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 Post subject: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:03 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:21 pm
Posts: 92
Does anyone have any experience tramming drivers on a steam locomotive by using a laser? If so, what type of laser did you use, how did it work, and were there any tricks discovered?

Thanks,

Eric Hadder


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:08 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 681
Two mechanics at Mid Continent did but I was not involved. Both said it was the answer to the question they had at the time with a tricky tram. They both said it worked really well. If you PM/email me back channel I will forward Ricks email to you. I will also email him and see if he wants to communicate here or not. I cannot get a PM for you for what ever reason. Regards, John.


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5505
Location: southeastern USA
Once again I'm the wayback machine.....

L&RP ran an article about this technique being used on 290 back in the old days. Find somebody with a collection who will get you a copy.

If anybody who has done this recently wants to do an article, I'd love to read it.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1096
Location: Pacific, MO
I keep thinking that I heard that the 290 tram didn't work out and it was cutting flanges, etc. That's been a while back.


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:24 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5505
Location: southeastern USA
The story I was told is that they trammed the frame for the drivers very accurately, then ran out of time and sort of threw the boxes and wheels back in as is - without the shims that centered the boxes in the frames (even before tramming, which sort of seems even an odder consideration). Not sure who is still around that might have been a leader on that project to answer questions.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:47 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:19 am
Posts: 186
Location: Decatur, GA
Dave wrote:
The story I was told is that they trammed the frame for the drivers very accurately, then ran out of time and sort of threw the boxes and wheels back in as is - without the shims that centered the boxes in the frames (even before tramming, which sort of seems even an odder consideration). Not sure who is still around that might have been a leader on that project to answer questions.


That's a fairly accurate assessment. I had a longer description on an earlier thread. The laser tramming was done by Finnegan Railcar, which went out-of-business before completing the work. There were three Atlanta Chapter members involved in leasing the engine to the New Georgia and having it sent to Finnegan, two of whom are deceased, who played a role in the whole tramming saga. Bill Purdie had by that point washed his hands of the whole mess. That's a whole other story not appropriate for RYPN.

Here's the earlier thread, though I'm not sure it helps Eric much: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=27716

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Southeastern Railway Museum


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:33 am 
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Posts: 1442
For good explanations of industrial measurement applications of lasers, go to the Easy-laser site (easylaser.com) and under the tab "applications" review the discussions of measuring for flatness, straightness, squareness, and parallelism. Also note that Easy-laser has a number of PDF workbooks posted on their site (in the MANUALS section) explaining uses of their laser products for a variety of marine, turbine, and industrial measuring purposes.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:33 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1448
Location: Strasburg, PA
The number of locomotives that we have trammed probably counts in the dozens by now, every one of which was done with string lines, squares, straight edges, and calipers. Not once have we ever had an issue with rods binding or cutting flanges.

Some wheels don't need to be re-invented.

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:18 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:41 pm
Posts: 117
Kelly Anderson wrote:
The number of locomotives that we have trammed probably counts in the dozens by now, every one of which was done with string lines, squares, straight edges, and calipers. Not once have we ever had an issue with rods binding or cutting flanges.

Some wheels don't need to be re-invented.



Yes, we are all very much aware of your mastery of archaic methodology.

However, as with anything else in this world especially steam locomotive preservation, there is more than one way to properly accomplish a task.

DC


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:57 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1096
Location: Pacific, MO
Donald Cormack wrote:
Kelly Anderson wrote:
The number of locomotives that we have trammed probably counts in the dozens by now, every one of which was done with string lines, squares, straight edges, and calipers. Not once have we ever had an issue with rods binding or cutting flanges.

Some wheels don't need to be re-invented.



Yes, we are all very much aware of your mastery of archaic methodology.

However, as with anything else in this world especially steam locomotive preservation, there is more than one way to properly accomplish a task.

DC


Gee, that was rather snarky. Did you intend it that way? I would put my money on a Strasburg tramming any day. As for the 290, wasted all that new technology by sloppy and stupid followup.


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5505
Location: southeastern USA
No newfangled flanger for me, I'll heat and beat to make my tube sheets thank you. Steel? Nah.... wrought iron is as good a boiler plate as anybody could want. Lap seams are faster, cheaper and easier to inspect than those modern strapped butt seams. Why use that petroleum stuff when tallow is out there and has lubed just fine since 1815?

Making sensible use of techniques and technology that didn't exist decades ago is critical to sustainability in today's reality. Sensible means what works best for you under your circumstances right now. You can get a good tram Kelly's way if you are set up to do it and know how - if not, and you have experts who know how to use lasers to do precision alignment things like millwright work, they may be a better bet.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1448
Location: Strasburg, PA
Dave wrote:
Making sensible use of techniques and technology that didn't exist decades ago is critical to sustainability in today's reality. Sensible means what works best for you under your circumstances right now. You can get a good tram Kelly's way if you are set up to do it and know how - if not, and you have experts who know how to use lasers to do precision alignment things like millwright work, they may be a better bet.

I agree. We use laser cutting shops, water jet cutting shops, plasma cutters, CAD systems, CNC machine tools, and all to our advantage in accuracy and speed.

