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.

Category: Uncategorized

and some Carriage Wheels….

The wheels on the carriage, not the chassis.

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I made 20 of these, 20mm diameter,

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The small cap screw bolts will be replaced with solid rivets.

The wheel axles are yet to be made and pinned.  (the Philips head bolts will replaced with solid pins and washers, and held with taper pins.)

And just to remind you of the appearance I am aiming for…

whole cannon R obl

I do wonder about the original colour of these 1866 cannons.  The rusty iron colour has some attraction, but I would be certain that it is not original.  So far I have had no luck finding out what the original colours were.

Tomorrow’s Pour. And a family member is interested!

My family is vaguely interested in the stuff which I make.  Engines, traction engines, cannons etc.  But I doubt that any of them read these posts.    The grandchildren like the steam engines, particularly the 3″ traction engine.

But, the molten metal casting has struck a chord in the youngest daughter, and tomorrow, when I do my second metal pour, she is coming to watch!  At least I will have someone to hold the video camera.

So I prepared 3 trees, and poured the investment material for 2.  I took some pics but forgot to bring the camera home.

Also, I am conducting an experiment.

I know that my early 3D prints were too porous, and allowed the investment material to penetrate the the moulds.

Tomorrow I am still using the original models which I know are too porous, so I am trying something.

I have covered the porous surfaces with super glue to try and seal them.

So, watch tomorrow to see if this experiment looks promising.

(p.s.  The super glue experiment did not work)

 

Making a Tree

The adequately sized vacuum chamber arrived today, much more quickly than I expected.   Initially it would not seal and I could see no holes or leaks.  But when I removed the silicon gasket I found a small silicon flake which was the problem.  Thorough cleaning, and all was well.

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The 1/4hp vacuum pump on the left.  The new 5 gallon chamber hooked up.  And the too small 3 gallon chamber on the right.  I have an idea for using the smaller one, so will hang onto it.

With this arrival I am almost fully equipped to start casting.   So today I built 2 trees.

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The first tree has no branches, so it is more like a tree trunk.  The red items are plastic models of the central pivot column on the Armstrong model gun.  Glued together with wax which I melted with a soldering iron.  (soddering iron for American readers).  And attached to a wax stick which inserts into the rubber flask end at the bottom.  The actual steel flask is behind.

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And here is the “tree” trunk in position inside the flask, ready for the investment plaster to be poured around it.  After pouring it sits and sets for a couple of hours.  Then after removal of the rubber end, about 8 hours in the kiln to melt out the plastic and wax.   Then the molten metal pour. 

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This is the second “tree”.  Wheel forks for the cannon chassis.  Wax glued to the central wax tree trunk.  The 4″ steel cylinder behind. 

Preparing the moulds, and the metal pour will probably occupy about 10 hours, so I will need a totally free day.  Maybe Thursday.

Riveting the Armstrong Cannon Chassis Model

I am waiting for delivery of the 5 l vacuum chamber so I can commence casting parts for my 1:10 Armstrong cannon.  So today, I spent some workshop time riveting the chassis of the 1:10 Armstrong 80lb muzzle loading rifled cannon model.

I am a total novice as far as solid riveting goes.  The following photos will prove that fact.

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I am holding a new Taiwanese riveting gun.  The girder into which I have just inserted almost 100 copper 2mm rivets is resting on the vice.  The anvil is clamped into the vice.  The snap (home made) is in the gun.

I have marked the surface of the girder with the anvil and snap.  Doesn’t look good, but I am hoping that it will be acceptable after painting.

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I painted the inside of one girder with layout paint just to see if the crappy riveting will be acceptable.  Still considering that question.

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A staged photo of rivet insertion.

And just to lighten this post, yesterday I had a visit from my grandchildren, 2/3 daughters, sons in law, and SWMBO at my workshop.

So I fired up the Fowler 3″ traction engine and gave the kids a demo of filling the boiler with water, lighting the furnace, a discussion about the nature of coal, and a ride.

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Despite the wintery weather, it was a very happy afternoon.   Audrey 4, Edward 4, Charlie 4, and John 7.   And John 70.  We have had an unusually wet autumn, hence the green grass.  No tigers seen.

