Alphington Steam launch

Got a Steamboat? Then put a link and pictures in here and let us know about updates etc.
Lionel Connell
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 149
Joined: Fri May 13, 2016 2:42 am
Boat Name: Alphington
Location: Da Nang City Vietnam

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by Lionel Connell » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:42 am

Hi Wesley,

Thank you for your kind comments, they make the effort that much more enjoyable.

I decided to make the 6A entirely by manual machining even though I do have CNC capability here in my factory, it is a bit like fly fishing, good for the soul. My staff think I am a little crazy pumping out parts on a rotary table and dividing head that my father bought back in 1948 when I have a 9 axis CNC machining center standing 20 feet away, I tell them it is all about the journey, they smile politely and walk away shaking their heads.

I have local suppliers of castings here in Vietnam and realistically they fall into two categories, the local market suppliers and the export quality suppliers. The local guys are good at making cheap low quality, low volume stuff that is accepted in the local market, and the export quality guys make great stuff under great quality control,but only in high volume. Example. My iron casting guy makes 8 million brake calipers for the European marker per year. You can imagine the look I get when I ask him for a one off cylinder casting, he's jut not interested.

We will be setting up our own in house lost wax casting later next year, but initially we will only be casting in bronze. Our plan is to use 3D printed wax patterns for prototyping and injection molded wax patterns for production quantities. At that point we will be offering a low volume casting service.

Early next year I will be releasing the first of my own product line, a small candle powered table top stationary steam engine. I will post some pictures when the time is right, we are presently testing prototypes and building the tooling here in house. My longer term goal is to build the steam engine side of my business up to the point where we will be supplying casting kits, pre-machined assembly kits, and fully completed engines in a wide range of sizes. An ambitious plan, but we are well down the road to making this a reality.
User avatar
TahoeSteam
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:38 am
Boat Name: Wayward Belle
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by TahoeSteam » Thu Dec 14, 2017 4:33 pm

Lionel,

I just read this! Your ambitions are something I've been wanting to explore for quite some time but have been struggling with find a facility here in the US that would be willing to work me on cooperatively small scale production. I have all the patterns for the engine in my launch, and with a good foundry could be produced with enough consistency to allow for CNC.

I'd love to see more of your facility and your engine. I guess I'll have to stop to getting a Facebook account again.

~Wes
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
User avatar
cyberbadger
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:16 pm
Boat Name: SL Nyitra
Location: Northeast Ohio, USA

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by cyberbadger » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:31 pm

TahoeSteam wrote:Lionel,

I just read this! Your ambitions are something I've been wanting to explore for quite some time but have been struggling with find a facility here in the US that would be willing to work me on cooperatively small scale production. I have all the patterns for the engine in my launch, and with a good foundry could be produced with enough consistency to allow for CNC.
Wes, Have you looked at cattail foundary? I know it's kind of on the wrong side of the country for you, but their target market is the hobbyist steam community....

-CB
Oilking
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:39 pm
Boat Name: No Boat Yet
Location: Cathlamet, WA

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by Oilking » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:54 pm

Lionel,
Your work is beautiful. Finding that you are doing this on manual machines has kicked me over center to get moving on some projects of my own.

Thanks for the inspiration.
Dave

PS: As a Boiler Tech on the USS Fanning DE1076, on January 8,1973 I was in Da Nang harbor where we anchored long enough to receive mail and personal headed for the gun line. While there the monthly missile hit the air base fuel storage prompting our hasty departure. After all these years I never thought I'd be in communication with someone living there, and very glade that the circumstances are much for the better.
User avatar
TahoeSteam
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:38 am
Boat Name: Wayward Belle
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by TahoeSteam » Thu Dec 14, 2017 8:56 pm

I have Sunrise Foundary near me that have quite a bit of experience in doing steam stuff as a well as svery intricate and thin castings for propane and natural gas burner plates... they do good work.


The biggest issue is finding a shop nearby with the CNC equipment that is willing to tackle the setup for a small production run without breaking the bank.
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
Mike Rometer
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 673
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2011 6:41 pm
Boat Name: B.N.Y.S.
Location: Middle Earth

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by Mike Rometer » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:30 pm

It could take a long, long, time to shift even 100 units, which is not a big number in production terms.
Retirement is about doing what floats your boat!

A BODGE : - A Bit Of Damn Good Engineering.
User avatar
TahoeSteam
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:38 am
Boat Name: Wayward Belle
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by TahoeSteam » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:42 pm

Exactly. Hence the lack of interest by companies here in the US who can care less about anything other than the almighty dollar.
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
User avatar
cyberbadger
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:16 pm
Boat Name: SL Nyitra
Location: Northeast Ohio, USA

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by cyberbadger » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:50 pm

TahoeSteam wrote:The biggest issue is finding a shop nearby with the CNC equipment that is willing to tackle the setup for a small production run without breaking the bank.
I'm just trying to understand the intent. Do you want a run of casting kits or complete engines?

-CB
User avatar
TahoeSteam
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 498
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2014 5:38 am
Boat Name: Wayward Belle
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by TahoeSteam » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:44 am

Complete kits/ assembled engines because the average Joe doesn't have the machine tools or experience necessary to machine a complete engine. Understanding today's generation of youth, they're going to be more interested in "instant" gratification which could potentially in the long run get them hooked enough to build something more substantial like a casting kit.
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
User avatar
cyberbadger
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:16 pm
Boat Name: SL Nyitra
Location: Northeast Ohio, USA

Re: Alphington Steam launch

Post by cyberbadger » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:10 am

TahoeSteam wrote:Understanding today's generation of youth, they're going to be more interested in "instant" gratification which could potentially in the long run get them hooked enough to build something more substantial like a casting kit.
Very true. Personally I find machining intimidating and I own a benchtop mill and benchtop lathe. :| I have not attempted an engine. I get very hung up on the prospect of spending a lot of work and then ruining a casting or piece I can't easily replace. That inclination turns into a catch 22 that can prevent you from ever gaining the experience you need to gain at some point to start becoming a better machinist. :/

Get em while they are young. :) My 12 old nephew was fireman on Nyitra this summer to cross the lake to get ice cream. He thoroughly enjoyed it. I explained a bit of the Monitor vs Merrimack and how it was such a game changer technologically, but at the same time pretty ridiculous. I don't think either of them were particularly good steamers and needed a support sailing vessel for water and fuel.

I have been watching the brass ebay Chinese cheap model steam engines that have been on ebay for ~5years? I think that's probably a vector for getting folks interested, just on price point and size.

-CB
Post Reply