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.

Paranoia

I realise that most of you who look at this blog do so to watch the progress on my steam engines, and lately you have been getting a lot of weird stuff about Antarctica.

Well, this is another one about Antarctica.

Suddenly, the Google Earth images of the area of Antarctica which I have found very interesting, have been blotted out with a crude graphic which blots out the items of interest.

The crude graphic looks a bit like cloud cover from a distance, but it does not change over the years timeline and close up it is obviously not real cloud..  Look at the screenshots below, and notice the relation of the graphic to my placemarks, which were inserted by me before the blotting out graphic appeared.

 

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The blotting out graphic is the two “checkerplate” strips and the area between and nearby.  See how it neatly includes my placemarks.

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The “Atmosphere” setting in Google Earth is off.  But it persists in some areas.  And look how it neatly includes all of my placemarks. 

 

Come on guys!  This is beyond coincidence.  Someone does not appreciate my posts about the odd shapes in this region.

Either that, or I am really going a bit pararoid.

 

WTF!

I subscribe to a YouTube site named secureteam10.  It collects many odd videos and photos  mainly about UFO’s and other unexplained phenomena.  A lot is total rubbish, but his post for today caught my eye.

This is a screen shot from today’s secureteam10  post  of a Google Earth view which includes clouds.

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Notice the straight line cloud (?) between Perth, WA, and Antarctica.

It might be a natural cloud formation, but it does look unusual.

Then I thought, “I reckon that the Antarctic end is somewhere near the area of Antartica where I located the huge reflective black rectangle, and the other scattered odd shapes which I had placemarked”

Well, guess what….

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 9.10.43 am.png

Do you see my yellow and red placemarks?

 

Read this response to Antarctic Weird

I received this email today.  I am posting it with Jennifer Edwards’ permission.  Just reading it made the hairs on my neck stand up!   
BTW, I will continue posting until my current subscription runs out in a couple of months.
John,

sorry to see you go. I was enjoying your wit as well as great machining skills. I have the same issue with a web site I maintain for my partner. The bastids nickel and dime mw to death, send me renewal notices a year in advance, and try to sell me security crap with e-mails spouting fearful phrases that always seem to include the words “haters, Spammers, and internet thieves. I do not blame you for pulling out.

When reading about your Antarctic pictures it reminded me of an experience I had when I was about 18 years old. I have not told this to many people over the years simply because every time I do they look at me like I am crazy, however you seem to have an open mind so I will risk never hearing from you again….
 
The event occurred over forty six years ago. There were three of us present, and unfortunately I am the last surviving member of the group.
 
It was Late October 1972,  the Friday evening before Halloween in Southern New Jersey. My future X, my little brother, and I were on our way from our home town of Cinnaminson to our family cabin on Bamber Lake, in the Southern New Jersey pine lands. I was driving. Our route took us on unimproved two lane back roads that normally only see farm traffic. The weather was a crisp and clear October evening with unlimited visibility.
 
About a mile east of  Vincentown I rounded a bend and there it was in the north west corner of a small rectangular field of maybe three possibly four acres. The road ran the length of the field. The field was surrounded by large old oak trees along the West and the North. The road ran along the south boarder and then curved along the eastern boarder. The field was long and narrow.
 
As I rounded the bend a brilliant light caught my eye. There in the north West corner of the field was a large object hovering. It was shaped like a bell, about 40-50 feet high and maybe 70-80 feet in diameter. Only an oval dome at the top of the bell was above the tree line. 
 
Upon later reflection we realised that the location of the object was less than three miles to McGuire AFB. It would have been a great vantage point to observe the airfield.
 
I noticed that there was a berm along the edge of the field which I drove up on to put my headlights on the object. We sat in awe for maybe 20 seconds at which time the three of us exited the car to get a better look. Please note, to this day whenever I think of that evening the hair stands up on my neck, it was that profound an experience.
 
The object was hovering, maybe ten feet off the ground. It was shaped like a bell with a convex bottom. It was a dirty whitish grayish in colour. The apex had a brilliant white light which radiated beautiful, quickly pulsing, beams of light in pure crystalline colours, vivid blue, violet, red, and green. The beams seemed to come from a brilliant blue white point just below the oval disk on the top of the “bell” to a row of the same colour of white lights evenly spaced along the rim, then from those white spots to another white light in the centre of the convex bottom of the craft.
 
