Ford's First Engine

Discussion in 'Finished Projects' started by RickWeber, Mar 21, 2016.

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  1. Mar 21, 2016 #1

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    I'd like to send out a big Thank You to Chris ("Vascon2196") and all the others on this forum who posted advice in helping Chris get his Ford engine running. This undoubtedly saved me a huge amount of time in constructing mine.

    I was able to avoid problems with valve seating, electrical, carburetor, etc. by either studying Chris' solutions or incorporating solutions proposed by others. I also was able to come up with a couple innovations to make building this engine easier than past designs, while still having the look and feel of Ford's original prototype.

    It took about ten minutes worth of tinkering with the carburetion and it was off and running on Coleman fuel. :)

    I'm now in the process of tearing it down to clean up the details and install the battery and buzz coil in the base. When I get it re-assembled, I'll post photos and provide pdf files of my valve and cylinder mods.

    P.S. (The flywheel is a pretty ugly casting. Any suggestions on a 13-inch dia alternative?)

    IMG_3371.jpg
     
  2. Mar 21, 2016 #2

    gld

    gld

    gld

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    Why replace that flywheel. I think it looks cool.

    I vote leave it.

    Good job on the engine.
     
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  3. Mar 22, 2016 #3

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Little better photo.

    IMG_3379.jpg
     
  4. Mar 22, 2016 #4

    t.l.a.r. eng

    t.l.a.r. eng

    t.l.a.r. eng

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    The flywheel is what helps make the engine visualy interesting and different, my vote to keep it also.

    Nice job on the engine.
     
  5. Mar 22, 2016 #5

    10K Pete

    10K Pete

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    Was Fords first engine built from pipe fittings? That pretty cool!

    Pete
     
  6. Mar 22, 2016 #6

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Yes, he modified standard fittings of the day. Others who visit this website have built replicas similar to this one. You can check out the archives for more photos.
     
  7. Mar 22, 2016 #7

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Thank you. My lathe isn't big enough to swing that flywheel to really clean it up nicely. I'll need to check with my friends with bigger machines to use.
     
  8. Mar 24, 2016 #8

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    This engine is a hoot to run. After 4 or 5 drops of fuel enter the engine, I give the flywheel a spin and off she goes. I'm still baffled why this so-called carburetor works. Fuel drips onto a screen mesh in the intake piping, which I guess kinda atomizes it. The result is the faster the fuel drips (up to a point of flooding) the faster she goes. It's about as far away from a Weber 4-barrel as you can get. I don't run it more than 2 or 3 minutes because it does get hot. Just re-fiitted it with new "points", and that really smoothed out the running. A piece of wire being whacked around by the cam definitely does not provide a well timed system.

    Again, all of the posts on Vascon's Ford engine project helped to ensure a successful outcome. Thanks!!
     
  9. Mar 25, 2016 #9

    Barnbikes

    Barnbikes

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    I believe Henry Ford did remake this his engine later with a water sleeve because it did overheat. Wonder if you could put washers on the cylinder for cooling purposes.
     
  10. Mar 25, 2016 #10

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    That would seem to help cooling. But, I'd like to keep it as close as possible to the original.
     
  11. Mar 25, 2016 #11

    Barnbikes

    Barnbikes

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  12. Mar 25, 2016 #12

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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  13. Mar 26, 2016 #13

    mattty

    mattty

    mattty

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    Love the engine. Where can I get the plans from?
    Thanks Matt
     
  14. Mar 27, 2016 #14

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Not sure if you want the first or second engine. I'm creating plans for the first Ford engine (single cylinder), drawing from the Ford archives, Leon Ridenour's sketches, and suggested improvements by posters on this forum. The plans include subtle mods that allow for easier construction, at the same time solving some of the frustrations some builders have had getting their engines to run. Stay tuned for pdf files on this website.
     
  15. Mar 27, 2016 #15

    mattty

    mattty

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    excellent ,I can't wait to make this engine.
     
  16. Apr 6, 2016 #16

    AlbertdeWitte

    AlbertdeWitte

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    Hi Rick

    Thanks for sharing, this is one I want to build after the Redwing, I would love to get more information on it eg plans and notes. Any help would be appreciated

    Thanks
     
  17. Apr 6, 2016 #17

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Will do. Working on the drawings now.
     
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  18. Apr 25, 2016 #18

    kquiggle

    kquiggle

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    Interested persons can purchase copies of Ford's First Engine (1893) plans from Leon Ridenour at his website:

    https://sites.google.com/site/fordengine1893/

    I recently purchased a set of these plans myself, and I have been studying them and comparing them to historical material on the Ford Museum website. The plans from Leon include a video with build information, as well as other items (details on the website). From my readings (and some discussions with Leon, who was nice enough to discuss this with me on the phone) it is clear that this is a "finicky" engine, and Leon put in a lot of work adapting the design to modern materials and getting it to work.

