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it is so quiet here...

Posted by HYDRAGON 
it is so quiet here...
February 14, 2016 12:04AM
it is not funny,I hope we all haven't give up on our steam powered dream machines,cheers to you all.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 15, 2016 10:57AM
just busy; got the sawmill ready to run, changing engine and converting from auto to standard transmission on my one ton chevy right now, then planning on sawing some lumber and building a storage shed to relieve my shop of it's surplus engines and spare parts, give me room to work. Then there's another small building to build for office and electronics shop so we can move that operation out of the unfinished house, the house to finish, then land to clear and gardens to get going in the spring, and when the shop floor is clear I'll be able to get that boiler out and work on finishing it. Also have the "new" old famco milling machine and big american lathe to get hooked up to power and ready to use, some shelves built for the tooling. Need to build a small cupola to experiment with iron melting, I have a medium size one about ready to run, but not having run one before I'd rather start smaller. Gonna charcoal fire them, since plenty of surplus hardwood is what I have. Charcoal iron was supposed to be very good quality. Like to try converting IC engines to steam as well as manufacturing old style engines. My plan is to develop steam powered vehicles, primarily pickup trucks and tractor based on 4x4 chassis, designed for rough terrain use. And then put them to work on my mountainside with agriculture activities. The old steel wheeled ones were not good for steep hills. 127 acres to work with, all timber covered, I have most of the marketable timber cut, we've worked for and invested in a project which is 2 days work from being finished (and that's waiting on a dry spell to finish) that will bring us a komatsu trackhoe to rip out stumps. My goal is at least 20 acres cleared for a combination of pasture, permacrops, and some annual crops. I'll have more to talk about on the steam subject when I get going on some steamy projects. But today is kind of slow, cold rain, need to get that load of logs to the mill to pay for some truck parts, but it's kind of hard to get up the motive to get out there in the rain and do it.

Well, got the load hauled. .......... So if I get to playing with fire and dumping hot metal in greensand to make my own steam parts. I've debated with myself what kind of valve to use. D valves are simplest, but not very good at being able to control input and exhaust timing independently. A separate balanced throttle valve was used to control speed. Many more complicated valve arrangements were invented to create variable cutoff with the D valve. Corliss is not as simple but the independent control is nice, leaving exhaust open full stroke and controlling inlet from zero to full power independently. And using a governor to override the throttle control. Another advantage of the corliss is that no separate balanced throttle valve was needed. Then there's the piston valve that involved a piston with rings to open and block holes. Then there's the idea of using poppit valves. But attempting to create a balanced poppit for the inlet complexifies it somewhat. Too many choices.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/2016 02:59PM by ReubenT.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 15, 2016 04:34PM
Talking about saw mills
I had a Soule saw mill engine in my shed waiting to be restored and realized I would never get to it.
I gave it to my friend Jim last fall and he restored it this winter.

Re: it is so quiet here...
February 15, 2016 06:37PM
That is one nice engine. Would be perfect to run my mill, which is a small belsaw with 46" blade. I figure I'll run it with PTO from a steam tractor when I get one going, in the mean time a ford diesel can do the job.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 17, 2016 12:58AM
Its nice to see pictures of this and other engines restored. The Soule company isn't too far from where I live. About 90 miles.
I've always enjoyed seeing good machinework.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 17, 2016 01:05AM
Give up? Never give up! Never Surrender! I may be quiet but I'm still going at it checking and double checking my math. Once the math is right on paper and in computer then its time to see if reality agrees. Until then , ears open, mouth not flapping too much.

Re: it is so quiet here...
February 17, 2016 09:17AM
I got an E-mail this morning from Jim
I finally heard back from the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum. This Soule’ engine was built in 1944. They also sent me some set up information. There are telltale marks for setting the valves. I will have to go back and see how close I came.

Re: it is so quiet here...
February 17, 2016 03:02PM
I don't see a governor on it. Unless there's one hiding that operates that control rod from the throttle valve. Did the extra hole in the lever take a rod to an external governor perhaps?

Been looking at that thing, it's one of the nicest little compact engines I've seen, (not so much the nice finish but the design) surly it couldn't be all that hard to reproduce it. It's just a simple D valve with some sort of slide valve throttling. It'd make a real nice engine to run a 4x4 pickup truck.

From Wickedpedia.
"The Soulé Spee-D-Twin, a two-cylinder reciprocating steam engine, was designed in 1922 and patented in 1923. Being much more efficient than its predecessor, the Spee-D-Twin became the favorite among sawmill operators. The engine featured a valve that allowed the engine to operate in both forward and reverse, and its small size allowed it to be retrofitted onto an existing carriage. When in full operation, the factory could produce one Spee-D-Twin per day. The company built and sold 4,301 Spee-D-Twins between 1923 and 1984 to people in all fifty states and internationally as well"

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2016 11:18PM by ReubenT.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 17, 2016 09:02PM
I am working to get my TIG welder up and running its one of the solid-state models in addition to welding steel it can weld Aluminum which is useful for condenser parts.

I recently acquired a 10" X 22" engine lathe and finally got a carriage stop so I can machine a taper on a injector tip and do threads on the other side. I also make the electromagnetic parts of the injector valves solenoid assy on that lathe.

