Rudy Kouhoupt's Open Column Steam Engine - Cast & Double Size

Discussion in 'Engines From Castings' started by vederstein, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. Nov 19, 2017 #1

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    Well, time to start another steam engine, but first some background...

    Generally I like working with castings. I like the look of them. I like the fact that I don't have to screw around with machining non-critical dimensions and I can focus on the precision parts that matter is appealing to me.

    The problem is that I've run out of casting vendors in the price range to which I'm willing to pay. I simply cannot justify spending over $300 US on what is essentially a toy. Also, I like larger models. The tiny fiddly bits on the small engines are simply annoying to me.

    Therefore I'm moving in a new direction and am going to (try) cast my own components. I built a furnace which I documented here on Instructables. For material I have an old engine (in pieces) from my '65 Corvair in the shed that I cam melt down.

    In a month (Christmas gift to myself) or so I'll be obtaining a 3D printer to do lost PLA or lost wax casting on the components.

    So I needed to choose an engine.

    I have a book of model engine plans by Rudy Kouhoupt. Those engines are simple in design but a bit small. Flipping through the pages, it looked like the Rudy's Open Column Engine would look good double sized and it can be gussied up by using castings.

    So here's my proposed engine. 2-1/2" bore x 2" stroke. Single Acting. Many parts from cast aluminum.

    I plan on documenting the casting process and my experiences in machining said castings. As for the bar stock components, I will probably not document those because It's nothing new that I haven't documented in the past with my other builds.

    I would post the design drawings but the original design is from a copyrighted book. Even though I heavily modified the original design, I don't believe I can legally post the design without permission from The Village Press.

    Wish me luck....

    ...Ved.

    Assy - Open Column Steam Engine.jpg

    View attachment Assy - Open Column Steam Engine.pdf
     
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  2. Nov 19, 2017 #2

    bmac2

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    Hi Ved that’s a good looking engine I’ll definitely be following along. Could you post some pictures of your patterns along the way?
     
  3. Nov 19, 2017 #3

    Herbiev

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    I'll be following this one. Sounds great.
     
  4. Nov 20, 2017 #4

    Cogsy

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    I'll be following too. I hope to get some casting done myself this summer, if all goes to plan (it rarely does).
     
  5. Nov 20, 2017 #5

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    I've started some of the barstock parts, but the meat of the matter will have to wait until January when I get set up with the printer.
     
  6. Nov 20, 2017 #6

    Engineville

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    Vederstein,


    Which of the Rudy Kouhoupt's books are you referring for this project? I’d like to purchase my own copy of this book.
     
  7. Nov 20, 2017 #7

    bazmak

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    Looks good but a little lop sided with 1 flywheel.If you are making major changes to the design can you not add another flywheel and make them a touch smaller? Just a thought
     
  8. Nov 20, 2017 #8

    vederstein

    vederstein

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  9. Nov 20, 2017 #9

    vederstein

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    I like them to run slow. But I'll consider your comments and see how it looks.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

    ...Ved.
     
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  10. Nov 21, 2017 #10

    abby

    abby

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    Being a foundryman at heart I like all casting projects but I can't help wondering what metals you are going to get from an old car engine.
    I would think that only the aluminium will be within your melting capabilities , hardly ideal for a steam engine .
    Wouldn't an IC engine be more sensible ?
    Have you investigated lost wax or lost PLA casting ?
    What investment are you planning to use ?
    Dan.
     
  11. Nov 21, 2017 #11

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    The Corvair engine was an all aluminum engine with cast iron cylinder sleeves.

    Aluminum is what I plan on using except for perhaps the flywheel where I may purchase some zinc for the heavier mass.

    I know that cast iron is preferred, but this is just a model and it's not intended to do any real work. It would be very out of the ordinary if it ran for more than 30 minutes a year.

    A few years ago I tried making my first IC engine, the venerable Webster. I think I'm the only person on earth that has failed at getting it to run. That was a bummer and I'm intimidated to try another IC.

