Model Engineering In Thailand and South East Asia

A Brief Progress Report On Building The Half-Size Little Samson Steam Traction Engine In Thailand

The pre-rusted castings have arrived safely at our house in Pakchong. We didn’t have any issues with the Thai customs over importing them.

Photos Of 6″ Scale Model Little Samson Traction Engine Castings

Below are some photos of the castings sitting in the big machine workshop in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Image of Six Inch (6") Scale Model Little Samson Steam Traction Engine Castings

On Top Is The Front Axle Pivot


Image showing Various Six Inch (6") Scale Model Little Samson Steam Traction Engine Castings

Various Rusty Steam Traction Engine Castings

Image of Six Inch (6") Scale Model Little Samson Steam Traction Engine Castings

On The Left Is The Trunk Guide

It appears that the Thai Customs didn’t raise any objections to the import of the castings as far as we know – but we were not present when they did their inspection.

It could be that either,

A) The aging treatment has been successful in it’s purpose of making the castings look old, or,

B) The aging treatment was totally unnecessary in the first case.

We’ll never know but now I have to find a sandblaster to clean the castings up.

Progress On Building The Little Samson Traction Engine

As to progress on building the Little Samson at the rate we are going the boiler will be ready before I have even started!

Finishing Other Models First

You see, tempting though it is to start the Little Samson, I am half way through building a Stuart Turner Victoria steam mill engine model and also want to make the boiler for it before I start the Little Samson.

The reason being that once I start machining those castings I won’t be able to return to the other models if I leave them unfinished. I must finish the other models first.

Getting Some traction Engine Parts Made Outside

The exception to this is that I will get some outside contracted work done, namely rolling the wheel rims which are too big to do on my equipment.

So I need to modify the drawings to show just the extent of the rim-rolling work. Not a difficult job and I hope to start it soon.

A Daunting Task

I have just finished re-reading (in great detail) the book “Little Samson II” by David Kearley.

This is a tremendous help because he goes into so much detail at each step.

Nevertheless the huge scale of the project is daunting!

Take just the connecting rods for example where David reports three weeks of workshop time!

Making Gears For The Little Samson Traction Engine – In 6″ Scale

Then there are the gears where David says that the Bridgeport mill is not up to the job. (My mill -Argo- is a Bridgeport clone)

It’s a long way off yet but I am thinking about a few options:-

  • Make the small gears on the Argo and get the big ones cut outside (in Thailand).

    There is a company near here that does CNC wire and plasma cutting. Would any of those processes be OK I wonder? I’ll go to ask them – these are the same people I hope to use to get the wheel rims rolled.

  • Make the small gears on the Argo and rough out the large ones using drilling and hacksawing between the teeth to ease the load on the gear cutter snd finish on the Argo. (Unless it’s more a question of dimensions than cutting power)

    Hacksawing dozens of gear teeth to a rough profile may sound like hard work and normally it would be. But I have the Makita 2107F portable band saw and it’s ideal for this task. I’ll use it hand-held and it will soon carve out those cast iron gear teeth.

Hope you enjoyed my little ‘progress’ report – not much of it really, but I have given the reasons.

Well that’s my update on progress building the 6″ Little Samson Traction Engine in Thailand.

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6 Responses to Progress Report Rusty Traction Engine Castings

  • No worries mate:

    You will have to pick out the items you can’t or don’t want to make, create a drawing file either by hand and scan it or use the CAD program of your choice, make a DXF (drawing exchange file) and email it to me. If you want castings made, the foundries are in the Chonburi area or you can send the patterns up to china or taiwan, they all speak engrish.


    • Crikey, Glen you are a star!

      Castings as well! I have looked for small foundries on the ‘net but found none, not surprisingly.

      Chonburi eh? Well armed with this intelligence I made a quick search and found plenty of metal foundries in Chonburi. This is an example:-

      Asahi Somboon Metals Co., Ltd.
      Thung Su Khla, Moo 3, 205 Laemchabang Industrial Estate, Sri Racha, Chonburi, 20110, Thailand

      They don’t have a website.

      But how do I find a small one willing to make tiny castings? Drive around and ask, I guess.

      Anyway, Glen, I can send dxf files of the parts I want the gear cutting done for. I have the blank castings already and will machine them so that the gear cutting company has reference planes. All I need then is the gear cutting.

      This kind of information will be exciting to our fellow model engineers in Thailand.

      Thank you once aging for sharing this information with us an for your offer to help.

      Best Regards

      Alan Brown

  • Hello Alan:

    In Rayong we have micro to monster machine shops on almost every corner. I can route your RFQ and you can pick or choose who you want to get your outsourced parts from. Message me with drawings.

    All the best

    • Hi Glen and thanks for the info plus of course the offer to route my RFQ.

      I have drawings but they need a bit of ‘tickling’ to identify just the outsources work, I’ll do that and send you a couple to gauge reaction.

      I have been in that area twice to buy accessories for machine tools. The shop was SUN RISE TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY, 969 Moo 5 Preaksa Rd., Preaksa Mai, Muang Samuthprakarn, Samuthprakarn 10280.

      They have a website

      I got the impression from driving around there that it was one huge manufacturing industrial estate and that they must be serving some Japanese car plants locally, like Toyota.

      Having someone like you with local knowledge would be great timesaver.

      Thanks again for the offer glen, I’ll be in touch.

      Best Regards

      Alan Brown

  • Hi Alan and all other metal men out there.

    Congratulations on the simple act of getting the project of the ground and all the bits into Thailand. I am sure that has been the hardest part. The rest is just fun from here on in.(maybe a little sweet and sleepless night thinking how to some of the bits) But that’s the fun!!!

    I hope some time to get up to see you and the bits sometime in the future. In the meantime keep the story going as it helps keep me sane while I am at work.

    Congratulations George

    • Hi George and many thanks for your comment as usual.

      It wasn’t easy at all to purchase those parts and get them delivered to Thailand.

      It was easy physically, but not mentally.

      The hardest part was making the commitment. I mean, before I even bought that big lathe and milling machine I had to weigh up the costs and the risks. The total capital investment in machine tools, the extension to the workshop, the castings and the boiler is enormous.

      The concern about the Thai customs was another worry that actually came to nothing.

      And following on are the additional materials costs and further tooling costs.

      Also I had to weigh up my chances of actually completing the traction engine while I’m still alive and young enough to enjoy it!

      As soon as I had bought those big machine tools there was no turning back.

      I’m now privately and publicly committed to the project.

      But first I have to finish the Stuart Turner Victoria steam mill engine and that’s presenting a few challenges at the moment.

      I hope to post an update with photos soon.

      Best Regards

      Alan Brown

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