has the price of steam engine castings gone up with COVID

Help Support HMEM:

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
Hey Henry,

I am not sure if you are any further along with your kit decision.
The Victoria is a beautiful engine.
I had the privilege of living about 20 miles from the Stuart foundry upto about a year ago. Went up and viewed a bunch of their kits, and got some advice of the people there. They also have a good presence at the local shows here, and often do the kits there tax free / slightly discounted. Not that is any use to you on the other side of the world!

I'm not sure how much machining you've done, or what equipment you have access to.
I ended up building the 10V. The kit was about £100, plus about £20 of optional extras like drain cocks etc.
It took me around 400h to build, as it was my first time using a lathe in ~20years.

Apparently the Victoria is 2x that, so about 800h build time. I really want to build the Twin Victoria, which is about 1000h, as many of the setups are reusable.
I don't feel up to it yet, and don't want to scrap a load of castings, so instead I have the S50 as my next project.

The S50 is similar to the 10V at ~300-400h work, and the kit cost me about £110.

I hope that info is of some use to you.

Best of luck in your build. Looking forward to seeing pics / video of your progress!!


Del
The site I noted is

advanced innovations LLC he is in Austin Texas joe piezineski I think great guy you may have to also enter YouTube I don’t know how to post direct link. The hand wheel on his tiny lathe is about the size of a thumb nail he goes through each set up very carefully showing debuting the castings so they rest properly and don’t get wrecked. I don’t know what equipment he is using but small would be best I think unless you have Hardinge tool room lathe he uses dial indicator like his extra hand. Shows you how and why in his videos if you subscribe you can get all his tips he has a lifetime of good ones.
byron
 

Shopgeezer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2018
Messages
254
Reaction score
47
Location
Canada
I have watched a lot of Joe Pie videos on You Tube and he is amazing in his knowledge and the tips and tricks he shows. My only complaint is that he generally uses bigger industrial machines that have capacities the home user is not likely to have. He often shows techniques that use the quill moving against the knee for various operations on a mill but my home mill can’t do those operations. I like the Blondihacks series of You Tube videos because she uses typical hobby level machines and has all the problems I have with them. And shows good solutions.
 

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
I have watched a lot of Joe Pie videos on You Tube and he is amazing in his knowledge and the tips and tricks he shows. My only complaint is that he generally uses bigger industrial machines that have capacities the home user is not likely to have. He often shows techniques that use the quill moving against the knee for various operations on a mill but my home mill can’t do those operations. I like the Blondihacks series of You Tube videos because she uses typical hobby level machines and has all the problems I have with them. And shows good solutions.
Check his steam engine build and now his mini lathe . The tail stock handle is no bigger than thumb nail. He turns a 2-56 thread then drills a tiny hole through for an oiler. His flywheel video is good if you want to see how he sets it up. I love watching this. I wanted the shaper and lathe but I just don’t see well enough to do this now . It takes extreme patience and skill . I would not have thought twice about this years ago but just doing this boiler is tough enough. Oh yess do look at his machining of a pump scrol blade. Turbo guys need to see this. It’s fancy rotary table work. Perfect job with mini equipment . We have a digital electric rotary table coming some day , it’s still on a boat last I heard. Already paid for too.
I just got one of the turbines yesterday. I would not have bought it if I had known it’s size it is no larger in diameter than index finger the shaft is a squeak under 2mm. I’m not sure I have a drill or reamer that small I put a couple drops of air tool oil in it and just bumped a little puff of air hose air and it screams. I don’t what I’ll use it for . I don’t even have a small slot car motor to drive it the screws that hold it together are so small I might have to break out the microscope to see them. I don’t even know how I’ll be able to take it apart. The Allen socket is tiny . A marvel of miniaturation. I need to get back to cutting tubes for the boiler and maybe a cad model . It will be at least 2 weeks before I get the steam engine. I’ve already made arrangements to paint the base I was going to do powder coat but I just don’t like the wait of two weeks and a hundred bucks . I’ll use a barbecue mottled gray I think. I was going to do white but I think the oil will stain it the gray won’t show much . Textile plants had the most awfull shad of pale green ever seen . No pretty machine deserves that horrible color. It should be banned.LOL

byron
 

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
At least it’s warmer today. It was -22F when I went out for afternoon walk. 20 mph winds. I found good use for COVID mask plus my pull up one wrapped a nice scarf and knit pull over hat with hoody jacket. Still a cold walk .
I may have to get small ultra quiet air compressor for temporary use. I really don’t need it and will have little use for it but it lay I can enjoy the new hobby. I’ve really jumped in big. I’m looking at possibly making some type of dog clutch. I cold use crown pulleys I suppose
Byron
 

GreenTwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
422
Reaction score
249
Location
MidSouth
I have always been frustrated with the limits of the available casting kits for model steam engines.
It is not that Stuart and others don't offer some extremely nice models/casting kit selections, but I always ask "What if I want to go beyond the current commercial offerings? Is there life outside of the current casting kit universe?".

