How do you keep going on a long project like Lady Stephanie Beam Engine

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mohavegun

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Have you ever felt you have taken on more complex project than you planed, when i started this model 4 months ago i had no idea how long it would take and i did`nt make it easier by scratch building instead of buying the castings. I had seen pictures of the castings but thought they looked a bit rough. It`s been an interesting journey but i have had to made a few compromises otherwise i might have given up, but then there is so much work invested so far i feel i must push on to get to a reasonable conclusion. So i painted some of the parts and put it together to see what it might look like and this is inspiring me to carry on. I`ve read a lot of people put a project away under the bench for some time and now i know why.
Here`s a pic of it so far.
Geoff

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Geoff,

In my world there is no particular time limit on anything that I do for myself, my hobby engines get what time I can spend on them between real paying jobs and honey-dos. I have at least a dozen project engines started and in various stages of completion right now. Almost 30 years ago my shop caught fire and burned to the ground. Less than a month after the fire I had taken on the job of shop manger for a machine shop in Las Vegas NV and less than 4 years after that I began rebuilding my shop here in Arizona. Funny thing about that is that NOT ONE of the machines, projects or completed engines I had at that time survived the fire but I have picked up where it ended and have some of those engines rebuilt and running or in progress again now. My shop came back to me larger and better equipped than ever before! I find stalls on certain projects due to lack of material resources, understanding or my ability or the capability of my shop and set them aside, the answer always finds me sooner or later and the project gets started again. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, life goes on... I have a larger shop now the one that burned to the ground and guess what? I am semi retired now, still working for $ and my shop is still cluttered with unfinished projects but NOW I have more time to pick and choose what I want to work on. I feel that the main reason I work this way is that I am driven by inspiration, not the desire to complete any given project but my inspiration is the need to completely understand the inner workings of the item I am working on. I am 70 years young and NOT ready for the rocking chair yet!

The older I get the taller the mountains grow, the colder the winter wind blows and the faster the pretty girls run!

Rod
 

don-tucker

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Glad you mentioned the state of the plans fron reeves Jennifer as i was going to order a set,how bad are they please
Don
 

Jennifer Edwards

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Good Morning….

I am curious about your mention of CopperHead… It this a model of an HK Porter locomotive of about 1888 vintage? If so, what scale is it and who made the drawings, are they available?
I started s conversation with you so you can see what I mean, they are usable do not get me wrong, just fuzzy from apparently being recopied.
 

Bob Wild

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Hi Jennifer,
I too found out that the Reeves drawings were of a very poor quality. So I got a set of back numbers from Engineering In Minature which were OK. Although I did find it frustrating that although Tubal Cain is highly respected he mixed imperial fractions, decimals and metric dimensions on all the drawings. Anyway, back to Reeves - I was very disappointed with their castings. The flywheel was full of inclusions and worst of all, the entablature was horribly distorted. I sent it back to the address on the drawings only to discover that they moved 20 years ago. They refused to compensate me without the offending casting, so I gave up in the end and prefabricated it myself. But it was a great challenge for me and I’m very pleased with the result. The air vessel was quite a challenge as I had to make a ball turning fixture and an indexing fixture. Pictures attached DV
Bob
 

Bob Wild

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And another thing about Lady Stephanie. There is a Watt’s linkage to connect to the piston, but as far as I can see there are only three pivot points. I can’t see how that could work, so I elongated one of the holes into a slot. Am I missing something here?
 

Jennifer Edwards

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Bob,

Thank you for the insight, and the validation of my opinion of the drawings.

I have already decided not to attempt this project based on my own apprehension.

That is the reason I purchased the drawings only, to make up my mind if I wanted to proceed.

I have a set of the s John Chenery drawings, which are awesome, and castings , to build an Anzani three cylinder radial engine.

Before I tackle that challenge I wanted to hone my rusty (35 years since I worked as a machinist) skills a bit more. I also am adjusting to my small and somewhat wonky Chinese lathe and mill along with working with the small parts that we as model engineers deal with.

So I want to build one more steam engine before I make the leap to I/C engines.

Jenny
 

Motorman1946

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Jennifer says she has worked almost everyday since last June on her model.

Not sure I could do that, too much dedication at the expense of other stuff I have to do, plus all the "Honey do..." items, but mainly because I could never ever get get Exit Visa's for Shed Time every day passed by Senior Management, no way!

That said, looking forward to your build log of the Anzani engine Jenny.

Chris
 

Jennifer Edwards

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Too funny! I am six years retired now and am now in a position to be able to spend as much time as my heart desires on my hobbies. I golf on Wednesday, do the five k park run on Saturday, and except for the few mundane chores of life can spend as much time in my shop as my heart desires.

