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Hello, I'm a young man looking for people who know more than I do. I've always been fascinated in the building of things, whether it be boats, planes, trains, or automobiles, and the more insane they are the better. Whether they go fast, accelerate hard, do something that none else do, or just keep going for a hundred years, that's where I'm at.
I've restored a 1963 Ford Fairlane, built a plywood john boat from scratch, built a gas/electric hybrid moped, and currently working on a 1975 Corvette.

At the heart of every one of these... The engine.

All my life I have wanted to build an engine from scratch, and thanks to finally getting access to a machine shop, and my classes ebbing for a second, I finally succeeded. Granted, its not much of an engine, being just a single cylinder wobbler, but I designed every piece from the ground up, and machined every piece to a level of precision that rather impressed the shop foreman who has been there for 30+ years. All with really no training.

Now it is time to start pushing forward, and move into engines that last longer, make more power, run something useful, and maybe eventually get into the gas or diesel! Perhaps I'll start with a boiler for this little wobbler... Yall will probably see that rather soon.
 

GreenTwin

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Welcome to the forum.
I grew up much like that, ie: interested in how things worked, and constantly trying to build things by hand.

You live very close to me, so if you want to learn how to cast engine parts in gray iron, I can show you that.
I am extremely swamped with work at the moment, so perhaps later in the fall I will get a break.

.
 

SmithDoor

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Hello, I'm a young man looking for people who know more than I do. I've always been fascinated in the building of things, whether it be boats, planes, trains, or automobiles, and the more insane they are the better. Whether they go fast, accelerate hard, do something that none else do, or just keep going for a hundred years, that's where I'm at.
I've restored a 1963 Ford Fairlane, built a plywood john boat from scratch, built a gas/electric hybrid moped, and currently working on a 1975 Corvette.

At the heart of every one of these... The engine.

All my life I have wanted to build an engine from scratch, and thanks to finally getting access to a machine shop, and my classes ebbing for a second, I finally succeeded. Granted, its not much of an engine, being just a single cylinder wobbler, but I designed every piece from the ground up, and machined every piece to a level of precision that rather impressed the shop foreman who has been there for 30+ years. All with really no training.

Now it is time to start pushing forward, and move into engines that last longer, make more power, run something useful, and maybe eventually get into the gas or diesel! Perhaps I'll start with a boiler for this little wobbler... Yall will probably see that rather soon.
Welcome to the group

Dave
 
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Hi Tig. I can help with your boiler design - for Safety and Legal reasons you can't just make it and risk blowing yourself to smithereens. You are in the US A.... so ASME Regulations will apply.
First question to design a boiler: bore, stroke and engine speed for the engine that will use the steam.
Assuming you are going to make the generator that it will power, or stick a suitable sized DC motor on it to act as the generator....What power?
K2
 

Bentwings

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TIG,

Welcome to the group.

Chuck
congratulations fro minnesota . I’m a former resident of tenn. worked there for many years. I was fortunate in hat I grew up on minn iron ranges. Machine trades was. Required subject from early grades all the way through HS I continued auto trades getting into serious drag racing I had a great time there snd still have friends I grew up with. Into built cars my 41 Willys wabuilt from a fiberglas body to a completed car with supercharged abc that I actually was able to drive as a semi daily driver I drove over 35 K9 miles before I finally sold it currently hav a restored 77!el Camino super sport it’s to has been driven 35 k and is a fine driver . I went on to engineering school then life long engineering career in several high tech companies including R&D in battery technology I got to see the beginning of lithium batteries and military high power batteries . I also built and flew many Rc models I still have big interest in them but med limits my activity. I have access to some machine shop things but I’m not even doused be in he shop . Ou little lathe spindle bearings gave up so it’s under repair I played sorts most of my life that was not working so I added the sorts drive to excell to my life work and virtually every thing I did I’m still doing this at my advanced age but I’m gradulaty being forced to slow down I have to d my own rehab such as it is.

