Vintage Big Hor Bor Job Photo
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    Default Vintage Big Hor Bor Job Photo


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    There you go again, Limi. Giving us a nice photo of a loco cylinder being machined when I still haven't been able to identify the engine that would own the previous photos 3 cylinder casting. At least you let us know the wheel arrangement of this one ;-)

    I have no hor borer time- wondering how big a job would need carriage outrigger rails? This one seems tippy?

    L7

    (Thanks for neat pic!)

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    I wonder if you got to keep your job if you made a mistake on those size parts?

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    Thanks, Limy for posting the picture. Looking at the construction of the shop building, I wonder if the picture was taken in Australia or New Zealand ?

    In answer to Conrad Hoffman's question: machining something like a locomotive cylinder was one of those jobs where a machinist did not make mistakes. On piston valve locomotives, which this Mikado cylinder is, sleeves were used in the steam chest. Similarly, many of the later designs of steam locomotive cylinders used sleeves in the cylinder bores. I would imagine the machinist on the job would have taken a few roughing cuts and then worked up to finished dimensions with a few finer cuts and maybe a spring cut or two. There was likely a set of tolerances to work to, aside from all else. It was clearly not a job handed off to an apprentice or some machinist just out of his time as an apprentice.

    On the other hand, if a machinist DID bore the cylinder or steam chest oversized, possibly the sleeves could be machined to fit the "as bored" dimensions.

    Years ago, I was involved with a job that required machining a large number of wicket gate stem journals. The wicket gates resemble ship's rudders, and are used to control the flow of water admitted to the runner (or "wheel") of a hydroelectric turbine. We were reconditioning and upgrading a number of large hydroelectric turbines at the time. We set up a heavy machine shop just for that one run of work. The wicket gates weighed 5500 lbs apiece, and being assymetrical, needed about 600-700 lbs of balance weights temporarily attached to the "paddle" or "blade" before they went into the lathe. We bought a LeBlond wide-bed lathe which swung work 60" in diameter over the cross slide. We also bought a planer mill and equipped the vertical milling spindle with a right angle head. This was used to put a center in the bottom end of the wicket gate journal.

    Two journals on each wicket gate were turned true and machined down to a new diameter. This diameter was based on a shrink fit with a thick-walled stainless steel sleeve to create a new journal surface. The stainless steel sleeves were centrifugally cast out of some hard alloy of stainless and precision ground by the vendor furnishing them. We had a fairly tight tolerance to hold on turning the journals in order to get not only the shrink fit, but the final diameter of the journal once the sleeve was shrunk on. I forget how many wicket gates we had to do, but we had no issues with journals being machined undersized or out of tolerance for the shrink fits.

    We had a job to do, and we did it. We had a good crew of willing powerplant mechanics. While they had never done heavy machine shop work, they were anxious to take it on, and did well with it. We finished the job weeks ahead of schedule and against all predictions by the doom-and-gloom type of corporate pantywaists.

    I think that when a person is put on a job like a locomotive cylinder, they are at a point in their lives where they have developed good work habits as well as enough experience with that kind of work. They have sense about things like how a tool must be ground for the job, how it is cutting (or not cutting as the case may be), and how much "spring" there may be in the boring bar. A sense for the work can only be developed over time. The machinist on the boring mill in this photo may well be the only one of two or three men in that shop assigned to that boring mill and to the boring of cylinders. He was likely quite good at the job and the foreman or supervisor was not about to assign it to someone else.

