Alpha Mill

Outside the fence.
Terry Bendall
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Terry Bendall » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:46 pm

For those who did not get to the MMRS open day, Alpha Mill will be on display at Scaleforum this year on September 28th/29th. Almost certainly without the baseboard on which it is due to stand since that would involve a van hire but you will be able to see the mill.

Terry Bendall

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Thu May 09, 2019 1:38 pm

Not posted here for a while but work has been proceeding on the engine and boiler house parts of the mill. The photo shows the engine house as it is now immediately prior to toning down the brickwork, it will end up exactly the same as the main part of the mill - it all looks a bit dark here as the photo was taken looking into the window of my workshop. Before anyone points out that there is a window missing on the engine house, this is how it was on the prototype. The roof of the little pump house needs finishing together with the roofs of the engine and boiler house. The boiler house has a lantern(skylight) on top and I still have to make this.

After that I need to make some rainwater hoppers and pipes for the buildings and also detail the interior of the engine house as the windows are huge and it is very visible inside. Howard Bolton and Dave Holt have already provided details about the engines and Howard has provided his 3D animation shown earlier in this thread for us to produce the engine - if we can. Many thanks gentlemen for your help on this. One of our members, Chris Morgan, has produced part of the engine on his 3D printer so I am hoping that we can make a pretty good representation of it using Howard's animation on Chris's printer.

Once all that is complete I need to set up the groundwork to get all the ground levels sorted and get some setts made. We have experimented quite successfully with making setts on the laser cutter so I won't be using plastic sheet for that.

Things are looking up and the end is in sight!

Ralph

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

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Dave Holt » Thu May 09, 2019 2:57 pm

[quote="ralphrobertson"]Howard Bolton and Dave Holt have already provided details about the engines and Howard has provided his 3D animation shown earlier in this thread for us to produce the engine - if we can. Many thanks gentlemen for your help on this. One of our members, Chris Morgan, has produced part of the engine on his 3D printer so I am hoping that we can make a pretty good representation of it using Howard's animation on Chris's printer.

Very nice, Ralph. Looking forward to seeing more of the engine and boiler houses. I expect that next you'll be putting ropes, pulleys and gantries in the rope race.

Dave.

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

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Thu May 09, 2019 5:18 pm

Excellent work Ralph - very well done. Looking foward to seeing how the engine bits come out.

Best Wishes,

User avatar
Will L
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Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Will L » Fri May 10, 2019 12:16 pm

Just a thought, but couldn't you get Howard to re do the animation as viewed from the windows and just install a small screen?

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Fri May 10, 2019 1:32 pm

Applied the toning down paint today and it it looking much more in balance with the remainder of the building now. Got a bit more tweaking of the colour to do to get a reasonable match but that won't take long.

The interior of the engine house is another issue altogether. One member in our group thinks we should have a working mill engine but I quickly got him to stop that when I suggested he build and motorise it! We could go a long way applying details like that but since it has taken me 15 months to get this far, and that has been working several days a week several hours a day on this, I will apply some interior finish and ponder about the engine for now. There is still plenty to do to build the adjacent groundwork and I will concentrate on that for the moment with the terraced houses to finish too.

So you can see the difference here are a couple of shots after the painting today.

Ralph

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Attachments
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ralphrobertson
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Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:52 am

Not posted for a couple of months, a big decorating job and holidays slowed things down but work has been slowly plodding on with the mill. I have been making the lantern (the architect's drawing terminology but to me skylight sounds better). Had 3 attempts at getting something presentable before I was happy. Making the vents was awkward until I found a very old thread on RMweb of someone who had done it quite successfully https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/69987-a-wr-engine-shed-tips-for-painting-please-making-louvres-ridge-tiles-and-guttering/page/2/ using a jig he made to get the pitch of the slats right. My first attempt failed mierably but on the second attempt at the jig it proved much more successful.

