Last unbuilt Coles Corliss Steam Engine casting kit

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stugunu

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I was able to finally get my hands on what I believe is the last complete unbuilt casting kit to a Coles Corliss Steam Engine. I was a machinist for 34 years but I was only able to buy my own lathe and mill in the last two years and I'm still very short on tooling for them. So I havent started on it yet. I wanted to get all of my ducks in a row first. My question is, did the kit come with any building tips, instructions or timing instructions? And if anyone who has built one has any do's, don'ts, or tips for me I would greatly appreciate it.
 
In this new age of 3D cad and 3D printers, how come no one has introduced a Corliss or other Cole's castings?
 
At one time I considered going into the casting kit business, but after talking to Maury with Lone Star, I could see that there would be no significant profit in it, and indeed most likely no profit at all.

One major problem I have hear from several folks who offer or offered casting kits was the fact that finding someone to do the foundry work was getting very difficult, the castings were very expensive to get made, and the casting quality was dropping to the point where many castings were poor quality, and had so many defects that they required a lot of work to use.

I ended up building my own aluminum/bronze/iron foundry, and I make my own patterns and cast my own engine parts.
It took me six years on and off to learn how to do foundry work, and how to make defect-free gray iron castings.
Most people don't even believe I can make defect-free gray iron castings that do not have inclusions or hard spots.
So far nobody has taken me up on my offer to come over to my house and witness this for themselves, and become a believer.
You can lead a horse to water.............

I have a 3D printer, and have shifted most of my pattern work into that format.

I start with a photo of an original engine, and then create a 3D model from that, and then 3D print the patterns.

With today's technology, one can make a better Coles than Coles, a better Cretors than Cretors, and even a better Stuart than Stuart, if you use the right materials and become proficient at 3D modeling.

Most of the casting kit folks in the past simplified or modified their kits, but there is not need to modify an old engine design; these days one can reproduce an old design exactly as it was originally built.

The folks who make their own castings and engines sort of get ignored in my opinion by the rest of the hobby, for the most extent, but we are out here, and can make some superb gray iron engine parts.

I have tried to share my knowledge with anyone/everyone who wants to learn, but few seem interested.

The only thing holding me back right now is the fact that I work full time, and am extremely busy with work projects, and so no time for engine work.

This is the state of the hobby in 2023; make your own castings; we have the technology.

.
 
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Most people don't even believe I can make defect-free gray iron castings that do not have inclusions or hard spots.
So far nobody has taken me up on my offer to come over to my house and witness this for themselves, and become a believer.
I can't come over today, as I am stuck in the Philippines. but one time I DID ask where yuou live and you only repllied in cryptic. Just so you know, I AM indeed interested in the foundry work you do and others do, it's just that I don't have tghe room in my backyard (in a city in the SOVIET--understand?) to safely do a small foundry == even for aluminum.

Here in the Philippines, I have PLENTY of room but try to get a lathe or mill for a decent price and a place where it will not rust in a few days.

For a curious peice of information, there is a Lathe for sale in Cebu City that is about 5000$USD. It is a no name brand, basic, looks solid but is quite small. I believe it is worth only about 2000USD. It has sat in the shop for more than seven years, has a layer of rust and certainly will not sell at the price it is. I told the proprietor that he MUST get layer of protective grease on the ways at least, he said he'd have someone do it. In comparison, the Grizzly G4003G cost me 4000USD and is a MUCH better tool. Also, in the Phils, it is most usual to get NO warranty worth having for anything you buy.

Unfortunately, the Philippine laws are very restrictive when buying things out of the country. Years ago, it was the opposite, and peeps were encouraged to bring tools and heavy equipment into the country. Now that the general prosperity is much higher, the laws are such tshat the co;untry is now encouraging the importers to make $$ on whatever they can. So importing a lathe from China directly is NOT an option. Really too bad but what can one do? There are a couple of direct importers that are akin to ebay here, Maybe I'll take a look at them.
 
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I can't come over today, as I am stuck in the Philippines. but one time I DID ask where yuou live and you only repllied in cryptic. Just so you know, I AM indeed interested in the foundry work you do and others do, it's just that I don't have tghe room in my backyard (in a city in the SOVIET--understand?) to safely do a small foundry == even for aluminum.

Here in the Philippines, I have PLENTY of room but try to get a lathe or mill for a decent price and a place where it will not rust in a few days.

For a curious peice of information, there is a Lathe for sale in Cebu City that is about 5000$USD. It is a no name brand, basic, looks solid but is quite small. I believe it is worth only about 2000USD. It has sat in the shop for more than seven years, has a layer of rust and certainly will not sell at the price it is. I told the proprietor that he MUST get layer of protective grease on the ways at least, he said he'd have someone do it. In comparison, the Grizzly G4003G cost me 4000USD and is a MUCH better tool. Also, in the Phils, it is most usual to get NO warranty worth having for anything you buy.

