Benson's Vertical Steam Engine

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    • Hi Adam,
      I agree. Haven't decided yet whether the governor balls should be brass or steel.

      The flywheel is fattened to its axle with a key. A keyway has been milled in the shaft and broached in the hub of the flywheel.

      The flywheel...
    • The engine we are building here is a two stroke slide valve engine. I thought it might be fun to have a look back when I was first introduced to the principle when building the paper vertical engine.

      The hole in the center is the exhaust hole. The holes on each side of it are steam ports.

      The valve slides back and forth letting steam into each port alternately.

      The connected valve rod...

      And that is exactly what is going on here with Victoria's slide valve.

      And so construction begins...
    • As with your workshop, this is another fascinating project for everyone with a modicum of interest in mechanical things!

      John schrieb:

      and here are the resulting parts...

      I wondered for a moment where I had seen this before until I remembered the 1st time I watched an in-line piston engine from a Citroen BX being taken apart for repair: Those stud bolts that come up from the engine block and are countered by nuts that secure the overhead cam shaft cover. Apparently some things don´t change that much over time...

      Cheers, Martin
      Selig, die über sich selber lachen können, denn sie werden ein sehr heiteres Leben führen! frech 1
      Meine Machwerke

      Im Bau: Spitfire FR.MK.IX, Halinski. Aktuell das detailfetischistische Cockpit. Mühsam ernährt sich das Eichhörnchen...
    • Old skills learned on the wood lathe came into use today. I used to make round boxes with contrasting lid inserts

      Getting a nice, tight fit with inserts can be tricky. Here is a brass bush set into the cylinder's lid.

      Two chucks were used in the process.
    • Looking ahead here to accomplish a little project that will become apparent later.

      The gears that operate the governor on this engine mesh at ninety degrees. They are helical gears. Only one is supplied with the 'kit'. It is an 'off the shelf' item not intended at all for this kind of application.

      You are expected to cut it in half.
      But first, a boss is made to fill the existing hole.

      It is pressed into the helical gear and bored to 3/32" diameter.

      The gear is turned around and cut in half.

      So, one gear cleverly makes two.
    • On to another part.
      Originally, the creator of this little engine fabricated this part and silver soldered it together. Fortunately for me, the part was later cast in gun metal for the kit.

      The founding of this odd bracket used a method called 'lost wax casting'. You can still see some white wax in the bracket's hole here:
    • When taking a few pictures to show progress, I noticed that the piston rod was not vertical. I've often noticed that when taking photos, little glitches can be more easily seen with the help of the unforgiving camera lens.

      A correction was made. This is better.

      So here we are to date...
    • Into cardmodelling Again?

      Thanks Adam.

      Here, you will see old cardmodelling skills coming into play as a prototype design is being created for the Benson Engine. I am getting away ahead of myself thinking of a diorama setting for the engine, but I just can't see making the engine, putting it on the kitchen table and showing a video of it running.

      For me, it has to be in a setting and doing something interesting. Anthony Mount thought the same thing as he designed a pump to work in conjunction with the engine. I think we can work with the engine and that pump in a diorama setting.

      This raised platform for the engine had been made to ascertain the number of brickslips that will be needed to cover its vertical faces. They will be ordered from Stacey's Miniature Masonry in England. It could take a month to get them.

    • The prototype continues...

      This is where scale is so important. I had the base cut to 3/4". It just did not look right. Something was definitely wrong. denk1

      Then it struck me. It's too high. The minute I cut 1/4" off the height of the base, it settled down nicely and set off the pedestal perfectly.

      The same thing happened with the stairs. It took three tries to get them looking correct.

      The engine stands vertically. This means that the bearings are high up. It would seem logical that a catwalk of some sort would be needed to get up high enough to oil and service them.

      Now that could add interest...

      I hae not decided yet whether this little diorama will require a back wall. That decision will come later.
    • A discovery has been made with the scale of the engine and the scale necessary for sundry items.

      This came about when I began determining the height of the railings for the project. The average height of a low railing that nicely falling into the hand is 32". But with this model, in a scale of 1:12 (inch to the foot) the railing height just doesn't look right. If you cut the post down to 27" it looks better. But that's just too low.

      Then it hit me. frech 5

      This model is not 1:12 scale. An architect's scale reveals that 32" works beautifully in 3/4" to the foot scale. So I will be bang on continuing with the diorama's other measurements in this reduced scale.

      So my railings are 2" in scale or 32" in reality. daumen1

      If you think of this scale with the engine, the flywheel has a diameter of 8'.
    • Hi John,
      this means it is 1/16th scale, right? This is twice the size of the model railroad´s "0" 1/32 scale.
      This may "only" be a hobby for all of us, but I learned an awful lot from it when it came to patient analysis and perseverance.- Just what you demonstrated.

      Cheers, Martin
      Selig, die über sich selber lachen können, denn sie werden ein sehr heiteres Leben führen! frech 1
      Meine Machwerke

      Im Bau: Spitfire FR.MK.IX, Halinski. Aktuell das detailfetischistische Cockpit. Mühsam ernährt sich das Eichhörnchen...
    • Hi Martin,
      Thanks for the lovely comments.I can't answer you about double "0" scale. I only know about the scales on the architect's triangular scale. You know, I found the one course I had on drafting invaluable all these years later.

      I think there would probably have been a catwalk of some sort behind the engine so that the men could get up to the fittings and bearings. Now that I know than a foot is 3/4" I can determine it's height. I think I will set up a step ladder in the shop and use it as a guide.

      For me, planning a prototype of this sort is as much fun as actually building it!

      I seem to be jumping about here with projects. I guess that's because I can. I have three on the go now.

      Here's the one I'm currently working on - two clevis fittings. I'm using one piece of metal to make them both. This first photo shows the cutting of the clevis opening.

      The sanding belt shaped the ends round.

      One done ... one to go.
    • This week I received a new tilting vice. This is a major step forward toward the completion of the engine's cylinder. Two steam ports have to be drilled into the cylinder block from each end.

      This vice makes it possible to upend the cylinder to a 65 degree angle to drill these holes.
    • Building an Engine

      The assembly begins with sealing the threaded studs into the cylinder's valve face.

      Then a paper gasket is put in place.

      The valve chest is lowered into position along with the slide valve and its square nut.

      Back in the day, graphite yarn was used as packing to seal around the valve rod. Today, on models, an o-ring or some other material wrapped around the valve rod does the job. In this case, I am using teflon tape.

      The valve glad holds this packing material in place. It can be adjusted. That's why you will always see a gap between the valve chest boss and the valve gland.

      The lid on the valve chest will not be put on for quite some time. The slide valve will have to be adjusted to admit steam (air) with perfect timing to operate the cylinder correctly.
    • Hi Gunnar,
      This steel flat is 1018 cold drawn. I assume it is a mild steel.

      The rectangular holes, as Adam says, will be interesting. With larger holes having square corners, they often broach them; a process you may know. A hardened square punch is guided into a predrilled hole under great pressure to shave out the corners. I don't know if broach kits have a punch small enough to do this job.

      If they do, it would be better to have a machinist use his equipment rather than buying an expensive kit. I may just square out the corners with a jeweller's small square file. happy 2

      Thanks for asking.

      John
    • Things were going well with the construction of the connecting rod from the solid until a hole decided to take a side trip.
      (I wasn't laughing at the time.)


      Making the con rod from the solid It is not working for me.

      Back to the drawing board with plans for the parts. I will also use brass, not steel for ease of fabrication. Forged con rods were painted anyway, so a nice bright, shiny connecting rod will be out of place in the diorama. The cotters and wedges will be bright steel.