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Steam Powered Mini Bike

Posted by Arch-Tone 
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
February 27, 2018 05:21PM
Jeremy,

Funny you mentioned that....those are long flare nuts in the pictures....I ordered the short ones and will get them tomorrow. They are ridiculously huge, even though they are only 1/4" they look like 3/8 size. I had those on hand and they are there just to protect the fittings while i work on the engine.Not only are they a big heat sink...but they would make the connections to the engine too long as well. They are high quality and would work great on the feed water or other "cool" connections...I can definitely see how they would be a source of heat loss if used on the "hot" stuff.

Rick,

Yeah...I looked at the top of my piston valve assembly and thought "hey...that looks like it could be a pump". Its already capable of handling high temps and pressure and it would not be a big deal to plumb it in to the drums...but...gotta stay focused and get a working system first.

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
February 28, 2018 02:04AM
"hey...that looks like it could be a pump"

Piston valve is an unloaded valve, it's gear move lighter than, say, that of a slide valve. If You would make it a pump You would got a big load from a boiler pressure on the valve train. Not good.

Serge
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
February 28, 2018 12:16PM
Hi Serge,
Good observation...Jamison plans to run at about 500 psi on his mono-tube generating system. His piston valve diameter is ~ 1/2 inch. Just for fun, a quick calculation provides an area of .2 IN**2. So we're looking at 100 lbs force on the lifter/cam system. This plus the force of the momentum, the mass of the piston valves, would make it a bit challenging on the valve train.

One of the biggest concerns is friction. F=uN where F due to friction is the burden on the rotational force/torque. N is the 100 lbs force calculated above and u is the coefficient of friction of the material. Personally, I think the biggest item to plan for or mitigate in a steam engine is friction.

The idea is good and with some appropriate planning, could be realized.

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
February 28, 2018 06:35PM
Serge and Rick,

100 lbs force on the valve train is a lot...and may be a deal breaker....actually, the bore of the piston valve is 5/8”, so it would be more like 125 lbs or so. Boiler pressure pushing down on the top of the piston valve assembly, with the bottom open to atmosphere, would probably be too much friction on the cam and lifter. I already have a plan to use the top part of the piston valve as part of the reheat circuit. The two drum steam generator would still be adaptable to use forced recirculation, LaMont style....but I would do it the way Tony G originally had his bicycle set up, with an engine driven, positive displacement type (separate) pump.

The engine is getting close to doing a compressed air test on it...had some setbacks with a 1/4” - 20 tap and a grade 8, 5/16” bolt both breaking off in the head. The bolt I was lucky enough to be able to drill out...the tap...not so much. I ended up just grinding it flush to the head and relocated the mounting point.

I picked up this great Teflon coating spray from Grainger that works really well. These sprays were originally marketed for non-stick cookware resurfacing...but due to the toxicity of Teflon fumes when overheated, they now call it simply “dry lubricant” for liability reasons. It actually bonds to metal surprisingly well...but takes several days to coat and re-coat it sufficiently. I plan on coating both the cam and lifter contact surfaces with it to keep the friction down...I did this to hydraulic gear pump components with good results, using it as a high pressure water pump. Well....by “good results”, I mean friction wise....it leaked too much to be useful as a water pump.

Everything looks on track for possibly running it on live steam this weekend...maybe even with it attached to the bike....and with me riding it! If that happens, will post a video for sure. Actually...if it works good on compressed air, will post a vid of that, too.

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 01, 2018 12:00PM
Hi Jamison,
Is this the same stuff...? [www.amazon.com]

Do you think this would work better than wax with graphite dispersed in it?

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 01, 2018 12:11PM
I also found this product: [www.kecocoatings.com]

Wondering if anyone has experience with this type of coating in Steam Engine application? I'm thinking of a coating in the 10 HP Stanley cylinder block and perhaps on the slide valve surfaces.