 

TURKISH BOMBARD – a-post-script. And metal casting setup ready.

I made this 1:10 scale model of the Turkish Bombard which currently resides in the Royal Armories Museum, Portsmouth, in 2016.  I specify “currently” because I originally saw this cannon in 1979 at The Tower of London.  And long before that it was used in Turkey, guarding the Dardanelles.  Quite likely used in anger in 1805 against a British fleet, approximately 340 years after it was made for Sultan Mehmet “the conquerer”. 

And I re-visited the original in May 2019. It seems like half a lifetime ago. Mainly I visited the UK to see the Trevithick dredger engine in the London Science Museum, but the Turkish bombard was the second reason. I could not find a photograph of the touch-hole in the bombard anywhere. And my requests to the museum went unanswered.

The original bombard in the Royal Armories Museum, Portsmouth, UK.

So, here is my photograph of the touch hole, in case anyone else is inclined to make a model. I guarantee that this is the only photo of the touch hole which you will find, with my hand anyway.

The Turkish bombard touch hole
My 1:10 scale model of the bombard. I still have not added the touch hole.
The Arabic script around the muzzle. Not as good as in the original. But as good as I could manage in 2016.
and the large thread between the barrel segments


So, I made this model, in wood, as a practice run, intending to make a bronze model eventually.

The reason for this post script is that I had a question from a reader about a remark which I had made in 2016. And I could not find my original photographs. So I took some more, as you have seen.

And……… very excited to announce that I now have a foundry setup, and could possibly make a bronze example of the bombard. But first I intend to obtain some casting skills, by making parts for my 1:10 Armstrong cannon.

I replaced the analogue controller with a digital type in the potter’s oven which I had recently purchased, and today my wiring was checked by an expert before we ran a test run. (thanks Stuart!) All good, up to 750ºC, which is enough for preparing the investment molds.

Here is a shot of the oven, and the metal melting furnace.

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from the right, the melting furnace which should be adequate for 3kg of brass/bronze,  and the investment oven. The oven might also be useful for metal tempering. Note the Hebel bricks behind the oven.

Hopefully, the first attempt at a casting session in a couple of days.

 

Riveting for Real

The strength and resistance to twisting and other movements of the Armstrong cannon is in the chassis.  Specifically the design and strength of the longitudinal girders, AND the box section structure at the front of the chassis.

The box section has been a challenge in the 1:10 model.  Actually, it has been a bit of a nightmare.

It has taken me 3 full day sessions to work out how to construct this assembly, to make the parts, to join them together, then a lot of filing to make the assembly fit the girders.

And, of course, the parts are riveted together, and I am a total novice at riveting.

So this is the result.  Not totally finished and assembled, but getting there.

Again, I left my camera at the workshop.  These are photos which I took with my phone.

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The box section is an assembly of parts.  The ends were silver soldered.  The panels which show are steel, and will all eventually be riveted to the end sections.  At this time, some joins are still just bolted and nutted.

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This is the front of the chassis.  The rivets look OK yes?

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And the inside rivets were the first ones to be inserted.  Mostly worked OK.  They are copper, will eventually be painted the same colour as the girders.

And after the riveting, I have spent almost a full day of gentle and progressive filing to make the box section fit the girders.  It all fitted beforehand.  But after riveting, nothing fitted.  All of that hammering clearly changed some of the dimensions.  But, despite all of my pessimism, it all eventually fitted.

Now, I have another chassis to make.

Do I repeat the method, or maybe try something more efficient.  Like making a solid block of brass or steel, shape the exterior to dimensions, then hollow the interior?  Still pondering that one.

Part of the equation is that the riveting gun died.  Not sure what happened.  Maybe a blown O-ring?   The final few rivets in the above pictures were hammered.  My hammering is definitely not as neat as the rivet gun.   I do have a rivet gun on order, but they are estimating an arrival date of the END OF JUNE!   I cannot wait until then.  And the faulty gun is not mine so I feel diffident about pulling it apart and maybe repairing it, maybe really screwing it up.

