I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

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I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Brian M on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 11:50 am

Having read Brianís anguish on his cylinder block, I am now facing the same problem of the removal of a faulty block. Due to insufficient pressure testing of these important components, before being shipped out of the factory, their integrity can not be guaranteed. Therefore, I would like to advise other builders of testing them as soon as possible.

I have spent 100s of hours on my build (not including the cost of material, paintwork and so on) to only have my work undone, with potential damage in the process.

I would not want anybody else to go through the same Ďpainí, as at the moment, I do not even have the heart to look at the engine, so please pressure test as soon as possible, and do not wait until the build is nearly finished.

Brian M

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Robfishman on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 1:27 pm

Thats a nightmare, I really feel for you both after all your hard work.

Don't get disheartened though our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  bjwlancashire on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 2:55 pm

Wow Brian, so sorry to hear that, this could be making others a little nervous too. Did it fail gradually during the hydraulic test or did you not manage to get any pressure in at all?

Don't depair to much, I know I did at first but it did not take too long to strip back to get the cylinder off in the end. The frustrating thing for me is the fact there are no finished cylinder blocks in stock. I was in STW on Monday and the cylinder block castings are in but they are not on the machine yet and then it is about four weeks machining time for the batch of castings.

I assume Dwaine's engine as passed with no issues as you were testing both together. At least you can share one if he will let you.

I am dearly hoping I can get Blackbeard reassembled for my birthday on 19th April and I also have confirmed entry to my first rally, Riverside on 20th and 21st, I can only hope.

With sympathy

Brian

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Flasback on Wed 06 Mar 2013, 11:38 pm

Hi Brian,

Yes we did hydraulic mine and have had it steaming, we went through a commercial hydraulic test, however it took the shine off the day and still has as we wanted two engines to go through the process and steam. We had an event in April with a couple of friends who have helped us through the build and in May we are now setting up a team gathering on the 10/11 May. Brian now does not even now want to go. I wrote a reply to this thread last night but did not send it as most of it was not very complementary to the late programme of the showman, lack of communication of releasing the kits as the revised promise dates given has again passed with no information provided and of cause some of the quality issues we have had. When considering building an engine all the people we spoke too said 'make sure you test the cylinder block before putting it on' and did the company we purchase the kit from do that....... A number of quality issues have had now occurred on this build which is a very poor advert for this type of company operating in this small market. You would think that a statement from STW would now be issued about warranty (I hope that if the block does go it would fail during pressure testing)

Got to say also that if TT got a hold of this they could have a right good point the finger session.

As you can see I am still very frustrated with this matter and am not as clam as Brian was he wrote his post.


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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Tony King on Thu 07 Mar 2013, 4:20 am

This is a tough subject & I really feel for you two with "faulty" cylinder castings. I'm concerned about my own cylinder, as I haven't pressure tested yet, it being my intention to finish the engine before steaming it!!
However, in my experience, STW have always sorted any problems, as quickly as they can. Don't forget this is going to cost them too!! God knows how many machining operations, delivery costs, the very complicated casting in the first place, go into this one component alone. This is the first run of a complicated engine, so a steep learning curve for everyone involved, that includes us builders!!
This is still a small price "we" pay for what will still be a wonderful engine at the end of the day. I do have an incite into how you feel, as I had to unbolt & return my cylinder way back to be re drilled, but it "broke through" when machined & a new one had to be supplied, which of course it was!! As Brian correctly points out, once you get over the initial shock & disappointment, it actually doesn't take long to put things right again, so hang in there, it WILL be worth it.
Regards,
Tony

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  highpressure on Thu 07 Mar 2013, 6:51 am

I have to agree with Tonys comments about hanging on in there. I know Steve and the gang will be bitterly disappointed to learn of this and I'm sure other builders will be looking at their own blocks with a degree of dread, we will be organising a hydraulic for The Coleman in light of this. And once it is rectified and you have been steaming for a while it will slowly disappear into the mists of time.

