Worlds smallest V-12?

Sorry for the lack of posts the past few days, but I’ve been laid low with severe bronchitis. An unexpected week off for me, but not how I’d like to spend it. Anyhow, this one is for anyone interested in mechanical engineering or metal craftsmanship.

Anyhow, whilst laid up, I came across this YouTube showing the manufacture of what is billed as “probably” the smallest V-12 motor in the world. Now I like making things, but this is fantastic and there is no way I can achieve this quality. Patelo has made numerous model engines (though I think technically they are considered to be motors, as they run on compressed air rather than use combustion to propel them) as educational and demonstration tools. These include a 6 cylinder marine engine, a 10 cylinder double star aero engine (complete with variable pitch prop!!) and a monster 18 cylinder W engine. The series showing the construction of the latter shows that everything (block, valves, cylinders, inlets, heads, crank, etc. is all hand made using a hand controlled lathe and drill press. No CNC here!

So sit back and enjoy a true craftsman at work. Engineering is still alive and well!

(YouTube video is produced by Yesus Wilder, who I’m given to understand is Patelo’s son. All rights and copyright belong to him. He also has videos showing assembly and construction of other Patelo motors on his YouTube channel, which are worth watching if you are interested in mechanical engineering.)

Advertisements

Home At Last and More Snow

Made it back home to Baltimore late last night after an all-day drive. Unfortunately, there aren’t any photo’s, as it was a case of racking up the miles and getting home. We left the mountains of Quebec in cold, but bright sunshine. This was actually advantageous, as the morning before, it had been relatively warm and the roads were covered in slush, making for very slippery and hazardous conditions. However, later in the day and overnight, it snowed and then the temperature plummeted to around the 0F mark. Even though the roads were plowed throughout the night, this gave them some texture and made the driving easier. That said, under those conditions, you don’t actually go that fast, especially not on twisty mountain roads, and definitely not in a relatively lightweight Prius on all-season tires. (Winter tires are mandatory for Quebec residents, but not for those from out of Province. That said, we will probably get a set for Diane’s car as we are often there in winter visiting family). Whilst good equipment such as winter tires, 4wd and traction control/ABS certainly helps, winter driving in such conditions still requires skill and concentration. Some people seem to believe that when equipped with such features, they can drive at speeds more suited to good dry conditions . We observed an example of this on Saturday afternoon. Two SUV’s went blasting past us in blizzard conditions whilst we sedately trundled along at a more sensible speed. A few miles along, descending Weir Mountain, we passed them again, one nose down in the ditch awaiting a tow truck. But I digress.

Once down out of the mountains, we made good speed to the border. Ontario highway 401 is an easy drive along the St Lawrence River, but it is one boring road!! After breezing through the border, we made good progress down I-81 until just north of Syracuse we ran into severe lake effect blizzards, which rapidly reduced visibility to whiteout conditions. This is a scary situation, as you literally can’t see anything, but white driving snow. Not the road, not the vehicle in front of you, nothing. You could tell those drivers who had blizzard driving experience, as we progressively reduced our speed as the visibility declined whilst others went blasting past seemingly oblivious to the danger they were causing to themselves and the rest of us. I’m afraid that I had some uncharitable thoughts. Ultimately, as conditions got really bad, we pulled off onto the shoulder to wait it out. We had food, water, extra clothes and a shovel, so were not worried. And there we sat for about 20 minutes with our hazzard lights on (though how much use they were in whiteout conditions is probably open to judgement), until the visibility started to lift, allowing us to gradually move on. Amazingly, after a couple of miles, we were in bright sunshine with not a snow flake to be seen. Lake effect snow does that. It can be very intense, but in a localized area.

After that, it was relatively plain sailing. Diane and I generally swap out the driving about every two hours, so we can make good progress and aren’t too knackered when we get home. As such, we were home by a little after 10:30 that night, which was actually good going, especially with the weather delays we experienced. After getting settled in and being mobbed by the cats, we called it a night, pleased to be home safe.

