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    • May 26, 2017 11:33 PM EDT
    • Started to do the work on my mill today. This involves cutting the journal boxes to size and centering the bored hole for the ball bearings. It's always easier to bore the hole FIRST and then finish the sides last. I setup a steel angle plate and use a series of 1-2-3 blocks to establish the height and use Kant-Twist clamps to hold the journal box against the 90 degree face of the angle plate. I use a small piece of fine sandpaper between the plate and the aluminum block to help the block "hold" better while making the mill cuts. I "tap" the top of the block using a lead hammer to seat the block against the parallel sitting on the 1-2-3 blocks. When these blocks are tight and don't move, you know you are seated against the blocks with NO gap.



      Using my Starrett 6 inch base depth mics, I check the distance from the face I am cutting down to the round "match edge" I turned on the lathe. The round match edge is 1.750 in diameter and the journal box is 2 inches square when finished. So this depth is .125 deep from this face. That's how easy it is to get the bore EXACTLY centered in the block :).


      I check the diameter using a pair of 1-2 inch outside mics. It checks at 1.750.


      I use a set of 3 inch base depth mics to check the overall thickness of the journal box. This saves me removing the blocks to check that thickness with outside mics. Little "tricks" of the trade.


      This is the cutter I use to rough and finish these surfaces. This is a 3 inch diameter slab cutter with 6 sintered carbide toolbits mounted. As you sharpen these cutters , you have to adjust each toolbit to cut at the same height. I only use this cutter for doing aluminum and those cutters are still brand new after 35 years! Only used for fine finish work and dedicated to that purpose ONLY.


      Ready to setup the next block.

    • May 25, 2017 1:33 AM EDT
    • Gary,

      Following along here.  Probably better than e-mails.

    • May 24, 2017 11:20 PM EDT
    • Just wondering about your reasons.  I figured a man with your background would have some solid reasons.  

      I have noted that the quality "quick change" posts are very expensive as you said.  Plenty of cheap stuff available though

      I have thought about getting one but then I think of the down sides; cost is a factor of course, and then on my Chinese lathe it would be like a diamond in a goats a--, if you know what I mean.  But mostly I don't do enough lathe work or do it fast enough to require a "quick change"    anything 

      Loving your post's on your ride on!!!


    • May 24, 2017 7:48 PM EDT
    • Rick Marty said:


      It doesn't look like your using a quick change tool post

      What are your reasons for that??


      Hi Rick,

      Most of the tooling that I got with this lathe was the old Armstrong left, right and straight holders with the typical post and circular wedge setup. Biggest tool bit I can put in these is 1/4 square.

      Reason.......COST :).........some of the really nice "quick-change" products now are very pricey and I am pretty much old school :). I would dearly love to have a "Quick-change"! As you can see, I "adapted" an old tool holder to this small lathe (Atlas/Clausing 12 X 36) about 35 years ago. This holder is from an old 20 inch lathe and was part of some "junk" our old die shop was throwing away. Made a new adapter for the Atlas compound. With this holder, I can use 1/2 and 3/4 "sintered carbide" lathe tooling. I have so much of that tooling after 43 years in the trade (some even brand new in their boxes yet!) A dozen in each box. That cost today would be prohibitive and these are all American companies that have seen gone out of business. OR have been driven out of know what I mean :)!

    • May 24, 2017 7:17 PM EDT
    • Gary,

      It doesn't look like your using a quick change tool post

      What are your reasons for that??


    • May 24, 2017 6:54 PM EDT
    • Many years ago, I found a copy of Railroad Model Craftsman from before WWII.  It described building a locomotive (probably 0 Scale) from scratch.  The article opened with the phrase, "First, mill your driving wheels on your lathe."  That's it. Nothing else on milling the wheels.


      So much assumed knowledge, back then.  So much lost.

    • May 24, 2017 6:29 PM EDT
    • Thanks folks for the comments. One of the reasons I started this thread was to give those people who have never done any machining on a lathe or mill and to actually build something tangible from scratch, that there is nothing "mysterious" to this. You break a model down to it's basic parts and start making them. Not only can it be done with a large ride-on model like this "critter", but also models in the smaller scales like our garden variety trains.

