A kiln conveyor

 photo Kilns-S-09_zps3c97c786.jpg

Loading a tobacco kiln is a lot of work. A conveyor makes it a lot easier – and since they’re a neat detail I thought I’d add one to my kiln scene. Fortunately, I had a package of HO scale portable coal conveyors handy – they’re part 933-3520 in the Walthers Cornerstone series. I cannibalized one of these to create a kiln conveyor – a process that primarily involved building a new, wider conveyor belt.

I cut a piece of .040″ styrene sheet for the belt, rounding the ends to suggest that the conveyor is curling around a roller. I then added lengths of 0.040″ half-round strip at regular intervals to represent the ridges that help the belt do its job. I cut apart the frame that supports the wheels and used some 0.060″ styrene angle to stretch it to match the new, wider conveyor.

My prototype photo showed a sheet across the bottom of the conveyor – presumably where the sticks are laid, one at a time, to convey them into the belly of the kiln. I added this sheet using some thin sheet wood and more styrene angle.

Finally, I painted the conveyor then created a stick of tobacco and glued it to the belt.

 photo Kiln-Conveyor-01_zps90f5026b.jpg

The conveyor required me to add the styrene walls to the bottom of the model what will represent the concrete foundation. I’ll write more about that – plus some modifications to the kiln to accommodate the conveyor – in a future post. Stay tuned!

7 thoughts on “A kiln conveyor

  1. It’s always nice to see your progress. It’s looking good! Those sheds sure are an ‘interesting’ shade of green.

  2. Given the hand crank on the conveyor, with the machinery guard on the crank handle,(with chain and sprocket drive) it would take a ‘month of Sundays’ to elevate the tobacco to the kiln. One person would be winding furiously while the others loaded the conveyor. An electric motor on the conveyor powered by a local supply or a small generator may have been employed, other wise it would have been more ‘financially’ benefit to throw the tobacco to the kiln man. but then again it is your layout.
    regards Glenn

    • Hi Glenn:

      I have an ice cream maker from that era and it’s hand cranked. It takes 20 minutes of constant, furious cranking to make ice cream – which explains why the instructions say, “Get a couple of the neighbourhood kids to crank it”.

      It also explains how one can eat home-made ice cream and lose weight.

      Seriously though: Good point although you assume that the crank is the only means of operation. I included the crank because my prototype has one: check the recent posts on the kilns and you’ll see a conveyor in a postcard view.

      There’s a motor supplied in the kit. It’s a blob of plastic. Before I add it, I’m waiting to hear from someone who worked the tobacco harvest. He can tell me how the conveyor was powered, so I can correctly model it.


    • I have more info now – and will make some mods and additions to the conveyor and then post the results. Stay tuned!

  3. Good evening Trevor,
    When I tried to load your blog entry about “Tobacco Poetry”
    I was returned an error messsage
    This is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?
    It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.
    I did not see the tobacco poetry entry on the list of blog titles,
    perhaps something did not update correctly???
    I always enjoy your web site and blogg Thanks
    John Green Vancouver BC Canada

    • Hi John:
      After posting it I decided it would be better as an addendum to the post on reworking the kiln interior – so I did that and deleted the post. Sorry for the confusion. Glad you enjoy the blog.

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