Engines > From Plans

Brian builds a Corliss

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Brian Rupnow:
We're half-way thru February and I need to build something. The Corliss steam engine is a very interesting design, and it seems that there are two designs available on the net. One is as per the original full size Corliss engine, with two auxiliary "dashpot" cylinders to aid in closing (or maybe opening) the intake valves. The intake valve mechanisms have a complex design, incorporating a  two piece rotationally slotted mechanism which works with these "dashpot" cylinders.---Then there is the simplified version, which does not have the dashpot cylinders nor the complex mechanism on the intake valve apparatus. Instead, it has two adjustable links driving the intake valving and two adjustable links driving the exhaust valve mechanism. I will be building the second simplified version. A gentleman was kind enough to send me a 3D assembly of the second type of Corliss engine and I will be revising the design to suit my own fancy. This is the engine as it was sent to me. The first obvious change I see is that all 4 of the bearings for the valve shafts are using 1/16" diameter hex head bolts. These will be upgraded to #4 socket head capscrews. I like the look of socket head capscrews better, and I seriously doubt that I could drill and tap sixteen 1/16" diameter threaded holes without breaking off the tap. Stay tuned---it should be an interesting journey.---Brian

Craig DeShong:
Corliss models seem to abound.  I have a friend who's building one from a casting kit, though he doesn't post here.  I'll be watching, Brian.

Will be watching along here too!

Art K:
This sounds like a very interesting project. I intend to build a steam engine some day, but think I'll do a standard one first.

Brian Rupnow:
I have built quite a few steam engines, but they all had the more conventional slide valve on the cylinder. This one will be something totally new for me. When I import a model that was made in some other software than mine, every individual component has to be fixed in place, as none of the mates that position the parts in relationship to one and other get imported. And since this is something totally new to me and was never built by the man who sent me the design, I have to basically recreate the entire engine from parts to which I add all of the mates. This lets me rotate the flywheel and see the piston move thru the correct stroke to make sure that everything is correctly positioned. As I recreate the parts, I will also make any changes I want as I model them.


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