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Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:37 am
by Allan Goodwillie
Having realised that there was a need for a starters group based up here in Scotland I have decided to go ahead and set one up. We have limited space as meetings will be held in one another's homes and I already have enough members to make it work. All those who have joined so far are already members of either the East of Scotland 4mm Group or the West Scotland 4mm Group who would like to build something for themselves at home as well as being involved in either of the two senior groups' club layouts.

Our aim is to have mutual encouragement as we go about building our home layouts and to encourage the development in skills that will lead to good working layouts either for home or exhibition. It will also bring up, I hope, the skills level so that it will be of benefit to the older organisations. :thumb

There are no time restrictions or limits on the members and we have no committee either. There may be occasional costs involved for the buying of materials, but I am hoping we can save money on postage, etc. by collective buying. Personally I want this to be pretty informal and for my own part to be simply, a facilitator, and someone who is also wanting to build a new layout of his own and our little group be a useful adjunct to both groups and their membership.

As some of you will be aware I like to use the Fourum as a teaching aid and this posting will cover a range of things as we tackle them - so I am hoping to keep these things all together on this thread, but put up other posts to point the way to topics being covered by the group as we go along. I hope the other members of the group will use this space to add to the conversation and also get them using the Fourum for useful feedback from the regulars who use it and those I have found to be helpful to starters generally. I appreciate the useful comments made during my West Group builders series, which clearly has been of use to other members. I will get back to finishing the third part as soon as I can.

Although it is a "Starters" group it is not necessarily a "Beginners" group as there are members who already have some experience in building in S4/P4 including myself, however some have had no layout at home ever and some have perhaps a layout in another scale/gauge and there are also one or two experts in other fields, ex. electronics, who are members. I also hope to call on other folk I have been friends with over the years for help from time to time. I have helped many people over the years - so look out I may be asking the odd favour, in terms of peoples expertise! :o

I am keen that this will be an outward looking group as the membership will learn more quickly with the engagement of others. I am also wanting each to perhaps start their own blog, as member Chris Gogh has done very successfully on his own in recent times, as it will allow everyone to see progress as it is made at whatever pace - life does get in the way as it has for me over the last two years, so no pressure. ;)

I have for some years now sent out a "Blower" to the West Group members, similar to Jim's "Pullage" which is meant for the East Group members. I thought I would start one for the "Starters" group but this one will be downloadable for the Society members who are also in the process of building layouts for themselves or similar groups which may be wanting to start up. I am hoping that ideas may be shared and that from time to time similar groups may wish to meet up at shows etc. If there are any individuals out there who are not part of any group but who would like to feel part of what we are doing please let me know as we would like to hear from you and may be able to give some encouragement, maybe meet up from time to time. :idea:

We have already had a couple of meetings since the New Year and members of the group have already started to take their turn at hosting events.

Our little quarterly newsletter is called the "Dubbie Shunt" named after a fairly obtuse colliery exchange yard that used to exist in Fife, which I thought might be appropriate for a little group of friends like ourselves. We are not here to change the world, but instead, have some pleasure mixed with progress on our own layouts.

Here is what we have been up to so far. :D

Dubbie Shunt 1.pdf
(3.2 MiB) Downloaded 288 times

For members of the Starters Group here is the first part of the West Group's Build a loco Project which we will be referring to for this weekends encounter it has tool lists etc. We will be making a set of jigs for loco building and looking at how they work.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:16 am
by David Thorpe
That sounds excellent, Allan. As I think you know, we here in the N.E. Scotland (Grampian) group have monthly workshops where we spend the best part of a day building things. We've got about seven regular members; of these, one has an established P4 layout, five are actively building P4 layouts, and one builds exquisite locos with which he tests the trackwork on our uncompleted layouts! We've talked about building a group layout, but we're spread out over such a wide area that we've concluded that it would be impracticable.

DT (typed looking out at five inches of snow!)