Welcome to this forum it’San exciting place with a lot of talent here ready to assist . Keep up the drive to learn . No project is too small . Sometime just the reduced size adds to the creativity to make it work .

Byron
 

Bentwings

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congratulations fro minnesota . I’m a former resident of tenn. worked there for many years. I was fortunate in hat I grew up on minn iron ranges. Machine trades was. Required subject from early grades all the way through HS I continued auto trades getting into serious drag racing I had a great time there snd still have friends I grew up with. Into built cars my 41 Willys wabuilt from a fiberglas body to a completed car with supercharged abc that I actually was able to drive as a semi daily driver I drove over 35 K9 miles before I finally sold it currently hav a restored 77!el Camino super sport it’s to has been driven 35 k and is a fine driver . I went on to engineering school then life long engineering career in several high tech companies including R&D in battery technology I got to see the beginning of lithium batteries and military high power batteries . I also built and flew many Rc models I still have big interest in them but med limits my activity. I have access to some machine shop things but I’m not even doused be in he shop . Ou little lathe spindle bearings gave up so it’s under repair I played sorts most of my life that was not working so I added the sorts drive to excell to my life work and virtually every thing I did I’m still doing this at my advanced age but I’m gradulaty being forced to slow down I have to d my own rehab such as it is.

Welcome to this forum it’San exciting place with a lot of talent here ready to assist . Keep up the drive to learn . No project is too small . Sometime just the reduced size adds to the creativity to make it work .

Byron
sorry for the messed up text . The spell check has its own mind. I have my own issues but it’s not fun seeing a carefully check note botched by spell check sometimes it works others it just seems to randomly change things

I did a lot of precision TIG as well as brute bull TIG on some really big projects . With med issues leaving me with double vision very precise things are out of the question now as a rehab thing I practice on graph paper tracing lines using a pit of pencils I sketch a light line then “tig” weld it with a small black marker or even a larger one to simulate dipping the rod into the puddle . It’s not exact but it seems to help coordinate and select which view I “ weld” in practice it seems to help I only get out to the shop occasionally as I’m not supposed to drive . Mig welding is a little easier but I’m still not up to speed it takes a carefully laid out set up so I can see . I install new lens covers and use a bench light to make a well lit area . I’ve tried gm mounted lights but they make for a heavy gun in my mind I have to concentrate on which line to weld I’m not up to the fine stuff yet . It’s hard enough just to solder twisted wires . When it comes to chip making I have to be extremely careful I double check every thing digital read out help but can’t replace the machinist feel. Reading mike is really hard I constantly use my “ very near calipers” to see if Im really “ very near “ .

I really enjoy seeing projects here from the simplest to the very complex . So everyone keep posting
Thanks

Byron
 
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Hi Tig. I can help with your boiler design - for Safety and Legal reasons you can't just make it and risk blowing yourself to smithereens. You are in the US A.... so ASME Regulations will apply.
First question to design a boiler: bore, stroke and engine speed for the engine that will use the steam.
Assuming you are going to make the generator that it will power, or stick a suitable sized DC motor on it to act as the generator....What power?
K2
I really doubt I will be in violation of any major laws being that my engine has a .400 inch bore and about a 1 inch stroke, and runs on less than 20 PSI, but I am definitely in the dark about what that means for the sizing of my boiler. It sounds like you are the guy I'm looking for though. Remember that this very basic wobbler-type engine will probably leak as much as it uses :( I have even considered running it off of a small pressure cooker because I want something that is considered more or less safe. Thank you for your reply!
 
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Welcome to the forum.
I grew up much like that, ie: interested in how things worked, and constantly trying to build things by hand.

You live very close to me, so if you want to learn how to cast engine parts in gray iron, I can show you that.
I am extremely swamped with work at the moment, so perhaps later in the fall I will get a break.

.
I am very interested in working in iron! one of my biggest problems with this motor it that it is wearing out extremely quickly, and I was going to ask yall how to prevent that from happening on future builds. I figure that harder materials would be a big part of that. Right now my cylinder is aluminum and my piston is brass.
 

