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.

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.

Fowler R3 at The Geelong Show

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I took my Fowler R3 3″ scale traction to the Geelong Show, and here it is on display.

The R3 is a bit of an uncommon traction engine, so I was rather surprised, delighted and awed to find a full size R3 on display also.  Of course I met with the owner and spent a lot of time talking to him and examining the real McCoy Fowler R3.  Apart from the size difference, the similarities were striking.  Even the colour scheme was similar.  And the full size machine was a heavy haulage model whereas mine is a road locomotive.

I found the numbers were interesting

weight     250kg/18tonnes

length 1.5m/ 6m

towable load 250kg/60 tonnes

cylinders 2/2

boiler pressure 100psi (copper)/180psi (riveted iron)

year of build 2016/1911

 

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Me, getting a driving lesson from the owner, Graeme Brown

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The firebox door, throttle, looking forward

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Winch

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Forward/reverse lever

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Water pump, crankshaft driven

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crankshaft with its cluster of big ends and valve rod eccentrics.

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Con rod big end hardware

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Fire box door and water level sight glass

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Fowler R3 heavy haulage engine.  spent most of its working life in and around Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

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Rear wheel hub and winch

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This could be a photo of my engine, but it is not

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Lubricant and tool storage area.  Actually the front suspension and steering drum.  I imagine that the springs are to protect the  gear teeth.

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Not sure that the brass cylinder cover is kosher.

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The wheels hardly dented the grass during the grand parade.

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The engine mechanicals, oiler, whistle, and hose support.

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Boiler inspection hatch, and water intake.

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Belly tank, steering gear

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The engine could be used as a cathedral reliquary

And a series of non-edited videos, to recapture some magic moments.

Traction Engine Lamp Lenses

My Fowler 3R, 1:4 scale traction engine had nice little lamp bodies, but they looked a bit odd because they had no glass lenses.

Old photographs suggested that the lenses were convex, not flat, so cutting out some circles in flat glass or perspex was not appropriate.

But in my junk store, I had been saving some perspex balls which had originally been part of a desk lamp.

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The perspex (?Lexan) balls were 50-60mm diameter

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With a 12mm hole

I needed the lens to be 22mm diameter, and I could not figure a method of holding the balls in a lathe chuck without damaging the Lexan surface.

So I milled the outside diameters.

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Holding the Lexan ball in the mill vice, and milling the 22mm outside diameter (CNC of course).  Then it was easy to hold the machined cylinder in the lathe chuck (collet chuck actually), and part off an 8mm thick lens.

The parted off Lexan lens was too opaque on its parted off surface, so I spent some time with 400 grit, then 600 grit wet and dry paper to remove the parting marks.   Surprisingly, it became fairly transparent.  If I had some 1000 grit paper on hand I expect that it would have been quite transparent.

Then I pushed the lenses into the lamp bodies, and this is the final appearance.

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They look like they have a squint, but that is a photographic illusion.  They are pointing straight ahead.

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Not bad Eh?  The side aperture needs glass or perspex.  I have some LED’s on order to provide lumens.  Not sure how I will arrange the batteries.

More Triple Photos

Reader Richard suggested that I include a ruler in some of the triple photos, for a sense of scale, so here it is.

It is approx 300mm long 200mm wide and 270mm high.  Weighs 12.4 kg.

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Triple Expansion Engine Update

Well, almost another whole year has elapsed, and still the triple is not finished.  Come December, and that will be 3 years that this project has occupied my thoughts and workbench.  With a few other projects in between.

Last week I assembled the components, in preparation for the Geelong Show.  GSMEE is a bit light on for new models, and it was suggested that the triple might fill some shelf space, despite being unfinished.

So I bolted it together.  All 429 fasteners!  And stood back and admired it.  It really is quite impressive, complex, and interesting.  So I took some pics.

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This is the condenser side, and the Edwards pump

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The other side is a bit lessy fussy, showing the steam inlet valve, the Stephenson’s links, weigh shaft  and controls.

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And the top, showing some of those 429 fasteners,

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The high pressure valve chest cover.  I will fill those holes where bolts cannot go.

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And the low pressure end, and links for the pump.

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And a close up of the steam valve and weigh shaft.

Not quite ready to run it yet.

It needs side covers for the cylinder block, drain cocks for the cylinders, and general freeing up.  It is still very tight.

Not to mention painting.  I expect that I will paint this one.   No idea of colours yet.

TRACTION ENGINE (update)

Finally found someone with enough speed to upload a video.  Stuart filming.

Shot near Geelong.  Tom driving.  SWMBO and me on the kids’ cart.  Ange supervising.   The safety valves blowing off some steam.  Not much smoke from the Welsh steaming coal.