    • May 24, 2017 2:18 PM EDT
    • Ken Brunt said:
      Sean McGillicuddy said:

      I'm really enjoying this thread Gary.. 

      Yea, ditto...............

      Last time I did any machine shop work was in high school.



      I worked for a summer in a machine shop owned by a friend of my father's during one summer.  That was back before all the ridiculous child labor laws came about, where kids couldn't get that kind of experience.  I remember doing a lot of sweeping. 


      I learned a lot, forgot most of it.

    • May 24, 2017 2:29 AM EDT
    • Sean McGillicuddy said:

      I'm really enjoying this thread Gary.. 

      Yea, ditto...............

      Last time I did any machine shop work was in high school.

    • May 24, 2017 1:16 AM EDT
    • Started the lathe work on the front faces of the journal boxes today. Changed to my 3-jaw chuck and used the jaws that are used for INSIDE holding situations. Note that each jaw is numbered 1, 2 and 3. There is also a corresponding number on the face of the chuck plate. You turn the scroll on the chuck with the chuck key until the scroll comes to the #1 jaw position. Place the jaw in the chuck and engage the scroll to grab the jaw. continue turning the chuck key until the beginning of the scroll reaches the #2 jaw position, then insert the proper jaw. Continue with the #3 jaw until it engages the scroll. Now all 3 haws are moving in towards the center of the chuck and are lined up to be concentric to the center of the lathe spindle. I know this chuck is accurate to within a couple of thousandths, which is close enough for what I'm doing. If I wanted to be more accurate, I would use the 4-jaw chuck.


      In this photo you can see that each jaw is numbered 1, 2 and 3.


      The corresponding numbers are shown on the face of the chuck. You can also see the scroll thread on the inside of the chuck and this is what engages the jaws as they move in and out. All three jaws move simultaneously and accurately to the center of the lathe spindle. This chuck is 6 inches in diameter and weighs about 20 pounds.


      Turning the front face of the journal box.


      1.125 hub face completed.


      This is how I use an indicator to dial in accurate steps when turning on a lathe. The hub face is .125 above the face of the rest of the journal box.


      First journal placed roughly over it's new pocket. When I start the milling work, I will mill slots in the sides of the journal that will allow the journal to slide up and down with a single coil spring as suspension.


      The backside of the journal box with the "round match edge" boss used to center the front face hub to the center of the bearing bored hole.

    • May 23, 2017 6:52 AM EDT
    • I'm really enjoying this thread Gary.. 

    • May 22, 2017 10:10 PM EDT
    • I have been preparing my older Baldwin electric for its "reworked" Sunbeam Golden Glow headlights. I will be picking up both headlights from the Master Model Maker who is doing his "magic" to these old Mercer Locomotive Company products (located in New Jersey). He added chromed copper "spin casting" reflectors, photo-etched glass number boards (3 layers of glass just like the prototype) and Krypton gas light bulbs. Our Spring Meet at Los Angeles Live Steamers is this coming weekend and the model maker will deliver them at that time.

      So I was finally able to get back to working on my Eaton Super Husky today. First step is to prep each block for milling and boring for the ball bearings for the axles. The bearings are sealed, 1.125 outside diameter and .500 inside diameter for the tip of the axles. The axle stock is CRS and 3/4 inch in diameter.

      There are four journal boxes roughly 2 inches square. This first operation is to establish a 1.750 diameter round "match edge". This enables me to turn the block around and "turn" detail on the front of the journal and keep the front detail concentric to the rear detail which is the bored hole that holds the ball bearing. In that operation, I will use my 3-jaw chuck which automatically centers the work. In this photo you can see the back face of the journal box. When I do the milling operation, this "match edge" will be used to CENTER the slots in the journal that slides in the milled pockets on the chassis frame.


      The drilled hole will help to start the boring job for the ball bearings. When the journals are completely machined and finished, this match edge will be machined away. Chuck it up in the four-jaw chuck and in a few minutes, it's gone.



      You can see the rough aluminum stock that I start with sitting on the lathe compound.


      More lathe work tomorrow. And then onto the milling machine to do the slots.

    • May 19, 2017 1:46 AM EDT
    • Today I was finally able to try all the parts together for a fit. Had to make sure all the drilled and reamed holes "lined up" and everything fastened together correctly. I ran out of fasteners before a complete assembly could be finished. I will get more tomorrow. But everything went together snug and tight. The frame came out absolutely "square" and "straight".


