Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

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shild
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by shild » Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:25 am

Kimball McGinley wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:11 pm
I found it really helpful to lay out a plan of exactly what I was going to do tonight, while I ate my lunch at work.

Something like, "3-jaw outside, cut 2 pieces 1'' steel bar 4" long, center drill, 1/4" drill, turn to size, turn end for end, repeat on bar #2, part off 4 bushings, deburr, paint black.

What is bad is walking into the shop and wasting time deciding what to do...
I do that too, speaking of which I think I need to get another drill chuck so I can have one dedicated to the center drill and one for whatever drill I'm using.

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Fred_V
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by Fred_V » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:51 am

Most of us don't worry about balance since the speed is slow. we just build with drivers that look right for the particular engine being built.
Sounds like you want to do a "freelance" design engine cobbled together from whatever you can find. Not a really good idea as a first engine. Build one "by the book" and see how it's done.
Fred V
Fred V
Pensacola, Fl.

RET
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by RET » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:05 am

Hi shild,

Bill Huxhold, our master builder in TSME (Toronto Society of Model Engineers) uses the "stick" method a lot and it really works for him. He routinely builds working scale models that the rest of us wouldn't even consider trying. His models look as though you took the real thing and just shrunk it. They also work like the original. He makes his own nuts, bolts etc. and the largest size he uses is #0-80. When he explains how he does things, he makes it sound SO easy!

For example, in a locomotive spring rigging, there are a number of things; equalizer bars, the spring suspension forks, etc. each of which require many identical parts. If you look at them, many have a cross section that is the same and the stick method is ideal for that.

Over a year ago I started making 3 1/2" gauge couplers by CNC and Don started a thread on that on Chaski. I have done a lot more than I have posted and I used the stick method to make the steel knuckle bodies on the little CNC mill with the rotary headstock. I was able to get 9 individual knuckle bodies from a 7" long stick. They still require further machining, but having the CNC mill create the profile makes it MUCH easier. I had done one first as a test piece, so I now have ten. Down the road, I'll have to do a stick with 4 more since I have 14 body castings that I've already CNC machined as you can see on the thread.

Mostly as I said before, I try to have the attachments etc. at hand at the machine so I don't have to look for them. On the lathe and mill, the "shelves" have holes in them and are angled to make it easier to see and reach the particular attachment I need. For the lathe, I have one "shelf" for 2C collets and a much larger shelf for a set of 5C collets from 1/16" to 1 1/8". Collets are one thing that I find very useful and I use them a lot. A third "shelf" has holes for left & right toolholders, ball bearing tailstock centers, drill chucks etc.

A long time ago I also made a hardwood block for a complete set of taps from 0-80 up to half inch, plug, taper and bottoming in both NC and NF (NF isn't as complete in the small sizes because I don't use it as much). This makes all the taps readily accessible and you don't have to worry about dulling the edges when they are rolling around in a drawer. I use the same method for ME taps and dies (32 tpi. & 40 tpi.). Another block holds ball end end mills from 1/8" to 3/4" dia. together with miniature drill chucks one of which has a disk on it for sensitive drilling down to #80 drill. By the way, for those little drills a Dremel together with a microscope is quite useful.

I find a binocular microscope is very useful for a number of things. Simply put, if you can see it, you can do it, from drilling holes to hand sharpening milling cutters.

Don't bother leaving drills etc. in collets or drill chucks, when you are doing an operation, if you don't have an indexing tailstock or tool holder, just lay out the drills you need for the job and use them in repeat sequence. I have an indexing tool bit holder for the South Bend; it replaces the compound rest, but I've never used it yet because it takes too much time to set up.

Finally, you need some precision measuring tools and the knowledge of how to use them. These days, an at least 2 axis accurate readout is almost essential for a milling machine. It makes things so much easier and faster.

This can be an expensive hobby to get into, but once you have built up your shop, it is a relatively cheap hobby to pursue. It just takes lots of time. Have a look at the Big Boy thread as an example.

Again, perhaps some of this will help. Just don't get discouraged. I find a great sense of accomplishment when I've made something and it actually works the way it is supposed to! This hobby can be very rewarding.

Richard Trounce

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SteveM
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by SteveM » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:31 pm

RET wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:05 am
A long time ago I also made a hardwood block for a complete set of taps from 0-80 up to half inch, plug, taper and bottoming in both NC and NF (NF isn't as complete in the small sizes because I don't use it as much). This makes all the taps readily accessible and you don't have to worry about dulling the edges when they are rolling around in a drawer.
One of the things on my list is to make such a block and add in the body drill and one or two different tap drills (for different % of engagement) so EVERYTHING is in one place if you have to deal with a threaded hole.

Steve

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:56 pm

SteveM wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:31 pm
RET wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:05 am
A long time ago I also made a hardwood block for a complete set of taps from 0-80 up to half inch, plug, taper and bottoming in both NC and NF (NF isn't as complete in the small sizes because I don't use it as much). This makes all the taps readily accessible and you don't have to worry about dulling the edges when they are rolling around in a drawer.
One of the things on my list is to make such a block and add in the body drill and one or two different tap drills (for different % of engagement) so EVERYTHING is in one place if you have to deal with a threaded hole.

