer. These are LOONG pieces of lumber and must be threaded through the obstacles in the shop. What are they for? These will become new tack molding for the roof area of the car.
Jon Fenlaciki has removed a damaged rear window from our first car, Indiana Railroad 65. New pieces will be made in the shop and then it will fall to Jon to assemble and refinish the sash.
Jeff Brady was taking careful aim with a tricky setup on the table saw. And making test cuts on new wood for the roof of Michigan Electric 28.
So, yes, there was a lot going on and I did not capture some of the project work. There was MORE!
Tuesday, January 22. 2013
Lightning protection is a very important aspect of an overhead traction power system. Substantial damage can occur without such protection. To avoid such damage lighting arrestors are installed at regular intervals. Arrestors are like a pressure relief valve for electricity. If the voltage (pressure) gets too high, the arrestor drains current to ground. Most damage caused by lightning is the result of it seeking a path to ground. The severe damage is the result of normal power current following the path the lightning surge created.
Hole through wall of barn 8 behind traction power disconnect caused by lightning and subsiquent power arc.
At IRM I use metal oxide varistar (MOV) arrestors on both the A/C and D/C systems. These provide State-of-the-art protection. The arrestors are rated for the application voltage 175 Vac, 3KV ac, 1KVdc etc. All MOV arrestors function the same way. In this story we will deal with D/C arrestors. The MOV material conducts current at high voltage and has a high insulating value at low voltage. This "discharge" voltage is dependent upon the thickness of the MOV material. The thicker the material the higher the discharge voltage. When a surge exceeding the maximum continuous operating voltage (MCOV) rating reaches the arrestor the MOV material (valve) becomes conductive and discharges the surge to ground. As soon as the surge is gone and the voltage returns to normal the valve seals and becomes insulating again.
1KV D/C lightning arrestor installed on bracket arm pole. Note use of glass insulators mounted to bracket arm to support arrestor tap.
The most important part of an arrestor installation is the grounding. Grounding is simply a connection to the earth. The ground connection must provide a low resistance connection to the earth. There are many methods to accomplish this. A cable or plate can be buried or rods can be driven. Through experimentation, I have determined that four 5/8 inch by eight foot copper clad ground rods coupled together and driven to a depth of 32 feet, work best in our soil. This type of installation consistently provides a resistance of 13 ohms or less. Driving more rods to increase the depth did not lower the resistance enough to justify the effort.
To drive 32 feet of ground rod I use an electric pavement breaker with a special tool bit for driving ground rods. The breaker is light enough so it can be thrown on my shoulder and carried up a ladder then placed on the ground rod. A hardened steel cap is placed on the rod to prevent "mushrooming" the end. The rod is driven, then the next rod is placed in position. The rods are connected together using a threadless coupling. The hole in the coupling is tapered so that they are wedged together tightly when pounded into the ground.
A #4 solid covered copper wire is used to connect the arrestor to the ground rod. The connection at the rod is made with a special clamp called an "acorn". It has a special "torque head" bolt. The head of the bolt is designed break or shear off when tightened to a predetermined torque value. This ensures a tight tamper resistant connection. The ground wire is covered with wood molding. This protects the wire from damage and protects both linemen working on the pole and people on the ground from contacting the ground wire.
groundwire connected to rod with acorn type connector. Head of bolt breaks off when proper torque is reached.
Monday, January 21. 2013
Photo Update: This is becoming my new hobby - BEAT THE CAMERA. I used a new camera this week and hopefully the pics will be better. But the software with the new camera seems not to load properly on my computer with Windows XP OS, in spite of the disc saying it will. Of course no tech support available on a weekend. So, after a three hour workaround I think I have the images out of the camera. I figured there would be a learning curve so my backup plan was to use a USB memory card reader, but even that failed to work with the SDHC card. UGH! On to the NEWS - - -
More progress to report on new windows for the Chicago Great Western X 38 snowplow. Here, Victor Humphreys and John Faulhaber get ready fire up our BERLIN sander and run eight frames through. This is the BEFORE pic, and perhaps you can see some of the glue lines and squeeze out.
As usual there is always drama when using century old wood working machinery. In the end all windows were sanded smooth and finished. But the machine will need some attention in coming weeks. We knew the sandpaper on Drum Three was about at the end of its life, and now that is no longer a question. Time for a change, which is not a trivial investment of time and energy. You do not have to be a cabinet maker or talented woodworker to do this. Any skilled backyard mechanic may help.
