Always Something New

I took the morning away from the trains today to noodle about on the computer and give myself a break from laying track. I do actually enjoy building track however it can get a little repetitive, especially the plain track. I normally try to break the repetition by listening to podcasts on my ancient iPod and at the moment I’ve been enjoying G’Day Patriots, an Australian take on American politics which I find quite distracting. However it really is for serious political tragics like yours truly, so you have been warned šŸ™‚

Anyway, while I was wasting valuable modelling time at the computer the mailman popped up the driveway and delivered a small package from the UK with the wheels for my next scratch-building project: the SMR 10 class. I’ve been waiting for about 2 months for a package from NWSL in the US with a new motor for my 44 class while this package from Slaters arrived in about 9 days. I’m not sure how lots of US and UK companies can get a package to Australia in just over a week while it takes NWSL two months but there you go. I won’t be buying motors from this source again and will give buying direct from the Maxon site a try next time.

These wheels are not an exact match for those on the SMR 10 class but they’re the correct diameter and have the correct number of spokes so they’re near enough, except for someone who might have been involved in preserving one of the real locos that still exist. As I understand that no example of the class is in operable condition at the moment, this is unlikely šŸ™‚ The photo shows two of the de-flanged driving wheels, a pack of the plunger pickups and the Slaters sprung horn-blocks I’m going to use on this project. I was considering using the same Hobby Holidays ball race horn-guides I used on the 20 class but I had these Slaters products in a drawer and as such they allowed me to avoid the not inconsiderable cost of ordering four sets of the HH variety for the project.Ā 

The 10 class has a 2-8-2 wheel arrangement with the two centre drivers having no flange. Slaters offer a flange removal service which costs two pounds fifty pence per axle (about $AU4.50) so it doesn’t add significantly to the cost. I have all the equipment in the shed and the motivation (I’m a cheap skate) to do just this sort of task myself, so you might ask why I forked out $9 to have the flanges removed from four of the wheels rather than doing it myself. The simple answer is that if I’d been going to do 10 or 20 of wheels (say if I were converting all my locos to S7 standards) then I certainly would have done the job myself. However for only four wheels it just wasn’t worth the set up time or the cost of materials. The amount of metal I’d have needed to use just to set up the work holding jig to remove the flanges would have come out at a lot more than the cost of the Slater’s removal service and this would have been a one use only proposition. Unless I’d been going to reomve the flanges from wheels of the exact some diameter in the future the jig would have essentially sat in a drawer. So as I said yesterday, I like to do things myself but I’m not stupid šŸ™‚

I also spent some time over the past week catching up on my reading and was taking a look at Trevor Marshall’s Port Rowan blog. I was interested to see that Trevor had recently got himself a Sherline lathe and also a mill. After pointing out to him that Sherline had originally been an Aussie company, I wrote and asked him whether he’d written about the reasons for getting the lathe on his blog. Trevor’s a serious modeller and quite a deep thinker about our hobby so I was expecting his reasoning to run the gamut of perhaps a mid-life crisis, being dissatisfied with commercial offerings in his chosen scale, perhaps a developing need for an authentic experience of making things himself or perhaps a long held desire to replicate the fine detail on the models he needed for his layout with the deep satisfaction that comes from this. He replied that he hadn’t written about his reasons for getting the machines and that he bought the lathe because a person he knew was selling it and they offered him a price that was too good to refuse. See, I’m not the only one who likes to make things but isn’t stupid šŸ™‚

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