Playing Trains & New Models

It had  been the plan that my next jottings would have been about my trip to Wales driving trains at the last bank holiday but, as is often the case, having skived off for a few days I came back to a load of catching up that precluded sitting at the PC and writing for pleasure. I’ll include a bit about that trip at the end [so you’ll either have to read the rest – or scroll to the bottom].

The thing that is filling all my time at the moment and causing more than a little anxiety is the plan to launch our new Townsend Hook Body kit at the 7mm NGA Convention in less than two weeks. When we made that public, it looked like we had loads of time but with the date approaching its looking incredibly tight.

Until Friday it looked like the critical item were going to be the brass castings. I had a bit of a panic when I phoned the caster to discuss timescales and the first thing he said was, “I’m on holiday next week”.  Anyway, a cunning plan was hatched that actually gives me next week to get the waxes done.  Taking advantage of the 3D printer we’re doing things a bit differently.  Traditionally, you made a master, they made a mould from it, in that mould they poured wax and made many wax replicas of your master and added runners, made a ceramic mould around the waxes, burnt the wax out and poured molten metal in.  The new way is to print the multiple waxes using a castable wax resin in the 3D printer.  That sidestepped that critical item, at least for now.

Having done the design for the parts in CAD the first thing to do was to print them in ordinary resin (cheaper) to make sure they print and fit the model when done. Attempt 1 showed some opportunities to improve the designs and attempt two printed them successfully.

Given that the printer normally runs unsupervised and there are other things to develop I set off two print the final iteration of the loco body and a further revision of the hopper wagons. The plan was that it would print these overnight whilst I post processed the detail parts and checked their fit.  The printer had other ideas!   It also waited until support had knocked off for a long weekend.

The problem turned out to be that the fingers in the left image weren’t contacting the pads in the middle and right images. The pads are on the resin tanks and allow the printer to identify and control the tanks. It looked like printing in the standard grey resin is off the cards until Tuesday. Tuesday two things happen that should restart progress, support is back, and new supplies of resin and a spare tank arrive.

Luckily, they don’t get bank holiday Monday in Germany, so support was on the case on Monday and by Monday evening we were able to print in the standard grey resin. Unfortunately, the different tank used with Castable Wax resin still refuses to be recognised.   This has been diagnosed as a tank fault and a new one is being sent but its going to go right down to the wire as to whether the waxes for the brass components for the Fletcher Jennings kit can be done in time.

Launch Day & Taking Advance Orders

Plan A was not to take advanced orders for this model. There were two reasons for this: –

  • I want to make something of launch day and actually have stock on the shelf for sale and,
  • I didn’t really want to add this loco to the old website just as its about to be changed to the new one.

I have had a rethink given this current production pain I am suffering.  Plan B is:

  • Any and all of these kits I can get packed prior to the show will be available at the 7mm NGA Convention on Saturday 9th June in The Town Hall, Burton Upon Trent.
  • No advanced orders will be filled until after the show. Any stock left after the show may be used to fill advanced orders but in reality, they will be filled in small batches as fast as I can get all the parts together.
  • You may now place orders via this page on my website. Order Townsend Hook.  There is one minor change in our T&Cs on these orders. Previously, your card wouldn’t be charged until the items were ready to ship. Our new website won’t do this, it will charge as you order, so we are doing the same with these orders and at some point, the page will change from the old website to the new one.

The good news is that with printing resumed in standard grey further progress has been made. Loco bodies have been printed as have proving copies of what will be brass castings.

The critical path will remain getting the waxes for the small parts printed before the postal deadline. This is what may ultimately determine how many kits are available at the 7mm NGA convention.

Once the wax deadline is reached the printer will switch back to printing the resin body kit parts and, providing nothing goes wrong, I can print more bodies than I can produce waxes before next weekend

I will add further post to this blog as we progress toward the show date.


Now for some trains

OK, for the persistent (or scrollers) I promised you some steam action.  Over the early May Bank holiday I was in Wales driving trains for five days. There was no gala but with special trains running in conjunction with Tornado running on the North Wales coast we had nine engines being prepared on Saturday morning.  Not everything went to plan. The graphic below shows what I should have been driving on the top row and what I actually drove on the bottom row

OK, so day 1 was shunting, day 2 was a swap as I’d rather drive Blanche but Merddin was damaged whilst up the WHR on Saturday so I got DLG for Sunday (failed DLG too, and Lyd came out in sympathy), Got Blanche for Monday double heading with Linda on the first train and solo on the second and then had a mended DLG for Tuesday as Lyd was still out.

If you wonder why I do this a video may help

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