Continuing Saga ... New Project: Plastruct Petrochemical Plant

Trainman2001 posted:

Speaking of gravity... has anybody been watching "Genius" on National Geographic channel? Story about the life of Albert Einstein. Very interesting! Speaking of Einstein, just now another prediction of General Relativity was proven by being able to measure the mass of a star based on the gravitational lensing of a star that lies behind it. The star in question was a white dwarf 14 light years from Earth. Using Hubble, astronomers watched it eclipse a star that lied behind and then that star reappeared by the exact predicted amount which then enabled them to derive the occluding star's mass based upon how much it warped space-time. They observed it over several years. It took until now to do this because previous telescopes simply weren't sensitive enough to measure the tiny amount of light bending. Pretty cool!

Yes, my wife and I have been watching and enjoying the show. She is a Chemistry teacher and her inner "geek" has come out a couple times. I have to admit it is fun watching it with her because she is way more familiar with some of the names than I am. Most of the groundbreaking scientists at the time had interactions with each other. It is fun seeing how a discovery by someone else aided the research of others.

Your work is amazing! I really enjoy following your progress.

Corey West

Aircraft for work, trains for fun.

Thanks all. This is a very challenging project. We've been watching the Genius program On-Demand, generally the commercials are a little less.

Did a lot of finicky pipe work today. I'm having trouble with the plans. There are dotted lines indicating the structural steel that lies under the upper platform AND more dotted lines showing hidden piping. It's quite challenging to figure out which is which. Furthermore, the plans show the center top pipe leading to the overhead top discharge from the distillation column, but the booklet photos show this center top position as a relief valve location and the line running straight into the ground. I'm using the input from the column in my design. The column needs a receiver for the top flow and it's a bigger diameter line (gas vs. liquid) and the plans show this. Where I'm having the most trouble is figuring out what all the underneath piping is.

I added the lines to the receiver. After messing around trying to get the piping to stabilize, I finally add some "welded" braces to it since there was no place to put a Plastruct pipe support. I don't know if this is prototypical, but I really needed it since the piping was very fragile and kept breaking loose. I find the white ABS piping does not weld as securely as the gray. You think it's adhered and then suddenly it just lets go.

Additional Pipe Supports

I also had to fit one of the bottom entry pipes coming from the smallest vessel below. This pipe isn't going to be connected until the tanks and platform are separately painted. I had to tape the receiver into position to hold it steady enough so I could measure the distances involved.

Under tank connection

I added the pipe to the medium-sized receiver. This too will be separately painted. Due to the restricted overhead space, I used and angle valve. This was not included in the kit. I had it leftover from the boiler house project. I added a drop of medium CA under the S-curve to stabilize this pipe also.

Angle Valve

I decided to start building the pump sets. They're not all piped the same. This first one feeds the big storage tank. It has two gate valves and two check valves on the discharge side. The instructions say (and I quote), "Assemble the pumps". That's it! It doesn't say that there are not holes for pipe fittings. It doesn't show where the intake and discharge sides are. It doesn't talk about how big or thick the base should be, or the spacing of the plumbing. I drilled them out 1/8", but then realized that I wanted to use the small diameter pipe fittings so I glue in the small diameter tubing in the holes.

Pumps 1

I added the discharge side piping, but after checking the plans had the T facing the wrong direction.

Pumps 3\

Here's the completed array with the check valves and the piping facing in the correct direction. If I wanted to be silly, I would cut spokes in all those valve wheels, but I don't want to be silly since this stuff will be buried in piping.

Pumps 4

I'm going to build all five pumping stations now since I'm getting the routine down. Next up will be the large demethanizer vessel. It too has the usual array of nozzles, valving, and piping.


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With the little time I had today I continued building pump stations. I got three complete and one more than half leaving only one more set to finish them up. The last set has a different configuration according to the plot plan.

