Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Coupler end brackets

Today I added the detail plates that go above and below the couplers.  They were epoxied in.  I also filled in the gap at the corners of the coupler pocket with epoxy.  I need a file without side teeth to clean up the epoxy after it hardens.

Weld in trays
Hook up the electronics
Decide if brake & throttle will be active
Find a headlight
Buy speedometer
Install speedometer
Find a horn or bell system
Get and wire up auxiliary power
Buy a keyed switch
Velcro down batteries
Install circuit breaker
Install speed limiter
Install charge port
Install Jeffreys
Install brake wheel
Install throttle lever
Install coupler plates
Install safety chain mounts
Sandblast entire thing
Attach wood
Stain wood
Make 5 trailing cars

Monday, December 23, 2013

Epoxy The Jeffrey

Today I made a jig.

To place the JEFFREY letters in the right spot.
This completes a very important / decorative step.  Well I may drill and pin the letters in place as an added level of security to the epoxy.
I also made the choice to drop the electronics tray to the underside of the pedestal spacer bars.  This drops it below the frame by an inch and and eighth, giving some weight to the middle visually.  I looked at the prototype pictures and can not figure out if the real one had a lower center.  I can see that at least the drivers end had a belly.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Center Tray

Today I started by making the risers for the spring so there is some compression.  The coupler center height is now a little above 4.5"  it is supposed to be 4-7/16" +0 -3/16",  I guess that is about right because the wood top, end steps, and electronics are not onboard.  Not sure what it will do when I sit on it.

I also made the center tray for the electronics, this went much easier than I was expecting.  It is a simple tray, I folded over the top edge to limit the sharp edges.  I did have to file down the frame on one side so it would slip (with persuasion from a hammer) in.

Nancy said I should make a list of things left to do like:
Weld in trays
Hook up the electronics
Decide if brake & throttle will be active
Find a headlight
Buy speedometer
Install speedometer
Find a horn or bell system
Get and wire up auxiliary power
Buy a keyed switch
Velcro down batteries
Install circuit breaker
Install speed limiter
Install charge port
Install Jeffreys
Install brake wheel
Install throttle lever
Install coupler plates
Install safety chain mounts
Sandblast entire thing
Attach wood
Stain wood
Make 5 trailing cars

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Seat & Battery Tray

Today I decided not to fix the brakes on the truck, there is a leak about 3 feet infront of the drivers rear tire.  I decided to purchase Nancy a Christmas present.  I made a new seat for the Jeffrey.  This one does not have a through hole.  I started by taking the center drill out of the 2-3/4" hole saw, clamping a 1/2" thick board onto the drill press table and made a round blank.  I cleaned it up first on the bandsaw, then on the grinder by putting a nail in a blind hole i drilled in the bottom and holding it on with a piece of plastic. After it was ground round I sanded the faces and the edge by hand.  The new seat is now as large as the bottom of the mannequin.

Afterwards I worked on the battery trays.  I made the two small pieces for the tray with the back jog.  I found it worked best to hold the blank in the arbor press and bend it over with a hammer.  It definitely is much easier to not have that jog.

Overall it was not a lot of work accomplished today, lots of hesitation and pondering but I have now accomplished two steps that I was dreading.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Significant Step

Today I got the four motor 4 bars installed.  This allowed me to put the frame on the wheels and test the springs.

I think I will need to install stronger springs on the back end as my weight was disproportionately at that end.  It would also work to make the truck to have a 3 point suspension rather than 4.  I have been reading old Live Steam magazines and the experiences on the backyard railroads facebook group.

I used the old pedestal caps that I replaced.  Drilled them out to 1/4" long and rounded the ends.  Does this mean I have 4 less pieces of scrap?  I also trimmed the excess off the plum cove motor supply.  Used a dremel to do most of the work, but it is dieing, had to do some by hand.  Glad it was aluminum so the shavings were not attracted to the motor magnets.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

drillin and tappin

Today I drilled the pedestal caps that were loctited to the ends of the pedestal with the #27 drill.  To keep things in line I had C clamped the cap to the brass slides.  Of the 4 sets, 1 cap came loose while drilling, 2 more were loose when I removed the clamps and one was still tight together.  I followed up by hand tapping and drilling out the tap with clearance holes.

The issue is the bolts are left at Jeff's house.  As it is not worth going down to get them I either wait until we come back home on the 31st or order some that are 1/2" long.  McMaster has them 10 for $5.  As the bolts Jeff has are 1" long and would need to be cut down I am not sure which I will do.

