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Messages - Alan Downey

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65 doesn't have any brake rigging on it at this time. Due to its limited service useage, it's been low on the priority list for getting its own brake system. It had one (of two needed) brake beam mounted when it was first built, but this was "borrowed" for either coach 8 or 3 when those got brake upgrades in May of 2015. other than my uncertainty about whether 65 will have body hung or truck mounted brake hangers, Boxcar 309 would be a close representation of how 65's brakes will be configured whenever they are installed.

General Discussion / Re: EBT Couplers vs. 3/4 size Sharon Couplers
« on: April 05, 2020, 10:04:52 AM »

I don't know the answer to your question, but I have been working with Irwin on a Climax coupler project. I'll send you an email with the contact information of the person at Irwin who would be able to help.

Volunteers / Re: March 2020 Work Reports
« on: March 14, 2020, 10:20:33 PM »
Carlos and Jerry deserve all of the credit for this project. I've just been providing logistical and technical support to keep them going, and they've been working on it most Fridays and Saturdays (and most of Carlos's spring break!) since after the first Grand Reunion.

Very little was needed in terms of internal repairs. Most of the work has been external. There's really not that much internal, but the piston bore was in nice shape- not perfect- but not worth machining. The control valve needed to be rehabbed, all of the seals needed to be replaced, it needed cleaning, fresh lubrication, and one of the mechanical links needed repair. I'm very much looking forward to seeing the renewed machine move under power again soon.

Also worth noting today, is that the castings needed for coach 9's frame arrived. Cattail Foundry did a really nice job on those parts.

Other Narrow Gauge / Re: EBT is SOLD! New non-profit to open RR in 2021
« on: February 18, 2020, 01:14:39 PM »
I listened to the episode of The Roundhouse, and it sounds like the newly formed EBTF will still rely and work closely with the FEBT. It seems that the EBTF views it's role as the operating , management, and fundraising organization, and wants to work with the Friends to be the source and core of the volunteer base to continue and expand on the work that they have been doing. It's an interesting approach which seems similar to the way the C&TS is set up.

Volunteers / Re: January 2020 Work Reports
« on: January 24, 2020, 10:36:01 PM »
I'm really not! Have you seen the types of characters I hang out with?  ::)

Volunteers / Re: January 2020 Work Reports
« on: January 11, 2020, 07:49:40 AM »
Paul, ordinarily I prefer not to discuss speculative completion timelines for major projects including #10. But can I say that regardless of the progress on #10's smokebox, the rest of #10's boiler will not be ready for the summer. The bulk of the work still remains ahead of us.

I am generally planning on making progress on #10's smokebox this winter/spring. This will likely include rebuilding the squeeze riveter to rectify some issues we've had with it, making our own rivets for the non-code work, and performing the actual riveting. And all of that will fit in between photo charters, crew availability, and other shop concerns. We're just going to pick away at it as we can.

Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: November 28, 2019, 10:59:46 PM »
Thanks Bill, but I've been meaning to get down and meet the folks at Cattail for awhile, and I set this up to finally make it happen.

Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: November 28, 2019, 04:32:01 PM »
Oh yeah! I forgot that I was going to do that. Thanks for the reminder!

Volunteers / Re: November 2019 Work Reports
« on: November 13, 2019, 12:04:43 AM »

* Machine shop: Alan was trying out a new toy he got, a drill bit sharpener.  He was making good progress.

I saw it during the work weekend, as a person who has dulled a drill and had to hand sharpen it to finish some job or other, I can see the usefulness of it. Post a picture and explain the range of sizes it can sharpen to a factory edge for the others members. A great item to have in any shop.
M. Nix

Hi Mike,

The machine is a Sellers 6G drill grinder, and can sharpen drill bits from 5/16" to 3" in diameter, but there are other sharpeners which are better suited to drill bits below 3/8". I don't have an exact date on when it was built, but I believe it to be pre 1950's It is essentially an overhead line-shaft machine which was "redesigned" by Sellers when individual motors started to power machinery. The "redesign" consisted of bolting a 1.25" plate to the bottom of the already heavy machine, and plunking a motor with a flat-belt pulley on the new base. In converting it to run on single-phase power, I moved it to v-belt drive. I purchased it from a tool collector in western Mass. and brought it home with my "rig". At this point, the machine is essentially on-loan to the museum.

It should be noted that this is not a tool which is available for general use by shop volunteers. Due to the finesse required to sharpen a bit without ruining the bit or the grinding wheel, it should only be used by volunteers who I have trained. I hope to very soon have a small cadre of shop volunteers trained on it to be able to help keep our stock of drill bits in good shape!

I actually don't have any recent pictures of the machine, and I haven't asked Stewart if I can borrow his pictures from Facebook- so here's a similar 6-G. There are some differences in guarding and the electrical controls, but the important parts are the same. It's a really neat machine.

And so that I can continue to show off just how much my little Focus can do, this was at the NH state line, parking with the other "rigs"  ;D.

Whimsical Weirdness and Foolery / Re: WW&F Visits....
« on: August 13, 2019, 08:38:39 PM »
Due to a variety of circumstances, we ran the Sandy River Railbus #4 at BRV today. Linda had been telling me how much she wanted the chance to ride in it, so as soon as it was confirmed- I told her to come on down. She rode once up front with me at the controls, and sampled a variety of other seating locations. She had such a blast that I couldn't help but share this. I think her face says everything!

