Avonside Heisler loco info?

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Tom the blacksmith
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Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by Tom the blacksmith » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:35 pm

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could help me find any details of Avonside Heisler four cylinder articulated locomotives?

I'm laid up (more accurately down) at the moment after herniating three discs in my back, one severely, so I've had a lot of thinking time and have landed on this locomotive as one that I would love to try and build as my first scratch built engine.

I have used my best Google-fu and found very little information. I've found a dimensioned image that I'm going to take to our friendly photo shop to see if they can clean it up and blow it up for me. I understand that there maybe a survivor in the closely guarded 'Collection X' (hadn't heard about that til today!). I've also been pouring over the June 2011 16mm Today article of Peter Angus's beautiful model of one. I was wondering if anyone on the forum might be able to help with further information about these cracking engines?

My plan is to build one using oscillating cylinders (after being so inspired by dewintondave's engines), I know it is not the correct thing to do but the idea of a v4 oscillating engine makes me smile.

Thanks in advance,

Tom

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by MMorg » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:59 pm

Hi Tom,
This is my first ever posting on the forum having only just joined last weekend.
In answer to your question have you a copy of Peter Angus's book? He devotes a whole section to the Avonside Heisler, about 14 pages. The latter ones used the Stour Valley Steam 'boxer' motor. Sadly, the original SVS motors are now unavailable, however Tony Green Models are making the same motor which I have been using recently in my models.
Having been a huge fan of Peter Angus models for many years (we own a Double Fairlie shown in the book) about 20 years or so ago I also decided to build an oscillator Heisler which can be seen operating here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vVq-2OtqD4 (Hope the link works)
Originally it started life as a battery loco (due to my limited steam knowledge at the time) but I built a new chassis with boiler and motors and converted it to steam by transferring the bodywork over. It appeared in Gardenrail number 88 if you can obtain a copy. I'm sure I still have the original drawings here somewhere.
I kept the model for about 15 years having named it after my father, however after a facelift I decided to sell it and it now resides in France. My main interest switched to Garratt's and I ended up selling many of my models to finance the new locomotives.
If I can be of further assistance please let me know.
Malcolm

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by LNR » Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:12 am

Hi Malcolm, and welcome to the forum.
Wow! what a beauty that Heisler is, and running like a Swiss watch too. I'm also a fan of those particular Heislers, both two and four cylinder ones.
Grant.

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by ge_rik » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:05 am

Great looking loco.

Looks like a preserved loco which was running on a line featured near the end of a programme on Channel 5 about the world's most scenic railways. This episode was about the trans alpine railway on NZ's South Island, so the preserved railway must have been near Christchurch.

https://www.my5.tv/world-s-most-scenic- ... 5fddc142a6

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by Tom the blacksmith » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:16 pm

Hi Malcolm and thanks for posting!

I don't have a copy of the Peter Angus book, I had no idea that it even existed (quite a new hobby for me) and happy to say it's now on order.

Thank you for the link to your stunning engine in action, I had seen pictures of it but hadn't seen the video and I'm now hunting for a copy to read the Gardenrail article.

I would really appreciate your help Malcolm, any drawings on these engines, and info on your own would be great. I have so many questions! Also, cracking line you have there!

Thanks Rik, that's my evening TV time sorted, I'll keep my eye out for the loco at the end :thumbup:

Best,

Tom

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by MMorg » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:07 pm

Hi Tom,
Hope your back is getting better. I sympathise as my mother suffered back problems on and off for many years. At times it was very debilitating.
I'm glad you have ordered the Peter Angus book. It's full of information both full size and 16mm model form and the section on Avonside Heislers is very detailed and may provide all of the information you need to make one. I regard it as a 'bible' and a must for anyone wishing to build their own models.
I would suggest you go the route (as he did) of fitting a steam motor in the middle of the chassis and driving the bogies by means of cardan shafts and crossed helical gears. Suitable motors can be obtained from Tony Green Steam Models. (Speak to Eain Green) You need the 'boxer' motor which is shorter than the 'long' motor. Sounds obvious I know but this ensures the drive shafts are as near to the centre of the loco as possible. This could all be hidden beneath the chassis and dummy cylinders mounted above possibly made from 22mm domestic copper tubing, brass end caps and rivets.
Alternatively, you may choose the route I did of using 'wagglers'. (Mamod type cylinders) I'll try to upload one of the drawings I sent to Gardenrail. Basically, it consists of a 1/8" thick plate cut to shape which is soldered between the chassis side frames. The cylinders are mounted at 45 degrees each side. (90 to each other) The plate contains all of the drillings necessary to mount the cylinders and the gearbox. The gearbox is made up of a rectangular plate (shown dotted) which has 3 drillings for the gears (2 off 30 tooth 64DP and 1 off 60 tooth 64DP) and 3 holes for spacers. I drilled mine accurately on a milling machine. My original was plumbed up to go forward only as I lacked the knowledge at the time to fit reverse. However, by using a rotary valve mounted in the cab it is possible to arrange forward / reverse as I have since achieved in another model.
I originally used a standard Roundhouse boiler (Billy or Katie), smokebox, burner and gas tank. The gears were 64DP spur gears obtainable from any gear manufacturer. The crossed helical gears are supplied by HPC. Wheels, cranks, connecting rods etc are Essel Engineering. Universal couplings - Originally I made my own from KS brass tubing but I now use Meccano metal ones. Cylinders RWM steam who also supply the rotary valve. Peter Angus's book explains how to make the cardan shafts and how to make the bogies.
I've tried to upload the drawing but it's too big! I'll have to ask my son to do it as I'm a bit of a 'numpty' when it comes to computer technology. Give me a hacksaw, a hammer or a spanner any day!
I'm still looking for the remainder of the drawings, I think I had a spare copy of Gardenrail number 88! I'll also try to upload a couple of pictures. I'll gladly supply any information or help I can as and when you decide how you wish to progress.
Oh, by the way, I have no connections with any of the above manufacturers just a satisfied customer...

