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Author Topic: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)  (Read 4322 times)

cae2100

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New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« on: December 25, 2016, 01:09:03 AM »

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, 02:24:47 AM by cae2100 »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2016, 10:26:46 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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Re: New Build
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 07:00:39 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, 07:03:14 AM by cae2100 »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 08:03:58 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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Re: New Build
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 05:13:53 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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Re: New Build
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 12:45:19 PM »

That's a lot of pattern work. When will the first castings get done?
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cae2100

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Re: New Build
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2017, 06:55:10 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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admin

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Re: New Build
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2017, 08:13:05 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, 08:21:31 PM by admin »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2017, 10:04:53 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2017, 03:32:00 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
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 05:26:38 AM by cae2100 »
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admin

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2017, 05:37:50 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2017, 05:00:31 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, 05:44:41 PM by cae2100 »
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admin

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2017, 09:39:09 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2017, 03:55:20 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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admin

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2017, 05:30:05 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.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 05:32:12 PM by admin »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2017, 07:13:22 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
« Last Edit: May 29, 2017, 07:27:31 PM by cae2100 »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2017, 10:15:49 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, 05:15:29 PM by cae2100 »
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woodguy

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2017, 11:46:43 AM »

ouch - sounds like a close call with fragments flying.
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admin

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2017, 06:06:52 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".
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 06:10:05 PM by admin »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2017, 07:59:35 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, 09:03:54 PM by cae2100 »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2017, 10:53:06 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2017, 02:01:13 AM »

Lookin' good. What are you going to raise steam with?
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2017, 02:27:34 AM »

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 07, 2017, 02:28:47 AM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2017, 02:51:29 AM »

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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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2017, 03:26:16 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2017, 07:00:48 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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2017, 01:15:11 PM »

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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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2017, 08:23:20 PM »

I found a petcock/draincock in a bucket of nuts and bolts from a garage sale, and was going to put it on the steam engine since it's the same size, which I was hoping there would have been two but there wasnt. I looked online to find some hoping that I could find them in 1/8" NPT like mine was, and every one I found, they wanted 20-30 dollars each, and it wasnt even the same, so I would have to get two. I was looking around and found this, so I was thinking of making it out of brass hex stock with a form tool in the lathe with a few modifications.
https://myprojecty.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/stuarts-compound-drain-cocks/

I have the slide valve done and crosshead roughed out now, so now it's onto working on the body of the engine. The only other brass piece I have to work on is the eccentric strap, but I was thinking of maybe looking through the collection of HSS bits to see if I have any that would be easy to turn into a trepanning tool so that Im not wasting alot of metal to just chips. I rather trepan it out so that the core of the casting will just fall out and can go back into the pot to be remelted rather than turned to tiny little needles that go everywhere and just end up in the trash because they oxidize faster than they can melt. I also found some steel on the railroad tracks that Ill have to check it again, but if Im lucky, it should be the right size for the eccentric sheathe.

I did some layout on the steam engine body to chain drill the hole in the front for the cylinder cover and should be ready to get that cut out sometime soon when the heat breaks. I also took a large belt sander and went across the bottom of it to flatten it out a little bit, but it just kept blowing the belts apart, so I just gave up on it for now, I may just end up trying to use those coarse belts and lapping the whole thing to get it flat. The next thing to do tho is to get the body mounted in the shaper somehow, which I dont have any hold down clamps, and because I dont have a milling machine, making the slots are kinda difficult to do accurately, so I was thinking of making a tool to hold the bits at 90 degrees and just hold the steel vertical in the shaper vise and use the shaper like a slotter to cut those slots. It's alot faster than filing the stuff out with the needle files, lol.

Ill have to get some more flap disks, probably 36 grit so I can just grind away all of the flashing off of the base of the engine, but for now, I was planning on leaving it so that if the need arrises, I can use it to clamp it down to the table by drilling holes through it to use with the T-slot nuts and bolts.

I did get the shafts for the engine, I have a few rods of 316L stainless, 3/8"x2' long, and 1/2"x2' long, so I turned down the 1/2" one down on one end to 3/8" and threaded it so it holds the piston on, then found a 3/8" nut that I tightened onto it to lock the piston on in place. I eventually will replace that with a jam nut, but for now, it should work fine, and if nothing else, I'll just stick a bolt into the lathe, thread that nut on and turn it down to half thickness and make a custom jam nut out of it, lol. I wanted to make it all out of stainless so it wouldnt rust if I chose to run it on wet steam later on to play with it.

