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Post  GeorgeTB on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 7:46 pm

Good evening all,

I've been a long term steam enthusiast and for a very long time I've dreamed of owning a steam engine. I've nursed a softspot for miniatures (I lack the money/space for a full size sadly!) and the concept of a kit a month appeals a lot. Furthermore, the wife seems pretty on board as well (which is the BIG factor). Whilst I am not in a position to start a kit immediately I've been pondering on feasibility. I am familiar with restoration work but my experience is all internal combustion - I am currently fully restoring a grey fergie which is nearly done.

I was wondering if any of you could help me with the questions below? I didn't want to go ringing STW at the moment as it is still all ideas in my head/a bit of a feasibility study. I am also well aware these may be stupid questions!

- Firstly, what level of engineering requirements are there? I know that the kits are hand finishing only, but how far does that extend? I've read plenty of builders threads on here which mention "fettling". I am familiar with fettling at a mechanics level (e.g. drilling and re-tapping holes, filing edges) but what more advanced skills would it be worth knowing/required? For example, I have no experience in lathe/milling work nor facilities to do so even for small things.

- Secondly, how big a build space is required? I know that is a bit "how long is a piece of string" and is model dependent, but is this something I can manage in a garage-like space (e.g. 2ft all around the model) or do I need a bigger workshop? I appreciate more is usually better for these things.

- Thirdly - What equipment is required beyond the usual hand tools? I have the usual spanners/sockets/drills/pliers/taps but I was wondering if any special kit is required. Also, could anyone fill out on if things in the kit are imperial or metric? (or both!)

- Finally, are some of the models more complicated to build than others? What I really have a soft spot is definitely for the Fodens, especially the 6", although they can be more space intensive.

Thank you in advance and apologies if the above are daft/stupid!

Kind regards,

George.
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Post  Simon C on Sun 28 Jun 2020, 9:01 pm

Hi George
First of there is no such thing as a stupid question if it is for the purpose of gaining knowledge.

You asked

What level of engineering requirements are there? I know that the kits are hand finishing only, but how far does that extend? I've read plenty of builders threads on here which mention "fettling". I am familiar with fettling at a mechanics level (e.g. drilling and re-tapping holes, filing edges) but what more advanced skills would it be worth knowing/required? For example, I have no experience in lathe/milling work nor facilities to do so even for small things.

Answer- No lathe or milling work required just bench fitting that's deburring and fettling.

Next you asked

how big a build space is required? I know that is a bit "how long is a piece of string" and is model dependent, but is this something I can manage in a garage-like space (e.g. 2ft all around the model) or do I need a bigger workshop? I appreciate more is usually better for these things.

Answer- half a normal sized single garage or a reasonable garden shed would be adequate for a traction engine but a 6" foden will require a lot more space. The dimensions for all the STW kits are on the website.

Next you asked

What equipment is required beyond the usual hand tools? I have the usual spanners/sockets/drills/pliers/taps but I was wondering if any special kit is required. Also, could anyone fill out on if things in the kit are imperial or metric? (or both!)

Answer- probably a grinder with some flap wheels and possibly a Dremel. as to imperial/metric they are mainly metric with an odd ME,BSP or BA thrown in for good measure it depends largely on the kit you choose as to the mix of each, that said a set of metric taps will do most all you will need.

Finally you asked

Are some of the models more complicated to build than others? What I really have a soft spot is definitely for the Fodens, especially the 6", although they can be more space intensive.

Answer- yes some are a lot more involved than others, an agricultural engine only has one cylinder and hence only one conrod and one valve. a compound engine ( thats one that uses the steam twice ) has 2 pistons hence 2 conrods and 2 sets of valve gear to set up.
The instructions given with each of the kit are excellent and very easy to follow and if all else fails Will in technicals at STW will be able to sort things out
and then there is this forum.

Hope that covers it all for you

Simon C
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Post  lynnr on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 11:15 am

Hi

Now question you do not know the answer to is not a silly question.

- Firstly, what level of engineering requirements are there? I know that the kits are hand finishing only, but how far does that extend? I've read plenty of builders threads on here which mention "fettling". I am familiar with fettling at a mechanics level (e.g. drilling and re-tapping holes, filing edges) but what more advanced skills would it be worth knowing/required? For example, I have no experience in lathe/milling work nor facilities to do so even for small things.

All the kits are hand tool finishing only. Only power tools needed are a drill to clear holes if needed (very few), angle grinder for cleaning and fettling.

