Progress report...

This is the state of the 3003 loco a week ago - Mr. J. Saloranta, who's almost finished building a huge 2-10-0, is sitting on the tender. I'm working on the boiler right now - here the unmachined boiler tube is just put in its place...

The poker burner described on the previous page may be a good idea for smaller locos (such burners are often used in gauge 1), but try as I did, I could not get a 20" long poker stable enough to be usable in the restricted flue. So, I tried the obvious: Enclose the flame of a Sievert burner in a cone of stainless steel mesh - and that worked! Inside the flue, the cone glows bright orange over all its length, heating the copper flue tube very efficiently by radiation.

The photos show how I ensured the cone is positioned in the middle of the flue; on each end, and the middle, I have a flower petal-like ring of netting, folded and attached to hold the cone in the center.

More hot stuff:

Annealing two 150mm dia. pieces of 5mm thick copper, I have flanged them for tubeplates in the boiler. You can see the forming blocks in the background (the lower one is radiused for the flange) - cut from 120 mm iron bar. I obtained 4 pieces - they'll make nice wheels for an additional car, later on...

Speaking of cars, I quickly put together a propane car to hold two 5 kg bottles of gas. Unfortunately, this is the smallest practical (i.e. refillable) bottle size easily available here in Finland, so the car is a bit out-of-scale, perhaps 30mm too wide, and 80mm to high. But, after decorating the car - such as simulating planks, adding a sliding door (non-working), making a nice roof, etc., it will probably look a bit better...

Incidentally, I re-made the valve port plates from high-carbon steel ("gauge plate"); the original brass port plates showed some wear already, after the compressed air tests I did... I knew this would happen already when I made them, but didn't have the right material on hand. This was an easy job for the milling attachment of a small Unimat 3 lathe, using a 3mm 3-flute cutter for the narrowest ports, cutting both the 2mm thick plates at the same time - taking care to ensure the feed was small enough!

Finally, obtaining some thinner welding sticks (2.0 mm), the welding work got a lot easier... Here I have put together a couple of 18° turnouts, and a 36° crossing.

My track will consist of standard pieces: 2 meter straights, and 18° curves of 6 meter radius. In addition, some shorter pieces, and special widening sections (gauge 186 for the straights, to 195 mm for the curves) will enable me to construct a variety of different layouts, just like you would do with a table-top HO layout.

The connecting of the sections is quick and easy, just two screws hold the outermost sleepers together:

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