Maybe ten years later I saw my first laser light demonstration, it was that type of pure crystalline single wavelength light that instantly reminded me of that object. In fact the hairs on the back of my neck and on my arms stood straight up.
 
As it hovered it made a sound akin to a very large saw mill blade swinging. I cannot find other words to describe that whirring sound other than a saw mill blade spinning.
 
The three of us were standing in front of the car, headlights on the object just gawking at the objet. This went on for maybe a minute possibly a minute and a half. 
 
BTW I am a licensed pilot and also a highly experienced sea captain, I am a good observer, with an eye for size and distance. We were maybe 175-200 feet away from the object.
 
At that point I alone started walking towards it, my x and brother were too awestruck to move. When I got extremely close, less one hundred feet, probably more like seventy five feet away. The size of this thing sank in. It was the size of a small house! I started smelling that lightning storm ozone odour,  began getting a strong metallic taste in my mouth, and felt tingly on my skin. This scared me so I made a slow retreat back to the car never taking my eyes off the object.
 
When I rejoined the other two we stood there for maybe two more minutes, just looking, listening to the whirring, not speaking beyond a few “wows” and “oh my gods”. Then it hit me, I had a Yashica 35mm camera loaded with asa 400 film and sporting a 200mm lens on the front seat. 
 
I reached into the car, grabbed it and began fumbling trying to remember how to focus  it when you could not see thru the view finder. It was one of those old 35mm cameras with all manual controls. I was unfamiliar with the camera and fumbled around. I never did get a shot, something I truly wish I had done, as anyone I related this story to since that day some forty six years ago has either thought I was crazy or simply humoured me.
 
Any way, as soon as I aimed the camera at the object it seemed to immediately react to the threatening move of pointing what may have been perceived as a weapon at it. 
 
iI’s sound began to change. It got higher and higher and higher in pitch and volume until it was just a deafening hiss, like high pressure steam being vented thru a small aperture. 
 
Some years later in San Diego I had another hair standing up moment when I went to work with a fixed hard disk manufacturer. We had tanks of liquid freon that were huge ultrasonic cleaners used to clean the 18” stainless steel disks before transferring them into the clean room for final assembly. The first time I turned one on and heard that hissss there went the hair standing up again. That was the frequency of the sound. This had to be around 1982.
 
Sorry to digress, any way the sounds frequency went up, the pulsing lights became gradually brighter and more brilliant until the entire craft was one very bright white fuzzy bell. The craft slowly rose to an altitude of maybe 150 feet. It slowly went on paralleling the road heading northeast about 100 feet to the west of the road.
 
We jumped in the car and followed. We were able to keep up with it for maybe a mile and a half  while it slowly accelerated until it finally had a good lead of maybe several hundred yards. It’s altitude was increasing as was its rate of climb. Slowly at first, but obviously steadily accelerating in what settled in at about a 30 or 40 degree climb.. The road ended in a “Tee” intersection. So again we got out of the car and stood in the middle of the itersection watching as it continued its climbing. We were able to keep an eye on it due to the exceptionally clear sky and the fact that we were way out on the country, so light pollution was not a factor..
 
Finally after another five or more likely six minutes the thing was just another one of the stars in the sky. It grew fainter and fainter, until it was indiscernible from all the other stars.
 
At that point we got back in the car and continued on our way.
 
One interesting point is that from the point where that craft was to the runways of McGuire AFB is only a couple of miles. Back in 1972 the area of the jersey pines we were in had many Cold War installations,Nike missile installations, the Space Track “ golf Ball” and others. There had been a nuclear warhead on a missile that had caught fire and contaminated a very large area with plutonium, the active air base was there as well. Plenty to look at if you were interested In the military capability of a civilisation.
 
For the rest of our lives whenever either of the three of us met, right up to the ends of their lives, we always said ” hey remember the flying saucer”. I have only told this story to four or five others over the years. The blank stares or that look like you are some kind of nutter shut me down.
 
Any way there you have it. I wish you luck with your build, and YES please post a video when it is complete, and send me a link.
 
Thanks again,
Jenny




Jennifer Edwards

Bye Bye

WordPress has increased their annual fees by another 30%.  under the guise of a “domain name” fee.

