Many thanks for the compliments.
I know your bit about posting pictures was in humour but on a more serious side there is a reason why we should be posting about building our engines rather than just showing the finished article. I know this is a new site and a lot of people are into their builds before it was even thought of, so I thought I would do a build (not a warts and all, just showing stages) just to show new members just how we go about it.
There is no such thing in our hobby as good and bad, it is just more or less experienced. If one of my pics inspires just one person to have a go then it is all worth it. If it doesn't then I think I have been wasting my time.
I have been into machining and model making for well over 40 years, so sure, I know what I want and the finished article that I want, and how to achieve it (most of the time). My first 'lathe' wasn't a lathe at all, but a hand cranked grinder that clamped to the bench with a drill chuck fitted where the grindstone used to be. It was by using this that I learned how to do hand graving, like turning wood with a chisel but turning metal with a ground up edge on an old file, I still do it today when I need to make something special.
The raw beginner is stuck with very little knowledge and a machine he knows hardly anything about, other than it turns and when you stick your fingers too close it hurts. But these people persevere, and usually end up with an engine that doesn't look too good but it runs and gives great satisfaction to the maker. This then inspires them to make a more difficult model and take a bit more time to get it looking a bit better.
Eventually they end up where a new engine is just another project and getting it to look good is the norm, it might take many years for them to reach that stage. Our job is then finished, it is time for him (or her) to take over showing people how to do it.
All from the inspiration maybe of looking at a picture.
So lets show these people what we are doing, and keep the art of model making alive.
I must say that you are dead on on all points. This is a dying craft, and it is important for those that want to try to get out there and just do it. As you say, skills improve, and workmanship becomes better and better. The only one who needs to be pleased is the person whom is doing the project (unless it is for someone else). We all do this for personal satisfaction (at least most of us do), and that is really all that matters in the end.
As I said before, than you for taking the time out to share your build with everyone. A piece like this inspires all of us!
Here is an update on the rough stuff from yesterday.
It has taken almost a full day to profile the bits, and they still aren't finished. They are going on like this so the engine can be 'steamed', and will be finished off when the final paint is done.
Here are the bits now fitted in their final position on the engine, and looks like my original vision for the eccentric drive to the valve.
You will notice that there is an assortment of different sized nuts and bolts. Some I have custom made, others I have modified to suit. I don't give a monkey's nuts about what the original plan calls for, I have used a mixture of metric and BA on here, and even tapped out a 10BA nut with 8BA just to get the look I want (on the adjusting rod). I personally think it looks the dog's dangly bits, but I am biased.
So don't be afraid to try different things, it does make a difference.
On the last pic, it shows the linkage rods for the steam chest, what I have done here is to soft solder the two together (with lead free solder) to allow me to make a matched pair, plus it is a lot easier to machine because it is not as flimsy. They aren't finished yet.
The next time you see this engine, hopefully it will be turning by itself.
Had a bit of a blast on today and basically got the engine finished to a running state. The main problem that was encountered was with the valve timing. Ok if it is only going to run in one direction, you wouldn't even notice if the valve timing was slightly out, but because this has now been redesigned to run in both directions, the timing has to be set exactly right.
I managed to fine tune it by sight and sound, and as far as I am concerned it is now spot on. But it has all got to be done again because tomorrow the engine is being stripped down for finishing off.
I wouldn't recommend this engine as a first build, but with a couple of basic ones under your belt, this one could be tackled as the basic model with none of the mods that I have done to it.
I have now got my big Cheshire cat grin again, and this will last me for a few weeks while I tackle another project. I think this one came out very close to my project length of one month.
Anyway to put Rick out of his misery, here is a vid of its first good run after very fine tuning.
Very Nicely Done John.
And your right about my being anxious to see it run.
Beautiful work once again! I only wish I had your patience for the fine
detailing that you do on your builds. When I built that engine I had full
intentions of making it run, then disassembling it for polishing and
detailing. That never happened. It was tossed into a pile with other
completed engines and I was on to the next build. Perhaps someday I
will go back to that pile and REALLY finish them...
Naaaa by the time I get around to that they probably won't allow air
compressors and burr guns in the Old Folks Home. :lol:
I know I've already said it, but your valve train redesign looks great on
the engine!!!! It really makes a difference on it's appearance.
Have you ever seen the plans for Elmer's Pumping Engine?
John-Tom has the plans on his site at Pumping Engine
It's actually two synchronized engines and pumps.
I started making it over two years ago, but keep getting distracted away
from it by other projects. I don't know when I'll ever get it completed,
but I sure would like to see one running... LOL
Are you trying to temp me with that one? It looks a bit bland for the type of engines I do, not much scope for modification.
I will just add it to the list after the four cylinder flame licker, the eighteen piston elbow engine(just a simple one).
I checked my emails half an hour ago and have just got two small commisions, so even this engine has to be put on hold while those are sorted. Back in production in about 3 days. Now just looking for my next one month project, just might try the flame licker. Have got the gas burner plans now. Unless you can suggest anything a little complicated from Elmers collection.
Even though I have used the correct materials for running on steam, this one will only ever be run on air as it is going to be used for powering a much larger display. The packing glands will be packed with graphited yarn, as this will work as a bearing and lubricating surface to reduce wear on the packing gland area.
This is the sort of thing I was on about when I say a lot of our heritage is still preserved, and shows the detailing they went to. A lot of the big engines are actually part of the integral structure of the building and were built as the building went up, all with custom made cast iron columns and guard rails, still like new after 150 years.
Just thought I would show you why I had to stop work on my mine engine.
The reason, two commissions.
The all brass one is the last one of my small batch production (6off), and was ordered for a cash exchange, so had to be prepared for dispatch this coming monday.
The other is a commercial unit that was sent for me to modify manufacturing mistakes and bad material selection, plus a full service.
If the mods work the rest of his engines will be coming to me for the same thing. This one by the way costs 50% more than I swap mine for.