The last time that I cursed the virus I lost 25% of my readers, so I will just think it.

 

Bronze Casting 3. Equipment.

I have been unwell for 1-2 weeks with a respiratory disease.  I twice requested Covid-19 testing, but was declined because I fell outside the guidelines.  At the same time my wife fell ill with similar symptoms, but her situation rapidly worsened with severe asthma, and she required a hospital admission.  She was given the Covid test, but it was negative, and it turned out that she has a different virus named RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) which causes croup in infants.  So it seems likely that I have the same virus.

The  problem is that we are coughing constantly, and sleep is very interrupted.  And we need to continue self isolation just to avoid coughing near other people.  I feel some empathy for infants with croup.

So not much happening in the workshop.

But I have been accumulating various bits and pieces  that will be used for bronze casting pieces for the Armstrong cannon project.

First, the metal melting furnace.  10amps, 240v, 2600w, 1200ºc.  Graphite crucible.

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This should melt alu, copper, bronze, but not steel.  Is there a town named “Italy” in China?AUD$405

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And some quite reasonable gloves.

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A second furnace is needed to prepare the mould.  This was a quite old pottery furnace, used by a lady for ceramic painting.  Purchased by me second hand, (AUD$700) and knowing that some repair work would be required.

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It is a good size, and heating coils are intact and well seated.  I do not know if the thermocouple works so I have ordered a spare.

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The firebricks are in excellent, almost unused, condition.

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It is using the rated 2600w.

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The electrics work, but most of the joins and fittings are rusty.  I will clean up the joins, and replace the fasteners.  I also intend to replace the power switch with a digital control.

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To make the mould I have chosen (on advice) a jewellers investment powder, normally used to mould rings and brooches with very fine detail.  It is not cheap (AUD$130), and must be handled carefully and not inhaled.

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The steel mould cylinder, and rubber end piece.

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Wax cylinders to be used as supports, sprues and vents.

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And finally, the vacuum unit, for removing air bubbles from the investment powder mix, (AUD$200)

A significant financial investment, and not finished yet.  And no guarantee of acceptable results.   I did obtain a quote from a professional caster, but it was even more expensive.  So, I will be giving bronze casting a trial soon.

 

 

Bronze Casting -2

When I looked closely at the rifling cutters which I had lasered out of a broken Brobo saw blade, I realised that I had boobooed.  I had measured the thickness of the blade at 2.5mm, which was actually a bit thinner than I wanted, but would have been acceptable. But when I measured the cutters, they were only 2.2mm thick.   Reason?  The saw blade had been hollow ground, and the blade inside the teeth was thinner.   Too thin, I decided.

So after some wailing and teeth gnashing I have ordered some 3mm thick tool steel in the form of planer blades, which I am pretty sure will not be hollow ground, and I will ask the laser cutter to cut me some more blades.  So waiting waiting.

And I am setting up the cannon barrel for rifling.  The CNC rotary table (stepper motor hidden behind) will be bolted to the CNC mill table.  The barrel is held in the jig which is held by the mill quill.  The cutter, (not seen in this photo) will be drawn out of the barrel by the mill X axis, while being rotated in the A axis by the rotary table.   That is the plan anyway.  But still waiting for bits to arrive so I can finish the cutting tool.

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The Armstrong cannon barrel held to the mill quill, and the rifling cutter will be held by the CNC rotary table.

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The rifling tool which I will not be using because the cutter is too narrow.  The cutting edge just peeping out of the slot will be dragged and twisted through the barrel bore.  The cap screw adjusts the degree of protrusion.

 

BRONZE CASTING

Meanwhile, I am accumulating various bits of gear to do some bronze casting.   An electric furnace with graphite crucible from China, Some jewellery investment material for the moulds, and a second hand pottery kiln for preparation of the moulds, and melting out the PLA 3D printed parts.   I will take some photos when it is all here.

And SWMBO has conscripted me to assemble and install some kitchen cupboards for a property which she is renovating.

