Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

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shild
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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 11:52 pm

Greg_Lewis wrote:
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.
You buy 3 sets of taps and dies at a time? Do you put even wear on each tap in the sets before you toss them? Or do you favor some and put little wear on the rest? I'm a heavy user of the 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drills simply because they fit in those collets.

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

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

Post by shild » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:10 am

Builder01 wrote:
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
Very Nice! These pics explain a lot about why it would take you so long. I would have been a lot more crude about that cab for example. I would have laid out the lines of both sides, the front and floor of that cab on someone elses old refrigerator door. Then would have cut it out in one piece then folded it in a sheet metal brake. Looks like you used the same angle iron at the end of those frame rails that you made the stand with. Did you file that or grind it after you cut it off? Did you get that crank from the compound of your lathe?

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Builder01
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Location: Erie, PA

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

Post by Builder01 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:38 am

The cab actually only took a few days to make, it was pretty easy. I have not yet decided how I am going to finish the back of the cab. It was the water tanks that have taken several months. Every seam needs to be as perfect mechanically as possible. I have since fastened all the water tank parts together with RTV high temp type gasket sealer and they hold water just fine. All of the joints are fastened with small flat head machine screws and small brass angle. I did not want to soft solder the tanks. The top of the tanks are removable so repairs can be made from the inside, (if needed).

One tank holds the emergency hand pump and the other is the discharge tank from the axle pump with the the bypass valve in the cab. These water tanks are much less effort than building a tender. You do not want the water tanks to be part of the cab, it would be a service nightmare.

Yes, along the way, I built a construction stand. Even though this is only a 4-3/4" gauge loco, it quickly became much too heavy for me to lift. The stand is made from steel angle, all of the ends are machined to ensure things are square. I made the crank from 1/8" steel with a wooden handle. (Nothing stolen from another machine) With the construction stand, I can completely lift the loco and turn it over. I found the drawings for the stand on the internet. It is designed so you can index the loco in several positions.

David

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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 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:28 pm

shild wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:52 pm



You buy 3 sets of taps and dies at a time? Do you put even wear on each tap in the sets before you toss them? Or do you favor some and put little wear on the rest? I'm a heavy user of the 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drills simply because they fit in those collets.
I should have been more specific. For the taps I use most, #4 to #10, when I get down to the last one, I buy three more. Thus I always have a spare. The shipping for one tap is about the same as for three so it doesn't make sense to me to buy just one when I know I'll use the others. I don't buy more than one tap at a time for the rarely used sizes such as the 40 t.p.i. I use a tap until it begins to drag in the hole and then I toss it. Trying to squeeze too much life out of a tap is a false economy.

So when I'm down to the last gun or plug tap, I order three more. And if I get down to the last bottoming tap, I order three more of those. I get them from Victor Machinery in New York. They have decent quality goods at reasonable prices, and all the special threads you could ever imagine.

And I don't use dies all that much — when possible I cut threads in the lathe — so I typically only have one die on hand for any given thread. I don't have dies for all the special threads as many of those are also cut in the lathe.
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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Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:36 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

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

Post by RET » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:09 pm

Hi,

Since I work mostly in 3 1/2" gauge, I'm guessing when it comes to building in other scales, but I think the building time would be similar. No matter what the scale, if you want an engine that runs well, you still have to make all the same bits and pieces, just that in the larger scales you are going to need bigger equipment. You also need to know which parts need a bit of play (for instance, the running gear) and which parts need to be precise (like the valve gear), particularly in the smaller sizes.

While we may not start out that way, I think most of us want a locomotive that looks good and ultimately that will dictate a lot of what we do. In many ways a locomotive is never finished because there are so many possible accessories (turbogenerators, air compressors, power reverse units, etc.) and it takes a lot of time and thought to build something like this and make it work, especially in the smaller sizes because physics doesn't always scale well.

When you are finished, there is a great sense of satisfaction in saying to yourself "I did that and it works." If YOU are pleased with it, that's enough.

