Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

For the non-technical side of living with Steamboats, videos and general pictures.
Post Reply
User avatar
csonics
Anne from Little Britan
Anne from Little Britan
Posts: 232
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:17 pm
Boat Name: No Boat Yet
Location: Roseville, MN
Contact:

Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

Post by csonics » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:44 pm

In an effort to continue this post because I thought it was going somewhere very interesting I am copying this over from the archive section:

csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:34 pm Post subject: Looky what I found on ebay
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 500wt_1182

Wow! Is this a normal price for a functioning compound? I don't know a lot about the hobby yet but looks like it could be a rich-man's sport if this is the norm...
Back to top


Edward
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Ambleside, Cumbria, UK
Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:55 pm Post subject:
Dear csonics ,

The Mills or Beaumaris engine as it is called in England is a very good engine . It was designed by a Mr Mills who was the managing director of Beaumaris Engineering on Anglesey , an island off the NW coast of Wales, and the first few engines were built by the companys' apprentices and finished to a VERY high standard .
This was , I think , in the '60s .
So the engine can hardly command high prices for being old or historic because it isn't .
It is however a good design and if it is in as good condition as the seller claims , with all the spares etc the price asked isn't all that high . If you build one yourself and cost your time and the materials you'll find that at that price you're not going to be paying yourself very much per hour.
As with anything else if marketed properly it is only worth what someone is prepared to pay , so let's see what it reaches .
Don't be put off by high retail prices , by doing as much as possible yourself , befriending other enthusiasts and not being to ambitious you can keep costs down . But if done safely it can never be a very cheap hobby , don't be too depressed if the Mills engine fetches too much for you , something else will be along in a minute .

All the best Edward.
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:12 pm Post subject:
Hey Edward,

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discount the huge amount of sweat and tears that goes into making and maintaining these engines. I have to say that this one is indeed beautiful!

I guess I was just surprised to find one for sale for such a large sum. It's a bit depressing to a humble beginner...

Yes I have been trying to find a steam launch owners club or any type of steam enthusiasts in my area (St. Paul MN) but have been unsuccessful so far... I would love to learn from an experienced builder/operator! In some ways I think that the knowledge shared is as valuable as the objects themselves. So far I have been unsuccessful in finding anything like that in my area. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions!

-Mike
Back to top


Edward
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Ambleside, Cumbria, UK
Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:34 pm Post subject:
Dear Mike ,

Sorry if I seemed smug or condescending ; that wasn't my intention at all . Steamboating , even if you do all the pattern making , machining and woodworking yourself is unlikely to be very cheap (as I have found out to my cost, no pun intended).

As I'm in the UK I can't be of any use in putting you in touch with any steamboaters local to you , but you are absolutely right to be looking for others ; it is really helpful to see what they have achieved and how they did it even if it's only to learn not to do it the way they did !

One of the great things about steam hobbies in general and Steamboating in particular is that everyone is usually only too happy to provide information and often help or equipment . I'm sure some of the North American members of this forum will be responding soon .

Edward
Back to top


barts
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 02 May 2009
Posts: 32
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:38 pm Post subject:
I used a converted refrigeration compressor for nearly 20 years in our 19' launch; it worked like a charm and I had less than a hundred dollars of misc. fasteners, fittings, and scrap metal in the engine. Since then, my time vs money trade-offs have changed somewhat, and I'm now much more likely to order the metal I want rather than wait for the right scrap to appear or change my designs to match what is available.

In general, steamboats are not an inexpensive hobby... but it is certainly possible to build a small launch w/o undue expense if you're careful and focus on function rather than form.

- Bart
_________________
-------------------
Bart Smaalders
S.L Otter
Menlo Park, CA
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:11 pm Post subject:
Thanks for the insight guys. I figured it would be a hobby where I would be spending some money. I guess over years of accumulation you do end up spending quite a bit! Does anybody have any suggestions on a kit or casting for a good small triple expansion engine? I was originally hoping to find one at an auction or a junk yard but I'm beginning to realize that my chances are better if I just build one myself... Thanks! _mike
Back to top


farmerden
Warming the Engine


Joined: 19 Apr 2008
Posts: 70
Location: Shawnigan Lake,B.C.
Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:16 am Post subject:
hey Mike Most of us are old and unfortunatly dropping lke flies! So if you take your time one may pop up in an estate sale! Not me tho' I have too much to do before I kick the bucket! Den
Back to top


DetroiTug
Warming the Engine


Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Outside Detroit
Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 4:24 pm Post subject:
Mike,

If you're patient, deals do come along. Especially in this economy.

I bought a single M 3 X 4 Tiny power off of Ebay for 600 bucks. It needed some work, but it was in running condition er sorta.. I had to replace some of the parts.