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 1:28 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
Hi David,

I know you lads have been up to the same kind of thing and maybe we could get together sometime. I have been a member of the West Group since the early seventies. In the early days we operated the same way for many happy years. doing a lot of pioneering work in our own happy corner. More recently we have had premises and space to work on a group layout - it is about the size of Burntisland, but there is no access to members of the public and is a rebuild of Mike Gilgannon's personal layout so, unlikely to be out of our premises due to its weighty construction. and unlikely to be seen by most -although maybe once the scenic work has progressed a bit more we could have you visit. Although I gave up the Chairmanship of the Group a couple of years ago our present chairman John Stocks would be happy to have you visit.

The East Group, which I started back in the eighties has gone on and in recent times built Burntisland, this has not been a bad thing, but it has got in the way of developing other layouts and the skills development of newer members, so this is my way around the problem, which may also be fun for those taking part.

Burntisland when not in use takes up my next door neighbour's garage and is a major lift and assemble every time we want to work on it and we are all getting older and a bit of a monster really, as a couple of us have had to have hernia operations over it already - almost did for me as I was allergic to the pain killers and might not be here today if I had not recognised the symptoms which my father had also had and nearly killed him - never know what can happen to you in life.

However I decided a while ago that it might be good to start something new to help the situation. So my advice is not to do what we have done and stick with what you are doing - you will have just as much fun and sense of achievement in the end and there will be a choice of shows to go to with multiple layouts to choose from.

Very nice to hear from you and say high to the others - I did manage to meet a few of them over the Glasgow weekend with Dubbieside flying the flag.

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:41 am
by Terry Bendall
Allan Goodwillie wrote:Having realised that there was a need for a starters group based up here in Scotland I have decided to go ahead and set one up.

A brilliant idea Allan and I am sure it will be successful. Some have started groups in other areas which is one way of solving the problem of no area group within a reasonable distance. An individual may not have the skills to lead such a group but may be able to do the organising which needs a different set of skills.

AS a small contribution to moving things on in Scotland, at the Perth show this year there will be a larger P4 presence than usual with three P4 layouts present, one of which is Longcarse West, built originally by David Furmage and now owned by my son. This will be shown set in the early 1980s. We will also be bringing the full Scalefour Society stand along and there will be some demonstrations from the East, NE and West Scottish area groups.

Terry Bendall

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun May 01, 2016 9:54 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
Thanks Terry,

I knew I would get a positive response from yourself. I want to make sure the group is for sharing skills and enthusiasm and not too hung up on other aspects of the hobby.

I know only too well that Perth have come forward with the concept of a permanent S4 enclave as it were and am involved with the West Group taking Calderside as well as helping Richard Chown -we are going to share a van and I am doing the driving. Richard Darby is taking Blackstone, so I will be preparing his stock and the East Group a work stand -I have also volunteered for that if Bruce requires me. Although I gave up being the Chairman of the West Group a couple of years ago I am still on the committee. John Stocks is Chairman and very capable as well as Chris Coles who has given sterling service since the early 1970's as our Secretary. Great guys both of them - West team are a good team and going from strength to strength these days -just the right size of group pretty much, as well as an interesting group of individuals.

I think we are very lucky with those who have decided to give it a go and our meetings have been very positive so far with every viewpoint being listened to and discussed. We were having a working session and it was good to see examples of different people taking the lead and also the level of help given one to the other. I had spent yesterday cutting out sets of parts for the jigs, the first day in ages where I had time to do something towards modelling. We are going to use the jigs for loco construction as can be seen elsewhere on the Fourum and use the Fourum as a teaching aid. Time was spent explaining how we were going to use them and how to clean up everything and assembling. :geek:

Each meeting will also have a secondary theme :idea: so we also were looking at track construction and introducing different approaches for later in the year, Phil took the organising of that part. We have also started thinking about baseboard construction and have started looking at different types of construction. Phil brought along his drawings and plans for his new layout and that was also very interesting. :)

Chris also had 3 D drawings he has made for the construction of his 0-4-4T loco - something which I am hoping he will post in his blog as he is bringing his other skills to the job. I am trying to encourage the other members to use the Fourum to show what their layouts are about and be open to ideas submitted by others, I did say we are trying to be open and outward looking and Chris of course had already started doing this long before the start up of this group and doing it very well as you know.

Some of this will show in the next Dubbie Shunt, covering this and the next two meetings. Hope you liked the first one.

