Complete Newbie

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Complete Newbie

Post  jayceekeys on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 3:45 am

Hi,

Having always been fascinated by everything steam and having been to countless rallies over the years, I have been looking more and more at scale TE's. I have always thought they looked amazing seeing them on the fields at the rallies and also love engineering and building things. I have been looking at numerous websites to try and understand what would be involved in building one - along with what equipment would be required. I have a large amount of tools, but no access to items such as lathes etc. I do have experience of building large projects and have previously built an aircraft (full size) single handed a few years ago. Prior to this I used to be into model engineering (boats, planes and Mammods).

After many years of flying, I have decided that an interest on the ground would probably be more sensible (hangarage at airports is WAY TOO EXPENSIVE), so I am planning on selling the plane and investing in something that can be kept in the garage! I know that this isn't a cheap hobby either, but at least the ongoing monthly costs should be less.

So, I guess my thinking is that the STW kits are more practical for me as they don't require large machine equipment? Also I believe that the 4" variants are more versatile (than the 2") for their ability to operate on less prepared surfaces (fields etc). Has anyone got any idea of typical build times (in hours). I understand some projects can span many years dependant on whether the TE is "scratch built" etc and obviously it's always dependant on the amount of time that is dedicated locked away working (hence why total hours may be more helpful).

If anyone can offer any advice, I would be really, really grateful.

All the best,

Jay

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  lynnr on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 3:56 am

Hi Jay

To scratch build you are looking at for most common average Jo engineer around 10 years of most evenings and some weekends. It will take you many times more to build than a PFA homebuild which is targeted at the rule of min 500 hours to be classed as selfbuild. (I am also a PPL)

My showmans engine build with Steam Traction World has taken 3 years. The average per kit = per month was around 20 to 25 hours fettling and assembling the kit. Also depending on the parts between 2 and 20 hours painting time. Of course there is some kits with zero or close to zero painting hours and other kits that are actually 1 part, block and boiler to name 2.

I would guess to budget around 800 to 1000 hours over 36 months for the build. You most likely do it quicker depending on how you go about it. I assembled everything in each kit. Took it apart for painting. Rebuild and fit to engine. So effectively built the engine at least twice.


Hope this helps and I hope you come and join the growing STW club.

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  jayceekeys on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 4:28 am

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for the reply and advice ! You mentioned the painting ..... am I right in thinking that the recommended Craftmaster paints are applied using a brush? Would this be the case for even the larger sections too?

Cheers,

Jay

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  lynnr on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 4:36 am

Hi jay

Yes most builders use Craftmaster paint. Yup it is a brush paint. Works extremely well and is very self flattening. You just need to use a good quality brush, recommendations are on their website. I actually sprayed mine with two pack epoxy paint. Sometimes it's easier other time a total pain in the posteria.

The larger sections are also brush. Some builders found that when doing the tender with flat sides to have one side horizontal and only paint to a convenient joint. Wait for the self flattening and harden then reposition to do the next "flat" side. I personally preferred the spray method as had experience of painting land rovers.

When in a number of years Crystal comes to the point of needing a refurbishment. I might actually go the brush method over the intricate masking requirement that would otherwise ensue.


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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  Tony King on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 4:47 am

Hi Jay,
Welcome to the STW forum.
Craftmaster paints are primarily designed for brushing, but can be sprayed if thinned 10%. I have used both techneques on my engine with good results.
Generally, large flat areas, eg tender sides, belly tank horn plates, spectical plates & cleading were spayed, castings & smaller stuff hand painted. Nearly all the final coat varnish applied "fast" with a brush!!
I agree that this hobby may seem expensive, which it is, if you're concidering 4" size, but unlike alot of other "expensive" hobbies/activities, you still have "something to show for it" when it's built....... & that still has a value, no less than what it cost you to build it...... Probably conciderably more if you build to a high standard.
It's a great way to spend three years of your spare time & I can't discribe the sence of achievement during & at the end of the build!!
Regards,
Tony

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  highpressure on Tue 31 Dec 2013, 5:58 am

I would agree with the others in that it is a very satisfying spend of  your money which will certainly not loose value and a very enjoyable and friendly hobby. This summer I have ahd a particularly enjoyable season and am now getting to see the same people at the rallies who are becoming good friends. 4" is definately the way to go and if I had any choice I wouldnt hesitate in getting the new SCC road loco. It will be a very nice and capable engine, currently quite unusual on the rally field and a interesting looking engine too. Time wise it didnt feel like it took any time at all for me, a big flurry when each kit arrived with two weeks of waiting for the next one once it was all fitted. You also will gain an intimate understanding of the construction of a TE and how they work and you definately wont be short of people who can help you or offer advice as to what to do as everything has been encountered at least once.

Personally I cant see why everyone doesnt have one!!!  Smile Smile

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  jayceekeys on Thu 02 Jan 2014, 6:02 am

One quick question .... I know the delivery/payment option is usually 1 kit per month to spread the cost out and make it a bit more manageable, but is it possible to get more frequent deliveries - say a kit every 2 weeks - or do the team work on a monthly rolling system that would make this awkward?

Cheers,

J

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  AndrewR on Thu 02 Jan 2014, 6:44 am

Normally it's 1 kit/month as they manufacture the parts.
You could get them faster IF they have the kits in stock - best bet is to ring Dean at STW and talk to him.