- Secondly, how big a build space is required? I know that is a bit "how long is a piece of string" and is model dependent, but is this something I can manage in a garage-like space (e.g. 2ft all around the model) or do I need a bigger workshop? I appreciate more is usually better for these things.

I built my showmans in a standard width garage. Until you get the boiler. Its all sub assemblies until my boiler were kept in my beadroom.

- Thirdly - What equipment is required beyond the usual hand tools? I have the usual spanners/sockets/drills/pliers/taps but I was wondering if any special kit is required. Also, could anyone fill out on if things in the kit are imperial or metric? (or both!)

I did do a list of all the tools I used in the DCC thread area. Just do a search for it.

- Finally, are some of the models more complicated to build than others? What I really have a soft spot is definitely for the Fodens, especially the 6", although they can be more space intensive.

Agricultural is a single crank. So only one piston etc. The SCC and DCC are twin piston with the added valves and motion work. Again all filly machined and instructions are easy to follow. No "timing" or tuning required other than setting the valve spindle lengths and the reversing lever. Fodens are two piston, different gears, diff and stearing box.
lynnr
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Post  Will@STW on Mon 29 Jun 2020, 12:00 pm

Hi George

echoing what Simon and Lynn have already said the only questions that are silly are ones that the person asking already know the answers to.

If during your build you find that a part needs more machining for whatever reason then just drop me an email, send the part back to us and we will put it right or replace it with one that is correct. The largest tool you will require is an angle grinder (anything more than that and we will do what ever we can to fix the issue). I know of a few people who are building our full size steam car in a garage so depending on which one you want you might be able to do it in a standard garage, the 6 inch short wheel base for example should be doable in your garage, however the 6 inch C type might be a bit of a squeeze.

Many thanks

Will@STW

_________________
If only we made a Marshall  Laughing
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Post  Midwest Steam on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 3:54 am

I would add a couple of tools to the list; set of Allen keys, A corded drill (cordless works fine but using it with a wire or flap wheel will drain the batteries fast), and a set of files of all types. I use files all the time to deburr the edges before paint and to fettle some parts for a better fit.

This one is optional but it’s proven to be very valuable, and that is an engine hoist and a lifting strap. If you have someone to help move the boiler and help attach the tender then it’s probably not necessary but very helpful to have, if you’re looking at the 2” you wouldn’t need one but a 4” it’s more justifiable.  A floor jack is also nice to have for putting the wheels on but it isn’t really necessary but these larger engines get heavier as the build progresses


Last edited by Midwest Steam on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 1:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  GeorgeTB on Tue 30 Jun 2020, 10:24 am

Thank you very much everyone for your words of wisdom! I think I need to get the tape measure out and see what may fit in my space!
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Post  LiveSteam on Wed 01 Jul 2020, 10:40 pm

May I add a 5th question to yourself Very Happy

What do you plan to do afterwards.

That may seem a odd question at this stage but it might be worth considering, do you see yourself as just a builder and then to just steam in your garden with some local road runs, or do you see yourself attending the rallies and how this is achieved.

The answer may, or may not, sway what you decide to build, but I feel may be worth thinking about now.
A 6" Foden LWB for instance needs more thought when it comes to transporting compared to say a 4" agri compared to a 2" Agri.

Even the difference between a 4" agri to the 4" DCC or Showmans is a fair difference when it comes to needing to get it to the rally field.

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Post  GeorgeTB on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 2:04 pm

LiveSteam wrote:May I add a 5th question to yourself Very Happy

What do you plan to do afterwards.

That may seem a odd question at this stage but it might be worth considering, do you see yourself as just a builder and then to just steam in your garden with some local road runs, or do you see yourself attending the rallies and how this is achieved.

The answer may, or may not, sway what you decide to build, but I feel may be worth thinking about now.
A 6" Foden LWB for instance needs more thought when it comes to transporting compared to say a 4" agri compared to a 2" Agri.

Even the difference between a 4" agri to the 4" DCC or Showmans is a fair difference when it comes to needing to get it to the rally field.

An excellent question and one I have considered. Showing/rallies would be my intention once completed, alongside local road runs. We are actually lucky enough to have a trailer/car set up which would suit (just!) a LWB foden. The trailer being 12ft X 6ft is a bit tight on length but it should fit going on the measurements on the STW page which put the LWB at 11.5ft long to around 4ft wide. I bought it for taking my little Fergie places when it is done - the Fergie being 9.5ft X 5.5ft.