The answer is yes, you can create your own quality engine castings in gray iron, in a backyard setting (I was pretty much universally told that this was impossible).
See this thread:

The castings you make yourself may not necessarily be the least expensive option, but the potential for creating unique engine designs based on old engines is basically unlimited, and so you enter a whole new world of possibilities that most don't even know exists.

You can make your gray iron castings, and they can be high quality, defect-free, and with no hard spots.
The engine below was my first attempt at foundry work, first attempt to make engine castings, and my first complete engine build.
The green twin was basically a warmup, and represents a "how to make your own iron castings" tutorial of sorts.

I had little machining experience prior to this engine build, and no foundry knowledge at all.
If I can do it, then there are many who can also make their own iron engine castings.
This engine was created entirely from three photos that were posted on the Preston Services website.

I have left a very detailed paper trail about how to make gray iron engine castings, and so the trail is open for others to follow if they choose.
Made right here in America. We need to retain our technological knowledge, and not let it slip away.
Use it or lose it as they say.

Preston-Services-Banner.jpg





REV2-rImg_7826.jpg
r84302.jpg
 
Last edited:

Richard Hed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
1,496
Reaction score
358
Location
Seattle
I have always been frustrated with the limits of the available casting kits for model steam engines.
It is not that Stuart and others don't offer some extremely nice models/casting kit selections, but I always ask "What if I want to go beyond the current commercial offerings? Is there life outside of the current casting kit universe?".

The answer is yes, you can create your own quality engine castings in gray iron, in a backyard setting (I was pretty much universally told that this was impossible).
See this thread:

The castings you make yourself may not necessarily be the least expensive option, but the potential for creating unique engine designs based on old engines is basically unlimited, and so you enter a whole new world of possibilities that most don't even know exists.

You can make your gray iron castings, and they can be high quality, defect-free, and with no hard spots.
The engine below was my first attempt at foundry work, first attempt to make engine castings, and my first complete engine build.
The green twin was basically a warmup, and represents a "how to make your own iron castings" tutorial of sorts.

I had little machining experience prior to this engine build, and no foundry knowledge at all.
If I can do it, then there are many who can also make their own iron engine castings.
This engine was created entirely from three photos that were posted on the Preston Services website.

I have left a very detailed paper trail about how to make gray iron engine castings, and so the trail is open for others to follow if they choose.
Made right here in America. We need to retain our technological knowledge, and not let it slip away.
Use it or lose it as they say.

View attachment 132723




View attachment 132720View attachment 132721
What does this issue of LS & OR have in it? Does it have usable drawings?
 

GreenTwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
422
Reaction score
249
Location
MidSouth
The Green Twin appeared in a six part series in Live Steam and Outdoor Railroading, as follows:

Part 1 - March/April 2021, Vol.55, No.2
Part 2 - May/June 2021, Vol.55, No.3
Part 3 - July/August 2021, Vol.55, No.4
Part 4 - September/October 2021, Vol.55, No.5
Part 5 - November/December 2021, Vol.55, No.6
Part 6 - January/February 2022, Vol.56, No.1

Drawings are contained in Parts 2,3,4 and 5.

.
 

Jasonb

Project of the Month Winner!!!
Project of the Month Winner
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
2,775
Reaction score
625
Location
Surrey, UK
The other answer is you don't bother with castings and fabricate.

Here is another advert from Preston Services and my version



Or something a bit more complex ( i did use a flywheel casting on this, rest is fabricated or cut from solid


This one is all scratch built including teh flywheels (iron)



Someone earlier said that without castings the hobby would die, I think it will just move on and evolve particularly with most people now having mills and access to reasonably priced tooling compared with back in the day when the lathe would more than likely be the only machine tool in a hobby workshop in which case castings were a better option.