Sorry guys and gals, but I am not wearing it.

Thankyou for following.  And a big thank you  for those who have commented or liked my posts.

But I am not forking out another 30% per year, on top of a similar increase a year or so ago.  They are just, fucking, greedy.  too expensive.


.

So bye!    ….John.

p.s.  when the Trevithick dredger engine is running on steam I will post a video on YouTube and maybe Facebook.

pps.  If you want to visit old johnsmachines.com posts, I believe that you will be able to open them by including “wordpress” before the johnsmachines.com

ppps.  if you think that this stinks, don’t tell me.  Tell WordPress.

pppps.  my email is jviggers@iinet.net.au

 

Trevithick Dredger Engine- the stays

 

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The stays appear simple but they took several hours to make and adjust.

When I arrived at my workshop today I discovered that someone had attempted to steal the Toyota Landcruiser tray which I leave parked there.   A window had been smashed, the doors were unlocked, and the cowling over the steering column had been removed and broken. (presumably in an attempt to access wires to start it.)  The driver’s door lock showed signs of being jemmied.   The ignition lock also showed signs of being forced.  The thief must have been an amateur, unable to get the vehicle started.

The police arrived soon after being telephoned.

Fortunately the vehicle is drivable, but repairs are required.  I am relieved that it was not actually stolen.  The police told me that these vehicles are in demand by thieves.  They are built like tanks, and useful in ram raid thefts.

So the dredger engine will be put aside while I install video cameras at my workshop.

(I have deleted a paragraph here.  It was written with exaggeration caused by anger.)

After the police left, I made and installed the stays which are visible in the photos.

 

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The lower end of the stays attach to the boiler flat plate end.

 

 

 

More Antarctic Weird – 2

Harking back to the Google Earth photos which I posted on Jan 6 2018.  “More Weird Stuff”.   The photo was from 1999 satellite imagery.  Why am I so obsessed with this?  I am not sure.  Please read on.

 

Antarctica 6 Jan 2018 #2

This 21x7km black rectangular shape/object in Antarctica.  With the white reflections? white-out?.  And the track(?) leading from the south -east.     I occasionally re-open Google Earth Pro to look at it, and wonder what it was.  I have scanned all over Antarctica, and have never seen anything else, remotely like this.

Google Earth Pro has a feature which allows the viewer to scan back and forth over the years to see how a site changes.  Guess what.  The above shape does not show up on the yearly images even 1999. 

Then in the 2006 imagery I noticed a tiny black dot on my screen, near to where the big black rectangle was previously.  The tiny black dot would not brush off my screen, so I zoomed in.  This is what appeared.

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 11.07.48 am

That black dot is sited in a white rectangle which measures 300m x 150m.  A pixellated natural feature I thought.  But scanning other areas of Antarctica does not show any pixellation anything like this.

 

Then I searched the vicinity.  And found dozens and dozens of similar objects.  Nearly all 300m long, and either 150 or 200m wide.  All with a central black area.  All with smaller grey shapes in the white areas.  Scattered around an area of 300 x 300 kilometers (~200 x 200 miles).  Some areas clearer than others, probably due to atmospheric conditions.  I started to count them, but stopped at 100.  Most of them were oriented close to North-South.

They only appear in the years 2004 to 2007, and they are stationary.  2006 is the clearest.

Then recently, I purchased a photo editor, and played around with settings on some of the screen shots which I had taken of the “objects”.

 

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Unedited Google Earth photo.  The coordinates are there if you want to check for yourself.  The white rectangle surrounding the black area is different from the surrounding snow-ice.

 

 

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Defogging turned up, with compensation

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Defogging turned up, without compensation.

 

These do NOT look like pixellated natural features.

There are too many, and too big to be man-made.

And they are scattered around the area of the 1999 image of the  26km x 7km black rectangle.

DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THEY ARE?

p.s. The parallel lines which I puzzled about previously are probably artifacts arising from the Landsat photography.  Thanks to reader Brendan for the technical article which lists various anomalies in pictures which are stitched together from multiple passes of the satellite.   Still no explanation for the 300m x 150m rectangles shown in this post.

 

Trevithick Dredger Engine Progress

First day of summer in southern Australia today.  And it was very warm and windy.  Keeping my eyes open for snakes, but none seen.

