Author Topic: Ryan's Engine  (Read 34408 times)

Offline Bearcar1

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Ryan's Engine
« on: July 22, 2012, 09:43:34 PM »
  Some 45+ years ago, while in attendance of my Grandfather's funeral, I ran across an article that was featured in the January 1963 issue of Popular Mechanics on building a small vertical steam engine. Now being just a young lad at that time and having attained a love for steam engines from hanging around with Grandpa in the shop, I was certain I could build one and dreamed about how cool that would be. The only problem was, how? I did not want to ask my Dad to take time away from his work and the availability and cost of materials at that time was pretty scarce, so I settled upon making one in my head and spent hours on end for days at a time looking at the drawings and daydreaming about it. Over time, other things in life came along and my interest was drawn away from the matter but still, through all the years since that time, that engine article has surfaced several times to once again re-kindle my inner desire of building one. Just recently, I was at a visitation service and while there, ran into a friend of mine and his young grandson Ryan. On the drive home, for whatever reason, I began to think about my Grandfather and that engine article once again. Ryan was about the same age as I was when I found that article and I thought why not build the thing and give it to him as a present. The fact that I now had both the tooling and the skill sets needed for just such a project, and a motivation, by the time I got home I had convinced myself this would be my next project. So, pull up a thumb *ahem* chair and have a seat, 'coz  here we go.

After scrounging around in the seconds drawers, I came up with a nasty looking remnant of and old "who knows what that was" piece of 3/16" steel plate and I proceeded to cut the base part out. First I had to use a torch to soften up whatever coating was on the piece and scrape it off, followed by some judicious chain drilling and a rather lengthy session of character building (using a file) to arrive at what is shown. Not much to look at but it is a good start.


BC1
Jim
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 08:31:20 PM by Bearcar1 »

Offline lazylathe

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 09:56:27 PM »
This looks lie it will be a fun project Bill!

Consider the chair pulled up, front and centre!


Andrew
A new place to hide my swarf!

Offline Dean W

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 10:11:47 PM »
Hi Jim.  I remember when Pop Mech used to have actual cool mechanical stuff, like steam engines!  It's neat that you
thought of that all these years later.
You did a nice job of "character building" on that piece.  Off to a good start.   :)
Dean
In beautiful N. Idaho, U.S.A.

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Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2012, 11:25:58 PM »
Thanks Andrew, it should be a fun ride. Glad to have you along.

Dean, you as well. Yes, PM magazine did have some neat articles once upon a time, model rockets, steam engines, simple toys, everything a kid could dream of. As far as the character building, I dunno about that last part but DOG GONNIT do my hands ache  from it!  :o ;D


I did some more poking around in the drawer and came up with a few more bits and bobs that I think I can use in this project. A length of brass bar for the cylinder, the beginnings of a flywheel from some long ago abandoned project and a bronze bearing bush from an old tractor along with a short drop of steel I plan to use for the crankshaft. That round slug is a piece of nickel alloy that was the cutout from some decorative moulding used on the old financial trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade building so this project will possess a wee bit of historical virtue. I plan to use it as the crank disk. 8)


Thanks for looking guys.

BC1
Jim
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 03:47:21 AM by Bearcar1 »

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2012, 01:42:03 AM »
Very nice story and the engine will be a nice present.

Popular Mechanics always got my imagination going when I was a kid. But the only article I can remember was a project for building your own submarine. It was nothing more than a fiberglass pod with releasable ballast. A float was attached by pipes hinged on either side. Drew in air from one float to the other.

Do you have a picture of the engine?
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
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Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 03:20:16 AM »
Thanks Carl, I'll see if I can put a picture of the best together or find the link to get to the magazine article. Your submarine article sounds to have been a bit, um, how should we say, dangerous? Be my luck the thing would spring a leak and go to the bottom of the lake.  :hellno:

BC1
Jim

Offline arnoldb

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2012, 06:41:49 PM »
That's a good start Jim  :)

I'm really looking forward to the rest of your build  :ThumbsUp:

Kind regards, Arnold
Building an engine takes Patience, Planning, Preparation and Machining.
Procrastination is nearly the same, but it precludes machining.
Thus, an engine will only be built once the procrastination stops and the machining begins!

