Standing desk and step installed

Eleven months in gestation, the standing desk is finally installed. This project started with a doodle during the Daylight Savings Time switch last year. Within a day, Ken Rutherford had asked if it would be finished by Christmas. It is, just the following year. The whole thing is what I would call “door construction.” Two […]


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Friction for Percy

The question Percy and I have been grappling with is this: I strongly believe that 622 and 10 both spontaneously lost their quartering, causing them to lock up; how is this possible? Let’s review what we’ve learned so far: There is substantial play between the original crank pins and the connecting rods, as well as […]

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Percy and the loose drivers

The more I drill Percy on the test track, the more the little engine mystifies me. Up until now, I’d cherished the theory that a shifting driver could cause it to lose quarter and ultimately bind the mechanism. To probe this theory, I deliberately reamed one of Percy’s front drivers (the geared axle) so it […]

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Percy throws a rod

Earlier, Percy sheared off a crank pin. So, conjecturing that this meant the fast starts and stops were causing the wheels to get out of quarter sufficiently to put some force on the crank pin, I continued to replicate #10 and #622. Both of those have brass crank pins, but I turned some for Percy […]

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Percy shears a crank pin

With Percy’s continued resilience to poor alignment, my approach will be to continue to replicate the construction of #10 and #622 until I can make it fail in the same way. This week, I turned some 3 mm axles, having no such stock material in my collection. It turns out to be harder than expected […]

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Percy gets compensated

There is a widely held belief among proto:scale modellers that equipment works better if it is compensated or, better yet, sprung, or even better yet, compensated and sprung. It stands to reason that wheels that are able to stay on the rail are less likely to find the ballast. However, in an email, Rob Kirkham […]

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Pursuing the Perfect Pasture

We just returned from a week of visiting family in Ontario – the first visit in two years. Because the family is too large to fit in any one of our houses, we usually rent a large cottage and stay there. This year, it was on Big Rideau Lake, near Westport. Aside from a trip […]

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Percy’s new connecting rods

One of my theories has been that Percy’s loose connecting rods were more forgiving of minor perturbations in quartering or crankpin eccentricity. So, I printed the middle experiments (8 degrees out of quarter and .022″ off eccentricity) with the thicker crankpins that allow only minimal clearance. These are about 20% bigger than the original crankpins. […]

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Converting to hex

For many years, I’ve maintained a small stock of screws. They come in an array of shapes – countersunk, cheese-head, round-head, the oh-so-Canadian fillister-head, and hex. I never stocked the hex-headed ones because I didn’t have the appropriate tools to turn them. The trouble with most of these screws is that they have a simple […]

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