I was playing with my air compressor and put around 10-20 psi into the steam port with the water drain plugged, and was having fun just watching the piston push the piston rod out and against the other end of the cylinder, then I would push it back in and repeated, lol. I was having fun with just messing with that and didnt comprehend before the amount of power that that little bit of air actually had, lol. It just pushed it out and I couldnt push it back in by hand, lol.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 08:24:36 PM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2017, 10:17:14 PM »

I think I ran across Benni's website a few years ago, but I did not remember much about it, and had not seen the petcock build.

I purchased some petcocks for the Speedy Twin, and I think I got them from McMaster Carr or some supply house like that.
They were not cheap, but not too expensive.
And you cannot find an exact match for old petcocks unless you make your own.

I will try to make a petcock one of these days, but will stay focused on getting some engines done first.
I have seen at least one other article on making petcocks, and I think they lapped them with a fine compound to prevent leaking.

I have not had much luck heating and bending brass without breaking it, so I would probably cast all the pieces, and would probably use bronze.
That would be a good project for a mini furnace.

Too bad that Benni has not posted in a while; he has some good material.

And funny he mentions John Bentley.
I consider John one of the creme de la creme of model builders, and use his work as a benchmark for what I am trying to achieve.
Rich Carlstadt is another builder that I have followed for a long time (Monitor engine), and I actually got to meet Rich and have a fantastic visit with him; sort of a chance of a lifetime thing for me.

I figure if I can reach 10% of the quality that these guys produce, I am really doing something.

John's website is here:
http://www.modelengines.info/

A video of Rich's Monitor engine is here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWn8gQ9Ykpk

These guys show what can be attained, not necessarily by me, but by someone with a lot of skill and patience.


It is surprising how much power a small cylinder can produce, even at a low steam pressure.
Most people have no idea how strong a single cylinder steam engine is, but most people are not aware that they produce two power strokes per revolution either, compared to a 4-stroke auto engine which only produces one power stroke for every other revolution.
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2017, 10:28:38 PM »

I was curious about heating and bending brass, which when I researched into it, it said that it gets crumbly when heated, and the best thing to do is just heat it up, let it cool to anneal it, and knock it over a little bit till it starts pushing back, then reheat, anneal again, and continue. Thats about the only way Ive found to do it. Just do the same thing as you would for working with copper.

I was really amazed by how little pressure it took to really push the piston around and to keep it from pushing back. It gives a whole new insight into how strong air compressor tanks have to be to hold the 100-150psi that most compressors run at. I am just learning about all of this stuff as Im going along, and the more I get into it, it's just making it more amazing as I go.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 10:31:16 PM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2017, 10:55:12 PM »

Edit:  I had a brain lapse, the equation for area is (pi*r squared).  I will correct below.

For a 3" piston, the surface area is 7 sq.in.  (pi*r squared)

So at 100 psi, the force applied to the piston rod would be 700 lbs (if I did the math right, check me on this).


For a 24" steam locomotive piston, the area is 452 sq.in, and I think some of those ran at 200 psi, so that would be 90,400 lbs of force produced by each cylinder.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 03:03:13 AM by admin »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2017, 12:00:59 AM »

It looks right for what I see, then on top of that, this is what I figured out also.

At 30 PSI, which I would be running it at at most, it'll be 210 cubic inches of torque, 210/12 to get 17.5 foot pounds of torque, then I want it to be running at around 150rpms, so 5252/(17.5*150), which gives me 0.4998HP on my engine. If I take it up to 300rpms, which alot of engines I see run at, it'll give it 1.009HP out of the engine. That is going to be one seriously powerful little engine for just a toy, lol.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 07:01:43 PM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2017, 03:10:02 AM »

At 30 psi, the force produced by your piston would be 210 lbs.

If your stroke is 3" (many of the old steam engines were long stroke, but some were square stroke, especially the higher speed ones) then the crank arm is 1.5", and so 210 lbs times 1.5 inches is 315 inch-pounds of torque, or about 26 ft-lbs of torque.