I found that engine by searching "African queen". The owner had listed it as an "African Queen engine".

I've never seen a cheap compound though. I've been looking off and on for 10 or so years. Singles go for all sorts of prices. Even the old ones go pretty reasonable sometimes.

From my meanderings and conversations, your mileage may vary, for a small launch and plant, the compound although is more efficient and has it's advantages, they may not be enough to justify the cost difference, if cost is a big issue. It really depends on how big of a boat you want and all that. If I was starting out again and based on what I've learned, I'd just order a single M kit from Tiny power. It is a really well designed engine with ball bearing crank and rod ends, and they are great folks to deal with. I'm not affiliated with them, just a happy customer. I would refrain from purchasing a kit that someone else has started or engines that "are not finished" that is code speak for "it is finished" You'll have to do repairs more than likely, which often times means new castings and machining.

-Ron
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 8:47 pm Post subject:
Hey guys, thanks for good ideas!

Ron, that's a great story about the ebay engine. I guess I am more infatuated with the concepts of the triple expansion engine and the economy than the actual power requirements. I'm looking to put in something trailerable so it doesn't have to be huge. Tiny Power does have a nice looking compound kit and I have heard good things about them.
-mike
Back to top


87gn@tahoe
Full Ahead


Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 148
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:09 am Post subject:
I think "Reliable" sells triple castings (and maybe machined engines also) that are somewhere in-between the "model" size and the size of the "elliot bay" triple.
_________________
Wesley Harcourt
-S.L. Wayward Belle (Mr. Grosjean was/is a genius.)
-S.L. George H. Sandin (Father's boat. Cut my teeth on that one.)
-'64 Buick Riviera
-'65 Buick Special WAGON
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:50 pm Post subject:
Great call on that Reliable Triple! Anybody have any experience with that guy?

-mike
Back to top


Edward
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Ambleside, Cumbria, UK
Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:07 am Post subject:
Dear Csonics ,

I , like you , like the idea of triple expansion engines .
I love watching a steam engine running - especially at fairly low revs as you can see everything working , and with a triple there is that much more to see .
Don't however fall into the trap of going for a triple because of their higher efficiency . In theory triples are more efficient than compounds which are more efficient than simples . For full size ship engines this is true but at the small sizes we are talking about it is highly debateable .

This is because as you scale down the engine the ratio of surface area to volume increases , so it is almost certain that at the sizes we're looking at the increased ratio of area to volume will result in such heat loss as will lead to losses in efficiency so that compounds or triples are unlikely to be more efficient than simples .
Of course the exact figures will differ depending on the size of the engine , I'm no engineer but I'm sure it would be possible but difficult to work out the exact figures but in the final analysis if we were to be THAT concerned with efficiency we'd all put stinking , noisy , cheap diesels into our boats .

So if it's the aesthetics / eye candy you like go for a triple ; otherwise a simple will be as efficient .

Regards Edward .
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:09 pm Post subject:
Edward,

Wow! Interesting! I have to agree with you on the esthetics of the triple. Would a smaller triple lose efficiency due to more moving parts and therefore more friction surfaces compared to a single or compound?

-mike
Back to top


Edward
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 39
Location: Ambleside, Cumbria, UK
Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:37 am Post subject:
Mike ,

To move any part , or stop it when moving , is going to take some energy : so it must follow that the more moving parts there are the more energy will be absorbed moving them .
I would guess that they become innefficient/reduce efficiency when the energy they absorb is greater than the benefits they provide . How one would work that out I cannot imagine .

So I suppose that a small triple is probably LESS efficient than a similar sized compound or simple . But at what size this occurs I couldn't even begin to work out .
Probably more important for economy at the sizes we're talking about is making sure you're not wasting too much heat from your boiler with poor insulation or design . The boiler is what really supplies the power , the engine is just part of the transmission , albeit the most interesting part of the whole system .

In a way I think you're missing the point . NONE of our engines are anywhere like as efficient as diesels so you should go for what you particularly like : If a triple is what floats your boat go for it . In a normal days steaming the differences in economy between the different steam engines isn't going to amount to more than a few pounds of fuel . it could only be significant if you want to go on extended cruises carrying all your fuel with you .

Edward
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:50 pm Post subject:
Edward, sounds like your a man of true experience! Thanks for the advice!

-mike

DetroiTug
Warming the Engine


Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Outside Detroit
Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:08 pm Post subject:
""I would guess that they become innefficient/reduce efficiency when the energy they absorb is greater than the benefits they provide . How one would work that out I cannot imagine . ""

One could pull the upper head(s) and and lower ones too if possible. Then couple an DC motor with a speed control to the crank and calculate the torque required from the amperage draw. It would provide a rough idea in regard to the required HP. Would have to factor in a bit more for D-valves as opposed to cylindrical valves.

