johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment.

Between the Classical Greeks and the Romans. The Hellenistic Kingdoms!

OK, now I realise that few of my metalworking, engine modelling, machinist friends will be interested, but just in case……a history book review….

THE RISE OF THE HELLENISTIC KINGDOMS 336-250BC

Philip Matyszak

Hardcover.  £20 RRP

It is satisfying to read a book which plugs a gap in the history timeline.  I chose this title because Philip Matyszak is a terrific author and I always enjoy his books, but once I had read the initial chapters I realized that I knew very little about the kingdoms which remained after the split of the empire of Alexander the Great.

The first third of the book summarises the career of Alexander and his wars of conquest.  Then the maneuvering and wars which determined how the empire was to be divided, and who the rulers would be.  Then a closer look at each kingdom.   The west (Greece, Macedonia), the Seleucid empire (Syria, Persia, parts of India and Afghanistan), and Ptolemaic Egypt.

Matyszak emphasizes that the Hellenistic kingdoms period was not just an interregnum between classical Greece and Rome, but a period with its own significance in warfare, the arts, philosophy, etc.  Three of the seven wonders of the ancient world originated in the Hellenistic kingdoms.

Unfortunately, there are many place names in the text which do not appear on the four simple maps.   Why can’t decent maps be considered an essential component of history books?

(If any of my metal working, modelling, machinist friends would like to borrow this book, just ask.)

 

 

 

 

Bucket List. A Book Review leading to..

P1043164.JPG

GLASGOW MUSEUMS THE SHIP MODELS

A HISTORY AND COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE

Emily Malcolm and Michael R Harrison

Large format, hardcover.  £35 RRP

 

Doesn’t sound particularly interesting?  That was my thought when I read that this book is a catalogue.  After all, who reads a catalogue?

 

However, the artwork on the covers is attractive and interesting, and I do have an interest in ships, models, modelling and history, so I opened a few pages at random.   And was transfixed!  This book is glorious!   Back to page one, read a few pages, then worked through every one of the 373 pages.

 

The photographs of the models are beautiful and expert.  Most are laterals, but some are of smaller details.  There are many historical photographs, pictures of modelers in action, previous exhibitions.  To describe the pictures as “lavish” would be an understatement.

 

Glasgow and the River Clyde was (and is?) famous for ship building.  Most of the 676 models in the Glasgow Museum’s collection are of ships built or owned in this region, over the past 150 years.  So this book includes models from the age of clippers and steam dredges, through the age of steam and dreadnoughts, to Queens Mary and Elizabeth, and later.  A wonderful historical tour.

 

Chapter 1.  Models in Shipbuilding (the whys and wherefores of making model ships)

Chapter 2. Professional Model Making (there were companies which made models for ship builders and owners for industrial and marketing reasons)

Chapter 3.  Amateur Models.  (including models made by French prisoners of the Napoleonic wars)

Chapter 4.  Ship Models and Exhibitions

Chapter 5. Building the Collection

The Catalogue  (220 pages)

 

Glasgow is now on my bucket list.

A few random pages to tempt you.

P1043158.JPG

P1043162.JPG

Yes, I do find dredgers interesting.  Note who bought this one.

P1043160.JPG

A Modification to the Acute Tool Sharpening System

I have several tool sharpening machines, including an industrial Macson 3 phase machine, a Harold Hall grinder rest, and a Quorn Tool and Cutter Grinder.

But, the one that I use most often is this Eccentric Engineering “Acute Sharpening System”. It was made from a kit and plans supplied by Eccentric Engineering.

P1043139.JPG

Photo 1: The Acute Tool Sharpening System (Photo courtesy of Eccentric Engineering)

The system consists of a table which is adjustable for tilt and height, a work arm consisting of parallel links and a work head, a straight arm which is adjustable for position and angle and which the work head will slide along, and various fittings for holding lathe tools, ER collets, and others.

P1043149.JPG

Photo 2: My ATSS. The ATSS with cubic boron nitride wheel on the LHS, and the elegant but less frequently used Harold Hall grinder rest with diamond cup wheel on the RHS.

I purchased the kit of laser cut and spotted parts and the excellent 32 page bound plans from Eccentric Engineering. The parts in the kit require final machining, including drilling, reaming, tapping, turning and milling. It would be quite possible to use bar stock for the parts, having purchased the plans, but the kit is good value ($AUD 250 + GST) and it made the job quick and straightforward. A completely machined, assembled system is also available.  Details at https://eccentricengineering.com.au.

P1043141.JPG

Photo 3 These are the fittings which I made from the kit, and some extra parts which I bought later.

