Thursday, 17 January 2013

Silver Birch

Its been pretty much sub-zero around here all week and the forecast is for several days of snow as of tonight. So we out today for shopping and intend battening down the hatches until it all goes away.

I did have to stop the car and take this pic of a very silver birch. The cold is certainly harsh but it can have its rewards when it produces results like this.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Opus Machina

A couple of months back I made contact with a bloke who had made a model steam engine and had offered it for sale. Normally I would not buy such an item but it had a huge flywheel and I cannot machine anything that size.

The engine design owes a lot to Stan Brays "Opus Proximum" but my engine is different enough for me to rename it "Opus Machina" (because it took me a long time to remake it!)

To cut a long story short, I paid the man for his engine but made a big mistake by not taking my reading specs with me. It was only later that day I was able to closely examine the engine with my proper specs on that I realised what a hopeless mess I had bought. It looked like it had been made by a blind chimpanzee. Some of the best finishes had been achieved with a hacksaw or a blunt parting of tool - yes, it was that bad! The sharp edges on the flywheel would have sliced bacon.

So, over the last few months I have ripped it apart and re-machined parts that could be machined and made new parts that could not be re-machined.

The only thing I have not touched is the cylinder assembly - I hardly dare imagine what it looks like inside. Just to give you an idea though, the valve chest is secured with 4BA screws. Trouble is - he'd stripped the threads on one of the holes - his solution? He super glued a 6BA screw in its place.

I have heard some horror stories about chaps buying others "works of art" but I never thought I would end up being a sucker as well.

Never mind though, it's kept me occupied over the last few months and doesn't look half bad now sitting on my desk.

This is a good example of the original finish before I started work.

This is my refurbed job.