6:00 am the following morning. My first day back at work. The phone goes off and there is a nice message saying that the University is closed due to heavy snow and not to come to work. Excellent!! I looked out the window and yes, there was the white stuff flying around. OK, it wasn’t quite like Canada or upstate New York, but this the mid-atlantic region and they are not as used to snow here or how to cope with it. Any way, I wasn’t going to complain about an extra day off (though I actually worked remotely for much of it – sigh……). It pretty much snowed all day, so I lit the fire and got on with some work. The cats snoozed on the hearth rug and I got to spend the day with my wife. Excellent! It stopped about 3:30 pm with about 5-6 inches and I went to start clearing it. We have quite a long (~80 ft) driveway on a slope up to the road, so we have to clear it to get out. In addition, if we let it stand too long, it melts and re-freezes as sheet ice, making egress by foot or car nigh on impossible. So it has to be dealt with.

For as long as we have lived here, Diane and I have cleared the snow by hand using shovels. There is nothing pleasant about this. It is cold, boring and back-breaking, especially when you get the heavy wet stuff. With heavy falls (2-3) ft, it can take us up to 10 hours to clear things enough to make access possible. I’ll tell you now, that is a LOT of digging and by the end of winter, you really hate the sight of snow. Both of us had gotten fed up with this silly game and a chance comment to my lawn mower mechanic over the summer lead to me being the owner of a 25 year old second hand snow thrower for the princely sum of $150 (which is cheap – new they can be $800. Or more). The thing is a monster and this was the first time I got to try it out. Oh, what a joy it was. After filling it with fuel and spending a few minutes faffing around trying to start it whilst not realizing that I hadn’t opened the fuel shut off valve at the bottom of the tank, it roared into life. I had that drive done and the parking space at the back of the house done in a 1/2 hour. And had a whole lot of fun making snow jets whilst doing it. Indeed, I was having so much fun I did our neighbour’s drive as well (well, she had looked after our cats all week). And my back is definitely not complaining, since the thing is self-propelled and I don’t actually have to push it. OK, I think I need to make few adjustments, as I think it is running a little rich, but snow is fun again!

So all in all, a successful day. Unfortunately, it is back to work tomorrow, but I’m not really complaining. After all, I had a nice unexpected bonus day and what can be better than that?

On the road again……

I had been typing up a post describing a visit to Yellowstone National Park a few years back. However, the power went out this afternoon and the entire post disappeared into the ether. So I’ll have to do it again another day. In the meantime, we’re heading back to Baltimore tomorrow, a 12 hr, 650 mile drive, passing through the Canadian provinces of Quebec andOntario, , and the US states of New York, Pennsylvania, finally arriving in Maryland in the late evening. So there will be no posts tomorrow, as we won’t get back until late. There may not be any the following day either, as I’m normally fairly knackered the day after this trip, and it will be the first day back at work, with all the associated garbage that goes with it. I expect normal service to return in a few days time.

Of course, if we have another ice storm tonight, it may be too dangerous to drive and we shall have to stay an extra day or so. Oh dear, what a terrible thing that would be……..

 

Building the Kitson Meyer

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned that I was building a Kitson-Meyer style loco for my model railway. This is a “might have been” freelance narrow gauge loco. However, the Kitson-Meyer power bogie arrangement did occur, although it wasn’t common, so the design isn’t that far fetched. The model is based on a design developed by John De Fraysinett, of County Gate fame. I liked John’s loco and wanted one for myself. I was fortunate to work with John and the desperado team at the 2013 Peterborough exhibition, during which I was able to measure up his model. I have built my own version as closely as possible to the original, so it is a true sister loco and the second in the class. It does however, have one or two detail differences for my own preferences, (e.g. location of the turbo-generator). With the exception of the N gauge Farish Class 08 chassis used to form the power bogies, the Roco valve gear and the cab sides, front and rear (spare etches from a Backwoods Miniatures etched brass kit), it is completely scratch built from soldered brass strip, tube. rod, wire and section. So the photo’s below show how I went about it.

Basic Body structure assembled

 

Basic body Structure from rear

 

Internal tank structure added

Basic body structure complete, with whitemetal chimney and dome castings, smokebox and smokebox front, smokebox saddle finished

Farish 08 chassis before dismantling. Two are needed

Chassis dismantled and modified. Roco Valve gear before butchering.

Roco Valve gear grafted to Farish 08 chassis

Both power bogies converted

Trial fit of power bogies to the main body. Note details have started to be added, including smokebox door hinges.