There are also companies selling CNC parts such as Loco wheels which could take the place of castings or the price of printed metal will come down so maybe one day you could buy a kit of printed metal parts to finish off. Even Stuarts are supplying a few items CNC cut these days rather than lost wax castings, the 10series engine valve being one of them.
 

GreenTwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
422
Reaction score
249
Location
MidSouth
CNC has changed a lot, as has 3D printing.

I keep trying to get JasonB to use his models as patterns, but he says "What for ?", and LOL, it is indeed a valid question when you look at his models.
But in my mind, he is making beautiful patterns. When you have a furnace, everything looks like a pattern.

There does seem to be more interest in backyard casting these days, but as I mentioned, there is lots of interest in CNC too.
The tools for the hobby are getting better, that much is for sure, and the prices are coming down too I think, with the accuracy going up.

.
 

GreenTwin

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2021
Messages
422
Reaction score
249
Location
MidSouth
I guess the bottom line is that it is much easier for me to carve a pattern out of wood, or even 3D print a pattern, than to make an engine of various parts silver soldered together, or parts hogged out of large pieces of metal.

What is happening is that I am doing all the hard machining virtually in the 3D modeling program, and the only actual real machining required is just a light skim of a few mating surfaces.

I have tried both methods, and for me, it is just easier to make a pattern and then cast the part.

After attempting to make a few engine parts using the bar stock method, I basically said "There has to be a better way", and so while making castings is not for everyone, it definitely makes my model building hobby a lot easier.

With bar stock construction, I found that perhaps 1/2 or even 3/4 of any given part ended up on the floor in swarf, with a tremendous amount of wear and tear on equipment and tool bits.

To each their own, but those are the reasons I went to gray iron castings.
Good gray iron castings are a joy to machine, very little material is wasted, and very little machining is required, and tool bit wear is minimal.

With the advent of accurate and inexpensive 3D printers (or CNC), it becomes much easier to transition into making your own patterns/castings.
Even if someone else makes your castings, I think making your own patterns is a very appealing and viable option these days, as Jason illustrates so well.

Jason is starting to "go castings", LOL, (inside joke; a play on the "he's gone CNC" line I hear sometimes).

.
 
Last edited:

patternmaker

Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
20
Reaction score
28
Starting about 20 years ago, I have held classes in patternmaking with mostly members of the local home machinist club, I have also given seminars on patternmaking at Names and Cabin Fever expos. It has been requested of me to put on a 7-10 day patternmaking seminar at my shop. I have also been giving some thought to "taking my show on the road" so to speak. Could I get some feedback to doing one or both of those formats?
 

Richard Hed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2018
Messages
1,496
Reaction score
358
Location
Seattle
Starting about 20 years ago, I have held classes in patternmaking with mostly members of the local home machinist club, I have also given seminars on patternmaking at Names and Cabin Fever expos. It has been requested of me to put on a 7-10 day patternmaking seminar at my shop. I have also been giving some thought to "taking my show on the road" so to speak. Could I get some feedback to doing one or both of those formats?
I thimpfks both are great ideas. ONly thing is I am very jealous if I cannot attend one. Where would you be giving these?
 

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
I thimpfks both are great ideas. ONly thing is I am very jealous if I cannot attend one. Where would you be giving these?
I’m not sure about casting prices but the dollar against pound sterling and euro has followed our rediculous inflation shipping cost are out of sight even Amazon seems higher. I like fast delivery but some just seems out of line my late son eked for a large truck company and drove long haul for a while. They had set charges for every thug then he went to more or less local delivery. The charges were even great but he said at the one companies wanted their stuff right now and didn’t care what to cost. So I’d guess we as consumers paid the price in higher cost of goods . As with most Americans we are feeling he cost of inflation probably more than virus cost it doesent cost more to go into the gas station with a dumb mask on but the cost of gas is just crazy. I have an angry German Shepherd mask. It’s humorous when checking out. I add a little growl just for fun. Nobody has smacked me yet but a few have jumped. It’s worth a laugh in these tough times. I’m not “just living with it” I’m an really angry. My fixed income is taking a beating. I’ve down sized everything and shop price vs quality all the time I eat about half what I used to and look at cost per meal just as I did cost per mile on my cars and trucks . Eggs are expensive but there is powdered eg mix frankly I can’t tell he difference in scrambled eggs but it’s a whole bunch cheaper so cost per meal is down . Makes a goo lunch sandwich that is filling so I don’t eat much between meals . Very few snacks. I budget a dozen jelly belly beans a day for snacks . Yeah I know I’m a cheap skat but I have to support my hobby and my kitty. I exercise daily to keep healthy so clinic trips are at a minimum. Also take extreme measure not to fall down or do bodily injury. Medical costs are incredibly high. Use your insurance as best as you can . There are hidden benefits, might as well use them if you can .
Yes costs are up but it’s from other reason not in our power to control except at the voting booth . Use you blak pencil with care .
Byron
 

