Sprinkler Crane Completed
I’ve now completed the sprinkler crane.
It was decided that the crane should have a proper interior and while the detail doesn’t much show once in place, it was felt worthwhile, if nothing else for the pictures.
A steam engine and boiler were fashioned, again, using parts around the house. A base with saddles was made of Plastruct.
The cylinder is a piece of ½” PVC pipe. The end caps are the chrome caps that were part of the tarpaulin snaps using in making the boom pullies. The Gods must have been smiling because these are a perfect fit into the PVC “cylinder.” One was drilled for the piston/connecting rod to protrude out from. The valve-gear housing atop the cylinder is a piece of rectangular Plastruct and the front access door is a Kadee shim ground to size. The connecting rods that link the piston to the flywheel and then to subsequent flywheel (located under the crane) are pieces of Plastruct tubing and the ends are nails bent 90 degrees. The flywheels are plastic train wheels with the flanges removed by spinning them on the drill press and using a file against the flanges.
The boiler is a contact lens wetting solution bottle. I drilled it and painted it ultra-flat black, but the paint flaked off when the bottle flexed. I roughed up the surface using sand paper and applied a primer before re-shooting the black, and the adhesion is now fine with no flaking at all, even after drilling another hole through the paint. The stack is a piece of brass pipe.
The front of the boiler door is a plastic cigar tube. I rough out the curvature of the cigar tube/boiler interface with a dremel wheel, then wrap sandpaper around the bottle/boiler and rub the cigar tube along the sandpaper to get the proper curvature. (I also did this for the Plastruct atop the cylinder.) I then drilled a hole for the firebox door near the right size and using a new X-acto blade, trimmed it to the opening after CA’ing the cigar tube around this hole. The holes were drilled in the side of the boiler for the steam lines and a control valve (a left over 1:29-scale brake wheel) was added. A light was added inside, with the light bulb first dipped in iridescent red glass paint. The steam lines are brass tubing. A solid brass rod was placed within the tube prior to cutting and bending it so that the tubes do not kink.
The cab was modified to include a driver’s seat. The seat is wooden ¼” x 3/4”molding with one side rounded and the frame is rectangular Plastruct. Controls made of Plastruct vinyl-covered wire were bent to shape and added. The control in Frank’s right hand slips into a piece of brass tube located under the floor while that in his left hand attaches into a hole near the mast. An I-beam was added across the top and a light was added to its backside within the cab.
The roof was cut out of “corrugated aluminum” plastic sheeting. After applying aluminum-colored spray paint to both sides, I used rubber bands to hold it to a piece of 4” round PVC and let it sit in the sun to soften and take the proper shape.
An overflowing coal bin with shovel was added behind the drivers seat and Frank was given a bucket of grease to keep things spinning freely. The coal is granite crusher fines (my ballast) that are colored with black ink/alcohol secured to the floor with CA. Frank’s bucket of grease, originally brown, was also colored with ink.