    On another job, we had to re-surface a thrust runner disc for one of the big hydro turbines. This disc is for a tilting pad type of thrust bearing (Kingsbury on our side of the pond, Michel on Limy's side of the pond). The thrust runner disc was 130 inches in diameter as I recall, about 10" thick, and made of some good alloy steel in two "horse-shoe" shaped halves. It was joined by 2 1/2" studbolts and dowels. We had shipped the thrust shoes and the damaged thrust runner to Kingsbury's repair shop near Philadelphia, PA. Kingsbury handled the rebabbitting of the shoes and scraping them flat in their shop, but had to "sub out" the resurfacing of the thrust runner. This went to a heavy machine shop near their shop. We went to the heavy machine shop during the remachining of the thrust runner. That shop had a huge Bullard vertical turret lathe. It was a machine in very fine condition, and surrounded by a pipe railing with a gate. We were warned that the machinist on that VTL was a cranky old timer named "Scotty". We were introduced to Scotty and he had a thick Scots burr. After some initial suspicion and stand-offishness on Scotty's part, we hit it off and he let me inside the pipe rail and up onto the table of the VTL. Scotty told me he had been running that big Bullard VTL since the day it was commissioned as a new machine in that shop, and no one else ever ran it. At most, he let a few "hands" in to help with setting up the jobs, but he was the man and that was HIS machine. Scotty handled the setup of the thrust runner disc on the VTL, took a skim cut on the mounting surface, then had the bridge crane flip the thrust runner disc so he could machine the actual running surface. This had to be flat within a couple of ten-thousandths in maybe 10", per manufacturer's specs. Once
    Scotty had completed machining on the running surface, we did flatness checks using a variety of instruments. When that was done with, Kingsbury brought in a "superfinishing" head and mounted it on his VTL. Scotty knew the machinists in Kingsbury's shop, and there was maybe two of them he'd work with. The shop which had that big VTL told me they knew they had a fine machinist in Scotty and were wondering what they'd do when he retired. Scotty was one of those machinists who could be handed a big and heavy and difficult job and would figure his setups and rigging to handle it, and all else to get it done. He was also one of those machinists who could be counted upon to finish every job with no out-of-tolerance dimensions. He was a crusty oldtimer and he kidded me about having a beater (sledge) for throwing at people who annoyed him, attempted to come inside his pipe railing, or messed up work. I suspect the boring mill machinist in Limy's photo may well be cut from the same plaid as Scotty.

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    That's a strange one as " Richards " were well known for their " Wide Bed " machines.

    I remember going to a similar sort of " Kearns " machine were the operator was machinng a similar job with parallel bores in quite large and tall steel castings. He'd set the horizontal Vernier for 24" centre distance and the actual measurement was greater by about 0.010" if my memory is correct. The company wanted to know why. I was able to prove that the job was too big and heavy for the machine and was causing the table to deflect as he moved over from one bore to another.

    Edit- I recall now that the company who called me in had fitted new " Vernier " scales to the machine made by the famous " Whittams of Walkden " and they were complaining that the " Verniers " were faulty !

    Regards Tyrone.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 08-04-2019 at 02:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Thanks, Limy for posting the picture. Looking at the construction of the shop building, I wonder if the picture was taken in Australia or New Zealand ?

    In answer to Conrad Hoffman's question: machining something like a locomotive cylinder was one of those jobs where a machinist did not make mistakes. On piston valve locomotives, which this Mikado cylinder is, sleeves were used in the steam chest. Similarly, many of the later designs of steam locomotive cylinders used sleeves in the cylinder bores. I would imagine the machinist on the job would have taken a few roughing cuts and then worked up to finished dimensions with a few finer cuts and maybe a spring cut or two. There was likely a set of tolerances to work to, aside from all else. It was clearly not a job handed off to an apprentice or some machinist just out of his time as an apprentice.

    On the other hand, if a machinist DID bore the cylinder or steam chest oversized, possibly the sleeves could be machined to fit the "as bored" dimensions.

    Years ago, I was involved with a job that required machining a large number of wicket gate stem journals. The wicket gates resemble ship's rudders, and are used to control the flow of water admitted to the runner (or "wheel") of a hydroelectric turbine. We were reconditioning and upgrading a number of large hydroelectric turbines at the time. We set up a heavy machine shop just for that one run of work. The wicket gates weighed 5500 lbs apiece, and being assymetrical, needed about 600-700 lbs of balance weights temporarily attached to the "paddle" or "blade" before they went into the lathe. We bought a LeBlond wide-bed lathe which swung work 60" in diameter over the cross slide. We also bought a planer mill and equipped the vertical milling spindle with a right angle head. This was used to put a center in the bottom end of the wicket gate journal.