From the left: hex keys for quick adjustments, angle and gauge templates – most bought from Eccentric, but some made by me, tool holder centre, and collets on the right. Some of the collets are blank to be machined as required. Top right is an ER collet chuck.

P1043143.JPG

Photo 4 This collet holds a 6mm lathe tool.

This post was not really intended as free publicity for Eccentric, although I am very happy to give it a good rap. It is actually to show a modification which I made to the ATSS table. Shown in the next photos…

P1043147.JPG
My colleague Stuart Tankard recently acquired a CNC laser engraver which will engrave steel and brass and cut thin metal. I thought that it would be useful to have some accurate lines on the table in a grid, and others at angles to assist with setups. The grids are at 10mm intervals, and the angles are 30/45/60 degrees. In the above photo the straight slide is easily set parallel with the wheel face.

Of course, the cubic boron nitride wheel must first be accurately set to the table, and the grid assists with that….

P1043140.JPG

Photo 5 Straight edge lined up with the wheel edges and grid.

 

P1043145.JPG

Photo 6 And here the tool holder base is set at 60º to the wheel.

The angle gauges supplied by Eccentric will serve the same function.  Time will tell if the table marks are useful.

Also I am thinking that the work table on the RadiusMaster could use similar guide lines!

RadiusMaster

I have been watching Ebay for a year or more for one of these belt sanders, but they just never seem to appear second hand.

Then I wondered about making a 72×2″ belt sander.  I even bought a set of plans.   There are many versions of these sanders on YouTube, of varying complexity and sophistication.  The plans by Jeremy Schmidt looked very promising, well explained in his YouTube video, and the plans are thorough.  But the sander appeared to me to be fairly large and very heavy, and it was not going to be a cheap build.  I estimated about $AUD1000 by the time I bought a motor with speed control, and other materials.

Then, a stroke of good fortune.  SWMBO really wanted me to do a rather unpleasant job for her, and I was not enthusiastic.  She is renovating a small house.  The previous tenant had a cat which was either incontinent, lazy, or constantly locked inside the house.  Or maybe it was the tenant.  Anyway, the carpets stank to high heaven.  So bad, that SWMBO felt that she could not ask anyone else to remove the floor coverings and take them to the tip.   But she was prepared to ask me.  She knew that I really wanted to buy a RadiusMaster, and said that if I did the job, she would not object to the rather self indulgent purchase of the sander.  I had not really decided what to do about the sander….   buy or build…. but it would leave me free to make the choice.  So I did the job for her.  After the initial assault on the olfactory senses, it was not too bad.  Took a couple of hours.  And very thorough washing afterwards.

I still had not made a final decision about the RadiusMaster, so a few days later I drove to the dealer, and had another close look.  Meanwhile I had been reading reviews.  And I bought one.  The obvious quality, compact size, plentiful power, rave reviews, and ready re-saleability were all persuasive.

P1043117.JPG

It came with a stand, not yet attached to the floor because I have not finalised the position.

It is made in Australia, and I was looking forward to understanding the instruction manual for a change

Assembly was straight forward, took about an hour.  The instructions recommended a 2 man lift, but I managed OK solo.

P1043103

Enough power for my uses.  240V 8.19A.  No speed control, but that might be added in future.

Overall this is a quality machine, but one aspect was not up to standard.

P1043098.JPG

The vertical grinding table was noticeably not square to the platen.  In fact it was 2 degrees out.

I considered rejecting it and insisting on another table, but that would have involved another 2 hours each way to the dealer, so I fixed it myself.  The angle bracket was quite solid 6mm thick steel, welded to the table.  Some persuasion with a heavy hammer in the 6″ vise did the trick.

P1043116.JPG

The grinding table is now within 0.25 degrees of the platen.

This table will be temporary anyway.  I am intending to make a larger table, with fence slots, and and indexable protractors.

The RadiusMaster takes 48×2″ belts which are widely available and inexpensive.

The machine has 7 separate stations, which are selected within seconds.  I expect that the vertical one pictured above will be most used.  Others are…….

P1043102.JPG

The 8″ 200mm rubber wheel, for hollow grinding (used in knife making)

P1043106.JPG

The unsupported section of belt, and the notching wheels.  The guards swing easily out of the way.

P1043107

Horizontal positioning for pipe notching.  3 wheels are provided, and quickly selected, and other sizes are available. The horizontal position can also be used with an optional horizontal platen, which I have ordered.  Vertical-horizontal positioning takes a few seconds.

P1043108.JPG

Underneath view of the horizontal pipe notching rest.  If it looks confusing, it is.  This was one aspect where the instructions were vague and unclear.

P1043112.JPG

That large, heavy,  gold casting is the heart of the machine.  A lot of thought has gone into the design.

