Author Topic: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build  (Read 33381 times)

Offline crueby

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Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« on: March 12, 2021, 05:42:43 PM »
Hi again, time for me to start my next big build, which will be a 1:32 model of the triple compound water pumping engine built by Holly Manufacturing for the Ward Pumping Station in Bufallo NY. The building was set up to hold a row of eight of these monster pumping engines, but they only put in five of them. All five of the engines and the building are still there, and they (in non-covid years) hold a public tour once a year. The boiler building out back, that held rows of huge boilers, collapsed in a blizzard years ago (when the steam pumps were no longer used).

Here is a picture taken from one end of the row - you can just see the pipework for the other four engines behind it.


All very standard looking big engine, till you look at the sides and see how small the people are! Those are real streetlights on the walkway to light up the building at night, during the day the glass roof lets in a lot of light. At the bottom are the pumps, one under each cylinder - inlet is on the left bottom, outlet pipes come out the side at the top of the chambers. There are 6 valve chambers in all, three either side. There is a giant plunger ram that comes down from the crosshead up above. There are two huge flywheels between the cylinders. On the opposite side, there is a geared shaft driving the eccentrics to corliss valves on the HP and IP cylinders, and poppet valves on the LP cylinder. Close view of the valves on the HP cylinder:



This link goes to their web page with some more details on the engines:  https://www.buffalohistorygazette.net/2010/09/holly-steam-engines-at-col-francis-g.html
Several decades ago the steam pumps were retired, but they are still complete. In one of the bays at the end of the building left open for more engines if needed, they installed these electric pumps - tiny by comparison, that do the same work of supplying water to the city. They dont even come up to the walkway around the room!



Several years ago I took the tour, lots of photos, and afterwards contacted the man that organized the tours, asking if anyone had ever measured the machines and created plans, and saying that I wanted to build a working model of an engine from there - kind of side hoping no one had so I could get permission to get in there and climb all over them with a tape measure!

It turns out that he had, several years before, found the actual original builders blueprints sitting on a shelf in a corner of the building! Hundreds of pages of the original plans for the engine and buildings - quite an amazing find! Even more amazing was that he very kindly sent me a copy of the PDF file he had made with scans of every page. What a gift!

Over the last couple of years, as a side project, I've been working on a 3D CAD model in Fusion 360, it is now nearly complete, just missing the final shafts to the valves and the cladding around the cylinders:

After a bunch of calculations, I settled on a size of 1:32 scale for the model, which is big enough to keep the fasteners up in the 1-72 and 2-56 range, and small enough to be moveable without a crane - the base plate will be 10" x 18". Still, its going to be a heavy beast. I'm hoping to be able to make at least one of the pump chambers with an open side to show the check valve stacks inside. The cylinders are in the 1", 2", and 3" range, and the flywheels are 7" diameter.
For this model, I am hoping to take the detail level up a notch or two, and get as much detail in as possible on all the fittings and platforms. There are four levels of floors and stairs, railings, ladders, etc so it will be more of a diorama piece. This will NOT be a short build!
Started to assemble the materials for the base and frames, also found some bronze flywheels at Martin Models that I can turn to fit. For the two larger cylinders, I found some automotive cast iron cylinder liners with 1/8" walls that I will use for the core of the cylinders, with stacks of plates around them - mainly since the large bores would be tough to do on my little Sherline lathe, and this will save a LOT of work boring out from solid. Here is the pile of materials so far:

I will be using brass for the base plates and main frames, since I love working with the stuff. I can hear some of you now, clamoring over the cost of brass. I'll wait till you finish...

Okay?

 :naughty:

So, yes the larger bar is pricey in brass, but given the amount of shaping to be done in it, and how much I like working it, I dont care! The 4" x 1/2" stock is the expensive part, but even that was bought on 25% off sale, and the 1/2" square bar for the frame rails was actually pretty cheap, only about $50. Shopping around and buying drops from the suppliers can save a lot. The base plate for the 'floor' is 1/4" aluminum, and will be sanded/painted to look like concrete and screwed to a wood base with short legs to get fingers under for lifting.


The only cutting done so far has been to saw the lengths of cylinder liner down to size (they came as 8" long - so I have enough for a few more large bore engines. Or an elf canon. ) and to saw the 4"x1/2" stock to lengths - they are in the oven getting stress relieved since they will have sections removed from the bottom and top faces and I dont want them to warp. The first work will be to make the base, and some drill guides for the base plates.

Should be a fun build!
 :cheers: Chris


Online Dan Rowe

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2021, 06:28:23 PM »
Wow I will be watching this  :cartwheel: :cartwheel: :cartwheel: It is just like a big ship engine and that is my favorite type of steam engine.  :whoohoo: :whoohoo:

Cheers Dan
ShaylocoDan

Offline zeeprogrammer

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2021, 06:41:19 PM »
That's going to be an awesome model.