I was pondering how to attach the crankwebs to the flywheel.  I had decided that I would not silver solder them together, because the heat would likely distort the thin flywheel.  And pressing them was not feasible because I had machined them to a sliding fit.  Whatever method was used, I wanted it to be reversible i.e. future disassembly possible.  So, in the end, I used small brass screws which will not be visible when the engine is painted.

 

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countersunk brass screws holding the assembly together.

 

I made 2 more U shaped bearing retainers to fit on the ends of the connecting rods (same as shown in last post).

Then made 2 shafts which will be attached to the cross head bar, to join to the con rods.  These are made from silver steel.

 

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The concave end had a radius of 10mm.  Fortunately, I had a 20mm end mill which worked well to produce the curve.  A bit of finishing required for these parts.  I will probably run them for a while in my gemstone tumbler to knock off the sharp edges and polish them.

 

 

 

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They will be pinned in place at the ends of the cross head bar.

 

Woodworking for the Steam Engine

The connecting rods on the Trevithick dredger engine were wooden, presumably to save weight.  I used to do a lot of woodworking and still have radial arm saw, bandsaw, thicknesser and planer, etc, and too many scraps of wood and left overs from previous furniture projects.

The con rods are 16x10mm and about 320mm long.  Lignum vitae was recommended by Tubal Cain, and “hard wood” by Julius deWaal.  I looked through my piles of offcuts, and eventually settled on West Australian Jarrah.

 

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There are 2 con rods, but I cut enough sticks for 4, just in case.  One was immediately rejected due to a split.

Jarrah is hard, remains stable during machining, is dark and becomes darker with aging, and is relatively resistant to rotting and warping with water.  In Oz it is often used for outdoor decking.  The figuring tends to be quite wavy rather than straight, so very sharp tooling is required to avoid teatouts.

 

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Using a shell end milling cutter to make the end rebates.  It is really sharp and heavy, and quite scary to handle.  But does leave a beautiful finish.

I try to avoid machining wood on my metalworking machines.  The dust gets everywhere, and if not removed attracts moisture, and rust.

But, the metalworking machines are far more accurate, so that is what I used after the initial roughing cuts.

Next was the metal U shaped metal strips to hold the bearings at each end.  I chose brass, because I had some 2mm sheet, which was the specified thickness, and I imagined that it would be easier to machine and bend than steel.

 

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This is my bender, with a test strip of annealed brass.  I made this bender last year to bend copper pipe, and my advisor, Stuart, suggested using it to bend the brass ends for the Trevithick.  So I turned up some aluminium cylinders and a brass pusher to the appropriate diameter, leaving a 2mm gap for the brass strip.

 

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Worked like a charm.

 

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I will make the bearings before I trim the U strip to final length.

So that all went very nicely.

Hang on.  There are 2 connecting rods, with 2 ends each.  I need FOUR U pieces, not TWO.  Shit.

No time to make the other 2 today.  Got to get home to clean up before visiting my hearing specialist.  Should see a brain specialist too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dredger Engine- Crankweb and Firebox Door

Power is transmitted from the dredger engine to a cog on the crankshaft which is held in place with a crank-web.  It is similar to the crank-webs which secure the flywheel.  Similar, but more complex and more difficult to make.

 

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More finishing required, but the basic shape is done.  Note the 2º wedges securing the bearing housing and the oil tube.

 

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The firebox door is shaped.  Hinge, catch and latch coming soon.  The wooden front support is also seen.

The engine is really taking shape.  I am looking forward to seeing it run.

 

 

Scale Trevithick Dredger Engine- the Supports, and crank-webs.

Some photos of progress.  I have been busy, but the results are not particularly photogenic.

The support under the chimney end was in the plans as this:

Trevithick front support.jpg

…and many models of the dredger engine are made along these lines.

…but the rescued Trevithick engine in the London Science Museum is different..

LSM Dredger.jpg

The shape of the front support is appealing, but it is unlikely to be original.

….and this is the drawing of the dredger engine from the Rees Cyclopaedia of 1819..

Rees Pic of dredger engine.jpg

Look.  The front support is a block of wood!  And the rear support is quite open, showing most of the mainshaft.

