Journal of the Home Metal Shop Club of Houston,

Volume 6,  Number 5  -  May 2001

President Vance Burns,

V. Pres.- Dennis Cranston,

Treasurer - Tom Moore,

Secretary Dick Kostelnicek

April Meeting Minutes

By Jan Rowland


Chips Meeting 1:00 P.M. April 21, 2001, HALS track, Zube Park

The meeting was held at the club facilities of the Houston Area Live Steamers "HALS" at Zube Park near Hockley, TX.

There were 25 HMSC members present. John Hoff brought a guest with him.

Vance Burns opened the meeting near a picnic table in the park, around which we were gathered. No P.A. was available, so we had to "listen UP"! There wasn't much HMSC "new business", so we got to "show and tell" rather quickly. Joe Scott showed some rifle drilling and tooling he works on (super precision, highly disciplined machining!), and a gear shaft from a machine tool that needed restoration. He mentioned the many details he taught himself about heat annealing, tooth cutting, goofs, etc., for such a difficult part, and how the one price quote he got for the 1 lb. piece of steel from a Beaumont gear shop was nearly $4000!

Keith Mitchells's article in the March HMSC newsletter inspired me to get going and make the vice spinner that I have needed for years,, and I showed it. I received some good questions from several members. Fortunately, they were all easy enough for even me to answer.

The meeting day was also "HALS Run Day", and the public was there, a total of about 100 folks, a third of which were tots. The HALS club members had on yellow identifying vests, and some wore searsucker engineer hats. They took a dozen or so parents with their tots in arms around the park on their trains. They had two running which pulled cars upon which the folks could sit, if they were athletically inclined! Train rides were free, but they required passengers to get a ticket anyway, so they could keep count. I suspect that detail may well have had something to do with keeping the county officials at ease, as we were told the buildings were built at county expense, with the intent that the train rides would be offered by the HALS club to the voting public free of charge.

The rails of these scale model trains were about 7 inches apart, best I could guess, with no measuring rule in hand. There were also several switcher engines on the track. Being miniatures of the machines used in switching yards and around turn tables for making-up trains ready to roll to far away cities. There was also a steamer in operation, but rigged with only a coal car, one flat car, and a caboose, for show, only, as riding behind the real coal fired machine is, well, not quite as comfortable as an AC ride in a new "caddy"! These amazing little machines, were nicely hand done by the HALS members!

The HALS group has a small machine shop room at the park with some restorable machines that need some "loving hands on work". There are also a number of large, heavy machines under a shed, but outdoors. It is an attractive place for a "workaholic". 

April Meeting Photos

 Click Here for part 1 of the "Electonic Lead Screw" article by Fritz Linck