need help with steam engine choices

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The steel is 12L14 (not 12L10 sorry for the error) - either way it has multiple uses, is fairly cheap and easy to mill. I have used it for many Steam engine components. It finishes quite nicely. I have made cylinders, shafts and other components, even used it for a very small crankshaft. You can get it cold rolled in multiple shapes and forms.
Regarding Lead steel cold rolled , thanks kindly, regarding cylinders, my understanding of lead steal as it is called ,is that, in order to harden it you must bore then when finished, this material must be heated red hot then quenched in order to harden it, but with heat there is expansion then shrinkage, so question , when making a 1 1/4 cylinder bore,should this steal be heat treated , and if so, after or before drilling a bore hole?

At this point for me, I guess it does not matter to some extent, but I still must know. A milling anything has become an issue , I do have a cross slide to attach a milling attachment my cross slide has a middle slot so the toilet can be adjusted in and out. I would to buy a milling attachment that is bolted through my saddle and directly sitting on the saddle as opposed to the toolrest cross slide which is sitting on my saddle. My friend DW thank you for the photos of your cross slide and everything else you have been so kind in giving as well other home machinists I thank you very kindly. If you go on eBay and simply type in the words Verticall Milling Attachment a number of them will pop up. Now my chuck is 100 mm and 100 mm from centre to saddle I believe. I think my best bet is a saddle mounted mill with out the base plate if if such a thing exists? The one at the little machine shop, thank you DW is too expensive please have a look at eBay some are their and someone please make a recommendation to me. There is one there for a MyFord seven and is apparently adoptable to other machines but which machines remains a mystery, I just might make my own cross slide for a vertical mill probably not since it needs a adjustment wheel. Could modify my cross slide by knotching it I guess not.

My tailstock sits on the saddle and has a bolt and plate the bolt tightens and the little plate grips under the saddle to hold the tailstock in place, I must admit that I am not happy with that kind of cheesy arrangement on a Chinese low cost lathe, but it does work. I wish I wish I wish I had a 1000.00 $ now then I could by a milling machine but I do not. Ok now most say no do not try converting a Drill press Dan, it will not work or will it? I prefer the milling attachment as well. Tell you what, I will buy a milling attachment, if it does not fit then I shall make it fit some how. Must go getting late. Thanks all.
Might as well be talking to a brick wall. Look at post#8 just after you asked about leaded steel and SEE WHAT I SAID TO USE FOR YOUR CYLINDER

You have also said that you don't want to machine steel so why are you asking about using it for your cylinder?

A block of iron (you do not have to cast it) will be a better material for the job and easier to machine than steel.

If you did use leaded steel it does NOT need to be hardened and your description of hardening would do nothing to this low carbon steel
Perhaps you should re-read specifications of steels. Frankly, I would be loathe to use EN1A which is what we old Limey B******* called the stuff. Having said that, it is wonderful to machine to a high finish but it is terrible stuff to weld although it will silver solder really well. However, it is low in carbon and you will have the Devil's luck if you can harden it. It will case harden OK. There are differences and the last thing that you should do is expect it as 'the answer to a maiden's prayer'. Essentially, it is a MILD steel.

Regarding the choice of a vertical mill, I agree with the comments that a fixed slide is more rigid but there are times when a one wants to machine angles etc. As for versatility of Myford vertical slides, they are now quite ancient and usually Imperial. I have one which will take a vice or a rotary table( amongst other things) but even at that, it really needs to have the gib strip 'pinned'. Again, I have still one slide which came from an old Perfecto lathe- probably made by Maudsley or Da Vinci. Mine still works and both have lived on various lathes other than Myfords. Importantly, it is the ability of the user and NOT the machine. They merely make some tasks easier- nothing more!

Whilst I have Four lathes- not counting my little watchmaker's pair of turns(tours) and a couple of mills and a heap of tool and cutter grinders, I still use lots of simple jigs and either bolt them together or stick them with a weld or drill and tap holes ad nauseum to get the job done. Somewhat harshly, you might be surprised what can be done with a bloody big chunk of metal bolted to the cross slide and peppered with holes, tapped and otherwise. The old brigade has them and usually gets to forget to mention them- because they are so NORMAL.

My advice is probably spend more money and time reading the classic books which were written 50 or 100 years ago instead of writing screeds to someone out on the internet somewhere with qualifications and experiences which may not be all that great but who will freely copy what probably have come from the ancients- and lost a lot in the telling.

So go get yourself that bloody big chunk of metal-- and exercise your 'engine-u-ity'

Perhaps you should re-read specifications of steels. Frankly, I would be loathe to use EN1A which is what we old Limey B******* called the stuff.

Are you sure Norm, I call leaded steel EN1A Pb as that is the leaded one, EN1A is not leaded;)
Are you sure Norm, I call leaded steel EN1A Pb as that is the leaded one, EN1A is not leaded;)

I confess to 'Don't Know'. My experiences were that when I went to buy 11 foot lengths of 'round', I asked for EN1A and quipped 'leaded' and got it. Chopped it in halves and handed one half to an even older old mate who was like me an aficionado of the late George Thomas of immortal memory.

