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Andrew Pullin

Jun 26, 2019
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Wodonga, Australia
Hi Guys,

I am a new member. I found this site by accident looking for some plans for a steam engine
for a Trade Engineering training course I started this year. After we have learned the basics
of lathes and mills and done a couple of starter projects we are allowed to make a more complex
project to learn more about the machines and Engineering in general.

I live in Australia on the Eastern side about half way between Sydney and Melbourne in a place
called Wodonga. It is on the main highway between the other two Cities. I have been interested in
Engineering for many years but this is the first opportunity I have had to actually study it and I am
so far having a ball. I had previously taught myself how to do CAD drawings in AutoCAD but now
have learned Technical Drawing and understand the CAD much better. I am interested in the Design
part of Engineering and how things work.

I am very much enjoying my course. I have so far made only three Paperweights and one of them was
on purpose. The first was a Project to face and machine down a mild steel bar to specific diameters to
learn about measuring and precision. It is just developing surface rust now. The second was a broken
cutting head on a Boring Bar while boring the inside of my Tap Wrench project. After changing the
cutting head I developed a "step" inside and while "fixing" it I managed to overbore the front of the
wrench too wide so the jaws would no longer close - a few weeks work gone in minutes. The last was
after facing a new piece of mild steel and breaking the drill bit while drilling the centering hole. I am
getting REALLY good now at using the Band Saw to cut Mild Steel Bar.

The Machine Shop has only tried to Kill me once. While learning how to use the Mill and sawing the
slots in the jaws of my Tap Wrench, the saw blade came loose and the vibrations loosened the whole
spindle. I called my Instructor over when it started to make loud strange noises (We learned THAT
in week 1) and he caught it just before the whole spindle dropped out and the cutting blade fell off.
Ignorance is certainly Bliss as the other Instructor had coniptions when he heard what happened - I
had no idea how close to Death I had come (it was only spinning at 1100 rpm).

Now I realise that this is a place for sharing, and before my School gets a bad name there are a few
things I should point out. Firstly - it is a School and we ARE supervised and all of these particular
machines are brand new. Secondly - the machine WAS checked after set up and everything was tight
and apparently doing what it was supposed to do. Lastly - we learn by making mistakes and trust me
students AND Instructors learned from that one.

So finally, what made me find this place? Well even though we have so far learned some relatively
simple machining stuff, the Course is not only Theory but very hands on and we are encouraged to
make things in the interests of learning. One of the Projects offered to us after we finish the Tap
Wrench is a Steam Engine. This interested me but when I saw it the design was a fairly simple piston
driving a flywheel in a flat configuration I thought I could find something that was a bit more of a
challenge and looked cool but not too difficult for a first major project. So I popped on my Google
Goggles and went looking.

I stumbled upon this site quite early and came across Brian Rupnow's Beam Engine and thought
it was pretty cool and was fit for the criteria. The only problem was it was in Imperial measurements.

(Feeble attempt at Humour)
There are only Three Third World Countries that do not use the Metric System, and the United States
is one of them!

(End Feeble Attempt)

Since I live in Australia we do use the Metric System and I needed some free plans of a similar
Engine in Metric, so I kept looking. I have finally come up with a Metric version of Gerry's Engine
that is based on OldBoatGuy's plans and drawn up by Ken from South Africa Thanks for that, except
they are on one huge AutoCAD sheet which is no good for individual Parts in a Machine Shop. I am
currently transcribing these plans into a series of A4 and A3 sheets and I will make them available
when I am done to the rest of you. My Plan is to build this Engine as my School Project so I will
keep you all informed as I go/when I go/If I go as it has to be OKed by my Instructor.

Well that is about it for now. Nice to see you all. I just have to work out how to get an actual
File List instead of a heap of Post Threads that sometimes link to a File. Your help would be
much appreciated. Everytime I go to the Downloads link I just get Message Threads.


Hi Andrew, Welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy your stay. Good luck on your course.

Hi Andrew from Gippsland.
Dont forget the Imperial system put a man on the moon, & try buying metric timber...last time looked 19mm is still 3/4" & it comes in 1.8m not 2. This country is only 1/2 metricised & I'm not sure which 1/2.
Enjoy the forum, lots to learn here, even for an old bloke.
Same in the Far North. We have been on metric since Trudeau I decreed we join the rest of the world. Trudeau II has maintained his old man’s move to metric but all these years on we still can’t seem to beat the fact that this country was surveyed in the imperial system and it remains 17 miles to our post box, not 27.935 km. All these attempts to convert acres to hectares is tiresome. And in my shop, the production of strangely shaped scrap pieces is measured in thousandths of an inch and will remain so for the lifetime of the proprietor.
Having been brought up with thous and now having populated my workshop with mms I can't see why we can't use both systems as each has it's own pros and cons and you don't need very strong maths to convert one to the other! In fact there is a vast variety of threads and forms to choose from which no one system can supply and as long as industry keeps on making both systems the status quo will continue. I don't favour either system - I have several crescents in my shop and they are both metric and imperial in length and size :)-)>.
It's an old argument but for me, the number one advantage of the metric system (apart from making me more precise by measuring 0.01mm rather than 0.001 inches) is drill sizes for tapping. It's so simple to just deduct the thread pitch from the nominal diameter to get drill size, so M6x1mm needs a 6-1=5mm drill bit. I can never remember what size drill I need for a 2-56 or 0-80 tap, etc.
I too was brought up both.If I am doing accurate work then I like to work in thous
When machining I can see and feel a thou.However for larger and not so accurate work
its easier to mm than 3ft 4 1/8". Here in oz metric bolts are the norm with some BSW
Steel stock can be imperial or metreic Alum and brass are imperial.With digital mikes and
verniers and a pocket calculator its quite fun using both.Suppose im lucky and have the best of both worlds
Welcome, Andrew!
Do not worry about imperial, it is just a matter of converting. All my projects are imperial but I work in Metric.
Here in Brazil, the system is metric and regarding fasteners such as bolts, threads..., I convert to the next closest to the imperial called on the project.

