Sunday, 16 February 2020

Pipe Up at the Back

The vacuum brake gear was fitted to KS4415 in February 1929. They produced six drawings to show how to make this modification, and the August 18 blog describes how some of this information has been used to make the vacuum pump. Even the pipe clips and timber packers are detailed on an individual basis.

This is the process followed for one of the clips:

Extract from drawing 33737:

First, formed up on a jig:

Drilled using a radial arm drill:


Timber packer made:

And finally fitted to the hind buffer beam:

Off to the Foundry

Preparing drawings and planning for patterns is all well and good and requires both time and skill, but we need to draw a line in the sand somewhere, or at least make a mark in the sand and start pouring molten metal. The first three patterns have now been dispatched to the foundry.
These are -

For the rocker covers:

For the radiator header ‘nameplate’ (which is to be cast off this original):

And for a McLaren-Benz plate to fit to the engine block. The photo below shows the pattern in production, based on a rubbing taken from the Armley Mills MDB4:

The finished product:

We need four rocker covers and one off of each of the plates. If your man-cave needs retro-Diesel memorabilia then get in touch, we’re having a couple of spares cast.

More on Fuel Pumps & Governor

A bit more on the fuel pump & governor & the timing gear train which drives them.

The image below is of the timing gear cover, with the fuel pump wheel in situ:

The drive from the back of this wheel to the governor is a simple fork. The bracket which carried the fuel pump/ governor body has also been fitted in this photo so we can check some dimensions:

This is the drawing Will High is preparing of the casting which will sit on these brackets:

Some of the information used in the drawing has been taken from the MDB2 fuel pump body (below) and we have also measured up some components on the pump on the MDB4 owned by Armley Mills:

Progress on drawing up the cam followers for the fuel pumps.

McLaren call these ‘Kicker for Fuel Pump Plunger’ and they are components 569 & 570 in the ‘I-Spy fuel pumps’ diagram in the last blog. We of course need four, the two in the photo being from the MDB2:

This drawing shows a cam and kicker together with the fuel pump plunger in place in the casting. The kickers on the MDB4 pump we are replicating are carried on a radius arm (allowing the travel of the kicker & pump to be increased) rather than the slide arrangement in the MDB2 shown in the photos in the previous blog entry:

Finally a view of the timing train, MDB4 (left) & MDB2 (right):

Monday, 10 February 2020

Fuel Pumps and Governor

The thing which is particularly exercising our minds currently is the fuel & pump & governor; components which are missing from the MDB4 for which we have no drawings and one of the driving forces behind the loan of the roller from Armley Mills (blog 25 May 2019). There are a lot of bits which make up this sub-assembly, as shown in this diagram from the spare parts catalogue for MBD2 engines. We need to make all these components, large & small, simple and complex:

Having removed the pump body from the MDB2 and stripped it down into its components we could spend a happy hour with an old sheet re-creating the image above. With only twenty minutes and a towel you get some of the picture:

Obviously the focus is not on creating the Dorling Kindersley book of the MDB engine, but understanding how it worked and how we can clone these components. The view below shows the governor, fuel pump cams and cam follower’s sub-assembly:

The cams are rather crude. Their carrier can slide up and down in two guides to adjust the stroke (& volume of fuel injected):

The mechanism to adjust the stroke is controlled in the left hand side of the body by the throttle &/or the spring which resists the forces from the governor centrifuge (which are transmitted down the centre of the shaft carrying the governor). Not rocket science but difficult to explain succinctly. This movement is transferred to the carrier via a push rod with ball jointed ends:

If you compare these photos with the sectional drawing in the 25 May 2019 blog it can be seen that while the same basic principles apply, the layout is completely different. We’ve also spent some time with our fingers in the pump of the only other MDB4 we are aware of, which is also owned by Armley Mills. While this has similarities to the MDB2 unit, there are several differences, not least in the way the position of the cam followers is adjusted.

A big headache is the gearing ratios. For some bizarre reason the gear ratios in the timing train seem to vary from engine to engine. As-yet we have not taken the cover off the MDB2 train, but the spare catalogue quotes numbers of teeth. The set for the MDB4 has a different number of teeth to the MDB2 catalogue and the number of teeth in the MDB2 fuel pump and the Armley Mills MDB4 fuel pump are different. None of the combinations of ratios gets the fuel pump in time with the engine, so something in our information, thinking or maths is wrong! If that is not enough in our minds the pump is operating on almost every stroke of the engine, not every other stroke, which does not make any sense. The ‘almost’ part is because the gear ratios never seem to come out a a whole number!  

