2-1/2" NG class A shay.

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Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:22 am

Since all of the boiler plates are ready, I started on the boiler tube.

The Cutout for the firebox was laid out and I used a plasma cutter to get it close to size.
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My thought was to notch it out with the plasma, grind off the hardened edge and then mount it in the mill and mill it to size

After getting It all square and mounted in the mill, I soon came to realize that the setup was just not rigid enough to do the job. After staring at the situation for an hour, I could not come up with a different set up in the mill that would be rigid enough. Plan B, Get out the grinder.
I ground the notch to size and mocked up the firebox.
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I'm curious how others have notched or have done similar boiler work. Do most of you use the grinder or has someone found a good way to support the boiler in the mill for a milling operation? with my setup for milling, I had a clamp on the one end where the cutout was and a bar over the barrel with two long bolts going down to the table right after the cutout. There was no real support where the end mill was actually doing the cutting.

I did mount the boiler in the mill for drilling the stack and steam dome holes. Because of the cutout, I was able to put clamps on both ends. we will see if it is solid enough to handle the hole saw.
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Soot n' Cinders
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:24 pm
Location: Marietta, Georgia

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Soot n' Cinders » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:05 pm

I did my notch with the angle grinder. It all moves around while welding so precision isn't critical. And I held my boiler barrel the same way you have to cut the holes in the mill, just run it slow and go easy with lots of coolant. It went fine and I didn't even wreck any hole saws.
-Tristan

Projects
-2.5" scale Class A 20 Ton Shay

Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:28 am

Thanks Tristan,
I need to remind myself that precision is not critical all of the time. Thanks for the tips with the boiler clamping and hole saw. That is my task tonight after the boys go to bed.

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PeterCraymer
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Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:57 am
Location: Maysville, Ga.

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by PeterCraymer » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:24 pm

When I cut the sides for the firebox, I think I used a jigsaw for most of it and then took the grinder to it for weld prep. I cut the holes in my boiler by blocking underneath so it wouldn't twist or roll and then between clamps and a couple of ratchet straps around the entire table (watch the lube lines!) and nothing moved at all! Good sharp hole saw and just some air to keep the chips cleared.

Peter

Harold_V
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Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Harold_V » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:28 pm

Years ago I took a welding class, attempting to learn to weld well enough to build a boiler. We had a track cutter at our disposal for making cuts. The quality of cut was very good, good enough to rely on when attempting to achieve given sizes, although one had to understand proper pressure settings of the oxy/acet to achieve clean welds. That seemed to come easily for me, so my cuts were very acceptable.

That said, the cut I see, done by plasma, is even better. I wonder why you didn't simply make your cuts on location, allowing for the kerf? You'd have had little prep work before welding.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Kimball McGinley
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Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Kimball McGinley » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:29 pm

I think one of the tricks in building a loco is knowing when to back-off on the precision so things go faster. You need a lathe and micrometer to make a good piston, but a grinder and a tape measure are plenty good enough for a steel boiler, as you showed us.

I recently sent such an article to Live Steam & Outdoor Railroading Magazine after Editor Neal Knopf said "...it could be quite useful..."; I am hoping it gets published soon, before he leaves.

Brian Hilgert
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:41 am

the cut I see, done by plasma, is even better. I wonder why you didn't simply make your cuts on location, allowing for the kerf?
My plan was to make the plasma cut, grind off the hardened section and then mill it in the mill. The Mill didn't work so I had to go back and cut closer to the final size with the plasma and then just do a final grinding. So the second time around, I basically did what you suggested but left a little more for grinding.
I think one of the tricks in building a loco is knowing when to back-off on the precision so things go faster
I agree with you 100%... It's just too bad I do not follow it.

I was able to cut all of the holes needed on the top of the boiler.
I used a 3.25 hole saw (because that is the largest that I had) for the steam dome and then bored it out to 4.5.
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The hole for the stack, used a hole saw and then bored to size.
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All of the holes on top of the boiler are finished.
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Next step, I need to mount on the boiler on its side and continue to drill holes.

Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:33 pm

Some more updates since the last time I posted. I am almost finished with the machining on the boiler tube. Since I made the smoke box part of the boiler, I had to work with the whole boiler to drill for the rivet detail. I think most people lay out all of the rivet hole with dividers, center punch and drill. I took a different approach. I first placed two 3/4" rods into the T shots of the mill table and mounted an angle plate for a stop.
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A degree wheel was drawn up in autocad and printed out to size. The degree wheel was then glued to the end of the boiler tube with 3M spray adhesive. The degree wheel was lined up with 4- 90 deg reference marks that I made on the boiler before any cutting began.
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The boiler tube was place on the milling machine table allowing it to sit on the two 3/4" rods. The boiler was pushed against the right angle stop and the spindle centered on the boiler. I used a pointer as a reference to the degree wheel. All that is left is to line up the degree wheel with the pointer, make sure the boiler is pushed against the stop and drill. Rotate to the next line and drill again.
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I did the same concept but used a different degree wheel for the front flue sheet row of rivets.
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The process worked very well, the drills were small enough that I did not have to clamp the boiler down for drilling. I did have to be careful not to bump the pointer.

Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:55 pm

The next operation is the machining for the steam dome base. The curvature will match the inside Diameter of the boiler tube.
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The fire box door opening ring was made from a piece of DOM tubing that was pressed into an oval.
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My oldest son Connor learning how to run the Lathe.
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"Dad, Look at this mess, you really need to clean up your shop! How do you expect me to learn how to machine choo choo parts in these working conditions!.... Look at the time, I need my snack break"
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Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:02 pm

For the NAMES show, I wanted to at least have something that looked like a boiler sitting on the frame. So I quickly tacked welded the boiler shell together for visual purposes.
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Sitting in the shop at home.
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Running on air at the show.
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Brian Hilgert
Posts: 232
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:35 am
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Brian Hilgert » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:39 pm

The NAMES show was almost two months ago and not much progress has been made on the engine. A 2 bedroom house with a family of 4 was just not cutting it. We finally found a house that my wife and I both fell in love with, so the focus has been shifting on doing the necessary repairs on my current house to get it ready for sale. Remodel the bathroom, Kitchen, Landscaping, Getting stuff ready to move, etc. I am NOT looking forward to moving my machine shop and all of the stuff that I accumulated. This also means setting up a new shop, The house has a nice 25'x32' barn style garage with an upper level for storage, but I need to insulate it, drywall it, figure out a heating source, run electric (currently only has 30 amps), hang lighting, etc. I have a headache just thinking about it.

I did not want the Shay project to come to a complete stop so off to the weld shop it goes. A good friend of mine is a certified welder and teaches welding at the local community college. He has offered to help me weld up the boiler. I originally wanted to weld the boiler myself, but after making a couple of passes, I realized that you can not "play around" with welding every couple of months or so and expect the outcome to be as good as someone that does it everyday for a living. Not that my welds are bad, they would do just fine, its just that watching a pro makes me realize that it would take me 3 times as long as it would take him...And his welds look phenomenal. With all the other stuff going on right now, I decided to stand back and watch him do is magic.

As Mr McGinley mentioned,
I think one of the tricks in building a loco is knowing when to back-off on the precision so things go faster
Another trick is to know when to use "better recourses available" so things go faster!

The following pictures show in process welding, root passes and filler passes. In these photos, I did the sections of filler passes.
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I will post pictures of the finished welds the next time we get together at his shop.

I still want to weld my own boiler someday. Hopefully next time I will have the time to really practice welding techniques before diving in.

Soot n' Cinders
Posts: 658
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:24 pm
Location: Marietta, Georgia

Re: 2-1/2" NG class A shay.

Post by Soot n' Cinders » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:26 pm

Looking good Brian! I can't blame you for getting professional help with the boiler welding. It isnt terrible but it gets more complicated near the end as everything comes together, and thus gets heavier.
-Tristan

Projects
-2.5" scale Class A 20 Ton Shay

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