Unfortunately, the Philippine laws are very restrictive when buying things out of the country. Years ago, it was the opposite, and peeps were encouraged to bring tools and heavy equipment into the country. Now that the general prosperity is much higher, the laws are such tshat the co;untry is now encouraging the importers to make $$ on whatever they can. So importing a lathe from China directly is NOT an option. Really too bad but what can one do? There are a couple of direct importers that are akin to ebay here, Maybe I'll take a look at them.

I am in Tennessee.
They call it the three states of TN.
Mountains on the east, country music capital of the world in the middle, and Mississippi river on the west with Elvis or what is left of him.

Be cautious on the west end; the crime rate is pretty bad.
Don't just pull off the road anywhere; know exactly where you are going and how to get there, else that may be your last stop.

I am on the west end; crime is pretty bad, but I can't complain.

I thought you were in Michigan; how did you get all the way over to the Philippines?
That is like on the other side of the world.

.
 
In this new age of 3D cad and 3D printers, how come no one has introduced a Corliss or other Cole's castings?

Depends what you mean by introduce. If people who have the original patterns could not make it pay then why would anyone think they could get their investment in making patterns, having them cast, producing drawings etc see it as a way of making money

I've redrawn a fair number of old designs and made my own models probably not really worth it making for others. Although I have made designs by Stuart, Gamages, Wall, Bassett Lowke, CME, etc there has not been anything in the Coles range that really took my fancy and corliss engines don't really do it for me. nearest I got was a rocking valve Filer & Stowell Would be more likely to get some money back by just selling the drawings and directing people to the build thread so they could see how to fabricate their own

DSC03967.JPG
 
I am in Tennessee.
They call it the three states of TN.
Mountains on the east, country music capital of the world in the middle, and Mississippi river on the west with Elvis or what is left of him.

Be cautious on the west end; the crime rate is pretty bad.
Don't just pull off the road anywhere; know exactly where you are going and how to get there, else that may be your last stop.

I am on the west end; crime is pretty bad, but I can't complain.

I thought you were in Michigan; how did you get all the way over to the Philippines?
That is like on the other side of the world.

.
I live in the Soviet of Washington and/or the Philippines. I am on my four month vacation at the time in tyhe phils. Am working some small necessary projects on our house. A roof for the back door, some concrete to cover walkway that is mud during the rain, trying to build a small lumber mill and other small projeacts.

I flew here.
 
At one time I considered going into the casting kit business, but after talking to Maury with Lone Star, I could see that there would be no significant profit in it, and indeed most likely no profit at all.

One major problem I have hear from several folks who offer or offered casting kits was the fact that finding someone to do the foundry work was getting very difficult, the castings were very expensive to get made, and the casting quality was dropping to the point where many castings were poor quality, and had so many defects that they required a lot of work to use.

I ended up building my own aluminum/bronze/iron foundry, and I make my own patterns and cast my own engine parts.
It took me six years on and off to learn how to do foundry work, and how to make defect-free gray iron castings.
Most people don't even believe I can make defect-free gray iron castings that do not have inclusions or hard spots.
So far nobody has taken me up on my offer to come over to my house and witness this for themselves, and become a believer.
You can lead a horse to water.............

I have a 3D printer, and have shifted most of my pattern work into that format.

I start with a photo of an original engine, and then create a 3D model from that, and then 3D print the patterns.

With today's technology, one can make a better Coles than Coles, a better Cretors than Cretors, and even a better Stuart than Stuart, if you use the right materials and become proficient at 3D modeling.

Most of the casting kit folks in the past simplified or modified their kits, but there is not need to modify an old engine design; these days one can reproduce an old design exactly as it was originally built.

The folks who make their own castings and engines sort of get ignored in my opinion by the rest of the hobby, for the most extent, but we are out here, and can make some superb gray iron engine parts.

I have tried to share my knowledge with anyone/everyone who wants to learn, but few seem interested.

The only thing holding me back right now is the fact that I work full time, and am extremely busy with work projects, and so no time for engine work.

This is the state of the hobby in 2023; make your own castings; we have the technology.

.
Green Twin, I kinda feel honored that you were the one to reply to my statement, I am really enjoying your article in Live Steam magazine. I have researched some of the home foundry sites and pages wondering what I would need to cast cast iron. I also would say that part of me is still attached to Cole's, sounds stupid I know. My grandfather started with a 1 inch case traction engine, and from those plans he enlarged them to build a 3 inch case before Tom Turning started his 3 inch case. I started ordering casting from cole's 20 years ago before the Texas guy. I was not able to get all the castings. So that was the basic history to my question. I have even purchased the D&RGW C-25 drawing book from Branchline. I've had a good conversation with Jeff Smith, he is no longer offering castings in 2.5 inch scale. I asked for permission to produce my own, Jeff did give me permission and to give credit when credit was due.
 
I got hooked on steam engines when I saw my brother's Wilesco run when I was 5 years old, and have studied steam engines ever since.

That article was way too fun, as was casting and building that engine (very time consuming though).

I still have my Cole's catalog.
They use to sell a huge varitey of engine castings.
And I recall purchasing scaled bolts from them in the not so distant past.
What a loss to see that company fold.