Monday, December 09, 2013


I remade the pedestal caps tonight.  Cut them a half inch longer than before, then drilled the #27 drill one of them and used that as a template to face spot the other three.  Then after I cleaned up the ends of the pedestals I loctited the two together.  Now I will be spending some time painting the barn quilt we will be placing on our garage.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Spring holes

Today, despite still recovering from my cold I worked on the journals and pedestals.  First I finished drilling the clearance holes for the bolts that hold the 3 parts together.  Then I cleaned up the flashing & burrs on the parts so that the journals slide on their respective pedestals.  Next came drilling the holes for the spring mounting buttons.  Last was drilling the holes in the journal retainers.  Not much work for the day, but to be able to see the journals in position is a wonderful sight.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

One end

Today I am back at it.  Did not want to since I have a head cold / sinus thing going on but Jeff asked me if the parts he made fit.  And Nancy suggested going down for a half hour.  

In the two hours I was down here I fixed Anna's solar flower, found a drill bit to drill clearance holes for the journals from Jeff, cleaned off the oil from two of the journals from Jeff, and put them onto and axle, mounted them on pedestals.  Journal 1 was loose Journal 2 was tight, I sanded it bigger with the Dremel and a sanding drum.

I still have some work to do loosening things up so everything slides easy.  Then to install the springs and journal keepers.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

lack of progress

I realized winter and my leg surgery were closing in so I focused on completing some other tasks, like riding the bike.  Surgery two weeks ago had me laid up on the couch with pain meds that said do not operate equipment.  Jeff cut the holes & returned the journals but I have not yet taken the time to clean them up and assemble.  Work may start again first weekend of December.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Second Battery Tray Pt 2

Today I started, and almost finished forming the second battery tray.  This one was easier because it does not have the bump out by the axle.  Again I scored each fold with a dremel cutoff disk and folded at the line by hand.  Then sharpened the corner with a hammer.

Jeff still has the journal parts, has not started cutting them.  We were doing some calculations to confirm the axle ends would not bind up.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Second Battery Tray

Today I started grinding the other end of the pedestal spacers.   This was after taking a while off to be sick, entertain grandparents of my children, make and use a trommel, send the journal parts to Jeff to be milled and go for a few bike rides.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Battery Tray

Today I took the time to grind the pedestal spacer back for room for the battery tray thickness.  Then I formed one of the battery trays.  This one with a bump on the backside between the wheels for a little more room.   I don't think I will do the other end the same way, that end will be flat across.

Last night I took the time to see how the machine looked with the manequine.  For a few moments there before I stood it next to the truck I thought the truck was horribly oversized.  Now I am thinking it looks good.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cutting day

Today I went and got the wood for the top and cut it to length.  After reading a white page article that oak is the highest acidic and mahogany is the lowest I was going to buy some mahogany for the top.  But looking at the grain it just reminded me of wet cardboard.  The oak has life to it, there is a reason high priced furniture is made from oak and cheap luan plywood is made from mahogany.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Planning day

Today I spent the time to plan how I am going to make the battery trays.  I have the option of having the inside edge by the axle flat, or to have a one inch bump out to  give more room in the battery tray area.  Not sure if it is unnecessary busy work or a needed feature.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Today I filed all the sharp edges down.  I went from this:
To this:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Got the frame welded today.  Only one rivet backed out, and it is a tiny bit out of square.  The pedestal holding fixture worked well, the pedestals are all parallel, it is just the outer frame that is off.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ready to weld

Today I lined the pedestal spacers to the outside frame, clamped them to each other and then drilled them with 0.185 holes so they are pinned in position for welding.  I am slightly scarred to have this thing welded up.  It is a scary hard to reverse step.  What if something is wrong and I do not know it yet?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Productive Procrastination

Yesterday the weather was really nice, and I had some trepidation about making the fixture to hold the 4 pedestals during welding.  I used my time to make a fence behind the garage between our compost pile an the neighbors.  They had some plastic lattice tied to a piece of rebar stuck in the ground, it was slumped over quite unatractively.  Also the neighbors behind us had 6 ft tall fence atop a 3 ft wood wall.  The fence was leaning into their yard, soft dirt from the backfill of the wall.   I took a piece of 2x2 angle from work, attached one end to the 6 ft tall fence post, the other to the back of our garage, it is level and the fence post is now plum.  I then added in a couple treated 2x4's to hold the lattice.

