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Author Topic: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)  (Read 1496 times)
cae2100
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« on: December 24, 2016, 11:09:03 PM »

I figured I would start this since over probably the next year, Ill be working on my new steam engine finally. I was going to go for a dual cylinder, horizontal 3" bore, 3" stroke horizontal steam engine. I have the pattern partially made for the cylinder already, just need to split the corebox to make the core, and add some cardboard to the cylinder pattern to fill back up the 1/8" gap that was cut out of it by the saw kurf width. I also need to add some wood on for the steam chest area. Ill fill this out with pics as time goes on.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 12:24:47 AM by cae2100 » Logged
cae2100
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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 08:26:46 AM »

Cylinder pattern is made, I left extra on each end to use to hold the cylinder in the lathe without marking up the casting too badly.

Here's pics, and Ill start on the corebox next, then steam chest and cover, then finally the cylinder caps. Long list of stuff to do, but whatever keeps you busy, lol.
https://cae2100.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/new-steam-engine/
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cae2100
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 05:00:39 AM »

I decided that the amount of steam needed to run a 2 cylinder engine is just too much and I would just go with a single cylinder design, and I like designs of various engines, but little bits and such I dont like also on them, so Im just combining everything I like together and making an engine design from scratch. It'll still be a horizontal design with a 3x3 cylinder, but

After doing up the rest of the patterns for cylinder, corebox, etc, I figured that instead of making a box frame engine, I think those are just kinda cheating and look like it too, so Im making a frame and everything from scratch. Im just designing my own frame and everything from scratch, and hopefully I can figure it all out before it's time to cast, lol.

I cant seem to get wordpress to run right to upload pics to it, so Ill have to wait on new pics, Ive been knocking out parts like crazy, but still have alot to do still.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2017, 05:03:14 AM by cae2100 » Logged
cae2100
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 06:03:58 PM »

I finally got the pics to upload to wordpress and made a good amount of progress on the base also, just need to sand it down some more and add more water putty, which will build it back up, then sand and repeat till perfect. The corebox and most of the patterns are made except the cross head and bearing housings. Thats about the only things I can think of that is really left to do for now.

Here's the pics:
https://cae2100.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/steam-engine-update/
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cae2100
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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 03:13:53 AM »

Ive finally finished all of the patterns for the steam engine, so all of them are ready to be cast, just need to add some screws and re-enforcing ribs to the flask to lock the sand in, and it'll be ready to start casting the steam engine parts when the weather breaks again. Its been a little while and we had a bit of nice weather for a while, so caught up on the last 2 years of projects to cast, did most of them in 3 days, spend most of the evening making molds, and casting the next morning. Now the only things left to do is make some waterglass, get some more CO2, and finish the flask for the body of the steam engine. Im just worried to see if Ill have enough metal to cast the body or if Ill have to come up with a bigger crucible somehow.

Ive been posting alot of the stuff to youtube and did a bit of video of my casting stuff, also cleaned up a bit of the videos and re-uploaded them so they are much higher quality now and easier to see.

Here's the pics of the steam engine patterns all together, there's around 15 or so all together, which Ill cast in aluminum for most of them, and the stuff like crosshead, piston, eccentric straps, slide valve, etc, Ill cast in brass or bronze.

https://cae2100.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/steam-engine-paterns-update/

I have A413 that Ill be casting the cylinder out of, which is similar to what you find in engine pistons, so it's a high silicon alloy, and alot higher wear resistance than standard A356.

Ive calculated out every aspect of this engine with thermal expansion, metal requirements, etc, and I think I should be good to go to cast this engine once I get the sodium silicate and CO2. I hope to be getting started on it soon, and I know a few people are waiting to see it get started also, and keep asking me about it, lol.

