Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

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John McAleely
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Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby John McAleely » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:48 pm

Assembled-experts,

I've just spent the weekend trying to build my first brass wagon kit. I visited the Watford Finescale show on saturday (great show!), in order to aquire tools I'll need to build a brass loco. I thought it also wise to get some practice in first, so I was attracted to the Bill Bedford Conflat L kit. In my period, it should make a nice match wagon for a shunter.

I've thoroughly enjoyed putting it together. I've struggled most with the areas where sheets of brass need to be sweated together - I needed quite a few attempts before I hit on a method which worked.

Anyway, things started well:

StartsWell.jpg


I was particularly pleased I didn't entirely flood the mesh detail!

After a day or so of building I was ready to trial fit the wheels, and the wagon (although definately a first attempt!) looked quite pleasing to my eye:

FirstAttempt.jpg


However, the eagle eyed will spot there is only one wheelset... This is because the W irons are far too far apart to hold the wheelsets in place. There is a clear air gap of several mm.

Looking over the wagon, I think I've spotted my error:

TheError.jpg


I think the tabs which hold the suspension spring wire should butt against the inside of the solebar. Re-reading the instructions with this in mind, I think the drawing is clear, and I was simply wrong to assemble them with a gap. Can anyone familiar with these kits confirm my theory?

I'm still pleased with the result, and my main regret is that I didn't buy two or three so that I can start again and correct this mistake straight away :-)

I will bring this along to the next CHEAG meeting for further critique - I have a few more questions!

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steamraiser
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby steamraiser » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:10 pm

John

One of the advantages of brass is that you stand a chance of takeing it appart and trying again.

Gordon A
Bristol

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John McAleely
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby John McAleely » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:13 pm

steamraiser wrote:One of the advantages of brass is that you stand a chance of takeing it appart and trying again.


Any tips? My attempts at correcting errors as I went met mixed success. I never seemed to be able to get heat to all the solder I needed to loosen.

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:55 pm

I think the tabs which hold the suspension spring wire should butt against the inside of the solebar.

Yes, that is correct.
So far as taking apart is concerned you need something that will heat the whole thing, if it was all brass you could use a hot air gun (paint stripper type) if you have one, or an electric hotplate. But you have already fitted the white metal axleboxes which would be at risk from such methods unless you can persuade those to come off first. Are they fixed with normal solder or low tenperature whitemetal solder?
Regards
Keith
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Keith
Grovenor Sidings

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Mark Tatlow
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby Mark Tatlow » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:27 pm

John,

As Keith says, the solebars are too far apart and should be tight against the tabs for the spring mounting points. I have done exactly the same if it is any consolation to you!

It looks like you are either using a soldering iron that is too small, not enough flux or a grade of solder that is to high for the work that you are doing. Try doing it with some 144 degree solder?

I will also send you a pm.
Mark Tatlow

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John McAleely
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby John McAleely » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:55 pm

Mark Tatlow wrote:It looks like you are either using a soldering iron that is too small, not enough flux or a grade of solder that is to high for the work that you are doing. Try doing it with some 144 degree solder?


I suppose all three may well be true. My soldering iron is marked 50W, and I'm using the same flux paste we used at the workshop last year (with varying amounts of generosity on my part). Given the list, I suspect the solder though. I'm using some 'solder' which was probably 'obtained' from school many years ago for electronics classes.

I was planning to use that up before I bought any more (although I did buy some low melt for whitemetal), so I shall put solder on my shopping list! What's the clue that lead you down this path?

grovenor-2685 wrote:But you have already fitted the white metal axleboxes which would be at risk from such methods unless you can persuade those to come off first.


I actually laughed at the idea of pointing my paint stripping gun at this defenceless little wagon :-) The whitemetal parts are indeed low-melt attached, so I'm guessing I should try to remove them first. The axle boxes are a different problem. They are some sort of plastic, and are attached to the brass by 'Games Workshop superglue'. I suppose I could try out loctite superglue remover on those.

nberrington
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby nberrington » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:17 am

Hi John

I see you are getting going with brass.
Save a few bob up and then and invest in a resistance soldering unit. If one intends making a few kits that have any laminations to sweat on, then, in my mind, there is no substitute to a decent RSU.
They are not cheap, but then neither are brass kits, and I guess it also depends how much you value you time and elicate figures!
I tin the lamination (leaving small details on the fret when I do) and then good dash of Carrs Red flux, and touch it with the RSU in a few spots - crackle pop - perfect join.

