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W C Greene
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In the chats on Sunday night, I have mentioned the "cricket blower" used on the Mogollon Railway. This unusual piece of ?? is infrequently used to blow crickets and grasshoppers off the rails during their "season". THIS IS TRUE: Many years ago, the Bartlett & Western-a Central Texas short line-had to stop operations for several days each year due to the hoards of said critters which ate crops and generally made a mess of things. The locos would slip on the "cricket goo" after rolling over the bugs and it is said that sand on the rails made things even worse. I thought that if the B&W had what the MRy has, they might have been able to run even during the infestation. Well, here it is..



This 4 wheel car has a Ford motor and transmission driving a dangerous metal propellor. The shroud around the prop was added for "safety reasons". Needless to say, the crew gives this thing a wide berth when it is out on the line. The unpowered car is pushed ahead of a slow going locomotive.



The side view shows how she looks. This thing does actually operate, the prop is thrown by a tiny electric motor from a r/c helicopter and there is an even smaller motor inside the crankcase which runs the radiator fan. The "tender" holds a small 3 volt camera battery and the on/off switch is seen behind the diagonal strut-under the frame. Tiny ants (in 1:35 scale they are big old devils) can be blown off the track, of course they tend to hit the operator (me) causing much concern.

To those who wanted to see this, be careful of what you want.

                                Woodrow and Peach Head

Herb Kephart
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What a piece of brilliant engineering! During the first critical examination, I wondered why the Ford transmission between the engine and the prop looked so large.

Then it came to me

That clever Woodie knew when he was building it that an auto engine turned the wrong direction for the "hand" of the prop- and since there wasn't much call for a cricket SUCKER, he went out in the desert and found an old forward/reverse transmission from a large boat and incorporated that into the build to be sure that it BLEW the crickets.

The man is a genius :brill:


Herbie :old dude:

W C Greene
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Yep, that's right. You figgered it out Herbronski. That transmission came from the "Dessert Queen" which ran down the Gila River. Yep...

                                 PH

Dave D
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I notice that bit of machinery in other photos and always wondered what on earth it was for.

Now we know..... the rest of the story.

Good day!

Paul

Bob H.
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Good idea! It gives a new meaning to bubble gum on the track as the 1:1 engineers phrase. L:  Here's a thought,  if you were to have one of giant locusts (grass hoppers) fly into the prop while you were clearing the track things could get ugly really quick for the operator behind the prop. :P

W C Greene
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Bob-I would hope the giant locust's goo would get blown downwind from the operator...maybe not. Thank goodness I haven't seen anything like that here. Outside of the tiny ants, the only other problems are giant birds and a monster cat that likes the birds. The cat, I can deal with...the birds are another matter!

                                 Woodie

teetrix
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Woodie,
if you wanna see a REAL blower, how about this?

http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/cat/4408/display/10504298

Its the engine of a MIG-17 jetfighter,  used in open pit mines for blowing snow and ice from the tracks. Maybe a model is even useful against giant birds and cats :bg:

Btw, if you don't believe me, here are photos of two other exemplars, even on narrow gauge (900mm/approx 3')

http://www.kostenloses-forum.com/board/mansfelder-schneebekaempfung-,nxu,01642644nx1878,t,2581.html

:Salute:
Michael


Last edited on Sun Dec 19th, 2010 10:59 am by teetrix

Herb Kephart
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OOOOOOOOH

And if the brakes don't work?????


Herb :old dude:

W C Greene
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Man-that job with the Mig-17 engine looks like it was built by Acme Co. for the coyote to be able to chase the old roadrunner! I could not see the other link, I am not a member of that site and my German is a little worn-out so I couldn't register. Back to the drawing board.......

