Progress

Due to an unexpected evening off (should have been driving the evening train tonight) I can do a Townsend Hook castings progress update in between the excitement of defrosting the freezer and reading Felix the Huddersfield Station Cats latest best selling book.

In the last update I explained the two sources and the two processes being used to get the castings for this project back on track and the slightly different routes being followed.

Method One was to get the items printed as waxes. These arrived today via Royal Mail and internal FR mail. I had arranged for them to be sent to Julie, the works administrator (& Garratt fireman) rather than to me.  This was a shrewd move. In the past I’ve had mail addressed to me handed to me whilst I am on an engine. Yesterday was the hottest for a long time and I was driving a double Fairlie, not the best place for heat sensitive parts!!

I took the parts out of a mass of cotton wool to mark them for where they need runners attaching and took this photo at that time. All is looking good and they will go off in the post tomorrow to the casters in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

The second method was to send the CAD files to a company that will both print the waxes and cast the items in brass.  As well as dual sourcing the slightly different production methods may mean that some castings may be better by one method and other by the other.

There isn’t a lot to show yet for this method beyond an online graphic that shows that most of it is in production and a few items have made it to packing.

I get home from messing about with steam engines on the 5th August and I expect that both these processes will deliver at about that time. I’ll do the next update around then once they have arrived.

Castings Update

After a lot of frustrating reworking, testing and then more reworking all the revised CADS are complete and have been submitted to the two sources for the next stage.

  • Set one: Printed Waxes, should catch up with me in Wales next week so I can review them and mark on them my preferred location for the castings sprues. (if you don’t tell them they stick them anywhere and obliterate the detail).  I’ll then send them to the caster who will cast from them to make patterns for mould making.
  • Set Two: My alternative source will be printing and casting parts that will be fettled and then used to cast replica parts. These should be waiting for me when I get back from Wales on the 5th August

Now with that out of the way can I put my feet up? Not a chance. Just a day left to get the VAT quarter returns done, a heap of orders to send out and to projects to finish and get shipped.

 

Grrrrr!!!!! – A Townsend Hook kit update

How to explain how p!ssed of I am without resorting to a page of expletives may well be beyond my writing capabilities.

Try this. Imagine you are walking barefoot through the house and you stub your toe on the end of a door right between your big toe and its neighbour. It hurts like hell but as you’re hopping up and down on your good leg you land on a Lego brick. Unable to stand, over you go and, on the way, down you bang your elbow (whoever named it your funny bone deserves a flogging). When you can eventually get up, you bang your head on a shelf. Think of all the bad language that would create, (if you’re not unconscious) and you’ll be getting close.

If you can take a moment to consider the good swear that would engender, I’ll try to explain where I am at with Townsend Hook without the bad language. We left the story full of hope that we had a solution to the castings from home printed patterns. That hope has, for now, been dashed.

The responses from UK casters has varied from not replying, to answering all the questions you didn’t ask in an email whilst not answering the ones you did, lecturing about the subject but quickly revealing they’ve got the topic wrong. I suspect their stubbornness may result in their Kodak moment in the future.  Truth is the majority of them are past the first flush of youth and don’t see a need to change in their lifetime.

The hope was the Polish caster recommended by the printer manufacturer. His response to my enquiry was “I print, cast and show You result.”   This seemed positive and his website showed results from prints that were encouraging.  There followed an exchange of e-mails discussing details with annoying gaps between communications. After awhile I started to realise we were going round in circles with the same questions being asked that had previously been answered but that there was nothing to show for it.  One of the discussion points was over whether to do them in bronze instead of brass as the harder material would fill the small cavities in the moulds and be easier to handle. This question was asked on the 20th June and was replied in the affirmative and with the request to get on and cast a full set as a demo.

This would be the first time I assumed he was getting on with them (and to be honest I was distracted issues with the new website).  When I received another e-mail on the 8th July asking the same questions I discovered that this was me being optimistic.

I replied to this one again saying to use bronze, asking him to confirm that he was getting on with printing them and asking for a date when I could expect them.

I heard nothing back but had to give him a day or so to reply but late last week concluded that we were on a hiding to nothing and that a Plan C was necessary. Continue reading