Thanks,
Rick
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 01, 2018 02:29PM
Rick,

Yup...that’s the same type stuff, although mine is a different brand. As far as using it on your engine and slide valve...I think the worst that could happen is the stuff rubs off and your back to metal on metal, as long as you are not relying on it exclusively and still use oil....don’t see what you have to loose. That’s what I plan on doing. I would recommend applying it in thin coats and allow 24 hrs between coats...perhaps 4-5 coats this way. Your idea of using it on a slide valve...with all the surface contact it has....is brilliant and as long as it stays put, should slide like ice on ice and seal like a rubber gasket!

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 09:14AM
Got the engine assembled and tested it on compressed air over the weekend. Tested each admittance and exhaust section for proper flow, duration and cutoff....piston valve and connections worked as planned, however, the friction in the piston valve was a little too high, so I had to use a stout return spring to keep the lifter seated on the cam. The engine would cycle but then get stuck at just before TDC....right at the spot where the cam starts to lift. I figured the pistons and valve had to “break in” to alleviate some of the friction with the new parts. The next step was to fire up the boiler and hope the steam would help loosen it up.

Installed the engine back on the mini bike yesterday evening, took it outdoors and fired it up. Got up to about 300 PSI and cracked the throttle. The engine started to cycle, like it did on air, but was still stalling before TDC. I kept turning the engine over by hand to allow the steam and oil to flow through the system. During this time, my burner started to die down....out of propane. Then I heard a “pop” and steam started leaking out of the top of the new cylinder....blown head gasket. Test over for today.

Pulled the engine and put it on the bench for evaluation. After removing the new cylinder, I saw some of the graphite gasket material had come loose on the inside of the bottom half of the double acting piston and completely clogged the exhaust port on that side. I should have trimmed the gasket flush with the cylinder to avoid this...will do next time. On the other hand....the once frictiony (is that a real term?) piston valve was now freed up, as I hoped it would, while still opening and sealing properly, and now I am able to put a much lighter return spring in there. Now turning the engine by hand was much easier and hopefully it will run on air....and of course steam. The displacement oiler worked as well, putting a nice coat of oil on all the components inside the crankcase. I will try testing it again this evening, after regasketing and making sure all the ports are clear.

Here are some pictures of the completed engine installed on the bike, with reheat circuit and displacement oiler in place:

Jamison


Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 09:50AM
Hi Jamison,

If there is room (if not, make some smiling smiley ) around the camshaft; why not use a lifter that is actually a box frame, sort of a pseudo-scotch yoke on the lobe of the camshaft that will reciprocate the valve motion freely? That would omit the necessity for springs. Those springs costs something to operate and on a steam engine with the associated heat, they aren't going to last long. Also, experimentation with lobe shape, height etc, will allow for different admission/cutoff etc. smiling smiley

-Ron
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 11:16AM
Ron,

Good to hear from you again. The cam I am using is actually a perfect circle that is off center...some say that makes it an eccentric but others have said if it has a lifter....it is a cam by definition. I can’t use a crank or scotch yoke there because it is installed directly on the crankshaft, right over the sprocket that used to drive the cam shaft gear. The piston crank is on one side of it and the output shaft is on the other side. I experimented with different cam profiles...lobed, oval, etc. but the round one gives the best symmetry and smoothest transitions. It puts the timing right where I want it and the duration at about 85-90% for the double acting, high pressure stage ....it needs that extra steam for the compound / reheat stage.

I hear what you are saying about the cost involved to overcome the spring tension....and the fact that springs soften with high temps and loose their tension. I might eventually plumb in some pressure to the top of the piston valve....not full boiler pressure, but perhaps from the reheat section, so once the valve is heated up it can keep the lifter seated if the spring fails.

It is often stated that engineering is a collection of compromises....I like the performance and timing the cam (eccentric?) gives, even though the need for a spring to keep the lifter seated has been a problem so far. Now that the piston valve has broken in and a lighter spring can be used...perhaps it might be more comparable to a gas engines rocker arm spring as far as losses / resistance goes. I could even vent the top of the valve to keep the spring cool....that area is just a cavity and does not require it to be sealed off. I used a pipe plug there just out of convenience to retain the spring....or if I end up pressurizing it, it could be sealed for that purpose.