When I have had some experience with using the grinder sander I will write a review.  No buyer regret for a change.

 

 

 

Lathe Toolpost Milling attachment (CNC)

 

Although my recent posts indicate that I have spent  a fair amount of time recently on Google Earth Pro, I have also been busy in the workshop.  Mainly finishing the toolpost milling attachment for the Boxford CNC lathe, but also fiddling with the laser attachment for the CNC mill.  Neither of those projects is completely finished, but I thought that you might be interested in some progress photos.

IMG_8279

This is what the Boxford TCL125 CNC lathe now looks like from the front.  It is substantially modified from the original which I purchased 5 years ago.  To mention a few changes…..

the axis stepper motors are bigger and more powerful than the originals

the ball screws are now 10mm diameter, compared with the original 8mm

there are some adjustable axis limit switches

the 3 jaw chuck is replaced by an ER32 collet chuck

there is a removable toolpost milling attachment with ER 16 Collet chuck, with a speed controller, cables, and panic switch.

there is a removable safety screen (not seen in the photo)

And hidden in the electronics compartment….

IMG_8278.JPG

There is a 750 watt AC Servo spindle motor and controller (RHS, under the coiled cable)

The electronics have been replaced with a Mach3 compatible breakout board and associated peripherals.  Anyone with an original 1985 machine will hardly recognise these components.

And the software is now Mach3, running off an old Windows XP computer.  And using “Ezilathe” for most of the G coding, especially threading, and interpreting shapes which have been drawn as CAD dxf’s.

The new toolpost spindle works, but the software  needs a bit more fiddling to tie it into the CNC controls of the lathe.

The Boxford has provided an excellent base on which to make these changes, and I look forward to producing some videos soon of the renewed machine in action.

 

Tycho

Crater that is, on the moon.   One of the few areas shown by Google Earth Pro in high definition.  But I wonder if those nice sharp views will continue when these pictures become better known.

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 10.32.42 pm.png

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 9.27.08 pm.png

This is the northern half of Tycho crater.  Tycho is approximately 80km diameter, over 3000m deep, with a prominent central mountain peak.   This picture is taken from 80km above the surface of the moon.

As we zoom into the northern rim of the crater…..

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 9.27.25 pm.png

Hmm.  Those rocks look interesting…. some right angle shapes….

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 9.33.50 pm.png

You would swear that those are buildings…    And look at the shadows that the biggest white shapes are casting.   Hang on, shadows.   Those big white shapes are not only rectilinear and big, they are up above the ground surface.  The yellow line is 1000m long, for comparison.

At this magnification some pixellation is appearing, so there is no point going closer.

Take another look at the biggest white shape.  Does it remind you of anything?  V?  Antarctica?  The following picture is from my post in December 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 5.07.38 pm

The Moon co-ordinates are there.  Take a look for yourself, using Google Earth- Moon.  While it is still available.

Surveyor 7 landed 40km from here, in 1967, ostensibly to check potential landing sites for later manned moon missions.  I bet that NASA has some nice clear pictures of the area.  I do hope that I am still around when the truth finally comes out.

 

Antarctic Sphinx

When scanning Antarctica with Google Earth Pro today, which I do from time to time, I came across this flattish circular shape on top of a mountain…

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 1.10.14 pm.png

Zooming in….

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 10.11.08 am.png

The Disk pin locates a tiny dot of interest…. 6 Nov 2012.  Moving the Timeline date does not change the image.

It is 10km diameter, and fairly flat and smooth.  The above photo was taken from 10.5km altitude.

You will note my marker labelled “Disk”.  It marks a black dot, which I zoomed into….

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 10.48.21 am.png

Well, that looked a bit odd…  quite circular, intense white and black areas.  31 meters diameter.   The co-ordinates are on the screen if you want to check this yourself.  Note the shadow to the west.  It indicates that the central round lump with the “face” is actually a substantial pillar, with straight sides.  There is nothing anything like it that I have seen, anywhere else in Antarctica.

So what is it?  Zooming in closer (in 2012) does not improve the clarity.  ?an odd heat vent causing local melting?

A bit of further checking reveals that the area is an 11352′ (3460m) volcano, which protrudes 2100m above the surrounding ice sheet.  Mount Takahe.  76.28S,  112.08W, in West Antarctica.  It is a large  “shield volcano” which last erupted in 5550BCE.  It erupted massively 17,700 years ago, and is thought to have accelerated the end of the last ice age.  The smooth flat area in photos 1 and 2  is the caldera of the volcano.

That is very interesting, but does not answer the question… what is the strange “sphinx” like protrusion in the 3rd  photo.

