How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

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How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by Wayne Laepple on Tue May 21, 2013 4:57 pm

As I said the other day in my introduction, I am not a machine-head or an engineer. I like working on steam locomotives when I can get close to them, and I've been around them for close to 50 years. That said, I want to offer some thoughts concerning how we go at this project. My ideas may seem obtuse or even blasphemous to some, but anyway, here goes.

I suggest that efforts be concentrated first on the tender. Why the tender, you may well ask. My experience in two or three projects has been that the tender always comes after the locomotive, and everyone is in a big hurry to get it done so the locomotive can be operated. The result is that the tender gets short shrift. In one project in particular, the "restoration" of the tender consisted of roller bearing wheel sets and shoveling the crud out of the cistern and the coal space. We put a foot or so of water in the tank and there were no leaks, so it was decided "good enough." A week or so later, when the engine was to be test fired, the tank was filled to capacity and guess what? It was like a rain forest underneath, there were so many leaks! We emptied the tank and a welder was brought in to make repairs. He finished and we tried again. More leaks! It was pretty damned embarrassing for the project leadership, and even with an auxiliary water car, we came perilously close to running out of water on the first trip because at least half of it leaked out!

Once the tender is completed, we next turn to the running gear. If at all possible, we get the boiler off the frame so a thorough inspection of all components of the frame and running gear can be accomplished and adequate repairs effected. On another project I worked on, when the boiler was removed from the frame and everything had been degreased and pressure washed, a number of poorly-done repairs were discovered. A fair amount of time and effort went into correcting those, and when efforts to tram the frame began, it was discovered that it had been seriously wracked at some point. It probably could have been straightened, but then previously undetected flaws (cracks and voids) in the wrought steel frame were found. Fortunately, it was a small engine and new frames were designed and water-cut to replace the original frame. All that set the restoration project back nearly a year, since the new frames had to have an array of holes drilled and surfaces milled.

When the tender and the frame/running gear are complete, then it's time for the boiler. The boiler comes last simply because that's the part that sets the clock ticking on the 1472-day tear-down. In addition, that will probably be the most expensive part of the project. We know there are some issues with eroded rivets, flue sheet erosion and so on. There are discussions and debates about the position of the oil burner, the addition of thermic devices to the firebox, how to deal with the front end and so forth. We need to chase down suitable injectors and a variety of appliances. Scheduling the boiler last offers more time to develop ideas currently under discussion as well as providing more time for the folks working on the locomotive to develop a wider network and more skills.

Of course, the bottom line in any such project is funding. The tender will probably be the least expensive part of the project, but it also shows potential donors that the project is serious. Based on published comments that restoring this locomotive will be a 5-6 year project, it's my guess that between $50,000 and $70,000 will have to be raised annually and consistently if there are no surprises as the project continues. That's not going to happen with $10 and $20 donations, not even with $110 donations, unless there are an awful lot of them. So someone will have to devote a lot of time to schmoozing potential bigger donors to come on board. In my experience, not only with locomotive restorations but also with other non-profit efforts, the big donors come in at the end, after they've seen that the small donations can make things happen, too.

Okay, I've said my piece. Now I'm going to stand back and prepare to catch javelins.

Wayne Laepple

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by DaveLathrop57 on Tue May 21, 2013 6:18 pm

I'm not going to throw them........

I've fielded some other questions about project management issues that are at this point in time not what we need to discuss here, but will certainly need to be dealt with in the future. Should we be talking about it now? Why not? Presuming there's something to say, like Wayne's logical progression laid out above.

Previous projects have been carried out in an ad hoc manner, but none were as complex as this one stands to be. Greater complexity means more formal structure to track and control critical path and keep things moving, which will seem heretic to some people who are already a bit intimidated......but I don't think anybody on this list fits that description.

I think I'd like to see us work through a comprehensive mechanical / engineering thought process in terms of finding out what can be done and then figuring out what of that is most possible and useful for us to make integral to the project. Once we've made that a less nebulous concept, we can then plan for what will be needed and how it can be done. If we can get something formed into a fairly detailed conceptual plan in the next 6 months, great. That's enough for us to sketch out a cost estimate and a progression. Once that's accepted, then we can get into the details while work is done on fund raising, in kind donations, partnerships and sourcing. If we can start building in 2 years......I think we'd be in fine shape for a successful outcome.

What's mssing is more characters taking speaking roles in this production. Too much dialog, not enough group scenes. Thanks for stepping up, Wayne, and please everybody else chip in.

Dave

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by JJG Koopmans on Wed May 22, 2013 5:41 am

Hi,
Having read the different subjects a little, I feel confused. Where is the "holistic" discussion on the steam locomotive as a whole?
Right now I do not have an insight in the present quality of the remains.
My remarks sofar. a) Since it has piston valves it is fit for superheating. b) an oil burner has less radiant heat than coal so a lot of very hot combustion gases find their way through the tubes to chimney, very wasteful! c) burning waste oil? are we in the incinerator business? What about harmfull products for crew and passengers? d) proper diesel oil is expensive so economy is an issue. e) my experience from restored locomotives where superheaters are left out is that the owners are regretting that decision.
Further questions on the subjects.
Kind regards
Jos Koopmans

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by DaveLathrop57 on Wed May 22, 2013 12:00 pm

I think the holistic approach first requires an understanding of what is possible in broad terms considering seperate systems independently - then, options in each of those systems can be looked at in relationship to each other and the best overall combinations determined and tuned into a harmonious whole....at least, that's what I'm hoping will result. It's frustrating for those with a very deep level of expertise and experience to start so far back in the process, but it will contribute a lot to the understanding from the ground up for those with less technical expertise to start with and for viewers who have an interest in the process to see the whole process laid out.

