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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Project 16 - Yard Crane

There is no proprietary scale model of this distinctive hand operated 7.5 ton yard crane that once existed at Crewkerne and cranes in the real world exactly like this do not, as far as I am aware, exist today. Photographs in the public domain are also pretty rare and as for a drawing, well I dare say one exists somewhere on the planet.

I had one image that shows a distant view of the crane, enough to recognise its uniqueness but too distant a view to discern details. I made contact with the Friends of Crewkerne Station who very kindly showed me a close up photo that gave much detail of its mechanical arrangements, without which I could not have made the model. But, being only one viewpoint there were hidden aspects. I started another search and came across a preserved yard crane at Bere Ferrers station (a heritage line near Plymouth) that whilst having a different style of frame did have some remarkably similar components and identical operating mechanics.

There are many photographs of the Bere Ferrers crane on the web viewed from all angles and one of these showed the makers plate with the name 'Stothert and Pitt'. There is no doubt in my mind that the two cranes were made by the same firm.

Stother and Pitt were a renowned crane manufacturer located in Bristol. Their first cranes were hand operated and they exhibited one (don't know which style) at the 1851 Great Exhibition. They went on to make travelling railway cranes and huge dockside cranes.

The model design was scaled (4mm:1ft)  from the photos and then scratch built by myself. It may not be 100% dimensional correct and I believe at least one of  the angles is off but it does capture the character of the crane on its dressed stone plinth.

The plinth is card with stone paper overlay and its railings made from copper wire pieces butt glued together using Superglue (very fragile).

Most of the crane components were designed in CAD and 3D printed. Struts, gear axles, winding drum and cable roller support (half way up the jib) were fabricated from various gauges of copper wire.The chains are two pieces of thin brass wire twisted together.

The crane can be hand turned on its central stanchion but the winding mechanics are static. Just as well because I did not bother to model the ratchet locking mechanism!

It was painted grey and the visible cogs and chains painted black. The lot was then given a light dusting with black pastel dust for a weathering effect.

I enjoyed the challenge posed of making this model from scant information, except handling very small parts and loosing many to the carpet abyss caused some frustration.

The back scene in these photos is placed only for the photographic session. I have yet to model the landscape on this part of the layout.

To Part 34.

To Part 1.

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