Archive for the ‘Model Engineering In Thailand’ Category

What A Tremendous And Important Week In The UK Preparing To Return To Thailand For Permanent Retirement

We have accomplished so much in the last few weeks towards moving to Thailand for final settlement but in the week just gone so much was achieved it’s ‘like a mountain being lifted from your head’ as Kanyah said.

  • Entire House Decorated
  • New carpets and vinyl floor covering
  • Existing carpets cleaned
  • Kanyah discovers she is entitled to a significant UK State Pension – and a sizable lump sum payout
  • I place the order for the Little Samson Traction Engine boiler
  • We obtained the Landlord’s CP12 Gas Safety Certificate for the house *
  • I arranged for the Energy Efficiency inspection for next Tuesday (Required to obtain the Energy Performance Certificate or EPC) *
  • We had the central heating boiler serviced
  • I arranged for the Letting Agent to take the photos of the house on Friday 23 May
  • I completed some tricky DIY jobs
  • Kanyah finished tidying up the garden
  • I ploughed through a number of difficult ‘admin’ jobs, including:-
    • Applying to renew Kanyah’s lost counterpart driving licence
    • Setting up Internet Banking for Kanyah’s UK bank account
    • Finding out how to apply for Kanyah’s (and mine) State Pensions
  • I found out how to programme the house security fobs
  • I ordered a load of building materials due for delivery today to fix up the house outside (fixing the fence and painting doors, etc)
  • Ordered a second skip to get rid of residual unwanted items and rubbish
  • And (not in the last week, but in the week before – 7 May) all our belongings were dispatched to Thailand via container

* These certificates are required by law before the house can be let. I only discovered this in a telephone conversation to the Letting Agent yesterday.

On Programme For Return To Thailand

We have done so well that we are in fact ahead of our programme of works and can confidently predict we will be on our planned flight back to Thailand on the 7th June.

We then have one week in Thailand to ‘relax’ until the container arrives at Laem Chabang Port – Near Pattayah – and then the fun begins – getting the container through customs.

All the above has been tremendously hard work – not only physical hard work but knowing what has to be done and how to do it, making the plans, obtaining materials and tradesmen has been just as demanding.

And although we are on course to finish on time there is still a lot to be done – external DIY and admin jobs – including winding up my UK limited company and closing back accounts etc, etc.

This whole exercise of packing our belongings and sending then to Thailand (including getting the half size Traction engine castings), preparing the house ready for letting and arranging our affairs for permanent Thai residency has been one of the hardest things I have ever done in such a short time.

Think about it. When we leave for Thailand the house has to be completely empty and we have only our bags packed for Thailand. As we progress through our action plan workshop tools, furniture and cooking utensils all disappear. Then when I find I need some tool to do a little DIY job I have to buy another one having sent my own to Thailand. There is only one chair in the house (in my ‘office’), the beds have gone, we have one cup, one plate, one bowl and one each of knife fork and spoon!

And after the cooker has been cleaned next week we won’t want to dirty it again so will be relying on microwave and takeways for the remaining three weeks.


Alex’s Thai Passport

This next Monday, 19th May we are going with Alex to the Thai Embassy in London to try to obtain his Thai Passport.

If you haven’t read the story of how we have tried to do this before (in Thailand) and managed to get Alex his Thai Birth Certificate and have his name put on the Thai house papers as a Thai National then here is a quick summary:-

  • Alex is our son and of course half Thai and half English.
  • He was born in UK and lives and works in London.
  • He came to Thailand in November 2013 in an attempt to get his Thai Passport and ID Card.
  • On that visit we managed to get the Ministry of Foreign affairs to write a letter to The British Embassy in London requesting them to issue a Thai Birth Certificate for Alex.
  • This they did and a few weeks later the Thai Birth Certificate arrived at our house in Pak Chong.
  • With this Kanyah visited the local Amphur and his name was added to the House Papers as a Thai National
  • Alex, by this time back in UK tried to obtain his Thai Passport from the Thai Embassy in London

Alex has visited the Thai Embassy himself several times and Kanyah has filled out forms he sent to us in Thailand as demanded by the Thai Embassy officials, but Alex says he is just bullied and they (the Thai Embassy officials) are not helping him. He says that they (the Thai Embassy officials) will only speak to him in the Thai language and of course Alex can’t speak Thai.

