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I DROPPED A BRASS ENGINE

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I DROPPED A BRASS ENGINE
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, August 3, 2020 11:27 AM

I hate my life.

Luckily, it was a Tenshodo model, and those things are built to last. Nothing was broken, but this cab was BADLY dented. 

Is there any way I can repair this? 

Charles

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Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

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Posted by tstage on Monday, August 3, 2020 11:50 AM

Keep the dent and make up a story about an accident it had out on the rails.  It makes it look kinda' tough.  In all seriousness, it will be difficult to roll that completely out of the cab.

Tom

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, August 3, 2020 11:55 AM

Well that is sad, but it could have been worse. 

It can be repaired.  Whether you can repair it is a function of how good you are with real soldering (not just soldering wire to track in other words).  I suspect the cab roof is a separate piece of brass from the front and sides of the cab.  If it can be separated it MIGHT be possible to gently hammer out the dent, perhaps on a block of wood that has been carefully shaped to replicate the inside curve of the cab roof.  Fortunately those roof details (slidable roof vents I assume) are easily replicated if they dislodge or are casualties of the work.  It may also be possible to flatten out the dented roof and create a template for an entirely  new piece of brass.  But again the curve would need something to be formed over so you'd still want to make that wood pattern or find something that would do the trick.  I think you'd always see signs of the wound but that is what we call weathering  Wink

I cannot tell is that a Santa Fe 2-8-2 or 2-8-4 or ____?   Not knowing exactly what ATSF model we are dealing with here, I do see that Greenway (which sells spare parts for brass locomotives) has a Santa Fe cab in brass

http://greenway-products.com/brass-builders-corner-trackside-specialties/ts-849-locomotive-cab-atsf-style-with-seats/

And a cab for a Santa fe 2-8-0 and a 2-6-2 that might be similar to what you need. In fact they have many cabs and others are for this or that Santa Fe locomotive so go look at their brass detail part offerings

http://greenway-products.com/

They are surprisingly reasonable in price I think.  So an entire replacement cab might be as easy as futzing with the roof alone.  Painting and lettering of course would be needed.  

But again if unsoldering and soldering of this caliber is not something you feel you can do, just about any of the custom painters who does brass has probably by necessity developed those skills.  The problem with unsoldering anything from brass is -- what ELSE do you unsolder that you don't want to?  The craftspersons who make these things use solders of various melting temps and have a disciplined order of construction to avoid undoing what they just did.

That is about all I have to offer - perhaps Howard Zane who is often on these forums knows of brass repair services.  

Dave Nelson

 

 

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Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, August 3, 2020 12:53 PM

dknelson

Well that is sad, but it could have been worse. 

It can be repaired.  Whether you can repair it is a function of how good you are with real soldering (not just soldering wire to track in other words).  I suspect the cab roof is a separate piece of brass from the front and sides of the cab.  If it can be separated it MIGHT be possible to gently hammer out the dent, perhaps on a block of wood that has been carefully shaped to replicate the inside curve of the cab roof.  Fortunately those roof details (slidable roof vents I assume) are easily replicated if they dislodge or are casualties of the work.  It may also be possible to flatten out the dented roof and create a template for an entirely  new piece of brass.  But again the curve would need something to be formed over so you'd still want to make that wood pattern or find something that would do the trick.  I think you'd always see signs of the wound but that is what we call weathering  Wink

I cannot tell is that a Santa Fe 2-8-2 or 2-8-4 or ____?   Not knowing exactly what ATSF model we are dealing with here, I do see that Greenway (which sells spare parts for brass locomotives) has a Santa Fe cab in brass

http://greenway-products.com/brass-builders-corner-trackside-specialties/ts-849-locomotive-cab-atsf-style-with-seats/

And a cab for a Santa fe 2-8-0 and a 2-6-2 that might be similar to what you need. In fact they have many cabs and others are for this or that Santa Fe locomotive so go look at their brass detail part offerings

http://greenway-products.com/

They are surprisingly reasonable in price I think.  So an entire replacement cab might be as easy as futzing with the roof alone.  Painting and lettering of course would be needed.  

But again if unsoldering and soldering of this caliber is not something you feel you can do, just about any of the custom painters who does brass has probably by necessity developed those skills.  The problem with unsoldering anything from brass is -- what ELSE do you unsolder that you don't want to?  The craftspersons who make these things use solders of various melting temps and have a disciplined order of construction to avoid undoing what they just did.

That is about all I have to offer - perhaps Howard Zane who is often on these forums knows of brass repair services.  