Jeremy Holmes

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2016 11:35PM by Jeremy Holmes.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 19, 2016 04:35PM
Here are some pictures of my Jet condenser for the PSTG3 project.

I remember another welder guy told me before I was welding on the cooling fins, he told me it was going to be bent like a banana when I finished. The trick to welding it was to weld while still hot.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2016 04:36PM by Jeremy Holmes.

Re: it is so quiet here...
February 21, 2016 08:05PM
Finally realized it never had a governor, since it was constantly hand controlled for driving sawmill carriage. And has instant reverse by the valve swapping steam and exhaust ports.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 22, 2016 08:37AM
It was quiet - I was locked out during the change to the forum but with help from Ken I'm back. Thanks Ken.

That Soule is a nice looking tool - a modernised (1922!) version of the early Stanley/Locomobile cast frame engines of 20 years previous.

Re: it is so quiet here...
February 22, 2016 09:18AM
The winter put a damper on my hardware store steam scooter project, but I just finished moving into a bigger place, so completion of the engine is my next goal. It is all designed, I just have to finish putting it together and wire the controls. However, I have neighbors now, so as soon as the engine is proven to work, I am going to convert the boiler from wood pellets to propane, and then I will be repackaging everything into a road legal chassis for a moped registration.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 22, 2016 03:58PM
Watch this monster reverse - it operated a steel rolling mill and can flip from forward to reverse at full speed.


Re: it is so quiet here...
February 23, 2016 07:18PM
Lot's of power to make all that weight change direction that quickly. That is a real monster.

It seems the foundry business and manufacture of machinery has gone the way of most of the business world, get big or get out. The big guys make what will sell. And they do it so efficiently that no little business can compete. Kind of like growing the major crops in farming as well. Farmers used to make money growing corn with live horsepower and hand picking. Try that now and you'd be making a few pennies an hour. Small scale agriculture has to look for niche/specialty market opportunities to be worth anything. Therefore the old style machines that are still very useful in certain situations, but wouldn't sell in any quantity if manufactured for market, quit being made long ago.
The convenience of turn a key and go took precedence over waiting for a boiler to heat up. But that trend took the machines away from being fueled with whatever burnable substance happened to be around.
Now I've come around to a great desire to have those firewood and water powered machines, and have them in a manner that is most compatible with my situation and needs. Therefore I either have to find very old ones and adapt to my needs or set up my own manufacture and design them to fit my needs. I've set out to do some of both. Most times the old ones are priced according to the whim of antique collectors, quickly get out of the range of common farmers to buy. So that leaves manufacturing them as the best option. I need at least 3, two trucks and a tractor. all 4x4 since my land is anything but level. So I plan on taking 4x4 trucks, from light duty up to 5 ton military semi tractor style. Remove the cabs since they would just be in the way. And replace the engines with boilers and steam engines. The heavy duty one would be for the heavy jobs with PTO and 3 pt hitch. A medium duty one for firewood processing with generator and hydraulic splitter onboard, probably dump bed. And a lighter one just for hauling stuff around. Put super traction tires on them. Those wide flotation tractor tread tires would be good on the larger one, filled for weight. Super swamper offroad tires on the others, winches on all three I'm sure. Then I just might want a smaller one built more like a tractor with 3 pt hitch and PTO for general tractor work. Looks like several years worth of tinkering.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 25, 2016 02:00PM
It seems steam power is pretty much dead. Of course there's the big power plants with their super pressure and huge turbines, but that's beyond the needs or capability of ordinary people of ordinary economics. Then there's the antique aficionados. That's just hobby, and pretty much limited to people with other established businesses and extra income to afford the inflated antique prices. There there's an element of interest in miniatures. But that too is strictly hobby. So who is using steam power on a regular basis for every day work? Just a very few that I've heard of. A couple of sawmills. I have wood to spare and then some, for lumber and fuel. But for those who don't have access to endless solid fuel, waste oil is a good fuel that would be free to many, picked up from service stations. Are the innovators, the technically inclined, getting that rare? Or perhaps all our "time savers" are using up all our time. Maybe the young people who would otherwise get into technical interests are being absorbed by video games, sports, computers, and all the other many distractions of society. Which seem to be much more numerous than they were 100+ years ago. I don't have much contact with young people now, but what little I did around 35 years ago, those my own age at the time, I knew no one who had my mechanical and electrical technology interests. Sports, the latest video game, or the opposite sex, was all I ever heard out of them. Worthless foolishness. There's the aspect of convenience of quick startup. But that can be alleviated somewhat with a quick firing boiler. I heard rumor of salesmen going around selling IC engines to the sawmill operators who ran steam power, quick startup and no extra hired man needed to feed the boiler. So they converted most of them to gas/diesel, and who profited? the oil company I guess. The prospect of setting up a foundry and manufacturing steam engines is exciting to me, but not just to watch them run, they have a job to do. Processing firewood, (for fuel, and charcoal for foundry and biochar) plowing, tilling, harvesting duties of various types. We have food to grow, to eat, and sell to others to eat. The kind of food that makes one healthy.