The Rees drawing was made at a time when many Trevithick engines were operating, and it is likely that the drawing is representing an actual engine.  So that is what I have based my scale engine supports on.

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This is the rear support for my engine.  5mm thick steel, silver soldered.  Quite a bit of tidying up to come.  And you can see the wedges which hold the bearing housings in position.  The bushes are bronze.  And the vertical tubes just visible are oilers.

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The rear support before I milled out the middle section.  It was supposed to be 5mm mild steel, but the carbide end mill became red hot while plowing through, then broke.  Something really hard encountered there!

Then the bearing housings were made, and the main bearing bushes.  Straight forward machining.  Inserted the mainshaft (12mm silver steel).

The flywheel had been previously water jetted from 6mm steel plate.

flywheel flat

I chose water jetting in preference to laser cutting, in order to minimise heat distortion of the rather thin piece of steel.  Even so, it required some cold pressing to flatten it.  No olive oil appeared.

Then made the crankwebs.

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CNC milled from a chunk of brass.

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The crank webs sitting in position.  I have not yet decided how to fasten them.  Soldering is specified by Tubal Cain, pressing by deWaal.  I will probably use Loctite and a taper pin.

Next are the wooden connecting rods, and the driving spur gear.

Still thinking about the stand.  Wooden box? open metal structure similar to my beam engine? masonary block?  Wait and see.

Note that there is now an option to “like” these ramblings, at the end of each post.  Up to you the reader of course, but a tick of approval would be nice.  Your comments are always appreciated.

 

Trevithick Dredger Engine Guide Bars

I was discussing the guide bars with a very experienced modeller, and he finished with some advice….  “make them either very accurately, or very sloppy, otherwise you will have problems!”

The guide bars and cross-head

Well, I decided to shoot for “very accurately”.

I made the cross-head bar, and silver soldered it together.

All seemed good.  Just the guide bar bushes to be made and Loctited into position.  After a soak in sulphuric acid and tidy up.

So I made the bronze bushes, drilled them in the lathe to 9.5mm, then reamed them to 10mm.  Or so I thought.

But when I fitted them to the 10mm guide rails, they were very, very sloppy.   Checked the guide rail diameter… 9.99mm.  Checked the reamer 10.07mm!!  Chinese reamer.

So I searched my reamers and found 2 more.  Another Chinese one measured 10.04mm.  Another was a Sutton, made in Australia.  It measured 10.00mm.  I reamed a test piece, which fitted the guide posts perfectly.   So which reamer did I use?   Guess.

I made some more bushes and Loctited them to the cross-head.  Then drilled and reamed them, carefully, accurately.  This time the fit on the guide bars was snug, perfect.

Is there a point to be made here?  You better believe it.

Trevithick Dredger Engine Guide Bars and Crosshead

 

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As you can see from the photo, I have made the vertical guides, the curved top bar and the crosshead.

 

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The curved bar was bent in the motorised ring roller which I made years ago.  Bending 3.2mm steel was easy.  I have bent steel bar up to 10mm thick in this machine.

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Parts of the guide bar.  2mm thick.  I confess that these were CNC’d.

 

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A few more parts required for the crosshead, but a test fit was quite good.  It is just pushed together at this stage.

 

 

 

 

 

Trevithick Dredger Engine- Valves

No workshop posts for a while because I have been making parts for the internals of the engine, and when installed they are not very photogenic.

Since the last post I have made the piston, piston rod and installed soft packing to seal the piston, made the valves and valve handles..

 

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Stainless steel piston rod, bronze 20mm dia piston, and soft packing inserted into the machined groove.

Also made the throttle valve and steam direction valve.

 

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This was the third attempt at making a steam valve.  I went slightly undersized with the first, totally buggered the O ring groove on the second, but the third one looks OK.

 

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Good one (I hope) on the left, and destroyed one on the right.  The lathe tool bit into the bronze.

 

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From left to right.  The bush, the undersize, the buggered, and the OK I hope.  and the plans.

And after all of that, and also making the throttle valve, I discovered a mistake in the plans.  A 1mm discrepancy, which I suspect was an arithmetic mistake on the part of the plan maker.  I decided to modify the valves, bush and valve block rather than remake the valves.

 

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I machined 1mm off the faces shown in the photo, then spent some time prettying it up.  Then took 1mm off the valve lengths, and the valve bush.

