Alpha Mill

Outside the fence.
JFS
Posts: 570
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Wed May 23, 2018 9:27 pm

Sometimes you have to have a bit of luck and in this case it all came together! I very much agree about the technology, and to me, the whole benefit comes in projects like this where the technology enables the "impossible".

Great also if you got the bug for the history, and to get in a "plug" - if you like mill engines, there are a couple not too far away which steam regularly. One is the Ellenroad engine

https://sites.google.com/a/ellenroad.or ... ning-Times

which is just off the M62 at the New Hey junction. And the other is the Trencherfield in the middle of Wigan.

https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Museu ... ngine.aspx

As it happens, both are next in steam on the 3rd June, but steaming days are pretty regular.

They both claim to be the biggest working mill engines in the world and I think they are both probably correct!

Dave Holt
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:44 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Dave Holt » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:40 pm

Hi Ralph.
Now I'm back into the Forum, I just wanted to add my congratulations on your efforts to make a realistic representation of this mill. You are certainly achieving fantastic results with clever use of multiple layers to replicate the decorative brickwork used in George Stott designed mills from the early 20th century. Howard originally asked me to send him some of the Regent mill information I had also got from Oldham Local Interest section of the library, so that he could mock up the larger end wall he sent to you. I'm so pleased you've taken it on even further and are well on the way producing your mill. The preliminary sections you had at Scalefour North looked very good and appear to have been improved even more with the production versions.
I can't wait to see the final results, especially as you are also looking to represent the engine, also an interest of mine - although I'm more drawn to Buckley & Taylor products and specifically their inverted vertical triple expansion engines (as supplied to the Regent).
Are you intending to create the correct chimney for your mill? A friend of mine has turned a scale 210 foot example for me in case i ever get around to the Regent project. My idea was to cover it in a printed brick paper drawn out as a developed truncated cone.
Best wishes with the whole project and I look forward to further updates as it progresses.
Dave.

ralphrobertson
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:36 am

Hi Dave,

Thanks for your kind words, having been impressed with the drawing that Howard sent us it was only right that we should have a go at producing what is, after all, an imposing building. We are fortunate in having a laser cutter readily to hand which has made all this possible but I won't tell you of the rejects that were made on the way but eventually I worked out that it was achievable - it may not be a totally accurate model of Warwick Mill but it is pretty close!

There won't be a chimney modelled as the location for it would be off the baseboard but it may get 'introduced' into the backscene eventually. The engine will be 3-D printed if we can but the emphasis right now is to get the building made together with the engine house and part of the boiler house.

The photo below shows the back of the framework of the mill which just surrounds the touch screen monitor we are using to control the layout. This is an accurate portrayal of the size of Warwick Mill so as you can see it just fits with a few mm to spare. Chris, who has a 3-D printer, is working out how to allow the monitor to be removable once the mill is firmly fixed down, you can't get your arms in to unscrew the clamps we are currently using.

The second photo shows the 'scene' which we are developing and there we have Richard Dunning's nice lock gates seen through Dick Petter's lovely bridge. The signal box and the mill are mine and the Caprotti and the train are by John Lingwood. Once all this is completed that should be a great scene to watch trains go by and this is what we are aiming for. The train was moving but we will try and pose this shot again soon.

In the meantime the mill is advancing. The front and left hand walls are now firmly attached to the wooden framework. This proved interesting as I had to find a glue that would stick the laminated card. With having various laminations there is some 'bend' on the walls but PVA was not sufficiently strong to hold it flat. Also after applying shellac the glue doesn't stick too well so I tried out some Gorilla glue (never used it before) and went for this - the word blanket comes to mind when I look at the strength of this although it did need lots of lead to hold it down whilst setting but it seems to have worked perfectly.

Anyway, work is progressing and the tower end is coming up pretty quickly now - back to the drawing board (literally).

Ralph

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Back of the mill frame

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A view from the canal

ralphrobertson
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:58 pm

I have just been cutting the bottom layer of the right hand wall of the mill and thought others might like to see it. There are 43 windows in total giving 283 panes to be cut. There are 13 balustrade openings giving a total of 296 cuts. This wall was cut in about 90 minutes. There are a couple of bad cuts where the laser didn't quite cut through the black layer of the card at the back - I will fix that and it won't be visible when I have finished with it.

I couldn't resist engraving the name onto this layer although it won't actually be seen, it is on the top layer only - there are another 2 layers of 0.5mm card to apply before the top layer of mounting board.

I am waiting for some ply to be delivered for the wooden backing for all this. I have some birch ply but it is not as easy to cut as poplar ply which I prefer for this laser. Birch ply is a hard wood and the stock I have is very difficult to cut so I have given up using it along with MDF, it just takes too long on the machine and leaves a lot of soot. Poplar ply is much easier to cut and it also cuts easily with a Stanley knife so it is my preference. Hopefully I will get the stock in the next few days when I can get the wooden backing for the tower made and get on with the job of 'bricklaying'.

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Right hand wall with 43 windows

JFS
Posts: 570
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:10 pm

Excellent work Ralph, and looking forward to seeing further progress. I feel your pain knowing how much work there is in there - laser or not!

Thanks for the tip on poplar ply - not heard of that, but poplar is well know as a non-flammable wood!

Best wishes,

ralphrobertson
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:34 am

Nearly 2 months since the last posting and there has been some progress. The right hand wall has been made and detailed and the tower structure is complete. The brickwork on the front of the tower has now been completed but the rear (which is only visible to the operator really) still needs to be done. After that it is the roof and then a whole load of detailing.

Anyway, here are a couple of shots that show where we are up to. The yellow colour is the colour of the card I used for the brick overlay on top of the mounting card. Where it is a dirty colour this is because of the soot mixing in with the shellac when strengthening the bricks. They are pretty vulnerable before the shellac is applied and it is difficult not damaging them.

The whole building is now getting BIG and it is not easy to handle without doing some damage especially to the windows - there are windows everywhere. Fortunately I have worked a technique to repair them quite easily so it is not so bad but I do need to force myself to think now before picking it up!

Off on hols for a couple of weeks so not much more progress for a while.

Ralph
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