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Would this work for a coal conveyor?

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  • Would this work for a coal conveyor?

    OK, everyone has been hearing about my coal silo for months now, and I'm looking for help building the conveyor. I'm looking for something like the conveyor in this model here:

    (I hope that worked!)

    I've been trying to make all those little buckets, and it's been taking what little sanity I have left. Anyway, here's my idea:

    If I take a hunk of 1/4" basswood, and cut it into 1/4" cubes, then cut each of those at a 45 degree angle, I'll have a bunch of wedges. If I glue those to a strip, I'm thinking they'll look enough like a conveyor for my purposes. Picture a bunch of saw-teeth. Granted, they won't be open, but if I glue some coal to the top they'll look like they're full.

    Anyway, O master scratch builders, what do you think of this idea? Is it worth a try, or would I just be wasting time and wood?

    Any other ideas on how to make a conveyor, if you don't think my idea is a good one?


  • #2
    Well, this is just a thought, and I'm sure someone else will have a better idea...

    If you have a Dremel (or other rotary tool) and a sanding drum, you could sand a slight concave in the "face" of each conveyor hopper. When you glue the coal to the surface, it might look somewhat more realistic. It might be worth experimenting with...


    • #3
      Hi mh!

      Unless you're dead-set on having that open-type conveyor, many prototype coal facilities used covered, or enclosed conveyors...this would be easy to could make it out of wood, styrene, Plastruct tubing, etc...

      "Life is all the stuff that happened while you were making other plans."


      • #4
        It is desirable to keep water out of stored coal , secondary to its acting as solvent that leaches things like sulphur , and then recombines producing new compounds that among other things can generate heat (can make for so-called spontaneous combustion ).

        It also causes deleterious losses of BTUs as fuel (e.g. in furnaces for residential heating or steam power generation ) , or chemical efficacy as feeder stock ( e.g. in coke making ), so Drew is right,- a covered conveyor is desirable .


        • #5
          I made my conveyer covered. It delivers coke to the blast furnace on my layout. As others have said, it makes sense to cover for weather reasons but is also simpler to make. Just imagine that coal conveyer on the link you provided with a criss-cross web of steel frames along both sides and a simple roof on the top.

          NARA founding member


          • #6
            This brings up another point now, would the coal have to be dried before it's put into the silo? It's hauled in open hoppers, if they got caught in the rain at any point in their travel the coal would be wet. Doesn't seem to be it would matter if the conveyor were covered then, it would get a lot wetter in the hopper cars than it would get in the few minutes it might spend out in the rain in an open conveyor.

            OK, I'm confused!


            • #7
              Hi Mark

              Yes coal would definitely get wet if it rained while it was being hauled in open hoppers.

              Also the largest coal mining operation in Alaska is strip mining for coal so the coal would be exposed to rain before it was mined and sent to the hoppers.

              Here is a picture of the conveyer that takes the coal to the storage building and the conveyer does not look enclosed.

              I did a Google search for images for coal silo and there are pictures you can look at. Many are pictures of the Promodel Builders kit you posted.

              <img src="" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.


              • #8
                I'm not a coal hauler but are buckets used or is it possible that they use a continuous belt as is done for gravel and crushed rock? In my area the belt is more common. It's also much easier to model! I have used dowels at each end enclosed in a small shed to protect the motors, etc. with a paper band run between to form the belt. Some coal on the belt would give the idea realism. Cover as much as you want but at power plants,etc. I see huge piles stored outside to be moved with frontloaders to where needed. There probably is some degradation but only to the top layers as rain doesn't penetrate too deeply


                • #9
                  Sorry guys I just went back and looked at the silo. My suggestion is no good for that angle. Must be an East coast thing where space is scarce. We just let our industries spead out all over.