 

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This is what it looks like now.  All fixed.  Waiting for Viton O rings to arrive.  Looks OK IMO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Invasion

We had just finished dinner and I was gathering the dishes for washing, when suddenly, very noisily, the broom cupboard door burst open, and two possums fell into our kitchen-living room area.

Possums are in most Australian roof spaces.  They are protected by law.  Not that that would make any difference to my Dr. Doolittle wife…. she actively feeds them, and they come to the broom cupboard from somewhere in the attic space, when she calls them.

But this is the first time that they have entered our living space while we were present.  I suspect that they were having a fight and fell against the broom cupboard door, then fell onto our kitchen floor.

Once before, when we away on holidays, they found their way into our pantry.  Obviously, they thought that they had gone to possum heaven, because every cardboard package had been ripped open and the nice contents were eaten.  The less nice ones were on the floor!

So why do we encourage them?  Normally they are shy and cute and timid.  They have babies.  And they keep stranger possums out of our attic, which is their territory.  And they are not dangerous.  And they are interesting.  That’s why.

So I took a video for a few minutes.  One eventually ran out of the open back door.  I decided to leave the room, because they are a bit more nervous about me, and I thought that my wife would have a better chance of coaxing them outside.

Enjoy the uncut, uncensored videos.

 

The possums are a bit nervous about me, so I went to bed, leaving my wife to cope with the problem.  I think that she sat there with the outside door open until about 2:30am.  The recalcitrant possum had climbed up the curtains onto a pelmet, and would not come down, despite tempting titbits from my wife.  At 2:30am she came to bed and left the outside door open.

I was the first one out of bed at about 7am.  No sign of any possums, even up on the pelmets.  But he/she/it had been all over the kitchen living room TV area, shitting at every step.   There was a pile of liquid crap on the pelmet.  Poor thing must have been really anxious.  I decided that Dr Doolittle could clean it up.

 

 

 

 

Trevithick Dredger Engine….progress

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Finishing bits on the engine assembly.  The stuffing box, the gland, and a threaded plug in the throttle cylinder.  Throttle valve, stem direction valve,  piston and piston rod next.

Antarctic Weird.

Some of you might remember the Google Earth photos which I posted on Jan 6 2018.  “More Weird Stuff”.   The photo was from 1999 imagery.

Antarctica 6 Jan 2018 #2

This 21x7km black rectangular shape/object in Antarctica.  With the white reflections? white-out?.  And the track(?) leading from the south -east.   The satellite image was taken in 1999.  And I occasionally re-open Google Earth Pro to look at it, and wonder what it was.

Well guess what.  It has disappeared off Google Earth.   Nowhere to be seen.  Replaced with featureless white.

Suspicions aroused, I turned on the feature of Google Earth which allows the viewer to scan back and forth over the years.   I had place-marked the spot so I knew that I was in the correct place.  The “staircase” away to the north is still there.

While scanning the “spot” from December 2006, I noticed some odd lines.  Odd in that they were exactly parallel, exactly 1 km apart (you can measure things in Google Earth), and varying lengths, covering 1000’s of square kilometers.  then I noticed a little black dot on the computer screen.  It would not brush off.  Zooming in, it seemed to have a geometric shape, not at all like a natural feature, even pixellated.

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 11.02.40 am.png

I zoomed in and out.  If you look carefully (or better still, check this out on Google Earth yourself), you will see a white rectangular shape about 300m x 150m, irregular outline but quite angular and geometric, a black central shape, and a number of smaller grey shapes.  It is aligned almost exactly north-south.  It is bigger than an aircraft carrier.   Buildings?   Artifact?  Natural feature pixellated?

Buildings?   Well it is there, but whited out in the images Dec 2004 and 2005 but not after Dec 2006.

Artifact?  I thought maybe.  Then I looked around the vicinity.

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Every one of those placemarks pinned by me, represents a similar but not identical object.  Some are clearer than the first one which I saw, particularly in the group under the “Leopold and Astrid Coast” label.  There are at least as many again, less clear, which I did not mark.

If you zoom into the above photo you will get the Google Earth co-ordinates to check this out for yourself.   Make sure that you bring up the December 2006 images.  The centre of the above cluster is the location my original “More Weird Stuff” object, but it is nowhere to be seen after 1999.