Ive been thinking about building an A frame engine also, which should be much easier, and I can just reuse most of the parts from this engine like the cylinder parts, bearing caps, eccentrics, etc, only the body would change. The plan eventually is to make 3 engines, this one, the O&S, and the A frame, which Ill just do one at a time, mainly this one first so that I can work out all of the bugs with the cylinder design and such.
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woodguy
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 10:45:19 AM »

That's a lot of pattern work. When will the first castings get done?
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cae2100
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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 04:55:10 PM »

probably at the start of spring or whenever the weather breaks enough to do it. Right now, it's freezing cold out and the wind is so bad that I actually saw a cat being blown off the porch yesterday, lol. I really dont want to be trying to handle molten metal in that, lol.

Im working on the flask right now, so whenever that's done, it'll head to the shed to get ready to cast that part. I need to make some more waterglass and get my paintball tank refilled before I can make the core for the cylinder. I dont have access to a toaster oven and cant use the normal oven for baking the cores, and due to the size of them, a hotplate wont work, lol.

Im a bit anxious to get started on it, so just waiting on the weather and some free time again.
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« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 06:13:05 PM »

I got some no-bake sodium silicate from Pottery Barn (I think that was the source), but have not used it yet.

Generally I use the CO2/sodium silicate since there is no wait time.

I will take a look at your patterns.
Looks interesting from what I have seen so far.

We have had an early summer, with temperatures in the 70's in February.
The trees and bushes are blooming, and the grass needs cutting.
Very odd winter.

Edit:
Your patterns look great.
I use to make a lot of split patterns, and then I discovered that many manufacturers used one-piece patterns (I assume with a follower board perhaps), and so I have started making almost all my patters one-piece.

For my last flywheel, I did not even make a follower board, I just pressed the flywheel into the cope sand, packed it from the front, scraped out down to the part line, hardened with CO2, and then made the drag mold.  Worked very well.  This method is detailed in the Navy Foundry Manual for odd shapes.

And I stopped making core boxes for the bore and started using PVC pipe slit on one side.
I cut the counterbore during the machining process, since it is difficult to get a core with counterbore centered exactly in a small cylinder.
For a larger cylinder, I may try a core with counterbore again since that is how large steam engines were originally cast.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 06:21:31 PM by admin » Logged

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cae2100
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 08:04:53 PM »

I thought about using pvc pipe originally, but after I couldnt find one with an ID of 2 3/4", I gave up and just made a corebox. It is designed to be molded half of the core, then joined together with some school glue. Also I made the cylinder pattern and I didnt know about turning wet wood, which everything expanded quite a bit when it was drying, so 2 3/4 became around 2 7/8, and I wanted a bit more to remove when machining to make sure I dont have any imperfections, so I ended up making it custom so it had smaller section in the middle, and larger ends to fit the existing patterns.

I had some sodium silicate made up and mixed with some sand ready to be moulded, but evidently it hardened inside of the bucket, which I know was sealed air tight, but it solidified solid and now I have to make some more, lol. I forget what I used the last of the waterglass for, but I think I had used it to patch up some concrete in our basement or something, or to patch up the furnace, cant really remember, lol.
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cae2100
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2017, 12:32:00 AM »

Sorry I havnt posted anything in a while on here, been busy with everything, but when I get some free time, Ive been machining up the castings. The castings turned out better than I could have ever imagined. I ended up casting out two extra pistons out of A413 aluminum, which is what the cylinder is made of, and is an alloy with very high wear resistance. I also found a cast iron liner to press into the cylinder once it's been machined. I also screwed up and machined the two ends off of the steam engine, so I have no way to bore out the cylinder, so I had to make a mandrel to hold it in the lathe to machine it, otherwise the boring bar wants to hit the chuck jaws.

Here's a few recent pics of the castings I had out and the progress on them, I need to cast out a few more parts, mainly because they somehow dissappeared, or didnt have a crucible big enough to actually cast them (body of the engine). Ill try to get some more pics and such as I go along. I usually record the casting and machining videos on my youtube page, which if you wanted to see how everything is going, most of it is on there already released. The newer stuff will be released in a few days. (trying to keep some sort of releasing schedule than blasting subscribers with video release spam, lol)

Edit: also, here's my youtube videos:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCuE8KFwaIgG76kPTVR5jA/videos


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« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 02:26:38 AM by cae2100 » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2017, 02:37:50 AM »

The parts are looking very good, and that shaper seems like a real workhorse.

