Who are these strange fellows?

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Manbench Industries; Purveyors of general mayhem since 1994, a blog to follow the crazed, possibly deranged projects and emotive musings, of an undergraduate engineer, and an apprentice organ builder who have always felt they were born in the wrong age. Follow us as we, re-write history, learn lost skills, discover strange new worlds, break things, rant at things, mend things, make new things and generally find ways of passing the day instead of doing "proper work" !

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Building a Garden Railway Part IV

Today, I feel like Brunel...

Made more progress on the line today by filling the big gap between the door. To be able to use the shed the door must be able to be opened, so this demanded a removable section. I had plans of making a hinged bridge, but the length of the section would have needed a taller roof to fully hinge and I didn't fancy making an elaborate set of sliders to allow it to drop down and under the boards so just went for a lift out section.

The bridge rests on an Aluminium bracket on each side of the gap which are drilled to accept locating bolts to ensure correct alignment of the track. The bridge section itself is made from 1/4" plywood and is cut to follow the shape of the track in this section. At the moment, it has not been reinforced hence the sagging in the middle, but bracing will be attached to strengthen the structure.

I will of course be making the bridge look a bit better than just a sheet of plywood and will be attaching some form of bridge shaped structure around it - I fancy something Brunelian in design - not very narrow gauge but I am a big fan of Brunel's work and it's my railway so I shall do what I like with it!

The Engineer.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Building a Garden Railway Part III

I intended on not running a train on the line until I had a complete circle but the urge of having a steam up proved to big to resist! After laying about half of the line I decided to fire up my Merlin Major locomotive to try the track out. My excuse for this was to shunt the wagon I was using to hold the track screws around...the application of steam locomotion to this resulted in considerably reduced productivity!

Notice the authentic MDF dust weathered finished...

The Engineer.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Power Steering in 1933

Thought you might all find this interesting - I assume anyone reading this is very similar to me and I did! A friend of mine is the owner of a unique Marshall VB class tandem steam roller. This was a late build for a steam engine and was designed to roll the newly introduced tarmac roads. The engine incorporated various unusual features for a road engine such as a vertical boiler, enclosed duplex engine, piston valves and Hackworth valve gear.

Most interesting of all is the steam steering apparatus which uses a small 3 cylinder radial engine driving the steering shaft via a chain drive. This engine is operated by a lever that is pulled from one side to the other to reverse the direction of motion. Unfortunately, this engine is rather all or nothing and without experience it can get on top of you!

Unfortunately, for the fortunes of the traction engine builders, modern designs like this came too late to make much of an impact on the market. The unusual features of this roller such as the steering wheel being turned right to go left and the impracticality of firing on the move made engines like this unfavorable for the roller drivers of the day. By this time, early IC engined rollers were becoming more popular, and these designs never really caught on, with the last of the traditional steam rollers carrying on into the early 1960's. A good design but about 20 years too late.

This roller can be seen at the Great Dorset Steam Fair's roller special exhibit among 100+ other steam rollers.

The Engineer.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Building a Garden Railway Part II

Some progress on the line! The boards have been built around the shed - excluding the section in front of the door of course, a removable bridge will be fitted here. I acquired 3 identical tables tables for free and by cutting these in half have managed to save a lot of time in base board construction only having to build a small section of framework for where I ran out of table! These have then been covered with 18mm MDF sheets to provide the track bed, not the best material for the task, but I had some lying around so used it.

In this photo the track is just placed on the boards to judge where I wanted lines to run and nothing is fixed down yet. The locos are rolling stock are just balanced on the track as I couldn't resist the urge to do so - excluding the small open wagon they are all 45mm rather than 32mm gauge so aren't even sat on the track properly. I am rather fond of my enamel signs which I think make the inside of the shed look fantastic - I like to think of it as my man cave!

The Engineer.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Building a Garden Railway Part I

Hello again,

Both of us have been very busy over the past few months being back at home and have a backlog of various projects we must show you! I am going to start off with showing the progress on my garden railway so far.

I have been wanting to build a railway in the garden for around ten years but have never got around to it. A shed was built for the line to start from, but this got filled with masses of rubbish when we had our extension. Finally, this summer, I bit the bullet and bought a big bundle of Peco SM32 track and decided to make a start!

I have further progress on the line to add, but shall stagger the posts between posts on other projects.

The Engineer.