I have scanned around the rest of Antarctica and I cannot find anything else remotely like this.  Nor is there anything like this in other years/dates.

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So, what do you think?  The images show 50-100 of these objects.  It appears to me that someone might have attempted to disguise the objects in the images by applying the thick parallel lines.

I have my own theory, but I will keep my ideas to myself.  For the moment…

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Soldering the Trevithick Dedger Engine

That is soldering.  Not soddering.

 

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These are the engine cylinder, valve chest, steam pipe (on the side of the cylinder), and flanges, pushed together.  I took this photo, because never again will these bronze parts look so pristine. 

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Firstly, a thorough soak in degreaser, then rinsed in water.

 

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Then the steam transfer tube was wired into position.   All joins were fluxed, then silver soldered.   Then a soak in sulphuric acid and a water rinse.  

 

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The 20mm bore still accepted a 20mm diameter silver steel rod (i.e. no significant distortion from the heat), so the rod was super glued in place, and used to turn the flanges flat and perpendicular to the bore.

 

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The assembly was heated to release the super glue.

 

 

 

 

 

Trevithick Dredger. A start on the Engine.

Some photos of progress on the Trevithick Dredger engine.  I am still making components for the engine, which is a single cylinder, double acting steam engine.  The valves and throttle are cylindrical, which is the method used by Trevithick over 200 years ago.

 

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From the left…  the cylinder, with rectangular steam ports and bottom cap; flanges; steam tube.  The steam tube was bronze rod which was OD turned, then drilled, then split longitudinally, then bevelled so that it fits snugly to the outside of the cylinder.  Tricky machining, done with a steel plug to avoid squashing the part in the milling vise.    Some of the 5mm holes in the large flange should have been threaded.  Error in the plans.  Now considering whether to remake the flange or thread the holes 6mm and make some stainless steel stepped studs.  Probably the studs…

 

 

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Components pressed together.  Later they will be silver soldered.

 

 

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The valve chest was made from a chunk of bronze, which was first squared up…

 

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Then marked out..

 

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After preliminary drilling and reaming, the block was sawn to produce the truncated cylindrical hole.  (any better suggestions to describe the shape?)

 

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The steam chest will contain the cylindrical valves for throttle and steam opening-closing and direction.  A complex item.  Quite a few hours of nutting out and machining.  Not quite finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hydrostatic Trevithick Boiler Test

This is a video showing how I performed the hydrostatic test on the boiler.

The engine is currently being made, but not at the time of the video.

The test is to hold water at double the working pressure of the boiler, for 20-30 minutes, checking for bulging or distortion of any of the components, and any significant leaks.  Any leaks would need to be fixed, but for the boiler certification, as long as the pressure can be maintained for the duration of test, that is OK.

The working pressure of this boiler will be 50psi, but the minimum pressure in the AMBSC code is 60psi, so the hydrostatic test will be done at 120psi.   As you will see in the video, the pressure reached 140psi at times.

In fact, the AMBSC code is formulated in terms of materials and design to cope with 8 times the working pressure, so the safety margin is generous.

The video is taken over 20 minutes.  I ran the actual test for over an hour.

I am afraid that my very messy bench and workshop are evident in the video.  No apologies.  That is just the way that I work.

 

Model Engines on Steam

It is Geelong Show time again.  It is actually titled the Royal Geelong Show, but having had more than a gutful of royal non-entities visitors being adored by unthinking cringers, flocking around Harry and Meaghan Kardashian, Windsor, and being a committed republican, I refuse to bother with the “Royal” handle.  (they are probably very nice people, I just cannot stomach the hoo-ha).

More importantly, it gives us steam junkies a chance to run our small engines on real hot steam.

For a treat, I am sharing four short clips taken today.

The first is a small beam engine, made by Swen Pettig.

The next two engines you have probably seen before.  My beam engine, and the triple expansion engine.

The small engine to the right is a Stirling engine which is running on the heat from the exhausted steam from the beam engine.

The triple is leaking a bit more than it should, although it is running amazingly smoothly on 25-30 psi.  The valve glands need repacking.

And finally, a model IC engine, the really odd Atkinson.  A 100+ year old design.  2 stroke. Made by Rudi vanderElst

 

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