                             Wy-Lee Coyote'

teetrix
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And if the brakes don't work?????
Mach 1,03 (679.8 mph) :bg:

No kidding: the "blower" was pushed by a loco, which worked against the power of the jet engine (approx. 20kN = 4480 lbf)

Woodie, here are some other pics of the engine, it was mounted in the yellow boxcar with the "nozzle"
http://www.google.de/images?um=1&hl=de&tbs=isch%3A1&sa=1&q=meuselwitz+mig+weichen&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Michael

Last edited on Wed May 26th, 2010 07:08 pm by teetrix

Huw Griffiths
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teetrix wrote: Woodie,
if you wanna see a REAL blower, how about this?

http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/cat/4408/display/10504298

Its the engine of a MIG-17 jetfighter,  used in open pit mines for blowing snow and ice from the tracks. Maybe a model is even useful against giant birds and cats :bg:

Now that's what I call "subtle" - engineering at it's best.

I wonder how long it will be before someone offers a "G scale" version, for getting rid of weeds.

I also wonder how long it would take before some "elf-n-safety" merchant bans it.


Oh well, I can but dream ... !

W C Greene
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Huw-all it takes is money! A G scale model of the jet blower could be made with a JET-CAT model jet engine. They are only $3,500 and up. These fine little engines could produce enough thrust to propel the G scale locomotive(s) backwards through the fence. But a resourceful modeler should be able to construct a nice replica and it would surely (don't call me Shirley) melt any snow on the layout. It may also melt plastic ties, buildings, and turn those G scale brass rails into puddles of molten metal. I say "try it, you'll like it". Send us photos when it's built.

                                           Woodie

Huw Griffiths
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Somehow, I think I'll pass on that one - a bit out of my budget!

The truth is that I wouldn't actually have the use for one anyway. I've never even modelled in G, but this doesn't stop me being interested / amused by the concept.

I know a few firms are producing some "off the wall" kits in On30. However, these have nothing on some of the stuff that used to appear in LGB catalogues - some of them were hilarious.

This is why I was "thinking aloud" about what might appear in G.

I am an engineer, after all. I also spent years working in higher education - so I often needed to chuck loads of ideas in the air (not all of which would be workable), to try and get students thinking. Sometimes, old habits can be hard to "shake".

Perhaps I should have worded my comment slightly different - "I could just imagine someone coming out with one in G" - or something along those lines.

Still, at least you know where I'm coming from.

Last edited on Thu May 27th, 2010 02:46 pm by Huw Griffiths

W C Greene
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It's OK, Huw...I am from the old "lower edu-ma-cation" school myself, I tend to see most everything as being fanciful and wierd. LGB doesn't have the lock on craziness, Lionel has released pink "girls'" trains, rocket launching flat cars, and Mickey Mouse pumping a handcar with Santa Claus! I am sure that many "fine scale" model railroaders have such "collectors' items" stashed in the closet. And while we freely admit to owning such things, they will continue to look over their reading glasses with disdain for our "non-scale" efforts. Just remember that one of the real pioneers in this hobby-John Allen-had a diesel salesman hanging from a trestle, a compressed space plant, and work bronto #13. Mr Allen actually modeled a steagosaurus (?) rather than a brontosaurus (?) but none of that seemed to matter.

I must go now, I need to measure the diameter of some truss rods and ponder why my new trucks (bogies) have a 3'6" wheelbase instead of the correct 3'7" WB. Somebody is wrong here, but it ain't my fault.

                                         Woodie

Herb Kephart
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Huw-

Chuck those ideas into the air-makes interesting reading.

Just so that they are presented as ideas--we don't need another Goofyplenty! :bang:

Just kidding--but if you have some projects in mind--with an "if only" attached --toss 'em up--I still have my crash helmet! :Salute:



Herb :old dude:

bobbyb
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Huw -

Heck when I saw the thing the first thing that came to mind is a grass burner (over here they sell an attachment to hook on to a propane (BBQ) gas cylinder that you use for burning weeds), thing is a bit oversize for "G" but I bet someone with more bashing skill than me could take the thing and downsize the tube at the end and you would have a real gas burning fire spitting weed killing snow melting whatever.

