St.Albans and District Model Engineering Society

November 2023 Club Night Report

November Club evening.

A goodly turn out for the evening, and the first item was the EGM.  Our Secretary said we are keeping the Subs the same and also the hall fee.  Then asked if there were any objections, there were none. Then we took a vote on the proposal. 

Carried unanimously, EGM over.

Now I was the one that had the previous record of just 4 minutes so it did not go down well with me!  My record was eclipsed with an EGM measured in just seconds! 

C'est la vie!

We had some internal club business to discuss and that went well.  Then our Chairman introduced Malcolm and the engines he did not make, you could not exactly miss them as they were strung out along 3 tables.

Malcolm said Hello and then on with the evening.  But first he told us that some of the engines belonged to the club and he was seeking new homes for them. 

There was a large but mainly silent compressor and I know of another club having a compressor and they call it Edward. 

You might have a think about that!

Malcolm was armed with a tube connected at one end to the compressor and the free end was poked into the steam inlet of the engine to be run.  We started small with a trio of D/A oscillators which whizzed up to speed quickly.  Then Malcolm worked down the line, but not every engine cooperated, the large horizontal one may have worked a couple of days ago but failed to perform for us.  I know the feeling!

There were many different types of engine, a flat 3 cylinder one worked like a charm.  The vertical ones ran very well some absolutely balanced and others making their own path across the table with vibration.  Malcolm progressed along the line of engines cursing at crucial moments (but in a nice way) for a difficult one.  There were a couple of 2 cylinder compound engines and Malcoln reckoned that only the high pressure cylinder was working as there was insufficient pressure in the air to power the low pressure one.  He fielded questions as he progressed.  Also there were anecdotes on the history behind some of them plus where they had come from.

Tea and coffee were ready now so we adjourned for half an hour before returning.  Now for the nuts and bolts.  Malcolm whipped off the valve chest cover of the large engine.  With the camera on close up and then with the help of a torch he showed us how the timing was done by the valve for a double acting cylinder.

We were also shown how he modified a one direction steam engine to have a reverse mechanism fitted.  Easy when you know how, but then there is the machining needed for the eccentrics and connecting rods and slide.  A few more questions and 10 o/clock came all too quickly.

Our Secretary thanked Malcolm for his contribution that made for a very interesting evening for all and the audience showed their appreciation with a round of applause.  I would like to thank Rob for his camerawork that shows all the small bits up on the big screen.

Now, we are a model engineering society and judging from the interest shown in the intricacies of valve timing, perhaps we should have an evening on how one of our locos actually works!  Let me know what you think?  I can schedule in "101 basic loco" if you would like it.  I can also follow up with a second module as well!

I arrived very early on this occasion and watched as the team got the tables out and arranged the chairs.  Also the start-up of getting the refreshments out and even the collecting of the hall fees.  Nice to watch it all run so smoothly and much appreciated as well.  So thank you to all those who make our evenings come to life and then clear up afterwards.

In case you did not appreciate the name Edward, The reference was to old but tortured English history. 

Still not there? 

'Edward the Compressor'. 

I'll get me coat!


Roy Verden 

9th November 2023