I have always liked figuring out what I need to do to make an engine run the way I think it should (even if it means "inventing" something), but as time goes on I find I'm also getting more and more pleasure out of doing the best job I can so that the finished product "looks right." Running the finished engine can be very rewarding, but I find a lot of satisfaction in the building too.

Taps and tapping

I break very few taps because I know a few tips & tricks (they are just common sense). First, because of the common thread pitch (#4-40 & # 5-40; #6-32, #8-32 & #10-32), you can use the smaller tap as a pilot for the larger size thus removing some material and making the load on the desired tap less.

Second, I always switch back and forth between the taper (or plug) and the bottoming tap, again to reduce the cutting load on the tap. Taps will take a surprising amount of torque, but they definitely don't like a bending load.

Finally, always use a tapping fluid (Chromatap, Tapmagic, etc.). Varsol works very well for aluminum and if you don't have anything better, WD-40 isn't bad for general use.

When using a die, start the die square in the lathe by using a drill chuck against the die itself if you don't have a floating dieholder. When the die gets hard to turn, back it off and turn it over. The starting side of the die has tapered threads while the back side is more like a bottoming tap. Going back & forth like this is like using taper & bottoming taps to thread a hole.

Generally, you can go one size larger (sometimes more) with the tap drill to reduce the cutting load on the tap. In most cases, the finished thread will still be more than strong enough for our purposes.

By the way, M.E. #40 threads to the inch were made to allow threading tubing and can be very handy for that purpose. They are the same thread pitch all the way from 1/8" to 1/2".

What Fred_V said about fits and precision is correct as are the rest of the comments. Remember, this is not a "fast" hobby, you can't buy a kit and assemble it in a few days, but when you do finish and what you built works, there is a much greater feeling of satisfaction.

Hope some of this helps.

Richard Trounce.

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

Post by RET » Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:28 pm

Hi,

I forgot to say that I have a complete set of fractional drills from 1/16" to 1/2", a set of Letter drills and a set of number drills from #1 to #80. Many of them you almost never use, but a lot of them are used a lot. For our hobby, all three are almost essential to have.

Generally I use high speed steel toolbits on the lathe because I can grind them into any shape I need but I use both high speed and carbide tooling on the CNC mill. Carbide is more brittle, but it stays sharp a LOT longer.

I'm sure there is a lot more, but this is enough for the moment. If possible, find someone else in the hobby to serve as a mentor. For me, the guys in TSME were a BIG help. Joining a club and being allowed to drive a locomotive is also high on the list. If this hobby is for you, they will have to peel the smile off your face.

Richard Trounce.

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NP317
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Re: Need some speed tips for getting a project done faster.

Post by NP317 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:59 pm

My major recommendation for achieving success in our Live Steam Hobby:
Become a member of your nearest Live Steamer's group and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!
My Friends saved me countless hours of grief and frustration by sharing their knowledge.
And a more generous group I have never encountered.
~R

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

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

Post by shild » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:15 pm

Builder01 wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:38 am
The cab actually only took a few days to make, it was pretty easy. I have not yet decided how I am going to finish the back of the cab. It was the water tanks that have taken several months. Every seam needs to be as perfect mechanically as possible. I have since fastened all the water tank parts together with RTV high temp type gasket sealer and they hold water just fine. All of the joints are fastened with small flat head machine screws and small brass angle. I did not want to soft solder the tanks. The top of the tanks are removable so repairs can be made from the inside, (if needed).

One tank holds the emergency hand pump and the other is the discharge tank from the axle pump with the the bypass valve in the cab. These water tanks are much less effort than building a tender. You do not want the water tanks to be part of the cab, it would be a service nightmare.

Yes, along the way, I built a construction stand. Even though this is only a 4-3/4" gauge loco, it quickly became much too heavy for me to lift. The stand is made from steel angle, all of the ends are machined to ensure things are square. I made the crank from 1/8" steel with a wooden handle. (Nothing stolen from another machine) With the construction stand, I can completely lift the loco and turn it over. I found the drawings for the stand on the internet. It is designed so you can index the loco in several positions.