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 11:52AM
Hi Jamison,
As Tony would say, it'll teach you how to run it. Sounds like good progress even though you had a set back. Please keep on, keeping on!

I can't offer any comment about the spring. If it works, use it...another Tony saying. However, Ron's comments do make sense.

What I think is a sure engine development concept and test is to spin the engine free hand, on the fly wheel or where ever you can turn over the engine by hand. Feel the friction of the engine. Make the steam inlet/outlet open to the atmosphere. It should spin freely with a gentle touch. If you have exhaust lap, you should feel it. If steam lap, you should feel it. Again, it will teach you.

Good luck,
Rick
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 03:05PM
Quote: "I can’t use a crank or scotch yoke there because it is installed directly on the crankshaft, right over the sprocket that used to drive the cam shaft gear. "

Just about all steam engines are like that, the solution is either install the strap at crank assembly or a multiple piece strap that can be assembled around the eccentric.

Reconfused smileyprings. At higher RPM's consider the weight of the piston valve assembly, it will float if the spring is not strong enough, and a strong enough spring is going to rob quite a bit of horsepower. I would definitely be looking for a way to have the cam work it both directions.

If I'm understanding what you're doing, both cylinders run off of one piston valve and one throw, it's going to be tough to balance admission and cutoff on both I think off of one eccentric.

-Ron
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 05, 2018 06:26PM
One thing to consider is that your admission cam lobe need not be as tall, incoming steam is rather dense compared to the same steam as it exhausts .... the cam can be much smaller.

Anyone interested in analytical cam design should google 4-5-6-7 polynomial cam design. You'll find that "smooth" cam profiles can get problematic when examining higher derivatives. One reason the PSL engine in Chuk's LSR car ran so well was that Art Gardiner used a "polydyne" cam design .... it's just a teensy bit dated now but utterly state of the art (see what I did there?) when he designed the engine. It's still a light year better than cams based on drafting board and "by-eye" principles.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 06, 2018 12:11AM
Hi Jamison,

One trick that quite a few IC-to-steam engine conversion projects have used, is installing an eccentric and eccentric rod on the power take-off end of the crank shaft, outside of the crankcase. A few nice-looking and reportedly good-running conversion engines which I have seen used slide or piston valves on the cylinder head, running perpendicular to the cylinder axis and parallel to the crankshaft, with a rocker arm and links to transfer motion from the eccentric rod to the valve stem. Kent calls that a "Van de Kirchoff valve". More mechanism & machining work, but it can be directly ported thru the cylinder head, for short/straight and easy to fabricate steam passages. With the right setup, this eliminates all problems with springs, heat, valve float, cam profiles, etc.. The eccentric drives the valve in both directions -- "desmodromic".

Or, for simpler mechanism, the piston or slide valve can go in a bolt-on separate valve chest, with valve travelling parallel with cylinder axis, and ported sidewise into the cylinder thru head -- sort of a "side valve" like in old gas engines, as opposed to the other idea, which is an overhead valve. Both approaches run well. The "side valve" just has an external eccentric on crankshaft, an eccentric rod, and "small" end of rod pinned directly to valve stem. About as simple as it gets.

In his last/best aircooled-VW IC-to-steam conversion engines [models P92/93], Peter Barrett ended up putting his entire poppet valve drive system outside of the crankcase, all bolt-on, doing an end-run around many bad tradeoffs imposed by the space limitations inside the IC crankcase/block.

Just some brainstorms.

Peter
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 06, 2018 08:47AM
Actually, the best lookup for a longitudinal valve supporting one or more cylinders would be under "Westinghouse Junior".
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 06, 2018 09:11AM
Autodesk Inventor (free) has an excellent cam generation plugin that will generate perfect cams of any level of polynomial. I normally stick to harmonic. It also does cam stress simulations and will help you make sure that the forces at speed are at a low enough level for the material.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 06, 2018 10:18AM
I'm an avowed non-participant these days, but couldn't avoid posting this link because of its relevance to Peter's post:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIXI37CV0xc. Sorry, I'm too rusty with the posting system so you'll just have to copy and paste.

