2511 N. Waco, Wichita 4, Kansas
On January 10th, 1957, I started putting ray copies of the 56 Iron-Men Album Magazines away for future reference. This should have taken about ten minutes but I started looking at this article and that one, and they're not put away yet!
There was a time when Willys Knight cars were compared to whisky, that they both got better with age. I will let some one else argue the merits of whisky (at any age) but as to these old cars, I owned one of them and I'm sure it was a better car new than it was five years later. This will not be true of the I.M.A. Magazines. Twenty-five years from now they (the present copies) will be real treasures.
It's cold this morning in Kansas (close to zero) and the ideal time to be working in a heated shop on these models of the ever-thrilling old steam traction engines.
I am doing it every day and wish to say that life is not dull for me. I am building a boiler and making up a new supply of 3 inch scale CASE 65 machined castings and other parts.
Recently I received some fine pictures of a 3 inch scale Case engine built by Eugene Dawson of 5700 First Ave. South, Seattle, Washington. He is very accurate in his workmanship and precise in all details of the models he builds.
He has proved to be a good friend of mine and has contributed much help to me and my model making efforts. This includes some pattern making and very fine detailed prints and drawings.
Some dimensions of his engine are as follows: Drive wheels 18' dia.; Front wheels 12' dia.; Length of boiler 42'; Dia. of shell 8'; Length over all 62'; Width over drivers 24'; Heighth to top of stack 32'; Bore and stroke 2/2 x 3/4'; Boiler copper.
I would like to make some remarks about model making and observations related to this subject that I have become aware of in the past five years.
First, I would say that the man who builds a model in close detail and copies some original engine closely will be recognized as a top model maker. Many fellows who would like to build models like this do not have the time, equipment and in many cases, I fear, the money and skill necessary for this quality of miniature engines.
For anyone wishing to build a model or miniature engine, this certainly need not be the end of the story. A miniature engine in three inch scale of the average original steam traction engine will cost from $100 to $3500. This is indeed spreading the cost over a large area but $100 engines have been built many times.
The first value of building an engine is for the benefit of the builder. If he does the best he can with the skill, money and time he has, he need not fear that his friends will not like it and enjoy watching it run, wherever he shows it. I have seen crowds of people gather around small engines that were far from being all that was desired in design and workmanship compared to the almost-perfect model at the same show. It would be a sorry situation if the model lover would not build an engine because he could not match the perfection and style of the better-equipped and skilled machinist.
I say build your engine, you will enjoy the work and the results!
Suggestions for Cutting the Cost
We have two model supply companies in the United States that offer for sale, and at very low prices too, a wide variety of engines and engine parts, machined and in-the-rough castings. (I am not referring to supplies I sell which are actually not in the low price bracket.) From these companies can be bought cylinders and other engine parts up to 2 1/4 x 2' bore and stroke. These are the important parts of a steam engine and they can be used with whatever type or free style engine you want to make.
As these are not scale models of any particular engine, you may use salvage parts of old cream separators or other machines for gears. Gears are very expensive when bought new from gear supply companies. Use some ball bearings in the valve linkage and other small working parts that usually wear fast, cause lost motion and racket. (The true scale model maker is stuck with small bushings and other poor-wearing parts or he will lose true prototype.)
Ball bearing races bought new cost from $2.50 to $4.95 each. Almost any aircraft salvage supply company will have them for 25cent.
Keeping your engine in good proportion with full size engines is the first consideration if you want your engine to be one of the really attractive miniatures. It will cost you nothing to take a few measurements from any engine in your neighborhood, scale it down for size, not detail, to the size engine you intend to build. I refer especially to length of boiler and shell diameter, diameter of front and rear wheels and if the engine is side or rear mounted. Also the diameter of flywheel. Build free style from there without regard to detail of grouters, style of stack or other small parts.
This can be made of steel and if you are capable of doing a good job of electric welding your boiler will cost you practically nothing except for Flues which should be of good quality and are rather expensive.
Regardless of what size boiler you make, up to 12' dia. shell, use 1/4' thickness plate and shell material. There are certain qualities of steel recommended for electric welded boilers but usually it is not easily available to those not living close to large steel supply places. Do not use type 4130 or other comparable qualities of steel that would heat treat or change its qualities of hardness from the effect of electric or other types of welding. After all welding on the boiler is completed, normalize the welded places with the gas torch by heating one inch each way from the welded area to a very dull red. Better than that method is to have it normalized in an oven supervised by a professional heat treater. Bevel all joints for a hundred percent weld. Don't use a weld from each side of the joint with an unwelded place between. It will hold moisture and allow rusting in a place that cannot be inspected.
Give your boiler a 400 lb. per sq.in. hydro test and, in my opinion, it will be much safer in use than most of the full-size engines.