Monday, 28 November 2016

Old Boiler!

No, not me, this...
Scruffy boilers are commonplace, especially the blue ones
We seem to have collected a good few boilers over the years and the blue ones seem to be the worst for wear of the lot. A few years ago, I bought a couple of clock kits from a chap that had been looked after very well indeed. All the parts were almost like new, even though they had been built, that is with the exception of the boilers. The paint is just not keyed on very well. I will get around to painting them at some point, but for now I have found a quick fix. While rooting around in the heaps of stuff we have been sorting out recently (see HERE), I found a motley selection of boiler sleeves in various colours that had been used as circular plates in rockets and submarine sets. However the ones that caught my eye were the ones used in the locomotive set of the early 2000s. These are black, a far more useful colour than lurid yellow of the submarine and far more practical than the white ones used in the rocket sets. The only problem with them is that they are not bent as tightly as they need to be to fit inside the boiler ends.
The locomotive parts need the rolled profile tightened
Just forming them with your hand will result in them bending out of shape as they will form a crease along the lines of holes. They need to be rolled but I was not sure if the process would damage the paint, which has been rather heavily applied and appears to be a powder coating.

Custom made rolling bars
A couple of years ago, I needed to form some plates lengthwise and built a new wider bending machine. You can see how it was built HERE. This machine is just the right width for this job. The rollers were wiped over with a spirit-dampened rag to remove any dust and grit from the rollers and the machine set up so the plate was just held in the rollers. the sleeve was rolled through under light pressure several times, each time increasing the roller pressure by a couple of turns of the adjusting wheel. It took several passes to get the sleeve to the required shape but, by going gradually, no paint was lost. I bent the sleeve so the ends were almost touching. This will mean the last half an inch of compression can be made by hand to fit the end into the boiler ends and hold them in place.

The finished boiler sleeve reassembled into the original boiler ends
I like the look of the black and zinc boiler. The original sleeve will be flattened out, using the rolling bars, and stripped of paint. Now all I have to decide is whether to paint it or, and here's an idea, zinc plate them. Ever since Meccano zinc plated the 5½ x 2½ inch base plates in the Tower Bridge set, I have been thinking about what other traditionally painted parts might look good plated, but that is yet another story.


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