Today, after going to the Hampton train show, and taking a nap I cut and filed a 1x12 to hold the pedestals in position.  It will work quite well.   The next step is to drill 4 holes to match the pedestal spacers to the outside frames.  This will make everything line up neatly for the welder without much fit and fuss.  If we are lucky the 1x12 will catch fire during the welding...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

drill 8 times...

and the holes still don't line up.

It took some time attach the 4 coupler plates.  I made the holes in the plates 0.185  and the holes in the end frame 0.171.   The rivets are 0.184 in diameter.  so I had to grind them down to 0.173 for the frame.

The next step is to weld it all together.  But the question is, how do I do it and keep the pedestals in alignment and square to each other.  I am thinking I will need to make a fixture to hold the pedestals while the frame is welded.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

a movie and drill press

Today I watched a movie on Hulu while working on the Jeffrey.  Productivity was way down, I only made the 4 parts that go above coupler pocket.  Cutting, grinding smooth, marking & drilling 8 holes.   Not much progress, but progress all the same.

I also spent the time to install 3/4" plywood shelves on the lower two levels of the wall so I will now worry less about stuff falling onto the railroad.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

End step brackets installed

Today I drilled and tapped the holes for mounting the end sills brackets.  A very satisfying operation as it adds a lot of detail to the machine.  I just need to drill 12 more holes and the frame will be ready for welding.  A session on Monday, one on Thursday it should be ready to go.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Rivets Installed

After trying to use the proper method to install rivets of damaging the back side to make them stick and having 3 out of 4 fail I decided to use epoxy to hold the rivets in.

First I made a fixture so I could use the bandsaw to cut the rivets in half.

Then I mixed up small batches of epoxy, hammered in a few rivets, wipe off excess epoxy from the front side.  Repeat.

 I had left the rivets long so i could peen them over, so the last step was to grind the backside smooth with the dremel.

Thinking ahead, I am worried that the epoxies low melting point will make strange things happen when the machine is welded together.

Friday, October 04, 2013

coupler pocket done

Today I finished the second coupler pocket.  They are not perfect, being hand ground instead of made on a mill.  I guess if I want that perfection someday I can grind out the weld and make new ones.  

My next question is what to do about the plate above and below.  See at the ends how the coupler pocket is 1/4" from the side frame. and see how at the corners it is rounded.  The blocks I have on top should have a bunch of metal removed to next neatly around that joint.  Is that worth doing?  Could I just dab some epoxy in there before I paint?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Second Piece of Scrap

Today I made my second official piece of scrap.  Pretty amazing given the amount of pieces I have made so far.  Working on the coupler pocket one of the drill holes wandered off where I had marked it.  Not sure if it was the center drill or the drill that shifted.  It has to have been the centerdrill because on the second one the drill did a great job of lining up with the centerdrill mark.

I started forming the end of the centerdrill, a slow process that uses lots of dremel cutoff blades.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Today I took a bit of time and tapped the 8 holes that hold the pedestals to the pedestal spacers.  Then I screwed together that part of the assembly.  This is the first time I get to see the pedestals in their actual position relative to the side frame.  It is quite deep under there, not quite sure I did good with the rivet placement on the side frames that simulate pedestal mountings.

I also took the time to grind and file the hole in the second frame end for the coupler pocket.  Lots of time and just when I was about to stop for the day the coupler pocket slipped in.  Now I just need to make the second coupler pocket.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Arbor Impressive

Today I was happy it was raining, that let me spend a long time down in the workshop without feeling guilty.
Work continued on making the end step supports.  I bent the last one, after making a contraption to try to bend it, breaking two C clamps in the process I ended up using the arbor press once again without any extra setup.

I also made the seat today, it is out of the same oak as the end steps I drilled a hole in the middle, used the bandsaw to rough it to shape then finished it using the bench grinder.  By screwing the seat to a longer board I was able to let the seat spin and become perfectly round and smooth.

The last thing I did today was cut the end step brackets to length.  I used a C-clamp and a piece of wood to make a stop.  Measure once cut three times.  Next is to drill the holes in the brackets for mounting the end step and mount the brackets.

Friday, September 27, 2013

With some help

Today I bent 3 of the 4 end foot board holders.   It took some help from guys at work.  We had an old bend tester for checking welds.  I was able to get it and have one of the guys at work cut it in half for me.  Another person helped me out by welding a bar onto my die for the arbor press.  I then cut two 45 degree angles and had two more guys help me remove the weld.  With another couple helping me carry the heavy thing it ended up with 6 coworkers helping me today.   