Hindsight is a wonderful tool for seeing how things could be done, I might not be self emplyed had I known how shit the economy was going to be but we all "live and learn" as they say and as for finger pointing, I expect you will find that most builders who machine their own stuff have a pile of rejects in a scrap bin somewhere!! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone??? or something like that.

The one thing that I do know for sure is that STW wont let you down, there may have been issues with extended time frames but in the end we have a quality engine that they want us to rave about to promote a good name. I have always found that they are very good to respond to any issues and I'm sure that will be the same in this instance.

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  ejparrott on Thu 07 Mar 2013, 9:10 am

To date, I'm not a kit builder, I've always built from scratch (I'm hoping one day for a 4"DCC kit) and I've been there twice. One of the cylinder castings on my hunslet had a blow hole and took 8 weeks to get replaced, then we had to start machining all over again. Also the block for my 2" showmans had a blow hole halfway down the LP bore, and being a compound there's no room to line it. It happens to us all, chin up!

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Julia on Thu 07 Mar 2013, 9:59 am

Brian
While disappointing you are in a whole lot better place than a scratch builder. You will be able to get an exact replacement that is slot out slot in. As you may know I am scratch building a 6" GMT and I a desperately working towards doing a pressure test. If mine fails when I get a new casting I will have to spends months machining. The nasty bit is that since my block is not made to CNC precession my motion is likely to need considerable felting to fit the new block. Keep focussed you will get there.
Julia

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Steam Traction World on Fri 08 Mar 2013, 2:57 am

Both Dean and I very much regret whatís happened to both of the Brians Cylinder Blocks. Weíre acutely aware of the emotional impact this must have on both of them. Iíve already posted some comments on this forum regarding the issue so thereís not much point in duplicating it again.

Iíve spoken to both of them and offered my apologies but at the end of the day this probably had little impact on their emotional well being.

Dwain mentioned in his post about details of this issue being posted on Traction Talk. Whilst no one likes their Ďdirty linen to be washed in publicí Iím not sure I would be too upset about it in this case. We get quite a few hits on the forum from guests and I know many people interested in our hobby view our forum quite regularly, so I dare say many of them know about the issue anyway.

In a perverse way it brings kit building closer to scratch building! Many scratch builders would have experienced the same or similar issues.

I want to reassure everyone that we take a lot of care over our product and we will continue to do everything we can reasonably do to minimize these issues.

Regards

Steve

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Steve Traill on Sat 09 Mar 2013, 11:01 am

Obviously this is a worry for everyone with a DCC cylinder block, is there a test of some sort that we could do at home that would confirm whether or not this is going to be a problem with the cylinder blocks out there. I suspect there are quite a few that have not been bolted to the boiler yet. If there was a test we could do at least Steve & Dean would then know the size of the problem.

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Flasback on Sat 09 Mar 2013, 11:25 am

Steve,

Brian has a good picture of the problem on his photo thread, if you look into the exhaust port hole you can see the defect with a torch (I think its page 15). Doing a test at home would be hard unless you steam or hydraulic and I guess by that time its too late.

Good luck

Dwain


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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  highpressure on Sun 10 Mar 2013, 3:23 am

Myself and The Coleman are going to do just this next week to put his and my mind at rest. He has up kit 20 or so, so has the cylinder bolted on and set with the crank assembly. At this stage it is quite simple to plug the various holes, the washouts are 3/4 BSP the backhead and gauge base are 3/8 BSP the cylinder block needs two 3/8 x 32 ME plugs made and plates for the reg rod, the start valve take off, the whistle base and a 1/4 BSP plug for the siren, then my plate which goes in place of the safety valve covers the reg port and bingo, connect the pump and give it some....

It will be a nervous few minutes as the pressure rises and we will go to about 300 psi for 20 minutes, if its going to go it will then, and I hope for Andy's sake it's a negative. We will post as soon as we know. At least once we know the outcome we can proceed with the build or get on to sort out any issues and Andy can sleep at night... Fingers crossed Shocked


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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  ejparrott on Sun 10 Mar 2013, 8:52 am

Steve, how about a pressure test rig that mimics the boiler fitting? You could easily turn a ring to suit the cylinder flange with a plain gasket - being a turned ring you don't need to worry about foliac so much. Then the question would be how many openings would need to be blanked? I'm wondering if you could do it after machining the saddle but before any other machining op? 'fraid I'm not familiar enough with your block casting to know whats cast as a passageway.