So Monday will be an interesting – and no doubt fraught – day.

What An Amazing Day – I Have Never Accomplished So Much In One Day

Wednesday 7th May, 2014 (yesterday) is a day I will always remember. Such a huge change in my life and so much achieved it’s (as Kanyah says) like a mountain being lifted from my head.

The bullet points:-

  • Container loaded with my model engineering workshop and household effects and sent to the port for shipment to Thailand
  • Booked the carpet cleaner for next Tuesday
  • Booked the decorator for next Wednesday
  • Bought my air ticket to return to Thailand on 7th June
  • Cancelled Sky contract
  • Ordered the Gauge 1 LMS 2F Tank Engine Laser-Cut parts
  • And I already had the new carpets ordered for fitting next Monday

Now for some details…

Container Loaded And Sent To The Port For Shipment To Thailand

You can’t begin to understand what a relief this was to both myself and my wife Kanyah.

We have both been working flat out 8 – 10 or more hours a day for five weeks to get all our stuff in our nottingham (UK) house packed up for shipment to Thailand.

Even our son, Alex, came to help for a few days.

We had planned to spend four weeks to pack our things but we had to delay collection by the shippers by a week because we weren’t ready in time.

This would be a fairly simple job for most normal people but I’m not ‘normal’ as you may know. My model engineering workshop and all the tools and machines was in a first floor bedroom. It all had to be dismantled, taken downstairs and packed or wrapped.

We’re taking heavy stuff here, 30 to 100 kg per item.

Not to mention the half sized traction engine castings which alone must have weighed a half a  ton.

Rusting Traction Engine Castings

By the way I decided to give our shiny brand new traction engine castings a brown patina (ie rust) to make them look old. This was interesting (for an engineer) and you can read the story on the Rusting Traction Engine Castings Page on the website.

To summarise we ended up with 158 individual boxes or packets some containing up to 20 items.

The whole lot would only just fit into the 20 foot container we had ordered. I took a look when it was all packed and there wasn’t an inch to spare!

A Tip For Packing Containers

If you ever have the need to pack a container to ship your personal effects to Thailand (or to ship anything anywhere) I can give you some good advice.

This is what I did to estimate how much space our ‘stuff’ would need to make sure it would all fit into the container:-

For each box or individual item if it wasn’t in box I took the measurements (Length, Width, Height) and calculated the volume.

(At first I measured in cm but the container company uses feet and ft³ so I switched to measuring in imperial units)

Then, I filled out a spreadsheet recording each item with a total volume calculated. Here is a small sample from my huge list:-

Image showing Extract From My Container Shipping List

Extract From My Container Shipping List

What is important is this:-

  • A 20 foot container has an actual volume of 1,170 ft³ but the usable space according to the shipper is only 1,050 ft³. (More on this in a minute)
  • I calculated the total volume of my items to be 632 ft³ ie 60% of the declared usable volume. But our goods only just fitted into the container!

So beware if you have a lot of items to ship in a container since unless everything is perfectly rectangular you won’t have the space you may think you have.

New Life Begins

So, now that the workshop is on it’s way to Thailand and I have booked the tradesmen to smarten up the house here in Nottingham so that we can let it out for a decent monthly income I can start to dream about the new life that awaits me ahead in Thailand.

As you should know my one single ambition in life is to build a large scale model steam traction engine and to drive it from our house here in Pak Chong, Thailand, to the local ‘pub’.

In fact I have chosen the model traction engine I want to build and as explained above have bought the castings and they are in the container on the way to Thailand. I just hope the Thai Customs God is having a nice day when that container arrives!