Bentwings

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I really doubt I will be in violation of any major laws being that my engine has a .400 inch bore and about a 1 inch stroke, and runs on less than 20 PSI, but I am definitely in the dark about what that means for the sizing of my boiler. It sounds like you are the guy I'm looking for though. Remember that this very basic wobbler-type engine will probably leak as much as it uses :( I have even considered running it off of a small pressure cooker because I want something that is considered more or less safe. Thank you for your reply!
the pressure cooker will produce saturated “ steam” or basically very hot water vapor. Actual steam is the invisible part below the vapor cloud. There is a folder of information called steam tables on Amazon you can see the various stages of steam pressures and temperatures there are considerable amounts of data about steam many here have extensive knowledge . In your case calculat enginge displacement as I understand this is Atwo power stroke enginge. Piston goes up and down with pressure applied both ways . Subtotal displacement is as two cylinder engine .
I would suggest powering with compressed air at first steam has considerable energy in it due to the heat it required to boil water then continue heating to build pressure. That’s a pretty simplistic approach. I misled my self over this until directed here . I have a very high respect for pressurized steam Steam even gets after traditional brass fittings these should be bronze at a minimum it also can get after aluminum . An open flame against bare aluminum is also asking for issues aluminum melts around 1100 deg f and is considerably softens well below that . There are biker specs available if you dig around a little. As was recommended to me contact local boiler inspection . I did . As long as I was not using open furl fame in my home or out building they were not too concerned based on what my plans were . I’m planning on electric heat which is probably not nearly as efficient but some homes have hot water heat or boilers these are very closely controlled . My little steamer ran and is running on very low pressure air . I probably will just scrap the boiler as I just don’t need it . I can quadruple my air pressure if needed but I just don’t need problems. I have sufficient fittings and lubrication I have a pair of small steam turbines that gobble air something fierce but they are just for fun I have plans for a gear box to gear them down fro very high rpm . These have their own issues so the whole thing is just my hobby . I can drive little generators for small lights maybe even a small battery charger .

Byron
 

GreenTwin

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Boilers are rather a thorny subject, and even a small one can be rather dangerous.

I use compressed air to run my steam engines.
If you do run a steam engine on steam, I would suggest introducing WD40 to the internals and externals, to drive off any residual water.
I ran one engine on steam, without using WD40, and a year later the piston was fully seized in the bore.

Brass does not wear well in an engine. It is a decorative material.
Bearing bronze is a good material for wearing parts in an engine.
I plan on making some lead-free bearing bronze C89835, but much of my engine parts are in gray iron.

The saying is "Gray iron wears like.......iron".
You can run gray iron on gray iron, or run gray iron against other materials such as aluminum, steel, bronze, etc.

The graphite that is in gray iron is one of the things that gives it such good wear characteristics.

Gray iron also has good machinability (my favorite material to machine), with small chips, not long stringy chips like steel.

As far as I can tell, all of the old steam engines were cast in gray iron, and so that is what I use, both for authenticity, and also because it is a superb engine making material.

Another thing I see is folks running steam engines at 10,000 rpm or more, on compressed air.
Small steam engines will wear out very fast operating at that speed, and it looks rather absurd to see that speed.

The old steam engines seldom operated at higher than 300 rpm, and 300 rpm was considered a "high-speed steam engine" for stationary engines.
The older generation of stationary steam engines (prior to Charles Porter's invention of the high speed stationary steam engine in the mid 1800's) typically operated at 70 rpm.

Every steam engine designer in the world pretty much dismissed Charles Porter's new "high speed steam engine" as impractical and unusable, but it soon became the world standard for stationary steam engines, and obsoleted most of the earlier steam engine designs.

Charles Porter was an American lawyer by trade, and so I think it was assumed that a lawyer (or any American) could not design a world-class modern steam engine. Until Charles Porter came along, that was a pretty safe assumption.
Charles Porter was a "disrupter". He turned over the stationary steam engine apple cart, and everyone had to start all over again with their designs.

.
 