    One example of this is the use of a plumbing tee for the "combustion chamber"; if you look at pictures of the original engine, you will see that it does not use a "normal" plumbing tee. Based on my own investigations (which includes looking at plumbing and steam fitting catalogs from the late 1800's early 1900's), I do not believe it is a tee at all. Rather, I think Ford re-purposed an angle valve, or possibly a pressure relief valve. Henry Ford was a "steam engineer" in 1893, so it's seems likely to me that he would some steam fittings in his engine (and he may also have been thinking that steam fittings - designed to work under pressure - would be better for this application. This is purely speculation on my part, but I have not been able to find a "tee" either modern or 19th century which matches the original). Other parts of the engine appear to be standard plumbing fittings which have changed little (if at all) between 1893 and today.

    I also believe that the published history of the engine (that Henry built the engine at work and then took it home and started it up for the first time in his kitchen) has been romanticized and is not historically accurate. In all probability Henry had to work on the engine more than a little to get it to work - all of which would have been done in the workshop. Once he had it working, he took it home to show to his wife. I think this actually makes a better story: Henry was proud of his little engine and he wanted to share it with his wife.

    While my hope is to build a working replica of the engine eventually, I am also interested in the history of the engine, and would like to find out as much about it from that angle as possible (Leon's website includes some of the history, as well as links to other sources). I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has more information along these lines, or who has built a replica and would care to comment on my theories.
     
  19. Apr 26, 2016 #19

    RickWeber

    RickWeber

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    Mr. Ridenour did a fine job with his sketches for the Ford engine. However, there are some problems with his plans that several posters on this website have encountered. And, many solutions to those problems have also been posted here.

    I am in the process of compiling the best of these solutions along with a couple of mine and creating an accurate new set of plans for this engine. My version, which appears very close to Mr. Ridenour's and Ford's original will be available free as pdfs on this website when I finish them. This set includes drawings of important features and subassemblies not included in the Ridenour plans.

    Yes, I'm guessing that you are right about the tee. I also don't believe that Ford used a standard plumbing tee in his model. And this is why many who have built this model have encountered compression issues due to the oversize combustion chamber that a tee provides, even when stuffing it with JB Weld. On my version, I silver soldered a plug in the end of the cylinder tube and ran the tube all the way back in the tee, just past the spark plug. A steel cross tube, with NPT male threads on both ends, runs through and is silver soldered to the cylinder tube. The intake and exhaust valves are then screwed onto this cross tube. Everything is tight, and with the two rings that Mr. Ridenour sells fitted to a properly-dimensioned piston running in the honed cylinder, the compression is more than adequate for the engine to run on Coleman fuel.

    In fact, my engine starts and runs nicely with one whip of the flywheel, even when cold. (I wonder if Ford ran his prototype on naphtha, which was commonly available at that time, or gasoline.)

    I had hoped to have the drawings finished by now, but am now guessing it will be late May.
     
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  20. Apr 27, 2016 #20

    kquiggle

    kquiggle

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    Rick -

    My own feeling is that there is a bit of conflict between trying to create a historically accurate reproduction of "Ford's first" as opposed to making a working version using modern materials.

    Your comments about naptha are a case in point. It's very difficult to know what Ford used as fuel for his engine, not only because it's not mentioned in any history I have found, but also because the definitions for "naphtha" and "gasoline" are all over the map. There were many petroleum distillates sold as gasoline and naphtha in 1893, and they were certainly not the same as what we have today.

    Coleman lantern fuel (per Wikipedia) "is a mixture of cyclohexane, nonane, octane, heptane, and pentane." Based on my so far limited research, naphtha in 1893 was probably a mixture of mostly heptane and pentane, so Coleman fuel may be a fair approximation, although probably not as volatile as "1893 naphtha." My guess is that a low compression engine like Ford's first, using a contact igniter and no carburetor, would likely work much better with a highly volatile fuel mixture.

    Other historical questions arise with respect to the ignition system. Ford connected his engine to a light socket (in his day, I assume 110 V DC); according to drawings prepared much later, the engine was wired in series with the light bulb. There is conflicting evidence as to whether Ford used a spark coil or not, but my guess is that he did not.

    What this all adds up to, I think, is that getting the engine to work is going to take a bit of tinkering because it is very difficult to replicate the original engine exactly. Currently available information on the engine is somewhat suspect, as the only available drawings were created in 1944 - fifty years after the engine was built, and those drawings are not very detailed.
     

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