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Old 11-04-2016, 12:15 AM   #1
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Default A Smaller Steam Engine For A Smaller Boat

Well my steam powered sternwheeler http://www.homemodelenginemachinist....ad.php?t=22191 is fun to run, but it is a real event to get 50lbs and 6ft of boat out to the water and back. I want something I can toss into the car and steam on a pond with little effort and support equipment.

I am going to start with the running gear to get an idea of weight and from there I will find some kind of hull that will hold the running gear and be able to handle a little bit of waves. Right now I have to go out on glass smooth days for the Liberty Belle.

So here goes...

I have a chunk of 3 inch copper pipe stamped with an 'L' left over from the first boiler I built. I want to make a vertical fire tube boiler this time. I cut off a chunk of the pipe, heated it up and formed that plate into the end caps. It took many heating cycles to get the metal to bend around the wood form blocks. I used a flush set in my rivet gun to do the work for me. They seemed to come out pretty good. It sure is amazing how much the copper will bend and form. I am basing the boiler on drawings in a book called Model Boilers and Boilermaking by K.N. Harris. It will have a 3" dia x 5" tall shell with 37 1/4 OD fire tubes.

Here are the pictures

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Old 11-04-2016, 12:45 AM   #2
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Looking good Pete, I think Ill pull up a chair and tag along. That piece of 3 tube looks a lot like the one I have our in the garage but I think mine might have more spiders


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Old 11-04-2016, 10:23 PM   #3
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I'll pull up a chair too. Looking great so far.
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Old 11-05-2016, 12:41 AM   #4
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That's funny mine had a lot of web before I cleaned it up guess it makes a nice home

Next up was riveting the end plates on the shell. I know they aren't necessarily but they look pretty neat and they sure can't hurt for added strength. I used 1/8 copper rivets from McMaster Carr. My rivet set wasn't quite the right profile but after bucking them they looked fine.

I also drilled holes for the bronze bushings for all the anticipated fittings that will be needed later.

Pete

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Old 11-05-2016, 06:53 PM   #5
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Next up was brazing up the ends with 45% silver. I went and got a weed burner torch to attach to my barbeque propane bottle to heat the whole shell, and then used a smaller mapp torch in the local area I wanted the solder to melt.

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I needed to solder in all 37 fire tubes at the same time so I set up the lathe to wind the solder into a coil so I could cut rings to place around each tube at each end. I fluxed it all, heated everything up and it came out pretty good. A dip in citric acid and it was all back to a pretty copper color.

Pete

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Old 11-05-2016, 07:03 PM   #6
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I turned the bushings out of 544 bronze and tapped them to 1/8-27 NPT and then secured them with more silver. That stuff is not cheap !! I did a low pressure leak check under water and found a couple of leaks on the fire tubes one one side with a couple of tubes. I refluxed and added a little more solder, recheck at low psi. Once that was done I checked the boiler at 130psi, I hope to run it around 30-40 psi but this leaves me room to up the working pressure if I need to.

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Old 11-05-2016, 09:20 PM   #7
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Even with some seeps the boiler will tighten up when hot. Really nice work.
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Old 11-05-2016, 11:41 PM   #8
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I didn't know they would do that, I guess the metal expands and stops tiny leaks.

These few post are coming fast because I have been working on this project a little while before I got around to posting my work. I'll be caught up soon and the updates will slow up considerably.

I switched gears and started the steam engine next because I had to order a tap to work on the burner for the boiler. I cant continue the boiler till I see how big the burner will turn out and where it needs to be positioned to work well.

The vee twin engine I am going to build is called Modelldampfmaschine V10/12. I found these plans on the internet here - http://www.plans-for-everything.com/...%20VGerman.pdf

I am using google translate to understand the directions. I haven't worked with metric dimensions in the little experience I have machining so that has been a new challenge.

The first part in the plans is the engine base. It calls for two concave cutouts with a 16mm radius, and I sat around staring at my mill for a while wondering how I would pull off this cut. I looked into buying a 32mm T-slot cutter, but that was 30-40$ for a cheap ebay cutter and the less I spend the better so I had to try something else. I came up with a homemade setup that used a 5/8" piece of cold rolled steel with a hole drilled near the end and a set screw to hold a HSS #21 drill bit shank that was repurposed to form a 3mm cutting edge. I was able to set the cutting radius to 16mm and made a few test cuts on scrap, and it worked great. Everything else was straight forward, I just went real slow to get the part exactly to the plans. I haven't built an engine using real plans before, it sure is nice to just build what is called for and not have to wing it the whole time !

Starting so square up the stock
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Testing the new cutter on scrap
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All done with the radius cutouts. What isn't in the pictures is the scrapped version that almost got this far but the cutouts were messed up. I forgot to take into consideration the thickness of the tool when I was watching my DRO when cutting the length of the cutout. It was 3mm to long when I pulled it off the vise !!! Lots of time down the drain...
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Drilling the holes very carefully because there isnt way to match drill the bearing blocks that will sit on it. Which is my usual practice. This is the better way but its hard for me, my skills, and my loose chinese tooling !!
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First part complete
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Old 11-06-2016, 02:14 AM   #9
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Pete,

I live in a railway town where there is a loco museum which was set up by the famous record producer, Pete Waterman, It is called " The Crewe Heritage Centre".

http://creweheritagecentre.org/about-us/

Anyway, back to the reason for this note.
We used to go to the supermarket right next door to it, and it sometimes had locos steaming up in the yards. When you first saw them, there were rivets leaking all over the boilers, but after finishing shopping, they were all leak free. Expansion and rust had sealed everything up.

But unfortunately here in the UK, we are not allowed any leaks on the small boilers we make.

A really great job you've done with yours.

John
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Old 11-06-2016, 12:43 PM   #10
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I think the sealing on steel boilers is rust, but a copper boiler won't rust. Tiny leaks can be 'caulked' with soft solder which is much easier to apply. But do NOT get any soft solder around if you ever expect to silver solder again. The lead will contaminate the work and you will never get it clean.


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