G Scale Model Train Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,695 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Here's a photo of the first of a series of modifications I'm making to a Bachmann On30 4-4-0. My goal is to make it more representative of standard Baldwin narrow gauge 4-4-0s of the late 1800s.


This photo shows new fluted steam and sand domes I turned in brass, and a new Precision Scale Stevens stack. I also cut off the smokebox extension.





I'll post additional photos as progress is made.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
759 Posts
Dwight,

Looking good! I'll definitely be watching this thread with interest. Thanks for sharing.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
60 Posts
What layout? hehehe It's still in my head at present.


I know what you mean. Although I did finally get most of the track and switches I need. Now I'm working with XtrakCad trying to cram all I want onto a shelf layout. My brain thinks HO scale when I look at the track but even small O scale buildings have a large footprint.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
239 Posts
Dwight,

I know what a milling machine is but what is a CNC milling machine--and what does something like that cost? Would a less expensive one, say from Harbor freight work for hobby use, I am considering that something like that might be helpful, but I have never used one.

Matt
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
5,695 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Matt - CNC stands for "Computer Numerical Control" - essentially, a computer drives stepper motors attached to each of the X-Y-Z axes following a program written in g-code. The computer can cut things with far greater precision than a human being. The radial boiler cutouts on the domes are a good example. While this could certainly be done by hand, cutting a circle/radius requires precise manipulation of both the X and Y axes simultaneously. A good machinist could do it - but I'm not a good machinist. hehehe
Something simple like this could also be done with a hand file and some sandpaper - but my motto is "never use muscles when there's an electric motor that will do the same job." ;)


The rig I bought is from Sherline[/b][/b], and came with everything needed to get up and running - milling machine, accessories, computer with stepper driver and pre-loaded CNC software, stepper motors already mounted - the works. Total cost was around $3000.00. I later added a CNC lathe, also from Sherline, that uses the same computer, stepper driver, and software, so I didn't have to buy those components a second time. I used the lathe under CNC control to turn these domes.

I originally bought these tools to make #21. More details about them are contained in my NPC #21 Builders Log Pt. I[/b][/b] and Pt. II[/b][/b], especially the first couple of pages of Pt. I. As is usually the case, now that I have them, I'm finding other uses for them as well. To me, it was well worth the investment - roughly comparable to an Accucraft live steam K-28, and less than a cab forward. One only needs to buy such tools once, and if one buys good tools, they last a lifetime.

As to Harbor Freight, it wouldn't do what these tools will do. First off, Harbor Freight's is not CNC. Also, when buying machine tools such as these, precision mechanisms are all important for maintaining good work tolerances. Less expensive tools are known for sloppy fits producing large tolerances in the work being produced. Again, a good machinist can compensate for less than stellar tools and produce good work on them, but at a higher cost in man-hours and patience (not to mention knowledge and experience). Like I said, I'm not a good machinist. :)

Bottom line, you get what you pay for as usual. Much depends upon what you want to do with the tool, how long you expect it to last, and what you're willing to pay. However, your initial goals will probably change as you discover more things you can do with the machine. I learned a long time ago that, for me at least, if I want to buy a power tool, to pay a little more and get a good one. I can't tell you all the tools I've had to buy again because I bought a cheap one up front.

MHO for whatever it's worth. :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
239 Posts
YAH Dwight, you are right--I do know better. I am looking to replace my inexpensive table saw with a better one--wasted money there.

Put one of these on my wish list--boy that list is getting long!!!

Matt
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
239 Posts
I was looking at that one, and the DELTA--trying to see if I can afford the Bessymer (sp?) fence system . Always been a big fan of DELTA/Porter Cable tools.

Matt
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
759 Posts
I can HIGHLY reccomend the Biesemeyer fence! I've used one (unfortunately not on my own table saw) on my father's Delta saw, and found it to be accurate to within 1/64". Compared to my own 30+ year old Craftsman saw, where I must set each end of the fence separately using a tape measure, such accuracy and precision are a blessing.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top