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Lantern framework


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Jig for setting the vents


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Lantern on boiler house roof - needs weathering. You can see the 'wallpaper' through the engine house windows


Work has started on detailing the interior of the engine house. The amount that is visible through the big windows is quite amazing so it is very fortunate that someone photographed the interior of the engine house in full colour albeit minus the engines and even the floor. https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/warwick-mill-middleton-jan-2017.107539/ It does give me a very good idea of how it would have looked and so I printed out some wallpaper for the interior. I also stumbled across a website showing a photo of the engine in Warwick Mill when it was in use which has helped me work out exactly what might have been there. In Arthur Roberts Box I turned up this photo http://ellisdesign.jalbum.net/Arthur%20Roberts'%20Box/index.html#Saxon-Warwick-1.jpg and by browsing lots of other photos there I managed to get the feel for how I can produce something that might look a bit like the interior of an engine room - it won't be a highly detailed model, just a representation (too many other things to make for the layout).

The big wheel which drives the ropes has been made and the next job now is to finish painting the engine and boiler house roofs, make the engines and make the rainwater downpipes for the complete mill.

Ralph

JFS
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:28 am

It keeps getting even better Ralph - excellent job! Just to mention that on the Arthur Roberts site, there are two photos of the Engine at the Rutland Mill, Shaw, and that was an identical design to that at the Warwick.

Best Wishes,

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:03 pm

Thanks Howard, that information is most useful.

Ralph

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:26 pm

I should add that the louvres on the skylight are P4 sleeper strip, just happened to be the right size.

Ralph

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sat Aug 10, 2019 3:01 pm

Work has been continuing on making up some sort of representation of the engines which are quite visible inside the engine house. Howard provided some 3D drawings which are what he used for his animation which he uploaded much earlier on this thread and the one for the low pressure engine could be used without a problem the high pressure engine caused a bit of a problem.

Chris Morgan 3D printed the low pressure engine very nicely on his Prusa 3D printer but I had to redraw the high pressure one following Howard's drawings which he kindly sent me. Following photos of the real thing I made what I consider to be a 'basic' attempt at making a rough replica of what this might have looked like bearing in mind that it is not that visible through the windows but it is important that there is something there. Anyway judge for yourself if it looks something like - I am sure it could be drastically improved!

Thanks go to Howard and Chris for their assistance making this happen. Moving on to the downpipes now again using Modelu pipe brackets and hoppers - very nice 3D printed mouldings and tiny!

Nearly ready for Scaleforum.

Ralph

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General view of the engines


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Low pressure engine at the front, high pressure at the back. Railings from an online model boat shop.


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What you can see through the windows looking very closely too!


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George the mill engineer having 40 winks in the corner. This is a Modelu signal man but I thought it looked the part. This gives you some idea of the huge size of an engine house.


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Looking through the big end window

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

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:31 pm

Excellent work as ever Ralph - well done!

I am sure you are one jump ahead of me here, but the only refinement I would suggest would be the colour of the cylinders - these were always clad in blued-steel and so would benefit from some blue paint. Similarly, the area under the connecting rods / cranks was lined in blue-steel or lead to catch the oil.

This video of the Ellenroad gives a good diea of what it looked like



Best Wishes,

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:02 pm

Thanks Howard, that would have been useful earlier this week but never mind, it is easy to remove this all from the building, just 4 screws. Will get the paint pots out again tomorrow and get it right.

Ralph

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

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:15 am

Ah well...

If you have a look back to page 1 of this thread, there is a link to one of my animations which shows an example of one of these Saxon cross compounds. Although it is a "recreation", you can take it as being pretty accurate (albeit that the last survivor - the Kent - was painted blue not green!). Notice that many of the bits attached to the cylinder (LP cylinder head, valve bonnets etc) were bright steel.
I might also be tempted to make the chequer plate flooring a lot darker - they often looked almost black as this one of the Trencherfield shows



... and your engineer should be nodding behind a huge mahogany desk - the Engineer was second only to the Inside Manager in the managerial hierarchy!

