An overhead crane...
This thread was created to clean-up a thread in the Model Railroader Forum.  Some of these  pictures were posted there, but are somewhat off-topic.   I'd originally planned to remove those photos and replace them with a link, but decided to leave them.  I have, however, left a link too, so we may see some extra traffic around here and perhaps some new Members, too.   My friends here, naturally, are invited to view these photos, too.

The crane was scratchbuilt in 1970, and is a composite of several cranes on which I worked.  Originally, I set out to build a model of a blast furnace, and was able to get copies of blueprints of my employer's biggest blast furnace, at that time, the largest in North America, I think.

Here are a few photos of the real one...






...and the modelled version of the picture above...




I had the majority of the casthouse built, plus the blast furnace shell to the bell (top of the main structure), but with none of the piping or other large details at the top.  At that point, it was well over 2' tall, and the pipes would have pushed it to over 3'.  I also had the main structure of the double-track skip bridge built - milled basswood angles, channels, etc., with steel rails installed.  The casthouse itself occupied a board 3'x3', and yet to be added were the stockhouse, about 1'x5', stoves 1'x3', and gas scrubbers and baghouses, about 2'x3'.  As it was, the casthouse occupied most of the student-type desk that I was using, and we were living in a one bedroom apartment at the time.  
Besides that, I was running out of funds for materials.
We moved several times, but with no place to do any further work , I eventually began to take things apart.  The last to go was the skip bridge, and some of the rails from it were used on the crane.  The crane spent a lot of time in a shoebox, until we were finally able to build our own house, with a basement for a train layout.  
Since the crane was complete, I hunted for a suitable spot on the layout, and the area behind the locomotive shop in Lowbanks seemed appropriate.  Two of the cranes which inspired the construction were outdoor cranes, anyway, so it was suitable for such a locale.  

The main parts of the crane (bridge, trolley, and cab) are .020" and .030" sheet styrene, reinforced using milled basswood shapes - such shapes in styrene either didn't exist or I was unaware of them.  All of the handrails were also basswood angles, although some were damage in storage and I've replace those with styrene parts.

The bearing caps on the trolley wheels are from a Revell model of a Russian T-33 tank, the wheels on the bridge and trolley are from old HO scale brass wheelsets, and the oversize sheaves in the hook block are from the ship-builders' section of my LHS at the time.  Pretty-well everything else is scratchbuilt from sheet styrene:  the motors, reduction gearboxes, electrical cabinets and switchboxes, even the magnet.
The crane runway was built for the installation on the layout, and is mostly Evergreen styrene shapes - H-columns, I-beams, and various angles and channels.  Stairs up to the crane are from Tichy, although the ones on the crane itself are scratchbuilt.  Oh, and the enclosure surrounding the steps up to the crane  and the electrical switch gear, was made from corrugated basswood siding salvaged from the blast furnace's casthouse.



























That appears to be all of the crane photos I have, although I've not used ones which were similar to some shown, and I have apparently lost all of my photos from 2012.


Attached Files Image(s)
Fantastic model!

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
Nicely built sir. As an operator of such cranes, I have to say yours is very believable. In this pic we are removing the forward hatch on our F-3b in order to swap out the air compressor.

 My other car is a locomotive, ARHS restoration crew  

a marvelous model of an overhead crane. Unorthodox for me is the openly 3-phase current supply for the travelling trolley of which you made a traceable and very good detailed replica. Unorthodox because in Germany such devices are completely covered and not visible.
Give you five Wink thumps: Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup Thumbsup and : Applause Worship
Cheers Lutz
Schraddel Wrote:Wayne,

...Unorthodox for me is the openly 3-phase current supply for the travelling trolley....

I was surprised, too, that it was not covered, especially on the two cranes which were outdoors.

Wayne, you did an outstanding job on the overhead crane. I hope to build one or two with even half the detail you put into that model. Question for you: I can't seem to figure out what portion of the blast furnace complex that is depicted in the third photo. Where would this be located? Thanks.

Thanks, Mike, for your kind comment.

The third photo is of the stoves for pre-heating the blast air - like most blast furnaces, this one has three stoves, and they're in close proximity to the furnace. The fourth photo shows part of the stockhouse, from where the raw materials are drawn as needed. There are, if I recall correctly, two sets of tracks under the stockhouse (and two on top if it), the latter two using locomotives and hopper cars to keep the stockhouse supplied. The tracks beneath the stockhouse utilise "larries" (either electrically-powered or cable-driven bottom-dump cars) to carry material to the two-track skip bridge, which then delivers the raw material to the top of the furnace, where it's dumped-in.

A large operation like this can't of course, keep all of the raw materials here, and there are large piles of iron ore/pellets, coal, and limestone at the docks where the lake boats bring in that material. There has to be enough on the property before shipping on the Great Lakes ends for the winter, although nowadays, that date gets later every year, and the Seaway re-opens earlier, too.

