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.

Geelong Vintage Machinery and Classic Truck Show – day 2

The oiler on my traction engine failed today, so I did not run the teaction engine, and I had some time to look around the other displays.  The oiler failed due to some grit in the non return valve, easily fixed when I got it back to the workshop.

As always at this annual show, the trucks and classic cars are fabulous.

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Ford truck, with Caterpillar Traxcavator as load.

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Mercedes truck with a startling colour scheme.

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Must have been more than  50 magnificent trucks in the lineup.

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This is an original engine from a WW2 Liberator bomber.  It was run for a few minutes twice daily.  Must have been heard by the entire city.  Absolutely awesome sound.  I cannot imagine what 4 engines on a plane would sound like.   1300HP!   An entire Liberator airplane is currently being restored nearby.

 

All weekend, tractors were competing in a tractor pull test.  The load gradually increases, with the tractor pulling with all it its might, until it runs out of either power or traction.

The smell of diesel fumes, and the noise,  was magnificent.

 

And my favourite, of course, was the mighty R3 Fowler.  In this instance effortlessly powering a large pump.

Geelong Classic Truck and Vintage Machinery Show. Day 1.

I was busy minding the 1:4 scale Fowler traction engine today, at the show, but these were a few items which were of particular interest to me, of the hundreds on display.  Not to mention the tractor pull, the Liberator WW2 engine demo, and the magnificent vintage trucks and cars.

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Peugeot 403.  My first car was one of these.  For its day it was reliable, rugged and advanced.  Won the first Redex rally across central Australia in 1956.

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Marshall Compound traction engine on low loader.  The traction engine is completely original, unrestored.  Needs a lot of work.

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Marshall smoke door

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Marshall engine

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Marshall pressure gauge

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Marshall, from the driver’s position.

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Fowler R3 and baby R3

Back to the Triple Expansion Steam Engine

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I installed these cylinder drains on the triple, but was not satisfied with their appearance because they looked too big.   So I bought some of a different pattern from Reeves UK.

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The new cylinder drains are smaller, and have a handle which is suitable for joining all 6 drains to one control handle.

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The new cylinder drains are a more realistic scale.  I suppose that I should have made them myself.  

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From above.  Getting them to line up was a fiddle.

 

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The crankshaft protractor now has a (temporary) pointer.  When the timing is finally adjusted, the protractor and pointer will be removed.  I am planning to make and install a crank positioning gear and pinion and lever.

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The crank positioning gear and pinion shaft on the full size, ship’s triple expansion steam engine at The Geelong Showgrounds.  It is on the low pressure end of the engine.  I will make something like this to act as a flywheel on my model triple.

More Wierd Stuff

Since my “Strange Lights over Geelong” experience I have been looking at all sorts of weird posts on YouTube.  UFO’s, crop circles, megalith structures, evidence of buildings on the moon and on Mars.  There is a mountain of information out there, and while a lot of it is lies and rubbish, some is harder to dismiss.   It is not inconceiveable that Governments have information which they are witholding from the general populace, about aliens, UFO’s, ancient civilisations and so on.  Indeed, there are YouTube interviews with ex astronauts about UFO’s on the moon, and ex government ministers and officials about UFO’s and aliens, and Rothwell.  It may well be that the current increased talkativeness is due to a recognition by governments that they can no longer keep a lid on the previously secret information, so they are gradually allowing people to talk.

One line of posts which I have followed is evidence that something is going on in Antarctica.

And one source of information is Google Earth.  One post related to a strange set of giant “steps”.  I checked on the post information by checking the coordinates in Google Earth.

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Look at the middle of the photo.  That series of “steps” does look unusual.  You can check on this yourself by entering the coordinates on the photo into Google Earth.   The “staircase is about 2.5km long, with each step about 250 meters.

Anyway, to continue with my story, as I was zooming out from this point, I noticed a bright shape about 138km towards the south.

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The object which caught my eye was the white rectangle above the word “Coast”.  This section of Antarctica is directly south of Western Australia.  The rectangle is about 380 km from the coast.

And this is what shows up on Google Earth as I zoomed in.

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The image is from 1999.  The black rectangle is 21 x 7km…  Quite a size!   I am unsure what the bright white is.  Possibly sunlight reflecting off a shiny surface.  Or a rough attempt at concealing the rectangular area?    This is at latitude 70.2 S, longitude  87.2 E.

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Also, there is a faint streak from the rectangle heading about 100km to the east.  It is also 7km wide.     The staircase area is also visible to the north.

So that is it.  I can find no reference to this structure, but if anyone knows anything about it, please enlighten me.   If you have any interest in this weird stuff, you might the posts on YouTube by SecureTeam10 worth watching.

I am heading back into the workshop tomorrow.  Installing a steam powered boiler water injector on the Fowler traction engine, and bit by bit, finishing the triple expansion engine.

I have installed the new AC Servo motor to replace the spindle motor on the Boxford 125TCL CNC lathe, my expert friend Stuart Tankard has wired it up and reconfigured Mach3.  I am delighted to report that it has vastly improved the CNC lathe.  Will post some pics in a day or two.

A New Spindle Motor for Boxford 125TCL CNC lathe.

The spindle motor on my 33 year old Boxford CNC lathe has struggled to machine steel, although it copes with brass OK.  My expert friend has recently upgraded his machine (identical to mine) with a new spindle motor, and I will do likewise.

The new motor is a 750 watt Servo, bought on Ebay from China.

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It is more powerful than the original DC motor, small enough to fit the limited space in the 125TCL, and my friend reports that it is performing very well indeed.

Some modifications to the mounting system and drive pulleys and electronic controls will be required.

For reader Tom, who is upgrading a 125TCL as a school project, I include the following photo.

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On-off switch of the 125TCL.

Triple Expansion Steam Engine Cylinder Cocks

Some further progress on the triple.

I bought cylinder cocks from Reeves UK, and the picture shows them fitted.  In case I eventually install a mechanism to open all of the cocks simultaneously, they are in straight line, which necessitated making extension peices for the high pressure cylinder cocks.

The handles required bending to clear the pipework.

The cocks look a bit strange to me.  Too big, and the handles are wrong.   I am thinking about making a set from scratch.  But that can wait.

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Drain pipes from the cocks will be installed at some stage.  Still deciding where to run them. And whether to join them into a common trunk.

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The engine turns over by hand, but it is still a bit stiff.  There was a tight spot which took many hours to locate.  It turned out to be a valve rod thread which was about 0.5mm too long, touching the inside of the high pressure valve chest.   Fixed in a jiffy.

I hooked up the engine to a small compressor at 30psi, but general stiffness prevented the engine from rotating.  So I gave it an hour being rotated in the lathe at 200 rpm.  It is noticeably more free, and getting very close to working.  The valve timing is approximately correct (checked by my expert friends Thomas L, and Rudi V), but will need fine tuning at some stage.

Steam Trains in Colour

4 months ago I made 2 wooden trains for my identical twin grandsons.  I handed the trains to SWMBO for painting, and despite frequent proddings of the verbal type, she got around to painting them only a few days ago, just in time for the twins second birthday.

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The fuel in the coal tenders is chocolate.

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The twins are really into “diggers”.  Check out the birthday cake!  Chocolate icing and chocolate Smarties.   I want to be a kid again.

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The “coal” was a hit.  SWMBO knows the way to the male heart.

 

New Mechanical Oiler for Fowler Traction Engine

The oiler on my 3″ Fowler compound traction engine was working only intermittently.  I bought a new Foster Lincoln oiler, and today installed it.

The old oiler flange which attaches to the engine, was flexing, so I made a new one from 3mm stainless steel plate.  That will not flex.

The oiler is powered off the high pressure cylinder valve rod.  Different geometry was required.  I could have modified the original valve rod clamp and arm, but just in case I wanted to revert to the old configuration I made a new clamp and arm.

It all fitted nicely and the ratchet wheel clicked over as required when the engine was turned over.  So I completed the installation by silver soldering an oil delivery pipe to the valve chest.

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The original oiler

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The new oiler

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Hmm…  that delivery pipe needs to be straightened.  Sacks of coal in the background.

Recycling Leather

I am a fan of Stefan Gotteswinter’s You Tube blog, amongst others. (the others include This Old Tony, Abom79, ClickSpring,  Joe Pieczynski, AVE, NYC CNC, mrpete, ……   you should know all of these if you are interested in metalworking).

But back to Stefan.   One of his hints some time back, was to use a piece of leather to protect his lathe bed under the chuck.   I adopted his idea, and I found that it was very effective.  It does protect the bed from dropped chuck keys, parted chunks of metal etc.  It is also handy for preventing small parted work pieces from disappearing into the swarf which hangs around under the bed.

Only problem was that the best piece of leather which I could find was from an old overnight bag, and it really was old, and thick, and stiff.

Some time ago, SWMBO gave me the job of dealing with a couch which had seen better days.  We were quite fond of the couch, as it had been used by our family for at least 3 decades.  But our beagle was also fond of it.  Sleeping on it,  digging holes in it, and it had become pretty disgusting, despite repairs.  So it became my workshop couch for midday naps.  But that change of environment did not improve its condition either.   In fact I decided to take it to the tip (landfill).

But here we pay for landfill by volume, so I decided to break up the couch to reduce the volume, and maybe use the frame to fuel my workshop heater.

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Me.  Removing the leather upholstery.  

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Where the beagle liked to sleep.   Yuk.

So I now have quite a lot of supple leather.  Some will end up covering my lathe ways, held in place with magnets.

Any suggestions for using the remaining leather?

Traction Engine Oiler

The oiler which had been made for the 3″ Fowler compound steam engine looked OK, with a nice rounded brass cap, but despite various adjustments I could not induce it to work reliably.  The pawls were very thin brass, not hardened steel, and the supporting bracket was very thin sheet steel which had little resistance to flexing.

I decided to replace the oiler.   I could have made one from the engine plans, but when I saw some photos of these Foster Lincoln oilers on scale model traction engines, I decided to purchase.

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The one which I purchased was designed for a 4″ scale traction engine, bigger than my 3″ Fowler, but the external dimensions were similar to those specified on the Fowler plans, and the Fowler is a 2 cylinder engine.  So I decided to go “too big” than risk “too small”.

It arrived by mail today, from the U.K.   Cost £116 + £10 p&p from “Live Steam Models”.  Not cheap, but the quality appears to be excellent.   Heavy brass body, hardened steel pawls and ratchet wheel, stainless steel water drain, and a powerful spring operated pump.  The lid closes with good tight fit.  Some filing will be required on a cut edge of the lid, but no big deal.

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The pump in the oil cavity.

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Running in the Triple Expansion Engine

The Bolton 9 engine is assembled, almost completely.  The valves are approximately correctly timed.  I can turn it over by hand, just.  There are a few tight spots.

So today I mounted the entire engine in a lathe, oiled all bearings and slides, and tentatively ran it for a few minutes.   The lathe was set at 60rpm, in back gear.

All seemed OK, so I ran it for about 30 minutes.   Then increased the rpm to 90 for another 30 minutes.  After that the tight spots still exist, but much less pronounced.

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I kept a check on bearing temperatures with a laser thermometer, and none were running more than a degree or two different from any others.

The test did show that a low pressure cylinder drag link is touching the condenser, and will need some relief.  Also the high pressure cylinder eccentrics need to be repositioned a little on the crankshaft.  But nothing major.  And it was very nice to see everything moving in quite an impressive manner.

I will upload a video when the upload speeds are reasonable.

 

TRACTION ENGINE STUFF

My brother and I visited a well known local machinery enthusiast.  Some of my readers might be interested in the photos.

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An excavator from the 1940’s, due for restoration.

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Said to be incredibly noisy and heavy for the operator.

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Excavator diesel engine works.

 

My miniature Fowler traction engine does not have a steam injector and I am considering installing one.  So here are photos from a full size Fowler, and another from a  Ransomes traction engine.

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Fowler R3 steam injector, located near the bottom of the rear water tank.

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Ransomes injector located similarly.

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A pin, for a pin, for a pin, for a winch. (Fowler traction engine)

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Why do the boiler stays have holes bored into them?  When a stay breaks it usually occurs on the inside of the boiler.  The break can be undetected.  If there are blind holes bored like this, steam will escape through the hole if there is a fracture, revealing the problem.

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The countersink on the stay holes here is decorative only, serves no useful purpose, and probably weakens the stay.   The differential gear on the left is very worn, but still useable.

 

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Ransomes traction engine on the left, and Fowler R3 heavy haulage engine on the right.  2 tonne rear wheel removed and chained to the post, while transmission gears are being remachined.

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The ash pan from the Fowler R3, after 4 days of continuous steaming at the Geelong Show.  Of interest to me, because on my 3″ scale (1:4) Fowler the ash pan has been almost exactly scaled and I suspect that it would benefit from a redesign.

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Kelly single cylinder traction engine.  Working condition.

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Kelly engine.  Everything visible.  Note the very useful steam dome.

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Fowler R3 nameplate.  I can see something similar appearing on my 3″ Fowler.

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Front wheel on the Ransomes traction engine.  Both front wheels were torn off in an accident in 1920.  Going down a long steep grade at Shelford, Victoria, there was insufficient steam pressure to brake the traction engine towing a heavy load, so the driver deliverately crashed the engine into the road cutting, at considerable speed.  It was succesfully repaired by a blacksmith.  The driver survived.

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The Ransomes engine.  The “Rolls Royce” of traction engines, according to the owner. (But I suspect that he prefers his Fowler).

So, I hope that you found these pics interesting.  John.

Traction Engine Safety Valves

Some videos of showing the safety valves functioning, boiler pressures etc.in my Fowler 3″ scale R3 traction engine.

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Warrick Sandberg safety valves.  Substantially bigger holes.  “pop” action.

And one of the Fowler being driven by my brother.

SNORING

Stay with me.  This is about a machine.

For years, maybe decades, SWMBO has been complaining about my snoring, and demanding action.  From her description of the events in our bed, I was experiencing apnoeas (stopping breathing altogether) which lasted up to 20 -30 seconds each time. Sometimes SWMBO wondered if I would actually start breathing again.  Sometimes, she admitted, she wanted to hold a pillow over my head to quieten the snoring.

I have tried nose drops, plastic gadjets to widen my nostrils, elastic straps to support my lower jaw.  I even paid my dentist to make a prosthesis to stop my lower jaw from sagging backwards.  That prosthesis was expensive, and worked a bit.  But it became totally useless after I had some unrelated dental work which changed the fit.

I had heard about CPAP machines being used to treat snoring.  From my work as an obstetrician, I knew about these machines being used to help premature babies with their breathing.  CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.  It reduces the amount of effort required for each breath of the baby, and has saved many babies’ lives.    At some stage someone found out that CPAP is effective treatment for snoring.

Normally, to obtain a CPAP machine, one has to have sleep studies by spending a night in hospital hooked up to monitors, and be assessed by a medical specialist.

From my wife’s description I had no doubt about my diagnosis, and I decided to self diagnose and treat my condition.   “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client”  also applies to doctors who treat themselves.  And normally I agree with that description.  But in this case I did not relish the thought of a night in hospital, which I was sure, would be pointless because it would be sleepless.

So I discussed my situation with my GP.  And I was pleasantly surprised when he said go ahead with my plan to buy a CPAP machine from overseas, and give it a try.

The CPAP machine cost me $AUD600.  If I had bought it locally it would have cost $AUD 1500-1600.  It arrived about 6 weeks after the order onEbay.  I had no idea what size face mask was required, so I ordered the “medium” size.  Turned out it was  a nose mask, and medium seemed to fit nicely.  The machine itself seemed well made.  All of the plastic bits fitted well.  The electronic screen was clear and lit up quickly on power up.  There was a CD for installation of the software on a Windows computer.  It installed and opened, but would not function.  An enquiry to the seller revealed that the computer time-date setting needed to be in YYYY-MM-DD format, and it all worked well after that.  The program asked for age, height, weight etc.  I was a bit insulted when my BMI of 27 was described as “FAT”.

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The CPAP machine and nose mask.   The tubing is much longer than shown.  The perspex tank contains water to humidify the inspired air.

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The CPAP machine

 

I could find no instructions, so I left the machine on the default settings.  Some weeks later I found an instruction booklet in a side pocket of the storage case, but it did not offer any information about settings.  I guess that normally there would be a doctor doing the settings, based on tests.   Fortunately I have a friend who is using a CPAP machine for sleep apnoea, and the default settings of my machine were very close to the ones which were prescribed for him, so I continued with the default settings.

First night.   I was warned by my friend that it takes about a month to become used to the CPAP, so I was not too perterbed by the mask and tubing waking me up every time I moved.  My wife had the best night’s sleep which she has had in years, because I did not snore AT ALL.  The machine makes a low whirring noise, which is barely noticeable.  Being forced to nose breath, because the positive pressure almost totally stops mouth inspiration, is a very odd sensation, but I was very aware that the 10cm of water pressure was profoundly affecting my breathing.  I was totally unable to deliberately snore while awake, and when asleep I was not snoring at all even when flat on my back.

First week.  I fiddled a bit with the pressures, but the default 10cm water pressure (0.14psi) seemed best.  I used the air humidifier.  The air is filtered.  Several times I woke and ripped the mask off, but after a month of use, that happens rarely.

First month.  I got the software working eventually, and I was delighted to see that I have had no snoring events or apnoea events at all.  My duration of sleep has gradually increased from an hour or two each night, to 5-6 hours per night.    My wife is absolutely rapt.   Her only complaint is that I sometimes remove the CPAP in the morning, then go back to sleep for another hour or two, during which time I revert to snoring.

I like to read in bed for an hour or more before I drop off to sleep.  I cannot wear my reading glasses with the CPAP in place.  So I read until I become sleepy, then pull on the mask and turn on the CPAP.  Usually I am asleep within minutes, which is a big improvement on pre-CPAP.

Either that, or I listen to podcasts with earplugs.  But the CPAP tubing and earplug cables do tend to get a bit tangled, so I usually read.  It helps to pin the CPAP tube to the pillow, with a lot of slack to allow for turning in bed.

So, after a month I have noticed that I never nap during the day, compared with most days pre-CPAP.  My tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is much less pronounced now.  I do not feel sleepy when driving.  I would like to say that my energy levels have improved, but that does not seem different.  I am hoping that my borderline high blood pressure will have settled, when next checked.

Overall, this has been a major improvement in my life. IFLT.  (technology, not Trump).

 

 

Traction Engine. New Parts.

Another quickie.

The new safety valves arrived today.  Warrick Sandberg valves.  I will install them later this week, and fire up the Fowler R3.

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The old safety valves.  Not up to the job.

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The new safety valves.  about the same dimensions but the exit holes are bigger and the spring tension is adjustable and lockable.  

And another thing.  I noticed this label near the pressure gauge of the full size Fowler R3.

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So I made this one today.  Slightly modified the information to suit my 3″ scale Fowler.

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My enamelling technique could improve, but it will do.

MAKING A PROTRACTOR for TRIPLE EXPANSION ENGINE VALVE TIMING

Just a quickie.

I am close to running my triple expansion steam engine, and I am thinking about what will be required to set the valve timing.

The high and low pressure cylinder valves can be visualised by removing the valve steam chest covers and should not be too much of a problem to set.

However, the intermediate valve steam chest is buried in the middle of the engine, and can be visualised only by close to totally dismantling the engine.

So I have made a protractor which has the 360 degree circle divided into 120 degree sectors, and single degrees, with 5 and 10 degree markers for easy counting.

The protractor will be mounted on the end or the crankshaft using 6 bolts located into 6 precisely drilled and tapped holes.

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The protractor.  100mm diameter aluminium plate.

When the high pressure cylinder valves are set, the degrees of rotation of the crankshaft will be noted, the crankshaft rotated 120º, and the intermediate cylinders valves set to the same settings.  At least that is the theory.  I am sure that it will be more complex than that.

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The triple expansion engine with the protractor attached.

I just wanted to show the completed protractor.  I have not stamped or engraved the degree numbers, because they would need to be in groups of 120º, and the protractor would therefore be a single use item.

 

The Boiler Inspector.

Today I loaded the Fowler 3R traction engine onto its trailer and drove to Werribee, to have an official inspection of the boiler.

