Author Topic: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine  (Read 979 times)

Offline TGD

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Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« on: January 03, 2021, 06:24:08 PM »
This engine was in the room of the Limerick Boilermenís Union in Ireland and it was given to me by my father-in-law, whose father was Secretary of the Union.
 
It was given to me perhaps 30 years ago and I never intended to restore it and kept it as an ornament. However, I now have grandchildren and thought they should see it working as it was owned by their great-great-great-grandfather and is part of their family history.

So, I would appreciate help with the restoration and the following is a little background to help readers understand what I know and donít know, and what equipment I have for the job.
I build a few engines etc Ďback in the dayí but got rid of everything perhaps 25 years ago, and I mean Ďeverythingí - house moves and all the usual life stuff intervened and I didnít retain even a tap or die let alone a lathe.

However, Iíd always kept an interest in old engineering and just before Christmas, and perhaps triggered by the Covid lock-downs and the growing grandchildren whom I mentioned, I impulsively decided to tool up to restore the engine.

Perhaps it was just an excuse to by a cheap Chineese 4x10Ē mini-late which I now have! However, a lathe is little use without a whole lot of tooling and measuring equipment etc, some of which I have on order from various places including the Chinese sites. I also have to sort out a grinder with a tool-rest for grinding lathe tools etc. So, from the equipment point of view, you could say that Iím starting from scratch.

The engine was obviously steamed a lot. It is very worn and sloppy and a repair has been done around the base of the firebox where chunks of the original brass are corroded away.
The boiler is 4.5Ē ID and 8.5Ē high. There are quite a few Ďissuesí with the engine and Iíll describe these as I break it down.

Thanks for your interest if you have read the far and, as I said, Iíll appreciate advice with this task Ė I have lots of questions already but I will spare you for now!
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Offline TGD

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2021, 06:34:27 PM »
Well, I'm having trouble getting the images posted. Do they have to be hosted elsewhere? When I try to 'attach' them there doesn't seem to be an option to post. Anyway, here they are - hosted elsewhere:
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Offline Roger B

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2021, 06:52:14 PM »
I am not a steam person but there are plenty on here who are. It's a fine looking engine with some interesting features regarding the guidance (or lack of) for the piston and valve rods.

If you click on the 'attachments and other options' below the message box you can attach pictures of a limited size. Depending on what device/computer you are using you may have to scroll further down to see the post button.
Best regards

Roger

Offline Kim

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2021, 08:55:16 PM »
Looks like an interesting restoration project you have there!

As Roger said, you can attach photos and they will be hosted on the site and appear at the end of your post.

If you want to embed the photos in your message you have to have them externally hosted, as you have done here.

I generally prefer images embedded with the text, that way it's easier for me to see what words apply to what picture.  But some people find that too much hassle and just attach them at the end of the post, which is also fine.  But it takes an extra click that way to see them full size :)

Looking forward to reading more about your restoration project.
Kim

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2021, 09:33:38 PM »
Beautiful little steam plant you have there.

I'll be following along!

Gary

Offline TGD

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2021, 07:59:00 PM »
I have this engine broken down now and have given it an initial inspection. There are lots of 'issues' with it, and lots of questions.
It looks like it was dismantled at some time in the past and then assembled again and just painted - paint has leaked into places where there should be gaskets etc.
So, here goes ... (with more to follow no doubt):

Valve Gear:
The valve rod goes directly into the valve chest from the eccentric - i.e. there is no 'crosshead' which means it is moving from side where the gland should be (yes, there is no steam gland either).
 - Can I leave this as is or should I split into a valve rod and eccentric rod with a pin of some kind?
 - And what about the gland?
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Cylinder
There doesn't seem to be much wear but there is a big hole like a blow-hole in the middle of the cylinder (with a piece of cleaning lint stuck to it). I guess this would destroy any kind of sealing ring if I were to use one (?). What should I do here:
 - ignore it?
 - Fill it with something like silver-solder and re-bore, (with a new over-size piston?)
 - try to sleeve it?



Piston
This looks  reasonably ok.
 - Should there be some kind of packing in that 'ring' groove?



Valve
Pretty rough and ready!



Safety Valve

I put the bar, weight and conical seal on this years ago just as a cosmetic exercise but it obviously won't work as a release valve. The fitting is original.
 - Can I buy a valve anywhere or does anyone have a drawing or pic. of something I could make, using the fitting?