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These are flat pack units.  Kaboodle.  Well designed and CNC cut and predrilled.  Not quite finished.  Waiting for the stone bench tops to be made and installed, and for appliances to be wired and plumbed.  Frankly I would prefer to be tidying up my workshop, but hopefully I am gaining some “Brownie Points”.

3D Printing Question

3D printing is really slow.  So slow, that the machine is left unattended to continue the print, overnight in many instances.  The print head is set at 205ºc and the table at 60ºc, and it does bother me that this hot machine is left unattended, unwatched.  I do not know if any fires have resulted, but fires are of some concern, particularly here in Oz.

A substantial component of the printing time is the hidden, internal structure of the object being printed, the “infill”.

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In this photo I set the infill at only 3%, but to compensate for that I increased the wall thickness.  The result was a nicely rigid article, but it was a 24 hour print.

My question.   At this point in the print job could I have paused the printing, and filled the cavities with a substance which set hard.  It would have to be done carefully of course, and keeping the level below the printing edge.  It would also have to be cool or cold, so the PLA did not melt or distort.  It would also need to be able to be poured, or injected.  Plaster of Paris comes to mind.  Car filler bog would be too viscous.

Any suggestions?

3D Printing is FUN! (but still slow)

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My 3D printer.  Bought from Amazon on a special offer.  $AUD279.  Worked straight out of the box after minimal assembly, and using the supplied plastic filament (PLA).  You can see the large gear on the platten which I drew up using a CAD program.  I used the software (Cura) supplied by the printer manufacturer (Creality).   The printer is a Creality CR -10S.  The “S” refers to a “filament out” sensor which I have not yet installed.  I read some reviews of the printer before spending my money, and so far I am very happy with it.  You might notice some bracing bars which I bought separately on Ebay.  Not sure if they are necessary, but they might improve the print quality by reducing vibration in the printer.

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These gears and shafts were printed.  They were used to check the sizes of parts for my next model cannon build.  I used a program called “Gearotic” to plan the gear module, teeth numbers, distance between centres etc.  Gearotic is also great fun.

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The printed gear and pinion quadrant on a background of a photo of the real cannon.  On my model the gear and pinion will be made of steel or brass, machined from bar stock.

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Another part sitting on a photo of the original.  This demonstrated that I had got the corner chamfer a bit wrong.  Much better to discover the fault at this stage! 

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A half size print of the barrel.  This was just for fun.  The final part will be ~300mm long, and will be machined from steel.  This print took almost 4 hours.

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A print of the centre column which the cannon chassis sits on and traverses around.  It is ~60mm tall.  It will be tricky to machine from solid bar.  Could be fabricated in pieces and silver soldered together, but I am considering using the printed part to make a mould and cast the part in brass or bronze……   The original cannon column has an 5-600mm extension into the concrete base which my model will not need.

So far all of these prints have been made from PLA filament, which I read is easy to use, tough, rather brittle, and has a low melting point.  It is also inexpensive (about $20-25 for 1 kg).  I am still on the supplied small roll which came with the printer.  Future prints will be in colour!

The weather is a bit cooler today, so I might get back into the workshop and make some metal swarf.

 

 

Armstrong RML

Some images of what I am planning to be my next model build.  As mentioned in a recent post, I photographed and took lots of measurements of this Rifled Muzzle Loader at Port Fairy, and have been searching the web for more information.  It is said to be an 80 pounder, but the bore (6.3″) is more consistent with a 64 pounder.  Can anyone shed any light on the discrepancy?

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Yes, there will be some interesting machining challenges.

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Not looking forward to all of that riveting.  Considering options.

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Most of the photos were taken with a Panasonic Lumix camera, but some, like this one, were with my iphone, using an App named “My Measures” which accepts annotations and measurements.  The barrel “diameters” above are actually circumferences.  And the “19” is the plate thickness.

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The emblem on the barrel surface.  I am hoping to engrave this on the model, but there would be a lot of time cleaning up the image.

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A web search turned up this image, which will be easier to clean up for laser engraving on the model.

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And some basic diagrams of similar design

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The rifling grooves are 1″ wide.  3 of them.  How to make them?

