Share your special tools

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Greg_Lewis
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Location: Fresno, CA

Share your special tools

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Nov 07, 2020 11:34 pm

Say, folks, I’ll bet many of you have made some special tools for working with your locos and cars. How about showing us some of them? Here are some I’ve made:

At the top is a quick and dirty wrench for a one-shot use that I don’t remember. Under that is a cheap box wrench that was modified by bending the right end by heating it with an o/a torch and then grinding down it’s outside diameter in order to get down inside the Allen smokebox saddle casting in order to tighten the compression nuts on the cylinder exhaust fittings. Under that are a couple of pullers I made to get the hands off pressure gages and similar small pulling jobs.
IMG_8406.JPG


On the left is an adjustment tool I made and for the life of me I can’t remember what it’s for, but it’s something on the loco. Next to that are three wrenches for the Nathan style spanner nuts on the SuperScale injectors and check valves. The wrench next to that is for the octagonal nuts on the SuperScale unions. After that is a special socket wrench with a square socket which you can’t see for the square nut on the shutoff of the SuperScale boiler checks.
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Here are some socket wrenches for 1-72, 2-56 and so on hex head bolts. While you can buy sockets to fit those little hex screws, I made these because the commercial ones had handles that were either too long or too short. They’re easy to make using a socket head cap screw to make the socket. Just thread it into a piece of stock, turn it all down and add the knurling. The gadget at the bottom is a grease gun adaptor to shoot grease into the holes in the drilled axles for journal bearing lube.
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This top gadget is a scaled down version of something I found in a book somewhere. I don’t like full-size hose clamps for hoses on scale equipment, and this is one solution. It uses a piece of bailing wire to create a hose clamp. If you look carefully, you can see the way the bailing wire is fashioned. The hose would run through the loops of the wire. The end of the tool has a notch in it for the wire. You turn the t-handle to tighten the wire and then bend it around — up and to the right in this photo — to secure the wire. The L-shaped bit of wood was cut to help installing the fuel and water hatches on my tender. I couldn’t get my fingers inside the tank to hold the nut up against the screw that was coming down from outside the tank, so by holding the wood like a letter L and setting the nut on the upper part of the foot, I could stick it into the hole and lift the nut up and hold it to get it on the screw.
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So how about posting some of the special tools you’ve come up with?
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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tornitore45
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Location: USA Texas, Austin

Re: Share your special tools

Post by tornitore45 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:26 am

I made and for the life of me I can’t remember what it’s for,
After finding so many shop made tools with no clue of why I made them I started engraving some clue or storing them in a bag with a paper note.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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ccvstmr
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Location: New Lenox, IL

Re: Share your special tools

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:44 am

Greg...how do you ever find time to work on models when making so many special tools? Just kidding. No doubt at some point in time, something special is needed for a particular task only because a commercially made tool wasn't available (time vs money decision once again).

When building the passenger car trucks for the "shorties" and Honest Dave's Central Pacific passenger cars, realized I wanted (needed) a tool for tightening square nuts. Flat end pliers had a bad habit of slipping off the stainless steel square-sided nuts.

Took a piece of steel hex stock. Drilled the appropriate sized hole in the end. Went to the mill and used the same size cutter...starting in the hole and moving the table to the side to create a 3-sided tool to spin the square nuts on/off. Made the handle from some scrap aluminum.

IMG_8600.JPG

MG...you're so right about labeling things. And, if you can't label the item, at least put it in a bag with a paper note. THEN...throw all the items in a box (and don't forget the label the box). As I started to gather a selection of parts 'n fasteners, realized that stacking parts trays on the bench or other was not the best solution. Always needed a part on the bottom of the stack.

IMG_9477.jpg

So, made my own parts tray storage rack. Found Menards carries a selection of Plano plastic parts storage boxes that are perfect for this. Got the parts boxes with the movable dividers. These parts boxes work great for sorting taps 'n dies too. Walmart carries these...look in the fishing supply department. And when the rack was completed, it didn't take long to fill that. Found I still needed more space for storage cases.

IMG_3750.JPG

But as you noted MG...LABEL THINGS! If you don't have something like a Brother P-Touch label machine...get one. They're not expensive. And labeling things saves all kinds of time when searching for that one particular item. As we all know...whatever you're looking for...will always be in the last place you look! :wink: Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:24 pm

ccvstmr wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:44 am
Greg...how do you ever find time to work on models when making so many special tools? Just kidding. No doubt at some point in time, something special is needed for a particular task only because a commercially made tool wasn't available (time vs money decision once again).
Once I needed a special thread tap. It was Sunday afternoon and it would have taken a week to order one and get it. Made one from a bit of drill rod, hardened it, tempered it and sharpened it by hand. It worked.

