Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chip fork tools

Chip fork tools
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker
Having bolted the boiler into the coal tank locomotive I proceeded to tack solder the new lump of brass to the side tanks. Since it was late I planned to stop work once the tacks had cooled and take another look in the morning. Sometimes what looks good in the evening can appear wonky the next day. I like to think this is due to the metal cooling overnight and not my own stupidity, but whatever the cause, I've been caught out like this before and learned my lesson.

However as soon as I looked at the model from the front it was obvious that the side tanks were both leaning in at the top. Handy for aerodynamics if this were a VTOL steam engine but a bit rubbish for the model I'm building. The problem stems from the tack solder joins pulling the tanks and boiler together. Of course there should be a gap between them. I couldn't leave it like this and had to fix the problem imediatly.

Heating up the solder blobs took more effort that expected and it quickly became obvious that even with a gas torch I wasn't going to get both sides separate at the same time. Plan B therefore involved heating the join and stuffing a spacer in to force the gap.

Now I'm not posh. When I occasionally eat chips after the odd beer I use my fingers. It's not that I'm too drunk to accuratly stab a chip with a fork, it's just that chips in paper are perfectly natural and shouldn't involve cutlery, even of the temporary wooden sort. Despite this my local takeaway insists on proving me with a chip fork. Sensible people would throw these away but I stick them in the same drawer that contains half a forest worth of wooden coffee stirrers. I find all sorts of wooden utensils useful for holding hot metal while soldering so it's not such a daft idea.

Anyway, a pair of chip forks slightly sharpened worked a treat for putting the boiler-tank space in. The forked ends span the tabs in the inside tank sides that support the boiler. There's probably a proper engineers way to do this but this is cheaper and you get chips too !

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