To avoid rusting, you could also use a light hydraulic oil rather than water too. We frequently use oil as a pressure medium when testing gas turbine casings for Siemens..gets a bit expensive now! I could perhaps pop down if I could be of any help?

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Steam Traction World on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 12:02 pm

All three cylinder failures have been roughly in the same area. That is between the low pressure exhaust and the main steam inlet to the regulator chamber. Iíve redesigned our machining of the block that will enable us to pressure test this area before we send the finished blocks out to customers. We would unfortunately have done the majority of machining by that stage but thatís our problem and at least it will stop our customers finding the issue.

This may not eliminate all potential internal problems but it would have found all the currently known ones.

Iím sure there are quite a few anxious people our there havenít steamed or even run their engines on air yet. Thereís not an easy way of testing them until theyíre on the boiler. Once theyíre on, itís a bit easier. If anyone is concerned then please contact me and Iíll talk you through the easiest way.

Regards

Steve

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  MrStationHouse on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 12:37 pm

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your post I think most of us appreciate how difficult it is to check the blocks. Speaking as someone who has just finished putting the cylinder and associated gubbins on would it be possible for you guys to make up a small kit of plugs/blanking plates which we could pass around to allow testing on air at the earliest opportunity?

Simon

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  highpressure on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 1:54 pm

I would be surprised if a test on air would find the fault, most compressors unless quite large would struggle to get a high enough pressure to cause it to blow out, also bear in mind the cold pressure test is at least 1.5 times pressure which is 270 psi, much more likely to cause a failure. Block up the holes as I have listed above, most of them are plumbing fittings and find a way of getting a pump on it. I would expect most of us are affiliated in some way to a model engineering club which should at least give access to help and equipment. As I said to Andy if its going to have problem its already too late and he needs to know now to get it sorted before he puts any more of the pretty bits on, at least then he can rest easy and enjoy the rest of the build.

Once its been in steam for a few months all this will be a distant memory. cheers

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  the coleman on Mon 11 Mar 2013, 2:16 pm

All holes are plugged and plates on whistle and starting valve ready for Friday

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  the coleman on Thu 14 Mar 2013, 1:56 pm

Big day tomorrow pressure test on the cylinder block will keep you all posted fingers crossed.

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  the coleman on Fri 15 Mar 2013, 1:21 pm

Not going to beat around the bush myself and Kevyn done the pressure test 20 mins with 350 psi on the gauge and all is ok . Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Tony King on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 2:01 am

Good news, what a relief!! cheers
Regards,
Tony

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  Kevster on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 3:40 am

I can imagine the tension rising with the pressure!

Good to hear all ok

Kev

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  bjwlancashire on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 7:44 am

Andy

That is good news, can I borrow it until yours is finished? Seriously though, it must be a relief although I would hope that the instances of this failure should be few and far between.

Brian

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

Post  the coleman on Sat 16 Mar 2013, 10:04 am

Yes a little tension as we pump up the pressure just glad is out of the way . Now I can carry on with the build.

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not in the club

Post  Watts&Son on Sun 24 Mar 2013, 4:50 pm

We have had the hydraulic, today passed with no problems. a bit worried about the cylinder block, but all ok. did the steam test, pump was a problem but injector worked well. , so could not get test certificate. I will sort out pump and we will have a steam re-test shortly. The pump has worked well in the past, we will re-seat it and hopefully it will be ok. The engine runs really well. We are going to the Southampton Maritime Festival, hope to see Rob and any other and other STW builders. I have a few pictures of Wilton, but at the moment I don't seem to be able to post them. Any help would be welcome. regards David Watts.

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Re: I Am Now A Member Of A Club I Did Not Want To Join!

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