Thus:

(Notice hefty square - nice heat sink)
Attachments
DSC_0016.JPG
DSC_0023.JPG

craig_whilding

Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby craig_whilding » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:27 am

The axlebox/springs looks like they are 3D printed and not as good as MJT wm ones.

RSU's are a more expensive tool than really required here, you can get by without one though they are nice.

9% phosphoric acid and 145 solder from Eileens should sort out your soldering if the iron is ok. 3mm tip or ideally less on the iron and not a massive spade. You might find though the iron is fine until it touches any heatsink (ie the wagon) and loses all its heat far too quickly. Personally I use a 25W Antex though so a 50W should be overkill.

Try sliding the springs and axleboxes off with a knife and then using one of Keith's methods to get the solebars off to restick them. The soldering method above should give you a much better flow and less blobs than your current attempt or you'll have lots of cleaning up to do and probably weak joints.

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Flymo748
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby Flymo748 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:28 am

craig_whilding wrote:Try sliding the springs and axleboxes off with a knife and then using one of Keith's methods to get the solebars off to restick them. The soldering method above should give you a much better flow and less blobs than your current attempt or you'll have lots of cleaning up to do and probably weak joints.


Or if you've got a free evening this week, and would like to pop down to my gaff, you're very welcome to a one-to-one on dismantling and re-mantling etched brass kits... It's what Area Groups are about, after all.

We've got no definite plans on domestically this week, so the offer's there if you want to shout.

I'm not going to be able to be at CHEAG next week, as I've a business trip that takes me away :-(

Cheers
Flymo
Beware of Trains - occasional modelling in progress!
www.5522models.co.uk

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Andy W
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby Andy W » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:36 am

I'd go along with what Craig said - a 25w iron with phos flux and 145 solder (I get mine from LRM) is a good combination. It looks in general like you've used far too much solder in the first place. Try cutting the stuff up into little chunks and pick these up on the iron's tip - you get more control that way. In fact the less solder you use the stronger the joint - assuming the brass parts are a snug fit. A fillet of solder is soft and weak, while two tinned pieces will form a strong joint when heated.

A major principle is to tack solder and check each joint/component before you move on to the next - rather than build the whole job and then see if all is well. This is certainly true before you add whitemetal/plastic detail. I only know this because I've made the same mistake. In fact making mistakes is the best way to learn - especially when someone like flymo offers to help and check things out. Grab that offer!

The main thing is that you are building something - well done. Be proud of it, and keep going, because when you do build a vehicle that rolls along the track the feeling of achievement will be fantastic. And then you'll be able to post on here and pass the knowledge on.

If it were easy there would be no challenge - and that's where the fun lies! And that's the key word FUN!
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Build a wall along the Herefordshire border and make them pay for it.

martin goodall
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby martin goodall » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:26 pm

Re getting the whitemetal axlebox/spring castings off. If you used 70 degree low-melt solder to fix them, they should come off easily if you pour boiling water over them. At 100 degrees, this is hot enough to melt the low-melt soolder, but is below the melting point of the white-metal itself (120 degrees, from memory). [Keep your fingers out of the way!]

I have successfully unsoldered whitemetal kits in this way, but it does leave quite a lot of cleaning up of the castings to be done afterwards. Might be easier, having got them off, to substitute new castings.

nberrington
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Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby nberrington » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:22 am

Hi Craig

I would take Flymo up on his offer - my mentor died too many years ago, and I seem to have forgotten a great deal of what he taught me (Tony Jenkins - used to be on the editorial staff of "Model Railways".)
One evening with an expert is worth months of experimenting.

Good job getting going and taking a plunge. Smart to start on some wagons, before a loco and all it's niggling trouble gets you down!

Keep it up - and enjoy.

Neil

craig_whilding

Re: Can you confirm why this wagon doesn't work?

Postby craig_whilding » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:28 am

nberrington wrote:Hi Craig
Neil

Think you meant John there Neil, i'm already up to my ears in wagons ;) .

Martin - they are not white metal castings as I mentioned earlier.


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