CNR 3737 :: More work on the pilot

CNR 3737 - pilot

Last Friday, Andy Malette and I held another work session at his place to build CNR 2-8-2s. We continued our work on the pilots.

Like many CNR steam engines, the prototype Mikado I’m modelling had an air tank mounted crosswise on the pilot deck, between the front ladders. On this particular engine, the tank was welded – so with Andy’s guidance, I had my first experience with a metal lathe, and turned my tank out of a solid brass rod. While it’s not apparent in the photo above, the tank ends have a lip around the circumference, which I also modelled. And they’re drilled to accept the piping that will connect this tank to the rest of the air system.

The tank sits on two brackets – casting that Andy produced for his CNR 4-6-2 kit – and is held in place with retainers bent from 0.020″ dia. brass wire. Soldering the tank in place on the brackets required the massive heat of a torch – another first for me.

As we inspected the finished tank against the prototype photos, we realized that the model’s pilot deck was too long for my locomotive. Here’s a photo of the stock Overland model:

OMI Light Mikado - Left Side

Note the distance between the ladders and the pilot beam – and how far back the headlight is from the pilot. Comparing this to the prototype photo, it’s easy to see that the deck is too long:

CNR 3737 - Al Paterson prototype photo - left side.

(Note also that the model has deck braces running from the smokebox sides to the deck – another feature absent from CNR 3737.)

At home over the weekend, I unsoldered the pilot beam from the deck, cut back the deck with a cut-off disk in my Flex-Shaft Tool, then re-soldered the beam to the deck. The shorter deck is apparent in the lead photo: The bases of the ladders are much closer to the beam. (I’m temporarily re-installed the smokebox front to better compare the face of the prototype, the as-built model, and the modifications. The smokebox will be significantly reworked at some point.)

In the process of re-attaching the pilot, I also bent up some L-shaped braces to solder underneath the deck and to the back of the pilot assembly: I was worried that over time, the solder joint along the edge of the deck would fail, given that this joint will be subject to shocks when coupling. The extra bracing can’t be seen and provides me with additional peace of mind. I’m enjoying working through these problems and devising solutions.

Once again, I have homework: I will go through various documents and photos, and remove details from the boiler that are either wrong, or in the wrong place. Meantime, Andy tells me that we now have suitable spoked pilot wheels, courtesy our friend Simon Parent, so the front end is going to look even more like a CNR engine after our next work session – scheduled for later this month. I’m already looking forward to it!

Happy New Year, everyone – best wishes for 2017!

4 thoughts on “CNR 3737 :: More work on the pilot

  1. That’s coming on nicely – and I can see the turned lip.

    More importantly, you are gaining confidence through experience: great way to learn new skills!


    • Thank you, Simon. I think so, too.
      The work is slow going right now, as I’m learning as I go and most of it is new to me. But as I get more experience at this I expect to be able to do more of the work at home, between the work sessions at Andy’s place, so the project should speed up. For example, I’m already a lot better at using a resistance soldering set than I was two months ago.

  2. Great re-build and that you are picking of skills is neat too. Have you looked into finding erecting cards on your loco?

    Leonard Lee Davis

    • Hi Leonard:
      No, I have not looked into this. Since, like the prototype, I’m starting with a USRA Light Mikado, I’m fairly confident in reworking various appliances from photos.

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