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I asked about rifling grooves at a GSMEE meeting, and Rudi showed me how it is done.  He made these 2 rifling tools.   They are pushed through the bore to create the grooves.  The bottom tool was most succesful, because it has a pilot diameter.  But, the tools cannot be pulled backwards, so both ends of the bore must be open.  But what about the cascable end of the cannon.  It is not a breach loader.

Then the penny dropped…..I remembered seeing this diagram…

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The cascabel screws into the barrel.  That opening will allow me to broach the rifling.  I do not know how the rifling was made in 1866!  (does any reader have information on that point?)  Note also that these barrels were usually made with some concentric tubes of steel.  I expect that the model will be one piece of steel, with the trunnions silver soldered.

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And I have started drawing up the cannon, massaging the field measured dimensions (which were obtained with a builders’s tape measure)…

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And doing gear calculations for the gear train and rack.  Lots more detail to go into the drawing and plans.   And thinking about construction methods meanwhile.  Now who has a metal sintering 3D printer for loan?

 

30 watt Laser in action.

Not mine, unfortunately.  This one is Stuart Tankard’s.  It is a Ytterbium generated, 30w, fibre laser, and the wavelength is such that the 0.01mm diameter beam will burn holes in metal.  Ytterbium, for those who can’t be bothered to look it up,  is a rare earth metal, atomic number 70,  Stuart has used the laser to cut parts from a 1.2mm thick hacksaw blade.  And in the following video he is making marks in a work-tool rest which I will use on my Radius Master sander grinder.

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It is a 360º protractor, and grid lines at 10mm intervals.   Looks purposeful.  Time will tell if it is useful.

Watch the video.  I am experiencing tool envy.

 

Listening to my own voice is pretty painful.  I hope that it doesn’t grate too much on you.

 

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…

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Zooming in….

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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….

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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.

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The flat top is the ice filled caldera.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Original Emden gun sans breech

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Krupp gun on the SS Graf von Goetzen, Lake Tanganyika

 

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Close ups of the model

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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.

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SMS Emden 1914

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HMAS Sydney

 

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.

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I had applied wooden lagging to the beam engine cylinder

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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.

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Model Engineering first prize!

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

 

 

Workshop with security

Every time that I open my workshop I wonder if it will have been robbed.  So far, I have had unsecured implements which are stored outside, stolen, and an attempt at stealing my Landcruiser ute, but no breaking and entering of the workshop itself.  Mind you, any thief would have a tough time working out what to take…   everything is scattered around, sitting where I last used it.  And then there are the tiger snakes….

Reader Brendan has a couple of guard dogs for his workshop when he is not present.

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They might not look too scary, but they do make a hell of a racket when a stranger approaches.

And Brendan’s workshop is not all in one location.  I counted 5 separate locations….

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The computer room and security monitor.  Mostly CAD and G codes here.

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The laser cutter occupies the entry porch.   See the backing board pattern?  That is from the gasket for my Trevithick engine.

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Then the main workshop.  Hmm… what is that red thing?

Brendan bearing press

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2 lathes in the garage.  Hafco with DRO, and CNC with Siemens controller.

Meanwhile, in my workshop…

I am taking some of my stuff to an exhibition at the Royal Geelong Show in a week.  The beam engine working on steam always gets some interest.   And the Trevithick dredger engine has not featured at this event before, so that can go.   I am currently working on the vertical boiler.   The Southworth Duplex pump which is attached to the boiler, was working on air, but it refused on steam, so another tear down is due.  If I can get it going that will be the third entry.  If not, well, there is always next year.   Fortunately Keith Appleton recently produced some videos on the Southworths, one of which had a similar problem, so I think that I know where my problem is.

Incidentally,  I showed the beam engine, the Trevithick, and the boiler at an exhibition in Melbourne last weekend.   Mostly well received.  But I had a succession of people who said of the beam engine “very nice.  Except for the cap screws.”  When it reached 6 separate commenters on the same theme I was starting to suspect a conspiracy from these rivet counters.   Yes it does have cap screws as the main fasteners.  And no, they are not true to the period (late 19th century).  But I quite liked the look of them.  But, one does prefer approval in preference to criticism, and after this concerted barrage of criticism, I relented, and spent a couple of workshop sessions swapping out the cap screws for studs with hex nuts.