Steve
Like this:
IMG_7284.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:06 pm

Speaking of taps and dies, something I wish I'd done when I started was to standardize on thread sizes. I've got just about every conceivable thread and diameter somewhere on my engine. While certain threads are advisable for different materials, in places where they show or where there are thin walls or sections, I wish I had, at the beginning, laid in the supply of 40-t.p.i. taps and dies I now have. A 40 thread looks much better, more scale, and should hold just as well as more coarse threads under the stresses we are going to put on it. I like this particularly for little stuff made from brass. I've also come to like the gun taps. They seem to cut better than the plug taps.

And, by the way, the moment a tap seems to drag in the hole, toss it. Trust me on this.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

RET
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by RET » Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:43 pm

Hi,

Here are some pictures to illustrate what I am talking about.
First, the tap holder block. National Coarse on the left, National Fine on the right and taper taps at the front with bottoming at the back. I just look at the tap table on the wall to see what tap & body drill I need so they aren't in the block.
Tap Blocka.jpg
tap holder block
Next is the wall mounted lathe tool holder, left, right & center tool bit holders, lathe dogs, drill chucks, centers, etc.
Lathe toolsa.jpg
Wall mounted, often used tools
Next is the 2C collet group
2C colletsa.jpg
2C collets. left bunch is metric, right group is inch
Finally we have the large 5C collet group which is 1/16" to 1 1/8" by 1/32", thus with the spring in the collet I can handle almost any round stock within that range.
5C colletsa.jpg
I bought a 5C Bison collet holder and made my own adapter plate for the lathe. It took a while to machine with LOTS of cast iron swarf all over, but the finished product has a tir. of about 1.5 thou. or less and is plenty accurate enough for what I need.

Richard Trounce.

RET
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by RET » Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:05 pm

Hi shild,

One or two final words. First, as you can see it pays to do everything you can to have the most often used tools at hand when you need them. It does save time.

This shows the knuckle "stick".
Coupler stick made by CNCa.jpg
Coupler stick profile made by CNC.
Here are the partially complete nine knuckle blanks (with added tails) cut from it. The two on the right have had the "tail" CNC machined. The tail blank is a piece of 3/16" thick steel silver soldered on.
Coupler Knuckles with tailsa.jpg
The two on the right have been shaped by CNC.
Second, there is a decided limit to how much you can speed up the process of building a working live steam locomotive. A long time ago, my friend Harry Hawkins told me that "If you know what you are doing and don't make any mistakes it still takes 2,000 hours to build a working live steam locomotive." This would be to a recognized set of plans where the design is done for you. He also said that if you want to make the finished engine look like a particular locomotive, you can more than double that. I think these estimates aren't too far off the mark.

In one of my previous posts I suggested that you look at the Big Boy thread as an example. In it I tell about Gerhard's work ethic and how he got down in the shop each day at about 8 to 8:30 am., took a break or two for meals & some housework and quit somewhere between 9:30 & 10:00pm. He kept that up for 5 years! You must also remember Big Boy was only his second locomotive (he couldn't finish it because he died of Alzheimers disease).

In a lot of the work I do, I go over what I'm going to build in my head and typically I will discard one or two versions before I try to build anything; especially if I have to "invent" something. Often it is the third iteration I wind up going with. Presently I have Big Boy concepts in my head that have been there for several years; they just haven't been converted into parts yet but when I get to that stage, they will be built. Things like the variable burners, and axle pump have already been done and they work. They have appeared on chaski.org., the burners in the Big Boy thread, the axle pump in a different one.

Anyway, welcome to the hobby. For many of us, it turns out to be a journey of a lifetime.

Richard Trounce.

shild
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by shild » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm

Greg_Lewis wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:56 pm
SteveM wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:31 pm
RET wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:05 am
A long time ago I also made a hardwood block for a complete set of taps from 0-80 up to half inch, plug, taper and bottoming in both NC and NF (NF isn't as complete in the small sizes because I don't use it as much). This makes all the taps readily accessible and you don't have to worry about dulling the edges when they are rolling around in a drawer.
One of the things on my list is to make such a block and add in the body drill and one or two different tap drills (for different % of engagement) so EVERYTHING is in one place if you have to deal with a threaded hole.

Steve
Like this:

IMG_7284.JPG
So help me understand this setup. Each row of the same size tap is so you can go progressively deeper into a blind hole, the smaller drill is what you use just before the taps and the bigger drill is larger than the thread diameter for the bolt to pass through it? This isn't your only drill set is it?

shild
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by shild » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:15 pm

RET wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:05 pm
Hi shild,

One or two final words. First, as you can see it pays to do everything you can to have the most often used tools at hand when you need them. It does save time.