      Put the hood shell on for location.


      Bottom side of the engine looking at the bed plate. I will leave the .1885 reamed holes in place before opening up these holes for the 10-24 button head screws. The reason for not enlarging the holes now is the I still need to mill out the coupler pocket rectangle in the front and rear end plates and provide the space for the coupler tang (which is roughly 7/8 inches square).


      This photo shows the two 1 X 1 X 24 long angle aluminum that supports the sides and bed plate together.


      Here you can see the four journal box pockets in the side frames. Again, I machined these pockets with the two sides dowel pinned together so that the pockets are exactly opposite and 90 degrees to each other. No axle or bearing misalignment this way.

    • May 15, 2017 11:35 PM EDT
    • Monday night update on my Super Husky build..........

      Cut the tapered ends to the side plates on Saturday. Did all the set-up calculations and trig on my computer using MasterCam. This computer program was also used to make our seven Baldwin P.E. box cab locomotives. All parts were drawn on the computer and the tool paths were programmed. Verified the cutter moves using the Verification module in the program. Then we set the parts up on a Haas horizontal CNC mill and also used an old Bridgeport Bandit mill. This system almost makes it too easy to build these 1/8th scale model locomotives :).


      Using a 2-flute 3/4 inch diameter spiral end mill at 600 rpm and WD-40 as a lubricant/coolant.


      You can see the Mitutoyo bevel vernier protractor in the background. Once I checked the angle on this first cut, I didn't have to check the other three tapers. The 1-2-3 blocks were in place along with the stop block. Because the sides were still pinned in place, it was just a matter of flipping the pieces over and putting up against the fixture blocks. No checking, just use the dials again for the final cuts. Fixture set-ups can be a great time saver when doing similar multiple cuts over and over.


      I milled the finish lengths to the 1 inch X 1 inch aluminum angle today for the four corner supports to assemble the side plates and the end plates of the chassis each 3-1/2 inches long and the two 1 inch X 1 inch X 24 inch long aluminum angle to attach the engine bed plate to the sides and ends. Using a 4-flute 3/4 inch diameter spiral end mill at 600 rpm and WD-40 as a lubricant/coolant.

      That's all for tonight. Tomorrow, I'll layout the holes in the corner support and the bed plate support and hopefully have it assembled tomorrow.

       My two P.E. Baldwin electrics. Baldwin-Westinghouse 1600 series. The black engine #203 was built over 35 years ago as a Los Angeles Live Steamers 28 engine project. The unpainted sister engine was built entirely by computer including drawing and machining all parts. The old engine has Mercer Locomotive Sunbeam headlamps with an LED bulb. The new engine has Sunbeam Golden Glow headlamps custom made by Master Model Maker Jack Bodenmann. It uses Krypton gas bulbs. More realistic lighting and closer to what the Golden Glow prototype. Since this photo was taken last year, the old headlamps were completely remade by Jack and a new reflector and bulb and photo-etched glass number boards installed. I get delivery of these headlights at the LALS Spring Meet in a couple of weeks.


      EDIT and update on the above mentioned Baldwin electrics:

      As I mentioned before, the Baldwin P.E. box cab on your LEFT is about 35 years old and the Mercer Locomotive headlights are original to that engine. The electric on your RIGHT is a new engine and the headlights were made by a Master Model Maker named Jack Bodenmann.

      Today I picked up my old Mercer headlights after Jack rebuilt them. The following photos are the BEFORE and AFTER shots.

      The BEFORE photos:


      The AFTER photos taken this afternoon:


      Brand new 3-layered glass photo-etched number boards, spin casting chrome plate reflector and illiminated by Krypton gas bulbs. He even repainted and added the micro-etched brass builder's plate! Also note the curved glass bezel on the headlight face.

    • May 13, 2017 12:22 PM EDT
    • Thanks for the comments folks.