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The before.  With cap screws.

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After the upgrade with studs and hex nuts.  Was it worth the 2 workshop sessions?

Sometime soon I will paint parts of this engine, and apply wooden lagging to the cylinder.

 

 

Workshop in the Deep North of Oz. North Queensland.

This one is interesting.  It is located in the basement of a multi storey apartment building,  in the centre of a major city, and occupies a car parking space.  It is screened off from the other car parking spaces, with security mesh and visual blocking.

In the photos you will see some of Peter’s projects.  Woodworking, kids toys, and metalworking.  Peter also is involved in model railways.

Nice to see some mess.  Must be genetic.

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Nice bandsaw!  I wonder what the bell is used for.  Maybe to warn the other apartment occupants that Peter is about to fire up some machinery.

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Heavy duty lathe.

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It is obviously used!

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A grand daughter will be very happy with that!

Thanks for those photos Peter.  It is interesting to see another workshop in confined space.  I do wonder how the other apartment occupants respond to woodworking thicknesser noise.

Next Tool Project…A CNC Laser Cutter

The Southworth steam powered boiler feed pump has many gaskets.  I have not counted them, but there must be 15-20.  All with many 2mm and 4mm  holes.

And in the process of making the machine, I have broken quite a few of them with the multiple assemblies and tear downs.

But, fortunately, 2 of the members of my model engineering club have laser CNC cutters, so extra sets of gaskets has not been an impossible ask.  (Thank you Brendan and Stuart!)

So, some time ago I asked Stuart, if it would be possible to attach a laser cutter to the CNC mill.  His initial answer was NO.  But recently, he changed his tune.   He attached a laser head to his 3D printed CNC mill and started producing gaskets on request!   So, as is a recent pattern, I am walking in Stuart’s footsteps, and I have purchased a 15 watt laser head on Ebay.   Chinese of course.

Laser kit 15w

This is the kit.   Cost $AuD146.

Laser head

And this is the 15w laser head.  Now I have to work out how to attach it to my mill.  Shouldn’t be too difficult, as long as I don’t turn on the spindle while it is attached.

 

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My CNC mill, during the electronics upgrade.  Most recent photo.   Soon to have a laser head.

Stuart assures me that Mach3 can be configured to operate the laser….   turn it on and off, move the axes at an appropriate speed, etc.  I think that some trickery is involved.

And future gaskets will be as simple as ….

So watch this space .

Southworth Steam Boiler Feed Pump Progress.

With book reviews and OP’s workshops on this blog you might be wondering if anything is happening in MY workshop.

Well, yes.

I have been beavering away, making parts for the Southworth steam powered boiler water feed pump.  Today I made the final parts.  The machining has been fairly basic and straightforward, so no special photos or videos.

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These are the parts and assemblies.  Top is the steam cylinders left, the water cylinders right.  The water pump stack not attached.  The the tails for the valve rods, the valve rods with valves attached, the cylinder caps, the valve rod levers, and some of the gaskets.

I will make a separate blog about the gaskets.  These were all laser cut.  I will never hand cut another gasket.  Laser cutting is cheap, fast and accurate.  Way to go!

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The valve levers and fittings.   These are small, precise, and accurate.  Quite a pain to make, even with CNC.  I remade more than one of these, due to dropping and losing the original.  The fasteners are M2, and not finalised.  The off centre drilling of the left hand fitting is of no consequence (I hope).

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The valve rods, M2.5, and valves.  Cutting those threads, 2.5mm diameter and 25mm long, was also a challenge.  I learnt about fixed steadies, but too late to use on this job.  Subject for a future blog.

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And some of the cylinder end caps.  There are 8 altogether.

So now that all of the parts/components are made, I will commence the assembly, then the timing of the steam engine component.  Watch this space.

Book review of “A Military History of China” coming up soon.  Quite an eye opener.

If you have not sent in photos of your workspace, please do so.  The series has generated quite a lot of interest.

 

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