Up and Running!

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Up and Running!

Post  thehawk on Wed 19 Oct 2011, 12:57 pm

Last weekend I thought I'd have a steam up and as the weather was good I took a few photos. My engine was first steamed on Boxing Day 2010 and since then it has run a dozen times and I also spent one day at a local rally, at the Gartell Light Railway, in July. Now I'd be the first to admit my engine is not one of the flashy, gleaming paint and all lined out types. Spraying one colour was pretty much the limit of my skills and patience (not that I don't admire those who can and do!). But it was more important to me to have a working engine particularly after the nerve racking demise of MW when I thought that the six grand already spent had got me two hundred weight of scrap metal. Of course Steve and Dean rode in to the rescue and a happy ending resulted!

Few people report on what happened after they completed the build so I thought I'd would share a few experiences, not in huge technical detail but just to give those who have not progressed this far the gist of it. Obviously the whole process is a learning experience, well it was for me with my engineering background in electronics and radio. Not just assembling the engine parts all together, which apart from rivet bolts I enjoyed, but learning how to operate this machine and get an acceptable balance of fire, water level and steam pressure.

Since the first steaming I find the engine now runs more freely and feels more powerful. I share a private drive of approximately 60 yards on a slope of about 1 in 50 with room to turn at each end, so I can run continuously up and down. The downhill is enough to judge the improvement in free running, which it will now run down with the very minimum amount of throttle. Uphill is just enough load to judge the difference between both road gears and trying the three settings on the reversing lever. It certainly runs well in both gears and in all valve settings with a noticeable change in the exhaust note as the cut off is varied. Obviously, more economical with the reversing lever pulled back. I reckon if I thrash it, it does 8 - 10mph but it's a bit hairy with the amount of slack in the steering! (It would be nice to have some means of adjusting the slack). Also, too much throttle too soon and, guess what, it primes and you get showered in crap as does all that lovely paintwork! Although, priming seems to be less of a problem now things are settling down.

With respect to fuel, I normally use Taybrite briquettes (which we use to fuel our Rayburn). This is a relatively clean burning anthracite based coal that produces a fine ash (lovely when it primes) and no clinker. The engine likes a deep fire of this fuel. When I went to the rally this summer I was given a bag of "Welsh" coal so have run the engine on this a few times. This burns well with not too much clinker, nice and hot and seems to work with a less deep fire than with the Taybrite. However, the useful thing about Taybrite is it is readily available loose or in bags from the local coal merchant, price approximately 18 per bag.

The water pump works well, the injector works ok but is a bit spluttery and likes cold water, the water lifter works well and the blower works fine now that I have cleared a blockage in the cylinder block, which was either swarf or sealant. The only problem I have had is when the spring cup in the valve chest came free and jammed the slide valve buckle snapping it off. STW were very responsive providing me with new parts almost by return of post. In terms of small modifications, I wasn't happy with the security of the splines on the gear shaft so drilled and tapped the end of the shaft and fitted a disc so the splines cannot slide out. The throttle handle is a bit small and I found it dug into my hand, so I turned a new longer brass handle, cut a thread on the existing one and screwed the new handle over it. The throttle takes a bit of getting used to as one moment you're standing still and if you're not careful the next moment you're doing a wheely!! The new handle helped a bit, giving a better leverage. Elsewhere a few things have needed to be tightened up and I'm thinking of ways to put an tensioner in the steering chains.

I now feel confident enough to get road registered and take it out for some real exercise, living in a village means access to quiet roads, well they were until they let me loose!! I have wanted a steam engine since I was about 10 years old (well I'm not actually sure because I can't remember that far back!) but would have never built an engine from scratch so the STW formula is brilliant as are the two main characters involved in the company. But I would like to say thanks to all of the STW team, they have made me very happy. Slightly poorer in once sense, but decidedly richer in many others!

best wishes
Paul......................


thehawk

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  thehawk on Wed 19 Oct 2011, 1:02 pm

PS if someone can explain how to upload a photo, I will!!

Paul

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  craig@STW on Thu 20 Oct 2011, 12:01 am

you will need a "photo host" to upload an image. i use photobucket but there are loads of others. you upload your images to your host site and they provide you with image codes to drop into your forum posts...



or you can e-mail your pic to me and i'll post it up. i'll PM (private message) you my e-mail address

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  craig@STW on Thu 20 Oct 2011, 6:41 am

thehawk wrote:
the STW formula is brilliant as are the two main characters involved in the company...

thanks for that. me and Mike are grateful for your comments cheers cheers cheers


Twisted Evil

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  craig@STW on Fri 21 Oct 2011, 9:22 am

here's the pics of Paul's engine Cool ...






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Registration

Post  thehawk on Wed 09 Nov 2011, 3:32 pm

Following my recent Forum entry, "Up and runnng", I have successfully applied for road registration.

I filled in the DVLA form, following the instructions from other wise ones here on the Forum. I also sent in the public liability and motor insurance certs, the STW pressure test cert, the STW safety valve cert, the receipts, the boiler certificate of conformity doc, boiler inspection certificate, plus my driving license, a utility bill and the three photos shown in my previous posting. My "local" DVLA office is Bournemouth.

I received an email from the DVLA Vehicle Inspection Officer within three days saying it looked good and implying he was satisfied with the evidence. Yesterday just 12 days from receiving my application the DVLA issued my registration certificate and a 12 month tax disc. So no further inspection required and a pretty efficient turn around by the DVLA. Yippee!!