It comes with an electric start for getting the flame lit and has a booster button for really cranking up the BTU's for those hard to kill weeds, plus it is only about $40.00 way cheaper option that a scale jet engine. :)

Like Woodie mentioned I also like the fanciful and weird as well. :Crazy:

One of the best things about knowing Woodie and living close enough to visit him on occasion is that when you talk about some of this stuff he tends to offer advice on how you might build it instead of looking at you like you like you just ignighted a blue angel in an elevator.:bg:


You throw 'em out and one of these days someone will hit one.

Bobby :mex:

Huw Griffiths
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Gentlemen,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Like (I suspect) a number of people here, I have mixed feelings about some of the really wacky "models" on the market.

I'm drawn to them - as I'm interested in finding out about what makes them tick, how they were made and stuff like that.

However, if they're too way out, I'm also repulsed by them - I think of them as ridiculous, toys if you like.

In other words, I think this stuff is great fun, but I wouldn't want most of it in a month of Sundays.


This is probably why I really like unusual protoypes that actually exist(ed), or look like they might - they're unusual, but credible.

For example, some of the early (about 100 years back) experimental petrol railcars impressed me so much that I'm currently working on drawings (and who knows what next?). I could also say the same about some designs of steam trams.


When I saw the loco-mounted jet engine, earlier in this thread, the thought of a weed burner went straight through my head. I sometimes see hand held versions being sold in my local Aldi or Lidl - even though the idea strikes me as cool (and I really hate old-school weeding), I wonder how many people would really be capable of using the things safely.


John Allen's thoughts about Diesels would probably strike a chord with a number of older UK rail enthusiasts and modellers - many of whom openly refer to Diesels as "Diseasels".

I don't - and I like steam (especially small stuff - Pannier tanks - and narrow gauge, for that matter).

It's quite possible that steam would have been on the way out, even if Diesels hadn't come along. With all the hard, unpleasant, work required to keep steam engines running - and the need to reduce pollution in a number of cities - the writing was probably already on the wall for steam. By about the 1980's, I suspect that a giant hand might well have finished its soot-laden "finger painting" routine.

It's a shame that so many serviceable steam engines were scrapped - some of them only a few years old. Some people have never forgiven Diesels for this - but I wonder if they might be going after the wrong "villain". Would these people have wanted to spend most of their lives working as loco cleaners or firemen? I doubt it.

Being in my mid 40's, I'm young enough to see why this change was inevitable.


Although I worked in higher education, I've always had more time for old-school "rule of thumb" engineering than the utterances of certain "PhD plus post-doc" types. This isn't snobbery (qualifications like these take a lot of work - and would be way above my head) - but recognition of the fact that it's often us old-school types who get called on to make things work.

I needed to encourage engineering students to think for themselves (using a mixture of "kite-flying", questions about "why do you do this?" - and a lot of dry humour) - but I also got frustrated when some of these people (and some others who really should have known better) came along with "pie-in-the-sky" ideas and expected me to make them work.


This is why I try not to make extravagant claims about what I've done (or what can be done). It irritates me, so I wouldn't want to inflict it on other people - a point that would be lost on most of the "trolls" and "know-it-alls" we've all encountered. The guy who runs RMweb has a great name for these jokers - especially the abusive ones - he's forced to waste loads of his time dealing with them, so he calls them "time bandits" - fair comment.

Most of the time, any suggestions I make are based on experience - even if it comes from the outside world. Occasionally though, we all resort to "kite flying".

Even though I've never used emoticons, I'd be quite happy if there were one to show if I'm just chucking ideas in the air - perhaps a kite, or a "Monty Python" style foot ("and now for something completely different") - I don't know what, but I'm sure you get the general idea.


Anyway, that's more than enough waffle from me.

Regards,

Huw.

Last edited on Sun May 30th, 2010 04:25 pm by Huw Griffiths

W C Greene
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Well Huw-you should know that "if it ain't Scottish....it's crrrrrap!"

           And now for something entirely different....

                                       It's......

                                                 the Outlaw troublemaker


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