I have been following along with your videos, they are entertaining as well as instructive.
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cae2100
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2017, 02:00:31 PM »

I try to make my videos at least a little bit informative. Something that jagboy on AA said to me just kinda stuck with me and it's kinda been the guideline for the videos since, lol. It was in the youtube winners in metal casting page, or I think that's the name of it.

I wrote that I was afraid that I would end up in that post one of these days, and he wrote this, and it just kinda stuck

Quote
2 things happen to those that end up here.

1) We learn you are an idiot.
2) We learn nothing.

CAE, you're safe bud. I always pick up something good from your videos. ;-) I'm off to find some silicone cupcake molds tomorrow. Thanks again!

So I try to make it at least somewhat informational or at least entertaining. When I started machining parts, videos like the ones Ive been trying to make were the most invaluable ones because it showed me tons of ideas on how to hold various pieces to machine them, and how certain things would be machined without running into problems like stuff lifting on me and such.

On a side note, Ill release these in a few days, but I grabbed back out the angle plate again for more work on the shaper.
Part1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmu_PhHg2M0
Part2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwLlkxsWCOI

I went to machine it in the vise, but it lifted or something and set the port face at a slight angle, hence the need for second part where I just clampped it to the front of the angle plate, then I knew that it was square, lol. The leadscrew nut in the shaper vise had snapped, which is why it lifted on me, it was no longer holding the cylinder but the shaper was still just pushing it against the vise jaw and continuing to cut it, lol. I since made a new leadscrew nut out of what I call impossiblum, a type of steel that was almost impossible to tap threads in due to being so strong, lol. I can almost guarantee it wont break on me again anyways, lol...
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 02:44:41 PM by cae2100 » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 06:39:09 AM »

I found a really nice cylinder of steel; about 8 inches diameter, and about 10 inches long, and thought I really had something useful to use for making steam engines.

One day I chucked it up in the lathe, and found out much to my dismay that it was made of what I call "no-cutium", which is a special alloy designed to ruin any cutting tool bit immediately.

I will have to catch up on your videos; I have been traveling.
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cae2100
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2017, 12:55:20 PM »

lol, that sounds like the stuff I used to make my shaper vise leadscrew nut out of, it just ate carbide tips like they were made of candle wax, lol. Just for S&Gs, I stuck in one of the mystery and odd looking bits from the local junkstore that I had bought, it went through it and was taking around 1/8" deep cuts in it and removed from 1" to 3/8" for alot of it, then a bit more for a few steps and such. The odd thing is, that bit is actually still sharp, lol. I think it's M42 cobalt or some type of crobalt bit, but it just ate it like it was nothing, then the steel ate my tap when I tried tapping the 1/2" threads in it. It was defenitely a nightmare to sharpen tho.

You could always just stick it in your furnace and get it orange hot, then let it cool back down. That should soften it up a little bit so it can be machined. Thats what I had to do to get the hole tapped in the piece of steel I had.

Ive also heard that steel cylinders tend to want to rust alot easier than cast iron ones, which rust welds the piston in place over time and not being used, is there much truth to that?
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2017, 02:30:05 PM »

Cast iron tends to pit, and you can see that on and inside many of the old engines, but the graphite seems to slow that process down a bit.

Steel on the other hand seems to be very bad about corroding, and it just goes way, and rather quickly if moisture is present.

My dad generally ran a cast iron piston on a cast iron cylinder, and while that works well, I learned the hard way that if you do not get the water out of the cylinder after you run it on steam (clean out the water using WD40), then the piston will seize to the cylinder.
This happened on my dad's steam bicycle engine, and it was a lot of trouble to get that piston forced back out of the cylinder after sitting for a year or so.

For a steam engine that will be run every day, corrosion is not really a problem since you lubricate the engine every time you run it.

