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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 6:56 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 pm
Posts: 339
Manual work=dumb is a terrible waste and has led to the current economic mess, but that's another rant of mine :)

The apprenticeship system, with all its faults, did something we can't replicate now: it got people used to machinery at an early age, like learning a language that never quite goes away even if you don't use it for a long while. It's not at all impossible, but it IS more difficult, to learn in your late teens than it would be if you were around a shop when you were barely old enough to work outside the home.

You wouldn't ask for a 4.9/16 bolt if you'd been fetching nuts and bolts for others for a couple of years. You'd know how to use a ruler and a measuring tape, because you'd have seen it done dozens of times and done it yourself with the boss watching. You'd know how to handle a pocket knife and you'd know that tools need to be put away if it's about to rain. Young people who go out to learn a mechanical craft aren't dumb; they're six years behind in the basics and somebody needs to teach them. They are also often scared to death of making a mistake, and they may be so afraid of a piece of machinery that you have to explain ÿes, it can be dangerous, but this is how to be as safe as possible with it." Oddly enough, very few are afraid of cars, and they're the most dangerous machine most people ever operate!

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 7:42 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:10 pm
Posts: 956
My father left school when he was in 9th grade, in 1925 or 1926. He worked in a gas station for a short while before becoming an apprentice in a machine shop. He worked 55 hours a week for $25 a week, and he told me he swept floors for a year before he was allowed to even touch a piece of equipment. He also fired the boiler that powered the steam engine, and he oiled the various pulleys and shafts that powered the machines. He learned how to compensate for worn places on the ways of lathes, how to sharpen drill bits so they stayed sharp, how to use virtually every piece of equipment in the shop. By the time he left the shop five years later, he was a journeyman machinist, and over the years he was never out of work. He became a crackerjack maintenance machinist and could fix anything, from trucks, cars, ships and locomotives to oil refining equipment. I wish I'd paid more attention when he tried to teach me the basics.....


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 11:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 380
Location: Minneapolis, MN
The argument about the drawing specifying 5.0000 inches and bolts of 4.9999 or 5.0001 inches were to be rejected indicates to me that a lawyer has been involved in the discussion. Only a lawyer could possibly think that perfection on the order of 1/100,000th of an inch has any place in the reality of manufacturing. We know that even if the process could be controlled to 0.00001 inches, a 1 degree F change would result in the part being rejected as out of spec. Even the engineer specifying the 5.0000 dimension knows better than this (we HOPE)! Besides, once we have installed that exactly 5.0000 inch bolt, and we torque it to exactly 110 ft-lb we will have stretched that perfect bolt by at least 10 thousandths. Now what?


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 12:38 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:47 pm
Posts: 12
Perhaps a lawyer has been involved. In my experience it sure sounds like a business process improvement process or quality process that has far exceeded its intended purpose. Such dogmatic applications are usually counter productive and often fail AFTER causing significant harm.

Just because you turn your cars navigation system on does not mean you should turn your brain off. If the goal is to get 844 or any other engine operating by a certain date and within a certain budget - this kind of thinking and activity will not get you there.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 12:40 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Regarding calculating things to the Nth decimal place: I know someone who still uses a slide rule to calculate what size pipe to use for a water distribution system. You don't need any more accuracy than that to figure whether a job needs a six or eight inch pipe. They don't make 6.625" pipes.

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 1:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 723
I don't think any lawyers have been involved, just some obsessive behavior.

This leads to every single component suddenly becoming suspect. This is the case now. There is a YouTube video of recent vintage wherein it is claimed that the wheels, axles, bearings, and driving wheel centers are now to be the subject of complete disassembly and rigorous testing and evaluation to "make sure" they are OK.

As was said above, there is no end to this. Once the entire locomotive and tender have undergone this lengthy and expensive process, it will start all over again, as it will have been years since the first parts were "proven." Expand that to cover 2 more large locomotives, and you have a long road ahead.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2015 2:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5260
Location: southeastern USA
The process of pressing wheel centers off an axle makes it very likely the fit will not be as tight when you press them back on again. Just saying..... what's very likely fine right now may well not be after it is destructively tested. There may be a NDT technique that could be tried, but I don't know what that might be. Perhaps some experts can chime in.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 3:38 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 7:24 am
Posts: 480
Location: Canada
I'm sorry, but am I the only one here that thinks that these processes have no place in the restoration of steam locomotives? IMHO it is nothing more than a diversionary stalling technique designed to impress those who don't understand that pretty much everything manufactured for a steam engine is a "one off", something to be done by a good machinist, and need not be replicated 1000 times to prove it's merit. Make one good one, move on to the next part that actually needs replacement. You only need to look at some of the recent big steam restoration efforts to know that a sigma system is not a requirement for a steam restoration and never was. You do however need a good welder, a good machinist, arguably a good bookkeeper and an engineer (structural). But before all of this, you need to be able to listen, to learn, to pay attention to past practice...rant over.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 5:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2435
Lincoln Penn wrote:
I don't think any lawyers have been involved, just some obsessive behavior.