Our next meeting will be, I hope, on using Templot and I hope Fergus will take on this and I will probably start everyone off on their first loco. There will me more on baseboards. Just trying to get everyone to look before building and considering what would be best for each layout - no one size fits all here. Good ideas ancient and modern all will be considered over cake and tea. :thumb I am beginning to think that may just be the most important part. Mmmmmmmmmm! CAKE! :D

I have arranged for Dubbieside to go to Perth next year so it is already booked - it may be its last outing as I have no other bookings and I hope to have my own new layout ready soon after - providing I manage to get my life back, even this last week was spent in and out of hospitals as first my friend David Grosz, (I was David's carer for a period of time) took ill and I spent most days going in to see him and my next door neighbour John asked me to take him in to hospital after taking ill himself - a busy week. David is back out and John as well. Roll on the sailing in the next few weeks - a break away at last up the West Coast and away from Dunstaffanage on the seven seas! :D I am sure I will return refreshed!

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun May 08, 2016 9:37 pm
by JinglingGeordie
Allan, I thought I would try the coupling rod jig first but I have not been 100% successful. Once the holes were drilled in the aluminium and I assembled the jig it became apparent that the holes are out of alignment with each other. I found the aluminium quite difficult to drill. I held it in my wee vice but with one of the holes in particular the drill slipped all over the place. I finished up by drilling that hole from the inside and so I wonder if it is responsible for the problem. Also, the spacer tube seems to be a little short. I have tightened up the nuts on the threaded rod and there is not a space left as shown on your drawing. Perhaps that comes when the vertical pieces are inserted - but that's for the future.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 7:57 am
by JinglingGeordie
Allan, Another day, a clear head and I may be thinking better!!! I have been trying to achieve four individual holes all being in the same place at the ends of the aluminium angle. That is not what is required. Holes left 1 and left 2 should be the same as each other whilst holes right 1 and right 2 should be the same as each other but no requirement to be the same as the left holes. Am I correct? That could be achieved by turning both angles upside down in the vice and drill both left holes at the same time followed by both right holes. That may take extra care as I will be working upside down. Once the left holes are drilled I could put the left threaded rod and bolts in place for added support whilst trying to drill the right holes. Sad creature that I am, I woke up thinking about this!! ha ha.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:04 am
by Terry Bendall
JinglingGeordie wrote: I held it in my wee vice but with one of the holes in particular the drill slipped all over the place.

Did you centre punch the aluminium first David? When drilling any metal it is always advisable to centre punch the metal first, but this assumes that you can do so in this instance, not being familiar with the jig you are using. When centre punching put a larger piece of metal underneath, or perhaps the back of a vice if it has a flat surface.

A tip for getting the holes in two pieces all in line is to drill all the holes in one piece first, then drill one hole in the other piece and bolt them together. You can then use the holes in the first piece as a guide for the others. If the holes are of different sizes, drill them all to smaller size, then open out those that are intended to be larger. A clamp of some sort on the other end is also useful or perhaps use the vice to keep them in line.

Terry Bendall

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 10:05 am
by Allan Goodwillie
Hi David,

Terry has managed to get there before me, but he has advised you correctly. :thumb Thanks Terry for that. It is good that you are keen to carry on and if there is anything wrong I will replace the material for you. I will get Dave to pass on some more replacement aluminium at the East Group AGM.

I should maybe do some basic stuff on metal marking cutting etc. before everyone gets too far ahead! I should have made a point of checking to see just what level everyone is at - my fault, sorry. I will make a point of this at the next meeting of our group, and will put an stage by stage up here for the others to use, but it will be after I have been away sailing I am afraid. :cry:

After you went away on Sunday, the modelling room was back out of action (which it has been for most of the last year) as I transferred our bedroom furniture and everything else into the room ready to have the bedroom carpeted on Monday and remain so until the new furniture arrived on Thursday, still sorting out stuff today and will be tomorrow, Wednesday will be taken up getting everything together for sailing next week and Thursday - Richard wants to pick up the layout boards for the AGM. So my time will just evaporate this week otherwise I would try to find time to show you here. It looks like I will not be able to find the time this week to turn up the gauge spacers for the weekend either so I will send an email around everyone with an apology. I will be lucky to get my workroom back this week before I am away the following week. Beginning to get a bit desperate for a bit of normality. I am sure the sailing will allow for some recouperation :!:

If you do not have a centre punch I have several spare so you can have one, just let me know.