David
Nice! What are you going to burn in it? I'm now wondering if it's typical for screws like that to rattle out? Being that you don't need to build the tender, guess this is easier than a 4-4-0 build.

Speaking of cranks, In the hopes of being able to machine faster I've been adding counterweights to the handwheels on my machines. I can do faster rapids now so I'm pleased with the results. What would you do if the drivewheel castings you got didn't have enough of a counterbalancer? Would you drill holes and fill with lead?

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

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

Post by shild » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:21 pm

Greg_Lewis wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:28 pm
shild wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:52 pm



You buy 3 sets of taps and dies at a time? Do you put even wear on each tap in the sets before you toss them? Or do you favor some and put little wear on the rest? I'm a heavy user of the 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drills simply because they fit in those collets.
I should have been more specific. For the taps I use most, #4 to #10, when I get down to the last one, I buy three more. Thus I always have a spare. The shipping for one tap is about the same as for three so it doesn't make sense to me to buy just one when I know I'll use the others. I don't buy more than one tap at a time for the rarely used sizes such as the 40 t.p.i. I use a tap until it begins to drag in the hole and then I toss it. Trying to squeeze too much life out of a tap is a false economy.

So when I'm down to the last gun or plug tap, I order three more. And if I get down to the last bottoming tap, I order three more of those. I get them from Victor Machinery in New York. They have decent quality goods at reasonable prices, and all the special threads you could ever imagine.

And I don't use dies all that much — when possible I cut threads in the lathe — so I typically only have one die on hand for any given thread. I don't have dies for all the special threads as many of those are also cut in the lathe.
I'm still confused about when to throw away taps. To me a tap has always either been good or broken off. Do you mean the tap will have more drag when backing up?

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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 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:58 pm

shild wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:21 pm

I'm still confused about when to throw away taps. To me a tap has always either been good or broken off. Do you mean the tap will have more drag when backing up?
Taps will get dull just like any cutting tool. Experience is the only real way to know when this has happened. Try to get a feel for the resistance you get when tapping a hole with a new tap. After so many holes, the resistance will increase and at some point it just feels like it is too much. You just have to develop a sense for this; there is no hard and fast guideline. Taps should be considered a consumable item, not a one-time purchase. Better to toss a tap a little early than to break one in a part. (Taps only break off when you're doing the last hole at the end of three days of work on a complicated and expensive casting :( . It is guaranteed that they will be jammed tight in the hole and resist all efforts at removal. )
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.

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

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

Post by shild » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:28 am

RET wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:28 pm
Hi,

I forgot to say that I have a complete set of fractional drills from 1/16" to 1/2", a set of Letter drills and a set of number drills from #1 to #80. Many of them you almost never use, but a lot of them are used a lot. For our hobby, all three are almost essential to have.

Generally I use high speed steel toolbits on the lathe because I can grind them into any shape I need but I use both high speed and carbide tooling on the CNC mill. Carbide is more brittle, but it stays sharp a LOT longer.

I'm sure there is a lot more, but this is enough for the moment. If possible, find someone else in the hobby to serve as a mentor. For me, the guys in TSME were a BIG help. Joining a club and being allowed to drive a locomotive is also high on the list. If this hobby is for you, they will have to peel the smile off your face.

Richard Trounce.
Thanks for all the advice! By the way, I have now tried the stick method on a couple parts. Might have shaved off some time. Never tried using a smaller tap to drill out for a bigger tap though. I'll be doing that next time I need to tap! Last time I tapped it was in a lathe and I kept rocking the switch from forward to reverse until it was done. Probably put a lot of wear on the switch! Have problems with the drill chuck getting enough adhesion on the tap too.

shild
Posts: 87
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:58 pm

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

Post by shild » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:31 am

NP317 wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:59 pm
My major recommendation for achieving success in our Live Steam Hobby:
Become a member of your nearest Live Steamer's group and LEARN, LEARN, LEARN!
My Friends saved me countless hours of grief and frustration by sharing their knowledge.
And a more generous group I have never encountered.
~R
Thanks for the advice!

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