      I know how you feel about starting to make chips. I just sold my 90% completed 1-1/2 inch scale Gene Allen ten wheeler steam engine. I have been building it since 1981 as a kit. Between kids and family and eventually health issues, it just seemed like it was going to take more time to finally finish it. A young man at Los Angeles Live Steamers kept asking me if I wanted to sell and I kept putting him off. I finally decided it was time to sell it (I'm 73 and way too many projects going). The buyer is 28, a corporate jet pilot and has the funds and resources to finish it. He is now the new "caretaker" and has the engine running on air. And I have "other" locomotives to finish (seven (yes 7) 1/8th scale Baldwin P.E. electrics), a couple of pieces of 1/8th scale rolling stock. Also have a 7-1/2 inch gauge short line railroad to complete around the house!! Posting photos and dialog on LSC keeps ME motivated. When you get your rail and ties from Enterprise Plastics, you WILL be motivated!


      Narrow Gauge Lover:

      This Super Huskie critter is a nice project and so easy to build (with the proper tools, not for everyone though). Aluminum is so much easier to work with than steel. Easy on cutters and easy on machinery.



      Buy a Starrett model #827A or a #827B (double-ended). Mitutoyo also makes edge finders. I just prefer Starrett. Of course mine are over 35 years old.

      This one would probably be your best choice for what you are using it for. have a couple of these and a double-end one (has a pointed end for locating EXISTING holes in your work piece).

      Link to a double-ended edge finder:

    • May 13, 2017 10:13 AM EDT
    • Gary,
      What would you recommend for an edge finder? I've got a x/y table setup on my mini drill press and would like to start using it more. Seeing how you used the edge finder now makes a lot more sense in locating parts. Yes, its not a mill, and I don't plan on using it to mill, but I would like to start learning the basics in case someday I can acquire a mill.

    • May 13, 2017 10:05 AM EDT
    • quite a project. . .

    • May 13, 2017 7:37 AM EDT
    • Keep em coming Gary.  I'm really enjoying this.  Looking forward to seeing the assembly in your next installment.  It's almost painful to watch, because I want to start making chips too but I'm months away from that at this point.  I just got my machines moved up to our new place, and this coming weekend I go back for the rest of the shop equipment.Unfortunate ly I'm just cramming it all in the garage for now until I build the shop addition off the garage. I should break ground on that in about 3 more weeks.  Thanks for keeping me motivated!


    • May 13, 2017 12:50 AM EDT
    • Continuing with more photos of the Super Huskie "build".........

      Finished the journal box pockets last night. Tonight I had a little time to "pick-out" the small corners at the top of the pockets. This is the area where the small aluminum block slides into the pocket and is the stop for the single coil spring. Theoretically this could be a sharp corner, but the aluminum block can be relieved to slide all the way to the top of the pockets. But this is still a small cutter 3/16 diameter and cutting 1/2 deep. Best way to do this is to use the cutter as a "broaching" tool and just raise and lower the quill. No spring that way and absolutely vertical the full 1/2 inch depth.

      BTW, a side note here...the scrap piece of paper is actually a "tool". After you finish milling a nice wall (such as these on the journal pockets, you sure don't want to "mark" the wall with the smaller cutter as you set that cutter's dial setting. To keep from doing that, you get a scrap of paper, measure the thickness of the paper (in this case it is .003. You dial the smaller cutter up close to the wall as you put the paper between the rotating cutter flutes and the finish wall. Slowly and carefully dial the cutter into the work piece until the flutes "just start to grab "grab" the paper. The cutter will actually pull the paper scrap out of your fingers when you are .003 away from the wall and the wall will NOT be marked. Depending on how "tight" your machine is, you dial another .002 farther in and you will be away from the work by .001. Close enough and the work is still pristine. You can also do this on a lathe.


      The spindle is not running in this photo so you can see the cutter (0.1875 dia. and 1/2 inch flute, spiral HS). Notice I used a heavy duty Jacobs chuck for this. Not good machining protocol, but I needed to see the cutter. I could have used my 3/8 R8 collet, but then I really couldn't see the cutter. A machinist "work-around".


      With the spindle running at 1000 rpm.


      A little nachine shop "graffiti". Grease pencil marks noting the table dial position for the pockets. The numbers marked with an "F" is the finish wall cuts for the large end mill and the "circled" numbers are for the 3/16 end mill for the corners only. When I turn these pieces over, I can then finish the small corners in the other pockets and still use these same dial settings.



      Tomorrow I machine the angles on the side plates and then assemble the chassis for the first time including the bedplate for the cab and hood parts.