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 4:34 pm
by JinglingGeordie
Both Terry and Allan. Terry, thanks for taking an interest in my wee problems. Much appreciated. No, I didn't use a centre punch before drilling; it is not something I have in my tool box. I can understand why you say that. I used the tip of a scriber by pressing it in to the aluminium but that maybe does not give enough depth. I did use a small drill to obtain a pilot before drilling the 4mm hole. Terry - I more or less worked out the principal of using one piece to line up the other. There are only two holes in each piece so I clamped them in the vice and passed the 4mm drill through the second piece to replicate the first. I will take it to let Allan see because it may be that one hole is marginally bigger now which may cause slop.

Allan - I have submitted apologies for the AGM. We are travelling to Orkney that day (there is a saga attached to that clash of dates but .......) for a week's holiday. A basic chat about marking and cutting metal would be beneficial. Thinking back more than half a century to school days we had to choose between metal and wood work. I chose woodwork! Do not worry about time Allan, go off and enjoy your sailing in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. I had a colleague who went diving of the coast of Harris and Lewis because the water is so crystal clear there. You have a lot on your plate and I'm sure I speak for the others too when I say thanks for the huge amount of your time you so generously give.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:01 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
Thanks David,

I always hoped to make it to Orkney during my days working for the Scottish Arts Council as a lecturer. Never did make it however. I am assuming you might be heading for Scara Brae on your travels, the Cathedral is lovely as well. If you do go to Scara I would love to hear your impressions. I have found many ancient sites up the west coast and ancient fortifications down the great glen which seemed to have the same structures as Scara Brae. Not sure where we are heading ourselves, looks like North Easterly winds next week, brrrrr! so probably south to begin with, but we will see. I am also missing the AGM, Bruce the same. I would like to have heard what Lindsay is intending covering in terms of the new buildings.

I have volunteered to do the building along the front with the 8 furnaces and a casting floor. I would like to mimic the castings being made on the floor, so will be discussing what might be possible as well as the 8 furnaces firing up and down, working figures might be good. I intend having all that in my wagon works when I get it built on the new layout. I have already built all the smaller buildings some time ago. including the water tank I showed in the last Dubbie Shunt.

I have been looking for images of various casting shops for a bit of inspiration, but found few from this period.I took some photographs looking through the casting shop doors at the steel works in Goose Island, Chicago when I was there a few years back. Maybe others looking at this may have some photos somewhere. My father introduced aluminium casting into technical departments in schools immediately after the war so I have always had an interest in casting - did lost wax casting at Art College. Have a story to tell you sometime about that.

Enjoy your trip. :D

I will do something here when I get back promise. :)

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Tue May 10, 2016 7:31 am
by Terry Bendall
JinglingGeordie wrote:No, I didn't use a centre punch before drilling; it is not something I have in my tool box. I can understand why you say that. I used the tip of a scriber by pressing it in to the aluminium but that maybe does not give enough depth

That would be the answer then David. There are two similar tools that can be used to mark the position of a hole. A centre punch has a point angle of 90 degrees and is the most appropriate thing to use since this is closer to the pint angle of a drill bit - 118 degree. A dot punch is usually a bit thinner and has a point angle of 60 degrees. Either would do for our purposes but in the absence of one and ordinary nail could be pressed into service especially for brass and aluminium. File a sharp point on the end. The point will blunt easily but it is a way out of the problem.

I have occasionally used a scriber just as you did but normally for very small sizes - less than 0.5mm. The point angle on a scriber is usually 30 degrees so a bit sharp for the job. The reason for the two different types of punch is that a dot punch is used when marking out. One use is to make a dot for the point of a pair of dividers when marking out an arc or circle. A very traditional use for rather heavier work that we would do is to mark along a line that is to be cut down to either with a file, or on a milling machine. When half the dots have gone you are in the right place.

JinglingGeordie wrote: I did use a small drill to obtain a pilot before drilling the 4mm hole.