    Two journals on each wicket gate were turned true and machined down to a new diameter. This diameter was based on a shrink fit with a thick-walled stainless steel sleeve to create a new journal surface. The stainless steel sleeves were centrifugally cast out of some hard alloy of stainless and precision ground by the vendor furnishing them. We had a fairly tight tolerance to hold on turning the journals in order to get not only the shrink fit, but the final diameter of the journal once the sleeve was shrunk on. I forget how many wicket gates we had to do, but we had no issues with journals being machined undersized or out of tolerance for the shrink fits.

    We had a job to do, and we did it. We had a good crew of willing powerplant mechanics. While they had never done heavy machine shop work, they were anxious to take it on, and did well with it. We finished the job weeks ahead of schedule and against all predictions by the doom-and-gloom type of corporate pantywaists.

    I think that when a person is put on a job like a locomotive cylinder, they are at a point in their lives where they have developed good work habits as well as enough experience with that kind of work. They have sense about things like how a tool must be ground for the job, how it is cutting (or not cutting as the case may be), and how much "spring" there may be in the boring bar. A sense for the work can only be developed over time. The machinist on the boring mill in this photo may well be the only one of two or three men in that shop assigned to that boring mill and to the boring of cylinders. He was likely quite good at the job and the foreman or supervisor was not about to assign it to someone else.

    On another job, we had to re-surface a thrust runner disc for one of the big hydro turbines. This disc is for a tilting pad type of thrust bearing (Kingsbury on our side of the pond, Michel on Limy's side of the pond). The thrust runner disc was 130 inches in diameter as I recall, about 10" thick, and made of some good alloy steel in two "horse-shoe" shaped halves. It was joined by 2 1/2" studbolts and dowels. We had shipped the thrust shoes and the damaged thrust runner to Kingsbury's repair shop near Philadelphia, PA. Kingsbury handled the rebabbitting of the shoes and scraping them flat in their shop, but had to "sub out" the resurfacing of the thrust runner. This went to a heavy machine shop near their shop. We went to the heavy machine shop during the remachining of the thrust runner. That shop had a huge Bullard vertical turret lathe. It was a machine in very fine condition, and surrounded by a pipe railing with a gate. We were warned that the machinist on that VTL was a cranky old timer named "Scotty". We were introduced to Scotty and he had a thick Scots burr. After some initial suspicion and stand-offishness on Scotty's part, we hit it off and he let me inside the pipe rail and up onto the table of the VTL. Scotty told me he had been running that big Bullard VTL since the day it was commissioned as a new machine in that shop, and no one else ever ran it. At most, he let a few "hands" in to help with setting up the jobs, but he was the man and that was HIS machine. Scotty handled the setup of the thrust runner disc on the VTL, took a skim cut on the mounting surface, then had the bridge crane flip the thrust runner disc so he could machine the actual running surface. This had to be flat within a couple of ten-thousandths in maybe 10", per manufacturer's specs. Once
    Scotty had completed machining on the running surface, we did flatness checks using a variety of instruments. When that was done with, Kingsbury brought in a "superfinishing" head and mounted it on his VTL. Scotty knew the machinists in Kingsbury's shop, and there was maybe two of them he'd work with. The shop which had that big VTL told me they knew they had a fine machinist in Scotty and were wondering what they'd do when he retired. Scotty was one of those machinists who could be handed a big and heavy and difficult job and would figure his setups and rigging to handle it, and all else to get it done. He was also one of those machinists who could be counted upon to finish every job with no out-of-tolerance dimensions. He was a crusty oldtimer and he kidded me about having a beater (sledge) for throwing at people who annoyed him, attempted to come inside his pipe railing, or messed up work. I suspect the boring mill machinist in Limy's photo may well be cut from the same plaid as Scotty.
    Some of the Hor Bore guys I worked with were the tops. Don't forget everything they do is with a tool finish. No getting the file and emery cloth out to get rid of the odd thou or two.

    Regards Tyrone.

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  11. #7
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    Thank you guys - FYI these pics show up on my Pinterest feed's / email notifications - I think ??? generated from what I've looked at in the past.
    Last edited by Limy Sami; 08-04-2019 at 06:18 PM. Reason: TYPO

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    That's a strange one as " Richards " were well known for their " Wide Bed " machines.

