Well, it is sunday afternoon for me, so it is about time to put the last exhibits on the table, about 20,5 hours prior to the ending of STWWW 2012 - does this mean my table will end up all the way at the bottom of the loco shed ? :D
Coal is filthy stuff of course, and there is the accumulated dirt, grime and carbonised oil from the past running season sticking all over Rocket, as well as some small repairs and adjustments that need to be made.
On the last club run, something worked itself loose about every hour. Chimney brace screws are a favourite to come off, tender sideboard nuts are as well, and on that last club run, a cylinder mounting plate came off mid-run, and it turned out one of the mounting screws for the other one had also disappeared. :shock: It wreaks havoc with the timing, that much is for sure! (luckily we were running at a model engineering show, so M3 screws were easy to come by - 30 minutes later, Rocket was back in business. The most difficult part is not to try and start on the job before it is cool enough not to burn your fingers!)
One of the last things to fall off, as you might have seen in the first video, was Rocket's right hand nameplate, so we had to glue that back on as well.
First off, we start with covering everything in the neighborhood with paper, just so we don't make any oil or water stains.
The grates had already been removed and cleaned at the end of the run, so now we open the smokebox door - hmm, it's black in there!
As far as we can reach them, we brush out the flues.
Some of the flues are completely unreachable, without disassembly of the entire smokebox - but that will be something for the bi-annual maintenance I think. I would also like to see whether gas-firing will succeed in cleaning the flues back up a bit.
Other flues, on the other hand, are right in front of the firebox door, so you get this ...
This is the end result:
Then follows a cursory vacuuming session to get all the loose ash, dust and bits of coal off. Further cleaning with a screwdriver wrapped in paper to get into all those difficult-to-reach corners.
Rocket is put onto its nose (and you see, Dave S, the chimney crown comes off, so if I ever buy a chimney fan, it will just fit on there) and further cleaning of the wheelthreads, axles and bearings, spring mechanisms and valve gear ensues.
This is the icky side - lubricator oil goes everywhere. The O.S. Rocket has a provision for negligent owners, where steam oil condenses into the chimney, then runs down into the smokebox and drips out, right onto the eccentrics for the valve gear. It is hard to figure out whether this was by design, but as a result everything gets filthy down there. Rear wheels and suspension are nice and clean already.
I tried to photograph the front wheel suspension which I adapted, but it turns out to be impossible to get a picture of without major disassembly. I have no idea how I mananged to assemble it in the first place, it did involve allen keys and fingers through the front wheel spokes.
Then the tender needs the same kind of attention, although it remains a lot cleaner - only one drop of oil on each bearing box for every run, but there is of course the rust from the rails to contend with.
Finally, we make a note which fasteners still need to be replaced - if anyone knows of a source of black M3 allen bolts, it would be much appreciated. I have used brass bolts for now, but the jury is out on whether they will turn out to be strong enough.
We still have to glue back the name plate on the right hand side as well! I bought glue which advertises to be "resistant to anything" ...time will tell!
We used quite a bit of paper for our cleanup - I wonder whether a paper-fired Rocket would be doable... ?
Finally, I thought that I might also show you the last bit of preparation for the new season, that I can just as well do right now - preparing for the spring hydraulic test. This is a little more involved with Rocket. For this there are two reasons - the boiler inspection kit does not come with an M11 screw fitting, which is Rocket's thread for the safety valve - this means we will need an adapter, and secondly, due to the antiquated design for the throttle, it has a tendency to leak. No problem in normal operation, but it is a problem if you have to hold 10 atm of hydraulic pressure for 20 minutes.
So, here's what to do:
First, you take off the fake steam dome:
Then, the real steam dome:
Rocket did not have a steam dome originally, and was quite prone to priming. One was provided later, and also on the replica there is one. Here, we have a proper steam dome, with the dry pipe sticking up all the way near the top.
This pipe, you have to take out - I glue it in with some plumbers' compound that is supposed to be good for heating pipework. It comes apart easily (in fact, it is difficult to establish whether it survived repeated steamings at all), and leaves a hole. To prevent the regulator from leaking, we have to plug this hole.
For a hydraulic test, it would be prudent to fill the dry pipe completely with water. If you plug it from this side, it is subject to the entire test pressure, whereas it normally is equalised with the boiler pressure. This makes it somewhat liable to collapse on the occasion of a hydraulic test.
Plugging, we do with a rubber stopper:
Then we unscrew the safety valve:
And put in the M11- 1/4in adapter for the test manifold.
Boiler appendages get stored safely in the tender.
The M11- 1/4in adapter provides for a convenient hole in the boiler (also the blower and blowdown valves are kept open), which allows it to dry out further, without undue stress on Rocket's appearance for display.
And to top it all off (literally) we also refill the lighter - it has caused no small amount of trouble these last few days!
All ready for winter display!
And finally, the portrait of a clean and prepped Rocket, complete with STWWW on the computer.
Signing off now on the STWWW 2012, once again thanks for all the comments, and have fun - I certainly did!