This can be done but is not normally necessary for holes of this size. Up to about 10mm could be drilled without a pilot hole but after that it is better to use one.

JinglingGeordie wrote: There are only two holes in each piece so I clamped them in the vice and passed the 4mm drill through the second piece to replicate the first.

This might depend on how ell the two pieces were clamped in the vice. Were both held firmly? If one piece was on top of the other the jaws may not\ have gripped the top piece as firmly and the lower one.

Terry Bendall

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun May 29, 2016 11:15 am
by njggb
Cutting and drilling the coupling rod jig angle sections
Hi all, this is a blow by blow account on how I started the connecting rod jig for the benefit of a number of the group who were after a little guidance.

The first task is to mark the angle with a black marker pen so as to make the scribed lines more visible. The marker pen is a standard permanent chisel tipped marker from any supermarket or pound shop. (NOTE: this angle is the same dimensions but is the more expensive, anodised, version. Long story!)

initial measuring.jpg
The length of both sides is 150mm.

The lengths of angle have to be 150mm. Mark the first with a scriber and a square on one edge, then, carry the marking onto the other edge.

scribing angle.jpg
Use a square and scriber to mark length.

The angle is then mounted in a vice to saw the piece off. Use a junior hacksaw for this job. The initial saw cut can be at an angle to the surface to start the cut. Then saw, across one edge, parallel with the top surface, so as to maximise the number of saw teeth engaging with the material. Turn the angle over to finish the cutting process on the other edge.

more black.png
Apply more marker pen.
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Use the marker again at one end to help show up the next marking step.

setting calipers.jpg
Set the caliper to 4.5mm.

The next stage is to mark out the holes at the ends of the angles. Set the odd leg calipers to 4.5mm to mark the distance from the outside edge of the angle.

caliper marking.png
Nark the distance from the bottom edge.
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Mark the distance of the hole from the outside edge with the odd leg calipers.

hole marked.jpg
The other dimension is marked, positioning the hole.
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Mark the distance from the end, I set the callipers to 8mm, so that the cross marks the spot.

Centre punch the hole centre.
punched.png (186.83 KiB) Viewed 7146 times

At the intersection of the two lines, use a centre punch to mark the spot. I used an automatic punch as shown but an ordinary one is fine. (I was lazy and didn’t want to find my ordinary centre punch!)

As Terry Bendall has told us there is a distinct difference between a scriber is ground and to that of a centre punch. The following picture shows the difference.

The scriber is on the left, the others are centre punchs
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The left hand image is a scriber point and the other two are centre punches. (There I had to go away and find my ordinary centre punch.)

held for drilling.jpg
The two sections are clamped together and then held in the vice ready for drilling.
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I clamped the two angles together with a small engineers clamp, any clamp would do, and this clamp was to hand, this in turn was held in the vice. I then drilled the 4mm hole. I have to confess I did drill a 2mm pilot hole as I was using a hand held electric drill. I do have access to a pillar drill but my pal was out on his bike as the weather was good.
After drilling the hole clean up any resultant burrs with a larger drill bit or countersink bit.

bolted together.jpg
The two sections are bolted together.
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I then bolted the two angles together so as to clean up the ends square and “radiused” the corners. I could have used the rodding and nuts supplied for the final assembly, but I had these M4 x 6mm screws. This also holds the two angle together so that the other end hole can be marked and drilled with the sure knowledge that they will mate when the jig is assembled.

marked for end ident.jpg
One end of the jig was identified.
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When I had drilled the second hole I marked the top surfaces to ensure that the assembly would use a matched pair of holes. (The problem with using anodised aluminium is that the marker cannot be fully removed as it permeates the surface. You could punch two dots, one in each angle, at one end to indicate the matched holes. If you use non anodised aluminium, it is half the price from B&Q, the marker pen wipes off with a little isopropyl alcohol.)

I then bolted these ends together and repeated the tidying up so that this end was square as well. Again the burrs were removed and the ends “radiused”. This is not absolutely necessary but makes for a more professional job.

Drifting the holes..jpg
Use a round needle file to drift badly aligned holes.

