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The Story of the
Caldercraft Clyde Puffer Northlight


The Northlight was kindly donated to NDMBC by Dave Johns, Thanks Dave, after it had been in his garage part built for 20 years.

The deck had been fitted to the hull and the propshaft had been fitted, the cabin had been made but suffered from the ravages of time. Various parts were in a bag inside the hull.

The club decided to auction it among its members. I won the auction and looked forward to refurbishing it, at 1/32nd scale it is a bit easier for me to handle as I get older.

I decided to add sound and smoke, the sound unit was purchased on eBay. I`ve never heard a Clyde Puffer sound and couldn’t find any on the internet but the one I bought sounds plausible and very reasonably priced. It is the sound of a hunsted two stroke twin cylinder boat engine. I 3D printed a box with grill to house the sound card and speaker, I cut 2 holes in the front of the cargo cover to let the sound at but the sound was a bit thin so I cut another 2 holes in the rear of the cover which then produced some bass, that sounds quite good.

I recently fitted a Heng Long smoke unit to a 3D printed traction engine and was suitably impressed so ordered another for the puffer. 
After I fitted it I was a bit dissatisfied to find only a whiff of smoke was produced and the fan was quite noisy. The element wanted 6v but at that the fan was too fast so I fitted a voltage dropper and turned it down to between 4 and 5v which helped with the noise but not the smoke, I opened the smoke unit and found the cotton wool which held the smoke oil was not touching the element so after raiding my wife`s make up box and stealing some cotton wool proceeded to add this to the oil tank, it was now touching the element and produced a very goo amount of smoke.

I 3D printed a motor mount taking into account that any heat generated by the motor would have a detrimental effect, but it wont be a high power motor so is unlikely to be a problem.

After looking at suitable winches on eBay, being between £20-30 I decided to make one, not true to detail but adequate.
The deck and cabin were fitted out with some detail.

The mast and rigging was fitted, a bit fiddly for me these days.

The last job is the deck railings, the parts were received yesterday so I am about to go into the workshop and complete the job.

The railings went better than expected, about 20 30mm 2 hole stauntions, 40 solder joints. I drilled 1.25mm holes in the deck at 30mm apart to take the stauntions, then fed 1mm brass wire through them and soldered them in situ, then removed the complete assembly to spray it white.


It will be on display and on the pond at various events through the year.

John Gaze

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