-Ron
Back to top


87gn@tahoe
Full Ahead


Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 148
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:23 pm Post subject:
Here's an idea I've been playing with for quite a while... As I too am obsessed with triples.

Why not "fabricate" a triple out of steel (or aluminum!);

A flat plate for the top and bottom of the block, heavy wall tubing for the cylinders with cast-iron liners (or nikasil coating???), milled steel blocks between steam chests and cyliders (with steam passages milled in)... all welded (or silver soldered) together by someone very skilled... Much like Cliff Blackstaffe's triple ("The Steam Launch" by Richard M. Mitchell and Bill Durham)

This way, all thicknesses are known, saves from complicated patternmaking (I really don't enjoy working with wood).

You could make a single "block" or seperate cylinders which one could bolt together (if one had smaller machinery to machine with)

Aluminum would be much lighter, BUT it dissipates heat MUCH quicker (automotive thermal coatings?).. Nikasil cylinder coating would be cool, as I imagine any bore size could be done rather than relying on what a sleeve manufacturer could make. Should provide very low friction coating... BUT cost?

Just ideas I am throwing out there..
_________________
Wesley Harcourt
-S.L. Wayward Belle (Mr. Grosjean was/is a genius.)
-S.L. George H. Sandin (Father's boat. Cut my teeth on that one.)
-'64 Buick Riviera
-'65 Buick Special WAGON
Back to top


dampfspieler
Just Starting Out


Joined: 27 Sep 2009
Posts: 6

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:34 pm Post subject: welded Cylinders
Hi Wes,

the idea you describes was realiseb by german rail DR. For some NEUBAULOKS the cylinders were welded construktions because they were more easy in fabrication.

Best Dietrich
Back to top


mcandrew1894
Full Ahead


Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 149

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:13 am Post subject:
Blackstaffes triple was fabricated Wes.....he used as many standard parts as he could but the block was a weldment...

Supposedly, Cliff made a lot of measurements with his single, compound and triple and found that even at 3 hp, a triple was more efficient than the single....My friend Will tells me that this was just recently republished in the "Funnel"......Mr. Cuthbert, can you confirm....I haven't renewed my memebership...yet


Dave
Back to top


87gn@tahoe
Full Ahead


Joined: 24 Feb 2009
Posts: 148
Location: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 1:18 am Post subject:
mcandrew1894 wrote:
Blackstaffes triple was fabricated Wes.....he used as many standard parts as he could but the block was a weldment...

Supposedly, Cliff made a lot of measurements with his single, compound and triple and found that even at 3 hp, a triple was more efficient than the single....My friend Will tells me that this was just recently republished in the "Funnel"......Mr. Cuthbert, can you confirm....I haven't renewed my memebership...yet


Dave


Yep, I think it was a couple issues ago.. The methods he used for his efficiency measurements were somewhat contorversial though.
_________________
Wesley Harcourt
-S.L. Wayward Belle (Mr. Grosjean was/is a genius.)
-S.L. George H. Sandin (Father's boat. Cut my teeth on that one.)
-'64 Buick Riviera
-'65 Buick Special WAGON
Back to top


Steve Morrison
Just Starting Out


Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Posts: 6

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:06 am Post subject: Steamboat Clubs
Hi Mike,

You might contact either the Northwest Steam Society or the North American Steam Boat Association. Both have good publications. Also there is the International Steamboat Society. I belong to all of them. However, I still ask for help on the Steamboat Forum.

If I can be of more help, you can e-mail me at homefixerllc@yahoo.com.
I live in Tucson Arizona, and am way out of the loop.

All the best

,Steve
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:21 pm Post subject:
Thanks for the info Steve! I'll have to look into that.

-Mike
Back to top


csonics
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 42

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:58 am Post subject:
Looks like she never sold.
Back to top


DetroiTug
Warming the Engine


Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Outside Detroit
Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:44 pm Post subject:
"Why not "fabricate" a triple out of steel (or aluminum!);"

A long time ago, I was going to build a twin compound in that manner. I drew the whole thing in CAD, worked out all the details, travels etc. After doing some reading, scrapped the idea. It appears the cylinders at least need to be a casting of some sort. Castings are porous and will retain oil for lubrication, sort of like sintered or powder bronze bearing. It would have worked, but a casting makes a better cylinder material. And besides, that would just be a ton of machining. The ports, not being cast in, would have been difficult without some boring and blanking tricks. The exterior of the cylinders and other parts would have had to been machined in 3D to make them look right (like castings). Not worth it.

Some places like Tiny power sell just a cylinder with ports cast in. A person could save some that way on a simple.

http://www.tinypower.com/store2.php?crn ... how_detail

-Ron
Back to top


barts
Lighting the Boiler


Joined: 02 May 2009
Posts: 32
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:41 pm Post subject:
You can also press in a cast iron liner into a bored steel weldment. I've thought about this for fabricating a large single cylinder uniflow engine w/ poppet valves; one could also fabricate the piston in a similar manner.

