Author Topic: Thompson Engine From Scratch  (Read 737 times)

Online Jasonb

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Thompson Engine From Scratch
« on: November 05, 2020, 05:03:48 PM »
With a bit of  :pinkelephant: recently having taken place in the workshop I felt it safe to start writing up the story of this journey knowing that the destination is only a lick of paint away so you won't get left up a dead end part way through.

A recent thread on here asking about details of the Sissons' Thompson engine got me interested in this one which for some reason had gone under my radar for some time.

Originally available from The Thompson Engineering Co of Grand rapids in ready to run form.



A casting kit was later available from Sissons that had some differences to the original such as a more angular frame and different head layout



Although I have visited Bob Herder's site a number of times over the years I had overlooked his version which seems closer to the original



Rather than take the simple route of locating plans or even a set of castings where someone has done the work for you I opted to design my own from various images found on the net and basic sizes given in the advert. I went for my usual 24mm bore and full metric conversion with stock sizes and metric threads etc. As I'm unlikely to run this in a hull or chassis where some cooling is available I decided to include a cooling fan and also a means to adjust the timing while running, this is the result of a few evenings spent with Alibre showing the main components and general layout.



I made a start on the open frame as this is the main part of the engine and the one requiring the most work. To get a nice solid construction and reduce the number of parts in the single fabrication I used a section cut out of a PFC (parallel flange channel) structural steel to form the vertical leg that carries the boss for crankshaft, camshaft and the bottom of the cylinder. This also had slots milled in for stiffening webs and a couple of holes for screws to keep things together while soldering.



Next a slightly overwidth strip was cut from some 3mm steel sheet and that was easily bent without the need to anneal or use heat to the required shape using a 1:1 drawing as a guide to check that the bends were correct. The bent strip was then clamped to the mill table and most of the excess width milled off down the sides to keep the mass as small as possible so things would heat up quicker when it came to soldering.



With the end that will go around the top of the head set vertical to the mill table holes were bored for the various bosses.



here you can see the hole being bored that will fit over a spigot on the top of the cylinder, you can also see the bottom plate and bosses in place, again these have had the excess material in the middle turned to a waist so there is less to heat. Note the use of 10-20-40 and 20-40-80 blocks rather than 1-2-3 as this is a metric build :LittleDevil:




Offline Johnmcc69

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2020, 05:45:41 PM »
 :ThumbsUp:
 Very nice Jason!
 :popcorn:
 John

Offline gbritnell

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2020, 06:52:51 PM »
I really like your setups!
gbritnell
Talent unshared is talent wasted.

Offline steam guy willy

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2020, 01:37:07 AM »
Interesting ,single main casting engine !!.. requiring just 4 drills and 4 reamers !!.. quite compact as well .. Looking forward to see it running..
Willy

Online Jasonb

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2020, 12:30:02 PM »
Thanks for the interest guys.

Willy, yes as you say to machine the casting is quite simple and offers me no real challenges just 3 different size reamed holes and boring for the liner though I suppose that could be reamed too. I think that is why I like to make from scratch as it is the production of the "casting" that really requires a lot of thinking about at the design stage and is often far more involved in machining terms than just poking a few holes in a part.

There is also the added bonus that I can make what takes my fancy and not have to limit myself to what casting sets are available. I also means I'm not filling up my diminishing display space too quickly as there is a lot more time put into fabricating the parts than there would be if simply machining castings it would soon run out if I were completing them in a couple of weeks each.

Online Jasonb

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2020, 05:21:17 PM »
When drawing up the engine I played with a few options for the cylinder, I did think of doing an aluminium finned outer with cast iron liner but it would not have been easy attaching this to the frame and the same problem would have existed if I went with an all cast iron option. In the end I settled on a steel finned outer which could be silver soldered into the frame that would accept a cast iron liner.

First job was to saw of a length of EN1A steel with sufficient length to allow it to be held in the 3-jaw while a spigot was turned to locate it in the upper part of the frame, here you can see me using the frame to gauge the fit.



Then with some added tailstock support the fins were roughed out using a 2mm GTN type parting insert.



Changing to a 2mm dia MRMN tool the sides of the fins were tapered and the valley rounded to give the "cast" look





The chucking piece was then sawn off and the cylinder outer bored and a spigot cut to locate into the lower part of the frame.



The next job was to make the various webs that stiffen the frame, these were located into shallow slots milled into the inner faces of the frame and shaft bosses, here you can see a couple in place, th ecrests of the fins have also been rounded over.



After completing the webs and adding more bosses for the valve guide and fan spindle it was time for a bit of silver soldering.



I could now treat my fabrication as a casting. After sawing out the spacers between the bosses the inner faces were milled back to length then the frame held flywheel end upwards and the shaft holes drilled and reamed. If you look closely particularly at the cam shaft boss that I tried to hide with the milling cutter you can see that things moved slightly during soldering but that protruding boss is due to be flushed off so won't show.



The bottom was given a quick skim and the mounting holes added



I opted for off the shelf gears as they are cheap particularly as they were wide enough to cut down the middle so I have some for the next project, some make shift shafts were slipped into the holes and gear mesh checked out OK.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 05:24:45 PM by Jasonb »

Offline Admiral_dk

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2020, 08:57:15 PM »
Nice progress Jason, on what appear to be a rather different engine  :ThumbsUp:

Online Jasonb

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2020, 05:16:16 PM »
I decided to go for a more shapely base than the original as it gave me an excuse to try a few more things out on the CNC. A piece of 16mm 6082 was rough cut to size on the vertical bandsaw and screwed to a block which in turn could be held in the vice. I tried out a 25mm dia 2-flute indexable cutter for the roughing pass which meant a lot less passes around the work due to being able to use a wide 20mm stepover, it worked quite well just getting a bit noisy as I got towards the bottom due to the unsupported edges giving a bit of chatter.



The finishing was done with a 6mm 4-flute ball ended cutter using Fusion 360's Steep & Shallow 3D finishing, it did leave a couple of ridges where direction changed due to what I have now found was a slightly too tight Z-axis. You may also be able to spot that I was short of material on a couple of corners, this was due to positioning the work based on the ctr of the top face where the engine fixes but doing the CAM based on the ctr of the stock which was about 2mm different.



But with a bit of JBWeld to build up the corners and some work with Emery cloth on the ridges it did not come out too bad once a coat of etch primer had been blown on, I've since rounded over the edges a bit more as they look to crisp in this photo.




The cylinder head started as a lump of cast iron bar in the lathe where a 1mm spigot was turned to locate in the cylinder liner before being transferred to the mill where I drilled and tapped what will become the clearance holes for the head screws and also just spotted the position of the two valve pockets.



I was then able to mount the head onto a block of aluminium by screwing up from below which made it easy to hold for shaping the top and edge which was done on the CNC. Still a few ridges left where the mill's head is sticking slightly.




Four spacers were turned up so that the head could be held the opposite way round in the 4-jaw and the valve holes drilled, reamed, counterbored and the seats taper turned all in one setting. Then finally back to the lathe to add inlet and exhaust passages which were tapped M6x1 and M8 x 1 respectively.







Offline Bearcar1

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2020, 09:12:03 PM »
That is a work of art coming alive!! Jason, I do like your work. WOW!! :DrinkPint:


BC1
Jim

Offline Art K

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Re: Thompson Engine From Scratch
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2020, 02:15:20 AM »
Jason,
That is a great job of fabricating that block. That looks to be a nice little engine.
Art
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