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Hi Tig,
Lots of good advice above. Just so you know. I am an Engineer - "I work it out with a pencil" - or did so for 50 years. I'm not the most competent machinist, fitter or "Engine builder" - as there are many around. And there are many Engineers with more education, knowledge, and experience than I could gain in 5 lifetimes.
And there are many folk who use lots of things to power their engines. Compressed air being the "home convenience ready meal" power source. I use an old 'fridge compressor for many jobs: I use mine mostly to run Steam engines - after steaming, when I am washing with WD40 and drying and lubricating them before storage. Nice to see a couple of hundred watts of quite electric compressor power a few watts of steam engine very slowly. Also, for "running-in" - especially if there are tight bearings, rings in bores, etc, many find it easy to use their 5HP electric motors to charge compressors to 60 or 120 psi, then whack it into tiny little models to "free them off" and "run-them-in" (or wear them out?) so they can run on 20~30psi of their compressed air...
But I got into boiler making - then designing - because....? Well just because they are a MAJOR part of a Steam locomotive, or any other steam plant. Even the home hobby steam plant.
But the "Boiler Design" bit came about because many want to make a boiler, and use the steam to be a bit more "Authentic" when showing their model steam engines, and these folk kept asking "how do I make a boiler to suit my engine?"
My previous work involved a lot of work - making the Company's product meet Regulations, for a dozen or more different nations standards. So to check my boilers and others' designs against British, European, USA, etc. regulations was a simple task for my experience.
Now if you make a boiler that has a "Normal Working Pressure" of less than 1 bar-litre, in the UK, then it only has the same stored energy as a small bullet. So the UK authorities deem that to be "Safe enough" (as it will only kill once?). But the truth is that if it goes "bang" then it is really unlikely to cause much damage except to the person stood next to it, so a "low risk" to society. The regulations are based on "larger boilers" - larger than 1 bar-litre NWP - having enough stored energy to act as a grenade or larger Bomb. Obviously with larger consequences if they go "bang". The USA "likes guns", so I am using that analogy to put "safety" in perspective. I hope I don't offend anyone here? Step back and think about it. Would you chuck a gas canister on a lit barbeque? Of course not. We would consider that unsafe. Yet that is what we do every time we fire-up a boiler to 15, 60 or 100psi, but in a controlled manner, and with properly designed, manufactured and tested things that are made to take the heat and pressure.
If the boiler is bigger than 1 bar litre, (that is 15psi x 1 3/4pints, or 60psi x 1/3rd pint coffee cup sized boiler, for the USA readers), then in the UK, the boiler must be certified for use in a public space. (Not your bathroom, garage, etc. but the street, park or public show). A pressure cooker is typically 5 pints (or more), and 12~15psi, so (at >4 bar-litres) converted in any way from the manufacturer's design will mean it needs testing and certification before use in the public domain. (Or to be covered by any insurance for you or your house).
But here is where I try to help. Because many "certification authorities" follow the letter of the regulations and check the DESIGN and Manufacture of the boiler before they do the pressure tests to certify the boiler. So your pressure cooker conversion may well be safe in your bathroom, or wherever, but not for the "Public space". I can check your proposed design and advise where I think it may be problematic, or even help with calculations, design ideas, and generally "working out what you really need" to satisfy what you think you want.
And while making engines is all some people like to do, others like to design from scratch, or follow "authentic designs" to the letter, and some like to design and make the complete "steam plant" comprising a boiler, feed water system, means of firing, pressure controls, engines, something powered by the engine, more controls, and then operation of the whole system. Or the same with infernally fired engines. (That's me - I love it all..). And this website is full of real Experts and ham-amateurs (me) who all enjoy all the various aspects of Model Engineering and Machining. So welcome to the nut-house!
K2
 
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Hi Tig,
A couple of more direct points for consideration.
A small oscillating engine will happily run run up to a couple of thousand rpm, in fact they are often sold for model locos, etc. to do just that. And in the world of high speed boats, the records have been set with single acting single cylinder steam engines running at around 15,000rpm (?)... So you need not try and contain it to "70rpm"..? (Although large beam engines look great at that speed!).
A class steam powered model hydroplane - YouTube

