Recommended Posts

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Replies 340
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Yet another update! We've put some serious hours in this week, building the clock in Birmingham (Millennium Point - access is free if you are anywhere near but read on to understand what you might

Another busy day but the end is in sight now. In fact I've left it running as a 'soak test' (albeit still a dry installation - they are planning to fill the pool tomorrow). I've overcome a few minor

Nope, not TT. On the matter of drinking, each day I've worked within that enclosure has been physically exhausting because of the heat and humidity - somewhere between a greenhouse and a sauna. Have

Posted Images

Small update: I had a meeting with intu management on Wednesday. Looks like there's a desire to re-install the clock next spring, rather than summer. They are making arrangements to get all the parts back to Vic Centre a.s.a.p. so that I (and others) can do further renovation work. They really do see it as an asset and are keen to ensure it gets re-installed as a focal point for the Centre.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

So it should be re-installed. The last Time I was in the centre, a year or three back, there was quite a crowd waiting to see it in action. Any work of art such as the clock is worth hanging on to.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In answer to a question I posed: The foundation stone was recovered from the floor before they tiled over. It needs de-clagging (concrete stuck to back) but is essentially OK and fit for re-use.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wednesday 03 December 2014

Meeting at Vic Centre: Me and the intu Technical Projects Manager. Discussed proposal to get the clock installed by Easter 2015. Immediate need is to get the parts back to Nottingham. Peter said they had identified a room that could be used as a workshop. We later had a short meeting with the intu General Manager. He is keen to engage the younger generation; those who will still be around in another forty years. We considered building behind a screen for a big unveiling, compared with being in full view of the public (don't know which they'll do). Before I left, Peter showed me the room – it looked fine (it was dry, warm and had lights; that’ll do for me).

Thursday 11 December 2014

All clock parts moved from two locations somewhere down the A38 back to Nottingham by a removals company. The main frame would not fit in the truck the right way up so it was laid on its side. Unfortunately one of the recently extended legs snapped off, fairly cleanly, at the joint; the weld may have been weak. Another small part broke off the frame in transit as well. However, we knew of a couple of other welding repairs needed so it will be sorted in due course. Hope we have a tin of ‘touch up’ paint in the right shade (Spitfire cockpit green apparently).

It also appears that some of the parts have been stored in a damp environment as there is verdigris on several of the petal counterweights and some boxes smelt ‘fusty’. More elbow grease and metal polish required. At least it’s in a warm, dry environment now. The frame wouldn’t fit into the workshop so that’s elsewhere in the Centre.

I spent 2-3 hours checking that all parts were present against an inventory, though didn’t remove the bubblewrap yet. I took various bags of nuts, bolts, etc. home for checking.

Friday 12 December 2014

Checked all nuts bolts to remind myself what goes where and to note any missing bits. I have a list of tasks that now need to be done and have gone through that to estimate number of hours (or days) and assign priority.

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I shall be pleased to see it back where it should be!

RAF Cockpit Green isn't specifically a Spitfire colour. It was used on most RAF aeroplanes of the era. I have just been looking through a British Standards colour chart but it isn't named as cockpit green although other RAF colours are. There are greens on the chart that look to me like cockpit green but I have nothing accurate to match too. Any paint factor should be able to mix it to the code provided on the colour chart

Link to post
Share on other sites

In regard of that green colour, we found some original paint when splitting some sections apart. Someone took a sample away for matching and that's when the link was made to the green used to paint cockpits. I suppose a reference to the Spitfire makes it more evocative, though it sounds like it was a common shade back then. I might be putting two and two together to make five but during WWII, Emett worked as a draughtsman for the Air Ministry - I'm guessing he had some post-war contacts with access to gallons of war surplus paint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That green paint is actually an etching primer used on aluminium to prevent corrosion and allow other paint to adhere to it. The stuff is still in use today but in large quantities is nasty to use. It comes in two parts - one of which is acid. You mix them and spray it on. If you are painting small areas, it is available in a "rattle can".

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Minor update: If anyone still doubts the return of the clock to the Vic Centre, keep an eye out next week for some hoardings that they are going to erect around the new location.

Engineer

  • Upvote 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, I walked past the hoardings surrounding the Water Clock assembly today, I wanted to peek over the top to see if I could see our 'Engineer' but I couldn't jump high enough! Looking forward to seeing the clock in all its glory, it's been missed by us all.

  • Upvote 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I too have walked past the hoardings but have not been inside yet. I can however throw a bit of light on what's occurring. With the clock weighing about a tonne and then something like three tonnes of water, they decided that the load needs to be spread on a concrete slab. First steps are therefore to dig up those lovely new tiles and the screed underneath. They will then build a dwarf wall, 4.5m diameter and form a concrete slab inside. Next is a glass reinforced plastic (GRP) liner to hold the water. A further concrete slab will then be poured, the purpose of which is to stabilise the clock. Three water pipes and one electrical conduit will be buried in this slab and sealed where they pass through the GRP. The new foot pads of the clock will be bolted down to this second slab, i.e. the legs will not be concreted in as they were previously. Glass panels will sit between steel balusters above the wall with a handrail on top; there will not be any seating.