    As for my experience, I have none other than making aluminum muffin ingots. I've been learning what I can on the Internet and have learned a few things thus far:

    • Pouring temperature must be considerably higher than melt temperature.
    • Pour in a single shot. Do not stop until the vent holes start filling.
    • Aluminum shrinkage will be about 2-3 percent, so 3D print the parts 2.5% larger than final dimensions.
    • Apply vents at any "peaks" in the wax or PLA part.
    • Ensure all wax or PLA is burned out and blow out the ash with an air gun.
    • The burn out process should happen slowly, incrementally raising the temperature to prevent cracking the investment.
    • Try to complete the pour while the investment is hot.
    So I have some knowledge. What I totally lack is experience. But then ten years ago I had a total lack of experience in machining. Now I suck much less.

    Thanks,

    ...Ved.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2017 #12

    charlesfitton

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    Might I suggest H Greenly's engine? Much better looking...


    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHhOG2E0g0U[/ame]
     
  13. Nov 21, 2017 #13

    abby

    abby

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    Ved I think your project is a great way to start investment casting , in fact I started in a similar way casting in aluminium.
    However the route is fraught with problems to overcome the least of which is melting the metal.
    Most importantly , the heating cycle for your investment mould requires a controllable kiln , not just temperature but time cycles too , they are expensive items but it is possible to build your own .
    I made my first using the elements from an electric storage heater fitted inside a ceramic lined steel box , control was via an Apple IIe with a homemade i/o board and software written in basic.
    You can now get a programmable controller for under 100 USD , VERTEX make a good one although programming can be a brain teaser.
    I wish you well with your project and will try to help when you hit problems.
    Dan.
     
  14. Nov 21, 2017 #14

    MRA

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    Hi Dan - still not done anything with the wax you sent me. Do you have a site to recommend for reading up on cooking the investment?

    Meanwhile - in repsonse to the OP - why not have a go at sand casting first? I've had a lot of success (and quite a few failures), it's a lot of fun and the pattern-making itself is an interesting part of the whole thing. I use oil-bonded sand (because I bought some in a job lot from someone giving up home casting).

    My furnace is forced-air and waste oil. I get hot enough for bronze - the guy I copied does cast iron but I haven't the nerve yet.

    Zinc - I pick up all the wheel-balancing weights I find in the street, which in these parts are no longer made of lead :) Perhaps I'll try chatting them up at the tyre place.
     
  15. Nov 21, 2017 #15

    abby

    abby

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    I would recommend the Hoben Davis website , they are manufacturers of several types of investment cement and the heating cycles are published there , along with info on mixing etc.
    Dan.
     
  16. Nov 21, 2017 #16

    deeferdog

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    Hi Charles,

    Really liked the look of the engine you posted, are there any plans available? Cheers, Peter
     
  17. Nov 22, 2017 #17

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    Thank you all for your comments and help. I'm sure I'll be making loads of scrap. But this is a learning project and I expect many failures.

    This build may take me well over six months for a relatively simple engine. It's just the process I expect to go through.

    As a side note I find it very strange that the replies/interest on this project is far more than what I expect to get on this site. Yet I haven't done anything other than a CAD model/drawings that I legally cannot share. Most of my builds here have garnered relatively low interest except for one large flame war.

    ...Ved.
     
  18. Nov 23, 2017 #18

    ja2tn

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    Ved,

    I will be following the build. Thank you for posting.

    If you've run out of engines to build, casting your own seems like a good next step. I look forward to when you design your own and hopefully will share the opportunity to the rest of us to perhaps purchase a unique casting from you to build.

    Just wondering, have you looked at any of the castings from Rowland Manufacturing Company? I just ordered two from Nick. Seems like a very nice guy with a true passion for this hobby. If you haven't already, search him out and give him a look. You can also see some of his engines on YouTube.

    Look forward to watching your build,
    Jerry
     
  19. Nov 23, 2017 #19

    pp2076

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    If you want a challenge (run out of engines to build), try building this: http://www.haarlemmermeermuseum.nl/en/cruquius-museum--world-largest-steam-engine
     
  20. Nov 26, 2017 #20

    vederstein

    vederstein

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    I quickly modeled a double flywheel version with two 4" flywheels to get an idea of how it looked. To me it's starting to look more like a coke bottle engine of which I already have two.

    It was a good exercise, but I think I'll stick with the lopsided design. For some reason it appeals to me more.

    Thank you for your suggestion.

    ...Ved.

    Capture.JPG
     

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