Engines > Your Own Design

A Small Inverted Vertical Steam Engine

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This build was started three months ago and even though it is documented elsewhere I thought I would post some of the interesting bits and the rest of the build here.  The model is based on a high speed inverted vertical of the type commonly used to drive generators.  While the prototype had a 4" bore the model has a bore closer to 1/2" making the scale 1:8.  The design was modeled in Inventor and even at this advanced stage of build is still incomplete!

My modelling interest lies in making small models of small engines with rotative pumps catching my interest.  With few published designs available the pumps appeared too difficult to tackle and the idea of this build was to develop technique to see if a pump would be possible for me.

To my inexperienced eye, the most difficult part of scale modelling steam engines is to make the casting look believable so naturally that is where the build started.  I include a 3-D model of the standard so the objective can be seen.

Aluminium was chosen for the standard to make it easy to work.  The process consisted of milling filing and scarpind followed by lots of sanding.

The standard took a while to make but, when broken down to simple steps, was not terribly difficult.  The end result was very encouraging.

Most of the rest of the build to date has been pretty standard machining most of which I have picked up from other peoples work :)

So this is the state of play up to a couple of weeks ago when I stopped to make my die holder set up.

More soon!

The next part to make was the cylinder cover.  As I have no bar stock, a piece of 1" plate was sawn and mounted in the 4 jaw to make a piece.  The tool used to turn the recess in the top of the cover is a piece of 1/8" HSS mounted in a home made holder.  Grinding a small tool from 1/8" round is very quick and inexpensive.

After turning the part was mounted in the mill to drill the mounting holes.  I love setting up using an indicator, there is something about getting the job running so there is no deflection of the needle even if it is not necessary!

A quick trip back to the lathe to part off to width and it was done.  No picture of the finished part yet coz I forgot to take one :slap:

Nice work  :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp: :ThumbsUp:

Interesting model I like your 3D drawing what software are you using ?.


that standard came out spot on. certainly looks a casting
a few questions if I may?
what's the overall height of the engine?
how did you attach the feet to the standard?
what's the stroke?

thanks in anticipation


Thanks Stew.  The software is Autodesk Inventor, I use it at work as it is well beyond my pocket.  Modelling allows checking clearances before building the parts as well as providing  nice working drawings very quickly.

Peter, the engine is about 6" o/all.  The feet on the standard are recessed in pockets and then glued with JB Weld.  The stroke is 18mm.  Thanks for your interest.


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