johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most.

Tag: Castings

Making a Stephenson’s Link for a triple expansion steam engine

Progress on the triple has slowed lately, partly because I am spending spare time on the Colchester lathe commissioning, but mainly because the plans for the Bolton 9 triple expansion steam engine are fairly vague and hard to interpret with respect to the Stephenson’s link reversing mechanism.  I think that I have finally got my brain around the workings of the mechanism, partly thanks to the many Youtube demonstrations, but mainly thanks to a series of articles in “Model Engineer” in 1985 -6, to which a colleague directed me. (thanks David).

The author of those articles has taken the trouble to document improvements to the original OB Bolton plans, and the improvements are much more comprehensible. (unlike this blog.)

My uncertainty was compounded by finding castings missing from the kit of parts which I had purchased.  I had taken the precaution of taking photographs of all of the castings when they were originally unwrapped, so I know that they were never there.  The supplier was not interested in rectifying the problem, so I am making the parts out of brass bar stock.

The following photos are the situation to date.

The eccentrics.  These are all split, and joined with M2 bolts.

The eccentrics. These are all split, and joined with M2 bolts.

The components of each eccentric.  The brass "halves", the bolts and the grub screw.

The components of each eccentric. The brass “halves”, the bolts and the grub screw.

The eccentric straps, also made in 2 pieces, joined with M2 bolts.  A groove is turned in each circle, and a corresponding ridge is turned in each eccentric.  All very precise and fiddly.

The eccentric straps, also made in 2 pieces, joined with M2 bolts. A groove is turned in each circle, and a corresponding ridge is turned in each eccentric. All very precise and fiddly.

Six valve rod "yokes" need to be made, but there was only one casting, so I have decided to make them all from bar stock.  The dimensioned bar stock (10x16x55mm) is seen here, with the "Model Engineer" article on the subject underneath.

Six valve rod “yokes” need to be made, but there was only one casting, so I have decided to make them all from bar stock. The dimensioned bar stock (10x16x55mm) is seen here, with the “Model Engineer” article on the subject underneath.

I will machine the yokes next week some time.   Space ships found in the Kazakhstan desert much more interesting, no?

MILLING THE COLUMNS for THE BOLTON 9 MARINE ENGINE

90% setup time, 10% machining.

The columns are tapered on all faces, so are difficult to hold, and difficult to measure.

I did a CAD drawing, to measure the taper angles, and to calculate some extra dimensions.

Then, in order to hold the castings in the milling vice, I made some accurate wedges at the appropriate angles (3 and 12 degrees) in wood and aluminium.

I actually progressed a bit further than the photos show, even roughing out the condensing tank.

IMG_2319

IMG_2317

The aluminium wedges have a 12 degree taper. The top wedge is sitting on a 10 degree and a 2 degree precision taper, giving an accurate 12 degree slope for milling. I made 2 such wedges, each 100mm long.

IMG_2318

Unmachined casting on right. Partly machined on left. Quite difficult to set up, despite the setp up blocks at the appropriate angles.

TAPPING HOLES. BOLTON 9. (Triple Expansion Marine Steam Engine)

Today I drilled and tapped the holes for the bolts which secure the crankshaft main bearings.  I had accurately marked the bearing mounts  in the previous session (see previous photos), and calculated and recorded the DRO (digital read out) position for each hole.  So going back to that position for each step in the process was easy and quick.  The steps today were centre drilling, drilling the 3.3mm holes, and tapping the 4mm threads to a depth of 20mm.

Centre drilling is done with a centre drill bit in an accurate chuck in the milling machine.  Centre drill bits are inflexible and will not wander over the work like an ordinary twist drill bit,  The centre drilled hole is deep enough to create a chamfered edge to the hole.  All 12 holes are drilled with the centre bit, then all 12 drilled with the 3.3 mm bit, then all 12 are threaded.  The DRO positions the work within 0.005mm each time, and the repositioning is very fast, much faster than going to a position doing all 3 processes, changing the bit for each one, then moving to the next position.

The threading was done with a Tapmatic 30 tapping head in my milling machine.  See photo.  This takes about 10 minutes to set up, but the tapping process for the 12 holes then took about 5 minutes.  I use Rapid Tap lubricant for tapping, even in brass.  I guess that manually tapping the holes would have taken about the same time, but it was so satisfying to see the Tapmatic do its stuff.  I use the Tapmatic for any tapping job involving more than about 8-10 holes.  Fewer than that it is quicker to do them manually.  The Tapmatic has a adjustable clutch.  I have never broken a tap in the job using this machine.

