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Old Mar 16, 2013, 08:12 PM
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Steam Donkey and Railing Progress on Preston

Railing construction is moving along with painting soon to begin. Instead of rattle can paint, I decided to use my Iwata air brush to do the work using better paint than comes in a pressurized can. Preston's railing was originally painted with some kind of rust proofing aluminum base paint. I've been able to locate a good approximation of this. The paint requires a specific primer coat application. I do not want to have to do this again. I did a stupid mistake and trimmed a section of railing too short, so have to build a new section. And wouldn't you know, it's a complicated part with several zigs and zags to make.

The steam donkey is almost finished, great work on Dave's part! It is a critical piece of the build since several other sections of the boat depend on it's installation before further work can continue in those sections. The photos of the donkey show the fine detail work Dave is doing on his milling machine.

Hopefully I'll have the steam engines installed in a month and a half. It looks like I'll get very little use out of the temporary electric drive. That's fine with me.

A big change in the display/transport case design. I'm having the plexi top made as a single lift-off piece instead of a mahogany framed box with plexiglas inserts. This will afford a better view of the model and lighten the construction. The base will be the same with very nice African mahogany with brass trim and retractable brass handles, sort of like a casket... The case will still have removable pneumatic tires and handle for moving it around.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 01:00 AM
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Closing in on Railing Completion

Over the last few days I've been able to assemble almost the complete railing system for the Preston. It wasn't as bad as I had originally thought. The keys to doing this have been: building accurate soldering jigs, building a drill jig for stanchions, using a solder sucker to remove excess solder, using a good 40W soldering iron, and using masking tape to hold brass rod down to the soldering jig. Also, refined my soldering technique- don't use too much solder on these tiny pieces of brass rod. I also discovered that there is a good side and a not as good side of a railing. I notched the stanchions and placed the notch up in the soldering jig and laid the bottom rail in the notches to be soldered. When I flipped the section of railing over, it looked a lot better with almost no globs of solder showing. So this is the side you should plan on presenting by facing it out. Make sense? I'll try a few photos to show the differences I'm talking about.

I developed a bad habit during this build of not completely finishing a section, so now I have a lot of little touch-ups to do. The transom rudders will have to be rebuilt so they are stronger. I tried to make them the way Preston's blueprints indicated. Scaling down made them too weak. The top of the A Frame has a work platform with a simple railing. I tried to make it out of brass and gave up. The second attempt was in plastic rod. Too fragile. Now that I've had a lot of practice on the railing, I'm going back to that little project to do it in brass, again. Given the boat has been under construction for over 2 years, displayed at club meetings and hauled down to Dave's place 150 miles away, it has gotten dusty and will need some touchup painting before going into the display case. I would highly recommend building your display case early on to protect your work. Light weight plastic now protects Preston against shop dust.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 19, 2013, 02:40 PM
r/c ships and workboats
bellingham, wa
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looking better all the time!
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 08:09 PM
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Preston Steam Donkey Nearing Completion

The steam donkey is almost done. Other than painting and some external detail work, she's ready to bolt into place, hook up the 3 ESCs and string the running lines. Placing the gear motors inside the drum hubs sure makes for a clean, scale appearance. I'm now looking for a source for zinc chromate in rattle cans to prime the aluminum before painting it black. I pulled out a copy of "Heritage of a Snagboat: Story of the W.T. Preston and Her Crews" written by Ronald Burke. I noticed that he included a contact phone number, so I gave him a call yesterday. What a wealth of information. I had a few questions on the donkey and he was able to help me out. His book is available at the Anacortes Maritime Museum.

I finished all the railing today and began priming the brass. Preston is looking very good. I also added 8 small cleats on the cabin deck toe rail. One last bit of railing I almost forgot is the railing around the paddle wheel crank area. A couple of hours will finish that off. Next I'll be making decals for the life rings.

Mike in Edmonds
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Last edited by hookpilot; Mar 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old Mar 20, 2013, 10:38 PM
no such thing as to many boats
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Nice work
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Old Mar 21, 2013, 01:09 AM
Taking care of the pond.
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Very nice.
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Old Mar 23, 2013, 10:12 PM
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Thanks for All Your Interest in Preston

Nothing spectacular going on today. I finished the three replacement transom rudders, this time out of brass. Two of the three rudders had already broken off just from the few times the boat has been moved around. That will not happen again. The whole rudder system was finally finished tonight. Preston is now ready to be launched at the local pond. Railing is getting a third coat of different paint. After living with the second coat color, it needed to be changed to better match the actual boat's railing. Next will be building the electronics bays to neatly package the very busy inner workings of the boat. Power cables and wiring will run down the port side of Preston while control wires down the starboard side.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 11:09 PM
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Preston Railing and deck details

All 15 feet of Preston's brass railing is completed and painted. One last bit of soldering to hook up the corners, touch up paint and this will be done. I'm also going to add little 00-90 brass washers to simulate deck mounting flanges at the bottom of each stanchion.