I'm getting sort of an assembly line working here. I'm doing the drilling before the motors go on the base so I can clamp the pumps more effectively in the drill press. I measured all the pipe pieces and cut them ahead. I've standardized on the exact placement of the pumps on their bases and the bases on the base board. There's not specifics about how this should be done, but, you need to have them parallel and at the same edge or the piping goes in out of square. I'm also short of check valves and will make some out of standard valves.

IMG_0558Pump Progress

I have a few odd-sized pieces of OSB and found enough that I can puzzle together to make the base for the entire refinery complex. It will consist of four pieces all joined together. That was a big relief since I didn't want to have to buy another 4 X 8 sheet which I would only use about 1/3. I'm running out of things to build with OSB. It's a little bit of overkill to use it for a spray booth. I'll do the cutting some day when #1 is out of the house since the circular and saber saws raise on heck of a ruckus. I use 3M sound deadening ear muffs, but upstairs doesn't have that.


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Thanks Max!

OSB is Oriented Strand Board. It's the cheap replacement for plywood consisting of flat wood chips squashed together into sheets under high pressure with adhesive. It's widely used in home construction in the USA in both sub-flooring and exterior sheathing. It's very strong.

It's about 1/3 the price of the same thickness of ply. I wasn't sure if it would be any good for model RR work, but my fears were without basis. There's a rough side and a really rough side. Best to build with the rough side out. But be aware that I call it "ISB" or Instant Splinter Board. If you handle it without leather work gloves you will get splinters...some quite large. Once I got the subroadbed in place, I painted it with my ground color to stabilize the grain and reduce the splintering. That worked well!

Al, if you're reading this... I was thinking... (dangerous... I know). All of these refinery units have just the piping detail. Has anyone simulated the power lines to all those motors with junction boxes for disconnects? How about instrument locations? On the substation model I included instrumentation wiring, switch boxes, and sensors. The same should be for a refinery only more so. Those pump stands just cry out for a switch box and some power leads going to the motors. I know, I know... AMS!

Well... here's the OSB in action.

With #1 out today, I had the perfect opportunity to make some sawdust and make lots of noise with the circular and saber saws, plus let's not forget the shop vac. I got the entire baseplate built and fitted.

The puzzle is made up of 8 pieces with lots of scrap OSB plates and screws (1 1/8" SPAX TORX Head). I swear by those screws, originally sold in Germany and now in selected Home Depots. They're the best self-threading wood screws I've used. The shank above the threads is narrower than the threads so once the screw penetrates the first piece, it's able to freewheel so it can pull the attached piece more tightly without having to strip the threads in the top piece. Even with that, I drill pilot holes since it's easier to drive them when you need a free hand to stabilize the drill/driver.

Here's the array of scrap OSB all screwed together to make a big sheet.

Baseplate Puzzle

I added some cleats on the layout edge to support that side so I could try in on for size and see how it worked. I added another couple pieces in the forward edge (as in this image) to give enough space for a parking area, flare tower etc. I'm also leaving real estate in back for more stuff. At first I was going to trim that off closer to the drawing, but had second thoughts and realized that this extra space will come in handy.

Baseplate fitting 1

I rounded the edges and will form a nice S-curve with the fascia on the far side so it will look more finished.

Final Fit

You can see in the above that I've added the extension joists. I cut them long enough to extend all the way into the layout to lie on the rear girder. They're pretty cantilevered, extending out about 2 feet. If this proves a problem, I might add a leg and some underpinnings to support the overhang. It only has to support a plastic model, not trains, but it may have to support a human (me) when I'm installing all the stuff or attempting to reach a train that's derailed. There is a switch back there that's hard to visualize from the control panel and I've had derailments there. The switch sometimes doesn't fully cycle. I've doubled the new joists next to the existing ones. If I need to, I can screw them together which greatly increases the holding power since these are all networked together through the large piece of OSB subroadbed above. There are at least 8 risers and cleats holding onto that OSB. As I write this, I'm probably going to do just that. I trimmed the joists so their ends are flush with the baseplate which greatly facilitates screwing on the fascia board.

