Sunday, March 18, 2012


A while ago I posted one or two blog entries on building a glass factory.  I eventually abandoned this project as the prototype was just too large to properly compress for HO scale.  I hadn't thought of glass until I came upon a HAER drawing/photo set for a glass factory while looking for information on gas producers.  The facility depicted was small enough to model, but at the same time very interesting due to it's complexity.  It even has an elevated narrow gauge railroad .  In fact, a lot of the elements of this facility mirror processes or materials handling systems found in steel mills.

The first step is to build the batch plant, basically the materials unloading, storage, and mixing facility.  The batch plant consists of a number of storage silos and some smaller loading bins.  Starting with the silos - the body was concrete and about 26' in diameter.  I was able to replicate this with 3" schedule 40 PVC pipe.  In the past I've had a few issues, primarily due to the weight of your traditional PVC piping.  For this model I am using a product called Corex - it is PVC on the outside and inside skins of the pipe, but cellular PVC on the inside core.  This makes for a lighter, and probably more dimensionally stable pipe.  This isn't something you will likely find at a Home Depot, but a good plumbing supply house should carry it.

PVC Pipes Cut to Size - Smaller diameter pipes are thin-walled central vacuum pipes available at an electrical supply house
Step two is to create the roofs for the storage silos.  The prototype roofs have a 30 degree pitch and 18 segments.  They appear to be wood or metal framed with flat sections and covered with a tar coating.   To make these, for both the larger and the small silos I made up masters out of scrap lumber with the intention of vacuum forming multiple pieces.

20 degree segments with a 30 degree pitch
Segments glued up

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