Sight glass blow-down valve
This is missing the 'cone'.
 - Again, can I buy this little part or does anyone have a drawing?



Main bearings
These have plain press-in bushings which will make life a little easier (even though the drive-side of the crank-shaft is very worn also). However, as they are sitting on the tops of long columns with a lot of play, it might be difficult to get these to line up propery.


Boiler
This is corroded away in places around the firebox and repaired with a copper skirt. I think this is fine - I won't be steaming it with coal again I expect. The fire-grate is missing.



I have a good bit of tooling ordered, mainly from China, so it will take a while to get going. In the meantime, lots of paint stripping and cleaning to to.

I'll be looking forward to any insights and/or advice ..... here's hoping and thanks in advance.



Offline Jasonb

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2021, 08:21:50 PM »
I think you have gland nuts on both the piston and valve rods hiding under the paint. The piston rod nut is hexagonal and the valve nut has a rounded rope knurl. Although not ideal to have no cross head or valve rod guides it will be OK for the odd display run.

It will run with that defect in the cylinder, you could clean it up and fill with JBWeld if you want.

Yes you want something like graphite yarn packing in the piston groove and also a little under the rod glands. This is a graphite and tallow impregnated string, don't get the modern dry stuff.

You could fit a plate over the port face to tidy up the valve events but again I'd give it a go as is.

Most of the Model Engineering suppliers will do safety valves, just identify the thread and get one with a low blow off as you don't really know what the boiler was made to run at, even a Mamod spare with adaptor would do. Polly have a good range of Safetys.

https://www.pollymodelengineering.co.uk/sections/bruce-engineering/docs/Catalogue-current-1.pdf

Drain on the watergauge will need to be made to suite the tapered hole or the taper recut with a homemade reamer.

You could make the new bearings a little loose in the housings then bond them in with JB Weld while in position with a temporary shaft to keep them in line while it sets.


Offline john mills

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2021, 09:05:44 PM »
my thoughts are that hole in the bore will tear soft packing so it won't last long   if you make a new piston and
machine 2 grooves a square profile and don't use any packing the grooves will reduce leakage and the piston won't worry that there is a hole in the cylinder wall.
        John

Offline Art K

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2021, 02:39:31 AM »
TGD,
This looks to be an interesting project. With some family heritage to boot. I don't know much about steam but the cylinder seems like something that could be bored and sleeved. But that depends on your equipment and abilities, so maybe jb weld isn't a bad idea.
Art
"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you" B.B. King

Offline Zephyrin

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2021, 09:02:47 AM »
 a very nice steam engine you have here.
as probably cylinder parallelism and circularity, port face, valve, and most parts are to be rebuilt to get a good performing engine,
I suggest to make the minimum changes, to reach a nice looking and respectable engine that moves decently, otherwise you would be quickly drawn to a total reconstruction...but it is maybe your choice!

it seems to me that a support for the upper part of the piston rod is missing, but I don't see how it was held.

many parts look similar to an engine I built some years ago, and that I love to play with....







Offline TGD

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2021, 05:32:55 PM »
Thanks everybody - all very sensible and practical advice and suggestions.
One more question (for now anyway) about the eccentric which is very worn.
Is the best way to deal with this to true both parts and then turn a ring to fit inside the collar (strap)?
The only way of retaining the collar on the eccentric is a grub-screw running in a grove on the eccentric (with a shoulder on one side, but I think that is worn also.
.

Offline Jasonb

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2021, 07:07:19 PM »
Yes you could skim both surfaces and also square up the groove, loctite a sleeve into the strap and then tap for a new larger threaded screw to fit the grove. Keep screw head the same size and no one will know what's been done.

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2021, 10:24:14 PM »
This engine will be a bijou when it's done!

 :popcorn:

Offline Zephyrin

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2021, 08:11:57 AM »
the grub screw needs to have the treads removed at the tip, only a plain cylindrical part must guide the strap on the eccentric grove.
you have to turn a tapped bush to hold the screw on the lathe...

on such an old boiler, I suggest to keep the pressure very low, about 15 psi, hence everything must run quite freely; otherwise extensive pressure test are required, and the boiler couldn't survive !

personally, I would split the valve rod in two as you suggest.




Offline Roger B

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Re: Limerick Boilermenís Union model steam engine
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2021, 10:26:34 AM »
I see that the excentric and strap are stamped with 11. Does this imply that there were a series of the engines made not just one?
Best regards

Roger