Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Scratchbuilding a side discharge rotary snow plow

73452 views
1083 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, March 27, 2022 10:14 AM

NorthBrit
Err!  Now what was I going to reply to that?  

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Sorry, what were you saying?

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, March 27, 2022 10:17 AM

Track fiddler
Just dip the tip of your drill bit in that rich black coffee you've been drinking ought to do the trick Dave...

Nothing like a nice quart of Castrol 20W50 to brighten your day. Seriously, that's what my MGB ran in the summer! It kinda flowed like cold pancake syrup.

Cheers!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, March 27, 2022 10:25 AM

Well I told ya that I was going to try to make my own gearbox from scratch. Here is the first attempt at the housing. I haven't got the worm and worm gear from NWSL yet, so there is nothing inside, but I believe I have the interior space and the angles reasonably close. The output shafts for the rotary blades will come out in the middle of the'T' where the black dot is. All the nuts and bolts will be adjustable so I can tweak the mesh between the worm and the worm gear, as well as the angle that the drive shaft approaches the gearbox. Click on the pictures to expand:

 

The whole thing might turn out to be an HO scale boat anchor, but for now, I'm forging ahead (or, soldering ahead if you will). The motor will be housed inside the steam engine so only the drive shaft and universals will be visable.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 4:03 AM

I did a very rough test fit for the gearbox and it was immediately obvious that it was too tall to fit. Fortunately it was easy to take it apart and lower the housing by about 3/8". That may leave it a tiny bit too low, but I can easily shim it back up to the right height.

I will admit that I am challenged in that I don't understand how to set the parts up so I can get accurate measurements from them. I made a little progress in that regard tonight, but it is becoming more and more obvious that in order to get the drive system lined up and running reliably, there will be a lot of revisions required.

None the less I will persevere. This thing IS going to have operating blades!!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 2,525 posts
Posted by snjroy on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 7:56 AM

Dave, I admire your patience. The older I get, the less patience I have on these projects when I know there is an off-the-shelf solution. Not totally RTR, but manufactured parts that I can assemble together without too much difficulty. Keep us in the loop!

Simon

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 7,733 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 9:13 AM

hon30critter

I did a very rough test fit for the gearbox and it was immediately obvious that it was too tall to fit. Fortunately it was easy to take it apart and lower the housing by about 3/8". That may leave it a tiny bit too low, but I can easily shim it back up to the right height.

I will admit that I am challenged in that I don't understand how to set the parts up so I can get accurate measurements from them. I made a little progress in that regard tonight, but it is becoming more and more obvious that in order to get the drive system lined up and running reliably, there will be a lot of revisions required.

None the less I will persevere. This thing IS going to have operating blades!!

 
I admire your persistence and everything you just said reminds me of two paragraphs in Johnny's lyrics.
 
 
You must share an ability that I somehow have when it comes to modeling patience although mine hasn't been mechanical.  I've ran into so many snags building these bridges there were times I had no idea what I was going to do next.  Put it on the back burner and work on something else for a while until a light bulb finally came on is usually how that went. 
 
You gotta do what you gotta do to make everything work, Right Dave? 
 
You did done good so farBow
 
 
 
 
TF
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 11:50 AM

Track fiddler
  I admire your persistence and everything you just said reminds me of two paragraphs in Johnny's lyrics.

Hi TF, I love that Johnny Cash song!

The dimensions for the first rendition of the gearbox were total guesses. I designed it so it would be easy to build. I have mostly completed the task of lowering the gearbox about 3/8". That should allow me to get the rotary blades centered in the surrounding structure. I can always shim it up a bit if I have to.

Yesterday was like Christmas for me. I got five boxes of model train parts:

I got the worm, worm gear, drive shafts and bushings for the gearbox. I also got several other items from NWSL that are related to the plough project.I have to confess that a few of them were the wrong size so they will be set aside for future projects.

I got a bunch of detail parts from Tichy including freight car door kits, ladders, a foof walk with supports and a brake kit. The ladders don't quite match those on the prototype so I think I will build proper ladders from scratch.

I got a shipment of Evergreen tubing and rods of various sizes. The tubing will  be used to build the steeple compound engines that Overmod suggested would be appropriate for the plough.

I also got two Tyco tenders which might be used to donate parts for the frame of the Mantua tender body.

Finally, I got two Dremel burrs that I will use to elongate some of the holes in the gearbox housing so that the gear mesh and the height of the rotary blade drive shaft can be adjusted.