    I remember going to a similar sort of " Kearns " machine were the operator was machinng a similar job with parallel bores in quite large and tall steel castings. He'd set the horizontal Vernier for 24" centre distance and the actual measurement was greater by about 0.010" if my memory is correct. The company wanted to know why. I was able to prove that the job was too big and heavy for the machine and was causing the table to deflect as he moved over from one bore to another.

    Edit- I recall now that the company who called me in had fitted new " Vernier " scales to the machine made by the famous " Whittams of Walkden " and they were complaining that the " Verniers " were faulty !

    Regards Tyrone.
    I've got the vernier scales on my Kearns OA HBM. Must say that I find them quite annoying to use. One of these days I'm going to fit a 3 axis DRO and get into the latter half of the 20th Century....

    The little S type gets quite a bit of use, the OA not so much.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Michaels View Post
    Thanks, Limy for posting the picture. Looking at the construction of the shop building, I wonder if the picture was taken in Australia or New Zealand ?
    Hi Joe,
    I checked my books and found that no Mikado's (2-8-2) were built in NZ, in fact there was only one ever used here, built by Baldwin in 1901 according to Wikipedia.

    Also, the cylinder looks too large for any NZ locomotive and not compact enough. The largest cylinder I have read about was 20" diameter on the K, KA, KB locomotives, the most powerful used here (except for a few Garratts).

    NZ has narrow gauge tracks (3' 6") and fairly lightweight locomotives. An exception might be a few narrow gauge South African locomotives imported in recent years, they look pretty large by NZ standards.

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    Just out of curiousity, Peter, did the Kiwi Mikado ever get rebuilt as a simple loco, like most Vauclain compounds were, with new cylinder castings?

    L7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    I've got the vernier scales on my Kearns OA HBM. Must say that I find them quite annoying to use. One of these days I'm going to fit a 3 axis DRO and get into the latter half of the 20th Century....

    The little S type gets quite a bit of use, the OA not so much.

    PDW
    " Vernier " scales on a Hor bore are OK for point to point positioning but obviously they aren't much use if you're milling. I would say a DRO is a must these days. It's like the difference between watching a Black and White TV and a Colour TV.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post
    " Vernier " scales on a Hor bore are OK for point to point positioning but obviously they aren't much use if you're milling. I would say a DRO is a must these days. It's like the difference between watching a Black and White TV and a Colour TV.

    Regards Tyrone.
    I'd fit a DRO to the S type, but it has the patented Optimetric scales on it and I simply can't bring myself to take them off. Totally obsolete but for me it'd remove some of the pleasure of that machine even if it did improve function.

    The OA borer, don't care, I'll fit a DRO to it soon. It's accurate enough but a bit of a pig to use compared to the baby S type. Thank God for power rapids is all I can say.

    PDW

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDW View Post
    I'd fit a DRO to the S type, but it has the patented Optimetric scales on it and I simply can't bring myself to take them off. Totally obsolete but for me it'd remove some of the pleasure of that machine even if it did improve function.

    The OA borer, don't care, I'll fit a DRO to it soon. It's accurate enough but a bit of a pig to use compared to the baby S type. Thank God for power rapids is all I can say.

    PDW
    You're getting soft. If you had to operate a machine like the one in Sami's photograph you'd know you'd done a days work !

    I appreciate your point about the " Optimetric " system.

    I must confess I didn't really study the photo properly as I only have a small iPad out in Spain. The machine is an early " wide bed " machine. The line boring bar laid in the space between the main ways and the out riggers confused my eyesight as did the large duck boards.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    Just out of curiousity, Peter, did the Kiwi Mikado ever get rebuilt as a simple loco, like most Vauclain compounds were, with new cylinder castings?

    L7
    L7,
    I am not an expert on NZ locomotives, but one of my books (The NZR Steam Locomotive by Sean Miller) says this:

    "No New Zealand Vauclains were converted to simples, but their average working lives were often shorter than those of their simple-expansion contemporaries".

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