So seriously, how do you do the job with lasers, how much does the equipment cost, and how much more accurate is the job? I can't see Home Depot grade of lasers being accurate enough to do the job over locomotive lengths (seems like the beam is 1/16" plus wide at those lengths). How do you confirm that two horizontal laser beams 3' above the floor are at true 90 degrees to each other (you can't lay a square up against one like you can a steel straight edge), and how do you set two parallel horizontal laser beams in empty space a precise distance apart (tram points are hard to set precisely in thin air)?

If it's a better system, convince me and I'll use it. I'll admit that i'm totally ignorant of the procedure (if one exists), and the equipment available to do what is needed. It hasn't been any priority because the system we have used for thirty years is completely satisfactory.

I know that you can get the entire frame 3D modeled with high precision (dirt and all), but I understand that the process is extremely expensive, and will give you lots of useless information since most surfaces on a frame don't matter a whit to the job at hand.

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"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1096
Location: Pacific, MO
I still agree with Kelly on the tramming. Sometimes new things come along that are actually very useful, like laser thermometers, but to spend money on new techology and fight the learning curve to use it seems like wasting money and time to me.
I have a similar opinion of the fiddling with exhaust systems/nozzles and such.
I'm just old and crabby.
I look forward to your updates.
Don Wirth


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:04 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:54 am
Posts: 20
Location: Rossville, GA.
The best system we have used is Faro. One of our machine shops in Ft. Wayne owns the Faro Digital Tracker. It is a digital, laser coordinate tracking system accurate to within .002" at 60 feet. We began using this 4 years ago to better alignment the NKP 765 multiple bearing crossheads to the cylinder bores. We ended up adjusting the crosshead mounts in the X, Y, and Z axis. This enabled us to fit newly tinned shoes at .017" running clearance. This has run in very well and is cool at 60 (and even 75) mph.
More recently, we have used the Faro Digital Scanner to supplement the Tracker as we scanned the WM#1309 frames to develop tram. We scanned the frames, the drivers, the driving boxes and all the rods. Then, each component is assembled in 3D CAD, and the drivers set in the frames at the correct center to center dimension, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the engine's centerline. We then ask it what is the dimension from the driving box to the frame and the result is our shoe thickness for tram. We also get the lateral design. And rod tram corrections. And check crank pin quartering and stroke. And tire concentricity on the wheel centers. And tire back to back. And cylinder alignments to the frame centerline. And. And. And. And. Any desired dimensions can be obtained.

Where the old railroad wire and mics practice may get you within .015 to .025", I have seen the laser put us within .002". Where we used to spend 4 or 5 days to take several hundred frame dimensions, we now
gotten 1.6 trillion measurements in 2 days. Steam Locomotive restorations benefit greatly from this accuracy. The FEC #148 restoration has been fully scanned and is guiding that running gear work.
I am now told of complete machine shops where no one ever reads a mic. It's ALL scanned into the CAD system. It is amazing to see, and it gives us a new perspective on the accuracy that was achieved by the steam builders and the railroad backshops. We found the NKP 765 frame shoe faces within .002" and other critical dimensions within .004".
We have found these scans to cost $15,000 to $25,000. I feel they are well worth it by saving time and providing ALL needed dimensions.
Hey, it's 2018! Step up!


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 Post subject: Re: Tramming Drivers with a laser
PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:43 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:54 am
Posts: 20
Location: Rossville, GA.
I'll post several photos of our work using the digital laser tracker, the 3D scanner, and the Faro Arm, the coordinate measuring machine.
Brother Dickens has the Faro Arm to measure thousands of needed points. The first use was on the UP844 rods and crank pins several years ago. That information helped him restore that running gear to an accuracy it had not seen in several decades. 844 now shows confirmation of that work in it's recent performances.
Accuracy is certainly a major key to success in the world of making old machinery reliable, economic and powerful. These results allow us to properly present these magnificent machines working as they could the day they were new.
These accuracies will pay dividends wherever they are employed. The size and speed of the locomotive should not negate it's need to be properly fit and maintained.
" Never give up!"


Attachments:
File comment: Our focus here was on the frame and running gear. So upper portions were not scanned. You'll see some distortions and shadow smearing at the edges of the scan.
1309Scan1.jpg
1309Scan1.jpg [ 52.55 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
File comment: The scan results. The front engine was 100' away sitting on shop trucks, but the program assembled it into the correct location.
1309Scan2.jpg
1309Scan2.jpg [ 57.06 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
File comment: The 3D digital laser scanner reading WM #1309. The scanner was placed in 8 locations down each side of the engine. Then the CAD program stitches all these scans into a seamless image.
1309LaserScan2.jpg
1309LaserScan2.jpg [ 47.46 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
File comment: The Faro Arm measuring rod trams.
1309LaserScan3.jpg
1309LaserScan3.jpg [ 137.9 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
File comment: The laser tracker set up to measure tram on 4 main rods in one set up.
1309LaserScan.jpg
1309LaserScan.jpg [ 66.09 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
File comment: Measuring NKP 765 right cylinder with the Faro Digitalaser Tracker in 2013.
1309Cyl.jpg
1309Cyl.jpg [ 31.82 KiB | Viewed 903 times ]
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