Good luck with your project and take very close attention for not to hurting yourself. Machinary can be very dengerous
Hi Andrew from Gippsland.
Dont forget the Imperial system put a man on the moon, & try buying metric timber...last time looked 19mm is still 3/4" & it comes in 1.8m not 2. This country is only 1/2 metricised & I'm not sure which 1/2.
Enjoy the forum, lots to learn here, even for an old bloke.
The Military, Car Industry, Aircraft Industry & NASA are all metric in the USA. Confusion blew up a rocket so NASA adopted the metric system.
Hi Andrew, When I design something I use metric, when I build it I use Imperial as my lathe and mill are set up that way. I've never had a problem ... but ... I was told once that the Fokker F27 which was Dutch when it was built under licence by Fairchild, something got lost in the conversion of metric to imperial and although parts were meant to be interchangeable - they weren't. Not sure if this is true, but its a good story !
You people with the math skills are all well and good for mixing and matching. I find conversions a constant source of error. We have to report fuel consumption in l/100 k these days. Those numbers are meaningless to me. I think in mpg. Trying to convert back and forth is hopeless. It’s always exciting to discover that the truck is getting 100 mpg but there is usually a decimal amiss in there somewhere. I tend to use calculators as shims under table legs and just stick to one system.
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the Welcome.

I am not young but I do remember when I was and we used both Metric and Imperial. I fondly remember doing long family trips in the car
and would see the "new" road signs in Kilometers and always asked my dad how far that was. He taught me how to work it out - divide by 8
and multiply by 5 Km->Miles or divide by 5 and multiply by 8 Miles->Km. Not sure if he taught me because he was sick of working it out or
to shut me up (I was only about 7 at the time). I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain last year and saw a sign in Leagues - that was fun.
When I worked in Aviation we used Nautical Miles - NM = Miles x 1.1

I have always been aware of both systems and do convert easily. Learning Engineering is all new to me so it isn't so much difficult, it is just
all new. All of our machines in the Workshop are brand new and in Metric so that is what we learn. My wife is a Maths teacher and she tells me
trying to teach kids how to convert in Metric is bad enough without introducing Base 12.

I personally love to read and I am quite into Science and History and love to find stuff out. As some of you have pointed out, even though
Australia is technically Metric, they still sell land in Queensland in Perches, farmers still talk about Tonnes per Acre (a good one to wrap your
heard around), Aviation uses lbs of Thrust/lbs of Fuel burned/hour, Nautical Miles, Knots and Feet.

Finally on the subject before I move on - if you tease your 11 year old with tongue twisters, it is good to know that:

If Peter Piper picked a Peck of pickled peppers, how many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

To the best of my research - a Peck is aproximately 6-8 small apples, and a small apple is about the same size as a pickled pepper, so Peter Piper
picked about 6-8 pickled peppers!

If anyone can supply more accurate data and a reference I would be appreciative.

Moving on.
I have almost finished transcribing Ken I's Metric Plans for OldBoatGuys Beam Engine from one big sheet onto smaller A3 and A4 sheets. The
original AutoCAD drawing printed nicely onto an A0 sheet but was a tickle to big for A1 (do NOT ask how big a "tickle" is!). It looks quite nice on
the wall of my Study right now. When I am done I will package the original Drawing with my new transcribed Drawings and build a Set of PDF
Drawings and post them to the Boards for others to use. Then I have to convince my Engineering Instructor that it isn't too complicated a job
to build as a Project for my Course.

I must say that right now I am really getting excited about building it. I know it isn't very big and I can visualise the size and basics of how it works
but until I actually work out how the parts all actually fit together it is still a bit mysterious. The other thing is that I am already thinking how I can
make it bigger and also make a few cosmetic changes so that it looks even more like something I have seen before. I would also like to actually design
a proper Boiler and actually run it off steam but these are mainly Delusions of Grandeur right now for a Beginner. I do see why the rest of you lot
have got hooked on this type of thing. It is exciting, fun, you learn stuff and you actually create something with your own hands. I like it!

Cheers for now and I will let you know how things go.

The neat thing about a nautical mile is that it relates to an actual earth-based measurement. It is one minute of latitude. Easy to measure on any map. All the miles, furlongs, leagues, rods, inches (3 barley corns in a row) have obtuse and historical origins.

Good luck in your course Andrew. I am envious. In our remote location I have to rely on You Tube for instruction.