The above images were made in 2012.  I cannot find any other zoomable satellite images of this area, despite other areas of Antarctica being photographed at least annually, and in some areas, several times per year.

Also, satellite images of  most of the world’s volcanoes are available at http://www.volcanodiscovery.com , but Mt Takahe’s images are blacked out!

Please excuse my paranoia.   And the clickbait heading.

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 11.45.06 am.png

The flat top is the ice filled caldera.

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 11.57.54 am.png

Almost worth travelling to inland Antarctica, and climbing an 11,000′ volcano to find out.  Almost.

Oh, and by the way, there is a pyramid, or a mountain which looks distinctly pyramidal, in Antarctica…  Look it up.

PS.  2 days later.  Doing some more checking on Mt Tahake, I came across this YouTube video.  I was not the first to think that there is some strange stuff there.

 

11:00 11-11 Remembrance Day

On the Remembrance Day theme, this one was sent by reader Jennifer Edwards, UK.  It is from WW2.

Hi John,

As long as we are thinking of Remembrance Day, this is a photo taken by one of those front line battle photographers of my father who was a medic being awarded the silver star.

His company being led by a green lieutenant (90 day wonder) into an ambush was caught in a murderous crossfire of machine guns and mortar.

The lieutenant was screaming for a medic from a crater up in front. My father felt compelled to run under this indiscriminate fire to help him because he sounded so desperate.

When dad made it to him he saw that all he had was a broken ankle. Angry that he just risked his life for a non-life threatening injury grabbed the Lt. and broke his nose!

A bird colonel watching from the safety of a nearby hill saw my dad’s act of bravery and said “give that man a medal”. The lieutenant pressed charges for striking an officer.

So dad was busted to buck sergeant and awarded the silver star on the same day!

IMG_5259.jpeg

IMG_5260.jpeg

IMG_5261.jpeg

Thanks Jennifer!  What a great family story!

101 years ago, today.

At 11am, on November 11, 1918, World War 1 ended.  Or as many historians claim,  phase 1 of WW1 ended.  Phase 2 became known as WW2.

The following text and photos are about one of the allies main artillery weapons, and the modelling of it by reader Robert Irving, of NSW.

 

The 1916 Vickers 8” Howitzer.

The United Kingdom entered WWI with its traditional lack of preparedness. Defence funds had been lavished on the Royal Navy to maintain the ‘Two Fleet’ policy, whereby Britain could deter attack by having a fleet more effective than the combined force of the world’s next two largest navies. The Kaiser wanted a fleet to rival his cousin Edward’s and later cousin Georges. The ensuing arms race drained the tax revenue leaving little in the budget for the army. The army was still equipping itself for mobile warfare after the needs of the Boar War and had a good supply of very mobile light field artillery, very few machine guns and an inadequate inventory of mobile heavy guns.

The failure of the Schlieffen plan to take Paris and the channel ports, against stubborn resistance, resulted in the continuous trenches from the channel to Switzerland. German policy was to build a strong defensible line and hold their gains. To this end they employed their normal thorough approach and by 1916 had fortified their numerous layers of trenches with deep concrete dugouts to give protection and a modicum of comfort to their frontline forces. They had also retreated to gain the tactical advantage of high ground where applicable. France and Britain, understandably had an offensive policy and didn’t build strong or comfortable trenches. Break through, then attack with cavalry thinking dominated strategy and tactics . Germany began attacking the Verdun Forts in late February 1916. General Falkenhayns stated objective being to “Bleed France Dry”and this they were close to achieving. The British were rushed into the long planned attack between Serre and Montauban, nine miles of front, to relieve pressure on the French. The French were to attack on the British right flank, though this was scaled down due to the huge losses at Verdun. The British attack  plus the diversionary attack at Gommecourt were together, known as the Big Push. This being the first major attack by Field Marshal Kitchener’s Volunteer Army, morale was at peak, despite the average three months the new battalions had spent rotating through front line duty; the sector was a quiet one.

In August 1915 the Vickers 8” Howitzer was approved however an order for 50 was not placed until March 1916 and delivery began in July 1916. The Howitzer fired a 91kg, 8” diameter shell a maximum distance of 11,000 yards, it’s trajectory was high and therefore it gave plunging fire, ideal, with appropriate fusing, to penetrate deep dugouts. There were a few makeshift large calibre pieces in operation in June 1916 but these were thinly spread along the nine mile front, they were mainly stopgap weapons made by modifying old naval guns. The Royal Field Artillery staple weapon was the quick firing 18 pounder, firing a projectile weighing 8kg with a range of 6500 yards.