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
I
I hold classes at my shop in Scappoose Oregon, 18 miles north of Portland.
There is an extremely talented guy not to rar from me that puts on a metal working event every year. He does ca restorations mainly nut there is lots of metal working there I’ve been invited o give Tig welding seminars there several time. He has a big barbecue.
and provides beer and soft drinks. I can’t participate anymore as eye sight is not good enough. I added white board on my late time as demonstration. But nothing beats the real thing if you were to come here I’m sure you would be well received. I did dog training or many years and many Europeans trainers gave seminars often spending week on their vacations here I went to many of hem. Then I got to go to Europe twice for 6 weeks each. I went to local dog clubs almost every evening over there. Not being multilingual was a handicap but most spoke English very well so common interest were served well. I was a tool maker when I went back to eng school so a very big edge cad and cnc were just starting and I’d like to think I saw it coming and chip making was going have big changes. That it has.
after school I took advantage and did almost all eng on cad using machine operations to develope efficient designs.
I disliked manual drafting something fierce. My goal was to never create a manual drawing after school . And I didn’t . It was much easier to send electron away with delete button than to roll up many pages of paper drawings. Once paperless operations became reality things moved much faster and efficiently. Early on it was important to have good relations with the shop people. It was fun when they would call and say “ hey mr. engineer, how are we supposed to do some feature then go back and show them a new operation. As as we say in sports” it’s been a great game” so here I am deep in retirement in the middle of a big for me,giant hobby project. Eng. machinist, welder all over again. My son wants to get into casting and pattern making. So he is doing home work along that line.

anyway it’s great seeing your patterns. Technology just keeps marching along

good luck as you proceed.
Byron
 

Bentwings

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
333
Reaction score
35
Location
Minnesota
There is an extremely talented guy not to rar from me that puts on a metal working event every year. He does ca restorations mainly nut there is lots of metal working there I’ve been invited o give Tig welding seminars there several time. He has a big barbecue.
and provides beer and soft drinks. I can’t participate anymore as eye sight is not good enough. I added white board on my late time as demonstration. But nothing beats the real thing if you were to come here I’m sure you would be well received. I did dog training or many years and many Europeans trainers gave seminars often spending week on their vacations here I went to many of hem. Then I got to go to Europe twice for 6 weeks each. I went to local dog clubs almost every evening over there. Not being multilingual was a handicap but most spoke English very well so common interest were served well. I was a tool maker when I went back to eng school so a very big edge cad and cnc were just starting and I’d like to think I saw it coming and chip making was going have big changes. That it has.
after school I took advantage and did almost all eng on cad using machine operations to develope efficient designs.
I disliked manual drafting something fierce. My goal was to never create a manual drawing after school . And I didn’t . It was much easier to send electron away with delete button than to roll up many pages of paper drawings. Once paperless operations became reality things moved much faster and efficiently. Early on it was important to have good relations with the shop people. It was fun when they would call and say “ hey mr. engineer, how are we supposed to do some feature then go back and show them a new operation. As as we say in sports” it’s been a great game” so here I am deep in retirement in the middle of a big for me,giant hobby project. Eng. machinist, welder all over again. My son wants to get into casting and pattern making. So he is doing home work along that line.

anyway it’s great seeing your patterns. Technology just keeps marching along

good luck as you proceed.
Byron
I did it again and missed some errors sorry about that.
I got all the boiler tubes cut yesterdayso now it’s on to the boiler end caps and tube supports. I have to order a couple taps and dies. Probably from PMResearch as they are here in the states.then the boiler o rings. I’m going to order o ring material and make my own o ring belts untill I see more of what I need I have a couple tig welding gloves to make leather flat belt too for now

byron
 

Latest posts

Top