ccvstmr wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 10:44 am

But as you noted MG...LABEL THINGS! ....
That goes for fixtures, too. I've got at least a half dozen small ones in a drawer under the lathe that look interesting but for which the memory is blank. :roll:
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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tornitore45
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Location: USA Texas, Austin

Re: Share your special tools

Post by tornitore45 » Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:46 pm

My parents could have chosen "Label" for my middle name.
I like large fonts, so I print the label from an EXCEL template that give me consistent printing size and location, then paste to the box, sometime on both sides.
Fixture in particular need descriptions. A tool may give away the purpose sometime, but a fixture is nearly impossible to match to the part is was holding. Rarely it might be used again in a hobby environment but it can be repurposed for something similar.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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ccvstmr
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by ccvstmr » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:28 pm

tornitore45 wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 5:46 pm
Fixture in particular need descriptions. A tool may give away the purpose sometime, but a fixture is nearly impossible to match to the part is was holding. Rarely it might be used again in a hobby environment but it can be repurposed for something similar.
Have gone thru the same thing. Look at a part and wonder how I made that before...and then...find a fixture and can't remember how that was used. Will go one step farther...take photos of the fixture set up and the machining steps. Take LOTS OF PHOTOS! These are invaluable! Besides...digital film is really inexpensive these days! :lol: Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:38 pm

ccvstmr wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:28 pm
Will go one step farther...take photos of the fixture set up and the machining steps. Take LOTS OF PHOTOS! These are invaluable! Besides...digital film is really inexpensive these days! :lol: Carl B.
Of course, a problem for us oldsters is remembering where on the computer the photos were stored. :D
——————————————————————————————————
I'm a caterwauling curmudgeon. What's your excuse? ☻

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:43 pm

BigDumbDinosaur wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:38 pm
ccvstmr wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:28 pm
Will go one step farther...take photos of the fixture set up and the machining steps. Take LOTS OF PHOTOS! These are invaluable! Besides...digital film is really inexpensive these days! :lol: Carl B.
Of course, a problem for us oldsters is remembering where on the computer the photos were stored. :D

Joke on the internet: I went into the bathroom today and actually remembered why I went in there.

Anyhow, does anyone else have some pix of their special tools? C'mon, guys. I know they're out there.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by Dick_Morris » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:04 am

A couple that I could find. One is for the spanner packing nut on the crosshead pump for my CP-173. There wasn't room for a hex nut and wrench. The other is a long extension for #5 miniature bolts. A #5 miniature nut silver to one end and an appropriately sized head of an Allen head screw, reduced in O.D. on the other.

"Train tools" is the mark on the top of the tool box so I don't have to open it to see what's in it.

For miniature nuts I've made a couple of drivers using the head of an Allen head screw silver soldered onto a shaft and used with a donor handle from a cheap set of jewelers screwdrivers. I also have one wrench somewhere between a box end and socket made from a short strip of 1/16 steel with the head of an Allen head socket screw silver soldered to it.

A few years ago I decided to get a good quality set of nut drivers. Wiha makes nice ones, although they are a bit long. To complete the set for one size missing for miniature screws you need to add a 4.5mm.

For the Superscale spanner nuts I have a box end wrench with a slot cut from it like a flare nut wrench.

I also have several Allen wrenches which have the short side further shortened to fit into tight spots.

I have taken a liking to plastic shoe boxes. I just bought another 20 a couple of days ago. I use them for incomplete projects, finished parts, jewelry for the locomotive, bolts, nuts, plumbing fittings, etc. They are fairly durable, can be marked on the end with a Sharpie, and can be stacked several high on the shelf. I also have several larger plastic boxes. As much as I hate Wallmart, the have a good selection of storage containers at a decent price.
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by Greg_Lewis » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:56 am

Dick:
What is the purpose of the #5 nut on the one end of that wrench? Thx.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

Harold_V
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by Harold_V » Mon Nov 09, 2020 12:58 am

Having operated my humble shop commercially (although a totally different building, as that was when I lived in Utah), I have a huge number of shop aid tools that were made to allow the machining of tooling components, as well as product. Some demanded a lot of work, while others were relatively simple, often just a turned shaft to accommodate a given sized piece. Hardly worthy of taking up space on the board, as none of it applies to our related interests, but it is common practice for folks like us to make our own tools. That's one of the things that sort us from other people.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Share your special tools

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:42 am

Greg_Lewis wrote:
Sun Nov 08, 2020 9:43 pm
Anyhow, does anyone else have some pix of their special tools? C'mon, guys. I know they're out there.
I've got a few "monkey-engineered" gadgets but they are in my shop that is not anywhere near my home. I've been in quarantine the last two weeks after being exposed to the Chinese plague, so there has been no shop time. If I think of it next time I'm there I'll snap a photo or two.
——————————————————————————————————
I'm a caterwauling curmudgeon. What's your excuse? ☻

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