Friday, 24 August 2012

How to fit an Ashpan (6)

Making an ashpan is one thing but actually fixing it in place is quite another. It's not just offering the ashpan up to the firebox, drilling a few holes and screwing up a few nuts and bolts. The ashpan is heavy, all my tools etc. are at Chippenham and the firebox is 25 miles away in Midsomer Norton! And what sort of brackets are needed?

In amongst many other things, I've been pondering how to do this for months. The ashpan is circular so angle iron brackets would have to be curved to just the right radius. I can't do angle iron bending and it would be too pricey to have four made. Even then, it still does not answer where to mount them!

Ear's the idea I came up with.
'Ears' (4)
I made these four ears with the inner radius ground to suit the ashpan curvature. The plan was to fix these in place then jack the ashpan up under the firebox, adjust the ears for best fit and finally tack-weld them to the ashpan wall.
Two of the four 'ears' in place
With the ears in place, the ashpan was put on a pair of wooden beams so it could be 'walked' along the rails to its location beneath the firebox.
Ready for 'walkies'
Spot the deliberate error here!
In position below the firebox
(Deliberate error corrected!).
Then the ashpan was jacked into the highest position abutting up against the brackets...
Highest position
... and ears tack-welded in place.
Tack welded
Bearing in mind that I'm almost six feet tall, not a natural contortionist and was at times wearing a welding helmet, getting into position to do the tack welds was not a trivial operation particularly for the ears towards the front of the loco. I confess there were a few flashes as the welding rod caught the wrong thing on the journey getting into position!

Why three nuts per fixing? The top one holds the studding in place; the other two can set and lock the ashpan height and hence the air-gap. I hate things being able to rattle!

Having brought the ashpan back to base, I have to complete welding the ears with a 'leg' support, increase the ears'-hole size (of these ears, not mine!), add some fresh smoke-box paint, assemble the flap and fix the complete ashpan in place. Hopefully this job will then be complete after about nine months duration!

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