As well as the MDB2 Spares Catalogue, we also have another very useful book ‘Running Instructions, McLaren Oil Engines, Type MDB’. This refers to a later model of engine, fitted with a Bosch Fuel Injection Pump. One way out of our dilemma could be to fit a Bosch pump. The instructions are crystal clear, they say the pump ‘is fitted to the engine and driven by gearing at half engine speed’, which is in line with our thinking on how this should work. Why then do the gear ratios in the timing train not lead to a same speed or a half speed drive to the governor? Even considering fitting a standard component presents challenges.   

All of this is a bit of a distraction, because what we really want to do (and are all set-up for) is making the pattern for the fuel pump body, but the prime purpose of the body is to hold all of the mechanism components in the right relative positions, so we have to know what is going inside it. Even though we do not have the absolute answer to the components, we’ve got enough of an idea to move on, so Will High has made a start on the drawings of the body.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

More Band Brake & Shutters

Progress is being made on a number of fronts at the moment and it is reassuring that not only are jobs being started but they are also being finished.

This is the actuating crank for the band brake after some fettling by Mr Bishop:

The new pin on the clevis end (shown fitted in the above photograph) is held captive in the crank by what the drawings refer to as ‘a feather’:

Milling out the slot for the 3/16” feather:

This is the feathered pin in the hole:

The completed assembly:

The band brake assembly has now been fitted to the layshaft, alongside a reminder of how things looked at the start of the project.
The chain is new, the hanger from the rear bracket has been replaced, all of the other components are original.

Elsewhere Clive Bickley has finished transforming our begged stock of teak into a beautiful pair of shutters for the cab:

These contain no original parts, the originals only lasted 6 months as they were removed when the cab was cut down to allow it to run on the Ffestiniog.

They are going straight to the finished parts store; we are a little way off cab re-assembly!

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Making a Start

This is almost literally a side project. In 1927 a starter motor man enough to turn over a 60HP Diesel did not exist. Kerr Stuart claim to have solved this problem by fitting a petrol donkey engine. It is a strange coincidence that the solution they arrived at is the same in every detail as that offered by McLaren.

On KS4415 the donkey engine is a 4HP Blackburne engine which makes a rather coy appearance in 15/- Change:

This is the same type of engine as that Rick modified to make into the vacuum pump. With the cash from the FR Society we have sent the magneto for this Blackburne engine away for overhaul, but to make progress with the engine itself we need to make a stand. The base for the stand looks like this:

Rick, cast iron, meet milling machine…Drilling to form the upper radii:

Rick, cast iron, meet milling machine…

Forming the bottom radii to clear the channel which supports the Diesel engine:

The finished product:

Another component ticked off the list.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Putting up the Shutters

Disclaimer first! No rain forests have been harmed in the restoration of this locomotive. Drawing 21372 is quite clear what material the cab louvres are made of:

Teak is a hardwood that comes from Burma. So at one level sourcing it is both politically and environmentally insensitive. Fortunately, a form of ‘carbon capture’ popular with men of a certain age is to store away nice looking bits of wood in garages with that false promise to the wife that "I’ll do something with it someday". Thirty odd years and no bookshelves later, the spectre of 4415 has lumbered over the horizon.
We don’t need a lot of teak, but we do want teak because we’re trying to get those details right.

There must be quite a lot of those unstarted bookcase projects out there, as an appeal in the Ffestiniog Railway Magazine brought in more offers than we could possibly expect. So, with materials to hand, Clive Bickley has set to and made the frames.

As Clive said in his e mail with the progress photos, that’s the easy bit done, now he has to make 42 slats and then the 84 mortise and tenon joints!

This is the finished product we are looking for.
Feel free to correspond re the above photograph. It is of 4415; yes, we are fitting the shutters and no, we are not fitting the double skinned roof.
Will we be putting 24nr ½” holes in the roof for no particular reason? Of course. I assume that the double skin roof would not go under the NWNGR bridges, as in the photos of the loco at Dinas it does not have a second skin.