Quantcast

Scott Flamelicker (Vacuum Engine)

Help Support HMEM:

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
A little bit of my history here.

I started this post on another site, but seeing that the moderators on that site don't want me there any more, I have decided to transfer across how far I got onto here, without any of the comments or questions from that site.
Doing it that way, it will be like me doing this post from scratch, and you can all have a go at asking your own questions, which I certainly hope you will do.
By the time I have finished putting the files up, over a period of 5 to 6 weeks, I should be in a position where I can get completely up to date and carry on finishing the build off.

################################################## ########################################

I gave up making things from castings a fair while ago, purely because the quality had got so bad (and still is amongst some of the well known suppliers).
A couple of years ago, I took a chance on a company I had never used before for castings, and bought two casting kits, this one and one for a full sized engine called the R & B, from Bruce engineering.

This one will be used to get me back into the swing of things, because no matter what people say, castings are not an easy way of making things, in fact, if you don't make them right, they can turn out to be an absolute eyesore, or it can cost lots of pennies buying new castings if you bugger up the initial ones. A lot of the second hand part built ones are sold by people who have become disillusioned when they thought they would be getting an easy build.

So now onto the way I get things done, others will have different methods, and as I don't like the way the instructions say how to build it, I will be doing it my way for some of the major parts.


So this is what comes in the kit. Everything you need to make the running engine, ball races, springs, even the fasteners, all except for the burner parts. That is because you have a choice of two methods, spirit and wick or butane/propane mix from a refillable gas tank. I will be going down the gas route, purely because in my steam days, I used to make refillable gas tanks, and I have a fully tested one waiting in the wings.

The quality of the castings, IMHO, are very reasonable, no surface blow holes or sags, intimating that something is amiss inside, and one thing I like the most, they haven't been over fettled by some gorilla using an angle grinder. I can take metal off easily enough, but putting it back on is a PITA.
The plans and instructions are well detailed, and I am sure if you follow them, you would end up with a working engine, which when finished, will be about 10" long by something like 6" wide, so not a small engine at all.




When I first bought the castings I had done a little bit of the cleaning up on the flywheel, just a couple of the segments. Now I have new files to fit the die filer, why waste energy.



In about ten minutes, I had the whole lot rough fettled, and not one single aching muscle or sore finger, it did a great job. This part will now be put away, and when the time comes to start turning and boring, a smaller and finer file will be fitted and it will be brought down to finished proportions.




This is the first piece that will get my major attention, the base casting. BTW, this engine is an Imperial build with BA fasteners, and because that are what are supplied, I will be using them.
So away with the metric measuring instruments, and in with the Imperial. Also, because the base is over 6" long, I will be using an 8" dial vernier rather than the 6" digivern.

The first thing that I did was to roughly check things for square and straightness, they were OK, then check for thicknesses and flatness.

By the time I had given it a good going over, I decided that the four top faces of the base bolt hole bosses were going to be my first datum points.




This is the first part that will need cleaning up, the bottom of the base. Once that is done, everything else should fall into place.

I don't like holding directly on the castings because of all the release tapers on them, so the first bit to be made will be a jig plate for it to be bolted to. That will allow me to mount and swing it about to known datums, and so everything will end up nice and square and straight.




As you will see. it is not a very difficult an engine to build, all it needs is to keep tolerances under control, as with all flame lickers, and a few specialist bits, like honing the bore and making a gas tank (if you go with gas). The gas tank build isn't shown in these articles, as I am worried someone with not enough experience or testing facilities would have a go and maybe hurt themselves, but the details are shown fully on the plans, or you can buy a commercial one, plus the feed tube and jet.


So I may as well explain things a little. Being from an engineering background, I always try to look ahead a little. Well with this post I am certainly doing that. A couple of hours spent making a few fixtures can save many hours over the build of maybe not an engine this small, but anything a bit larger and more complicated, and you will have trouble progressing very far at all without them, so I am taking the opportunity to save myself a little time, and keep things more accurate than I could ever have hoped for if I was just holding the castings in the vice.

First off, I grabbed a bit of my favourite stuff, 12mm thick ali jig plate. Then I machined it square on all sides, and it ended up about 3/4" over the size of the main base casting.
The parallel sticking up the side (there is another one in the opposite direction on the other side) is to help keep things from flopping about and vibrating while being machined, because it is sticking up so far above the vice jaws.
Almost any material can be used for the holding plate, as long as it is sturdy and accurate enough to do the job.



