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Messages - Alan Downey

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Volunteers / Re: May 2022 Work Reports
« on: May 05, 2022, 07:15:58 PM »
Big thanks to Ron for arranging the deal in the first place, and to everyone who made it's retrieval happen! This should be yet another step in the direction of making our shop user-friendly.

Volunteers / Re: April 2022 Work Reports
« on: April 19, 2022, 08:29:12 AM »
I know I'm late to clear up the report for Saturday-

But it's worth mentioning that Nicole was really the one making chips, as the pedestals for coach 9 we're getting prepped for assembly to the truck frames.

I spent most of the day working on some CAD for the tracer attachment project. That evening I made a couple of parts for the lathe and did some tests.

Volunteers / Re: April 2022 Work Reports
« on: April 01, 2022, 07:51:55 PM »
I will not be there this weekend, unfortunately. I did just drop a 17 drawer cabinet in the south end of bay 2. It's destined to help us manage tools and equipment in the machine shop.

It was scrapped out by a small local ship builder, so it could use a cleaning. If someone gets bored and wants to vacuum out the small bits of detritus and/or wipe down the drawers, I'd be thrilled! Otherwise I'll tackle cleaning it, and getting it placed next weekend.

General Discussion / Re: Brunswick-Rockland passenger trains?
« on: January 28, 2022, 04:50:03 PM »
The building being constructed is owned by American Steel. Plate steel is routinely brought to Bath by rail and truck. I wouldn't expect this building to have a net change on the amount of steel being brought into the area by rail, but I'll be curious to see. Either way it's interesting to see a new connection to live rail being made.

Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: September 19, 2021, 08:43:19 AM »
Yesterday was either a first, or a very rare moment for the WW&F shop- in which we had both large mills working at the same time! Nicole has been a great addition to the shop and we've been thrilled to have her help. The coach pedestals are fairly simple parts, but with 9 to do (we ended up with a spare casting which we'll machine to completion), any step takes a while to work through the lot. Nicole and I came up with a good system to break this job up into a "production" system to kick parts back and forth between each machine, doing one operation at a time. For this instance, changing out workpieces instead of tools let us tag team the work and really keep things moving. Most of the operations are pretty simple, but there's a lot of different steps to these parts. Over the next few Saturdays we should be able to finish them up.

Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: May 16, 2021, 08:23:04 PM »
Fun fact,

The original B&SR pattern for this center pivot exists, as well as the turntable side counterpart. Just some of the gems of Maine 2ft history that have been preserved over the years. Thanks for making sure this casting got saved, Mike!

Work and Events / Re: Eames Train Brakes - Official Work Thread
« on: April 19, 2021, 03:23:51 PM »
A couple reasons.
Firstly, it's not measly. I'll let Jason chime in on results of testing the cars, but having been in the cab of #9 plenty of times when the engine brakes were applied, I can assure you that 10-15"Hg is actually quite sufficient for a rapid stop. You have to remember that (like 2 ft narrow gauge) vacuum brakes have a range in which the tradeoff of simplicity for pressure differential is best suited. Mile long freight trains at 60mph is not that application. Lightweight narrow gauge rolling stock? It works splendidly. Simply by increasing the size of the brake cylinders compared to what you'd see on a positive-pressure system, you're able to use a smaller pressure differential to achieve a desired application force.

Secondly, with any kind of system that has an absolute limit governed by natural laws (absolute zero, speed of light, perfect vacuum), it gets exponentially more difficult to achieve that limit as you approach it. It is not reasonable to have a system in this application that can both draw down the pressure in the train pipe from atmospheric pressure to vacuum both quickly, and "completely" to -14.7psi. The steam powered ejectors have a functional limit of about 21 inches (10.5psi), but they are able to make that pressure change relatively quickly.

It's not fair to just look at the pressure differential of a vacuum system and call it "measly". It fits within the context of a system which is designed around that differential to make use of it as is needed. In it's intended application it fits the bill quite nicely.

Volunteers / Re: March Work Reports
« on: March 18, 2021, 06:16:24 PM »
I've got a machine that I'll be planning to load onto a trailer on Saturday morning. It's not particularly heavy, but it's 9 ft tall and I don't know if the loader can reach that high to lift it from above. It would be great to have the forklift with fresh fluid in it soon, but if the loader is unable to pick something 9ft tall from above, I'd ask that you please hold off until I can get wrapped up.

Yep! Second coat next weekend, letters the following.

Thanks for posting those, Mike!