So: I suggest a boiler is planned to supply steam for 3000rpm, then it might just find more use on other engines later in life, or with this engine powering an electric generator, or something?
The displacement ( I assume it is double acting?) of 0.4in bore and 1in stroke is 0.25cubic in per rev.
At 3000rpm that is 754cu.in per minute of steam. Not steam generated, but steam when i gets into the engine.
Suppose 15psi (although you may only run it at 5psi?)
Now, 1 cu in of water, makes 838cu in of steam at 15psi.
So suppose we think of a boiler to make 1 cu in of water into steam at NWP of 15psi?
We'll need at least 100sq. in of heated surface area to boil 1 cu in of water per minute and get to 15psi. - for the simple "kettle" - or your "pressure cooker conversion" (A pot on a burner).
100sq.in is a flat bottom (of pressure cooker) of 11" diameter.
As others have noted, the steam will be "wet", but in an oscillator, where the block is held against the valve face by some spring arrangement, this is not a big problem, as in the event of the engine "filling with water" at the end of stroke, then the block will lift against the spring and relieve the pressure. In other designs of engine, this hydraulic lock can burst the end covers, bend con-rods, and damage cranks and bearings. So is a serious point for consideration. But when you make a boiler, you can easily accommodate a DRYER or super-heater which reduces the condensate at end of stroke.
Now if you make a simple boiler, with "fire beneath" that is a simple horizontal cylinder, 3in diameter, then it would need to be 21in long to have adequate heating area... However, if you make a "more efficient" boiler, you only need less than half the heating area, and by using extra tubes attached to the boiler it can easily become 6in long, or thereabouts at 3in diameter, which makes a "nice size" for a model boiler. Many have done it this way. in the thread: looking for advice on a boiler project | Home Model Engine Machinist Forum you'll find post #13 with a suitable boiler design.
In the UK, Stuart Models made a horizontal gas fired boiler for many decades that was about 6in long and 3in diameter. It suited many models about the size of your engine... I have a few boilers about this size.
Does this help you understand what you want?
K2
 
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Boilers are rather a thorny subject, and even a small one can be rather dangerous.

I use compressed air to run my steam engines.
If you do run a steam engine on steam, I would suggest introducing WD40 to the internals and externals, to drive off any residual water.
I ran one engine on steam, without using WD40, and a year later the piston was fully seized in the bore.

Brass does not wear well in an engine. It is a decorative material.
Bearing bronze is a good material for wearing parts in an engine.
I plan on making some lead-free bearing bronze C89835, but much of my engine parts are in gray iron.

The saying is "Gray iron wears like.......iron".
You can run gray iron on gray iron, or run gray iron against other materials such as aluminum, steel, bronze, etc.

The graphite that is in gray iron is one of the things that gives it such good wear characteristics.

Gray iron also has good machinability (my favorite material to machine), with small chips, not long stringy chips like steel.

As far as I can tell, all of the old steam engines were cast in gray iron, and so that is what I use, both for authenticity, and also because it is a superb engine making material.

Another thing I see is folks running steam engines at 10,000 rpm or more, on compressed air.
Small steam engines will wear out very fast operating at that speed, and it looks rather absurd to see that speed.

The old steam engines seldom operated at higher than 300 rpm, and 300 rpm was considered a "high-speed steam engine" for stationary engines.
The older generation of stationary steam engines (prior to Charles Porter's invention of the high speed stationary steam engine in the mid 1800's) typically operated at 70 rpm.

Every steam engine designer in the world pretty much dismissed Charles Porter's new "high speed steam engine" as impractical and unusable, but it soon became the world standard for stationary steam engines, and obsoleted most of the earlier steam engine designs.

Charles Porter was an American lawyer by trade, and so I think it was assumed that a lawyer (or any American) could not design a world-class modern steam engine. Until Charles Porter came along, that was a pretty safe assumption.
Charles Porter was a "disrupter". He turned over the stationary steam engine apple cart, and everyone had to start all over again with their designs.