1B Mod 1918

1918  Vickers 8″ Howitzer.

 

IMG_0714

Australian 8″ Howitzer battery

The attack was scheduled for the morning of July 1st  and preliminary bombardment began one week earlier. Huge stocks of shrapnel and high explosive shell for the 18 pounders were in place, far fewer heavy shells were available. The plan was that the new spigot mortar, firing a basketball sized high explosive projectile, together with the 18 pounders would break up the fields of barbed wire and kill sufficient front line defenders to make the 100yard to one mile crossing of no-mans-land, without cover, survivable. Results on the wire were patchy and on the dugouts feeble at best. Only British forces adjacent to the French sector, with a high density of artillery, had a real chance success, near the villages of Fricourt and Montauban

The Attack began at 7.20am on that clearing misty July morning, with the explosion of a large mine under the German front line at Hawthorn ridge near Beaumont Hamel, followed by a series of similar mines at 7.30am. Orders to the first waves of infantrymen were to advance at walking pace with rifles at high port and occupy the German frontline. Later waves were to attack the second and third lines to facilitate a cavalry breakthrough. These orders ignored reports all week, from trench raiders, saying that the dugouts and occupants were intact and only the odd lookouts were killed by the bombardment. Also that the majority of the wire was undamaged.

In the first two hours of the attack, most of the 19,000 attackers who died on the first day were dead, or lying mortally wounded, without reaching the German lines. Likewise a further 40,000 casualties had occurred and the trenches were blocked by walking wounded and dead men. The storm of machine gunfire and precisely zeroed German shell fire, cut down attacking companies and battalions in rows that represented the waves leaving the trenches. The Battle of the Somme, as it was later known was doomed on the first day, the squadrons of lancers and hussars remained behind the British trenches unable to take part in the planned big break through. 1st July 1916 had the highest number of casualties for any attack by British forces.  By comparison on the first day of the landings in Normandy in 1944, there were 4,500 total allied forces killed.

The failure of this attack is attributed by most historians to the lack of sufficient heavy artillery in the preliminary bombardment like the Vickers 8 inch howitzer,. Had the 50 guns been ordered three months earlier, who knows what lives would have been saved on both sides by shortening the war.

1i Near complete Test Assembly
The almost complete model.   OAL 450mm

THE MODEL

The model was built to a firm budget for an individual in the U.K. The agreement was to build a fair representation of the Vickers 1916 8” Howitzer with no more than 250 rivets. The final number of rivets was over 500. Construction took just under 900 hours and only the nuts, bolts, two hand wheels and main gears were purchased. The model was not capable of firing having a rifled liner in the barrel (like the original) that did not extend to the breech. The breech was a four segment rotating thread type operated by moving a lever through an arc of 45 degrees. The upper chassis had elevation and traverse mechanisms and the barrel had a spring loaded recoil ability. Rifling the barrel liner was a problem. Testing the single cutter broach showed location and spacing problems. Multi cutter broaching exceeded the pushing power available, even on aluminium. These techniques work well on large production machinery cutting four or five groove barrels. This barrel needed thirty plus grooves. Having seen a toolmaker friends EDM set up I had the idea of making a copper male button to be passed spirally down a steel liner cutting electrically in the electrolyte. It worked splendidly first go and took about 20minutes. (editor’s note… “wow”)

The wheels were approximately 7” in diameter, classic traction engine types, with the rims machined from thick walled steel pipe and the spokes laser cut. The chassis, upper and lower, were cut from solid plate rather than fabricated, this was due to budget constraints.  The scale of the model was 11:1 and resulted in dimensions of : bore 19mm, overall length 450mm.

There were no engineering drawings used for the build only the line drawing shown and lots of web photographs, all of these were of later marks of the 8 inch and some were complicated by being shown in reverse from glass plates. The gun was still in service in 1939 though by then it had pneumatic tyres and lots of refinements.

Robert Irving 2019.

1a Best Drwg

The drawing which was used to make the model..

1 Boring The Barrel

Boring the barrel

1 Front

Note the rifling.

1 Gearbox

Wide track

1c Breech.JPG

1f Hub Drill Jig.JPG

Wheel hub drilling jig

1g Laser cut Spokes

The spokes were laser cut

1h Rim Bolts 10BA.JPG

 

 

3 Muzzle Taper.JPG

Turning the barrel

7 In recoil

In recoil

8inch Breech

Breech

Early Assembly

Early assembly

1j Later Assembly

IMG_0920

Completed model

IMG_3932

Hand for scale

Rims 2

The rims

 

So, again, thanks to Robert for the photos and historical context of this superb model.

 

Zhiyun Crane M2 improvement.