As if I don't have enough work to do, I got to thinking about modeling the one hundred or so 2 X 6s seen on the bottom side of the cabin deck. Few people will ever see them, but it really adds a lot of scale detail to the boat. Last night I got out the Byrnes saw and trusty iPhone to calculate the scale size of 1/32 scale overhead joists and cut a bunch of the little pieces to be glued on scale 16" centers. I've cut and painted them, so now I have to very carefully lay the superstructure on its side and glue in the joists.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 01:59 AM
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Steam Donkey and Deck Details

It was like Christmas this afternoon when the steam donkey arrived in the mail from Dave. It is a work of art. Beautiful, and it works! Now starts the detail work to finish it off. With the donkey here, I can also do the modification to the cabin deck allowing the superstructure to me moved without cutting the working lines of the winch. I also took the time today to apply half the ceiling joists on the underside of the cabin deck. Most people will never see these since you'd have to stoop down and look up at the underside of the overhangs. (see photos below) But it does finish off this part of the boat.

A new problem cropped up today- I should have anticipated this one when wiring the lights, but frustrating won out over patience and good execution, so my rat's nest of 32 gauge wires came back to haunt me. After many removals of the superstructure, it seems that a wire in the hull got tangled in a tiny 32 gauge wire just above it in the superstructure, breaking it. Two LEDs went out. I was able to locate and resolder them. However, the stern light remains out. What a pain. Lesson to others: even though this area of your model will seldom be seen, do a neat install of all wiring. It will make chasing breaks or other problems much easier to fix. If I had it to do over again, I'd use larger gauge wire where possible. 32 gauge solid wire is very fragile. I had to use 32 g. in the masts to get all 12 wires through them. Past that point I should have switched to 28 g. multi-strand wire for the rest of the runs to the lighting controller. This issue will haunt me forever on this model.

I've included photos of the new rudders. These worked out very well. Another Do-Over project completed.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 07:27 AM
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Beautiful!!
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pops52 View Post
Beautiful!!
Thanks for the comment. Preston is nearing completion.

Mike
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Old Mar 28, 2013, 10:24 PM
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Plexiglas Display Case Ordered

It is not a glamourous part of the build, but a necessary one. I'm glad I shopped around to find a good price. The first quote was $736, just for the plexi top and another $280 for the mahogany base. After a few calls, I found a place in Seattle to do the plexiglas case for $300 less. The base cost stays the same. The case will be 73" long, 32" high and 18" wide.l It will have removable wheels and handle for easy transport. Still a big box to handle. The boat will be well protected in transit.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 01:37 AM
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Running in Donkey 3 Drum Winch

The steam donkey was disassembled to gain access to the gear motors so I could solder the power leads in place. After reassembly, I hooked up the three gear motors to my 12V power source to do the break in. Things quickly seated and the three drums are running smoothly after 10 minutes of run time. I switched direction to keep things balanced. The donkey looks great and I can't wait to get the detail work done and do the final installation. I've included a video of today's first run.




Mike
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Last edited by hookpilot; Mar 30, 2013 at 02:47 AM.
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Ariel WA
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It's nice to see the donkey winch running. How hard was it to get the wires soldered onto those little connections.
58 RPM sure is slow when you see it in action. Was there lots of torq

Dave
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Old Mar 30, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phoneman2005 View Post
It's nice to see the donkey winch running. How hard was it to get the wires soldered onto those little connections.
58 RPM sure is slow when you see it in action. Was there lots of torq

Dave
Hi Dave:
Soldering the connections was not a problem, thanks to my magnifying hood. The longer I run the gear motors the smoother everything works. I lightly lubricated the journals on the output shafts and backed off the torque on the hex head screws to let things wear in. Then slowly re-torqued, very lightly until I noticed a change in drum speed. There is more than enough torque to do the job. We'll see when I rig the crane and hook up the RC gear and do some test runs. So far, everything works great and of course, looks fantastic. 58 rpm is max speed you are seeing. I haven't checked rpm, so it may be lower than 58 as things break in.
Thanks, Mike

Mike
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