That is the reason I don't run my dad's engines on steam at Soule; I don't want to have to de-water them, and you have to be sure to get all the water out of the cylinder, steam chest, and anywhere else that it gets, which is typically everywhere.
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cae2100
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2017, 04:13:22 PM »

yea, thats what I thought, I shouldnt have much trouble with my stuff since it's aluminum, but I was worried about the slide valve and the dissimilar metals with it being bronze on aluminum. Ill probably just run mine on air and just something to play with anyhow, so I shouldnt have too many issues with it.

And back to the engine build, I got the bolt holes and everything done up, that indexing table worked amazingly good, everything just fits perfectly. I have the cylinder bolted to the mandrel now and ready to bore it out as soon as the humidity breaks for a few. I cant record and run my super fan at the same time, or you cant hear anything but what sounds like a microphone caught in a hurricane, lol. The thing does wonders to keep you cool, but is not good to record around, lol.

I counter bored the bolt holes on the back of the mandrel so I can push the back of the mandrel directly against the jaws of the chuck and not have to worry about bolt heads or nuts protruding out. Ill have to recast the steam chest again, and cast another steam chest cover because I lost the cover, and the steam chest just doesnt look right after getting everything machined to this point, so Ill have to just make another, much thicker tho. It'll also make it much easier to drill the steam chest bolt holes for the studs also. Ill have to get some loctite to attach the studs in also, but for now, Ill just turn the studs in and leave them.

Here's the video of using the indexing head on the drill press and how it all fits together, and how perfectly it fits. It actually went together and was far more accurate than I thought I could get in all honesty, the dial indicator attached to the side of the drill press made a world of a difference in accuracy also.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKPhhPVAPUo


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« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 04:27:31 PM by cae2100 » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2017, 07:15:49 PM »

Well, I cant use a liner now, I got the cylinder bored and everything, heated up the cylinder and tried to push the liner in. I got around 1/3rd way in and it seized up on me and I heard a crack, and suddenly the whole liner exploaded, slicing up my arm and going everywhere. I managed to get the liner remnant back out, but I had to cut it out with a carbide endmill, which left a 1/16" groove down the cylinder. Im about to just send it out to get it bored out on a mill to make it perfectly square and smooth. Ill try it again one more time, and if it doesnt work this time, the cylinder will be scrapped and tried again with a fresh one, but on the new one, Ill just cut the core in half and put a cast iron sleeve over the core, and put the core back together so that it is cast into the cylinder itself.

The real odd part is tho, the cast iron liner was actually softer and easier to machine away with the carbide endmill than the aluminum was when I was trying to do the port face.

Edit: I just gave up and bored it out to a few thousandths under 3" like I originally planned, and will just hone it to 3". I was digging through the scrap stuff and had this old air compressor body that had two pistons that the top was junk and missing bits, but it had two 3 inch pistons with 2 piston rings each. I just need to hone it to get the walls perfectly smooth, but atm, the pistons, without the rings in it make a very satisfying pop sound when you pull them out of the bore, lol.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 02:15:29 PM by cae2100 » Logged
woodguy
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2017, 08:46:43 AM »

ouch - sounds like a close call with fragments flying.
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2017, 03:06:52 PM »

Our power went back out yesterday, and remained off until a little while ago.

Hopefully it will remain on now.

That is a bummer about the sleeve.

My concern with a sleeve is that with my luck, the sleeve would always jam mid-way down.

This is one area where I would consider using permanent thread-locking material; I think it is the green stuff that wicks in between the metal surfaces (it is not the red or blue thread locking material).

Sounds like the air compressor pistons/rings may work well too.

You got some really hard aluminum there.
One of the reasons I like to machine gray cast iron is like woodguy says "It machines like butter".
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cae2100
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2017, 04:59:35 PM »

yea, it is defenitely some hard aluminum, I have a piston from the air compressor in it now and it's so hard that it was wearing the aluminum piston itself rather than wearing in on the cylinder. Without the piston rings I have high enough compression that I tried pulling up on it while having it on my leg to create an airtight seal, and it pulled the skin up into the cylinder with almost a perfect vacuum and ended up slicing my leg. I wasnt really pulling up that hard, but it just had that much vacuum and the inside of the cylinder was just sharp. With the piston rings, it just wants to slide over the surface and with a cover on it, it wants to act like a air shock. I still need to find a silicon carbide hone to hone it, then I drill the ports for the steam, and then the end covers. Then all that is left after that is just to start putting the cylinder assembly together.

