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Monday, October 20, 2008

Birney Project ~ Installing the Bullant

Easier said than done. Somehow I have to install the new Bullant drive mechanism where the old motor is now.

I have no idea how I'm going to do this. So, as usual, I'm just going to have to take it one step at a time. Yessir! One step at a time.

The first order of business is to remove the old motor and see how the Bullant relates to the frame. First off, its apparent that the Bullant will not slip right in. The wheels prevent dropping in the mechanism down from the top, and the bolsters prevent it from coming up from the bottom. So somethings got to give.

Looks like I have four choices at how to do this. 1- build a new frame, as Bruce Battles of Menlo Park, CA seems to have done with this single truck streetcar ( I don't know Bruce or how to contact him, If anyone knows this guy, I sure would like to correspond with him about his modeling, and probably ask permission to use above photo ~ eep!). Or 2- modify the existing frame. Or 3- mount the Bullant directly to the Birney shell. Or 4 – glue the truck side-frames to the polystyrene side-frame supports on the Bullant, and then mount the side-frames to the trolley body.

As you can (barely) make out in this photo, the mounting bolsters of the Bullant are actually higher than the top of the chassis frame. So options 3 and 4 are out. But if I could just slide in the Bullant into the chassis frame, then the mounting bolsters could be mounted from the top.

So as you can see, I decided to modify the frame (Option 2). If I mess it up, then I'll simply build a new frame (Option 1). I cut a piece of the frame out so that the Bullant could just slide in. This kind of compromises the integrity of the frame, but note that the mounting holes are on either side of the cut, so when bolted in place on the Birney body, things will be rigid again.

And sure enough, the Bullant slipped right in!

Whoops! Things are sitting kind of high. The Birney body needs to sit lower so that the center of the side-frames are equal to the center of the wheels. More fiddling needs to be done. But we're getting there Huh? The Bullant is in there!

Spacers between the frame and the bolsters will raise the Bullant / lower the Birney body, so I cut some from brass stock and soldered them to the frame. Now this is funny; I wanted to screw the Bullant to the spacers so the Bullant could be removed from the frame. But while I was trying to center the mounting holes so I could mark their location for drilling, things kept sliding around. So I temporarily super glued the Bullant in place. Well, the super glue has worked so well, I think I'll just go with it for a while. Yessir! Just go with it for a while!

I did it! I actually pulled it off! The Bullant is in there, and its in there solid! I'm just so proud of myself. I wish I could test it. What I need to do now is build a test track. Yessir! I need to build a test track!


Monday, October 06, 2008

Birney Project ~ BullAnt Drive Mechanism

Oh it’s always such a happy occasion to see the UPS truck pull up outside. And today was no exception. Today he delivered to me the long awaited BullAnt Drive Mechanism I ordered from Hollywood Foundry Railway Products. You know what that means... Time to rip open the Birney box!

Hollywood Foundry (of Australia of all places) builds these finely crafted mechanisms built to perform and last. So I had them build one for my Ken Kidder Birney.

I say that I “had it built” because you can order you mechanism built to your specifications.

The specifications I used for the Birney car drive mechanism are: 28mm wheelbase, 26” wheels, Mashima 1024 motor, a 31:1 gearbox reduction ratio, and wired for common wheels and trolley pole reversing.

Time to build up the momentum on this project again and get it moving full steam ahead. Yessir! Full steam ahead!