Refinery Joists

This work really shows off the benefits of L-girder. Adding more benchwork is easy since everything is so open. Furthermore, there's nothing blocking getting wiring from one place to another. There will be lots of lights in this project since there are lights almost everywhere since it's a 24/7 operation (except in July when there's a 2 week turnaround). Monday, I'll get the risers made and installed. I don't think I'm going to mount the models directly on the OSB, since it will be unwieldy to attach all the stuff and get it to the layout. I may build the refinery on some Masonite or other thinner material and move it to the baseplate in sections. Just thinking out loud here. Perhaps Al, or other refinery builders can add to this discussion.

With this benchwork, there are now no open spaces on the layout. It was by design that a refinery was going there, and not knowing how wide it would be, I held off adding OSB until I had a plan to go by. I'm going to be very happy when the fascia is continuous from one end to the other.


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Today was productive. I got the refinery sub-base fully attached to the layout. I employed 7 riser/cleat sets and one angle brace. I used every 1 1/8" SPAX screws I had. Before fastening it down, I traced it's shape onto a large piece of 3/16" Masonite that was left over from mountain building. This will be the surface upon which the refinery will actually lie, and it enables me to build the refinery in the workshop and move it to layout which will give me access to  parts that would be almost out of reach.

I used a combination of saber and circular saws to cut this out. The narrow strip between the track and the main part is where the loading rack will go, and that too will be fabricated in the shop and moved complete to the layout. I'll only have two pipes to connect the rack to the refinery proper.

Refinery Base Top

Here's all the underneath stuff. I felt that the front left corner was a bit spongy so I installed a diagonal brace. If I need to I can run another and tie it into the wall brace which will really stabilize the cantilevered nature of this. I took the belt sander and smoothed the curves and matched the Masonite layer to the that below it. The fascia boards were also cut, but won't be installed until near the end since there's wiring that will go below and fascia boards make it a little less accessible.

Refinery Base Supports

I tried the plans on for size. I also added a trim end to fill that space on the left. I may not be able to get the Masonite to curve as tightly as I want it so I'll possibly approach the fascia.

Plans on Base

I moved the Masonite piece into the workshop and cleared a table for it. I then carefully located the plans on the Masonite to correspond to the spacing that I measured on the layout. The plans extend out past the Masonite 6" to the center of the track. That will provide pretty good references for those two pipes that will merge with the loading rack's. I taped the plans in this position.

Planning Board

With this out of the way I got back to building pumps and assembled the last two. I ran out of check valves and faked a pair by using a modified gate valve. They're invisible when install on the base.

Cobbled Check Valves

Here's all five pump sets in their final position. I finally figured out the piping to the reflux drum and had to add another nozzle in the bottom center. It appears that the pumps have two separate feed lines to the vessel's bottom right and left sides.

Pumps Complete

More vessels tomorrow. There's lots of pipe racks to make and I have major work to do on the HP Spheres. The legs are a challenge. 


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Myles, The refinery is progressing nicely and will be a great addition to the layout when your finished.

I also cobbled together pieces of OSB I had saved in my cutoff box for use when filling in my open spaces between my sub roadbed. Once it's screwed together and covered with homasote or Sculptamold  you can't tell  it's not one solid piece.

Using the Masonite as The base for the refinery will also make it easier when adding all the piping and other details in you work shop.

Unless I'm confused, in the last picture showing the paper layout positioned on the masonite, it seems to be reversed from what you had shown on the layout.

Can't wait to see the finished complex when finally installed and operational on the layout.




My last layout was a mix match of scraps of plywood; if OSB was available then, I wasn't aware of it.  I scabbed in a small section in the front like you did when my track plan didn't work out quite as I envisioned.  The L girder does make it easy to support.  I am curious as to what is the depth of the layout at that point now in case you need to do something on the high line by the wall right in the middle of the widest portion.  I know you are up to the challenge of the supports for the legs!