Related to shop upkeep was the changing of blades int he planer and a thorough cleanup of the innards. This stuff does not happen by itself.
You may have noticed that the side stiles of the completed frames looked too long, to have had tails on the ends. This is intentional, part of the process. Here Victor and William Peterson have helped to trim them all flush. The final step here was to run a six degree bevel on the bottom member of the frame, to help drain water and to fit the angle of the new sills in the car.
We continued the process with William Peterson doing the fussy work and cleanup of the frames after sanding, and Rich Witt starting to cut and fit the newly made quarter round beading that will be used to retain the glass.
Eric Lorenz has two of the original sign boxes out for restoration and installation in Cleveland Transit System 4223. To get the side windows properly installed, there is a great assembly of parts and pieces that all have to fit in concert before the trim work can be completed. Who would have designed something THIS way?
We were all happy to see Lorne Tweed back in town and that he has his priorities right. Early after his return to the midwest, he was on site and working on the 4223. He is priming one of the special trim pieces, a one of a kind item to cap the window post immediately behind the motorman's position.
Victor explains the steps to make new caboose grab irons to William Peterson. We made a plywood template to get the round bars bent correctly, and now will use that to add blocks for it to serve as a welding jig. It as all part of the game, plan the work and you are seldom disappointed.
Keith Leitsch and Randy Hicks were caught in the act of working on new third rail beams for Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 36. The first task of getting the new wood and preparing the blanks for the beams is done. Now, comes many hours of sawing away parts of them, drilling many holes, cleaning and painting the hardware items, and installing them. Stay tuned.
Rich Witt is at the new and improved, better equipped Engineering work station. He is preparing working drawings for two new windows for the B&M cafe car, and it almost looks like a real engineer from the 1920's. All he needs is a green eyeshade and gaiters for the shirt sleeves.
And of course lots of other work and activity including three new window sash fitted and glued for Chicago Rapid Transit 1024 (by Tim Peters).
Sunday, January 20. 2013
"SMILIN JACK"...Project ... Posted by Roger Kramer in Passenger Car Department at 14:03
"Smilin Jack" Biesterfeld says... "Progress is our......" If you're old enough to remember this saying it's from an advertisement for General Electric in the early television days. It could well pertain to 2012-2013 efforts on the Boston and Maine#1094 wooden cafe-coach.
Sunday, January 20. 2013
Steam Department Update 01-19-2013 Posted by Nigel Bennett in Steam Department at 12:19
We had a good turnout at the steam shop this weekend and I am glad to say that there is major progress to report
· The new tube roller has not yet arrived but we did establish a reliable "production line" expanding ends into place with the punch expander. Once the new roller arrives, hopefully in the coming week, it should have the ability to both finally seat the tube ends and flare the projecting end piece in preparation for beading. The number expanded this weekend was more than in all previous sessions combined. We could probably have done all the expansion this weekend but gave possession of the firebox whenever needed for the more critical work described below.
All the ends are now expanded on the engineer's side. This was done as we should be able to work on the fireman's side when much of the work is being done on the patch ...... just not the heavy work done this weekend.
The punch expander avoids almost all the issues of ferrules moving. However, just when we thought we were safe, having done 60 tubes without incident, one ferrule shifted. After much cursing the tube was extracted and a replacement squeezed back in. The problem child was then fitted with a new ferrule and successfully expanded.
· The other major progress was on the corner patch. After all the careful bending and drilling to get it tight to the mud ring we got to the stage of introducing the three dimensional shaping to fit to the side and front sheets. This is a pretty brutal exercise requiring Dennis to work close up and personal with a large heating torch then rapidly switch to wield a range of heavy hammers in a confined space.
Early in the process you can see the basic heating technique and also that, at this stage, the patch stands substantially proud of the front and side sheets along the top. The patch is of thicker steel than the existing firebox sheets so will always be proud by the distance that can be seen at the bottom, where both patch and sheet are tightly bolted to the mud ring.
Once it is suitably hot, Dennis applies a little "gentle persuasion".
It is a slow and hot job. The heat reflects from the sheet and there is quite limited room to swing hammers in the confined space of the firebox. Despite the brute force involved it must also be accurate. The gap between the patch and the sheet, where the welding will be done, must be small and even. There was a long pause during the day when it became clear that grinding was required where the patch was contacting the firebox sheet. Once you have the patch red hot, it is quite a long wait before it cools enough to grind.
Later in the day, once clearance had been adjusted by grinding, the process resumed.