This post will be of no interest unless you have one of these camera gimbals.  I found, like other reviewers of the gimbal, that the 1/4″w thumbscrew which secures the gimbal to the camera is not trapped.  I have lost it once already when I wished to use it.

There are two possible slots where the thumbscrew can be positioned, depending on the size of the camera, and I suppose that is the reason the thumbscrew was not trapped by the manufacturer.

The fix was not difficult for a machinist with a lathe and a 1/4″w tap.

I made a 1mm thick brass disk, 10mm diameter, and tapped a 1/4″w hole.  Then milled a 1mm deep circular matching recess in the joining plate after carefully determining the correct position. Put the disk onto the thumbscrew thread after checking the position, then glued the disk to the thumbscrew.

p1043074.jpg

Thumbscrew now trapped in position on the gimbal-camera joining plate.  The brass round nut is glued to the thumbscrew and sitting in a carefully positioned, machined recess in the joining plate.

Of course, the positioning is for one camera only.  But because the position is fixed, it makes joining the gimbal and the camera faster.  If the gimbal was to be used for more than one camera, a slot should be machined rather than a circular recess.  When I want to change cameras one day, I can easily melt the Super Glue, and machine an extra round recess or a slot in the plate.

 

CNC Lathe Toolpost Mill

Just a quickie to show you a progress photo of my current project.

It is a very small milling motor with a small ER collet, mounted onto the toolpost of my Boxford CNC lathe, which will convert the lathe from 2 to 3 axes.

IMG_8265.JPG

At this early stage the toolpost holder and cylindrical motor have been mounted to the water jet cut bracket on the right side.  Pulleys and drive belt yet to be fitted and I will trim the shaft at the left hand end of the motor.  Then the motor wires are connected to a speed and direction and on-off controller.

The usefulness of this tool is apparent in the following video of a completed unit in use.  The main spindle motor of the lathe is now a 750w AC servo motor, which can be controlled from Mach 3, to go to programmed positions and hold the position while a milling procedure takes place.  Of course the milling procedure will be with small cutters or drills, perhaps up to 3-4mm diameter.

The idea, plans, and some of the parts are courtesy of Stuart Tankard, my very clever friend, whose completed machine is the subject of the following video.

Stuart’s video is republished here with permission.  The original, with comments, is visible on YouTube.  If you have technical questions about the setup, I suggest that you contact Stuart via his YouTube post.

CONFESSION

When I was making the triple expansion steam engine I turned the crankshaft from a piece of 50mm diameter stainless steel rod.   One centre for the main bearings, and 3 other eccentric centres for the big ends.  I spent a long time marking out the centres, then turned the bearings, gluing in a packing piece after turning each one, so that pressure on the ends of the crankshaft would not distort it.

After a whole day on the job, I was pretty pleased with the progress, and I lined up the almost finished crankshaft with the bearings on the bed, to see how it would look.

#%&*##

I had made a 3mm mistake with the position of one of the big ends.  It was a fatal mistake.

So I made another crankshaft the next day, and that one worked out fine, and is on the triple to this day.

The ruined crankshaft sits prominently on a shelf in my workshop, as a reminder.

Today I am making another confession, of another stupid mistake.

This was a beautifully smooth, accurate, keyless Rohm chuck which I used often in my mill, mounted on a quick release quality JT6 Japanese fitting.  I used it successfully on drills down to 1mm size for several years.

P1043067.JPG

But lately it seemed to have a bit of runout.  Inspection appeared to show that the JT6 taper part of the chuck had dislodged a bit.  Not the taper itself, but the sleeve that the taper was machined into.

So, I put it in the press to snug it back home.

No movement, so I pushed a bit harder.  (stupid stupid stupid!)

BANG!

I don’t know what let go, but I think that I cracked the tapered sleeve.  The chuck was seized solid.  Would not move despite heavy persuasion.  I had really buggered it.

O well, you live and learn.  I figured that I would remove the chuck, buy a new one, and install it on the expensive Japanese JT6 spindle.

P1043071.JPG

So I applied a gear remover, one of those double C shaped ones, with the hardened steel jaws, and tightened the bolts.  But it would not move.  Tightened the bolts further, and further, until I was not game to apply more pressure for fear of breaking the gear remover or the Sidchrome spanner.   Considered applying heat with oxyacetylene, but I really did not want to wreck the Japanese fitting as well, so I put the question to a colleague at the model engineering club today.  As a result of that conversation, this is what I did…..with an angle grinder.

P1043070.JPG

As you can see.

I considered putting it on the shelf next to the crankshaft, but you know what…. I don’t think that I can bear to look at it, so it is going out with the rubbish to be forgotten as quickly as possible.  (ps.  now sitting next to the crankshaft)

The JT6 spindle seems to survived unscathed.