I hid all the invoices so that Dianne wouldn't see them!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

I still have a few more detail parts on order from Precision Scale. They are mostly for the boiler.

Now I have to get to work on the gearbox to see if I can actually make it function.

I also have to mention that yesterday I got a partially built Russell snow plough kit by Ambroid. The shell has been assembled and first appearances suggest that the original owner did a good job. There is no excess glue and everything is straight. I needed another Russell plough like a hole in the head! Let's just say that the price was right.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, April 2, 2022 12:12 AM

Tonight I played with the scratchbuilt gearbox. I had to remake a couple of pieces in order to lengthen the gearbox because there wasn't enough room for the worm. The new pieces are more accurate (notice I didn't say 'very' accurate) because I learned how to hold the 1/32" burr on an angle instead of at 90 degrees to the hole. At 90 degrees the burr was almost impossible to control. It chattered constantly and dug into the brass where I didn't want it to. When I held the burr at an angle it was easy to control.

It took me a while to figure out how to determine where the rotary blade drive shafts have to be positioned but I think I am on the right track. I will have to assemble the plough and drive system temporarily so I can get the blade positions exact. Solving how to figure out where the blade drive system has to be mounted has eliminated a major stumbling block. I still have a lot of work to do on the drive system before I can test mount it. Yes, if I was to scrap the scratchbuilt rotary blade drive system and use the printer drive, my life would be a lot easier. That's not going to happen any time soon.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughBang HeadLaugh

Sorry, nothing that I am working on is photogenic. If and when I can get the rotary blades working I'll post a video.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, April 2, 2022 2:53 AM

Okay, I lied. Here is a picture showing the beginnings of my effort to locate the rotary blades correctly. What you are looking at is a diamond grit cutoff wheel that just happens to be almost exactly the same diameter as the rotary blades. I have taped it into the side panel which forms part of the rotary blade enclosure. The hole in the blade is located exactly where the rotary blade drive shaft has to be situated.

The next step will be to finish the gear box and then figure out how to mount it to get the drive shaft in the right place. I don't think that should be too difficult, but we shall see.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Monday, April 4, 2022 4:33 AM

I played with the gearbox for several hours last night. Using the diamond cutting disc to locate the rotary blade drive system has worked quite well. My next challenge will be to install the rotary blade drive shafts with the worm gear attached, and then figure out how to mount the input shaft and the worm in order to get the gears to mesh properly. I am anticipating having to do a lot of fiddling in order to get everything working smoothly. I'm actually looking forward to doing that! There are still a few things that I haven't worked out yet, but that only adds to the challenge.

Cheers everyone!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 3:24 AM

Several steps forward, and then one big step back!

I set out tonight to assemble the rotary blade gear box. Things started out quite well. I managed to get the two bushings for the blade shaft in place and lined up so the shaft is perpendicular to the body of the plough:

Then I managed to get the worm gear installed. I used four thrust washers on either side of the gear and it worked perfectly:

Then I was able to get the worm installed. It took a little filing to get the bushings located properly. I will add the thrust washers with spacer tubes once I am happy with the gear mesh:

I was pretty pleased with my progress to that point. Of course, 'pride cometh before a fall'. When I was soldering the last bushing into place I managed to get some solder on the shaft which immediately transformed the normally separate bushing and shaft into one solid assembly!Bang HeadAngryGrumpyCryingBang HeadBang HeadDunce

I decided to quit for the evening while I figured out a way of getting out of this mess. My first thought is to cut the seized end of the shaft right next to the worm and then I can just unsolder the bushing and the seized part of the shaft will come out with it. Then I can tap the rest of the shaft out of the worm, add in my thrust washers and spacers, and then use a new bushing (I ordered several spares in anticipation of such events).

Anyone have any other ideas? Keep in mind that there is a delrin worm gear already mounted in the housing so I have to be careful to not melt that.

I know that my work is rather crude. I'm working with pretty basic hand tools and very little knowledge. I have no machine tools of any sort. So, if you think my efforts are a joke, feel free to chuckle at them.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 5:25 AM

Another step back!

I managed to get the seized parts out of the gear box only to discover that I had melted a couple of the teeth on the delrin worm gear.Bang HeadAngryDunce I should have given much more thought to the order of assembly.

Oh well! More business for NWSL!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ludington, MI
  • 1,541 posts
Posted by Water Level Route on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 5:35 AM

hon30critter
I know that my work is rather crude. I'm working with pretty basic hand tools and very little knowledge. I have no machine tools of any sort. So, if you think my efforts are a joke, feel free to chuckle at them.