The downsides being it is an open ifor williams trailer and not a box, and it is 2 ton gross weight. As the trailer is around 700kg solo it could end up pushing the allowed weight. I know the website says "just over a ton" but going through the forum the consensus seems to be around 1.3t for a completed LWB if I went down the Foden route. I would likely need to weigh the hypothetical LWB when completed and depending on that go for a box trailer instead, with a higher gross weight, to allow for the of carrying water/coal/camping equipment/security - although that would be the 2.5/3 years down the road if I go for it! I'd also need to go for my towing licence test but I was going to do that anyway until Covid-19 came along and closed the test centres temporarily.

In terms of model it's the Foden LWB 6" is the one which has really caught my eye, but the size/complexity is a big consideration. I really like the 4" showmans as well but having looked at various threads (Crystal, Fredrick etc.) I just don't think I could pull off all the fancy work to the level I would like - To say some of the engines on here are absolutely stunning is an understatement. In terms of size, the SWB Foden 6" is far more manageable, but then comes with the added quandary of really needing a traction trailer/cart/similar for passengers, which then needs further transport. The LWB allows ample bed space for that without a trailer.

My wife is actually really supportive of doing it - it's me who keeps churning over the details and questioning if I can do it. Once I pull my digit out on the Fergie (hopefully only 4 weeks to completion) I can clear the ground for a new garage/shed, which would be the potential home for a miniature. I really must also drop STW a line to see what the lead time etc. is, as that is very relevant if they are awaiting a batch to fill up or if it can be done off-the-shelf.

Even I will admit it that it sounds like I am in denial given all my planning and that I just need to pick up the phone...
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Post  lynnr on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 3:40 pm

On the trailer length.

If it was open or soft rear. The Foden is very front heavy. So if the back of the engine stuck out over the trailer it would actually balance better. So the long wheelbase would fit a shorter trailer. I was at one point going to build a 6" LWB Foden and alter my canvas trailer cover to have zip on extensions out the back but alas that fell through.

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Post  LiveSteam on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 4:07 pm

Not at all, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail .....think thats right Laughing

Think I went through 12mths of planning before ending up with my Agri, and that I didnt build myself as my wife didnt want bits of traction engine around the house for 2 years Embarassed

Where they are in the batches may well be your best first port of call.

The Fodens are a bit of a pocket rocket, they really suit road runs and munch the miles with ease and confort. As you say the LWB is an all in one solution for carrying passengers and equipment, where as a traction engine you really need seperate trailers and the paraphernalia that goes with them.
From a personal view I would love a showmans, as I can think of nothing better than to be sat at the beer tent generating with a pint. But having sat on many showmans I find the view out the front to be quite restrictive, which is understandable given the nature of the beast and as most of my time is spent roaming the rally field, more than sitting at the beer tent, personally I decided to leave the showmans to those who like polishing cos theres a lot of that on one Laughing
I'd like the DCC road loco or even a 6" Savage although that takes me out of the STW comfort zone of spares, but for now the Agri will surfice, its simple, fairly easy to move about, doesnt take up a vast amount of space just isnt ideal on road runs.


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Post  GeorgeTB on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 4:13 pm

LiveSteam wrote:
From a personal view I would love a showmans, as I can think of nothing better than to be sat at the beer tent generating with a pint. But having sat on many showmans I find the view out the front to be quite restrictive, which is understandable given the nature of the beast and as most of my time is spent roaming the rally field, more than sitting at the beer tent, personally I decided to leave the showmans to those who like polishing cos theres a lot of that on one  Laughing  

Cannot lie - the dream of being sat outside arts at Dorset with a Showmans ticking away nicely in the dusk is very very satisfying. But for the same reason you've said I am just not sure it's for me.

Nonetheless, having seen people standing next to six inch Foden's they look like they would still satisfy my beer-glass-leaning-height requirements Laughing
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Post  lynnr on Thu 02 Jul 2020, 5:15 pm

The roof of a showman is ideal bar top height. Just dont leave the class rings
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Post  GeorgeTB on Thu 06 Aug 2020, 7:09 pm

It looks like I'll have to start referring to myself as a "potential" builder and change it to an "Expected" builder. I've put the deposit down and ordered the Foden 6 inch. Here is to an exciting new chapter!
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Post  LiveSteam on Thu 06 Aug 2020, 8:08 pm

Excellent news, will look forward to lots of build updates cheers

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