A cutout was put into one side, you will see why a little later.
You will also notice the odd hole here and there. When this stuff comes out of a factory as scrap, it has invariably already been used as a jig plate, you just gotta take what you can get.




So this is the basic holding plate made, all nice and square and flat.
I suppose you can guess what fits into the cutaway now.




So the next job is to find out where to drill the holes in the plate, and this is one of the very few times I will hold a basic casting as large as this in a vice. All because the are usually no straight sides on the casting, so making holding in a vice very unstable. I could have clamped it down to the bed, but that would have meant me removing either my vice or RT, and because I am only doing very light machining on it, I take the chance.



I have already decided that the top faces of these bolt hole bosses are going to be my first start datum points, so what I am doing, by eye, is finding the centre of each of the four bosses and spotting it with a ball nosed cutter.




This shot shows just how 'bent' the casting is, look at what should be a straight face on the side left hand top edge, and the same on the right hand bottom edge. Now you can see why castings can't be treated like normal bits of metal. They can be bent like a bananas at times, and what you should be trying to do, is not to take all the bends out, but get them looking a little more presentable.




So now having the four 'holes' spotted, I can measure up and come to a 'mean' position for the holes. By drilling smaller holes in the holding plate, than the larger ones in the base, it will give a bit of 'fiddle factor later on.




The small holes were precision drilled in the plate, and the larger hold down bolt holes were drilled by eye. On the underside of the casting, where it won't be seen, I put recesses for the screws that will be used to hold it down for initial machining.
Also I made four 1" long upstands that were threaded all the way thru. The upstands were first screwed to the holding plate.



The plate, tapped down onto parallels, had the four upstands all skimmed on the top faces to ensure they were all the same length




The cast base was then screwed downwards onto the four upstands, the screws went into the recesses while the sticky up bit of the casting went thru the cutout in the holding plate.




The whole lot was now gently tapped down onto parallels and everything given a final tighten up.
Then the gnasher came along and took off the hard skin, and the highs and hollows on the base. It took a cut of 0.020" to clean it all up




The fine sweeper then came on the scene, and with a 0.003" cut, took out all the rough machining marks and left behind a nice smooth, perfectly level surface.



I now have a main datum base I can actually work with.




Everything was cleaned down, the casting taken off and the upstands removed. The casting was then bolted, using all the same drilled holes, onto the holding plate.




Once it is mounted back onto the mill, by using a DTI, I can swipe down all the edges and standing up parts, and by gently tapping, I can get the casting into it's optimum position to have any machining done on it.

This will ensure, by using the holding plate as a reference, I will be able to locate all holes and ensure that they are all drilled in the right places and all parallel to each other. Almost an impossible job if you were trying to hold the raw castings by themselves.

This plate will also be reused for the other parts that need machining, so it will not be wasted.

I now hope this goes some way to explaining what the daft old bugger is up to.


Any questions now answered


John
 
Last edited:

idahoan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
188
Hi John

Thanks for starting this post and sharing your buuild with us. It is great to see so much activity in the Engins From Castings section.

I will be following along with your build.

A die filer is a machine the I have wanted to add to the shop for quite some time now. I keep my eyes open and hopfully someday one will come my way.

Dave
 

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
Dave,

As I said, this engine build was to get me back to handling castings because of such a long layoff from them. People starting in this hobby think it is just a matter of buying the castings and everything from that point is straight forwards. I have had to make holding fixtures for some of my earlier casting machining that took a full day to make, and only a few minutes to actually do the cutting, plus if they are not machined and handled correctly, they can look abysmal when finished.
 
Last edited:

rhitee93

Project of the Month Winner!!!
Project of the Month Winner
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
575
Reaction score
58
I like the trick with the stand-offs to allow you to use the same jig plate to reference the cleanup cut on the bottom to the bolt bosses on the top. That is a concept I'll save for another time :)

I am looking forward to watching the rest of this one John. Thanks for doing all the work to share it with us.
 

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
Brian,

This bit should have been joined to the first posting, but it was too long, so here is how the baseplate was finished off.

##########################################################################
 
Last edited:

vcutajar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2011
Messages
861
Reaction score
168
John

I will surely be following this build and sucking up all the details like a sponge.

I have to admit that the reason I started my first engine build with a casting was as you correctly said because I thought it would be easier. How wrong I was!! A casting is not for the faint hearted.

John, will you eventually clean up the top face of the base, or are you going to leave it rough?