Quite the opposite Dave.  I was looking and thinking "Wow, that Dave is pretty skilled."  Bummer about the gear melting.  Persevere. Smile

Mike

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 6:00 AM

Water Level Route
I was looking and thinking "Wow, that Dave is pretty skilled."  Bummer about the gear melting.  Persevere.

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. When I look at the gear box I think to myself that it could look so much cleaner. I guess if it works that's good enough, but I do plan on spending some time to make it look a little more professional.

I just ordered a couple of replacement worm gears. The next time I put the gear box together, they will go in after all the soldering is done (Duh!). Unfortunately NWSL isn't able to ship very quickly these days so the stuff takes a while to get out the door. I'm using the basic USPS First Class service, so that adds another couple of weeks to the delivery because I'm in Canada. Patience is a virtue!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 7,733 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 6:25 AM

Yes, just chalk it up as a learning experience Dave as you will never do something exactly like that again.  

I've done accidental destructive things many of times.  Just recently I had to shorten a girder panel by one plate on one side of bridge #3. 

When I got the bridge away from the layout my occasional dyslexia problem kicked in and I removed the panel from the wrong side of the bridge.  In turn, after reassembly, I found I did the wrong side after I got it back to the layout.

The result of my mistake was I had two of them to re-do.  I had to buy a whole nother bridge as I was short on girder stock lengthsAngryOops - SignBang Head 

 

Now you get the chance to do that step even better the second time around.  Just another setback but you will get there DaveSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    October 2020
  • 3,306 posts
Posted by NorthBrit on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 6:46 AM

Dave has been at one of life's 'dancing' lessons.   Two forward, one back. Whistling

I think we have all been there.   Some more than others.  Embarrassed

 

No matter the challenges, Dave,  success is just round the corner.

 

David

To the world you are someone.    To someone you are the world

I cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 9:19 AM

Thanks for commiserating TF and David.

I put the gear box back together with the only the shafts for now. The bearings are lined up nicely, or at least I think they are. NWSL works to very fine tolerances so anything less than perfect alignment just doesn't work. I'm sure there will be some run in time required before it will get up to speed.

I also took the time to grind off some of the rough edges. It still looks crude IMHO, but it's better than it was:

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • 441 posts
Posted by Attuvian1 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 1:17 PM

hon30critter

Thanks for the kind words. When I look at the gear box I think to myself that it could look so much cleaner. I guess if it works that's good enough, but I do plan on spending some time to make it look a little more professional.

Cheers!!

Dave

 
Dave,
 
I'm reminded of the line that I think came from the Red Green Show: "If you can't be handsome, at least be handy".  I always thought that this was a concept that more women ought to be familiar with.  But that's not the point here, of course.
 
This is preaching to the choir but even familiar perspective is good: first-of-a-kind rarely is pretty.  The two major issues are "does it work properly?" and "is it durable?".  And all the more so for the innards.  Besides, if it looks too pretty, some rubes will think you bought it rather than actually made it!
 
I've been following this thread since that first photo at its head.  What's most impressive to me is the detail you've shared in the transferring of an idea into plastic, steel, and brass.  That is what has brought the hobby to what it is today.  There are not a few who's excitement over your project continues to grow.  You da man.
 
John
  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 8:01 PM

Attuvian1
What's most impressive to me is the detail you've shared in the transferring of an idea into plastic, steel, and brass.  That is what has brought the hobby to what it is today. 

Thanks John,

Now we have to play a waiting game as far as the gear box goes. It takes a while to get things from NWSL at their standard shipping rates, and expedited shipping to Canada is more than $50.00 Cdn. That's a bit much for one gear and a couple of other parts. Apparently NWSL is busy so that's a good thing.

In the mean time I'll go back to work on the body and engine. I bought various sizes of styrene tube to model the upright steeple compound engines so that should be fun.

This is what a steeple compound engine looks like:

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 2:36 AM

I got the worm installed in the gear box with the proper shims. This time I managed to do it without soldering everything into a solid block.Thumbs Up There is a tiny bit more end play than I wanted. I should have added one more 0.015" thrust washer but I am not about to take it apart to do that now. Hopefully the worm is in the right place so that it meshes with the worm gear properly. I had the gear mesh correct before I messed up with the soldering, and I don't think that anything has moved. We shall see!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, April 7, 2022 6:07 AM

Tonight I got two things done.