Well the sawmill made me some lumber, the tractor pulled me out some locust poles, and I needed some money for roof and nails, so out I goes to the woods and pulls me out some trees to sell. Come mornin I'll get the load delivered and pick up the roofing. Won't be long things will be rearranged to enable further development of a steamy situation.

I was looking at gridiron valves last night, (steam engine design book) They just might make good inlet valves, with an automotive poppet valve for exhaust.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2016 02:14PM by ReubenT.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 26, 2016 05:27PM
Dead quiet. LOL! the more I look at gridiron valves the more I like em. They're still a slide valve and therefore not good for the real high pressures. But I noticed a comment on corliss valves that they were not generally used on engines that ran much more than 100 RPM. Maybe the trigger mechanism wasn't able to operate very fast. But the gridiron style is just simple slide blocks that move much less distance than a D valve needs to. and a simple shaft governor controls cutoff by rotating an eccentric. Only disadvantage is the multiple holes, and apparently steam likes single larger openings better than many smaller ones.
Re: it is so quiet here...
February 29, 2016 01:27PM
I'd sure like to make more noise Reuben. After seeing the path some steam energy company's have traveled, my feet need a thorough warming and am really reviewing my i's n t's. Takes money to build these things and I need more solid numbers to throw more into the build. A dyno'd 30% would liven me up a bit. My numbers show more 17% numbers are more likely. Need to prove that wrong. -Keith
Re: it is so quiet here...
March 01, 2016 06:30PM
Money? What's that? When I review where I've been and what I've done and where I seem to be headed, I'm shocked. How in the world did I get this far without having oodles of money to fool with? Since my primary income is selling timber, and it's dwindling, I haven't sold more than $6-10,000 per year. I helped start a trucking company a couple years ago hoping that would create some money, but it's not doing very well at that. Getting a hydrogen booster on the Semi will cut fuel bill by almost $20,000 a year and help a lot. Although we did make it pay expenses on a land clearing project that will bring me a track hoe to work on our own land.

Just a little at a time I guess. Keeping expenses real low and staying alert for bargains. The last two machines were bought from a friend for a fraction of what they were potentially worth. A FAMCO 2HP milling machine for 500 and lathe for 800. Bunch of tooling for both. Including both vertical and horizontal rotary tables. The lathe was not big, but a nice JET, about the same size as my old FE Reed lathe, (the one I drove clear to NJ to get for $400 several years ago) and since the old one will do what I need to do, and he told me about a guy nearby who wanted to swap. I checked it out and swapped it for this old American lathe with 20" swing and 48" center. I will get things set up to go pretty soon, I told the man I got them from he's welcome to come use them when needed, he's a mechanic and only needs their use very rarely.

And the foundry business is more about knowhow and work than money, a home made cupola, sand muller, and some relatively cheap clays. Load of sand from the sand pit nearby. The knowhow obtained from a variety of books, Perfected by doing it. and live info from guys doing it who inhabit the metal casting forum. Since wood is abundant, charcoal will be the fuel for melting iron. They say it made real nice iron. Higher quality than coke iron according to foundry men 100 years ago. I'm not looking at it for profit, although as extensive as I'm getting with the manufacturing capacity it's like a small for profit manufacturing setup of 100 years ago or better. My super cheap pole barn shop with dirt floor will have to do, I need to saw some more lumber and close it in better, too much mist and snow blows through on occasion. I figure once I have engines going good, they'll be worth a lot more to me getting work done than to be sold. I plan on selling fresh produce for an income eventually.

When I first got interested in steam 37 years ago, I had zero resources and didn't dream I'd someday be making them from scratch. My mother was very intelligent, chemistry was her favorite subject in college, got strait A's in it. She could have been a chemist if she'd stuck with it. but chose to stay home and raise 3 children and homeschooled us. (the oldest, my sister died at 10 when I was almost 8, from some strange illness) My dad had a low paying job, college printshop and then bakery forklift driver. They both loved gardening and raised a lot of our food. They managed to pay off the land by living really cheap, in 1985 we sold that land which was 20 mi east of Chattanooga and bought 4 times the acreage way out in the woods up in middle TN. Along with the neighbor's land behind ours which they don't mind me using, there's 127 acres. I'll clear some of it, maybe 20 acres at the most, and put in food crops, they can help harvest for their own needs and to sell. Steam power will be a bit hot in the summer, but there will be lots of winter work when it will be quite inviting to work around, processing firewood and chracoaling it for biochar.
Re: it is so quiet here...
March 02, 2016 03:59PM
Reuben - it sounds like you enjoy your life - good for you - but also sounds like hard work - I wish you the best in your projects.

Reminds me of George Woodbury's "John Goffe's Mill"

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Soule-1.jpg 129 KB open | download Rolly 02/15/2016 Read message
Soule-2.jpg 124.7 KB open | download Rolly 02/15/2016 Read message
Soule-3.jpg 114 KB open | download Rolly 02/15/2016 Read message
Soule-4.jpg 122.6 KB open | download Rolly 02/15/2016 Read message
021916a.jpg 174.7 KB open | download Jeremy Holmes 02/19/2016 Read message
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