Supposedly, the Stanley Steamer (the steam auto) instruction manual warned the operator not to apply full throttle from a standstill, else the crankshaft would be bent.

I think Stanley had 4" bores, and it ran at about 500 psi, so 12.56 cubic inches of piston area times two = 25.12 square inches, times 500 lbs/sq in = 12,560 lbs of force, times 2.5 inches (assumed crank pin offset) = 31,400 in-lbs of torque, or 2616 ft-lbs of torque.
Edit:
I think I am off on this torque number; I think a value of perhaps 700 ft-lbs of torque for a Stanley engine would be reasonable.


I am not sure of the above math, so check me on that, but the Stanley Steamer was able to climb Mt. Washington when no other internal combustion powered auto could, and that was accomplished with the large amount of torque that the engine produced.
http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/maine-twins-invent-stanley-steamer-climb-mt-washington/

Here is a bit more on the Mt. Washington climb, but what is important to remember about steam engines is the torque produced, and also maximum torque can be produced by a steam engine at zero rpm, unlike an automobile engine that produces maximum torque generally near the end of its rpm range.
http://www.stanleysteamers.com/centennial.htm

The horsepower of a steam engine is not nearly as critical as the torque it can produce.

Edit:
Also mentioned in one of the articles online is the fact that steam engine horsepower is more a function of how much power the boiler can produce at a constant rate.
A steam engine can produce far more than rated horsepower by increasing the engine rpm or the boiler pressure, assuming the engine and boiler are built to operate in these ranges.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 03:57:07 AM by admin »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2017, 04:22:31 AM »

yea, I know it's based off of the boiler, but Im just trying to get a general idea of the power of it. I try to find a HP rating for an engine, then I know what to look for in a boiler if I choose to run it on steam later on when I get it remade and cast again in cast iron down the road. I know where the minimum range is for what to look for when looking at a boiler, I would look for at least 10% overhead in HP rating tho to just be safe.

Ive seen quite a bit on the stanley steamers before, but if I remember correctly, they would eventually run out of steam and would need to stop once in a while to rebuild up steam again. I remember seeing the doble steam car, which I believe was a dual 4" compound engine that ran at 700-800 psi I believe. It used a flash boiler setup to keep the explosion hazard to a minimum and the design of it made it very effecient, and it just built up the pressures needed on demand. Here's the video on the doble.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUg_ukBwsyo
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 04:23:59 AM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2017, 05:40:12 AM »

The Doble reached a new level of steam engineering for sure, and the only problem I have with the Doble engines is that they were so advanced that they hardly resembled a steam engine, or rather what I think of as my favorite steam engine style.

I guess everyone has their favorite style; some prefer the very old style beam and earlier engines; some like the giant oscillators; some like the compound marine era.

My favorites are the engines from the late 1800's that still had open crankcases, and still had recognizable parts common to engines of the era.
There is something about the lines of those engines that make them both useful tools of the industrial age as a well as (in my opinion) works of art.

When I was in Chicago picking up the Speedy Twin, I was offered some extremely nice two cylinder steam engines at a very reasonable price, and I had to reluctantly decline them because they were from perhaps 1910 or 1920, and were totally enclosed, and looked more like an IC engine than a steam engine.  No doubt they were fantastic engines, and very advanced, but I like to be able to see the parts moving when an old steam engine is running, and perhaps more importantly, these engines would not fit in the back of my minivan along with the Speedy Twin.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 05:47:19 AM by admin »
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cae2100

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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2017, 05:13:57 AM »

Well, I got the front cylinder face cleaned up on the body of the steam engine, just to clean up the pattern draft off and to machine it all square to everything else. I would have to say that that angle plate was well worth the time of making it, lol.

Ive been scraping in the bottom of the body since I have no way to machine it, and that is some seriously hard aluminum. I have a few scraping tools and have been using the one, but had to resharpen it 5-6 times now, and Im only about 1/4 way done. I thought it was just cheap/crap steel that it was made out of, so tried using my carbide one that is a bit bigger and kinda more akward, but after a few mins of using that one, it wore the edge off of it also. Also, doing it by hand, it makes you really want a power scraper, lol. That or alot bigger shaper, but that's on the list down the road, lol.