P1043068.JPG

The other side of the chuck and the spindle, after separation.

In retrospect, I wonder if I should have tried some heat, but the chuck was busted, so it would not have made much difference.

End of confession.  But I dont feel any better.

Model Krupp Gun from Emden

These photos and description were sent in by reader Robert, from NSW, Australia

DSC_0872

Robert’s model Emden gun

Emden Gun by Robert.
The cruiser HMAS Sydney forced surrender of the SMS light cruiser Emden in
November 1914, after a sea battle that reduced Emden to a non firing hulk;
a scene of carnage.
Sydney’s 6 inch guns outranged Emden’s 10.5cm Krupp’s. The surviving crew on
board Emden dutifully tossed overboard all the breech blocks, so the ten
captured guns brought to Australia are sans breech mechanism and none are
without significant shell damage. Two of the best preserved examples are
main deck guns, one in the Australian War Memorial and one at the Navy
Museum in Sydney Harbour. Both of these have gun shields, the third example
located at the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford St. Sydney, is a mid-deck gun
that fired from an armoured sponson and this was not fitted with a
gunshield.
The shore party sent to destroy the islands radio station escaped in a leaky
schooner and their story is real boys own stuff.
The sleek  lines and proportions of the Hyde Park example attracted me to
make a model of it. In research on the history of Emden and its crew
(captured survivors spent the war in Berrima, another interesting tale) I
came across the story of SMS Konigsberg, sister ship of Emden, scuttled in
the Rufiji river delta, East Africa, harassed by a British battle fleet.
These guns were salvaged by the crew and using huge numbers of native
conscripts, were dragged through the bush to the German railway workshops to
be fitted with carriages and wheels, others kept as fortress guns. The range
of these pieces dominated fighting in East Africa until the Brits. could
ship out long range artillery. One gun was fitted to the German steamer SS
von Goetzen based on Lake Tanganyika and was the inspiration for the great
(fictional) movie African Queen. The defeat of the Konigsberg used aircraft
for spotting fall of shot and was the inspiration for another forgettable
movie starring Roger Moore.
Model details are: Length 356mm, height 140mm. Materials: Stainless Steel
base, the rest mild steel or brass. Traverse gear cut, elevation gear
segments purchased . Scratch built from photographs about 600 hours. Breech
chambers but does not eject round, recoil spring based, traverse and
elevation work as original.

Emden Gun Sydney.jpg

Original Emden gun sans breech

Konigsberg Gun on Graf von Gotzen.jpg

Krupp gun on the SS Graf von Goetzen, Lake Tanganyika

 

Research.jpg

 

Close ups of the model

b.jpg

e.jpg

e1.jpg

Thanks to Robert for sending these great photographs and commentary.   I have seen photos of some other of Robert’s superb model engineering, and look forward to publishing them on this blog.

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 8.36.48 am.png

SMS Emden 1914

Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 8.37.20 am.png

HMAS Sydney

 

6″ Vertical Boiler, Triple Expansion Steam Engine and Southworth Pump, all working together. Fairly well.

2 videos of the triple and the vertical boiler and the Southworth boiler feed pump working together for the first time.  Not perfectly yet, but working.

 

A VIDEO GIMBAL

A gimbal is a device which keeps an object on a steady horizontal level, even as its support moves and tilts.   Such as a ship’s compass.

Hand held videos often show unwanted evidence of movements due to shaking, walking or distractions.

Expensive gimbals have been available to professionals for a long time.  Recently gimbals have become much less expensive, and available to people shooting videos on smart phones, mirrorless cameras, and DSLR’s.

The following video was shot on my iphone, without a gimbal, but about a gimbal, which I recently purchased.  The video is brief, and not intended to be anything but a glimpse.  To be honest, there is a bit of a learning curve with the gimbal, and I am just beginning.

I hope that it will help to improve my video shoots.

ZHIYUN CRANE M2

34 degrees. Is it summer already?

A beautiful spring morning became blustery, windy, hot yesterday.  But I hardly noticed.  I was in the workshop making these small steam pipe connectors.

Normally I would buy these fittings, because they are fiddly to make and not very expensive, but I have fitted new rings to the triple expansion engine, and I want to try it out on the vertical boiler.  (see the previous post)

P1033045.jpeg

one of the tails was not drilled deep enough.

P1033050.jpeg

I needed only 2 of these nipple-tail-nut assemblies, but having made a jig to fit the collet chuck it was just as easy to make some extras for future use.