 

Holes in Swiss Cheese.

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I decided that the time was right for me to fire up the traction engine.  I had seen the maker do it once, and another local expert do it again.  And I thought that I had taken in the essential steps and safety features.

So I wheeled the engine out of the shed onto a piece of thick plywood.  Filled all of the bearings with oil, pumped water into the boiler, opened the cylinder cocks, and lit the fire with kerosene soaked dry wood.   Then shovelled in some Welsh steaming coal.  The fire started up well, and within 15 minutes the pressure started to rise.

At 40psi I removed the fan on the funnel, and the pressure continued to rise.

At 60 psi I started the engine.  It turned over very nicely, and continued to run.  All good.

The pressure continued to rise, 80-90-100.   At 100 psi the safety valves started to vent, as expected, but the pressure continued to rise.   110-120 psi.

120 psi is well above expected pressure.  The safety valves continued to vent, but not quickly enough.  I decided that the fire was too hot.  What I did not realise, was that the cam which drives the water pump was slipping on its shaft.  The water pump was not functioning.   I could see that the boiler water level needed topping up, so I turned on the 160psi electric pump.  It did not seem to be working.  In retrospect, the nominal 160psi electric water pump spec is optimistic.  I used the hand pump.  There was some resistance which is good, but I could not see the water level rising.

To cut a long story short, I dropped the fire.  It was all very scary.  “Dropping the fire” involves pulling out 3 long metal pins which hold the fire pan in place.  The pan drops to the ground, spilling the burning coal beneath the traction engine.

Of course the pins, and the pan are hot hot.  And the burning coals are even hotter.

Then I could smell burning rubber.  Oh shit!  A piece of coal against one of the solid rubber tyres.  Panic pushed the engine a few feet away from the pile of burning coals, trying not to stand in them.   Stamped out the bit of plywood which had caught fire.  (I had rolled the engine onto a piece of thick plywood because it is difficult to roll it on the thick gravel which surrounds my shed.)

Steam engines are not for the faint hearted it seems.  Nor for the ignorant amateur.  I have a learning curve looming.

I had noted that quite a few nuts and other fasteners were not very tight.  I can only speculate about the reason for that, but the water pump failure due to a loose connection was a bit concerning.  So I have decided to disassemble the entire engine, check everything and reassemble it.  Should be interesting.

Considering the causes for this near disaster, I list the following in no particular order….

Shaft driven water pump failure due to an unexpected loose connection

Electric water pump not working at specification (to be confirmed)

Operator inexperience (unsure about hand pump pressures and valve positions, no experience in dropping the fire, furnace fire possibly too fierce, insuffient practice in emergency steps.  In retrospect I should have closed the fire damper, opened the fire door, and stopped the engine turning, and maybe used a fire extinguisher).

In medicine, disastrous outcomes are usually caused by multiple small mistakes, rather than a single big mistake.  “Holes lining up in the Swiss Cheese”  theory.

It seems that Swiss Cheese also occurs in steam engines.

p.s.  Note added 8 Nov 2017,  6 weeks later.  See my blog “The Boiler Inspector”.  It seems likely that the safety valves were not up to the job of venting adequate steam with a vigorous fire.  Another hole in the Swiss Cheese lined up.

Compound Traction Engine

A few of my readers will have no idea what a “traction engine” is, much less a “compound traction engine”.

I have recently bought one of these machines, so here it is….

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To be accurate, it is a miniature traction engine.  1/4 size.  A full size one would weigh between 14-18 tons, and a bit beyond what SWMBO would have agreed to me spending.  I see ads in the English sites offering them for between 250 and 400 thousand pounds.

This one weighs about 250kg, and it cost me a bit less than a full size one.

It is powered by lighting a coal fire in its belly, and producing steam.  The engine sits on top of the boiler.  You can see the cylinders, connecting rods, crankshaft and gears in plain view.   The steam is under a pressure of 100lbs per square inch.   It passes through the high presssure cylinder (the small one) then through the low pressure cylinder to convert the heat energy of the coal into kinetic energy of motion.   The fact that the two cylinders are powered by the same bit of steam is the reason it is called a “compound” steam engine.

Steam traction engines were the predecessors of modern diesel tractors.

As road locomotives, they pulled loads of many tons, at low speeds, from 1869 to the end of WW2.  This one was a scale model of a road loco of circa 1918.  Other types were used on farms as tractors (not terribly effectively, because of their weight), in saw mills to power the saws, and as stationary engines to power some factories.