If the holes do not line up properly, if maybe you had marked and drilled the holes a different way, you can use a round needle file to “drift” the hole. Creating a larger hole is not a complete disaster as when you assemble the jog you will be doing the nuts up tight enough to make sure that the single coil spring washer is compressed and hold the assembly rigid.

More anon.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:39 am
by Terry Bendall
njggb wrote:Hi all, this is a blow by blow account on how I started the connecting rod jig for the benefit of a number of the group who were after a little guidance.

All very sound engineering practice. (Teacher's hat on - A+ :D )

njggb wrote:I clamped the two angles together with a small engineers clamp, any clamp would do,

This clamp is known as a Toolmaker's clamp and is ideal for this sort of job since the jaws can be clamped up parallel and unlike a G clamp, there is no tendency for things to twist when the clamp is tightened.

Terry Bendall

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:32 pm
by PhilD
Hi folks ---
First ever post on here for me! so here goes... :)

Tackling Allan's first Group 'assignments' (I mustn't call them 'homework'!) has been making up the jigs. The photo below is where I'd got to by Sunday (5/6/16):
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I found the Coupling Rod Gauge straightforward enough though I seem to be missing one end's threaded rod, spacer, washers and nuts, I guess I hadn't realised at the outset that I'd need two sets. Allan gave us the coupling rod gauge parts last Sunday. Using my new Dremel WorkStation to drill the holes made things easier, esp drilling a series of holes to make slots.
The Chassis Construction Jig went together pretty well, a bit laborious filing the excess aluminium but otherwise fine. now I just need to acquire some of the larger 30x30 aluminium angle for the vice clamp.
DSC00133.JPG (74.3 KiB) Viewed 6863 times

As for the Crank Pin Throw Jig, I just could not get the U-section soldered into the the end of the square section! Despite numerous soldering attempts having carefully cleaned all surfaces and trying a couple of different fluxes I just could not get a successful joint. Grrrr!!! :x
So looking at it with a clear head the next day I realised :idea: that as there was really a very small contact area for the joint and with stresses acting on the joint from a relatively large lever arm, it needed a longer length of U-tube extending into the square section. So I cut a new length of U-section to extend about half-way into the square-section, then drilled through for the axle the correct distance from one end, using a smaller drill then opened it out with a needle file, including thinning down the walls of the U-section equally each side so the axle just fitted through. I then had to take a little off opposite sides of the walls of the upper tophat bush to allow the U-section to slide past. Having done that and slid the axle through both bushes I found it was all beautifully straight with no wobble or movement between the U- and the square-section. Result!!! :D
All that was left was to solder the axle in place, then slide on the sliding section making sure the crankpin bush was correctly orientated, before soldering on the end piece.
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The final refinement will be to add a spring and spring plate as per Allan's instructions once I find some appropriate springy material.

Huge thanks to Allan of course for his patient and expert tutelage and also for his advice on Sunday on getting moving again on my stalled N2 Dave Bradwell chassis kit.
(Above photos taken by Allan, captions by me)


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:08 pm
by JinglingGeordie
Allan, Terry and James, Just reporting success with the coupling rod jig. Thanks for helping. I feel more confident about tackling the other jigs now even although that includes marking out and cutting aluminium!

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 12:31 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
Good to see Phil's version using a slightly different approach to the jig, which looked spot on when he brought it along on Sunday. The underside of his jig looks fine as well. I will add them in to the thread on jigs if that is OK Phil :?:

Pleased to see that the jig is fine now David, looking forward to seeing your chassis coming on. James has been procuring some bits and pieces for us behind the scenes, so I am hoping to get the engine builders together, even if it is in pairs, for an additional day session just to get the chassis set up and the coupling rods made. :)

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:27 am
by njggb

More on the coupling rod jig. There was a discussion about the make up of the pins that the coupling rods are assembled on. Allan firmed down on M2 studding, there has been discussion else where that had suggested 8BA. So for M2 studding we need a 2mm gap. Using 8BA would need a gap of 2.2mm. That makes the tubing 20mm long. In engineering terms that should be 20mm minus nothing and I made mine 20mm plus 0.05mm. They were marked by placing the end of the tube and the rule against the stock of an engineer's square. They have to butt up tight, not as the photo appears to have recorded!