The good news is that pretty much any engine can be recreated with 3D modeling, 3D printing, and backyard casting, and in gray iron too.
Modern drawings derived from 3D models are also a lot more accurate than the 2D model engine drawings of old.

I have some metal casting/foundry posts scattered around the web.
I guess I need to make an iron casting "white paper" in pdf format, and post that.
I never really found a good concise paper on "How to Melt and Cast Gray Iron in the Backyard", and so I was very confused about how to do it for years. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about how to best do it, and many/most were wrong, or perhaps had a poor approach, or an obsolete approach.

It took me six years to learn iron, but that was an on-again off-again affair due to my work schedule.
With the right guidance, I have seen some build an iron foundry and start casting gray iron in a month.
Gray iron is not very difficult to melt, but everything has to be done and set up in an exact way, else you will not get quality castings.

I was going to have a casting festival at one point, and invite anyone to attend and learn how to cast iron.
Then Covid hit, and some other issues, and the casting festival fell through.

Pat J
 
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I got hooked on steam engines when I saw my brother's Wilesco run when I was 5 years old, and have studied steam engines ever since.

That article was way too fun, as was casting and building that engine (very time consuming though).

I still have my Cole's catalog.
They use to sell a huge varitey of engine castings.
And I recall purchasing scaled bolts from them in the not so distant past.
What a loss to see that company fold.

The good news is that pretty much any engine can be recreated with 3D modeling, 3D printing, and backyard casting, and in gray iron too.
Modern drawings derived from 3D models are also a lot more accurate than the 2D model engine drawings of old.

I have some metal casting/foundry posts scattered around the web.
I guess I need to make an iron casting "white paper" in pdf format, and post that.
I never really found a good concise paper on "How to Melt and Cast Gray Iron in the Backyard", and so I was very confused about how to do it for years. Everyone seemed to have an opinion about how to best do it, and many/most were wrong, or perhaps had a poor approach, or an obsolete approach.

It took me six years to learn iron, but that was an on-again off-again affair due to my work schedule.
With the right guidance, I have seen some build an iron foundry and start casting gray iron in a month.
Gray iron is not very difficult to melt, but everything has to be done and set up in an exact way, else you will not get quality castings.

I was going to have a casting festival at one point, and invite anyone to attend and learn how to cast iron.
Then Covid hit, and some other issues, and the casting festival fell through.

Pat J
Can you send me a ticket to the festival? My wings are too tired from flying to the Philippines.
 
Depends what you mean by introduce. If people who have the original patterns could not make it pay then why would anyone think they could get their investment in making patterns, having them cast, producing drawings etc see it as a way of making money

I've redrawn a fair number of old designs and made my own models probably not really worth it making for others. Although I have made designs by Stuart, Gamages, Wall, Bassett Lowke, CME, etc there has not been anything in the Coles range that really took my fancy and corliss engines don't really do it for me. nearest I got was a rocking valve Filer & Stowell Would be more likely to get some money back by just selling the drawings and directing people to the build thread so they could see how to fabricate their own

DSC03967.JPG
How exactly does that valve work? Looks very interesting. And the throttle attached to it too. this really looks like something I want to build.
 
It works just like any slide valve steam engine really except the port face is a round "tube" and the valve a mating round cylinder with a cavity cut into it.

 

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    Rocking-Valve-01.jpg
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I was able to finally get my hands on what I believe is the last complete unbuilt casting kit to a Coles Corliss Steam Engine. I was a machinist for 34 years but I was only able to buy my own lathe and mill in the last two years and I'm still very short on tooling for them. So I havent started on it yet. I wanted to get all of my ducks in a row first. My question is, did the kit come with any building tips, instructions or timing instructions? And if anyone who has built one has any do's, don'ts, or tips for me I would greatly appreciate it.
Still available? How much? Comes with plans?
 
I was able to finally get my hands on what I believe is the last complete unbuilt casting kit to a Coles Corliss Steam Engine. I was a machinist for 34 years but I was only able to buy my own lathe and mill in the last two years and I'm still very short on tooling for them. So I havent started on it yet. I wanted to get all of my ducks in a row first. My question is, did the kit come with any building tips, instructions or timing instructions? And if anyone who has built one has any do's, don'ts, or tips for me I would greatly appreciate it.
I also have a Cole’s Corliss casting kit. My father purchased it many years ago and built the governor for it. He lost interest in it and turned it all over to me. I started to work on it, then health issues got in the way. Now I am catching up with things and hope to get back to it this coming winter. Having said all this I have: complete set of castings, complete set of drawings, notes, timing information and a copy of the construction article from one of the modeling magazines. Be glad to share what I have.
 
I also have a Cole’s Corliss casting kit. My father purchased it many years ago and built the governor for it. He lost interest in it and turned it all over to me. I started to work on it, then health issues got in the way. Now I am catching up with things and hope to get back to it this coming winter. Having said all this I have: complete set of castings, complete set of drawings, notes, timing information and a copy of the construction article from one of the modeling magazines. Be glad to share what I have.
That would be great, thanks so much. I have a complete set of the drawings and castings, but I don't have any build information, notes, or trimming information.
 
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