Gerry, the drawing is the same. In the shop pics I'm just looking at it from the wall side. All the piping will be running away from the viewer and therefore, mostly out of sight except for my pictures.

Mark, it's 4 feet and too far to reach. The high line has given me no trouble (famous last words), but the switch in front has been trouble and will be 42" away, again too far to reach. To make matters worse, there will be vertical things sticking up in the refinery to further block reaching in. I will be able to get onto the layout from the right side and lean into that switch. Because that switch sometimes doesn't cycle completely, I try and get a visual fix on its position. That will be harder with all of this stuff in front, but I'll manage. I may put a very visible block signal that will repeat the switch's aspect so I can see it from the control panel. The pushbutton on the panel also repeats the aspect, but it too is sometimes suspect.

Myles, Unless I experiencing some sort of eye anomaly;

The shop picture shows the long straight side towards the track side with the "S" curve on the right (reversed from layout) with loading rack and horizontal piping on the aisle side with all the tanks behind, closest to the siding.


Not you Gerry! I'm the one with the eye anomaly. In fact, my wife thinks I'm an idiot and shouldn't have answered you so quickly. Yes! I put the drawing on the Masonite upside down and yes, the curved portions are the outside and the flat side is the track side. Good pick up. Actually, this isn't the only thing where my wife has thought that I'm an idiot.

Here's the way it should look. It was important to get this right since I'm going to mark the panel through the drawing for all the equipment placement. I've left enough room on the right side to have a parking area. I need to find space for the building, cooling tower and flare.

Drawing Right Way Round

I decided that all the ladders and rails on the vessel platform before painting since all those joints require good gluing surfaces. The bottom ladder seemed high enough for a ladder cage, but the upper was a little short and is uncaged. After looking at the isometric drawing I realized that the lower level platform did not completely cover the structure. There was a rectangular opening under the vessels... probably to make piping easier. That ship has left the dock. I followed Al's practice and put diagonal braces not the railing ends on the top rail since it was very insubstantial and needed some other support.

Platform Railings

I then turned my attention to the large mechanizer horizontal vessel. I laid out center lines on top and bottom using the same technique as with the smaller vessels. I also decided to add the vessel supports before painting since it was necessary for support in subsequent operations. To further ensure that the two legs were parallel and in line with each other, I added some piping to tie the two together and ensure alignment. Drilling in the drill press on V-blocks ensured the two holes were perpendicular and in line.

Base Fitting

The last thing I did was cut some "concrete" bases and epoxy them to the legs. This was necessary since the elbow at a bottom outlet wouldn't clear the ground with the extra height. I could have glued the elbow directly to the tank, but I'm trying to us nozzles at each pipe outlet. Gravity clamps keeps the tank down until it cures.

Epoxying Tank Bases

Tomorrow tank work continues.


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Your no idiot, I have violated the "Measure twice, cut once" rule many a time. My scrap box is quite full of that OSB I mentioned in my previous comment.

My concern was that you might start drilling holes to locate the tanks etc before applying the "measure twice" rule.

This refinery project is  going to be another in a long list of accomplishments for your layout when completed.


Thanks. Ok... I'm not an idiot and I appreciate help from any quarter. Keep paying attention.

Interesting day today. I tackled two of the most daunting aspects of this build: the High Pressure Sphere legs and the curved stair up the liquids storage tank.

I first started by adding some piping for the relief valve line on the Mechanizer vessel. On some of the pictures they show this pipe going straight into the ground. I'm going to run the relief lines to the flare and they will be above ground. Again I added a small piece of styrene angle as a brace for this unwieldy line. This stabilizes it during all the handling that's to come. I also added the angle valves up top and finished up the man way. The angle valves were not included with this kit, but I'm trying to conserve by 1/8" 90° fittings. I had them left over from the boiler house project. Even with the elevated "concrete" bases, the bottom 90° fitting didn't clear the ground so I removed the nozzle and mounted the L directly into the vessel. 