- Bart
_________________
-------------------
Bart Smaalders
S.L Otter
Menlo Park, CA
Back to top


DetroiTug
Warming the Engine


Joined: 20 Jul 2009
Posts: 73
Location: Outside Detroit
Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:35 am Post subject:
Hey Bart,

Material is so high now though, even just getting billets of hot roll, then factor in all the machining, the kits are pretty cheap really. Even getting castings done isn't that expensive.

Uniflow? My buddy here in Michigan has built two uniflows from original drawings if I understood him correctly. He had the castings done up here locally, made his own plugs etc. He loves the things. Oh yeah I have a pic of his engine here:

About 2/3rds down the page.

http://www.rogersmachine.net/steamshowcharlton09.html

Sounds like a red belly Ford tractor running. It runs very well.

-Ron
87gn@tahoe

Re: Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

Post by 87gn@tahoe » Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:03 am

One could also have their cylinders coated with nikasil or something similar. Rather than having to go the sleeved route or cast cylinder route.
User avatar
barts
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:08 am
Boat Name: Otter, Rainbow
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Contact:

Re: Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

Post by barts » Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:26 am

Uniflow engines are interesting to me because they offer the opportunity to build an relatively simple, compact and yet efficient engine. My long-term steamboat goal is a ~35 foot steamer suitable for three season use in the San Juan Islands in Washington, where my wife and I plan to retire. My brother designs yachts (http://smaalders.net/yacht_design/), so I'm working on the boiler and engine design... I'd love to be able to sail her up the Inland Passage; given the likely cost of fuel a decade from now being able to use cordwood for fuel would be important...

While examining working marine steam engines in England and the Netherlands, I was struck by the heft and strength of the engines compared to the engines in the relatively lightweight pleasure steamers... having a simple, strongly built engine seems much to be preferred in a boat used in open water, and a single cylinder uniflow w/ overhung crank, roller bearings and poppet valves seems to fit that bill; the engine would need to be about 5" x 6" or a bit larger to develop 11 or 12 hp at 45 psi BMEP and 350 rpm. Given 8000 lbs displacement, that would be 3 hp/ton - ample power in a steam boat, even if we end up a little overweight carrying extra passengers...

Being able to fabricate the engine largely from steel & cast iron stock seems quite desirable; trying to cast in the ports for the exhaust seems hard, whereas welding up a cylinder from steel pipe w/ a welded-on exhaust band in the center and pressing in a cast iron liner appears easier to me... The crank would be a simple disk crank made from steel; the engine base would be another weldment. I'm also considering using one of those clever timing belts w/ teeth on both sides to run two counter-rotating balance shafts on either side of the crankshaft so engine would be in pretty close to perfect primary balance; these shafts would also drive
boiler feed & air pumps.

Some other details:
* large DC PM motor to permit jogging the engine off center during docking from the pilot house.... use as main DC generator.
* automatic cylinder drains
* steam ejector on condenser to generate sufficient vacuum for easier starting
* small aux steam engine to permit battery charging & boiler feed while stationary
* shifting cam driven poppet valves on engine: 30% cut-off in forward and reverse for docking, additional 10% cut-off in forward for cruising.

- Bart
-------
Bart Smaalders http://smaalders.net/barts Menlo Park, CA
User avatar
artemis
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:13 am
Boat Name: Pond Skimmer
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Contact:

Re: Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

Post by artemis » Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:04 pm

barts wrote:Uniflow engines are interesting to me because they offer the opportunity to build an relatively simple, compact and yet efficient engine...
Don't know if you have it/found it/read it but probably the best book out there on the uniflow engine is the Second Edition (1922) of the Una-Flow Steam Engine by J. Stumpf. Much more info than the 1912 edition. I got a free copy by simply googling "una-flow steam engine j stumpf" and selecting the books tab, then downloading a .pdf copy. Also there was a brief article in Mar/Apr 2008 issue of Steamboating Magazine by David Ayers (he of Elpenor fame).
Ron Image
Ron Fossum
Steamboating Magazine Editor
http://www.steamboating.org
User avatar
barts
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead
Posts: 898
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:08 am
Boat Name: Otter, Rainbow
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Contact:

Re: Looky what I found on ebay (continued)

Post by barts » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:04 pm

I've done a fair amount of reading on the topic in various books, but this is perfect - thanks! My college German really isn't up to technical topics so it's great that there's a translation. Google Books has certainly made collecting info on steam engine much easier than it was 20 years ago.

- Bart
-------
Bart Smaalders http://smaalders.net/barts Menlo Park, CA
Post Reply