Rather surpisingly, they are a quiet machine in comparison to more modern diesel and petrol powered ones.  They sound a bit like a steam train, puffing and chuffing along.  I fine the sound is very appealing.  I also like the exposed mechanicals.

The coal smoke is not quite so pleasant, but the Welsh steaming coal which I am using, produces very little visible smoke.   Most of the white stuff which is seen is esacaping or exhausted steam which has been cooled to become water vapour.   Steam, as I have discovered, is invisible.

So back to my traction engine….    It was made by a gentleman in Adelaide, commencing in 1984, and completed in 2016.   He also made quite a few steam train engines and traction engines over the same years.  He told me that the compound engine was difficult to make due to its complexity, and the tight squeeze of all of the components.

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The square box with the brass lid is the mechanical lubricator,

The boiler is constructed from copper sheet, 4mm thick, riveted and silver soldered.    It has been tested, and certified to 100psi.  Re-certification is due, and is planned to be tested again in a couple of weeks.

I have found a few issues with the engine, and am gradually attending to those issues.   The piston rod glands, valve chest, main throttle, and starting valve were leaking steam.  Those leaks have been reduced to a level that is acceptable.

One of the big ends is noisy.  I noticed that the plans called for adjustable wedges, and they have not been used.  So at some stage I plan to make them and install them.  That should tighten up the noisy bearing.  The valve eccentric straps are a bit loose, with noticeable movement, but they should be fairly simple to tighten.

The mechanical lubricator is not working.  I have cleaned and adjusted it, but to no avail.  There does not seem to be enough movement in the driving arm to click the gear over.  Might need a re-design or a new lubricator altogether.

Some of the water supply pipes are modern flexible types and look totally wrong, so they will be replaced with rigid copper pipes.

The painted colours are appropriate for a working road machine, but I am planning a more fancy appearance with brass belly strips, polished steel cylinder covers, some pin striping, and a name plate.   Also a Fowler coat of arms.  (It is a Fowler Class R3).

Still contemplating the name.  Traction engines seem to be named after girlfriends wives or mistresses, famous people, Lords and Earls.   There is a nice movie from the 1960’s about a traction engine named “The Iron Maiden”.  Its rival was named “England Expects”, a name which resonates.   I have long been an admirer of Sir John Monash, so that is quite a possibility.  Monash was the leader of the Australian Army 1916-18, and he was so effective that the British Prime Minister of the day said that WW1 would have been a year shorter if Monash had led the allied forces.  Monash was also my university.  And we share first names.  But still considering.

So you can see that I intend to place my own stamp on this machine, and have lots of interest and fun doing it.

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Boiler fire started, extractor fan on the funnel to increase the draft through the firebox, Ange, Tom and Stuart waiting for steam pressure to rise.

I attempted to upload a 2 minute video, but just too slow.  Might try later.

 

Steam Trains

Two of my grandchildren are identical twins.  Here is a recent photo of one of them.  Not much point showing a photo of the other one.  He is identical.

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Not sure which one this is.  They really are identical.  He is planning to join a circus.

Anyway, I had made a wooden train set for my other grandchildren, and my other daughter, the mother of the twins, suggested that the twins should have one also.   I decided to CNC most of the parts, and it was not much more time to make two compared to one, so here they are.

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The design, slightly modified,  is from a book by Jim Makowicki “Making Heirloom Toys”.  The trains are ready for painting by SWMBO.   She is planning to use wood dyes, and finishing with a clear laquer.

The materials are whatever I could find in my workshop, so there is an eclectic mixture of Australian hardwoods, plywood, and pine.   The panels were all CNC milled, and the chimneys and domes were CNC turned.

It has been a fun project.  I will post a photo when they are coloured.

BAND SAW WELDER

Some posts ago I described my method of making band saw blades by silver soldering the join.

My band saw does have a German brand welder attached, but I have never been especially succesful with the results, so I have continued to silver solder, and very satisfied with those results.

But a friend asked to use the welder because that was the method which he was used to, so I watched.

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Colin, examining the welder, after clamping the blade ends.

In the meantime, I had used fine emery paper to clean the electrical contacts, and Colin had cut the bandsaw blade ends square, then used emery to clean up the blade ends for a distance of 25mm.   Then the ends were clamped into position.

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The appropriate current was selected and the button was pushed.  The current lasted only a second or so.

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Then the weld was annealed.  Heated red hot and slowly cooled.  Repeated several times.  The annealing makes the weld less brittle, and softer, easier to file or grind flat.

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The join before grinding flat.

Colin made 2 blades, then I made 4-5.  Very quick.  Much quicker than silver soldering.  Time will tell whether the joins last longer.