Seriously what really helps me keep going is that my shop is an all glass conservatory that is attached to the back sitting room. That means I can just walk up to my work bench without any of the fuss of going outside first. Also if my mate needs me i am but a few steps away.

It does not hurt that it is a most pleasant place surrounded by my mates gardening hobby.

Maybe we should add easy accessibility to our projects to our list of things that keep us going on long builds?

Thanks for the smile!
 
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Rocket Man

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I don't like projects that last several months. I never spend time making my projects look beautiful, I'm not entering it in a beauty contest. It has to run good an that's all.
 

Motorman1946

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Easy accessibility to one's shed is a valid and serious point. This time of year I can't just wander out to my stand-alone stone built shed and do an hour or less on a bit, too damn cold for that. I have a stove in the corner to light first if I'm to be out there all day, which takes time to heat up, or a fan heater which still takes a while to warm the place up, and costs. There are distinct advantages in being able to just wander into essentially another room in the house, nice and warm, and just crack on. Downside, for me, would be tramping in swarf to the rest of the house - I could see serious trouble brewing there!
 

Jennifer Edwards

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I’m the total opposite. I finish all my parts to a 1200 grit polish, then when I perform the final fitting and assembly I give every piece a quick touch on a buffing wheel to bring out a high lustre.

Of course a month later my pieces are tarnishing and oily, but I do not care because I did the best I am capable of.

I’m probably borderline OC. When I am making s part I get mad at myself if it is .001” out of size. I have probably scrapped more usable parts because of that then I care to admit.
 

Jennifer Edwards

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when you are as compulsive as I, tracking swarf into the house is not an issue. I clean my machines, bench and floor after each days session. I even give them a good wiping and oiling after I am done with the shop vac. It only takes about ten minutes if you keep on top of it
 

bobden72

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when you are as compulsive as I, tracking swarf into the house is not an issue. I clean my machines, bench and floor after each days session. I even give them a good wiping and oiling after I am done with the shop vac. It only takes about ten minutes if you keep on top of it
Jenny , I too hover and clean my machines down and put all tools in their proper place ever evening when I finish in my shed. Then I know where every thing is the next day. My shed is also connected to the house so as you say just open a door and walk in. The central heating also means who cares about cold damp days. As for long projects yes I love them you can't really build something of beauty in a few weeks, most of my projects are usually twelve months.
 

mohavegun

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The problem I have with large projects is that when I finally get all the parts done and assembled and working, I usually start a new project before I get a truly nice running engine. I will usually go back to a previous project to fine tune and bling up at a latter date. I had better start to clear up these unrefined engines as they are adding up quickly. So far my list includes:

Make a new graphite piston for the poppin
Finish the burner for the Cracker Loco
Make a propane burner for the CopperHead
Continue to refine the AlphaVictory Hot-Air Engine
Make a base for the solenoid motor

Your engine looks great and I am sure you will have a runner soon.


IronHorse

Geoff,

Please tell me more about the CopperHead!, I am currently very interested in an old locomotive known locally here in Arizona as the Copperhead, it was used in a copper mine in the SE corner of the state... attached is a photo of what I know as "Copperhead", this is an 1885 vintage HK Porter narrow gage locomotive that was used in a large open pit copper mine. It was retired from service about 75 years ago and is situated along side the highway going to the mine.

Rod
 

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mohavegun

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Jenny,

Please forgive me, I have been posting to you by the name GEOF!, don't know how I got that miss-wired name!

Rod
 

Jennifer Edwards

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Jenny , I too hover and clean my machines down and put all tools in their proper place ever evening when I finish in my shed. Then I know where every thing is the next day. My shed is also connected to the house so as you say just open a door and walk in. The central heating also means who cares about cold damp days. As for long projects yes I love them you can't really build something of beauty in a few weeks, most of my projects are usually twelve months.
Glad to hear that I am not alone in the world when it comes to taking my time. I think of my model engineering as an art form, not a race. Heck if I work faster all I get for rushing is to start another project. the Cotswold Heritage beam engine I am now building I started back in June. itshould be complete in about five or six weeks. I consider that pretty good time.

a lot of what I do is for aesthetic purposes. for example it has a beautiful bronze cylinder & head. they shipped brass for the steam chest and aluminum for the cylinder base. I could not abide by the mixed materials, so I ordered some bronze stock to make my base and steam chest out of. I have swapped out material for aesthetic or structural purposes over a dozen times on this one build already.

My OC gets even worse, I bag my swarf seperately by metal type at the end of the day. I figure when it piles up enough I can bring it to the scrap yard and it can be recycled. If i change metals I clean out the chip pans on my machines before cutting the new part.
 

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