Dave Nelson

 

 

 

Thanks, this was super helpful. The engine is a Tenshodo 4-6-4. It should have the same cab as the 4-8-4 and the 2-10-4. I checked greenway and dont believe they have it. I will try the wood block suggestion, and also invest in a car dent hammer set of sorts. I might also be able to take a cab from a plastic model of the ATSF 4-8-4 or 2-10-4.

Im not afraid of repainting, as I was planning to strip and repaint the engine anyways. 

Thanks for the suggestions!

 

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, August 3, 2020 1:02 PM

I would persoanlly stay away from trying to unsolder that unless you're confident in your skill set that's needed.

I'd try the wood block, shaping it to follow the desired roofline. Insert it into the back of the cab, then experiment with using pressure to push the brass onto the block. Avoid the hammer as much as possible.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, August 3, 2020 1:05 PM

Trainman440
I might also be able to take a cab from a plastic model of the ATSF 4-8-4 or 2-10-4.

You might check with BLI, I have bought parts from them in past (NYC Hudson cab and tender body); the cab from their Paragon 3 ATSF 2-8-2 or 4-8-4 might work for you.

 

Stix
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Posted by GP025 on Monday, August 3, 2020 2:01 PM
Try finding brass or other metal to match the inside and outside radius and clamp them between a c clamp to draw it up. KT
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Posted by Rambo2 on Monday, August 3, 2020 2:29 PM
Sheet metal plyers?
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Posted by hornblower on Monday, August 3, 2020 4:01 PM

This might sound a little crazy, and they might look at you a little funny, but you might want to show your damaged model to a musical instrument repairman.  These guys take dents out of brass musical instruments all the time, often with no evidence of damage in the repaired instrument.  Many brass instruments are made of brass no thicker than your cab roof so these guys are pretty adept at such repairs and already own the RIGHT tools to do the job without disassembling the model.  Who knows.  You might get someone new interested in our hobby.

Hornblower

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Posted by wvg_ca on Monday, August 3, 2020 4:22 PM

you can unsolder the roof, or just lightly solder on pull tabs [auto body / musical instrument] that can be used to pull it slowly back into shape..

that way you also have the sides supporting it as well ..

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Posted by selector on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:16 PM

I would fashion a template of the cab rear opening with the good part of the curve, at left, extrapolated.  It would be out of a chunk of 2X4.  Then, I would fashion a scaffolding to hold the template in place where you can abut it up against the flat part, the deformed half.  The rest of the locomotive would have to be restrained on something, or in something.  Then, with a small rubber mallet, or a stout wooden dowel, you begin some gentle tap, tap, tapping until you start to see the brass begin to comform with the curve.  

You'll continuously have to lift the template block until its left side snugs up against the good part at left, and until the right hand side matches, or closely so.

If that crease is as sharp as it looks, it might take some work and patience.

I do like the idea of approaching a brass instrument de-dinging place.  I'd bet they'll succeed.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:36 PM

I'd guess that a small auto-body hammer could straighten-out that roof fairly well, and any small dings and dents filled-in with Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty.  It works best as multiple thin applications, rather than one-pass-fills-all, as the thin material hardens faster.

Wayne

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Posted by CandOsteam on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:49 PM

Charles,

The chance of further damaging the cab/roof in my option is high if you have no experience working with brass.  If you want to restore the locomotive, I would suggest contacting Dan (owner) at Brasstrains, who can offer his advice.  Hal Maynard is an outstanding painter/repair person who has made instructional videos for Dan and Hal has done a wonderful job repairing the cab of my Key C&O 2-6-6-6.  The repair was flawless and the touch up painting was spot on.  I could not tell the difference between the factory paint and Hal's re-spray.  Even the sheen of the paint matched.

Of course with this level of repair, one must weigh price v. love of your locomotive.

Anyway, good luck and whatever you do, do not use any tool on the dent.  The material is probably around 0.020 inches thick or so and you will end up putting more unsightly tooling marks on the roof.  Gentle persuasion with soft wood blocks shaped like the roof along with round basswood dowels or maybe even soft balsa wood may help, but cold setting the roof may break solder joints.  To make it worse you would have to deal with the entire boiler to make any corrective bends and that situation can lead to further collateral damage.

Hopefully the brass guru Howard Zane will offer his advice.

 

Joel

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:56 PM

I dropped a brass caboose once.

I do not know if I could live with myself if I dropped a brass locmotive.