P1033049.jpeg

The jig is required because having made one end of the nipple, it must be turned around to make the other end and there is not enough material to hold in the 3 jaw chuck.  So the jig holds the workpiece by the first made thread, and the piece is finished by holding it in the collet chuck.   The jig will be saved for future use.  It has external threads for  5/16″x32 and 3/8″x32, and internal threads for 1/4″x40 and 5/16″x32.

The tiny tails were drilled in 2 stages because there is an internal step, and the outer shape was CNC’d.

 

 

Thinking about future exhibitions….

Still recovering from The Royal Geelong Show, where my beam engine and the Trevithick      dredger engine ran for ~8 hours per day for 4 days, and required almost constant supervision. I was very pleased that they did so without a problem.

For future exhibitions I would like to also run the triple expansion steam engine using the vertical boiler, for which I recently made the Southworth boiler feed pump.  And there are occasions where I might run the triple and the beam engine together from the vertical boiler.  That arrangement will occupy a fair bit of bench space, and in this post I am considering options for the arrangement.

But first, I needed a steam outlet manifold to handle multiple engines, simultaneously, and hopefully to avoid a big tangle of pipes.  Here is the manifold.

IMG_8246.JPG

The manifold has 6 x ¼” outlets and one 3/8″  outlet.    

Option one lines up the boiler and engine like this….

IMG_8243IMG_8244

Option two is more compact, but ?less appealing.  Pics following..

IMG_8237IMG_8238

IMG_8239

The lump of wood under the engine is temporary,  just to give an idea of the heights.

OK, this post is just an excuse to show some pics.  I have decided to go with option one.  It is closer to the appearance if the boiler and engine were actually in a boat, and also will make it easier to add the beam engine to the right of the boiler if/when I run the two engines simultaneously.

And I doubt that I will be able to avoid a jumble of pipework.  The triple has 6 pipes attached, the boiler has more, then there is the beam engine.  And, I will need a water container from which to feed the boiler.  That will be located behind the boiler.  Still considering whether it should be a squarish box on a stand like the railway water towers, or a cylinder on a low stand.   Any thoughts?

 

 

 

Royal Geelong Show 2019

The “Show” was held over the last 4 days.  I will not bang on again about my republican leanings.  See posts from previous years if that persuasion is of any interest.  The weather was ordinary.  Quite a few showers and blustery wind.  But we were mostly warm in the Vintage Machinery shed where our Model Machinery cage is located.  Fairly good visitor numbers, but not much real interest in our model engine offerings.

I exhibited my beam engine and Trevithick dredger engines, both running on piped steam.  The vertical boiler and feed pump was on static display, of no interest to anyone.  My Stirling engine got the most attention from kids, who are attracted by the swirling spiral colours, and not much interest in the intriguing method of running.  I am convinced that models must be moving, colourful, and have some relation to what people and kids see on television if they are to have any traction with the public.

But, the model and full size engine exhibitors enjoyed the displays, and an occasional visitor engaged in conversation.  Here are some pics and videos of some of the shed displays.  There dog shows, bird breeding, monster trucks,  horse riding events, cattle and sheep judging, and side show rides but these were not recorded by me.   I did visit the Amateur Astronomy display, and will visit the workshop of one of the exhibitors soon.

50 yrs vintage machinery.JPG

Beam with lagging.JPG

I had applied wooden lagging to the beam engine cylinder

Package boiler and Trevor.JPG

Steam for the engines is provided from this Package Boiler at 25psi.   Enough to turn them over.  Capable of much higher pressures.

Package boiler diag

cage bench north

Cage Bench North includes the Trevithick dredger model, the beam engine and the Stirling engine.

Cage bench south

Cage Bench South.  Swen Pettig’s prize winning flame gulper, and 1″ Minnie under construction.

Stuart swen

Stuart and Swen ?discussing engine repairs.

P1033007.JPG

Model Engineering first prize!

triple.JPG

And the full size triple expansion engine.  The Vintage Machinery boiler is being upgraded, so there was insufficient steam to run the triple.

 

 

Boiler Feed Pump Pumping

Yesterday I reseated the pump valves, reassembled the pump, then tested it on steam.

Most of the following video has the boiler at only 25psi, but I did run it off camera at up to 75psi.

After making the video I redirected the exhaust steam from the pump into the firebox.  It actually seemed to improve the gas flame, maybe by acting as a blower.  Not so sure about this being permanent though, because the exhaust steam contains oil from the displacement oiler, and I dont want that oil to be deposited in the firetubes.

I will make a water tank to supply boiler water.  Maybe the exhaust steam could be passed through a heat exchanger in the tank, so the boiler feed water is preheated.

(if the video is not showing, click on the https link below)

 

First Steam for Boiler Feed Pump

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: