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. I read every comment and respond to most.

Machining the flywheel

Almost Finished Beam Engine

Beam Engine castings

shipment 1 of 3

The castings and plans were supplied by E&J Winter, Sydney, which is now owned and managed by Kelly Mayberry. He has a well established web site with catalogue, prices etc, and he is very interested and helpful with queries during the machining of the castings.
I believe that the castings come from various small foundries around Sydney.
The plans for the 2 engines which I have made so far were drawn up many decades ago, and are rather frustratingly in imperial measurements. So the first task when I receive a new set of plans is to convert all of the measurements into metric units. Then I have the plans laminated, because they get a lot of handling in the dirty greasy conditions of the workshop. Another item on the plans agenda is to make photocopies of the intricate details on the plans, and magnify them x2. I find this is a great help for my rather dodgy eyes.

Beam Engine Governor Gears

The bevel gears on the plans looked rather difficult to make. Finished gears were available from the castings supplier, but on ordering, no, they had not had them in stock for a long time, and even if they were available the cost would be $a254.
So, I tried another option which was successful.
I ordered some angle grinder gears from China, cost $5 per pair, machined new centre holes for brass inserts which fitted the shafts, used Loctite to glue the inserts, and broached the keyways into the brass inserts.

The photo shows the larger gear unmachined at top, and bored ready  for the brass insert at bottom.
The gears were too hard to machine initially, so I put them through a couple of cycles of heat to red hot and slowly cooling, and then my carbide cutters worked…. just. I did not want to risk my expensive broaches however, and that was one reason for the brass inserts. The other reason was to remove some of the angle grinder features from my antique looking model.
The angle grinder bevel gears have curved teeth, which would not have appeared in 1880, but you can’t have everything. It does make them very silent.

Beam Engine Parallel Motion

A close up shot of the parallel motion apparatus which I made for the beam engine. Designed and patented by the famous James Watt in the 18th century. A complex apparatus which is fascinating to watch in action. Its function is to keep the piston rod precisely centrally in line with the cylinder, despite the circular motion of the beam end.