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 Post subject: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:14 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:45 pm
Posts: 166
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
The roomettes and bedrooms of our Plan 4167a sleeper 'City of Lima' are equipped with Westinghouse air circulation fans with flexible rubber blades. These rubber blades are based on the Samson Safe Flex fans which were popular in the '30's and '40's (I recall some were still in phone booths in the 1960's).

Needless to say, many of these have deteriorated, and we've been looking at reproducing the blade inserts. Thanks to the work of one of our members, we have found a source in the fan restoration field that can reproduce the blades.

As usual, the price gets better the more we have made. If any of you have a need for replacement blades on your circulation fans, please drop me a line at jisaksen (at) eldcps.org.


Attachments:
File comment: View of one of the circulation fans in 'City of Lima's Bedroom 'A'
fan_COL.jpg
fan_COL.jpg [ 91.33 KiB | Viewed 1975 times ]

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John Isaksen
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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 4:49 pm
Posts: 355
I would think many of us Pullman car owners would be interested in ordering some, as long as the reproductions are a very close match in terms of appearance and material to the originals. A stack of flyers placed at a vendor table at the upcoming RPCA conference in Indianapolis should also generate some orders.

The average 10-6 sleeper would take 48 blades. Do you have a rough breakdown yet on prices?


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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 3:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:45 pm
Posts: 166
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Topfuel brings up an interesting question. The color of the existing blades has become a gray-green with age, and we had asked for a medium gray reproduction.

The only color photo I've found of the fans so far is an interior of an NKP sleeper 'City of Cleveland' in the circa-1956 Pullman training film "Your Tradition of Service". The single image where the fan is visible is almost white -- probably more light-glare from flash or set lighting than color of the blades. Some 1950 black-and-white NKP publicity photos lead one to believe the blades were medium gray.

I've attached a photo of one of our original blades as removed from the car for reference. We think the original color is close to the hub reinforce on the blade, which had been hidden from exposure by the hub itself.

In rough numbers, we were quoted $12 a blade to reproduce a car's worth, including making the mold. Contingent on how many of you might be interested, and how many blades would be run, we can get a quote accordingly.


Attachments:
File comment: Sample of original fan blade for size/color
rear_side.jpg
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John Isaksen
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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:15 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:45 pm
Posts: 166
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
We ran the notion of volume discounts past the supplier, and he's stuck with the $12 per blade number, period. Given that, any of you who would like to order a smaller number of blades, (and thank you for those who have already responded), please let us know by the end of the week and we'll place the order.

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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:23 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:51 pm
Posts: 1497
Location: Southern California
Also, some of the members of the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners (AAPRCO) may be interested in your find.

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Brian Norden


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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:15 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2146
Location: Northern Illinois
isaksenj wrote:
We ran the notion of volume discounts past the supplier, and he's stuck with the $12 per blade number, period. Given that, any of you who would like to order a smaller number of blades, (and thank you for those who have already responded), please let us know by the end of the week and we'll place the order.


A question and a couple of comments:

Is that $12 per FAN, or $12 per BLADE, as shown in the photo above, four required per fan, or $48 per fan / set?

I agree the originals were likely a medium dark gray; it was a common color for rubber bumpers, door stops and the like, in those days.

If the guy reproducing these is basically making a silicone RTV mold and then casting them in some sort of urethane, there really are no economies of scale. He likely only gets about three dozen parts out of a mold (nine complete fans worth) so every nine fans he has to buy more RTV ($$$), and put in the time making a new mold. Production costs become constant really quickly... upping the order from ten to a thousand just means he has to do 100X the work.

It would seem, given that most everybody should have at least one intact blade to use as a pattern, that the way to reduce costs would be to do it yourself, using volunteer labor, but that begs the question exactly what casting material and colorants to use.

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Dennis Storzek


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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 3:45 pm
Posts: 166
Location: Hudson Valley, NY
Dennis, the answer to your question was a few posts downstream:

Quote:
In rough numbers, we were quoted $12 a blade to reproduce a car's worth, including making the mold.


Obviously, we would love to have volunteers with the knowledge of materials and compounds to make them ourselves; lacking that, we are probably fortunate to have found someone who can do plastic and rubber castings as it is.

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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:52 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:03 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Lower Eastern Shore of Va.
Hello Member,

I'm new here. Did anyone ever succeed in this venture of reproducing the Westinghouse rubber wings? I collect old Westinghouse fans and was fortunate to get my hands on a few complete fans.

Thanks Tony


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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:49 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:03 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Lower Eastern Shore of Va.
With panel.


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 Post subject: Re: Reproduction of "flubber fan" blades
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:44 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:18 am
Posts: 113
Location: B'more MD
The Railroad Passenger Car Alliance annual meeting is coming up in a couple of weeks. Lots of folks who repair passenger cars will be in attendance. It might make sense to find somebody who is going to be showing in the vendor's room, and have them make your replacement blades known. The RPCA guys are constantly in contact with each other about parts, sources, etc.

G.F.Payne
B'more

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George F.Payne
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