Exactly, and by folks who spend too much time in the office and not enough time in the field.

I routinely run into this on construction projects. Subgrade elevations shown to .01 foot, without saying "plus or minus 0.1 foot" or even .05 foot if you want tight tolerance. It's made from 5/8" minus rock, not steel or concrete.

As for heat expansion, I had an engineer dimension rail to the .001 of a foot once. (Roughly 3/256") At the pre-construction meeting I said "You don't really expect us to build that to the thousandth do you?" "Well, yes, it needs to be per the plans" My reply annoyed him "OK, so what temperature are you going to measure it at, since it changes far more than that..." He didn't have a good response.

The computer can draw it to 1/1000th of a foot. The surveyor's can't survey it that close out in the field, I can't build it that tight, and you can't measure it that closely. No matter what Autocad says...


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 8:09 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 431
A friend who grew up in the family machine shop always claims he was in his teens before he realized that "GodDammedEngineer" was more than one word.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 10:39 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 723
This is neither a lawyer nor engineer related thing
A person has decided, on his own, without benefit of background, that 2 of the locomotives, and possibly all 3, have some serious defects deeply embedded that have thus far failed to reveal themselves through operations.

The only way to find these alleged problems is to take it completely apart and examine everything. There is video on the net where it is plainly stated that things will now be measured to millionths of an inch.

A defect probably doesn't exist, but a lot of things that were never intended to be at such precise deminsions certainly will be. That Will be pointed to with alarm and everyone from the lowest office not at Alco in 1944 to 2010 who ever so much as walked by the locomotive during that time period will be pronounced guilty of neglect.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2015 11:23 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm
Posts: 270
Finderskeepers wrote:
I'm sorry, but am I the only one here that thinks that these processes have no place in the restoration of steam locomotives?

No-ish. If you want to “six-sigma”* something, wouldn’t it make since to bundle up a mass of information about best practices, why they are best practices, and support them with evidence. I guess I’m beating around the bush a bit, but me thinks the modern enterprise is a place that only trusts what is verifiable. So much of this community’s body of knowledge is entrusted to experts consistent with the “feel” of the machine era that is quite foreign to modern enterprises which are successful because they divorced themselves from the feel of the machine and hitched themselves to scientifically verifiable information. So yes greater structure about how and why things are done in a format contextually familiar to the vested enterprise is beneficial and/or required. No to the exact steps of restorative work on technology that predates the zero defect era. I’m waiting to see a 6-sigma black belt grapple with how you know that new tire is “perfectly” installed on the driver center. Yep a recipe for paralysis by over analysis…
*I’m using ”six-sigma” as a general term meaning to break things down to measurable components that can be researched, tested, and documented as opposed to the formal methodology developed by Motorola.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 797
Location: NJ
I am NOT taking a shot at engineers here- I've worked with some VERY good ones- but the 'pocket watch' reference made me smile. Then my boss put something on the board that he had downloaded from the web. It was a graphic, with the text "Machinist, an Engineer with Common Sense". Common sense says there are places to worry about five or six decimal places, and places where it doesn't really matter.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 12:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:20 pm
Posts: 455
As a graduate engineer I've seen good and bad engrs. Some get into the field not because they love it or have a knack for it, but because they see it as a ticket to making money. They advance their careers not by doing good work but by manipulating people and appearances. It's the new normal in America and the same story in many professions I'm sure.

When the Six Sigma evangelicals show up with their PowerPoint slides full of nonsense, the good engineers who want to get real work done roll their eyes, and the lousy engineers who are in the field for the money try to figure out how to use the Six Sigma BS to advance themselves and get ahead of their colleagues. When management is taken over by the BS artists, good companies are destroyed. I heard this happened to H-P, though I was not there so can't verify it firsthand.


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 Post subject: Re: U.P. Steam Shop status of steam fleet?
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2015 1:14 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:34 pm
Posts: 616
Rock island lines you summed it up pretty well across the board. The form of stupidity isn't the same as the cause that starts it. What you stated describes most vocations to the "T". Used to be the older managers knew how to deal with this kind of bs. Now the managers are usually right out of school and they teach what they know and know what they were taught. Often not letting "learning" get in the way of progress. Here to tell you the same problems are in Health Care as they are in the "Swiss Watch" Engineering School of Locomotive Repair. I see quite a few brand new RNs get out of school with a 2 or 4 year degree who got laid off from the paper mill and took a new career based on the income potential. They come on the scene so full of themselves it is scary. Some of them make serious med errors and act like "whoops I dropped my pen". Like other industries the "new and improved" do not realize the cause and effect is going to turn into a big monster for someone else. You can tell them and they still will not listen or understand. Railroad shop or Healthcare, the problem is getting universal now.

Regards, John.


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