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This is the completion of the jig, all that has to be added are the pins onto which the coupling rods will be assembled. the jig is made up as shown below. The gap is determined by the length of the 6mm ID tubes. The eagle eyed will notice that I had used two different methods of marking matching ends with this set. This was the first set I made but the photos I took on route were out of focus, so I made another set. This second set was the ones in the previous post made from anodised material. One end has to be marked as the forward or front end. This is for connecting rod sets that are asymmetric.

This set were marked at one end with a pair of centre punched dots and at the other end with a pair of letter punches "L" and "R". I did get it wrong in that I letter punched them when they were matched up butted together. Hence they are the wrong way round when assembled as a jig. The moral of that tale is don't trust a dyslexic!

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Now all that needs to be done is insert and lock up the pins.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 3:57 pm
by njggb
File types and usage.

Hi, again during one of the group sessions, sounds like therapy doesn't it, I mentioned about the hand file having a safe edge. There were a number who were unaware of this feature and it's uses. So a quick tutorial on files.

Pictured below are a selection of 6" (150mm) files. A notable fact is that they all have handles, different ones but something to grab hold of and to protect the user from the tang, the pointy bit. It is not an "elf" edict but I know of a guy who didn't use one and it ended his piano playing days!

The files are, in order from the top;

Half round
Round or Rat tail

Different file types.jpg
Different file types.jpg (182.58 KiB) Viewed 6518 times

The same picture but with the hand file rotated so you can see the safe edge.

Different files - hand file safe edge.jpg
Different files - hand file safe edge.jpg (210.78 KiB) Viewed 6518 times

The safe edge is that doesn't cut, i.e. no teeth. So that can be positioned against the vertical edge of a slot and the file will only cut the base of the slot. This is handy for the "castellations " in the chassis assembly jig. (I can't help the fact that this editor cannot spell castellations !)There are only two files that have a safe edge; hand and pillar. The hand file has only one safe edge and the pillar has both edges safe. Pillar files are not very common and are expensive. I inherited mine from my father.

Another useful feature of files is that the all files taper for the last third of their length, a hand file tapers in thickness as can be seen from the last picture. This can be use to effect a "hollow" in a flat surface but is more commonly used to eliminate a "hump" when filing an edge flat.

Allan calls for, among other things, for a warding file in his tool list. The two pictures below show a warding file, essentially a thin flat file.

warding file.jpg
warding file.jpg (223.38 KiB) Viewed 6518 times

Warding file-side on.jpg
Warding file-side on.jpg (170.97 KiB) Viewed 6518 times

That is it for now except to thank Terry Bendall for his kind words and apologise for using the term "Engineer's clamp". I knew it was wrong when I typed it but the proper description had eluded me! There was very little call for a proper understanding of Workshop Technology in the Scottish "Craft and Design" curriculum. Not like the old days at HMS Fisgard when Artificer Apprentices did their stuff. All those out there from 53 entry apprentices, January 1965, can contact me directly and we can swing the lamp.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:40 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
Thanks James,

Most are finishing their jigs over the next few weeks, so there may be more things come up in relation to them. However, I would like to get down to some preparation assuming that most are starting their first loco. I am not going to go through the system I use again here, best to look at the chassis building course which I have already put on the Fourum under West Scotland 4mm group build a loco threads. However, it may be useful to add to that some preparation notes that will help everyone before we get together over the summer months to assemble these first chassis. That way when we meet up there is the possibility of assembling and getting to work individual chassis over a day or two. By preparing and making up sub assemblies at home it will allow us to concentrate on final assembly when together. :)

The sub assemblies will be-

gears/motor assembly
chassis parts/spacers
horn blocks and horn block guides

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:03 pm
by JinglingGeordie
Allan, I did not possess files so I bought a couple from Squires. I also bought wooden handles. The ends of the files are square albeit tapering but the hole in the handle is round. Is that normal? The phrase "square peg in a round hole" springs to mind! I have forced the end of the file into the handle a bit. Is that correct or is there a better way to do it? Now that I have files I will try to do the chassis jig.