.
I really wish I had access to cast iron now... How do you think steel cylinders on a bronze piston would do as a compromise?
 
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Hi Tig,
A couple of more direct points for consideration.
A small oscillating engine will happily run run up to a couple of thousand rpm, in fact they are often sold for model locos, etc. to do just that. And in the world of high speed boats, the records have been set with single acting single cylinder steam engines running at around 15,000rpm (?)... So you need not try and contain it to "70rpm"..? (Although large beam engines look great at that speed!).
A class steam powered model hydroplane - YouTube

So: I suggest a boiler is planned to supply steam for 3000rpm, then it might just find more use on other engines later in life, or with this engine powering an electric generator, or something?
The displacement ( I assume it is double acting?) of 0.4in bore and 1in stroke is 0.25cubic in per rev.
At 3000rpm that is 754cu.in per minute of steam. Not steam generated, but steam when i gets into the engine.
Suppose 15psi (although you may only run it at 5psi?)
Now, 1 cu in of water, makes 838cu in of steam at 15psi.
So suppose we think of a boiler to make 1 cu in of water into steam at NWP of 15psi?
We'll need at least 100sq. in of heated surface area to boil 1 cu in of water per minute and get to 15psi. - for the simple "kettle" - or your "pressure cooker conversion" (A pot on a burner).
100sq.in is a flat bottom (of pressure cooker) of 11" diameter.
As others have noted, the steam will be "wet", but in an oscillator, where the block is held against the valve face by some spring arrangement, this is not a big problem, as in the event of the engine "filling with water" at the end of stroke, then the block will lift against the spring and relieve the pressure. In other designs of engine, this hydraulic lock can burst the end covers, bend con-rods, and damage cranks and bearings. So is a serious point for consideration. But when you make a boiler, you can easily accommodate a DRYER or super-heater which reduces the condensate at end of stroke.
Now if you make a simple boiler, with "fire beneath" that is a simple horizontal cylinder, 3in diameter, then it would need to be 21in long to have adequate heating area... However, if you make a "more efficient" boiler, you only need less than half the heating area, and by using extra tubes attached to the boiler it can easily become 6in long, or thereabouts at 3in diameter, which makes a "nice size" for a model boiler. Many have done it this way. in the thread: looking for advice on a boiler project | Home Model Engine Machinist Forum you'll find post #13 with a suitable boiler design.
In the UK, Stuart Models made a horizontal gas fired boiler for many decades that was about 6in long and 3in diameter. It suited many models about the size of your engine... I have a few boilers about this size.
Does this help you understand what you want?
K2
Holy cow, that is a lot of info. Exactly what I need. My engine is single action, and I am really not interested in getting it above 1000 RPM, being as it is not easily balanced, and it will start beating itself to a pulp above those speeds (I put 120PSI to it once and it started rattling paint cans off my workbench, made a sound like you wouldn't believe!) I want to build this thing just to prove that I have the brainpower and the skill to pull it off, so once I see it pop off, and I get it running like I want it, It will probably sit on a shelf for the next 10 years, unless I build another engine. I will never run this dude in public (I'm willing to stake my own life on my welding, but no one else I like well enough to want to impress.), so public certification will probably never be an issue. Ill also weld me up a 3/16 in thick firebox just in the case it does decide to go. I don't know how to calculate strength of a blast shield, but I have a hard time believing that would come apart given sufficient venting. As for the boiler design itself, I recently found a couple steel compressor tanks, about 4 inches diameter and 12 inches long, from what you are saying, and redneck adjusting for less RPM and being single action, It sounds like one of these could work. Please correct me if I am wrong. I don't currently have any plans for powering anything with it, but I am definitely open to ideas for novelty pieces. I am also very interested in what you called a "super heater" I have thought about running the output of the boiler back through the firebox (steel line of course) to make sure there were no droplets left, is this what you are talking about?
 
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