Up one level Neidrauer Live Steam Locomotives Photo Albums » A small locomotive - 'The Crab' - The first locomotive out of the Neidrauer Shops
A small locomotive - 'The Crab' - The first locomotive out of the Neidrauer Shops
2018: Installed new exhaust pipes because the old steel ones developed leaks. 2011: The modified grease fittings work great! The Crab has some lettering on it (NYC), the riding car is working fine and the new NYC Gondola works well as a two-person passenger car. Time to burn some more coal! Winter 2011 - The Crab is readied for the summer season. We are experimenting with modified grease fittings as cylinder cocks. August 2010 - a mild overhaul was completed. Pulled the cab, bunker, boiler and chests, remade the ash pan, eliminated the troublesome axle pumpt, added a new handpump and steam injector. May 2010 - The water pump ram is jamming in the pump bore, causing the wheels to lock up. It will be replaced with an injector. Also the graphite string piston rings will be replaced because they are leaking. August 2009 - Improvements to the water pump and riding car made. *** November 2008 It's Done It Runs!! *** First steam up ever during the Thanksgiving holiday and it ran great! I am so happy!

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 Ten years later, the Crab is still a fun little engine to run around the track!  2018-May-20 Notice the shiney copper pipes on both sides of the boiler? After 10 years of service, the steel exhaust pipes, which run through the waterspace of the boiler from the bottom to the top, developed leaks. The easiest solution was to plug the leaky pipes and new pipes were installed. One side effect of running the pipes external to the boiler: A much wetter exhaust plume.  6-June-2011 Mid-South Live Steamers, crossing the high bridge with a clear stack!  The new seat / coal bunker.  Lift the seat to fill, scoop from the front. I designed it, Dad constructed it, I finished the metal bunker. Could use a coat of paint and some padding for the seat!  6-May-2011 Mid-South Live Steamers, TN. The full trainset: The Crab, Engineers car with new coal-bunker seat, and two-passenger NYC gondola.  16-Oct-2011 Showing off the new hand pump, plumbing, paint job and gondola.  16-Oct-2011 Trainset in a truck! Newly painted red water tank, new gondola and newly plumbed Crab ready for some fun at the SLLS fall meet.  16-Aug A new ash pan is started for the crab. I'll need to go to Joel's shop and use his finger brake to make the inside bends.  Bill drill holes for the knockout plug cutters. These holes will provide side clearance for the axles.  The cardboard mockup of the new pan.  It will be a 'catch' style, sitting under the wheels.  11-Aug-10 We take the valve check off and inspect the face for wear.  You can see pitting along at the edge of the check, and along the face where water rusted it.  Overall the scratches from the valve are not bad in comparison.  Cleaning/Inspecting the cylinder chests.  It appears the locomotive was stored with water in the chest, causing rusting an pitting in the chest and putting debris into the piston cylinder.  Scratches on the valve face.  Not sure why there is a stain on one end. ?Burned oil?  25-June-2010 A dry (no oil) valve chest.  The brown is rust. Now I need to figure out why the fireman's side is not getting oil.  The engineers side valve chest has a nice film of oil all over it, like it should.  I was pretty proud of this ash pan when I first made it, but it sure is sad looking now, bent and twisted. Might be easier to make a new one than try to repair it.  On a coal-fire locomotive, everything ends up filthy dirty and oily.  The boiler pulled off the frame.  25-June-10 In the hot St. Louis heat Friday evening, I strip the cab, bunker, boiler and ash pan from the chassis so I can remove the crosshead support brackets to remove and re-pack the pistons.  Graphite debris on the front cover.  Bore inspection. Looks good to the eye.  bore inspection  Not much to see in this picture. Measuring the bore end, it is +.002 larger side to side and +.006 top to bottom.  Top view of the water pump ram. The shiney spot is the wear. It is -.0025 smaller in that spot compared to the side.  bottom of pump ram  right side view of pump ram  left side view of pump ram  Here is the disassembled valve. The stem broke where it meets the valve disk.  A poor man's spanner wrench -- two screwdrivers held with a c-clamp.  Hey, it did the job.  Here's the valve with the shroud pushed off. I just happened to have a steel washer with the same size 11/16  8-May-10 While at J. Schmidt's house Saturday for an invitational steamup, the valve seat guide rod broke off. Much to the entertainment of Bill and Tim, the stem flew up and hit me on the top of my head while I was bending over. I thought someone threw something at me!  