The big cobweb water wheel with butterflies will face south, towards what will be a champagne bar.

At the north side of the pool there will be a cabinet for the electrics, water pumps, filters, chlorinator and UV unit. The recovered foundation stone will be placed in the water in front of the water wheel.

Most of the clock parts are elsewhere in the Victoria Centre and I've been working on various parts. The frame's broken leg was mended on Monday. I'll give a fuller update soon.

BTW, it's definitely going where they say, near the store of American cartoon merchandising; no amount of public outcry or petitioning will see it 'back where it was'. We'll get used to it, just as we did when they moved Goose Fair out of The Square!

Engineer

  • Upvote 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Right, let's pick up where I left off last December....here are the highlights for January:

Tuesday 06-Jan: Had a meeting with intu management. That's when I found out where the clock was going. We discussed power, water, drain, orientation, assembly procedure, equipment needed (e.g. crane).

Thursday 22-Jan: I fixed the clock tower to a pallet and assembled the four faces. I looked at the clock face with the hour hand not working and found a compound gear needed repairing - took it home and fixed it next day. I removed the Top Feature motor as in needs renewing (bearings worn). The orchestra drive motor also needs renewing (foot broken off and casing badly corroded).

Saturday 24-Jan: Repaired one of the decor plates; removed six orchestra player pulleys (worn such that players not spinning reliably). These will need re-facing. Refitted the compound gear and synchronised the four faces. They can stay together now and be hoisted up as one assembly. Started stripping parts from the cobweb wheel as we want to strip the paint off, repair some broken welds and re-do the paint job.

Thursday 29-Jan: Removed the butterflies, having checked their location and numbered them (some were in wrong place when compared with old photos). Removed the brass butterfly bearing blocks (there's alliteration for you!). We'll need to get new ones made as these are generally quite worn.

The above is something like half of what I've recorded and I've probably recorded half of what I've done but I hope you get an idea of what I'm doing.

Engineer

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Then there was February - just four weeks but got quite a few bits done:

Tuesday 03-Feb: Meeting with Peter (intu) and Tim (Emett Society) to discuss plans. Tim took away the petals to address the verdigris. Peter took the orchestra and Top Feature drive pulleys to scope renewal or re-facing (these were the ones we had lots of issues with at Birmingham - essentially 40+ year old rubber no longer soft enough to drive effectively). I showed Peter the worn Top Feature turntable that really needed some attention - it had worn down over the years and needed a new flange or complete new drum (interestingly this part looks like it was originally a brake drum for a bus or truck).

Wednesday 04-Feb: Separated the petal push rods at their adjusters (after seeing misalignment at Birmingham, we will need to adjust each petal rod so that all petals are level). A few rods were bent so I straightened these. Lots of threads were rusty so I ran a 1/4" BSF die down them all (good job I have Imperial taps and dies).

Friday 06-Feb: Had the butterflies at home so made a list of missing and damaged jewels. At some point, acrylic white 'jewels' have been used as replacements for coloured glass jewels. I want to restore to coloured glass if possible. Even those that were present and correct (glass) were frosted from the effects of the chlorination so considering renewing all.

Sunday 08-Feb: At home, made wooden racks to hold butterflies. Measured butterfly width, shaft length and mass for my records and to help differentiate between similar ones.

Monday 09-Feb: At home, drew 3rd Angle Projection (engineering) drawings for the three types of brass blocks that need to be machined and sent to Peter (intu).

Thursday 12-Feb: Unwrapped the six orchestra players and straightened some extremities that had become bent. Created an inventory of glass jewels for these (a couple are cracked so will add to my list of jewels for butterflies).

Wednesday 18-Feb: At home, straightened butterfly shafts and ground/filed some damaged shaft ends flat. Repaired many damaged butterfly antennae (some missing, some detached, some bent).

Thursday 19-Feb: Discovered some eccentric bolts that allow the orchestra turntable to be aligned; adjusted these so that turntable rotated centrally and freely (should help ease the load on the drive motor and pulley that troubled us). The shafts where the orchestra players sit seemed noisy and nodgy. They are actually old-fashioned bicycle bottom brackets, the type where pedals would be fixed with cotter pins so we should be able to get new shafts for them.

Wednesday 25-Feb: Meeting with Peter (intu). We went through the ‘to-do’ list that I made (now running to over 100 rows though around 30 are ‘done’). He showed me a drawing and the clock was off-centre in the pool ( a bit too far south) – I said the middle tubes with the fountain ring should be central in the pool - hope they get it right. We agreed that intu’s plumber should take the lead on assembling the pipework, pumps, filters, etc. and fabricate the fountain ring. Feedback from the machinists was that it would be best to make a new Top Feature turntable drum as opposed to repairing the worn one: fine by me (I’m not paying!). We assessed the frame for welding requirements. I re-formed the curve on the copper water spout to give correct reach to the cobweb water wheel (recalling that the wheel is now further back).