You say it won't be a short build. What? Like 3 months? 4 maybe?

Are your elves unionized?

(That's been the only upside of this pandemic. Haven't seen your pests around here for a while. Course...there's been nothing to see either.)
Carl (aka Zee) Will sometimes respond to 'hey' but never 'hey you'.
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Zee-Another Thread Trasher.

Offline Craig DeShong

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2021, 06:44:09 PM »
What an awesome undertaking, lots of opportunity to make a stunning model.  Iíll be following!
Craig
It's not about the destination, not even so much about the journey,
but rather it's the interesting folks you meet along the way.

Offline cnr6400

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2021, 07:23:29 PM »
Great to hear about the new build Chris! I've just ordered 550 pounds of popcorn kernels to get ready for the festivities to start!   :cheers:

 :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

Offline crueby

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2021, 07:34:49 PM »
That's going to be an awesome model.

You say it won't be a short build. What? Like 3 months? 4 maybe?

Are your elves unionized?

(That's been the only upside of this pandemic. Haven't seen your pests around here for a while. Course...there's been nothing to see either.)


3 weeks? ...   Um, no! 


You just didn't notice the elves, they look like Fritos bags in thier hazmat suits!   :Lol:

Offline cnr6400

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2021, 07:38:12 PM »
Just a thought - During the design stage, did you include any tubing conduit to carry low voltage power vertically through the engine to the undersides of the platforms? This would enable you to have a few LED's under each platform so the detail can be seen more easily, as well as making assembly / troubleshooting easier without exterior lights. No unsightly loose plastic coated wiring if run in conduit. Much easier to find the elves' abandoned pizza crusts and beer bottles too.......

Only mentioning it as a thought before the build starts in earnest, as I have seen some model engines of pumping station engines and ships' engines that were mighty dark below the platforms.

If you know any home heating techs or plumbers who service gas fired furnaces or water heaters or boilers,  ask them to save any burned out thermocouples they come across for you. These have a 12" to 36" piece of good quality copper thinwall tube from the hot end to the gas valve end. Excellent for lube lines. (And maybe pumping station conduit   :naughty:). Price is right too - these are usually scrapped, so you can often get them free from a trades person.

Offline crueby

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2021, 09:05:44 PM »
CNR, the original has no lights on the platforms, just the lights on the building walkways, so I hadn't considered it. Good idea though, with tiny leds it would look cool. Really only need a single conductor wire, it could ground through the frame. Wire wrap wire inside hypo tubing is a possibility too. Hmmm...


Thanks!

Offline ddmckee54

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2021, 09:31:20 PM »
Chris:

Since it's the remainder of the cylinder liner, the ratio of its' diameter of bore to the length of the bore would probably be too small to qualify as an elf-cannon.  Maybe an elf-howitzer but I think there are other qualifications it would also have to meet for that.  Most likely it would be an elf-mortar.  (It's short and stubby dontchaknow)

Don

Offline crueby

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2021, 09:49:29 PM »
Chris:

Since it's the remainder of the cylinder liner, the ratio of its' diameter of bore to the length of the bore would probably be too small to qualify as an elf-cannon.  Maybe an elf-howitzer but I think there are other qualifications it would also have to meet for that.  Most likely it would be an elf-mortar.  (It's short and stubby dontchaknow)

Don
I stand corrected. And the elves stand quivering!   :lolb:   Hmmm, I do have some black powder for the flintlocks.... Here, elfy elfy!   :LittleDevil:

Offline scc

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 10:21:41 PM »
 :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :DrinkPint:         Terry

Offline Kim

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 10:33:19 PM »
Sounds like a great party, Chris.  I'll be following along too!  :popcorn: :popcorn:
Kim

Offline Flyboy Jim

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2021, 10:56:51 PM »
Another great build to follow along on.  :whoohoo:

Jim
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Offline Art K

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2021, 11:35:18 PM »
Run away Elfy  run away fast, no leave the Elfsteiner! Sounds like an ambitious project but then again most of yours do.
Art
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Offline crueby

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Re: Chris's Holly Pumping Engine Build
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2021, 12:01:14 AM »
Thanks guys, I am looking forward to this one. With all the small details it needs, it will be a bit more like my ship building projects. It has all sorts of brackets, hangers, stairs, railings. Just spent some time in the wood shop making the wood parts to hold the base plate. Glue is drying, will sand and start varnishing the wood this weekend. As for time, I like long projects, the building is the really fun part for me.