Hope that helps!

Best Wishes,

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:01 pm

More useful stuff thanks Howard. Will have to change the title of George to something else then. I can't change the floor colour any more - I can't get to some spots inside the engine house any longer so it will have to stay as it is, sorry. I have repainted the engines now to a very dark blue, bordering on black as in the clip of the Ellenroad engines.

Now to the downpipes.

Ralph

NickM
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Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:59 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby NickM » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:30 pm

Just caught up with this topic - an amazing piece of work! Great use of modern technology.

Brings back memories of when we used to travel from Liverpool to Holmfirth, where I'd stay with my auntie for the summer hols. We would go through Oldham and the thing I always remember was the huge number of mills and mill chimneys.

Brings back another memory too - my dad used to take us to the MMRS exhibitions, probably in the mid-1960s. I seem to remember they were at the Corn Exchange - but memory might be playing tricks.

Definitely planning on going to this year's exhibition.

Nick

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:09 pm

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your kind comments.

There were over 300 mills in Oldham alone and there were many more in the surrounding areas. The MMRS exhibitions were at the Corn Exchange in Manchester in those days and we often got over 10,000 visitors in those days.

Glad you are planning to come this year, I will be on the demonstration stand so come and say hello.

Ralph

Dave Holt
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:44 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Dave Holt » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:40 pm

Ralph.
Congratulations. The representation of the engine looks very nice and, glimpsed through the engine house windows, creates just the right effect.
Looking forward to seeing the whole thing in the flesh at Scaleforum.
Dave.

davebradwell
Posts: 84
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:48 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby davebradwell » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:45 pm

I remember hearing that when one of the Burnley engines was preserved the engine-man was very peeved that the museum people chucked out his sofa and ripped up his carpet. Doesn't sound as if your man would kip on the floor but I have no idea what was normal.

DaveB

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Dave Holt wrote:Ralph.
Congratulations. The representation of the engine looks very nice and, glimpsed through the engine house windows, creates just the right effect.
Looking forward to seeing the whole thing in the flesh at Scaleforum.
Dave.


Thanks Dave, I couldn't have done it without Howard's ideas and drawings and your photos of engine and boiler houses.

Ralph

JFS
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby JFS » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:32 pm

Some people might remember this film, shot almost 50 years ago now:-



1970 does not seem that long ago to me, but it looks like ancient history when seen like this.

The engine room scene - though not the weaving shed - was filmed at Joseph Johnson's Deane Shed in Bolton, and the engine was about 1/4 of the power of the Alpha engine.

Best Wishes,

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:30 pm

I have never seen that before Howard and it is certainly very inspirational.Excellent stuff. The mill is the focal point of the community and despite this being at the back of the layout we are planning to put some terraces adjacent to it if we can fit it in.

Ralph

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

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:28 am

Just packed the car for the journey and I have prepared some sort of handout for those interested. Not knowing how many to prepare a copy of the paper is attached here so if I run out you can download your own copy.

Ralph

Alpha Mill Presentation Paper.pdf
(497.31 KiB) Downloaded 51 times

ralphrobertson
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:34 am

Thanks to all those who came to chat with me at Scaleforum - I hope you learnt something from my journey with a laser cutter. I met lots of interesting people from all over the world and I look forward to seeing lots of buildings being made!

Somebody left a short ruler on my stand at the show on Sunday. If they would like it back please send me a PM with your address and I will return it.

Ralph

Dave Holt
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 9:44 pm

Re: Alpha Mill

Postby Dave Holt » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:14 pm

Ralph.
I very much enjoyed our extended chat, yesterday. I must say I hadn't really appreciated just how much work had been required to replicate the relief brick work and other decorative features which George Stott included in his Edwardian era mills.
The end result is truly magnificent and it was a pleasure to see the completed structure. The sloping terraced houses are also looking very good and i look forward to seeing them in situ on Slattocks, in due course.
Dave.


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