Ill need to cast out those other few parts that Im missing, but hopefully it wont be too big of a deal since we're getting a little bit of decent weather from time to time lately. I honestly dont think Ill have any trouble with wear in the cylinder, the alloy I chose has so high of silicon content to it that it's the same alloy that's used in sleeveless engines, like what is used in porshe engines and other sleeveless engines, and I look at it this way, those are going up and down at thousands of strokes per minute and it doesnt wear out due to the process that is used on them, and Im using the same alloy and have been looking into doing the same process. It's mainly just using some dilute alkaline solution to dissolve a microscopic layer of aluminum away, leaving the silicon crystals exposed on the surface, but only after the honing process. It'll leave a glass smooth surface and harder than the cast iron surface. And yea, those have pistons going up and down in them thousands of times per minute and mine will be sparingly used, and mainly just be a toy to play with, and will only run a few hundred strokes per minute with plenty of oil.

From what Ive learned from machining this stuff, it machines really easily on the lathe and shaper, but you just need to use some higher end HSS or it'll just eat it. All I had for the shaper was M2 HSS I believe, but I just picked up some M42 cobalt HSS for the lathe, which is what I used to bore it. The M42 stuff is nuts imo, I machined the hardened steel and it didnt even flinch, but ate the carbide like it was nothing, lol. But yea, the stuff machines easily, but acts like it's just harder than anything if you take really fine passes.

It acted like it was going to wear down the machining marks by pushing the piston in and out, but after a few minutes, it stopped and started eroding the aluminum piston instead. I made the piston and cylinder of the same material, or my piston is, so it shouldnt wear the piston like it is now. Either way, I have free piston rings for the thing now, and after boring it out, it should be ready to start machining the end cap covers and piston. I just need to make another mandrel to machine the piston, I know that I need to do it on a mandrel, but for the life of me atm, I cant remember why, lol. Ill remember when I start to machine it anyways, lol.

I thought about sleeving it again, but after pricing motorcycle sleeves for the size Im after, most are too short or not in the right bore that I was after, so I just bored it out and was trying out to see how wear resistant this alloy really is, and from what I see now, it is far more resistant than I ever thought, lol.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 06:03:54 PM by cae2100 » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2017, 07:53:06 PM »

I figured I would post the progress on here of the steam engine. I had gotten the cylinder bored out, and couldnt find a cylinder hone to do it up.

After getting beyond frustrated at being BS'd and not being able to find a hone, I finally sat down in the garage and looked around, then went over to the saw and found two pieces of 2x4 that we were using for railing on our deck on our house. I put 3 screws in one end to join the pieces together, stuck them in a lathe, and turned them to the size of the bore to use it as a lap. I just used a lag bolt in the end of it between the two pieces to expand the pieces of wood apart and ended up just lapping it. I didnt have any lapping compound or any grinding compound, so I remembered that I had some bon ami in the camper here which was kinda gritty, and that it would break down as it was being used. I ended up mixing that with some mineral oil (baby oil) and making a paste out of it that I used on the lap to lap out the cylinder, which the stuff worked beautifully. it litterally looks and feels like a mirror finish now, and it took all of the out of round out and taper out of the cylinder too.

I ended up machining up and using a brass piston in it with ptfe (teflon) piston rings, which seem to be working insanely well so far, they just glide on the glass smooth surface. I was looking at the piston blanks that I had cast out of the high silicon aluminum and it ocoured to me that I didnt want aluminum piston, an aluminum on aluminum surface would cause all kinds of trouble with scoring up either the piston or the bore, so I ended up going with the brass one. The metal was poured a bit too cold, which gave it all kinds of pits in the finish, but it is solid all the way through, and on the outisde rim of the piston, it was perfectly solid and pretty much perfect.