By end of day the patch was pretty much aligned with the firebox sheets. You can see that the edge against the side sheet now shows an even projection from top to bottom. Checking the back of the sheet thru the mud ring access hole shows the patch pretty much flush with the sheets at the back. The intent was not to get it quite flush as it was still VERY hot and it may move back marginally further as it cools. The next stage is to drill the remaining rivet holes in the patch, refit it and finally adjust as necessary.
More tasks are now progressing to prepare for assembly of the locomotive once we have the boiler work completed.
· Brian and others worked on producing a cardboard template of the smokebox front ring (where the smokebox front is bolted to the smokebox drum). A gasket must be produced to seal this joint and the template is the basis for this. While this joint may seem pretty mundane it is actually critical to effective operation. In service the smokebox operates at a significant vacuum and at high temperature. Air leaking in can cause loss of power and damage from burning, if the air allows cinders to re-ignite in the smokebox.
· Phil continued with the cab curtains. He has enlisted his mother to make the new ones. Many thanks. Sewing skills are in pretty short supply in the steam shop !. The job grows the more that you take apart. Having removed the awning from above the engineer's cab window it is now apparent that the wooden beam attached to the cab side has substantially rotted away and will need to be replaced.
In other areas:
· Stu and Bob continued work on the planer. Unfortunately it was not clear if they were further forward at the end of the day. While the valve block is now back in place, it was found that the large diameter hydraulic connection was not in great shape. Since this carries a 2000psi pressure, it will need to be reconstructed before the unit can be further assembled;
· Work continued on the compressor. This demonstrated the problems of stopping a job for several years. A few short test runs demonstrated an interesting tendency to produce a strange light brown froth from the oil pump. Opening and inspecting the crankcase revealed about 2/3 oil floating on 1/3 water !. As Collin said, I REALLY thought I had changed the oil when I rebuilt the valves 3 years ago !. So, after a through clean of the crankcase and oil galleries, followed by new oil and filter, operation looks much more normal. Once we can mount it properly and set up basic connection to the reservoir, we should be able to test it under load for a period.
So a very successful weekend. Let's hope we can keep up the momentum next week.
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Brian J. Patterson about A Major Announcement
Tue, 05-26-2015 07:20
Individual donations in any amount the donor chooses may be made by check or money order. Write "Mt Harvard" in the "for" or "memo" line of your check [...]
Nigel Bennett about 1630 Normal running
Sun, 05-24-2015 16:21
Steve, Thank you. It is the appreciation and introducing new generations to working steam that makes the work worthwhile. Impressive set of [...]
Steve Krause about 1630 Normal running
Sun, 05-24-2015 15:50
And I really appreciate the work! Got a lot of fine images with the sunshine yesterday, and got to briefly introduce my daughter to the cab courtesy [...]
Nigel Bennett about 1630 in service
Sun, 05-24-2015 10:53
Tim, Good idea. I will talk to our store manager about this. Nigel
Tim about 1630 in service
Sat, 05-23-2015 22:32
Awesome train, my son loved his first ride today. I just wish you guys sold some nice photos or artwork of this great train. I would love to buy [...]
C Kronenwetter about 1630 in service
Sat, 05-23-2015 18:13
Very nicely done, Nigel. Thanks to the steam team for all of their hard work!
Glyn about A Major Announcement
Fri, 05-22-2015 19:03
You mentioned the fund is called MT. HARVARD. How can I donate to this fund? What payment methods are accepted? PayPal would be convenient but I can [...]
Ted Miles, IRM Member about Early February woodshop activies
Fri, 05-22-2015 17:30
Fellow Members, This summer is an anniversary of the 1964 move during May to july of the move from North chicago to Union. Perhaps [...]
Mark Poynter about 1630 in service
Fri, 05-22-2015 09:53
Well done and many congratulations to the entire steam crew! I'll be coming to IL from MT this summer and will see 1630 on July 4th.
David S about A Major Announcement
Fri, 05-22-2015 08:21
Do the generator and air conditioner work? If the generator works, the car could be used as the tail car for night ops. Thanks for your generous [...]
Zach Kaye about 1630 in service
Thu, 05-21-2015 22:51
Awesome!!! Coming down for the event this Monday. Can hardly wait to see her in action!!!
Roger Kramer about A Major Announcement
Wed, 05-20-2015 21:47
Hello Warren The Mt. Harvard has the Pullman Mechanical system. Basically two Spicer drives one off each axle One runs the generator and the other [...]
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