Nicole and Jay were a huge help with this part of the process over the last two weekends. Here's another picture from after I put the ladder away.

I've also started repowering the Monarch 12CK lathe with a single phase motor and should have that wrapped up in another day or two at the museum.

Volunteers / Re: February Work Reports 2021
« on: February 25, 2021, 06:46:28 PM »
I'll be in the shop again working on the drill doing the last round of paint stripping and prep. Great opportunity for new volunteers (or anyone!) who can't make it up to TOM to cut.

Work and Events / Re: Wilmar (the) Tamper - Official Work Thread
« on: February 22, 2021, 01:08:05 PM »
We are REALLY excited to finally have Wilmar on home rails! But nobody is suggesting that thoughtful training and careful usage won't be necessary. If anything this is a request to "tap the brakes", and let the shop forces do a thorough and careful assessment of necessary repairs before we consider scheduling any kind of training- regardless of it's source. As Jason said, the very cursory inspection that has been done thus-far has already indicated a need for a total "going over". We want to make sure that when Wilmar is put into service, that the potential for subsequent downtime is reduced. Frankly, it's been a hard year for us in the repairs department as time caught up with a lot of equipment this year. We'd like to take the time now to try and nip problems in the bud before we start relying on it during prime track maintenance season, or have something pop up in the midst of training. We just want to get a handle on the mechanical side of the machine before we start talking seriously about scheduling training  :). We're very pointedly trying not to rush into anything, even though we are all eagerly awaiting seeing it out on the line doing it's job.

Volunteers / Re: February Work Reports 2021
« on: February 19, 2021, 10:16:53 AM »
I'll be working on equipment in the shop for a few weekends, including this Saturday. This will include some cleaning, paint stripping, and repainting of the radial arm drill. If we have newer volunteers looking for a project to land on (especially after Steam and Saws wraps up) I'll be able to use a couple of folks. I'm going to try and save the more general work for days when I have some help to try and create that opening.

On Wednesday, Jason and I went to Mountain Machine Works in Auburn to pick up our 10 new axles. Mountain Machine donated half the value of the fully machined axles which was a tremendous donation of value, and also saved us a huge amount of labor due to their CNC production methods. We brought a letter signed by Dave and presented it to the owner who plans to come out to the railroad for a visit in the future. For now, the axles are in my garage on my trailer. I'll be bringing them to the museum on a dry day so we can stash them away. The mating 20 new wheels will be delivered this coming week, and the 10 wheelsets will facilitate boxcar 56's re-wheeling, coach 9's new trucks, and add two spares into the operations department pool for swap out when maintenance concerns arise. #11 will be getting larger diameter axles and so it's wheels will be ordered late this year, or early next.

A brief update on activities over the last months:

Out diesel powered three-phase generator had been down for awhile due to a dead water pump. I'm pleased to say it is now back together and should carry us through while we work on implementing our next iteration of three-phase generation.

The radial arm drill that we purchased in August needed it's column bearings replaced. Disassembly happened last fall, and it has been sitting outside the shop under tarps since then. This was a rather substantial undertaking for the size of the machine and the weight of the subassemblies being handled. Amusingly, the service manual never anticipated this level of repair, so we were "off book". I got the new bearings back in October and since the new year, Carlos and Jerry Stienke and myself have been reassembling the drill in stages as time has permitted. Yesterday marked the final day of major assembly work with the outer column going back on the base riding on the new bearings, and the arm being slid back onto the outer column. I was thrilled to find that once we removed our rigging, the drill head spins on the column like a top!

When the new lathe arrives at Sheepscot, the radial arm drill will go in the building first, and be followed by the lathe. We're excited to see both pieces in the shop soon!

More pictures from today. The lathe is up against a door where it's stored, so I couldn't get back far enough to get decent pictures. These two closer up views will have to due for now. Jason and I sprayed rust preventative on the important bits to tide things over before it comes to the shop. To be clear, the ways look "wet" due to the preventative, NOT due to water. Once it gets to the shop we'll mount the Aloris D quick change tool post that had been on the New Haven.


Please see my post HERE for a full discussion behind us settling on a single plant wide phase converter. But to briefly summarize why VFD's are an impractical solution for us, most of our three phase machines have multiple (3-4) motors apiece, which would each require their own VFD. We would also need very large VFD's ($$$) to run the main motors on the lathe, vertical mill, horizontal mill, and radial drill. The cost of all the necessary VFD's would outsize the cost and complexity of a single large rotary phase converter to supply all of our machines.

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