A simple statement but there are so many other accomplishments that must be achieved to allow that ambition goal to be realised. For example:-

  • I must live long enough in Thailand. This traction engine project is likely to take up to three years.
  • Living Thailand for three years is a challenge in itself. Not only must I remain healthy and fit I must make sure my visa is not invalidated for any reason.
  • I must have the skills and machine tools to be able to make the traction engine parts.
  • I must have the money to be able to live in Thailand for all that time.
  • And last but not least I must maintain my commitment and enthusiasm to complete the project.

And it’s this last point that excites me. I don’t want to wait three years before seeing the results of my efforts manifesting themselves into a real live working model.

So I will build other smaller models in parallel with the big traction engine so that I will have a series of little models completed every few months alongside building the big one.

Other Steam Models To Make

There are so many models I want to make but first I must complete the one I am currently (when I get back to Thailand that is) building which is the Stuart Turner Victoria Mill Engine.

Then I have to build the boiler for it.

Following that I want to build a Garden Railway and a Gauge 1 LMS 2F Tank Engine to run on it.

Here is a movie of a typical Garden Railway of the king I’m talking about:-

And here is a photo of a model LMS 2F Tank Engine of the type I want to build:-

(Click on FS to see a bigger image)

So I think now that you can see with so many enjoyable projects in mind that I can totally forget about ‘working’ and devote my life to what I have always wanted to do – making models of steam engines.

Back To Decorating

But we’re not quite at that stage yet.

Before we go back to Thailand to start our new life we have to prepare this house here in Nottingham to let it out. I said I hade arranged for a carpet fitter and a carpet cleaner and also for a painter to spruce up the walls and woodwork.

Even so there’s still a lot myself anf Kanyah have to do like cleaning, a bit of tiling in the toilet and generally making the place look nice.

Also I have a load of admin to get through all associated with extracting myself from the UK and retiring to Thailand forever!


Proof That I’m Now Totally Committed To Retiring In Thailand

After several months of doubting if I would be able to settle down and retire to Thailand I have finally totally committed myself to do it.

I’m back in the UK packing up our personal belongings and in particular my model engineering workshop to have it all shipped to Thailand. I have arranged to have everything shipped in a 20 foot container.

The target date for filling the container is 28 April as you can see in the schedule below.

Image of Shipping To Thailand Time Schedule

Shipping To Thailand Time Schedule

Packing everything  is hard and frantic work. Most of the hard work is in packing my model engineering workshop machines and tools.


Cost Of Shipping To Thailand

Since I wrote this Post ome people have shown an interest in the cost of shipping personal effects to thailand by container.

I have therefore added the quotations I received as below.


Above, as you can see the actual container cost is only £1,256 but the add-on’s at each end bring the total to nearly four time that much.

Image of Shipping Quotation from 1st Anglo Pacific></a></p> <p>The Little Samson Traction Engine Castings<br /> You may have read in one of my other Posts that I'm planning to build a half-size (6

Above, there is a huge additional cost of £950 for customs clearance and delivery to Pakchong.

When I bought my big machine tools in Bangkok the cost of delivery to Pakchong was 12,500 Baht. (£235) and that included removing them from John’s workshop and installing them in mine.

So there is no way that moving a container to Pakchong from Bangkok to Pakchong can cost £950. I’m just hoping that the remaining money (£950 – 235 = £715) is there to assist ‘customs clearance’. Read into that what you will.

The Little Samson Traction Engine Castings

You may have read in one of my other Posts that I’m planning to build a half-size (6″ scale) model of a Little Samson traction engine in Thailand.  I have extended the workshop and bought two big machine tools to make the parts.

Well, this dream came a step closer yesterday (20 April 2014) when I collected all the castings from Little Samson Models in Cambridge.

The castings weighed around a ton I guess because the car tires got hot struggling under the weight. The car was well nose-up even though some of the castings were put in the front and rear passenger’s foot well, not just in the boot.

The point I’m making here is to demonstrate that at last I am burning my boats and retiring to Thailand forever. I have made the commitment now – there is no turning back.

See The Little Samson Traction Engine Castings

I have uploaded photos of the Little Samson model steam engine castings being taken home in my Ford Fiesta car on the website.

Please go take a look at the photos and you will soon see how committed to retiring in Thailand I am now.