The owner of BrassTrains Dot Com has said that the sound of a brass locopmiotve hitting the floor is the second worst noise in the world.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, August 3, 2020 5:58 PM

A big problem with straightening impact damage is stretching of the metal in the process of it being dented. When you try to straighten it by hammering you may stretch the metal even more.  You may know that hammering is how tinkers used to form pots from sheet metal, copper or brass usually. They stretched the metal by beating it thinner on a dolly, called a dam by tinkers as in "I don't give a tinkers dam." If you go too far then you may have to heat the metal to shrink it a bit which isn't feasible if soldered. 

Be very careful if you try to hammer out the bends. Light taps are all you need. A wooden hammer is a good idea but the "dolly" you hammer the brass against is better one bade of metal. Wood gives with every blow increasing the risk of metal stretch. 

The suggestion to try  a shop that repairs brass musical instruments is a good one, if you can't locate a model maker who can repair.  

Alyth Yard

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Posted by trwroute on Monday, August 3, 2020 6:03 PM

I would make it easy as possible by using a pair of needle nose pliers and bending it as close to the right shape as possible.  Use some body filler and sand it smooth.  Repaint to match.  Easy!

Chuck - Modeling in HO scale and anything narrow gauge

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, August 3, 2020 6:21 PM

I agree with trying the musical Instrument repair place. They have some pretty weird tools in their arsenal and I have seen what they can do.

Brent

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, August 3, 2020 7:21 PM

BATMAN
I agree with trying the musical Instrument repair place.

They are the people that probably could do it, the only question is if they will be willing to try.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 12:29 AM

Kevin, if the owner offers a waiver of sorts against claiming or suing for any catastrophic damage, onsoldering, paint problems, or whatever, and is willing to let them try their best, then they shouldn't be averse to attempting the repair.  That's if they're interested at all.  Maybe one of them might try it outside of their business, or privately.

Someone who does brass train repairs would be the very best bet, even if one has to wait for about 6-8 months in order to reach the head of the queue and get his engine back.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 9:23 AM

Thanks all for the suggestions! I had not considered stretching the metal when hammering it down. 

To be honest, this isnt a super valuable engine, I paid around $100 for it. Besides, this is a good oppurtunity to attempt to repair it myself. So unfortunantly, I dont think I will be paying any proffesional to do it. 

I purchased a car dent removal set( a rubber tipped hammer with some rounded attachments), and I will spend some time carving out a piece of 2x4 wood to match the curvature, and try to repair it myself. 

If all hell breaks loose, I can always unsolder/grind off the roof of the cab, and replace it with a spare cab roof from a cheapo Bachmann ATSF 4-8-4 shell that actually looks pretty decent(just needs some metal handrails) when compared to the pretty crude Tenshodo brass cab. 

The BLI ATSF 4-8-4 is a modernized 3751 class design, which has a slightly different cab. 

Thanks again for the suggestions everyone!

If I remember I will post the final results. 

Charles

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Posted by Howard Zane on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 10:57 AM

Not a difficult repair...I've done this several times until I dreamed of a way to keep my cats from the basement............but there is a fellow I know quite well and has eclipsed me in every aspect of brass repair and mods. Contact Jan Willard at 301 865 3051. Others I know of are Matt Callahan in the Boston area, Gwyne Burch in Alabama, and Hal Maynard in Florida. Note: I have only worked with Willard and the quote of a brass train hitting the floor being the second worst sound in the world came from me.....the first being the Wedding march until I got married in 2002. Most of the suggestions are quite good. Note: I  once played the coronet until I discovered folk and old timey music...and it became damaged what I thought beyond repair. A local shop restored it to new condition. That was an excellent idea.

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Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 11:52 AM

My vote is to try to fix using pliers and putty. The trick is not to extend the damage to other parts Smile. By the way, you might want to read about how the autobody pros do it... In the case of brass, you can gently try to get it back to its shape using pliers, strip all traces of paint and varnish, and apply putty directly on the brass. It's easier to apply multiple coats, with the objective of minimizing the use of sandpaper. I use Testors putty. Of course, you will need to sand, but the less the better. At some point, when you think you got it right, spraint some auto primer. I would mask the rest of the engine and concentrate on priming the part. Lightly sand, and continue with the putty, followed by another coat of primer. With patience, you should get a smooth finish. The challenge will be the underside of the roof that will be visible. You can "hide" that my applying dark black paint that no-one will see without a flashlight.

Anyway, that's what I would do on a low-cost engine. Replacing the cab on these engines would be a real challenge for me.

Simon

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Posted by hornblower on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 6:17 PM

Due to Covid-19 scam, few musical ensembles are rehearsing so I would suspect that a lot of musical instrument repair people are twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do!  They might actually enjoy the business as well as the challenge.

Hornblower

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