Methanizer Fittings

Time for the big tank. There are four fitting on top: curved vent line, 2 valved fittings, and a man way. There's another at the bottom which appears to be an output since it connects directly to the pumps which feed the loading rack, and then there's the stairs, rails and platforms.

I used the drill press to put in all the openings so they were square to ground. I had to fill the gap below the nozzles with med CA since the tank curves away from them. Since the valves are "snap-on" fittings and don't have a pipe in them, you need to drill the vessel with 1/8" and insert that size tubing and clamp the valve onto these pipes. I trim the pipes flush and immediately install the 90°'s.

Tank Fittings

Next up, the ladder. The instructions say cut one side off the stair moldings and then glue it to the vessel. They don't say which side should be facing inward. Al seems to end up cutting bot stair side rails off and just has the treads extending from the tank. I chose to leave the stair side rail on the outside. I marked the start and stop points for the stair on the tank from the plans and taped the stair to the tank working to keep it perpendicular (which it didn't want to be in the worst way). It took a lot of fussing to get it in place and I resorted to gluing a part, then using CA to stabilize and not moving on until that part seemed to be holding. Eventually, I got it all glued and set it aside to dry.

Stair Gluing

While that was drying I started working on the HP legs. These need to be shaped to conform to the compound curve of the spheres. First I needed to cut 12, 3/16" ABS tubes for the legs. I took a quick measurement from the plans and cut the legs. I'm going to use 1/4" footings which the legs will actually enter so I measured from ground not from the footing top. I have a miter box screwed to my workbench. This is a god send since it frees up my left hand without it worrying about holding the miter box still. Further, it lets me install a bench stop to cut equal-sized pieces that extend out of the box. I used this a lot... really a lot! And the miter box is wearing out and will have to be replaced. The slots are getting oversized so square cuts are a crap shoot.

Fastening the box down is important for another reason. Most razors saws cut on the pull stroke which would pull the miter box off the edge of the workbench making it very unstable. The screws are countersunk below the miter's low point so they don't interfere.

Miter Box Setup

I needed to create some footings. I'm using a left over piece of 1/4" scrap MDF left over from the 2nd distillery building. It was a wall that I had designed wrong and needed recutting. I laid out 12, 3/4" squares and pilot and final drilled them with 3/16", the tube size. Using the drill press insured that the holes were perpendicular to the face and would keep the legs facing north. The scroll saw kerf is very narrow so it doesn't change the layout very much.

HP Tank Footings

I cut them all apart with the scroll saw and touched them up on the belt sander. The legs are a nice push-fit into the footings. I then set them up on the plans to decide how to go forward. The plans had a missing slice and were not accurate so I took the compass and completed the circle. I then marked out six equal spaces using the radius setting on the compass. Amazing that circumference doesn't go into the diameter equally, but the radius can perfectly define 6 equal parts. Isn't geometry wonderful!

HP Legs Setup

I decided to make a base with holes spaced exactly the same as the plan, and put the legs in there. HP Jigs

I guesstimated the leg junction angle and set up a guide on the belt sander and chopped them off. I then inserted them into the bases. They're not glued... just sitting there. I have two thoughts. One is to epoxy the legs into the bases so they're solid before using sand paper stuck to the spheres to put a final shaping to the legs. The other is to install all the cross-bracing (more about that in a moment) and see how stable it is. If it's rigid enough where I can shape the leg tops, I won't need the bases and can put them aside.

The plans call for 4" (scale) channel for the X-bracing on the HP legs. The outside braces are longer than the inner. I was able to cut 3 pieces from each length of channel included in the kit. There are 12 inner and 12 outer pieces needed equaling 8 pieces of channel. Unfortunately the kit included 6. I tried to glue scraps together, and got two more, but I'm still 2 pieces short. Annoying. I'm finding other shortages... check valves, Nozzles. I can order them, but their shipping costs are steep. I'm going to call and see if they'll replace parts since this is a kit. I glued the pieces together using scrap ABS as a spline.

