Thursday, 6 December 2007

Close To The Edge

Well, we're really starting to chart unknown territory now.

The next step is to fabricate and insert the "Piston" tubes into the cylinder block. This is fairly straightforward; carefully shortening the tube in the mini-drill and regularly checking length. Then soldering into the cylinder block flush with the front and protruding somewhat at the back. I used my small soldering iron (an Antex 12W) for the first time in quite a while. I've got used to using the 18W; the extra power more than compensates for the bigger tip. But here there isn't the space and the 12W works just fine.

Slidebars come in three pieces and the instructions say to tack solder them at the front only. I presume this is to avoid solder in the slide slot which may impede the smooth flow of the Crosshead. The Slidebar is at the bottom of the picture:

The scary bits are at the top of the picture; the Crossheads. Now I know the instructions say to read the instructions etc. etc... But by the time I've got to page 6, I've forgotten most of page 5, and so on... So despite the instructions, I removed the pieces from the etch. Mainly because they seemed to be flopping around when I'd removed some other pieces, not out of any perversity you understand. Some very flimsy rings have to be reamed out to slide over the 0.7mm rod and then folded over on half etched hinges to make three layers. I managed to break two lots of hinges whilst reaming, but subsequently the whole lot did get soldered onto the rod.

Having done this, another piece has to be soldered on square and with the minimum of solder so as not to obscure some tiny holes. Here I failed; the pieces are square, but the holes are full of solder! Nevermind; I shall drill them out. Anyway the Crossheads do slide nicely in the Slidebars. The instructions tell me not to fit all this to the chassis yet as there is more work to be done. Oh crikey!!

Seriously though, this is some of the hardest fabrication I have had to do. It has required constant concentration and effort, but the results are more than worth it. Bear in mind the whole assembly is smaller than your thumbnail (unless you have particularly dainty hands).

The Crosshead sticking through the cylinder block. Not as painful as it sounds.

The Crosshead in the Slidebar; all slippy and super smooth. Don't sneeze though...

The other thing to mention is that this will be my first DCC loco; I've decided to take the plunge! Fingers crossed!!!!


Edward Sissling said...


First rule of DCC loco kit/scratch building - don't!

Build it and get it running on traditional DC first. Then fit the decoder when you are happy it runs well.

Nice work on the motion.


Tony Simms said...

Thanks for the advice, Ed.

I had thought that would be the way to approach it and your confirmation is appreciated.

Now is the time for me to bite the DCC bullet and I will go back and chip existing locos and obviously incorporate DCC into the next layout.