Assume your audience isn't fellow engineers, but musuem volunteers who are part time enthusiasts and wrench turners and throttle pullers. If you offer an opinion, please also offer the why behind it. here: education through the process, and finalizing a workable scheme of mechanical work for the hardware.

Dave

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by Overmod on Fri May 24, 2013 8:28 am

One little boiler note: I would do boiler EXAM and teardown almost first, so you know in advance about any surprises or disasters. As Wayne indicated, the pressure stuff comes almost last to maximize the 1472-day.

The only thing about doing the tender first is that it may tie up funds in the short run that would have been better spent on more critical things. On the other hand, Wayne is right about the general 'afterthought' issue, and having a tender to show that the restoration is progressing may be "useful"...

Not much question to me that boiler and frame will need to be separated to do the project right. This may lead to some consideration about 'better' ways to attach the boiler again -- firebox-slide improvement with something like the Fluorogold that was mentioned elsewhere on this forum being one notable area.

To me the 'holistic' issue is completely appropriate at this stage of the discussions, and in design. Implementation is another thing entirely, as it is not going to be done quickly in a professional shop, and in all probability things in the project timeline will be shifted around for a variety of non-predictable reasons. I think it helps for the volunteers and wrench-turners to have some idea of where what they're doing fits in to a greater perspective -- but also that volunteers and wrench-turners not be required to assimilate TMI if that isn' t their particular 'thing'...

Not to denigrate the volunteers -- but I think of them more as 'troops' than commandos in a properly-designed project of this kind. It may be fun to be 'thinking on your feet' and solving problems as you come to them (I know -- I have owned British cars ;-} ) but it's part of our responsibility to minimize that as far as possible, and then to streamline any 'corrections' that have to be made to the planning, or to the design as a whole...

... and then have Wayne, as the official historian, note some of the effective 'lessons learned' from that, as well... <ducks in case javelins come his way>

Overmod

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by wilkinsdm on Fri May 24, 2013 10:54 am

I agree with Wayne. The tender is usually neglected. You can only put so many sheet metal screws with a rubber washers to stop leaks. I've actually stepped through a tender bottom I was inside trying to vacuum up scale.

From a practical standpoint doing the tender first is a good way to hone skills of the volunteers, especially new ones. Other than possibly making new side frames for the arch bar trucks, basic skills are used. Also, a complete and shiny tender is a good sign of progress to potential donors. It is a good, tangible sign of progress. By contrast, most boiler work is done out of general sight.

I'm curious about the Flourgold as well for the furnace bearers.

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by davedick on Fri May 24, 2013 1:01 pm

Hey everybody

These are all great suggestions and thanks to all for posting. Wayne, I also agree with you about starting on the tender. The object would be to get the ball rolling to show a potential investor that we are serious about #110's restoration. Restoring the tender might be the easist part to get started on, and one that might have the biggest impact in a short amount of time. I believe where we need to consentrate our efforts is in fund raising. Unfortunately alot of us are wrench turners and not familiar with the type of marketing techniques that will be required to raise the kind of money that will be needed. But I guess we will have to learn. There are several things in the works though, such as getting the $110 for #110 campaign up and running. We also have just about completed her cosmetic restoration where we put the locomotive back into her Cliffside colors. The welcome back to NC dedication will be on June 2nd and will include a certain state representitave that is willing to help fund raise by talking to some very deep pockets. That being said, the plan is to also remove her tubes this summer so that we can get down inside her boiler for a better look. I also agree that we need to look for those areas that might be of concern on the boiler so that we can do some targeted fund raising for those problems that might fairly expensive to remedy.
When I fiqure out how to post a photo or two I'll do so. The engine looks great!

Dave Dick

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by DaveLathrop57 on Fri May 24, 2013 2:09 pm

Thanks for joining us, dave.....

There's been a question on how we do water treatment for 17 - perhaps you can answer that on the boiler thread.

Dave

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by Wayne Laepple on Fri May 24, 2013 10:53 pm

I have a couple of ideas regarding fund-raising/marketing this project. First, there are certainly colleges in your neighborhood, and most likely courses in marketing are offered. Make a contact with one of those colleges and develop a relationship with a marketing professor. Work with him/her to design a marketing internship for a student or two.

As for fund-raising, it may be worthwhile hiring a fund-raising professional. There are free-lance fund-raisers out there. These folks know how to get the job done, and they work on a fee basis. Do a little scouting around, call a few and see what happens. Many of these folks are also grant-writers, and they know where to find obscure foundations that actually want to give money away. If you have to pay someone $5,000 and they bring in $100,000 or more, it's probably worth it!

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Re: How do we attack this restoration/rebuild/renewal?

Post by Overmod on Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:55 pm

Bumping this because of mention of Saturday work days, and possible relocation of 110 at certain times during the restoration.

1)  We should 'freeze' the type of project planning, and the tools and 'version management system' we plan to use for the scheduling and job tracking, as soon as possible now that we have a preliminary agenda and work times.  Wayne -- Dave has delegated you with some of this; what do you think should be used?

2)  We need a central 'book' for the fundraising ideas, contacts, and progress ... or we will start missing opportunities and deadlines.  Again, I think Wayne is the right person to oversee this if he has the time.

3)  We should start reaching out to strategic partnerships, suppliers and contractors, etc. who can donate parts, goods and services, or make contacts in industry for us.  It is also time to start making contacts in academe, both with area institutions and with schools in other regions that have distinctive competence in the fields concerned.  Some form of harmonization with the efforts in Project 130 should be made, even if it is just the occasional scheduled communication with John et al.

4)  If we can find a fund-raiser or firm who can do some of the work 'pro bono' or for promotional credit/tax deduction -- so much the better.

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