The brake mechanism is quite simple, all the parts are from the scrapbox.  Assembly view of the car brake.  Design concept layout for a 'Friction Brake' plate-style car brake.  Modifications to the Crab: cutting a hole in the cab floor for the water tank 1/4 NPT drain valve with a hole saw.  9-Sept-09 While Bill was working on the new water pump eccentric strap, I took another shot at the leaky water tank.  Thinking I might make it out of PVC sheet instead of plexiglass I try to pull the old tank apart to figure out how much material I would need.  The old tank just fell apart in my hands with little effort.  The acetone glue never really melted the plexi enough to for a good glue joint. After gluing a test piece of plexi with PVC/CPVC cement, I decide to re-glue these pieces together again, and also cover the seams with silicone caulk. I also installed a drain in the tank, which oddly, the plans do not call for.  The new assembled water pump eccentric strap.  The dark smudge on the top of the strap is steam oil covering the oil hole.  With just a little time on the track this shiny new part will be covered in coal cinders like the rest of the moving parts!  Backside view of the finished strap.  We cut the rest of the corners on the strap to give some more clearance.  Clamping set up #2 - successful!  After finding the center of the strap, we move over, drill the ram mounting hole and machine the strap end down to the proper thickness.  Clamping setup #1 to machine the ram mount--a failure.  This setup shifted the two halves of the strap, removing our ability to indicate the hole to find the center, which is needed for the next machining operation.  If you look closely, you can see parting line in the eccentric hole showing how the two parts have shifted.  The bored eccentric strap showing the finished groove.  This is necessary to keep the strap captive on the eccentric.  Using a dial-test indicator to insure the side of the cutter is parallel to the ways, insuring the groove is cut to the proper depth.  Boring the strap with a special profile tool which will allow us to turn an inside groove.  The small HSS toolbit is held in a small boring bar, which is held in the Aloris AXA quick-change tool holder.  The two halves of the strap, bolted together, are chucked in the 4-jaw and centered for the boring operation.  Layout concept for the waterpump eccentric strap.  Material used was Alloy 954 bronze, 2  9-Sept-09 Machining one-half of the Bronze eccentric strap.  Mid-South Live Steamers, May 1, 2009 Spring Meet.  Here is Bill rounding the curve with the crab. The wood jacketing was installed earlier that week.  Mid-South Live Steamers, May 1, 2009 Spring Meet.  Here is Bill rounding the curve with the crab. The wood jacketing was installed earlier that week.  Photograph (C)2009 F Axtell Kramer
Builder Denis and Dad behind the still-new Crab locomotive on 11-April-2009, the first steam-up of the year for the St. Louis Live Steamers.  The modified air safety valves with shroud installed.  Making a shroud for the safety valves.  This will direct the steam upwards instead of out.  During the inagural run of the crab, the hydrostatic lubricator leaked all over the place and did not seem to work.  Back in the shop a teardown revealed a big chip out of the bottom of the 3/8  Tim and John discuss all things locomotive.  Tim inspects the smokebox of the Consolidation - while fire is going!  Very interesting - you could see how the petticoat worked, the smoke just curled around the petticoat and up the smokestack.  John T. at the throttle of his freshly shopped Atlantic out on the mainline for the first time in a decade or more. Another man with a big smile!   I present to the world the first locomotive out of the Neidrauer shops on its first ever steam up.  Big Smile for the very successful run day! It Runs! It Works! And I did it myself.  My excitement builds as the pressure climbs! (the silver paint bucket is my coal bunker).  Saturday, 29-Nov-08, a steamup at Tim M.'s private track at his house. The crab is unloaded and a borrowed flatcar is the engineers seat.  To the right John T. fills the tender of his freshly shopped Atlantic, Tim's consolidation awaits its master in the background.  28-Nov-08 The final very tiny parts for the Van Brocklin design cylinder cocks.  Cutting the grooves in the .200 long pins, and cutting them to length was a pain.  Friday night, 28-Nov-08. Final test on air before taking it out tomorrow and putting it under steam. (.avi movie)  Forward end of the loco.  The flat black boiler is in contrast to the shiny cab.  Along with the plumbing, the Cab and Bunkers are finished.  19-Nov-08 It's coming together! I just need to install a sight glass and the plumbing will be complete.
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