I also planned the last bracket, it is the one that holds the seat.  I worked backwards, measuring the mannequin and brake wheel position to figure out where the seat needed to be.  His arms are quite short.  Tomorrow I will bend that one and cut all of them to length.

Monday, September 23, 2013

making a jig

Today I started making the jig for bending my end step pieces.  I got a piece of square stock rounded.  Next I will put a point on it.  I also have to make the other half of the fixture.  I also returned the extra steal today.  I have to watch out and not make mistakes.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

IMSE and More Coupler Pocket

This weekend I did my first real show and tell with the Jeffrey.  Brought it to the Iowa Model Steam Engineers fall meet.  It was fun, got some good advice from those that have drilled and milled before.  The good news is I am on track and like me people can not wait to see it running in the spring.  
 There were 7 steamers, 4 gassers and 3 electrics there.  Here is a pair of gassers that John made a while back, one pulling the train I am on the other in the lead on the bridge.  The blue engine is electric.

 I took a photo of the ballast car, very utilitarian trucks, but they look like what I need to have for my long flat cars.  Laurance also brought his archbar trucks, said the design is from a very old Live Steam magazine, good news is I have it, not sure what issue...
 Sunday after doing a lot of relaxing I started in on the second coupler pocket.  Made good progress.  So far I have used 8 dremel blades.  I only have three left of the heavy duty ones, I may have to go buy more.  Reminded I need to buy a new tapping handle and a 1/4-20 tap.
Today I also cut and set aside the steel that I will not be using.  I went to an online vendor that sold in 12 foot lengths to estimate the costs, I am keeping some of the small stuff, but not all of it.  Giving more back than I want to, but it will save me money.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Coupler Pocket Part 2

Yesterday I sorted my three decades of Live Steam magazine, now it is a little less random when I pull them out of the box.  Definitely worth the average 40 cents each I paid for them.  Much better content than the 25 cent each Modeltec I had bought earlier this summer.  I disagree with Jeff, it is not better to wait for the book for a construction article.  There is so many small tidbits that will never make it into a book.  Plus I paid less for these magazines than the three Kozo books that are duplicated within.  Definitely got more content for less money.

Today I finished my first coupler pocket.  I am 99% satisfied with it.  If coupler pocket #2 turns out better I will make a third, if #2 is worse looking I will rethink things.   I also spent some time measuring the computer screen and doing math with Anna to determine that I will use .5x.25 material to hold the end steps, not .75x.25 material as I was planning.  The real material was somewhere inbetween, maybe 2.5" and I am choosing 2" over a planned 3".  There are other deviations in the model to make it look better.  Makes me glad to not have blueprints to work from, my Jeffrey will be just as much art as science.

Tomorrow and Saturday I am going down to Mt. Pleasant to interact with members of the Iowa Model Steam Engineers club.  Using my points to get a free room at Holiday Inn Express.  Bringing a bunch of parts of the Jeffrey to show it off.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Starting the Coupler Pocket

Today I started shaping the coupler pocket.  Got the corners cut off.  Now a bunch of grinding to make a nice smooth radius.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Square hole #1

Other than the pedestals, which I had laser cut, I think making the coupler pockets will be the worst part of this model.  They consist of a 1x2" 1/8th wall tube able to accept a Tom Bee or other coupler.  But I am rounding the ends and extending it through the end frame members.  Today I spent 8 plus hours making the rectangular hole on one endsill.  A long day of drilling, grinding, and filing but I am done with #1.  I should have counted but I am pretty sure I used 12 Dremel cutoff disks.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Measure 5 Times Drill 4

Today I started setting up for the hole in the end plate for the coupler pockets.  First time I measured wrong by just measuring from the left side - the width was not per print.  The next three times it was not getting much better.  I finally got it, centerdrilled and drilled the four 5/16" holes and set the part in place.  That is when noticed I had somehow flipped the part over, the top was the bottom, the bottom the top.  To fix it I just filed off my little T, made it a B and put a T on what was formally the bottom.  Now I need to connect the 4 holes with straight lines to make a 1"x2" rectangle for the coupler to fit into.

I am designing the coupler pockets to look like the prototype riveted on angles but to be able to hold a Tom Bee coupler should I choose to install one.