Finally, in the evening of 25th, I gave a presentation on Emett's life and works (and of course my involvement with the clock) to a women's group, which was well received. It was basically me talking my way through around 100 photographs. I'm considering further presentations if other groups are interested.

All for now, expect another update towards the end of March.

Engineer

  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW, it's definitely going where they say, near the store of American cartoon merchandising; no amount of public outcry or petitioning will see it 'back where it was'. We'll get used to it, just as we did when they moved Goose Fair out of The Square!

I went past the area today, and a large area has been boarded off with posters on the side advertising the return of the clock. So they are definitely getting people used to the idea of its new location.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I went past the area today, and a large area has been boarded off with posters on the side advertising the return of the clock. So they are definitely getting people used to the idea of its new location.

I wish they would put some seating back. They have taken so much away. When you have problems with walking or standing, you need somewhere to rest your weary bones. It was quite well thought out before. Now, everything seems to designed around young mobile people. No thought for the elderly and less mobile.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that some seating in the vicinity would be advantageous but am pleased that there won't be seats backing onto the pool as before; I think that arrangement detracted from the aesthetic appeal. Future visitors will get an uncluttered view of this splendid treasure.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Well another month has passed and I've done a few more bits:

06 March - I did a drawing of what's needed for the fountain bit in the middle (a circular pipe and twelve spouts with some sort of flower on the end of each). Sent that off to Intu as their plumber is going to make it.

08 March - I removed some sample 'jewels' from the butterflies and measured them up as approx. 1/2", 5/8" and 1". I sent an inventory of all jewels for all butterflies to Intu, saying I'd like to renew them all. Some of the originals are still present but the water chemicals have frosted the glass and they don't shine anymore. The orchestra violinist had a bent bow so I dismantled, straightened and reassembled it, with a bit of soldering to stabilise it.

09 March - the welder was on-site so I went to observe/advise. He fixed the broken leg and a couple of other bits that had broken off the frame. We showed him the repairs needed on the cobweb wheel but he said welding would destroy it - we'll need to get it brazed instead. We want to hide the cables so he drilled two holes in the base of the motorisation box where it sits over the pedestal. I hadn't realised until he pointed it out that the motorisation box is cast iron. No wonder it's so heavy! I cleaned 36 studs and 36 nuts on the big ring that operates the petals as these had been stiff at Birmingham and causing sluggish operation. Finally I checked the axles that support the orchestra players - they were quite pitted so I'll request new ones. the bearings were all new last year so they're OK. These are the ones that are plainly bicycle bottom brackets.

21 March - another site visit. The new geared motors were on site so I checked that they will fit (bearing in mind that the manufacturer has gone metric somewhere in the last 40+ years). They will fit OK but I need to fit connectors to their wires to match my wiring.

22 March - I stripped down the collar that sits in the middle of the orchestra (mainly by drilling out pop rivets). Someone had bent the copper plates at some time to access some screws. I want to flatten the copper out again but couldn't do it with the collar assembled.

23 March - Site visit again. Cleaned more threads then dismantled the petal lift assembly as some steel parts need painting and brass parts polishing and lacquering. The new upper turntable and the new brass blocks arrived.

29 March - I stripped all remaining jewels from the butterflies (all day job!) I soldered one butterfly where the shaft was loose and made a replacement antenna for another.

One problem arose - where we want to pass cables within the main pedestal leg, we had the leg drilled top and bottom. However, we found that the repair last year (leg extension) included a solid slug of steel to reinforce the joint - That's about 18 inches up from the bottom so it looks like we'll have to cut the leg off again and repair it in a hollow fashion.

That was March. Have done a few bits today but will write that up for my April report.

Engineer.

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bring back the clock and the fountain ASAP...it was a beautiful feature and the highlight of my visits into town with my daughter, friends from out of town and grand children............what were they thinking of, when they removed it ?................ morons !!!!!!!!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cliff Ton, I can confirm that your photos indeed show the new location; you'll notice the absence of high level lighting there. Currently Laing O'Rourke are preparing the base and pond liner inside those hoardings; no parts of the clock are in there yet. We will soon be moving some major parts to an empty unit nearby so that it's all handy when we are ready to build it. The frame will be 'interesting' when we need to get it through some doors as it's now taller than when it left last year.

Blondie, the clock will have a ring of twelve water spouts round the middle (they've not been present for many years, probably not since the clock was moved in 1997) and of course the main 'cobweb' water wheel at the south end with its overhead water spout. I am sure you'll like what you see, as will everyone who waits in anticipation.

Engineer

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...