This is not a legal requirement, because I can operate my traction engine  whenever I please on my own property.  But all model engineering Clubs and Societies require a current certificate before they will permit steam engines to be operated at their meetings.

The maker of my traction engine had the boiler inspected and passed about 18 months ago, but that certificate has now expired.  So it needed re-certification.

The original test pumped water into the boiler at double the maximum operating pressure to test the boiler for leaks and distortion.  The boiler is actually designed to withstand pressures of EIGHT times maximum operating pressure, so the safety factor is reassuring.

But, boiler explosions are horrific, so the caution is understandable.

My boiler is made of copper, thus avoiding the problem of steel boilers which gradually becomed thinned by rust.   And my boiler seams were joined by silver soldering, which, if expertly done is as strong as the parent metal.  As a matter of interest, the maker of my boiler told me that he had used $AUD1000 of silver solder in the construction of the boiler!

The test today involved pumping water into the boiler at 25% above maximum operating pressure, and holding it there for 20 minutes, checking the boiler for leaks and distortion.  It passed that test without problem.

The next test was for the functioning of the safety valves.  I had cleaned them and replaced the balls and polished the seats, and I had seen them blowing off when the pressure was above 100psi, so I was fairly confident that the certification was “in the bag”.

So the fire was lit, and after some coaxing because I had stupidly forgotten to bring the chimney blower,  the  steam pressure was raised to 100psi.  The safety valves started venting off.  But, the test is fairly demanding.  The fire was roaring, the steam blower was turned on full, and the pressure continued to rise.  It rose to 120psi which fails the test because the safety valves should have released enough steam to keep the boiler pressure at 100 psi or 110psi maximum..  Some adjustments to the safety valves did not fix the problem.

Some machining will be required to fix the valves, but after consideration I have ordered brand new safety valves and the test will be re-done when the new ones are fitted.

The boiler inspector was quite particular and proper, and very helpful.  I am grateful that this safety issue was detected, and I totally agree that it has to be fixed.  Thinking back to my problem of about 1 month ago, when I “dropped the fire”, (see “Holes in Swiss Cheese) I now believe that the problem was partly caused by the inadequate safety valves.

Add one more hole to the Swiss Cheese theory of disasters.

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The inadequate safety valves.

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MODEL ENGINES in the cage at the GEELONG SHOW

The following short videos show some of the engines on display by GSMEE in the Vintage Machinery Shed at the recent Geelong Show.  GSMEE is Geelong Society of Model and Experimental Engineers.  All engines are running on steam, except of course the Stirling engine,  the Farmboy, and the Atkinson engine.

These engines will be running again at the GSMEE exhibition 25-26 Nov 2017, at The Lifestyle Pavillion, The Geelong Showgrounds.  Several scale model traction engines, trade exhibits, outside entries, and the engines in the Vintage Machinery Shed will also be on show.  The Hatherly Challenge competition will be judged.  This year the challenge is to make a reversing horizontal mill engine.  Entry is free (gold coin donation accepted with gratitude).

Stirling Engine, running on heat from exhausted steam,  spinning a CD with spiral image, made by John V.

 

 

Stuart Victoria Twin, made by Malcom W

 

 

Bolton12 Beam Engine made by John V

 

 

Farmboy internal combustion engine, running on propane, made by Stuart T

 

 

Horizontal Mill Engine running on steam, reconditioned by John V,  (GSMEE exhibit)

 

 

Atkinson Engine, running on petrol, made by Rudi V.  FIRST PRIZE.

 

 

Stuart 5, running on steam.  Reconditioned by Rudi V.  GSMEE exhibit.

 

 

Beam Engine “Mary”, completed by Stuart T.  THIRD PRIZE.

 

 

Mill Engine, running on steam GSMEE exhibit.

 

 

Mill Engine running on steam.  GSMEE exhibit.

 

 

Mill Engine, running on steam, made by Malcolm W.

 

 

Triple expansion marine steam engine by John V.  Almost completed.  SECOND PRIZE.

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FOWLER R3 TRACTION ENGINE

Start of the parade of tractors at the Geelong Show.   Graeme and John driving the Fowler R3.   Video by Stuart.

 

2 Triple expansion steam engines.