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photopro

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Aug 6, 2020
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Location
Spring, Tx
Thank you for letting me join this forum. I kind of stumbled on it accidentally the other day, but am glad that I did. The thing that caught my interest is that there is a group devoted to people who build engines from castings. All but one of the various engines I have built were from castings and I am still learning how best to work with them.

More about me. I dabble in lots of hobbies, but a few are as central to the things I play at more than machine work. I built my first steam engine from plans I found in a Mechanix Illustrated or maybe a Popular Mechanics back about 1970 with a borrowed 9" SouthBend lathe. Actually, a friend had asked me to store it for him while he did some work on his house and told me I could use it if I wanted to. I didn't know how to use it but sure wanted to try to learn. Amazingly that little engine worked, although a bit roughly. In those days, my wife was making 1' scale dollhouses, and she made a scale diorama of a corner in my then shop and we put the little engine it it. My next engine was a PM Research #1 mill engine which I still have. I recently completed a 1" scale model of an old treadle operated wood lathe which will take the place of the little engine as soon as we can figure out how to open up the diorama again. During the years, my metal shop has grown considerably, along with my knowlege base, most of which comes from old machinists books and manuals since all of my equipment is manually operated.

In 1986 I built a 1" scale "ride-on" live steam locomotive. The engine was a 2 cylinder Shay logging locomotive. My machine shop was pretty minimal at that time but I was able to build the locomotive in my spare time and operated it for many years at my local live steam club, the Houston Area Live Steamers. There was only a handful of castings in that engine, including the two cylinders. That was hard to ride on because of it's scale so my next engine was a bit larger - a 1300 pound Mikado locomotive - 1.6" scale. LOTS of castings in that, brass and iron. The poor UPS delivery man nearly quit, I think, over the load of castings (lots of boxes large and small) he delivered one day. We joked about it for years before he finally retired. That engine is a lot easier to sit on and operate for this 78 year old, but that's a whole different part of my life. It took me 8 years to complete.

I have always wanted to build a Stuart engine because I think they are beautiful and supposedly very high quality. About 3 months ago, someone sent an email to our live steam club wanting to know if anyone would be interested in a bunch of engine kits he had inherited from a recently deceased uncle. I was the first one to respond and landed a great deal on a Stuart Victoria kit, Launch Engine kit, Beam Engine kit, two governor kits, a reversing kit for the launch engine, a 1/4 scale John Deere model E, and a Red Wing kit. He just wanted to get rid of the lot ASAP and I felt like a thief when he accepted my ridiculously low offer. I sold off the Victoria, John Deere, and the Red Wing to friends who were interested in those and kept the Beam and launch engines for myself. I've started the beam engine first. The kits date from about 1984 according to the original invoices which the nephew kindly included. From what my research on these shows, the Stuart Beam has changed a bit over the years and the new drawings differ on several measurements from the old ones I purchased. I will be corresponding with the casting group later with some building questions.

I hope I will be able to contribute to this forum. Occasionally I manage to come up with a good idea or two and have kept pretty good photographic records of some of the unusual jigs and rigs I used to machine problem castings on the locomotives. I have already learned a couple of things I didn't know as I scanned the threads when I first came across this forum. I believe we will make a good fit.
 

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