The arrangement for the pivot points for the power bogie. The central spline will be soldered into the body along the boiler centerline.

Central spline soldered into place within the body.

With the pivots screwed into position

Shortening the power bogie units on the inside ends – a nerve wracking procedure.

Cut almost complete. The chassis was completely dismantled, degreased and cleaned upon completion of this operation to remove any cutting debris from the gear train.

Power bogies in position, along with roof and lower firebox. The main part of the build is almost done

The loco dismantled into it’s major components. The mounting arrangement allows the power bogies to be removed whilst the lower firebox remains attached to the main body.

Some detail parts – a vacuum tank and Safety valves, all scratchbuilt. Pencil tip and US dime show how small these items are.

Main body detailing almost complete, including tank fillers, turbo generator, head lamp, smokebox door dart, brake cylinders and actuating arms (alongside lower firebox). Still to add are tool boxes alongside the smokebox.

LHS of completed main structure showing vac tank. blow down valve, etc.

Into Primer

Then into all over black. Satin for the main body, matt for smokebox and frame front

Cow catchers (pilots) for the power bogies. Cobbled together from bits of brass strip and some etchings.

Painted

Mounted on the outboard ends of the power bogies. Look like NGG16 garratt power bogies!

Loco fully assembled, just awaiting the lining.

Lining out

Almost completed model, including lining, varnishing and addition of name “Hercules” (Well, it’s supposed to be powerful!) and builders plates (courtesy of Narrow Planet).

From the rear. The slight lean observable has since been corrected.

Picture showing home made PCB containing the DCC control chip shoved up into the firebox.

 

There are still a few things to do to the loco to finish it off. These are installation of the rear headlamp, fine lead ballast into the tanks, installation of couplers and weatherng. These will be done in due course when I  get a moment.

And that is how I build a locomotive!

 

Another Year Ends

Oh Dear. Another year ends and I really haven’t done much with this blog thing. To be fair, I’ve not had a great deal of time as it has been a touch busy this year. Diane’s mom passed away in July and we have been busy clearing up the estate ever since. Work has also been as busy as ever (and as frustrating at times).

And yet, we have also achieved a lot. Diane and I have continued to learn to work with horses and it is incredibly rewarding.  It’s also incredibly time consuming as well, but the flip side is we are a heck of a lot fitter! It is not just about learning to ride, it is also about understanding horses, their herd psychology, and how to be able to gently train them using natural horsemanship techniques to respond willingly to directions. Much of this year has been taken up with groundwork and it is incredibly rewarding to be able to get a large animal that could seriously injure you if it wished, to come to trust you. OK, there have been a few bumps in the road – literally. So far I’ve had a broken wrist, an injured back and a bashed head from a couple of falls. And this is supposed to be healthy for me! But most of those were due to my own stupid fault and not reading the situation carefully. We hope to improve further next year and more about this will be posted in the appropriate section.

Some work has occurred on the Land Rovers . New Rocky Mountain front door tops were installed on the 109 and made a huge difference. No more rust showers every time I struggled to open the window! And the windows no longer leak. The middle door sliding window strips were also replaced with Rocky Mountain window strips, again because the originals had rusted to oblivion. Ultimately, both middle doors and front lower doors will have to be replaced due to rusting out of the frames, but this will extend their lives for another few years. Apart from that, the vehicle has worked pretty well throughout the year, though it has started to smoke under load a bit. As a result, I have started to accumulate parts for a top-end cylinder head rebuild, including regrinding the valves, and I will post on this in due course in the appropriate section. However, it isn’t going to happen yet, it’s too damned cold at present!.

On the railway modelling front, the Kitson Meyer has nearly been finished and painted and I need to put some pictures up. It just needs some final details and ballasting. The K1 garratt that I was commisioned to build has been progressing and looks so good, I’m building one for myself at the same time. So both locos are being built in parallel. Again, pictures and posts to follow. (Are you detecting a trend here?)

So that’s it for the year. I’m currently in Canada, the great white frozen north, visiting family. It isn’t very white, as there isn’t much snow, but it is frigging cold (0 degrees tonight. And that is Fahrenheit, not centigrade).

It just remains for me to wish everyone a wonderful New Year from Diane and myself and make a resolution that I will work harder at this blog in the coming year.

Adieu