Cobbled Channel

I stopped work on the HP tanks and got back to the big tank.

The stair glued reasonably well and I fixed any loose ones with med CA. 

Tank Stair

Again, I'm annoyed by the kit. It did not include any specific stair railings where the stanchions are perpendicular to the treads, not the ground. I installed the rails I have which are horizontal rails. I'm not happy with this. Naval "ladders" have this kind of railings, but I'm not so sure about refinery tankage. It also makes terminating the rail at the tops and bottoms more troublesome.

Tank Stair Rail

The tank stair starts and ends with platforms. I'm making them conform to the tanks curve by again sticking adhesive sand paper to the tank and sanding the final curve there. I'm putting an ABA angle frame underneath and holding them up with diagonal braces. There will be railings on both. I notched the ABS angle to get it to curve.

Stair Platform

Here's the finished bottom platform waiting for the railing. I may need a step or two the platform bottom since that looks like a pretty steep first sep.

Stair Lower Platform comp

Tomorrow (after exercising) I'll finish the big tank and get back to putting legs under the HP spheres. I have to build a lot of pipe racks, add details to the heat, build the flare, figure out how to build a cooling tower and then design and build the ops building. For fencing, I'm going to use brass wire with bridal tulle, AND the jig that came with the Brennen Chain Link Fence model I bought and built for the substation. Brass wire is much easier to handle than the steel included with Brennen. But there's light at the end of this tunnel and it's not a headlight from on an onrushing 4-8-4.




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Hi Myles

I've probably missed it, but have you a photo of the prototype?

The reason I ask is that the stanchions look like they should be vertical to me.

PE 212

My prototype had angled stanchions and I changed them (modellers' licence  ), as I thought that they looked better.

Just a thought.


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See... Marine ladders are different. I still don't like that shape on my steps. I'm calling Plastruct today and see about getting the missing parts and the correct ladder railing. I try and learn something new every day. Yesterday I learned about how to get six legs under spheres.


You are correct - you need the angled stair rails. I would suggest the white sytrene since these are easier to bend in a curve (SRS-8). You will need to reinforce the ends with cutoffs from the railing. A problem with curving the railing you will see is that it tends to bend in or out (not sit straight up and down). First see how the railing fits. You may need to sand the stairway ?ledger? a little.
Another method is to use Alan's procedure. Glue angles and Tees to the stairs. When dry glue railing. I am not sure what sizes Alan uses. I would guess:



Well... wrote an eMail to Plastruct detailing what was shorted or missing and then followed up with a phone call. Talked to Customer Service, but she said that the eMail would go to the office manager who would just get the parts pulled and mailed out. She transferred me, but I got voicemail. So... no further input to that discussion.

Really got into the Hi-Pressure Spheres.

I needed to drill three 1/8" holes in the spheres. One on the very bottom. There's a injection mold lug there which facilitates finding that. I didn't file these off knowing that I would use them for the bottom outlet. It also has two, vertical, off-axis holes for the two relief valves. It's tough to drill vertical holes in a sphere, so after spotting them with the awl, I milled two flats that were horizontal with the ground line to give a purchase for the drilling that followed. I used a 0.032" carbide drill in a pin vise to start the hole, followed up with a #50 also in a pin vise, and then took it to the drill press. I put the sphere on a role of masking tape so it sat still and then maneuvered it so I could drill the two holes. Worked good and the drill did not slip.

I had enough braces to do one tank. After getting them all glued and set, I put a wire around the legs to prevent them from spreading outwards, stuck some coarse adhesive sand paper on the sphere, put on a nitrile glove so I could get a good grip and then swiveled the sphere back and forth until each leg shape conformed to the curve better. All of them didn't come in precisely, but as you'll see, gluing and CA solved that problem.

HP Leg Shaping

Here's the fit after shaping.