I was also looking into the steel for the crankshaft, have you ever used stainless steel in your crankshafts for your steam engines? Due to the work hardening nature of the stainless, and due to when it was extruded into rod, the outside shell is extremely tough and I wont have to worry about it rusting either.

I was looking at making gunmetal bushings for the crankshaft and crank pin bushing since it's a good bearing material. Im just not sure how it would hold up tho.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 05:16:29 AM by cae2100 »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2017, 06:18:45 AM »

I have not made a crankshaft for an engine yet, but rather used a crank pin pressed into the crank disk.

But for the bottle engine, I will use cold rolled high strength steel (not stainless), and will use a shrink fit into the crank webs, with a final pin to lock it into place.
Some people silver solder their cranks, but I don't like to silver solder, and I don't like having to refill the oxygen and acetylene tanks and buy expensive silver solder.
And the fumes can be rather toxic too.

I think woodguy mentioned that the best rod to use was the ground and polished stuff, which would ensure an accurate press fit.
Here is some stress proof stuff (not sure if I will use this, but I think many do):
https://www.speedymetals.com/pc-1565-8240-1-12-rd-stressproof-or-equivalent-turned-ground-polished-000-001.aspx

From the Speedy Metals website:
Stressproof ® Ground and Polished bars have a built-in high strength hardness, without the need of heat treatment. Stressproof ® Ground and Polished rounds have the combination of free machinability, minimum warpage, high strength, and wearability not found in ordinary metals.

Also from the web:
Steel Round Stressproof (1144) Turned Grnd & Polished
STRESSPROOF was designed to meet, in one bar, the need for greater strength, elimination of heat treatment, better machinability and improved fatigue and wear resistance. It has a tensile strength of 115,000 psi, yield strength of 100,000 psi and an elongation of 8% minimum (7% above 2”).


The strength numbers are extremely good, and the machinability is quite high too (83% of B1112, although I don't know the machinability of B112).

I have started using bearing bronze exclusively for bearings; I think it will outlast brass by a lot, or so I am told.
I use naval brass (old boat shaft) for things like glands, where there is no actual sliding contact.

And ultimately I plan on using lead-free babbitt for most of my bearings, and I purchased the alloy that is good for high stress (I forget the alloy, I think it is 11).
Some babbitt info here:
http://wiki.vintagemachinery.org/BabbittWhatIsIt.ashx

The Cretors line of steam engines used babbitt bearings because Cretors did not want any of his engines to ever come back to the shop for repair.
And something I notices on one of my Cretors engines is that the crankshaft apparently was precision aligned perpendicular to the connecting rod, and then the bearings poured, and the babbitt is not symmetrical in the bearing shell.
In other words, any misalignment of the bearing shells can be eliminated by using poured babbitt bearings, assuming you align the shaft correctly before the pour.

Stainless steel does not seem to have much strength, and some of it has low machinabilty.
If I use stainless (generally I would only use it on a piston rod, or maybe a valve rod too, but would probably use stress-free cold rolled for strength), I would use one of the more machinable alloys, and generally the stuff that has a high corrosion resistance.
Corrosion resistance varies with different alloys of stainless.


Aluminum can be tough to work with, especially when trying to saw it; the blade tends to jam.
Heat treating 356 aluminum to T6 specs helps make it much harder and a little easier to machine, although plain 356 is also pretty easy to machine.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 06:21:39 AM by admin »
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2017, 08:29:55 AM »

I was thinking about the stainless after seeing doubleboost on youtube using it for his little engine. I was thinking of doing a press fit and welding it up, then machining the parts down to size. I was going for a 7/8" shaft probably, but getting 1" shaft and turning it down to size between centers, that way it's completely straight and I can machine out any warp that would occur. I have a bunch of 1" and 1 1/8" cold rolled here, just need to clean the rust off of it due to it being out in the weather for a few years. I cant afford to buy the precision stuff, just what I can get from the one metal supply place that is semi local, but it's hit and miss if you can find what your really after.

I thought about the gunmetal parts because alot of bushings are actually made of it that Ive found, and I have a bit of it laying around. I thought about doing babbit before for the crankshaft bushings, but just forgot about it and didnt think it would be usable in the crank pin/connecting rod bushing.

