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Steel Mill Photo Gallery

Steel Mill Photo Gallery

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The main focus of this layout is on the those processes in which the metal is glowing hot, whether liquid or solid; hence you will not find any rolling mills here (those would never fit within the 80-square-foot area of my layout!). I did, however, include a token 'shipping facility' to accommodate the cushioned coil cars on my roster.

[ Click on any thumbnail image to see it rendered full-size. ]

Coke Ovens

Coke, one of the three primary ingredients used in making pig iron, is sometimes produced at the steel company's facilities. One of my favorite mills, the steel mill at the Ford Motor Company's Dearborn [MI] plant, was equipped with its own battery of coke ovens. I chose to fashion my model steel mill this way, placing the Walther's WorksTM Coke Oven complex near the blast furnace.

An 'arial' view of the coke ovens.

Close-up front and rear views of the coke pusher. Scratchbuilt, based on illustrations of a model built by Dean Freytag.

Blast Furnace

At present I only have enough real estate for a single blast furnace. Luckily, a recent visit to U.S. Steel's Fairfield Works (Birmingham, AL) assured me that there ARE steel mills with only one blast furnace. Like the coke ovens, this structure is from a kit manufactured by Walther's as part of The WorksTM series.

Ground-level view of blast furnace showing cast house, submarine cars, and slag pots.

Slag Pit

I never paid much attention to what becomes of slag once it is carried away from the blast furnace. However, Dean Freytag's book The History, Making, and Modeling of Steel (Walthers, 1995) opened my eyes to the exciting possibilities offered by this phase of the steelmaking process.

A digitally-doctored photograph of Walthers slag cars.

Some of the heavy equipment used to reclaim solidified slag.

Basic Oxygen Furnace

Starting as a simple pair of Walther's WorksTM Electric Furnace buildings, the basic oxygen furnace (or 'BOF') has evolved into the dominant structure of my layout. The rectangular section was fashioned from 0.25" plexiglass (which, incidentally, bonds very nicely with Plastuct's Plastic WeldTM).

A full 'arial' view of the entire BOF complex.

Distant (left) and close-up interior views of the BOF receiving a hot iron charge.

A set of SW-7s pulls a string of submarine cars from the BOF.

Ingot Teeming

I had to practice a bit of 'artistic license' for the teeming operation. Prototype BOF configurations usually have the ingots being poured in the same building as the furnace itself. For me this would be impossible, given the scant availability of layout real estate, so I chose to have a separate ancillary building dedicated exclusively to pouring ingots. I made use of a Walther's WorksTM Rolling Mill building for this purpose. Drilling a hole in the bottom of a Walther's teeming ladle (from their Electric Furnace kit), I positioned a grain-o-rice light bulb there and connected a 5K-ohm rheostat. This allowed me to vary the brightness and therefore simulate the pouring of liquid metal into ingot molds. (Kids love this one!)
The first of a series of ingot molds is filled with hot metal.

Ingot Stripping

The solidified steel ingots are stripped of their molds.

Finished Coil Shipment Preparation

A Walthers WorksTM Rolling Mill being used as a shipping facility for newly-rolled coils.

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