I stuck the cylinder back on the mandrel and indicated it in in the lathe, and faced off both ends of the cylinder again to clean up all of the dings and dents, so it was perfectly smooth and a good area for a gasket to easily sandwich together. I also did up the water drain ports also, but this time, I learned a few things and it turned out much nicer, which meant that there was no dings or anything in the cylinder wall again. This time, I put a junk engine piston in the bore with some hockey pucks underneath of it to have the piston act like a stop and just used a metal chisel to cut out the ways.

I also ended up machining up the end covers last night and today, but made them a hair too small, but I was measuring off of the one part on the outsides of the cylinder rather than the overall outside of it. It was done off of the part where it was sanded down that had the parting line, which kinda messed me up. It does look great tho and looking at it, it's not really that noticeable unless you start really looking at it close. I put a step on the covers to act as indicating parts for the cylinder, and the front cover, I bored out around 1/8" so that there's clearance room for the piston rod and nut in the front.

I got some brass pipe plugs and drilled a 1/2" hole through the 1/2" npt pipe plug for the piston rod, and a 3/8" hole through 3/8" pipe plug for the steam chest. I figured that I would wrap the shafts with some packing material and the cone bottom from the drill bit and bottom of the pipe plug would make it so it would just tighten up the packing material as it tightened in, and with it running quite a bit, the plugs would normally want to loosen themselves up a little bit, but with the tapered threads of a pipe plug, tighting it up would just tighten up even more on the threads and lock the plug so it wont come out on it's own, taking up any wear or slack.

Here's the pics of what it looks like now. I'll have to get out and cast out the steam chest, cover, and main body of the engine before I can really go any further, so I'll maybe have a week or so of downtime since the weather is supposed to be crap for the next week.



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woodguy
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« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2017, 11:01:13 PM »

Lookin' good. What are you going to raise steam with?
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« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2017, 11:27:34 PM »

Ill probably just use my air compressor for now, just to play with it. Later on, Ill try to find a bigger boiler than my pressure cooker contraption that Ive been using, lol. Also, Its going to be quite a bit of time before I start trying to run it on steam or anything really, lol.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2017, 11:28:47 PM by cae2100 » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2017, 11:51:29 PM »

Yes, that is looking quite good.

I will have to look at it more closely tomorrow when I have more time.
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« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2017, 12:26:16 AM »

I finally got part of the base cast for the steam engine. It should be more than rock solid enough, lol. It was originally 3/8" thick walled on everything, but after a slight accident where I dropped the flask full of sand on the pattern and it caused it to rip most of the stuff off of the bottom of the pattern, I just hot glued some 1/4" bolts to the bottom of the top half of it to raise it up in the mold to make it thicker. Now the base is 5/8 in most areas, and 1 1/4" in the crosshead platform, and the bearing supports. It does have some defects, but I think it can be salvaged.

The crosshead platform will have a steel platform put on top of it and probably will look into seeing how brass will ride on babbit, or if I'll just go with putting babbit onto the brass crosshead, and doing it that way, that or just doing brass on steel with lots of oil, lol.

I got the steam chest and steam chest cover cast out also, just hope that these dont take off on me again... Here's a pic of how it looks, but Ill have my work ahead of me to figure out how to machine the thing since it''s far too big for the shaper to take a facing cut off of the bottom of the whole thing. I may just need to lap it flat or something, but that's alot of work to do that.


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admin
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TN


« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2017, 04:00:48 AM »

The base turned out nice, as did the chest and cover.

Maybe just put a foot under each corner of the base to level it; like a pad, bolt or whatever.
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What did you cast today ?
cae2100
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« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2017, 10:15:11 AM »

I was going to try to get it flat, then remake the base of it how it was, but this time, only cast the bottom part of it with alot more supports and such, that way it's much much stronger. The top is now so thick that it shouldnt flex at all, no matter what, so a majorly strong base on it too, I should be set forever with it, lol. I wanted to kinda stick with the original look of the pattern because I just liked the look of it, lol.
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