Sunday 29 January 2023

Fowler Rebuilding

In my last post on the Fowler F 30 I had just finished taking the loco completely apart. With the buffers removed I could mark out where to drill new holes for a lower buffer position. The holes themselves were drilled out to 3.5 mm with metal drills and cleaned up with files. 

Rear buffer in new lowered position. The upper half of the hole for the old position can be seen.

The front buffer wasn't as straightforward as the rear buffer. A large ballast weight was positioned up against the buffer plate from the inside and had to be altered to mount the buffer lower. As the weight was mounted close to the blind axle, I had to unscrew the front buffer plate to remove it. Once out, I cut the upper part of the ballast weight off with an angle grinder and refitted it before I screwed the buffer plate (with a new hole drilled in it) back on again. Reducing the amount of weight at the front end of the loco is no problem, as the old battery pack was far heavier than the 9 V battery to be fitted. Both buffers were mounted in their new holes and the buffer height tested with my three types of skips.

Front ballast weight before modification. The two holes are for mounting the weight in the loco's footplate, the single hole is for the buffer mount. The upright part of the weight was removed.

Front buffer refitted in lower position. Here seen coupled to a Hudson 'Rugga' skip.

As a result of my selection of a much smaller battery size I got the possibility to remove the large battery box in the cab and rebuild the cab area. Once I had the battery box in the cab removed I drew up a list of features I would like to show in the open cab. The list included wooden floor, platework separating cab and engine room, brake stand and levers, instrument panel with light, seat and a driver figure.  
New cab floor made from plasticcard. The floor is built as a module that slips between the loco's frames. The floor module can be lifted out in one piece for servicing and fitting of wires and battery.
The floor seen from above. Boards were scribed with a small screwdriver and the surface distressed with knifeblade and coarse sandpaper to produce wood texture.

When I removed the large battery box that protruded into the cab, it left a large opening between cab and bonnet. The opening was closed with a plasticcard cover detailed with a hatch for relatively easy access to the engine room. I added a few bolt heads from octagonal plastic profile. The complete cover plate was AC-glued to the innerside of the cab front.

Fowler cab fitted with new floor and front wall cover.

With the large openings in the cab details inside the cab will be easily viewed. Here is a rear view of the cab interior.

With lowered buffers and basic interior in the cab I will move on to building an instrument panel and brake stand to be fitted in the cab as well as preparing the loco for installation of a new battery. 

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