This shows the knuckle "stick".
Coupler stick made by CNCa.jpg

Here are the partially complete nine knuckle blanks (with added tails) cut from it. The two on the right have had the "tail" CNC machined. The tail blank is a piece of 3/16" thick steel silver soldered on.
Coupler Knuckles with tailsa.jpg

Second, there is a decided limit to how much you can speed up the process of building a working live steam locomotive. A long time ago, my friend Harry Hawkins told me that "If you know what you are doing and don't make any mistakes it still takes 2,000 hours to build a working live steam locomotive." This would be to a recognized set of plans where the design is done for you. He also said that if you want to make the finished engine look like a particular locomotive, you can more than double that. I think these estimates aren't too far off the mark.

In one of my previous posts I suggested that you look at the Big Boy thread as an example. In it I tell about Gerhard's work ethic and how he got down in the shop each day at about 8 to 8:30 am., took a break or two for meals & some housework and quit somewhere between 9:30 & 10:00pm. He kept that up for 5 years! You must also remember Big Boy was only his second locomotive (he couldn't finish it because he died of Alzheimers disease).

In a lot of the work I do, I go over what I'm going to build in my head and typically I will discard one or two versions before I try to build anything; especially if I have to "invent" something. Often it is the third iteration I wind up going with. Presently I have Big Boy concepts in my head that have been there for several years; they just haven't been converted into parts yet but when I get to that stage, they will be built. Things like the variable burners, and axle pump have already been done and they work. They have appeared on chaski.org., the burners in the Big Boy thread, the axle pump in a different one.

Anyway, welcome to the hobby. For many of us, it turns out to be a journey of a lifetime.

Richard Trounce.
RET, thanks for the pictures. I've got a board and blocks holding my tools too but the tools stand straight up. I think angling it like that must shave off on tool changes. Maybe I'll do that soon. You're really scaring me telling me that 2000 hours is if you don't make mistakes! Just what loco and what scale are you talking about here? I hope not a 3 1/2" gauge Tom Thumb! Speaking of which, I'm wondering about the different times it takes to do the same engine, same level of quality in each of the scales? Would a 3 1/2" gauge loco take about 3/4 the time to do the same one in 7 1/2" gauge?

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:04 pm

shild wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm

So help me understand this setup. Each row of the same size tap is so you can go progressively deeper into a blind hole, the smaller drill is what you use just before the taps and the bigger drill is larger than the thread diameter for the bolt to pass through it? This isn't your only drill set is it?
Yes. From front to back, taper tap, plug or gun tap, bottoming tap, tap drill, clearance drill. From left to right, 4-40 up to 3/8. Not in the block are taps down to 00-90 and up to 7/8, as well as a batch of special thread taps including the 40 t.p.i ones I mentioned above. I also keep a backup stock of commonly used taps on hand as I hate to be without when one goes dull or breaks on a Sunday afternoon. The sizes I use the most for locomotive and car building range from #4 to #10, with a few calls for 1/4 to 3/8.

Most of the time I just go with the gun tap, the bottoming tap used only when absolutely necessary. The tapers are rarely used, most often to clean out a thread that's a little scuffed up.

And I have a boatload of drills elsewhere; a fractional set, a numbered set, a set of tiny ones down to #80, a few metric bits, and one of those plastic drawer organizers full of spares. And, of course, the obligatory coffee can full of dull ones which once in a while get sharpened when I feel like getting out the drill sharpening gizmo.

Keep in mind that this is a collection that has built up over three decades. No one should get the idea that you need to lay in a warehouse full of cutting tools in order to begin. Just buy what you need when you need it. When buying taps and dies I usually buy three of the same size at a time, which is how I amassed the assortment of backups.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Builder01
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by Builder01 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:41 pm

As for time to get a locomotive running, 1500 to 2000 hours is a very reasonable estimate. I am in the process of building a 4-3/4" gauge 0-6-0 tank engine. It took me about 540 hours over a period of 9 months to get the chassis running on air. It took another 840 hours over a period of 14 months to get it operating on its own steam. So, 1380 hours over a period of 23 months to get this little beast in steam. I have had a great time learning how to operate it over the past summer and fall of 2017. It's a coal burner freelance design. It is not a scale model and the level of detail is very low, although you could build it as detailed as you want.

It was built from a proven design with build articles and castings readily available. There are also many parts available as laser cut items. I built my own copper boiler and have done all the machine work myself. It will probably not really be finished until the winter of 2018-2019, a year from now. At that point, I estimate I will have about 2500 hours into it.

Is locomotive building fun? Not really, at least for me. Much of it is dull, boring, and quite tedious. I am an experienced machinist and this is not the first long term project I have started and will eventually complete.

For me, it is certainly NOT the journey, it is the destination. Operating a real live steam locomotive is everything I imagined and more! It is so fun raising steam, listening, smelling and seeing a sleeping locomotive come to life. Then, cracking open the throttle and this little beast has enough power to pull you and a few friends down a miniature railroad track. That is the real fun. I am a patient person, and I knew the work would be well worth the destination.
DSCN1583.JPG
DSCN1586.JPG

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