Sorry to be back asking very basic questions. Thanks for your patience.


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:57 am
by Terry Bendall
JinglingGeordie wrote: The ends of the files are square albeit tapering but the hole in the handle is round. Is that normal?

Yes it is.

JinglingGeordie wrote: I have forced the end of the file into the handle a bit. Is that correct or is there a better way to do it?

This will work, especially for smaller sizes of file. Hold the file vertically on the bench, put the handle on the end, then give it a couple of taps with a hammer. Don't overdo it or you may break the file. Files are brittle and if a large one is dropped on a concrete floor it will break. For larger files - over 6 inches in length, and for wooden handles only, heat the tang is a gas flame - a gas cooker burner will do, then put the handle in place and burn it onto the file. Again don't overdo it or you will burn too much wood away. Take the file out again and allow it to cool down, then fit the handle as described above. A gentle heat will not spoil the tempering of the file.

Files do wear out and need replacing from time to time. When I was teaching metalwork and lots of filing was done they needed to be replaced every three years or so. With 100 or so files of different types in the room the heating process needed to be done on a production line basis but I never had any problems with spoiling the tempering of the file.

Terry Bendall

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 5:57 pm
by njggb

I usually fit the file tang into the round hole and using the weight of the file, I drop the combination, handle downwards, onto a hard surface, like a bench or workshop floor. The height needs to be about a foot or 300mm. Some times you have to repeat a couple of times.

To disengage the file reverse the process, file down, catching the edge of the handle on the edge of the bench. Hold onto the file for the reasons Terry mentions above.

I currently do not have enough handles for the file count. Please do not be tempted to use a file without a handle if you want to continue to play the piano!


Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:59 am
by JinglingGeordie
Terry and James - thank you for explaining square inserts and round sockets. I can report that I now have two files which can be used safely. I will now complete Allan's chassis jig. I fear I am slipping behind the class a wee bit. My late father was always disappointed that I did not follow him with the piano or church organ but in my defence I did once sit centre stage in the Usher Hall and turned the pages!! Thanks again for your patience.

Re: Livingston - West Lothian Starters Group

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:06 pm
by Allan Goodwillie
After your email David,

It struck me that there had been no information on cutting out materials. There may be elsewhere on the fourum, but I have not found it yet and it would be useful having it here to add to the knowledge base we are building up. Your question was about the use of a hacksaw to cut aluminium as in cutting the aluminium angle. Firstly aluminium is an easier metal to cut compared to brass or nickel silver sheet or steel which can be very hard in comparison. I will not go into grades etc. just now, but do not worry about aluminium it is very straightforward.

What we will look at is how to cut using a hacksaw and also using a piercing saw as an alternative. Both saws are needed in modelling. There will be plenty that may want to skip this part, but I also realise that this may be new to quite a few so here we go.

Hacksaw first-


It is a useful saw for cutting through thicker materials and will swiftly go through aluminium. The blade is thicker than a piercing saw and is meant to cut in straight lines, so when cutting out a shape from sheet metal you cannot simply turn the blade at right angles. Other ways are required to achieve a right angled cut. We will look at these. You can cut most thicknesses of material with a hacksaw using only a standard hacksaw blade.

Piercing saw-

Piercing saw

A piercing saw has very fine blades and will allow you to cut intricate shapes from sheet material. It can be helped along with the addition of a few drilled holes. The thinner the material to be cut the finer the blade that should be used. If you are going to buy a piercing saw it is a good idea to buy an adjustable one as it will allow you to continue using blades if they break and allow for tighter tension when adjusting.

:idea: If you are cutting very thin material with a piercing saw and you only have a heavy blade add thickness to the material in the form of a gash piece of card or plasticard to the material's thickness. This will still allow you to make the cut. Basically you match the distance between the points of the blade with the thickness of the material. You want one point to be entering the thickness of the material as another point leaves.

I have my blades set to cut on the downstroke and if sharp they should cut with little pressure required. The upstroke should be as light as possible so as not to damage the blades.

I will mark out and cut a sample from a small piece of brass sheet using both saws and will add a few comments of my own about marking out to add to what James has already spent time showing and some useful items for sawing and drilling flat sheet.