Vince
 

clivel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
99
Reaction score
9
It boggles the mind that any site would not want your postings.
Your lucid descriptions of machining set-ups and techniques are a complete eye opener for beginners such as myself and even the grizzliest of old hands is sure to pick up something new.

I recently came across the build description of your mill tramming tool. Although currently beyond both my skills and my equipment, definitely something filed away for the future :) I am surprised though that you haven't submitted it as an article to a magazine such as MEW where I am sure it would find an appreciative audience.
Clive
 

b.lindsey

Project of the Month Winner!!!
Project of the Month Winner
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
Messages
2,085
Reaction score
17
John, thanks for adding yet another build to the Engines from Castings section. Interest seems to have picked up and the discussions of finish on castings vs. scale issues is helpful to many of us. I can remember a couple of years back there were some posts in effect saying that casting kits weren't real modeling which of course couldn't be further from the truth! The Rider-Ericsson build has gotten me back into castings again after a long haitus, and it has been a fun experience with help from the posts here in this sub-fora. Will be following alongwith your build with interest.

Bill
 

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
Vince,

The casting is in fact smooth enough not to require any further dressing, so it will just get a coat of paint. I still want it to look like a casting, so even the very small release angles on the edges I have machined will be put back on, then given a dose of bead blast.

This engine is just over half finished now, and has even run, so you will need to follow along a little more before I actually start to do some more physical work on it.


Clive,

It is me they don't want, nothing to do with the posts.

I shouldn't really argue with moderators, even though I was in the right, they stick together like glue, and right or wrong, you are given your marching orders.

As far as I am concerned, their loss, not mine, I will post anywhere where someone is willing to read it, and not give myself or anyone else a hard time. Which was the reason I got into the argument in the first place, by a mod treating a new member like crap.

I do nothing like this for money, almost everything I do is in the public domain so everyone has FREE access to my work. If I submit it to a magazine, then people would have to pay to read it.

I want people to learn from what I ramble on about, not me to be making money from it.

Bill,

I got into a bit of trouble on here not soon after the site was started when they let people show builds from castings, I complained a little, as originally the site was for barstock engines only.
I have been building from castings for a lot of years previous to this site starting, but I stopped when the quality started to get really bad here in the UK, and I then started building manually machined engines from barstock, which to me is a lot easier.

But now almost anything seems to be OK on here, so I will just carry on regardless, doing my own thing and only reading and commenting on the posts I want to.


John
 

rebush

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
99
Reaction score
5
John: Will definitely be following you're build. As always it's the best education money can't buy. Roger
 

ProdEng

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
249
Reaction score
74
Looks like an interesting build John, lots to look forward to. Castings are interesting beasts, I spent six weeks marking out truck diff. castings in Inspection when I was an apprentice, one of my best memories of training.

Jan
 

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
You are not joking Jan, when you say castings are interesting beasts.

Luckily, these ones are perfectly usable, but I still need to keep an eye on them.

A good casting can be machined with no problems at all, on the other hand, bad ones can have you banging your head against a wall.


John
 

idahoan

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
571
Reaction score
188
Hi John

Square and parallel are pleasing to the machinist eye; even with the extra work blending everything back in, the time spent is well worth it. especially if you tend the have perfectionist traits.

Also thanks for the heads up on the machine files; looks like I need to start stocking up.


Best Regards,
Dave
 

Don1966

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
487
Reaction score
23
John I have never built an engine from casting, but following you is a real education. I will be following along with you on this built.

Don
 

smfr

Project of the Month Winner!!!
Project of the Month Winner
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
287
Reaction score
2
Likewise, I'm learning a lot from this build already. How I wish I'd used a reference plate in the past; it makes everything so much easier! Keep it coming, John.

Simon
 

Blogwitch

Ex Bogstandard
HMEM Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
3,697
Reaction score
676
Location
Crewe, Cheshire, UK
Many thanks gents for your comments.

As i have said many times before, this is the way I do things, and I am sure people have other ways of carrying out the same procedures, but if the way I am showing how I do it is helpful, then that is great.

You will see later on in these posts that a lot of the machining I have been doing is put back to almost original casting finishes.

So here is another one to keep you entertained.

################################################################################
 
Last edited:

metalmad

Project of the Month Winner!!!
Project of the Month Winner
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Messages
1,427
Reaction score
221
That funnel is a very neat little trick John
I will remember that one :bow:
Pete
 

Latest posts

Top