Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Which Browser?

Good question!

As Sentinel 7109's 'blog author, I'm able to see various statistics relating to how Sentinel7109.blogspot.com is found via the internet, the country readers are based in and which browsers are being used (and quite a lot more).

By far (on 27th March 2012), Internet Explorer is the most widely used browser for this 'blog, then Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera and a few other contenders.

Stats Extract 27th March 2012
I do all my 'blog writing using Chrome with an occasional check to see that it's working properly on Internet Explorer. I've never looked at it with Firefox or Safari but did try briefly with Opera.

I was an early convert to Chrome and found it speeded-up page loading and transitions quite dramatically. Microsoft then released IE9 which uses graphics processing on PCs where it can to speed things up. Despite this, IE9 seems to me to be simply 'clunky' compared to Chrome; I'm find it keeps me waiting and wondering which bit will appear next and where on the screen.

I guess this is not too complementary to IE9 but it's my observation. So if you want to enjoy Sentinel 7109's adventures more smoothly, have a go with Chrome which is downloadable from http://www.google.co.uk/chrome.

My brief use of Opera was also very encouraging although Vista crashed on me and, after a Windows restore, I never saw Opera again! I haven't tried Firefox or Safari (I'm trying not to over-fill my Laptop with junk!). I now also use Windows 7 (64 bit).

In case you might be wondering if I have any connection to Google or Chrome - absolutely none whatsoever! I'm just wanting to make my 'blog more pleasant to use and Chrome works well for me.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

How to make an ashpan (4) - Getting in a flap!

In ashpan part 3, I'd got as far as making the pan section of the ashpan. Now there is a 'flap' to make which allows the ash to be emptied (hopefully only when intended!). It is an odd-shaped fabrication with a hinged panel and sides to prevent spillage when Sentinel 7109 is in motion. The picture of Sentinel 9622's below shows the general design idea.
9622's Ashpan Flap
I started with the flat sheet cut out from the pan base and welded 2mm mild steel sides shaped to fill the gap when the flap is raised.
Sides in place and ready to weld the cross-piece
I added an angle iron cross-piece to provide some reinforcement and prevent the flap from being raised too high when closed. A good exercise for the Tiggling Stick!
Cross-piece welded in place
Despite Sentinel 7109 being 28 tons, these welds are really quite small. I used TIG welding because it is much gentler where space is tight. Stick welding can be a sledgehammer adding extra metal where it isn't wanted.

I needed to add a pair of ears to prevent the flap dropping out when opened for ash clearing.

Ear clamped ready to weld (sounds painful!)
Pair of ears
At this stage, I concluded that, whilst adequate, the harsh environment that an ashpan lives in would soon cause it to fall apart and that extra reinforcement would be essential for it to have a long life.
Side reinforcement
I welded two rectangular pieces between the sides, the flap plate and the angle iron. Now it feels like a rigid structure capable of the abuse it will receive in service.

Nearly complete: Screwing it all together, add the fixing brackets and a raising and lowering mechanism and apply a coat of smoke-box paint (which I doubt will last very long in service but it makes me happier with the end result!).

To be continued.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Draw-bar Recovery (2a)

All that considering at the end of my last draw-bar cover article has bounced me into action with the Tiggling Stick to add a reinforcement angle iron to the draw-bar cover plate underside.
Angle iron reinforcement
(Should bear the weight of two separate Gorillas!)
Now it can be painted without it all being burnt-off again by the welding!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Draw-bar Recovery (2)

In the last article dealing with the water ingress and carp-related damage to the rear draw-bar's cushion cavity, I got as far as getting some paint slapped on to protect it from further corrosion. Now I had to get to grips again with the steel plate rolling machine that I'd used on the ashpan walls.

This time, I did remember to use my camera a little more effectively!

The old cover plate measured 33 inches long and 11.5 inches wide. As continual footfalls had dented it, this time the plate was going to be thicker at 2mm (which is about 2/3 of an 1/8th of an inch!) and will possibly have some angle bracket welded underneath to make it even stronger. K M Steel Fabrications Ltd of Haydon, Radstock kindly supplied the sheet steel and cut it to size.

The rolling machine with sheet inserted ready to roll!
Great care has to be taken to ensure that the sheet enters the rollers at right angles to avoid a twist which would make the sheet unusable. There is no photo evidence of my accurate tri-square used to set the sheet in place (I haven't got enough hands to hold a square, move a metal sheet and use a camera simultaneously even with a tripod!). It pays to take one's time to set things up accurately to avoid regretting it later.
Lines were drawn for the folds and the start and finish of the curvature
I had a problem in that I could not see my lines for the start and finish of the curve as they had to be trapped at the rollers' pinch point.

By moving the start of curve line to be directly below the right side of the roller and making a mark directly below the left side of the roller, I could then make the 'HERE' mark half-way between the two roller side lines. Thus, putting the 'HERE' line to the left of the roller then made sure the line for the start of the curve was at the pinch point of the rollers. Same for the end of curve line only the other way round.

Put the 'HERE' line to the left of the roller...
...then raise the rear roller and wind the sheet through...
...then a bit more...
...until finally!
Ok, so I went a bit too far and had to do some unbending which is not as easy as it seems; it's supposed to be a smooth curve, not one with a gradual curve in places and something tighter in others. Again some patient, manual adjustment got it there in the end.

This is how it happens in practice (also on YouTube).

A flange was then required at each end of the sheet for the mounting holes. This was the first time I'd used a sheet metal bending machine since about 1972 but it wasn't difficult.

Sheet metal bending machine
The lever without the counter-weight raises and lowers the clamping mechanism that hold the sheet in place. The lever with the counter-weight does the work.

So, having clamped the sheet in place at right angles to where you want the bend, it's simply a matter of raising the handle at the front like this (also on YouTube):

Note that, owing to only having two hands, the plate was already bent and the video is for illustrative purposes only!

And the final result:

The new cover plate with template; the old cover plate is above!
Now just some paint, drill a few holes, fix it in place and try standing on it. Then consider welding an angle iron reinforcement below the top for strength (and preferably before painting it!).

My thanks are due to Lackham College, Lacock, Wiltshire, for letting me skive-off my Monday evening welding class to do metal forming instead. It's all part of the fabrication process, honest!
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