My Dad's radial steam engine

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modela

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Dadshighschoolproject016.jpg


This is a picture of my Dad's steam engine. He attended a high school in Watts during the depression, one that the federal government had upgraded. In one of his classes he studied steam engine theory. In the school shop he built this steam engine. It runs.

Basically it shows what high school age kids can do given the resources which seem to be diminishing during these times.
 

modela

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Dadshighschoolproject015-1.jpg


This is the picture of the underside. It is hard to read the last digit of the date but I believe it is 1930.

Jim
 

Brass_Machine

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Hi Jim

Fantastic model. Do you have more pictures of it?

Thanks
Eric
 

modela

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Here are some more:

006.jpg

005.jpg

004.jpg

003.jpg

002-1.jpg


When I was a kid we kept it in a glass door cabinet. We would get it down and run it on compressed air.

From what my dad said his instructor told him he doubted if he could get the timing right, but he did.

Jim
 

metalmad

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Thats Lovely Jim
The old style tap fitting looks so right on the engine :bow:
I like to think my son will pass on my engines to his sons.
Some K for your old Man :)
Pete
 

modela

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I am sure he will, Pete.

My dad's father was a water well and test hole driller. His father drilled with what was called a walking beam drill powered by a small Case engine. When WW II came along he turned it in for the war effort which he regretted. He went on to take over the business. We grew up in that business and he passed on many skills to my brother and I.

Jim
 

Brass_Machine

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Yup. That is a nice model.

When I was in high school, we still had a vocational program. Machine shop, welding etc...

Check that. I just went back and looked. The votech is still going strong in my hometown. The machine shop program is now called "Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering/Robotics" and they get CAD/CNC training along with physics, robots etc...

Back to that model. Are the cylinders one piece?
 

modela

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The heads are in one piece. My brother, a laser physicist and machinist is talking about taking it apart, drawing plans and building another one.

Jim
 

bearcar1

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As much as I would love to see a set of drawings for such a lovely engine, please do not let your brother or any one else disassemble your father's work. Leave it alone and know that he was the last person to have tightened the fittings. Just my $.02 worth but don't take a chance with something as precious as that, rocket scientist or not.

Jim
BC1
 

modela

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That is what kept us from doing it all these years. We still have his old class notes and are hoping to go through them and find something.

Jim
 

rhitee93

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What a treasure. I lost my dad last year, and I am fortunate to have a number of wooden toys he made in his workshop. They are very dear to me.

I would echo the thoughts of leaving that engine alone. With your brother's background, I bet he could measure the external parts, and design the internals himself. That way it would be a genrational evolution of the engine design.

No matter what you do, thank you for sharing.
 

Brass_Machine

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modela said:
The heads are in one piece. My brother, a laser physicist and machinist is talking about taking it apart, drawing plans and building another one.

Jim

One piece! They look nicely done with the cooling fins. Fits the role of a radial (One of my favorite engines)
 

gmac

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My thoughts are similar to those of Brian - leave it as your Father intended. Develop a set of plans without disassembling it and you and your brother build two to continue the legacy - make your Father proud ! ;)

Thanks for posting his work, nice to see old craftmanship.

Cheers Garry
 
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JorgensenSteam

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Jim-

My Dad left a number of steam engines when he died, and I hesitated to disassemble any of them.
But if you really want to learn how to build them, and learn how he built them, then you will need to take it apart and measure it.

Just take a lot of photos and notes, and keep up with screws and parts in ziplock baggies.

My thoughts are that my Dad would be proud that I wanted to learn how they were made, and he would also be proud of the drawings I made that I have been able to pass on to to so many others.

Dad was a big promoter of the hobby in general, and I am sure he would not mind.

There is only one way to learn, and that is to jump in there.


Just my two cents.

Pat J
 

ronkh

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Hi Jim,

Thanks for showing. Really great to see these old model engines and did he make any more?

Pat J.
Sorry to say but I have to agree with Brian, Garry and rhmee93.
After all, one woundn't take apart a classic Rolls Royce or a Chevy - F15 or a Spitfire plane et al just to see how the innards work and measure up would one?
Its rather like the old saying: "If it aint broke, don't fix it"!

Kind regards,

Ron.
 
J

JorgensenSteam

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Ron-

I guess I would say if you have the skill to disassemble it and measure it, and then reassemble it without leaving a trace, then what is the harm?
Otherwise how do you save the design and share it with others?

I actually would take apart any engine or mechanical device, measure it, and make drawings for it, regardless. I have always done that, and would do that with a Rolls Royce Merlin, or any engine. But I can do that without damaging it.

My philosophy is "if humans made it, then humans can reverse-engineer it".

Yes, I can and do take apart anything, nothing is sacred in the engine world to me.

If you don't take it apart, you will never learn.

I don't do trophy-case models. Not to take away from those that do, but the full spectrum of the hobby is to not only build nice engines, but to document how you did it, show others, and yes, let others touch your engine, disassemble it, copy it, etc. I don't make engines into sacred objects. Sorry, that is not a hobby, it is worshiping inanimate objects.

I would say if you want to just look at something, then just get a rock and look at it.
What is the sense really if you don't advance the hobby and your knowledge?

Obviously opinions will differ on this topic, but I can say I have been there, done that, and was very glad I documented what I did for the entire learning and sharing experience.

Pat J
 
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JorgensenSteam

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I prescribe to George B.'s motto:
"Talent not shared is talent wasted".

If I have a niece or nephew come over to the house, I will take apart any engine in a heartbeat, down to the smallest part, and then show them how it was made, and let them learn how to put it back together.

This is how we keep the hobby going.

I have peered into many a trophy case, but you can't learn how to make engines by osmosis. Hands-on is the only way.

Pat J
 

modela

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I think the timing would be the hardest to duplicate without tearing it down. Most likely we will not touch it.

Jim
 

bearcar1

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You are wise beyond your years, Jim. Have a good look around the web, there are plans for very similar (design wise) engines that could be made to mimic that which your father made i the 30's.

BC1
Jim
 
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JorgensenSteam

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The timing would not be too difficult to figure out.
The valve follows the crankshaft and piston movement.

It looks like a hole in the cylinder toward the bottom of the stroke, so maybe a uniflow design?

You can see another type of radial at this link.
http://www.classicsteamengineering.com/index.php?topic=55.0
All of the examples at this link are animations, so if you click on them, they will actually run, and you can see valve timing vs piston and crank position.

A series of slots and grooves in the cranshaft would do it for the timing and passages for your engine.

I can understand the reluctance to disassemble the engine.
Maybe if you build a few engines your confidence and skill will grow, and you will open up that case some day and reveal the secrets that are hidden inside.
 

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