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by JMORG » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:11 pm

MMorg wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:07 pm
Hi Tom,
Hope your back is getting better. I sympathise as my mother suffered back problems on and off for many years. At times it was very debilitating.
I'm glad you have ordered the Peter Angus book. It's full of information both full size and 16mm model form and the section on Avonside Heislers is very detailed and may provide all of the information you need to make one. I regard it as a 'bible' and a must for anyone wishing to build their own models.
I would suggest you go the route (as he did) of fitting a steam motor in the middle of the chassis and driving the bogies by means of cardan shafts and crossed helical gears. Suitable motors can be obtained from Tony Green Steam Models. (Speak to Eain Green) You need the 'boxer' motor which is shorter than the 'long' motor. Sounds obvious I know but this ensures the drive shafts are as near to the centre of the loco as possible. This could all be hidden beneath the chassis and dummy cylinders mounted above possibly made from 22mm domestic copper tubing, brass end caps and rivets.
Alternatively, you may choose the route I did of using 'wagglers'. (Mamod type cylinders) I'll try to upload one of the drawings I sent to Gardenrail. Basically, it consists of a 1/8" thick plate cut to shape which is soldered between the chassis side frames. The cylinders are mounted at 45 degrees each side. (90 to each other) The plate contains all of the drillings necessary to mount the cylinders and the gearbox. The gearbox is made up of a rectangular plate (shown dotted) which has 3 drillings for the gears (2 off 30 tooth 64DP and 1 off 60 tooth 64DP) and 3 holes for spacers. I drilled mine accurately on a milling machine. My original was plumbed up to go forward only as I lacked the knowledge at the time to fit reverse. However, by using a rotary valve mounted in the cab it is possible to arrange forward / reverse as I have since achieved in another model.
I originally used a standard Roundhouse boiler (Billy or Katie), smokebox, burner and gas tank. The gears were 64DP spur gears obtainable from any gear manufacturer. The crossed helical gears are supplied by HPC. Wheels, cranks, connecting rods etc are Essel Engineering. Universal couplings - Originally I made my own from KS brass tubing but I now use Meccano metal ones. Cylinders RWM steam who also supply the rotary valve. Peter Angus's book explains how to make the cardan shafts and how to make the bogies.
I've tried to upload the drawing but it's too big! I'll have to ask my son to do it as I'm a bit of a 'numpty' when it comes to computer technology. Give me a hacksaw, a hammer or a spanner any day!
I'm still looking for the remainder of the drawings, I think I had a spare copy of Gardenrail number 88! I'll also try to upload a couple of pictures. I'll gladly supply any information or help I can as and when you decide how you wish to progress.
Oh, by the way, I have no connections with any of the above manufacturers just a satisfied customer...
Details of said locomotive:
IMG-20191120-WA0008_resize_61.jpg
Cross sectional drawing of steam motor

The locomotive as originally built
IMG-20191120-WA0009_resize_71.jpg
After Berry Hill Works repaint
IMG-20191120-WA0010_resize_40.jpg
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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by philipy » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:22 pm

That repaint is a beautiful job and turns a fairly mundane looking loco into something really eye catching.

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by Tom the blacksmith » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:52 pm

Hi Malcolm,

So sorry for such a slow reply, been a busy week getting everything sorted before I go in for back surgery on Moday. So hopefully things should start to improve and I can slowly return to making things.

Thank you for such a detailed post on your engine build! The supplier information is especially useful, as I have already been looking into gear suppliers.

I have already decided to go your route of oscillating 'wagglers' cylinders, (inspired by dewinton Dave's hunslet build), and also decided I like to have a go at machining the whole thing so bore and stroke is still undecided. I cant sit at the drawing board at the moment so it's all in my head, but I'd like to build a double acting and reversible engine but without external pipe work, only one steam pipe in and one exhaust out. Setting the first series of ports at one level, the second at another, and the bridging ports intersecting a rotary valve. I thinks it's possible to house within a single section of brass and then profile it to look like a dummy set of cylinders. Anyway, that's how far I've got so far, I hadn't thought of gearing down the engine itself.

I could PM you my email if you find any drawings to large to post here, like you I struggle with everything electronic and mostly a hammer is all I need :D .

Now just waiting for the Peter Angus book to arrive, something else to speed my recovery!

Best,

Tom.

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Re: Avonside Heisler loco info?

Post by MMorg » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:46 pm

Hi Tom,
I hope all goes well for Monday and the operation is a success. Besides the pain you are suffering it must be very frustrating having all these ideas in your head and not being able to do anything. Let's hope you are back on your feet quickly and can get
back out into the workshop. Should also help your speedy recovery.
I don't think I am able to offer you any more information as it seems you have the motor sorted and it's just the drive to the bogies. The Peter Angus book will explain this in detail much better than I can. I will provide you the part numbers of the hpc crossed helical gears.
The only problem with the Peter Angus book is that it gives you so many ideas, I couldn't put my copy down for several days and even now I use it as a reference. There's also Tram engines, garratts, (my favourite) Shays and a host of other unconventional locomotives. Hope it arrives soon...
Again, all the very best for Monday, hope all goes well.
Take care, Malcolm

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