Work and Events / Re: Eames Train Brakes - Official Work Thread
« on: June 27, 2019, 11:41:58 PM »
Thanks for the heads up. It's fixed now.

Work and Events / Re: Eames Train Brakes - Official Work Thread
« on: June 27, 2019, 10:46:07 PM »
The biggest impedance to progress on this project has been the available time of those working directly on it, and to be honest- I was the roadblock for about a year. But the seeds of labor over the last year have borne fruit!

Last fall my father built a pattern for the control valve body. The pattern itself is traditional in its wooden construction and the presence of core-prints, but the molding strategy is anything but. The valve body has a number of cavities and internal features of fairly complex geometry. Producing core boxes for these would have been an onerous and time consuming task, so we decided to skip them! Instead, I designed sand cores which were to be 3D printed using a foundry-specific printing machine and process. We also decided to utilize this process for the valve body cover casting as well, and Ron Ginger very kindly produced the pattern using his CNC router. The tradeoff for using 3D printed sand cores, is that they get very expensive compared to traditional cores and the cost increases by a cubic factor with the overall size. But when the expected casting quantity and core complexity align, it can be quite the tool.

While I worked at Enterprise Foundry, I had been looking for opportunities to bring 3D printed sand cores into the workflow, but we couldn't find the right job to pair with the technology. The vacuum brake controller proved to be just the project we were looking for. So when a critical machine went down around Christmas, I negotiated trade- I would come in during the holiday in my capacity as a WW&F volunteer and make the repair using the WW&F's mag drill. In exchange, Enterprise would pour 10 total molds containing 3D printed sand cores purchased by the WW&F. On Monday, the first two molds were made and poured, and we are thrilled with the results. I want to publicly thank Enterprise for their involvement and donation for this project. Between the value of the iron itself and the time spent in the plant, this constitutes a significant contribution and greatly aided in getting this project closer to the finish line. There were also some great lessons learned from this use of printed cores which will directly apply to a major casting project on the horizon.

Over the last few months, Gordon Cook and Ron Ginger have been producing the many machined components for the internals of the control valve assembly. I don't have any pictures to share of their work, but I look forward to seeing all of their work myself! Finally, three smaller patterns for parts which will be made using traditional foundry methods were completed and handed off to Wayne Laepple to be made at Cattail Foundry.

Finally, as some have noticed- my time spent on-site in Alna has decreased rather significantly from what it had been for the last last couple of years. I recently started a company focused on patternmaking and casting purchasing for the preservation industry- piggybacking off the skills which I first learned through my involvement with the WW&F and my time as the quality engineer at Enterprise Foundry. These patterns and castings are somewhat of a "launch" for Preservation Pattern, showcasing just some of technologies that a 21st century pattern maker has at their disposal now.

Moving forward, Jason and I are planning a day or two to complete the machining on the valve body and the rest of the castings which will allow everything to go together afterwards as we work towards our goal of testing and implementing the complete system.

It was pretty fun going back to Enterprise to supervise the production of these parts. I went in on Monday morning to check the molding, and then went back at 9PM on Tuesday during the night shift to shake out the molds and knock off the risers.
Ron's Pattern

The mold

Core installed

The raw casting after being cleaned

My dad's valve body pattern

Mold made and cores installed

The valve body and the cap after being cleaned with the risers still attached

Note the first use of a chaplet for a WW&F casting. This is exactly what we wanted to see. The chaplet is centered on the location where a pipe fitting will be installed, so it will end up being drilled out- negating any concerns of complete fusion.

Both castings in a very raw state. They both still need to be ground before any machining happens.

Showing just some of results of the printed cores.

And the patterns which were just handed off to Wayne.

Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 10 - Official Work Thread
« on: May 11, 2019, 11:47:53 AM »
During the spring work weekend, we turned a corner in the year-long effort to reorganize, restructure, and improve the car shop. While there is still more work to be done, we have gotten the shop to the point where we can not only work on projects again, but work on them more efficiently.

During the work weekend, there was a team working to build a portable hydraulic power unit using a 22hp has engine. Once we fit a set of quick-disconnect hoses, this will entirely replace the use of the tractor to power the flanger, and allow us to work in a quieter environment when flanging. Over the winter, Jason designed a new waterjet cut template for referencing the backhead to the flanging die. This should provide much improved flexibility of the flanging machine. He is looking forward to sinking his teeth back into flanging once the primary focus of volunteer efforts have transitioned to the car barn extension under Brendan's leadership.

Starting this past week, we have begun working on the smokebox, which included turning down the outside diameter of the support ring to the final dimension, and getting it set up to match drill with the smokebox sheet.

We look forward to continuing to make progress #10 and the 21 Campaign as time and manpower resources allow, and updates will be posted in the respective threads and 21 Campaign Facebook page as appropriate. Thank you to all of our donors for helping us get over the finish line with the project funding!

Volunteers / Re: March 2019 Work Reports
« on: March 21, 2019, 11:55:35 AM »

There will definitely be work to do organizing for anyone willing to help. Jason and I should be able to put our heads together solidify an approach for a few questions I had last week.

Work and Events / Re: B&SR boxcar 56
« on: October 19, 2018, 01:19:25 PM »
To clarify, only the south ends of bays 2&3 have been blocked to equipment storage. Bay 1 was intentionally kept clear of "permanent" machinery to allow a run-through and storage if need be. Bays 2&3 can still accommodate two freight cars apiece. Though we did sacrifice the ability to keep a freight car and a passenger car in the same bay.

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