It's been a while since I received this engine. In the months between then and now I've been busy restoring it. The most difficult part of the restoration was solving the problem of the leaking water level plug. For me this was the first time I had to solder on a engine, so with the advice of some of the very helpfull people on "The Unofficial Mamod and Other Steam Forum" I started to knock the boilers end cap off.
The engine in my soldering setup
Here you see the boiler in the clamp contruction I've used to get it heated.
soldered out thread
And here you see the end cap that's removed from the boiler together with the desoldered thread. Getting the end cap off wasn't as easy as it sounds. I thought I would only have to heat it to make it fall off, but the end cap was actually a tight fit, so you have to apply some force to get it off. I heated up the end cap a bit too much (actually got it red hot) and deformed it a little bit when I applied force to get it off. So if you ever have to do someting similar to this, don't get it red hot and apply some force to it with something like a piece of wood.
You can see that it was a little deformed on this image:
and this is how the inside of a boiler looks:
Inside of the boiler
Another usefull advice I got at the mamod forum was to also resolder the other two threads now that I had the boiler open anyway, because they might have gotten weak when I was soldering on the boiler. On the picture below you see the boiler with all the threads removed, you can actually see that it got so hot that the paint in the chimney burnt away.
After the boiler was stripped down like that, all I had to do was solder the theads back in. That was a lot more difficult than I expected. You have to solder the threads back in from the inside, using flux and solder, but there is not much room inside a boiler to get both your flame and the solder there, while also keeping the thread at the right place. The thread where the steam pipe is attached to was especially difficult, because it easily falls out while soldering. When I finaly got the threads where I wanted them my soldering work had become a mess.
Solder everywhere where it wasn't supposed to be, I thought I had to go and find a new boiler for this engine, but the people on the mamod forum told me that even this mess was cleanable. At least the engine now was steam tight. With a lot of sanding paper, going from low to high grades, and a lot of brasso polishing afterwards, I could indeed get a lot cleaned up.
the boiler after some sanding and polishing
Here you see the boiler after a lot of cleaning, and with the red paint back in the chimney.
In the mean time I had also repainted the base plate and the firebox (althouh some might say I shouldn't have done that.)
Now that the boiler was almost done, I started on the small bits that still needed polishing. One of them was the boiler strap, it was corroded quite a bit
Old boiler strap
I thought these would be all copper, and that I could just clean them up with brasso, but it turned out they are just metal, with some kind of copper plating (or paint) on it.
Since I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I want to get these kind oif details good too.
To replace the boiler strap I ordered a sheet of copper on ebay
The copper sheet is thicker than the original strap (0.5mm), but I was able to create this strap with it after a few attempt:
new boiler strap
Because of the thickness of it it was a bit difficult to bend it the right way, If I have to make one again, I think I'll choose thinner copper. On the picture below you can see that it'n not perfect, but close enough for me
After that was done, the engine was finally ready
SE1 after restoration
All it now needs is a mamod decal. Although the soldering job was a nightmare, it at least was a good learning experience The boiler still got the scars from my soldering performance, so if I ever see a good replacement on ebay or something, I might still change it.
I would like to thank all of the people on The Unofficial Mamod and Other Steam Forum who helped me with this project for all the usefull hints and tips :)