So HF11 CFD will soon be slowing up the juggernauts in this neck of the woods!! (Just got to get the number plates and a tax disc holder) Very Happy Very Happy



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Re: Up and Running!

Post  Robfishman on Wed 09 Nov 2011, 3:51 pm

Welldone Paul

Bournemouth it will be for me as well then when the time comes, although not sure I'll hand deliver it or I may be stuck in a que of slow moving traffic. lol!

Look forward to seeing it in the flesh somewhere next season.

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  busman on Thu 10 Nov 2011, 7:01 am

Think i like this engine with out pinstriping, good finish !

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Number Plates

Post  thehawk on Sun 13 Nov 2011, 9:49 am

Well having received my registration documents the next challenge is to buy number plates, simple you might think!

Having scanned the DVLA web site for a clue the only regulations I can see give two sizes of number plate, ie; for a car or a motorbike and the colour must be reflective white/yellow for front/rear. Vehicles registered before 1973 can be black/white. Yes we all know that, but how come I see newish miniatures with black & white plates and of a size to fit the engine?

I would very much appreciate if someone could please explain what we can or cannot do/get away with?

Paul.................

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  highpressure on Sun 13 Nov 2011, 11:03 am

Hey Paul,

Nice engine glad to hear you are getting to grips with steaming, when I got my first engine before the MW build I was in steam every Sunday for three months to get the hang of it. Trying to balance the fire, water, blower situation is something you get to feel over time although the coal you use makes a real difference as to how easy it is to control. Whilst anthracite types are very clean burning they dont produce a lot of flame which makes it necessary to use the blower to keep a draw on the fire. Initally I used to only use anthracite as I was concerned about clogging up the tubes etc but now I just burn whatever I get given, the best is certainly the welsh dry steam coal, it smells divine has low smoke and very little deposits, house coal is OK but can give real dense smoke and gives me what I refere to as "Traction Engine Throat" after a weekend at a do, coughing like a tramp on a Monday morning. Gives you a insight as to why no one made it much past 50 years old...... My local coal merchant does a 25 kg bag for about 10 so your Taybrite seem pricey!! I have 14 bags outside of various stuff from this years rallies so havent bought any for a good while now and even use in the log cabin to keep us warm when doing projetcs!! Use stuff that gives a flame thats why they are called fire tubes, it means you can just keep the thing on a slow burn for hours, great when you want dinner or a cuppa and a sit down, you then find you will need to master the damper to control the rate of burn.

As for number plates the liekly hood of getting a tug for having illeagal sizing is quite low, lets face it youre not likely to go very far on public roads and most coppers would be interested in the engine. I used a firm in birmingham who stamped out the plate in aluminiuim silver on black about 60mm high and 250mm long and sent it to me in Bognor. I must have driven 30 plus miles round here on the roads and not once has anyone shown the slightest interest in the number plate. You could see if a local motorbike shop might make something small or perhaps a signwriters might be able to do something. If you want be sure you confirm to the law get a second legal size yellow back plate and keep it about you when on the road or mount it on the trailer if you have one. I certainly wont be worried about the plate size when I'm finished in the new year. I am not that far from you so perhaps we will meet up at some do's in 2012, I am hoping to get to Canford next season and Moors Valley do a nice miniature weekend in early June, well worth coming just as a visitor to see the engines and the railway.

Good post, as was only saying to the wife this weekend after she said "you always on that blooming site!!" that when the current DCC comes to a close the forum could be really qiuet when we're all in steam and no one needs to comment on stuff.

Regards Kevyn.

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Re: Up and Running!

Post  bjwlancashire on Sun 13 Nov 2011, 12:46 pm

busman wrote:Think i like this engine with out pinstriping, good finish !

See, it is not just me who doesn't want lining Laughing Blackbeard will be unlined!!!

Looks good Paul, nice job. What's next?

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Number plates

Post  thehawk on Mon 14 Nov 2011, 12:11 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, Kevyn and busman. The forum can be a good help when we are building, but it's the practical stuff when getting mobile that really helps. Being an engineeer I didn't have too much trouble putting the kit togther, just a matter of read and obey Mr Baldock's instructions! But when it comes to firing up, that's a whole new skill and the conversations (mostly listening) I have had with an old mate who was a fire man on the Somerset & Dorset railway are starting to have some meaning, on a somewhat reduced scale!! If its fun firing 1 sq foot of 4 inch Burrell fire box I find it hard to imagine firing 30 to 40 sq feet of a loco fire box!! Anyway I am certainly finding that a good all over fire is essential. I haven't tried house coal yet, but will to see how it goes and learn a bit more. Yes I have experienced "traction engine throat", I never took up smoking so starting at 60 and on coal comes as a bit of a shock - hmmm I wonder how the engine would run on Condor!!

On the numberplate front, as well as the forum posting, I also sent an email to the friendly Bouremeouth DVLA Inspector who replied that legally speaking there is not much choice. The law is spelt out in DVLA document V796 which mandates reflecting number plates and details of the size of the letters and spaces etc. So the only legal choice is a motor cycle plate. However, as you say a nice set of black and white/aluminium is not likely to attract too much adverse attention and perhaps I'll carry a set of legal plates in the trailer, just in case!!

On the subject of pin-striping, I decided on a basic paint finish in order to progress to steam, however in the future I intend do intend to dress the engine up a bit. (But don't hold your breath!)

cheers

Paul

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