I do, realise that the specification names have changed since and would be happy to be further advised.

Recently with diminishing stocks, I bought a load ( £40) of useable lengths of steel for home use. I had a limit of £100 and laughingly, the supplier said that my little car would break with that amount on board.

What I got seemingly will machine, silver solder and weld with my Mig.

Conclusion, £40( 40quid) was less than the diesel in the car tank. Priorities still in place- I hope


By asking for leaded you would have got EN1A Pb as Pb is the chemical symbol for lead.

Basic EN1A is a free cutting mild steel but the addition of lead into EN1A Pb enhances the machinability and is what makes it really nice to machine but does put the cost up.

These are old descriptions but any steel tockholder will know what you want but modern would be as shown on this chart, but you will see that even the latest codes put Pb at the end for leaded.
So my thanks for adding to my small fund of knowledge.
I would guess that my recent car load of 'offcuts' will 'see me out'

This supply was Jenkins Steel in nearby Cramlington, Northumberland with a walk around and me saying , I'll have that and that and at the eventual costing got my stock at 'scrap prices'.

Going back to our OP, I wonder whether he has read how Martin Cleeve bought half a Myford ML7 new and without anything more than a faceplate and 4 jaw chuck went on to make -- his own nuts and bolts, a drilling machine, a set of micrometers, a grinder, a book called 'Screwcutting in the Lathe' and --- a vertical slide.

He didn't whinge or claim poverty but my researches discovered that


hello, i am a newbee, i have a question perhaps someone could answer. I wish to build a Vertical Double Steam Engine with reverse gear. i have looked on the internet at at various plans offered for free down loading but non fit the bill, i cannot cast were we are living nore am i interested at this time. if i must cast then these would have to be custom made ,but from whom, i do not know. what i am looking for is a set of plans for a double vertical marine engine with drawings for reverse gear. i wish a cylinder bore of 1 inch not 3/4the vessel is 8 ft. long, the stuart double ten as an example is too small according to articals i have read. i am looking for one that does not require castings.

if not, can i increase the size of the vertical Jepson engine plans to a 1 1/4 bore, this engine is not a double its a single this the reason for a 1 1/4 inch bore asopposed to a 1 inch bore. i have another set of free plans also for a bigger engine the plan for this engine are exellent its a unit with a Lp cylinder and Hp cylinder but it requires castings or can i not use castings and instead mill solid material. this engine plan comes with no reverse gear drawings either which is a problem. also i cannot find any good books on amazon nor ebay on how to build a steam engine sadly, what is available is not according to people whom bought some of the few books available, not very helpfull. any help on the above would be appreciated very much. i have a mill and lathe but still must purchase some tooling. i wish to indicate how happy i was in ordering for the little machine shop, they are very good highly recommended.

thank you kindly

Blondie hacks on you tube has a really nice steam build she is a very good machinist snd designer . Here YouTube videos are excellent . Her steamer build was from a set of castings she details every step of the way . Even when accidentally crashed her lathe she detailed the repair exactly It probably came out better than it was new .
Blondie hacks has moved to Canada and setting up a new shop..Bentwings is right on, Blondie hacks is very good, I have learned some
lathe and milling tricks from her....
My question is, in the book, is there a set of plans for a small double Vertical say with 1 to 1 1/4 bore, or a single with a single with a 1 1/4 bore that would fit my 7 ft. tugboat? could someone please answer this question thanks.

I have Ray's book, the engines are:
  1. A One-Cylinder, Double-acting Open Column Steam Engine, 2.25" bore, 3" stroke
  2. One-Flea-power "Little Boy", 1/8" bore, 3/16" stroke
  3. A Horizontal Mill Steam Engine with oscillating rotary valve, 1" bore, 1.375" stroke
  4. A Simple, Single Column Steam Engine, 5/8" bore, 1/2" stroke
  5. A Two-Cylinder, Double-acting Marine Steam Engine with Stephenson reverse gear, 2" bore, 2.5" stroke
  6. A Two-cylinder Single-acting Steam Engine, 5/8" bore, 1/2" stroke
  7. A Two-cylinder Steam Engine, with reversing by port exchange, 5/8" bore, 5/8" stroke
  8. A Two-cylinder, 90° Vee Marine Steam Engine with Stephenson reversing gear, 1.875" bore, 2" stroke
  9. An Oscillating, Two-cylinder Reversing Steam Engine with feed pump, 3/4" bore, 3/4" stroke
  10. A Reversing Column Steam Engine, 2.25" bore, 3" stroke
The text references #1 being used for a 16' launch, and there are photographs of #10 powering two boats, one a catamaran made of a pair of canoes, the other an 18' launch.
Rudy Kouhopt has a twin vertical compound engine, 1.125" and 1.5" bore, reversing, which is all bar stock.
My advice would be a bar stock engine as a first, rather than a casting set. Casting sets are expensive and so easy to do something wrong. Daunting in the beginning to plot your dimensions on a rough casting. With a bar stock, if you made a mistake, cut another piece of metal and start again, speaking of experience here.

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