My Dream Model Steam Traction Engine Project Has Now Officially Commenced

Suddenly when everything for our retiring in Thailand was going well and I thought it couldn’t get any better – suddenly it did!

Overnight my dream of building  a half size (6″ scale) model of Savage’s Little Samson steam traction engine became a real possibility.

Before I show you why let me show you what the dream is.

Here are some photos and a movie of 6″ scale Little Samson steam traction engines built and owned by other people.

First a half-size (6″ scale) Little Samson model traction engine with it’s owner just to show you the size of it:-

Image of Keiths Savages Little Samson Steam Model Traction Engine 6 Inch Scale

Keiths Savage’s Little Samson Steam Model Traction Engine 6 Inch Scale

Here is a movie of another 6″ model in action to show you how it looks when running:-

And below are photos of another model to show you the wonderful details:-


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Note: To see Full Size versions of the photos above click the “FS” button above right.

But These Are All Someone Else’s Models – I Have To Build My Own

And to do that I need some very big machine tools. Workshop equipment to the uninitiated.

My own machine tools (and here I’m talking about a lathe and a milling machine for example) in my model engineering workshop here in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, simply aren’t big enough. Even the machine tools I’ll soon be bringing from my other model engineering workshop back in the UK won’t be anywhere near big enough.

Then Suddenly – Overnight – My Dream Came To Life

I was looking around in Thailand to try to obtain the big machine tools and had several lines of investigation and a couple of offers open.

The I received an email from John in Bangkok who seemed to have just what I was looking for. John emailed me some photos and I have uploaded them to a new web page on the website called “Photos Of The Big Lathe And Milling Machine I Bought In Thailand“.

To see the photos of the big lathe and milling machine I bought in Thailand “Click Here



I Found A Model Engineer’s Paradise In A Back-Yard In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

The only question is “How will I be able to access it?”.

This page is comprised mostly of videos shot on site at the “Teera Borigaan Factory” in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

The movies are not always of good photographic quality being shot ‘on the hoof’ as it were.

Rather, they do give a good impression of the mass of machine tools available in this factory. Some brand new CNC machines, some milling machines are more than 100 years old.

More Than 2 Rai Of Machine Tools

The above movie was just one bay of about half a dozen bays in this huge warehouse spanning well over 2 Rai in floor area.

There are lathes, milling machines, shapers, gear cutters, sheet metal working machines welding etc etc.

The sheet metal area includes CNS flamecut, a huge set of bending rolls (roll diameter about 300 mm), guillotines and so on.

I couldn’t take photos and movies of every area, but here is another one:-


My Retirement Dream Come True At Last?

The above videos may only be understood by engineers but that’s not the point here.

I have explained before that my retirement dream is to build a large scale steam traction engine in Thailand and driven it down to the local ‘restaurant’.

In order to build such a big machine you need big machine tools. I don’t have them and can’t afford to buy them at present since my contract with LU was terminated.

But here are the big machine tools I need. they’re all here just 15 minutes drive from our house!

How Do I Get Access To These Dream Machines?

I have been thinking about this. At first I was wondering if I became friendly with Mr Bouy he might let me use them myself, perhaps on a hire basis. X Baht per day for example.

But thinking about the workers there that might not go down so well. Foreigners are not allowed to work in Thailand (without a permit) and the workers may perceive me as taking work away from them.

The alternatives are:-

  • Pay the company to do the machining for me.

Not all parts of the traction engine are huge. Most parts I can make on my existing equipment, it’s just  a few big parts that need the huge machines. Thai labour is cheap so it wouldn’t cost me much to get the big parts machined for me.

  • Buy the machines I need from the company.

Most of those older machines are never used. If there is a half decent lathe and a milling machine I could make an offer to Mr Bouy and take the machines back home.

When I designed and built the house I included a spare area on the ground floor some 3 m X 9 m for future expansion, which is the place where we park the pickup now. The big machines could go in there. Even Kanyah agrees to this!

So in whatever form the solution transpires I can now start thinking in terms of planning to build this dream steam engine at last.

What a marvelous outcome from a shopping trip!




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