Cheers Andrew

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  highpressure on Thu 02 Jan 2014, 9:59 am

I dont think it would be unfair to say that the factory do their best to get a kit out a month and there are few payments that dont actually result in a kit such as boiler payments and cylinder machining which allow you to catch up but inevitably they do slip a month or two due to circumstances beyond the factory control. Its the one thing I do stress to people who talk to me about the kit builds that patience isnt supplied with any kits but is a must. Unless you choose a model that has been running for a while with stock on the shelf you wont get it any quicker than monthly but I would still go for the SCC and have patience.

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  tractor mike on Thu 02 Jan 2014, 11:03 am

Hi j am I reading this right ur from Taunton, in Somerset? That's where I'm from I'm building a road loco and ur more than welcome to see what I have (not much in tool wise to build a engine from stw, but I'm getting there slowly, the forum does help and I really think u won't regret it if u do make the choice to build 1, there is a great bunch of guys in the Somerset area which will have a few beers on a rally field which is a good thing mike

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  jayceekeys on Thu 02 Jan 2014, 10:50 pm

Hey Mike Smile

Thanks for the reply .... Yes Taunton Somerset lol .... Well Cotford St Luke actually just past Norton. Which model are you building ?

Jay

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  tractor mike on Fri 03 Jan 2014, 12:03 pm

Hi jay

the road loco 4inch

Mike

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  jayceekeys on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 12:24 am

Hi guys,

Apologies for posting general questions in a specific section of the forum, but I couldn't really find a general model area. Feel free to move it if needed!

So I'm now decided upon getting a kit from STW, but ideally want to build over the period of a year rather than maybe two or so. I guess I will need to speak to the guys at the factory to see if this is possible from their end as I don't understand the limitation on one kit per month properly (I'm guessing as people order at different times of the year that they can't all be on the same kit each month which would understandably limit to production of just the one kit number).

Aside from that I need to decide on the model of engine .... It will definitively be a 4" (I would love the 6" but think it's out of my price range for the minute !). To be honest ALL of them look so fantastic so it's I guess going to be down to performance and usability factors too. I will be looking to get the engine road licensed so I guess a reasonable performance on road will be needed. I know the Foden has speeds detailed on the brochures (around 20MPH) which is quite some speed for a 4.5" engine, but none of the other do. I am guessing that I will most likely end up with a DCC rather than a SCC as I guess performance is better. So can anyone give me an idea of what typical speed they get from say a DCC road loco (or any others that they may be able to tell me about? BTW don't think I'm being a speed demon LOL I'm happy with a steady speed and not expecting a steam powered Ferrari !

Sorry if I'm asking dumb questions, but this is my only source of knowledge at the moment !

Thanks,

Jay Smile

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  lynnr on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 1:32 am

Hi Jay

You do not need to keep apologising. Everyone has to start someplace. The 4" road and showmans loco will easily sit at 10mph all day long. But officially for road registering you declare the max 8mph running speed. then the engine does not need type approval.

3rd gear with 1/2 regulator will see you with a big grin on your face. Above that you will start to see terror creeping in on the face as things can start to happen very quickly. Your steering is not very precise and breaking is well fairly optional to be honest.

The factory is producing 6 or 7 different kits so production is split across each model. If you are on a production run kit and up to date you will only get 1 kit a month. I was 9 months behind schedule when I started so could get 2 or 3 kits at a time. Also count in 3 "deposit payment" kits where you do not receive anything in the post. Unless you, like me, don't have a life. You will find 1 kit per month mostly enough to keep you busy. Lots of painting, waiting for paint to dry, lining and varnishing to be done as well. I was able to spend large quantities of time on the engine each month and a couple of the kits did run over into the next month.

If you do run out of things to do on a kit. You can always order the traction wagon kits and a nice water bowser to complete the ensemble. Remember you can have 3 wagons and a water bowser behind the engine.


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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  craig@STW on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 5:58 am

lynn is right, we do our best to get one kit per month per model out of the door. we reserve the right to alter the order of the kits from the "given order" but this is done for very good reasons, some times to even out the work that needs doing in each department of the factory and some times due to delays from our suppliers.

the situation at the moment is that we are at or very close to the start of a new run of just about all the models, this means there is very limited stock of any complete kits. just as an example, if we are currently on kit 4 of a particular model then you can theoretically have kits 1,2 and 3 straight away, but then your up to date and will only get on a month after that.

another example is our 6 inch foden. we started off on a slightly reserved batch quantity of 20 to test the market and over time these have all been sold/allocated. so we are now going back to the first kits (possibly on another run of 20, im not sure) to make more. but lets say the first 20 have reached kit 10 so far... so from then on we will make a batch quantity of 40. so here you will have a strange situation where possibly 2 kits will be available each month but not necessarily in a continuous sequence !!!

confusing it may be but we are only a small company. best thing to do is to talk to dean, or better still come and pay us a visit (but call to book a time first if you want full attention). we work on an open door policy so your more than welcome to visit.

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Re: Complete Newbie

Post  tractor mike on Sun 05 Jan 2014, 6:15 am

Hi jay my engine is here in the shed half done if u want a idea of size and to hav a look at what quality stuff stw do, I ain't that far away and I expect if the dcc is what u decide to build I would say we will end up steaming together at the shows somewhere.  Very Happy  Very Happy 

Mike

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