All of the stainless that I use is 316L, and when you machine it, it'll rust where it is machined unless you electropolish/passify the machined joints, which isnt too hard to do tbh. You just want to use electrolysis and an acid to eat away the iron crystals in the machined surface so that the only thing that can form is the chromium oxide over top of it, which is what makes stainless, stainless. I honestly wont put the engine under a heavy load, I think in all reality, it is just be something to tinker with and wont be under any real load beyond my hand on the flywheel to put a minor load on the engine. If I cant find the stainless bar or I change my mind, I have the cold rolled stuff here that I can turn down to size between centers. I just need to get my shop finished and the lathe leveled perfectly first.

I know that if you leave A356 castings to sit for a few weeks or so after casting, they'll naturally age to around T5 temper, which is pretty good also, but it just takes time. Most people are impatient and want to do the stuff right now or produce as many finished castings and machined parts as they can, so they temper it the artificial way. All I know is that this stuff is hard to no end atm and stronger than anything from what Ive seen, lol. Ive scraped cast iron before and it was much easier than this stuff is to do, and much less abrasive on the tools.
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #38 on: July 13, 2017, 06:08:53 AM »

I watched a couple of your videos tonight.

Your engine is really starting to come together.
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Re: New Build (3x3 Steam Engine)
« Reply #39 on: July 13, 2017, 07:56:36 AM »

Thanks for watching, lol. As you can see from the videos, I honestly have no clue what Im doing half the time, which Im just learning as I go along. Doing this build has taught me alot about the steam engine design, far more than I ever thought imaginable, lol. It also taught me alot about my lathe and shaper, and the downfalls of them and what needs fixed/replaced. It also showed me more than I ever imagined with what could be accomplished with just a lathe, shaper, drill press, and the ability to cast, and what a bit of imagination can accomplish when you try to outsmart a problem using only what you have, and what you can scrounge up, lol.

I got the body mostly flat on the bottom, there is a shrink part that's like 1/16" deep in the middle, but I have full contact all around the outside edges and everywhere else except the shrinkage. I had the belt sander to clean off the high spots on the bottom, but that thing was so out of flat that you could let some kids teeter totter on it it was so bad, lol. I grabbed a piece of plate glass and put it on my table saw top (old and cast iron table saw top), then blued it up and kept taking the angle grinder with a worn out flap wheel on it to keep taking off the high spots, and that made short work of taking the teeter out of it. Then I scraped it in with my scraping tools, to get it pretty flat. For just a mating surface, it's more than adequate for something that will probably just go on a wooden base.

I was looking at work hardening the stainless since I thought it was so hard when work hardened, but after some research, I found exactly the answer that I was looking for on practical machinist. It was part of this page here:
http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general-archive/how-avoid-work-hardening-304-while-machining-152729/#post839107

The guy said this:
Quote
I still wouldn't say the hole was 'hard' but it was cut resistant. It'll still pick-up and score like nobody's business if you try to slide something close fitting into that 'hard' surface, so its not very hard.

So Ive kinda decided against the stainless crankshaft. Ive been trying to think of some source of hard steel to make the crankshaft out of, and I have a few ideas, but we'll have to see where that goes, lol. If nothing else, Ill just grab some of the rods that hold the track spacing together. The repair people just throw them off in the weeds when they get bent and replaced. I think they're comparable to a grade 8 bolt, so they're pretty strong. Ive been wondering why so many people were having trouble with stainless and machining it, Ive done a little bit of it but Ive only used HSS bits, and I am almost religious about keeping my tools extremely sharp. If you saw my fingers, you would know how sharp they get, lol.

Ive also discovered a few things that have thrown a few problems with the steam chest and such. I need to make a whole new steam chest pattern and cast it again for the 5th time, I realized that I made the steam chest itself far too thin and it'll cause me a ton of problems, and honestly wouldnt look right imo. Ill probably add another 1/2" to the top and bottom of the existing pattern, and probably just make it a split pattern to aid in molding and keep the draft from eating up too much room inside.

It's kinda funny in a way after thinking about it, pretty much every large and important piece of this whole build, Ive had to strap to that angle plate, the cylinder, body, etc. I just wanted the angle plate for doing keyslots in pulleys with, but that has to be one of the most useful tools that Ive made for that shaper lol. (besides the vise)
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:24:03 AM by cae2100 »
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