Impressive Wayne. I didn't know that crane on your layout had such an amazing pedigree. A neat piece of industrial technology!

I'm not that old, but that kind of stuff makes me miss when I was a kid and plants, mills and factories were still up and running. It was an impressive sight that always inspired me! I can't even start to fathom how much working in such a place had an impact on you.

Proudly modelling Quebec Railway Light & Power Company since 1997.

Hedley-Junction Club Layout:

Erie 149th Street Harlem Station
When I was in school, a few of us were taken to one of the steel mills in Hamilton.
This was in February. One of the coldest places I've been was in front of a blast furnace as it sucked all the cold air off the lake and blasted it straight up.
Moderato ma non troppo
Perth & Exeter Railway Company
Esquesing & Chinguacousy Radial Railway
In model railroading, there are between six and two hundred ways of performing a given task.
Most modellers can get two of them to work.
BR60103 Wrote:...One of the coldest places I've been was in front of a blast furnace as it sucked all the cold air off the lake and blasted it straight up.

Yeah, David, it was surprising when the wind came off Hamilton Harbour in the winter. There'd be snowdrifts on the pit floor, yet only feet away, in a soaking pit, were ingots at 2300°F, almost ready to be rolled.

Here's a photo, taken on a summer nightshift, of the mill in which I worked...

[Image: STELCO80attheUSM.jpg] right are the west walls of the soaking pits, 18 pairs of two, stretching into the distance farther than can be seen in the photo. Unseen between those and the two railway tracks at left, are two tracks for cable-operated ingot buggies. When a craneman takes an ingot out of the pit, he places it on the buggy, then presses a button which sends the buggy to the rolling mill. When it arrives there, it slows, then stops, and an electric eye activates the rollers on the buggy. The ingot rolls onto the roller line leading to the mill, while the roller (one of the guys who runs the rolling mill) sends the empty buggy back to be reloaded. Meanwhile, another ingot is on its way, on the other buggy, towards the mill. With hot steel and good sizes, it was not uncommon to roll over 70 ingots per hour.

The hoist cage of one of the pit cranes can be seen at the top of the photo.

At one time, I had a series of fairly good photos showing the journey of an ingot from the soaking pit, through the 46"x36" mill, the automatic scarfer, which removed surface imperfections, the slab shear, stamper, and slab piler, to the slab yard, where the slabs are loaded onto specialised "hi-riser" cars, for their trip to the next step in the process. Unfortunately, the photos were loaned to a fellow employee and "lost".

Here's a photo, taken in the slab yard, showing a lift of hot slabs about to be loaded onto one of the hi-risers...

[Image: LoadingslabsattheUSM.jpg]

The hi-risers were built in-plant, using the tenders from scrapped steam locomotives, many of them from U.S. roads. The bodies were cut off, leaving only the cast steel frame and bed, along with the six-wheel trucks. All brake gear was removed, then new fishbelly flatcar-style sides were affixed to the tender beds. These were plate steel, at least an inch thick The sides extended several inches above the bed, and atop those were welded several risers. These were about two feet high and 2"-3" thick, and extended across the width of the car - if you look closely at the left of the photo above, you can just make out four hot slabs sitting atop those risers.
The six hot slabs, centreframe, are on the "C"-hooks of the yard crane. The operator will set the lift atop an empty riser car, with the "C"-hooks between the risers. Once the slabs are on the risers, he'll lower the bale a bit, and then withdraw the hooks from beneath the slabs.
Beneath the risers, and confined by the car's sides extending above the tender bed, is about six inches of slag. The hi-riser cars had a nominal capacity of about 200 tons (not counting the weight of the car, risers, and slag, of course).

Here's a link to some more info on Stelco, and, if you scroll about halfway down the page, some better photos of hi-riser cars.

The photos in the original post in this thread have been re-organised to match the captions.

(01-10-2019, 03:06 AM)doctorwayne Wrote: The photos in the original post in this thread have been re-organised to match the captions.


A nice opportunity for new members of those forums to have a look at outstanding modeling.  Applause Applause
Guy from Southern Quebec.
Hello Wayne,
A few years back I remember you inviting me to join this forum .
Sorry I haven't posted for quite a while; sometimes life throws a couple of curves and takes you somewhere else.

I just wanted to say that you are an inspiration to all modelers, your craftsmanship and awareness for details is incredible.
The pictures in this posts illustrate your many skills, everything looks so real!

Have a nice day!
Thank you for your kind comments, scribbelt.  Many folks here drift in and out of the Forum, often due to life interfering with model trains.  It's always good to see them again, so it's nice to have you back with us, too!

Thank you Wayne, in coming back to the forum, I also had some encouragement from my dear friend Guy (CNR 5103).

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