Offline NickG

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2012, 06:48:24 PM »
Nice work Jim and nice story, looking forward to seeing more.  :ThumbsUp:

Nick

Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 01:20:51 AM »
  Thanks Arnold, and thanks Nick, I appreciate the company. Work finally became available for me for the remainder of this week and maybe next so things will be going a bit on the slow side till then. I did however out how I am going to go about the cylinder standards. I am going to make them from some mystery stainless steel sheet that I found in the dumpster (that's the tip) for our friends across the Atlantic, or Pacific for that matter I guess, depending upon how the wind is blowing.  :cheers: I'm still rummaging around for a picture per Zeep's request  :ThumbsUp:.

BC1
Jim

Offline Pete49

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 03:40:47 AM »
If it is the one I built it will be a fun engine. To save getting the camera out there is a good article on this site http://john-tom.com/index.html    saves trying to find the magazine as well. ;D
Hope this helped zeeper
Pete
I used to have a friend.....but the rope broke and he ran away :(

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 11:51:38 AM »
Thanks Pete. I've been on that site a few times. Lot's of interesting stuff.

Your link takes me to the home page but I don't know what I'm looking for. Did I miss something in an earlier post (other than Pop Mech 1963)?
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 12:56:50 AM »
Say Pete, thanks. I did not realize that John-Toms had the drawings available.

   Zeep', you didn't miss anything, click on that link and go to 'page three' of the engines. Scroll down to the article named "Midget Steam Engine" and there it is. The image depicts an elder gentleman, trying to blow himself up firing a crude pressure vessel for a young man that is probably thinking the old geezer  :old:  is nuts for attempting to do so in such a manner. :ShakeHead: That article captured my imagination a long time ago, and I've always had a soft spot in my heart  :Love: for it ever since.

BC1
Jim

Offline Pete49

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 04:24:27 AM »
No worries Jim. The boiler is an item I decided to give a miss, just didn't look or sound safe I use air but will make a boiler one day but to modelling regs. Having said that I look at my old model with a vertical boiler and never worry about it steaming u but I guess soft solder and brass sheet is safer than steel pipe  :mischief: Quote "That article captured my imagination a long time ago, and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for it ever since." end quote says it all
Pete
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 04:27:48 AM by Pete49 »
I used to have a friend.....but the rope broke and he ran away :(

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2012, 11:16:18 AM »
Found it. Thanks Jim.

I remember articles like that as a kid. Always inspiring.
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
"To work. To work."
Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Ryan's Engine
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2012, 04:23:11 PM »
 Oe of the design features of this engine, that even as a kid I did not think was a very good approach, was the main bearing standard. As shown on the drawings, it is merely a piece of .0625" aluminum sheet stock that gets folded into a deep "U" channel with a flange on either side to secure it to the base. Now that isn't so bad I suppose, provided that the builder has access to a metal brake and is careful in making certain everything is square. The article suggests using a block of wood as a former, but I could just imagine myself as a youngster doing that and winding up with something looking more like impressionist art than an actual useable part. The other thing that concerned me was the method used to secure the main bearing in place, an unspecified size machine screw threaded through the top of that thin sheet metal. I mean SERIOUSLY? :shrug: Anyway, the only real thing to be concerned with was the distance from the top of the base to the center of the crankshaft. I set out to come up with what I thought to be a better construction method and after drawing up several designs that would work, I settled upon what is being presented here. I began by cutting off a lump of 1.500" square brass and cleaning up the cut edge by facing it off in the lathe. Then I flipped the piece around in the chuck and faced that end down until the piece was .9375", the critical distance mentioned earlier.
   I Took the piece out of the chuck and after laying out the center, the piece was remounted using a sacrificial block as I was going to bore out a hole .625" to accept the bearing that I had already prepared.



Boring continued until I had a nice slip fit with the bearing.



It got late so I stopped for the night and will continue in the A.M.

BC1
Jim
« Last Edit: July 28, 2012, 04:56:50 PM by Bearcar1 »