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Old 05-18-2009, 12:49 AM   #1
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Default Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

So I ordered the Elderberry Launch Engine Kit from LittleMachineShop. I hope this will become my second engine. A mini-lathe and mini-mill is needed.

As you all know...I am very new to this hobby. No engine experience (bore and stroke?) and no machining experience (wobbler?) save for the last four months.

That's the main reason why I chose this kit. It comes with the materials (right...I know nothing about metal either...half hard brass?), the plans, and what looks like a decent intro into machining.

My first engine was from a casting kit. Some people suggest an engine from raw stock would have been a better choice. I can't say for sure yet but I currently lean towards agreeing. Mainly from the frustration I had with the flywheel. I had bought several of the same kit and found the two halves of the flywheel to be a little off. I couldn't figure out how to hold and/or cut the part so that I had a square rim and concentric hub. On the other hand, it was the simplest kit I could find and it ran despite my sloppy job. I got a lot of satisfaction out of it. A big portion of that satisfaction must be attributed to this forum from which I received a great deal of excellent help as well as recognition.

In thinking about what I just said...a raw stock kit is better. I was bound to make mistakes...hence I had to buy additional kits. (I found out later I could probably have bought replacement castings for the parts I mutilated.) I expect to make still more mistakes...but buying more raw stock is much easier especially when the kit tells me what type and size I need. This kit looks more complicated but it comes with more information on how to do it.

This is a picture of the raw bits that came with the kit...



The manuals are copyrighted so I don't think I can show you a picture of it. But the following link shows an engine that is nearly identical (thank you Harold Lee). The major difference is that the metal tube is plastic in the kit I got.

http://www.homemodelenginemachinist....14696#msg14696

The kit comes with two documents. One is the Drawing Set. I understand most of it (I had taken a drafting class back in high school...back when you used pencils and pens and liquid ink. And, I've had the pleasure of working with some fine mechanical engineers.) Still there are some symbols I don't know and will have to get some help on.

The 2nd document is the Construction Manual. It professes to be for the person who's interested but knows next to nothing. (It was written for me!) It's pretty good but they suffer from 'they don't remember what they didn't know'. (And I've found a couple of minor mistakes in scanning the notes.) Again, I know this forum will prove invaluable.

I must admit...I hope I can serve as an example to those others who, like me, lack experience and knowledge but have the desire to build.

As a side note...I'm also learning how to post to the forum. I think I got the picture right. Now I have to figure out how to size it. After all it's just bits of metal. The next picture will show smaller bits of metal...and the picture of that...even smaller bits. If I can make the picture smaller...the smaller bits might at least look bigger.

Let the story begin...and the (positive) criticisms and learnings...



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Old 05-18-2009, 02:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

Jump in the water is fine.....have fun!



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Old 05-18-2009, 05:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

I think you'll see that those Elderberry steam kits are mostly taken from Elmer's Engines.

Here's the picture from Little Machine Shop's page :



Here's the LMS link for the other kits

The mill engine kit is definitely Elmer's design.

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

steamer: I'm in the water. I'll hang out in the wading section for a while though...it's important to have some early successes (although we tend to throw new associates into the deep end at work ).

ChooChooMike: The mill engine was actually the first kit I bought after my first project. I either didn't notice or it wasn't clear in the LMS description that it was the 2nd in the series with the Launch Engine first. Thanks for putting up the pic. It's the very one.

Hobbyists Like Me: I've seen several references to 'Elmers Engines' but didn't know what it meant . A quick google references 'Elmer Verburg' who wrote a book 'Elmer's Engines'. Amazon has this book for $390! There are also several references to downloadable plans but I didn't look to see if they're free or not.

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

Looks like a nice project zee. Please do post progress pics...it may encourage others. There is a link on this site somewhere for scanned copies of Elmer's Engines, and there are many designs from simple to more complex.

Best wishes on your launch engine project!

Bill

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

Give 'er hell Zee!

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Old 05-18-2009, 11:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

This should be the link for .pdf files of Elmer's Engines:
http://www.john-tom.com/html/ElmersEngines.html

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

Click here : LMS link for the Elderberry kit for Elmer's Mill engine

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

Thanks for the link Bill! I'd seen it before but clean forgot. It reminded me that at some point I want to try live steam. But I want to begin with a boiler ready to go. I'm not nearly prepared to build my own.

Anyone have suggestions on a simple inexpensive boiler sized to work with the Launch Engine or the Model #2A I recently built?

ChooChooMike...yeah that's the mill engine. Thanks.

All...thanks for the support.

Man I wish I could be home this weekend. Family first!

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #10
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Default Re: Open Column Launch Engine from Kit

What about the vertical boiler offered by PM Research. Inexpensive is relative but going with a known quantity definitely has advantages from a safety standpoint and with boilers that is critical!!

Bill



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