Ulin Locomotive Works

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Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by KenG » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:21 pm

I received the following notice from Rich and Linda Ulin:

"Linda and I have had great pleasure in developing, building and supplying railroad products to so many in the Live Steam hobby. It is satisfying to us when we see a mixed train of our manufacture or just a few parts running on the rails under steam.

For almost 30 years we have worked with seven foundries who for a few years now are having difficulty and are closing their doors or are now producing castings which are of notable bad quality.

Linda and I are now unable to provide quality castings at a workable price. Alco West Locomotive.com has purchased all of our patterns, molds and prints and is now in total control.

Thank you for letting us serve you in the past. We hope to see many of you and your engines up and running. REMEMBER "KEEP STEAMING"".

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Harold_V » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:55 am

KenG wrote:or are now producing castings which are of notable bad quality.
What a sad commentary on the skill level of American workers. Hard to believe when we once set the standard for quality.

I often wonder. What happened to pride in a job well done? My experiences of late, in building my shop and house, suggest that workers, now, wear as a badge of honor, their ability to do as little as they can, and to receive as much pay as they can, with no regard to the value of their offering. It was for that reason that I ended up building my own shop and house. I simply could not tolerate the attitude of the individuals who were invited to bid on the projects.

Want an example? Try to find a drywall man who will do smooth wall. They want to texture, where a multitude of sins are easily concealed, and little, if any, skill is required. That's just one example of the many I experienced.

I don't like textured walls and ceilings. Just my personal preference.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Trainman4602 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:51 am

I get all my iron castings made by Amish people. Cattail foundry is great. As for bronze. There are many quality foundries in Pennsylvania. They all make excellent quality castings.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by squazzy_moto » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:43 am

I can confirm this. I am in the same club as Richard. I about died when he told me had sold it (and for how much) as I was "on the right track" to by the business for myself. Alco West got one sweeeeeeeeeet deal.
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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by mspetersen » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:02 pm

Another factor is the EPA. They proudly point to how they got rid of all those "dirty" foundries. The work moved overseas to China & India where they have next to no pollution curbs at all. Still goes into the same air we all breathe, so did they really fix anything?

I am glad to see that Ulin's products will continue. Can't wait till their listed on their website.
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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Fender » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:04 am

All of the iron foundries I have visited recently had converted from coke-fueled cupola furnaces to electric furnaces many years ago. Actually, the electric furnace allows better control of the metallurgy. Poor quality castings have everything to do with poor foundry technique, poor sand, or cutting corners on cost.
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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Bill Shields » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:18 pm

or all of what Fender says - combined..
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Mike Walsh » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:31 pm

Correct. In the case of Aluminum furnaces, degassing Aluminum is critical because otherwise you will absorb hydrogen from the atmosphere (in the form of water vapor). Gas fired furnaces are full of hydrogen/vapor. Electric furnaces are favored.

Another benefit of electrical furnaces is that the temperature can be regulated better. Gas furnaces have a setpoint at which they fire high to keep the temp high, and another to switch to low fire so as to not go over your specified pour temps.

Sorry to detract from the topic that the OP started.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Fender » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:10 pm

I think your comments are spot on topic. The problem of being able to get quality domestic castings affects other businesses than just live steam suppliers. The problem seems to be, that if you need "thousands" of castings, good quality and price is not a problem, but it requires a big investment in expensive wax molds. But trying to get "tens" of good quality sand castings (or especially individual castings) anymore at a reasonable price is difficult.
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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Jul 15, 2017 7:08 pm

If anyone needs grey iron, check Sunset Foundry, in Valley Springs, CA. If you check the web page below, you'll see some railroad parts in the photos. They did my drivers and did a great job.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by steamjunky » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:38 am

I second sunset foundry.. I know a few locomotive makers here use them also.

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Re: Ulin Locomotive Works

Post by Loco112 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:39 pm

Greg, how did they calculate what to charge you for the drivers?

What metals do they pour grey only, or ductile, bronze, brass, too?
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