Benson's Vertical Steam Engine

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    • Benson's Vertical Steam Engine

      The next model steam engine to be built was chosen because it reminded me very much of the paper engine downloaded from the internet several years ago.

      In the photo above you can see that the cylinder is at the top of the engine; the flywheel at the bottom. Our new engine, built by William Benson of Robin Hood Works in Nottingham, England was designed in the opposite order.

      Mr. Benson displayed the engine at his foundry in Nottingham before sending it for viewing at the International Exhibition in London. A quote in the Nottingham Daily Express compliments its deign:

      " The engine was exhibited on Tuesday afternoon and yesterday at the Robin Hood Works, where it was inspected by many practical men, who expressed their unqualified admiration of it. "

      As with the last engine I constructed, some parts that are beyond my skill level or the capability of my equipment have been machined for me. I fear that this engine will require much help! lala1

      As the thread advances, I thought it would be fun to compare parts of that earlier 'paper' engine with the metal ones that have been made for this little engine.
    • Hi Fred,
      As you know, the word 'kit' is used rather loosely in this hobby. What I have purchased are a number of castings and a twenty page set of plans. The main castings include the flywheel, the cylinder and the base. Included is a list of metals and fittings that are required to build the engine. None are provided.

      Fortunately there is an online source for bar stocks of brass, stainless steel, mild steel and scale model nuts and bolts in New England geared to model engineering. You can't get this stuff locally.

      So yes, it's a kit and a set of plans. zwinker2
    • The project begins with the facing of the base. It is a rather elegant casting in gun metal. It is mounted on a disk of wood trued up on the lathe.

      The faceplate slots won't fit the holes in the base so this wooden disk was necessary for mounting.

      The base is a bit off centre, but not enough to require counterbalancing.

      The resulting machining. Notice that the smaller raised boss is not faced. More about that later...
    • Thank you Tom.
      A rotary table was used to machine the smaller boss on the base. It will become the bottom cover of the engine's cylinder.

      There are many holes necessary in the base to hold down the column, cylinder and pump. The rotary table did a fine job of locating these holes.

      The bottom of the base looks like a piece of Swiss cheese. The countersinks allow bolts to be used as studs.

    • The Base's Base

      This vertical engine will have a lot of momentum acting on its column when running. It requires a wide stance at the bottom to be stable as well as provide a low centre of gravity. The gunmetal base just finished is heavy, but not nearly wide enough in diameter to stabilize the engine.

      Therefore a wide, round base was turned in wood.

      A recess was cut in the bottom of this base to accommodate a heavy steel disk..

      This work felt like old wood turning days!
    • Hi Adam,
      Yes, a lot of holes. The six holes in the foreground will hold the cylinder in place. The next six in the middle are for dummy studs and nuts to represent the base of the column's fastening. The three holes up at the end are for the pump. The other five are mounting holes.

      Hi Fred,
      Yes, I'm thinking ahead to a six inch flywheel rotating up on top of the column.

      Here's the setup for the painting. Look familiar? It was originally designed for the diorama, but Victoria was never steamed.
    • Christmas Eve, 2016
      Santa will soon have his leg cocked over the chimney!

      This week I received a phone call from the machine shop informing me that the column for the vertical engine was ready to pick up. I make no apology for having this solid 1 1/2" round bar of mild steel machined for me. It was so far above my pay grade.

      The machinist was very proud of the part and took time to explain how many points were plotted into the computer to create a program that allowed it to be cut with a CNC machine. I think I understood about one word in a score.

      It is a beautiful piece of work. Too bad it has to be painted. It looked so pretty in shining steel. Apparently the column on the display machine that William Benson sent to London was unpainted and polished. Of course it was going to be seen by many at the exhibition.

      I can only assume that the many workhorse models used in the mines and dockyards were painted to prevent rust.

      Baum 3
      Merry Christmas!
    • Hi Adam,
      I could be wrong, but I think the columns of most vertical and beam engines were cast in iron at the foundry with pedestal and capital attached.
      I'm glad you asked, because when Anthony Mount was designing the column, he realized that he would need a round bar of steel 2" in diameter to include the pedestal at its bottom. In my hand I'm holding the cut-off of the column - it's only 1 1/2" in diameter.

      To save metal, he cast the pedestal in the stylized base of the engine. So instead of a 2" round of mild steel, he only needed 1 1/2".

      That's what the six bolts and studs in the base are all about. They represent how a flange of the column would be attached to the base.
    • And a Happy New Year!

      Hi Fred.

      The entablature shown being worked up here is perhaps the most critical part of the engine. It supports the flywheel, the governor, and the eccentrics.

      It was a tricky casting to machine.
      • IMG_3884.jpg

        371,63 kB, 1.333×1.000, 5 mal angesehen
      • IMG_3887.jpg

        225,55 kB, 1.333×1.000, 6 mal angesehen
    • Three of the main pieces of the engine can quickly be assembled and disassembled during construction. A tie rod runs up through the middle of the column fastening everything together.

      This will come in handy later, when minor adjustments to parts alignment will be necessary.
    • Next come the bearing blocks that sit atop the entablature to hold the flywheel and its axle.
      They will be drilled and shaped from a pattern glued to two bars of mild steel.

      The bolts keep the two bars firmly married during the machining and the little bolt in the pattern area will keep the bearings together while the base of the block are being trued up.
    • The first part to be machined for the axle that runs in these brass bearings is the crank. It started life as a piece of 3/8" square bar of mld steel.

      It was shaped with the help of a pattern.

      The rotary table machined the bosses and the 1" belt sander shaped the steel.

      The finished crank.
    • Thanks Adam.
      These pictures show why I find this hobby of model engineering so much fun. It's nice to take time and turn soft brass and mild steel into little functional pieces.

      The precision the parts appeals to me. Mind you, I spent most of the afternoon turning this shoulder bolt! grins 3
    • The Steam Chest

      The steam chest sits on top of the cylinder.

      In this first picture, the steam chest cover is clamped on top of the cylinder's face to locate the holes for the studs that will fasten the steam chest in position.

      In the next photo below, we see the cylinder's face being squared for drilling the holes. You can see the center marks indicating the position of the holes from the step above.

      Here, the drilled holes are being threaded (#2-56).

      and here are the resulting parts...
    • Thank you Fred and Adam.
      I think where the really tricky precision work will be required will be the making of the little pump attached to this engine. It has two little 1/8" steel balls in it that act as valves to lift water. If it can lift water about 3", this project will become more than just a display engine. happy 2