Equipment Roster - corrugated Iron

As originally planned my indoor 7/8th's scale layout had a dock scene included a number of brick buildings.  However, laying all of the bricks was starting to drive me nuts so I decided to make some of the building out of corrugated iron and wood construction.  After looking for suitable materials (tin can sides etc.) and not finding a satisfactory solution I decided to make a press to produce corrugated siding.  But before I could make a tool I needed to learn about corrugated iron siding.  A web search produced to two useful books, A Treatise on the Design and Construction of Mill Buildings and Other Industrial Plants by Henry Grattan Tyrrell (1911), see pages 273 - 289 and Sheet Metal Work by William Neubecker (1919), see pages 182 - 192.  The books are made available through Google Books - a great service and a treasure trove of historical materials.  Both books give standard dimensions for corrugated sheets and I made mine with corrugations that are a scale 2 1/2 " wide and 1/2 " deep.  Overall my standard sheet is a scale 26" wide and 10' long, a typical size mentioned in the books as well as some catalogs from the 1920's.

The rollers form the heart of the press.  To make them I ground a cutter (see picture below) and turned the rollers out of some scrap aluminum.  Steel would have been better but I wanted to see if the idea would work and the metal yards aren't open at 11:30 on a Saturday night. Both rollers are mounted in ball bearings and spin freely.  The top roller has a handle and is held in a fixed frame while the bottom roller moves in a linear manner on a dovetail slide controlled by a feed screw.  This allows me to control the amount of pressure placed on the material being formed into sheets by moving the bottom roller towards or away from the top roller.  To make a sheet the material is placed between the rollers and the bottom roller is moved until the material is slightly compressed.  The top roller is turned to move the material through the press and the process is repeated until the desired depth is reached.  It sounds more complicated to do than it is.  After being rolled the siding is trimmed to size and then rerolled to reform the ends.  Brass sheet up to 0.010" works well if it has been annealed.  Under 0.005" brass sheet does not need to be annealed but is easily damaged.  Aluminum sheet of 0.005" works easily and has a nice color but is a bit soft  I am looking for tin sheet but haven't had a chance to try any yet..  Nail holes are drilled in the sheet to keep deformation to a minimum when installing.  All in all this hasn't been any faster than laying bricks but the added variety should improve the scene.  See the Von Leipnik Interplanetary Transportation Co for more information on the buildings.

Cutter Rollers Press Brass in Press
Brass and Al Brass Aluminum Brass