HP Leg Fit pre-Glue

Since I had already drilled the sphere for the two relief valves on top and the bottom outlet, and mounted the valves, I had to make sure that the valves were vertical and this meant that the seam line would be horizontal prior to gluing. I set it all up on the surface plate and fussed around with the sphere until the surface gauge showed a level seam line. Judicious use of Tamiya tape held that position so I could apply glue to each leg, only removing the next piece of tape when the leg showed it was adhering.

HP Glue Align

After gluing I went back and added med CA to any obvious gaps. One needed some granular filler with the CA to close the gap. But they were all glued and strong. The bottom outlet has a nozzle, a #4 pipe and an elbow. The relief valves are attached using a piece of #4 pipe, but no nozzle since it would fit against the severe curve.

Here's what the glued leg looks like. I'm happy with the fit. Again, the instructions on this critical step were very skimpy. I don't know how to get the legs positioned without having an assembly jig.

I pulled the assembly jig off to see it was still all stable and it was. Therefore, I can mount the tanks directly on my baseboard, AND I can use the templates to drill holes in the baseboard to insert the legs and further stabilize the assembly. I forgot to mark leg 1 on the tank and template so I went back and kept turning it until all the legs lined up. On Tank #2 I marked leg 1's position for going further. Live and learn.

HP Template

Oh... and one more thing. I dropped HP Sphere #2. It hit the concrete bounced twice and then on the third bounce blew apart into two hemispheres as the glue line let go. I had to re-glue, re-fill and file it all over again. I added more filler and will finish sand tomorrow after it all cures.

I took this pic this morning for inclusion in the Plastruct eMail. It shows current progress before the completion of HP #1. Question for Al (or other refinery experts). The overhead line from the distillation tower goes to the top drum on the platform (reflux drum?), but instead of the line going directly to it, the distilling tower line goes to the pipe rack, T-s into the a #8 pipe with the ends blocked. The line runs the entire length of the pipe rack, and the reflux line T-s off this same long line. It wastes a lot of #8 piping with I want to use for the relief valve lines going to a flare knock out drum. What is the reason for running this long line that's blocked at both ends? (See the arrows).

Refinery Status June 22

While waiting for Plastruct's response, tomorrow I start building pipe racks, mounting pumps and other stuff onto faux concrete bases, and then get started building lighting systems. I have the silicone mold used in making the lampposts for the distillery, but the mold's not great and I'm going to re-mold it before casting. There was a bubble in the area where the pole interfaced with the light housing and required handwork to remove the resin the filled the bubble. I also have to finish up the details on the heater, build the cooling tower and a flare, plus and ops building. So I have a lot to do. I think my LHS has the #4 Plastruct channel which I need to finish up HP #2 leg assembly.


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Went to Scale Reproductions Inc. (LHS) and bought some of the Plastruct material that I've asked Plastruct for. If they send it to me, that's okay since I'm going to need more material for the flare and cooling tower. It will go to good use. I bought the needed C-4 channel so I can finish up the #2 Sphere's legs, the stair railings since I wanted to get that big tank done, and some more piping #4 and #8.

First I built the upper platform using the same routine as the lower. It also has a larger curved rail. In this case I attempted to heat the ABS with a hot air gun. It got a little distorted, but I'll take it. In some ways, I actually like making rails out of drilled brass angle and brass wire. I have much more control of shaping and how rails terminate to each other. If I was to do this again, I may fab them out of brass.

Upper Platform

I was able to peel the old railing off the stairs and put the correct stair rail in place. I cobbled together a patchwork of pieces where the stairs meet the platform rails. It was this area specifically to which I was referring in the last paragraph where a brass rail would have come out much better (and stronger).

Tank Railings On

I added angle braces under the upper platform and and angle brace from the top right railing's edge to the tank body. After painting it will look okay.

I then added the rail to the bottom platform now that the correct railing was on the stairs. Again, bringing the straight and stair rails together was less than optimum.

Lower Platform

Weekend means no shop work, so I'll see y'all on Monday.


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