The first was to go through all of my detail parts and decide which ones will go on the plough. Most of them will be for the steam engine.

The second was to correct the roof of the cupola. The Kaslo Shops cupola that I had intended to use had a curved top whereas the prototype plough had a peaked roof. So, now the cupola has the proper roof:

After:

Before:

I'm not sure how many people would notice the difference, but I would. What better way to spend a couple of hours then fussing with tiny stuff?!?

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 8, 2022 3:18 AM

Here is a little more progress on the rotary blade drive system. Ihe motor is inside the steam engine (mucho details to be added to the steam engine!). The motor is screwed to brass strip that also forms the bottom part of the gearbox frame so things are guaranteed to stay lined up. I put the smoke box front in place in the perhaps naive hope that I won't have to take the drive apart again. Everything turns very smoothly.

The universals will be a bit difficult to hide. I'll have to figure out a way to have them look like they belong there. I might replace them with clear plastic tube.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 2,525 posts
Posted by snjroy on Friday, April 8, 2022 6:30 AM

Looking real good Dave! I find that black is the best color for hiding something.

Simon

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 20,737 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, April 8, 2022 11:55 AM

The motor is inside the steam boiler, which of course isn't going to have rotating parts.   

What's going to be interesting is how you build the steeple-compound engines (there will probably be two, probably "driving" at the rear just in front of the smokebox, with a simulated gearcase to the "driveline" as you've built it) and if there is any visible valve gear or 'action', how you're going to arrange to 'animate' it...

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 8, 2022 1:38 PM

Overmod
if there is any visible valve gear or 'action', how you're going to arrange to 'animate' it...

Hi Overmod,

I hadn't considered animating the drive system. I was planning on just doing it as a static model. To be honest, I only have a vague idea of what it would look like. I have to do more research. Animating it would certainly add interest to the model. Maybe once I figure out what the drive should look like, I might be able to add motion.

The gearbox for the rotary blades has actually been pretty simple to design. It's just a worm and a worm gear. Getting them lined up properly was the biggest challenge. I won't know if the worm gear axle is still in the right place until I get the new gear. I had to resolder one of the input shaft bushings because I managed to pop it loose when I was installing the worm. I believe it went back into the right position because the shaft spun freely as soon as I reinstalled it. If the bushing was out of place there would have been some binding. At least, that's my theory. We shall see. I don't look forward to having to adjust the gear mesh if things moved out of place.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 8, 2022 1:47 PM

snjroy
I find that black is the best color for hiding something.

Hi Simon,

I'm leaning towards using a piece of 1.5mm ID clear plastic fuel line. I can shorten the motor output shaft and the gearbox input shaft so that the tube would run almost the whole distance from the front of the firebox to the gear housing. That would eliminate the rather large universals that I am using now, and it would give me more space to model the steeple compound engines and related gears/shafts etc. I believe that the clear tube would be much less visible than the universals or a black tube.

Thanks for your input.

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,101 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Friday, April 8, 2022 2:01 PM

Dave, are you putting in a sound decoder? Just think you can have the sound of the steam engine, whistle, have interior/exterior lights that go on and off, the sound of the blades cutting through heavy snow and ice, or the sound of a light dust off. You could have cursing workers when the blades jam.LaughSmile, Wink & Grin

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,283 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Friday, April 8, 2022 2:12 PM

BATMAN
Dave, are you putting in a sound decoder?

Hi Brent,

I am seriously considering doing exactly that. I would have to figure out how to download the proper sounds, but I believe I could get the sound of a steam driven rotary plough from the multiple YouTube recordings of ploughs like the one used by the D&RGW. I'm not sure about the cursing workers though. Would you be willing to stand in?Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughCowboy

I have a LokProgrammer and I have decoders coming out my ears, so sound is within the realm of possibility!

Cheers!!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2021
  • 441 posts
Posted by Attuvian1 on Friday, April 8, 2022 3:19 PM

Maybe add a wet bar?  Or at least a snack/souvenir shop.  Smile, Wink & Grin

This entire project is great!

John

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,101 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Friday, April 8, 2022 3:33 PM

hon30critter
I'm not sure about the cursing workers though. Would you be willing to stand in?

Actually, I never swear at all, however, if I could live in infamy in your model I may just be able to pull it off, but I would have to practice first.Laugh

My son never ever swears either, however, on a TV show he was working on he had to get right in this guy's face nose to nose, and spew the vilest profanity at him. We got a good laugh because those that know him could tell he really had to work at it.Laugh

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!