chemical reactors

I'm reading the book Tabletop Machining, by Joe Martin, and am enjoying it. One thing I find interesting in the book is the collection of photographs
of miniature models of machines and manufacturing plants. In some cases, I suppose that the miniatures are made from an original of the machine and then scaled down. I'm interested the case in which the originals are not available and one only has plans or shop drawings of the original to work from. I don't know where plans like that are available.
I don't know if it is a good choice or whether it is really possible to do, but the example that I might be interested in trying at the moment is a miniature (non-functional!) chemical reactor vessel or an entire chemical plant. Even if it turns out to be way too difficult, which would not be surprising, it would be nice to think about it while I read the book. What I don't know is where one finds detailed drawings of such reactors or plants. Maybe I'm reading the wrong books, but books on chemical engineering and reactor design don't tend to include construction plans. So, where does one get them?
I must say, I'm also a little puzzled by Joe Martin's occasional mention of using the table top machines on one's own kitchen table. How does one keep metal, dust and oil from winding up in the food?
Ignorantly, Allan Adler snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
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Hi Allan,
You might take a look at the local hobby store book rack. Model railroaders model line side industries quite a bit. While the level of detail varies from close enough to create the impression of detail to super detailed, the basic approach is fairly constant.
Quite often a series of photographs are used to create working drawings, and kept posted over the bench to compare with the evolving model. If the facility is not close enough to photograph, corporate web sites and annual reports often have photos that provide some detail.
As for machining in the kitchen, can't say I've ever had to do this. I did a lot of model building at kitchen tables growing up though, a layer of newspaper under the work and a damp paper towel clean up works pretty well. If you have to use a temporary workspace, perhaps mounting the small lathe in a box with a fold up front/top would do a good job limiting the spread of swarf. A small shop vac with the nozzle close to the work will help with dust control when sanding or polishing. I rig this up fairly often in a garage shop when doing dusty stuff, catching dust at the point of origin is easier than cleaning the entire shop when the day is done.
Cheers, Stan
Allan Adler wrote:

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I second this. In fact, Walthers offers a refinery in HO scale, and some accessory items for it.
Stan Stocker wrote:

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Don Stauffer in Minnesota
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pixelated:

Heavens! You don't EAT in the kitchen, do you? What's the matter with the couch and a TV tray in front of the wide- screen, 500-channel, Hi-def Disgronifier?
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There are lots of different reactor types in use so you'll probably want to decide on what sort of plant you want to model. Oil refineries or wastewater treatment plants would be interesting projects if you want to get really ambitious. I'm not sure where you'd find plans, but the Thomas Register has a (free) library of 3-D components. Try here and look around:
http://www.cadregister.com /
You can download models in various bitmap or CAD formats and it looks like the plant specs section has some stuff that might be useful to you, at least for conceptual purposes.
There are also folks that specialize in creating miniature models of plants and there are vendors that supply all sorts of interesting building blocks or components for that purpose. A casual acquaintance does this for a living and has created some really impressive models, all without the use of machine tools, so far as I know. The components are generally plastic, I think, and probably customized with pretty basic hand tools.
Also, if you like the miniature machine shops, take a look at:
http://www.pmresearchinc.com /
They sell casting kits for various miniature machine tools.

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I think you'll find it difficult to get plans for chemical reactors and other industrial plant designs as they are usually built to order and each design tends to be customised for each plant and it's specific requirements. Have you tried a google.com search?
With that said you may have more luck trying books on process control engineering and maybe food plant or mining plant design.
Cheers, Ian
says...

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Hi Allan
You can find a lot of pictures in Chemical Engineering magazines, particularly their annual supplier indexes. Every manufacturer wants you to get a good look at their machines. A good place to start is Chemical and Engineering News, the weekly news mag from the American Chemical Society. Any university with Chemical Engineering program has an abundance of magazines. Also CE profs are usually happy to talk for a few minutes to visitors (gives them a break from lectures and research) and they can point you towards good resources once you have a vague idea what you want. Just think of research as part of the fun.
One compatibility suggestion. Once you decide on general size pick a standard scale (doll houses are 1" = 1', railroad scales are well defined (HO and TT being particularly rich in available stuff), a lot of big things like aircraft are modeled 1/72). Then you can buy off the shelf bits like fence and fork lifts so you can concentrate on the interesting stuff like pipe flanges and cracking towers.
Have fun
Jim
PS No, my wife would never let me machine in the kitchen. I get in enough trouble just tracking swarf into the laundry room.
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Michael Henry writes:

I went there with Netscape and couldn't get anything. I'm running Linux on a laptop. First it complained because my browser is set not to accept cookies, so I changed that, but it made no difference: when I tried to look at the stuff on plants, I got a screen that was nearly blank except for two little text windows in the upper left, the first one blank and the second one containing the word "Called".
I don't know if it is a problem with Linux, with Netscape or what. Some websites don't work right with Netscape but work ok with Internet Explorer.
Ignorantly, Allan Adler snipped-for-privacy@zurich.ai.mit.edu
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