Incidentally, I have decided to use nuts and bolts and screws and studs in preference to metric cap screws for this model.  The appearance wins out over practical expediency.  So why the metric threads for this job today?  The specified thread was 5/32″ which is 3.96mm, so I decided to go with the 4mm metric, for which I have the tools already.

 

Tapping the main bearing blocks using the Tapmatic and Tap Magic.

Tapping the main bearing blocks using the Tapmatic and Rapid Tap.

TRIPLE EXPANSION MARINE STEAM ENGINE 3

I had almost 8 hours in the workshop today.  The base plate is progressing.

 

Sheet 1 of 3

Sheet 1 of 3

Milling the main bearing housing slots

Milling the main bearing housing slots.  Using a 14mm HSS end cutter.  Ended up blunt.  There must be some embedded casting sand still

Then I spent an hour or so painting the machined surfaces with marking blue, and marking reference points and edges.

Using a Knu vice to cramp the base plate to and angle plate, and a height gauge to mark the reference lines

Using a Knu vice to cramp the base plate to and angle plate, and a height gauge to mark the reference lines

Top view of the marking out lines

Top view of the marking out lines

After machining the main bearing housings, the big end slots and the eccentric slots.

After machining the main bearing housings, the big end slots and the eccentric slots.

TRIPLE EXPANSION STEAM ENGINE 1

The base casting.

The base casting.

The base of the base, machined flat

The base of the base, machined flat

The base, with 6 pillar mounting areas machined parallel & coplanar, and the crankshaft mounting blocks after an initial skimming.

The base, with 6 pillar mounting areas machined parallel & coplanar, and the crankshaft mounting blocks after an initial skimming.  Slots for big ends roughed out.  2 hour first machining session.  2998 hours to go?

After carefully examining the base casting, and scrutinising the plans to discover all of the dimensions of the base, I commenced machining on my King Rich mill (Bridgeport clone, NT40 with DRO, an excellent machine). Since the base dimensions are scattered over 3 pages of very complex plans, and I am still relatively unfamiliar with them, I am approaching the machining with great caution. At this stage I am aiming to create some flat and coplanar surfaces, with a margin of material remaining, so I can hold the base flat, without rocking, roughing out the shape, and leaving finishing to dimensions at a later date. I intend to attach the base to a rectangular piece of aluminium, so the aluminium can be clamped or held in a vice, rather than risking damaging the brass casting.

CASTINGS ARRIVE AT LAST!!

Today I received a 16.6kg package by courier. It was too heavy for the regular post.  It contained the castings for the model triple expansion steam engine, which I am hoping to build in the next year or so.  I am told that on average this model takes 3000 hours to complete.  That is a scary thought.  Almost unbelievable.  But when I calculate how many hours went into the much simpler single cylinder beam engine (maybe 600-800), I guess that it is not an unrealistic estimate.  Just as well that I am close to retirement age.

The castings were made in NSW Australia, and supplied by Kelly Mayberry at EJ Winter.

All carefully wrapped

All carefully wrapped

The castings are all brass, gunmetal, or bronze

The castings are all brass or gunmetal.  There must be at least 100 of them.

Looks like the condensor chamber, as part of the engine frame.

Looks like the condensor chamber, as part of the engine frame.

The base.

The base.

A large chunk of brass

A large chunk of brass, the intermediate and low pressure cylinders.

The castings appear to be free of holes or defects

The castings appear to be free of holes or defects

Burrell Traction Engine

Castings for Burrell steam traction engine.

Castings for Burrell steam traction engine.

IMG_1958 IMG_1959 IMG_1960 IMG_1961 IMG_1962

Bolton 7 Gunmetal castings

Castings used to make the Bolton 7 engine. These are a hard wearing brass alloy called gunmetal. The next post is a picture of the cast iron castings.
Part of the expertise in making these engines is the technical challenge of accurately machining these lumps of metal.

Bolton 7 Iron castings

A lot of people who see my engines do not know what castings are, so here is a photo

Bolton 7 working with live steam

This is the first run of this engine using steam. I have previously had it going on compressed air, but there is nothing like real, live, hot steam!!

It did show up a few problems which I will have to fix. A few minor leaks, need for a displacement oiler, and need to adjust the length of the piston rod. You will hear a knocking sound in the video. I think that is due to the piston just touching the cylinder cap at the end of each stroke. Not difficult to fix, but will require a complete teardown of the cylinder=piston.

to see it click on the link below.

Machining the flywheel

Beam Engine castings

shipment 1 of 3

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