Another way to do this is to just cut a flat on the valve, and then rotate it with the eccentric (is that similar to a Corliss?). This solution probably creates the least friction, and minimized sealing issues.

Bill



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2018 10:52AM by Bill Hinote.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 06, 2018 12:01PM
Thanks for the input, everyone. For clarity, let me try to fully explain how the piston valve on this engine is set up. The engine has a smaller bore (1 1/4”) double acting piston installed directly on top of the original (2” bore) gas engine piston. A shaft mounted on top of the original piston connects the two....steeple style. The piston valve is designed to control every admission and exhaust event....except for the original piston exhaust, which is uniflow. There are (4) graphite pistons in the valve....creating (3) sealed off passageways and (4) sealing surfaces. The valve is controlled by a circular eccentric or cam, with one of the original gas engine lifters riding on its outside diameter. Each admission and exhaust has its own dedicated port in both the valve and the top and bottom sections of the double acting piston. The admission to the original piston is controlled by the valve as well...and the steam for that stage is supplied by the exhaust coming from the double acting piston, on both strokes, making it compound. That steam is also reheated in the furnace.

Because each admission and exhaust event has its own port....the timing of each event can be “tweaked” by how high or low on the valve cylinder the port is located. In other words...if I want the admission for one of the stages to start a little sooner....the hole is drilled closer to its valve passageway, so it is revealed just as the valve starts to throw. If I want it to kick in later...it is drilled further from the passageway so it doesn’t open up until closer to the top of the throw. The same goes with the exhaust events as well. The valve has a 3/8” throw....so not a whole lot of “tweaking” can be done...but it is enough to open / close each event without feeling like I have to compromise one events timing over another’s.

Regarding the issue with using a lifter....and the requirement for it to remain seated and not float....I believe I have a solution. There is simply not enough room in the crankcase of this small engine to put a traditional, strapped type eccentric....the flat bottomed lifter barely clears the top flange of the cover as it is. Ron mentioned that a stiff spring is needed to overcome the inertia of the piston assembly at higher RPMs. Such a spring would be a drag on the engine, for it would have to be compressed when the cam is ramping up.

Sooo....this is my plan: The downward force is only needed at the top of the cams lift and as it ramps down, to keep it seated. It is a pure loss and not needed if the force is present...like with a spring...when the cam ramps up. As also mentioned....springs also don’t work when hot. So instead of a spring...I’m going to pipe in a connection, with a needle valve inline...off a tee, on the admission output from the valve going to the original gas piston....up to the top of the valve assembly to apply down pressure. Why take steam from that source? Because it’s timing is ideal to apply down pressure only after the cam is at the top of its throw, and would continue applying pressure until the valve shuts off...just as the cam reaches the bottom. When the cam starts it’s way back up...little or no downward force to overcome because the valve is shut off at that point. The steam from there is also isolated from the boiler pressure that would be too high for such a purpose. I’m not sure how much pressure the reheat would create....but I would imagine it would be significantly lower than the 500 PSI from the boiler.

But now there is the possible conundrum of not having that downward force at startup. I would like it to be self starting (if possible), too. A possible solution could be to temporarily route some boiler pressure...perhaps while it is only at 100 psi or so...to the top of the valve and then shut it off once it’s started. I think it won’t be a big issue....even if it is not self starting. Anyways...will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Jamison



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2018 12:03PM by Arch-Tone.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 07, 2018 04:49AM
Hi Bill,

Thanks for posting the video; I had not seen this engine before, but it's the same principle that I was talking about. Seems to run very nicely. I have seen videos of many similar IC-conversion engines, all simple and good runners.

I will try making the video link clickable:

[www.youtube.com]

Hope that works.

Hi Jamison,

Thanks for the clarification; I am still trying to figure it out [it's pretty late at night now], but that is quite a sophisticated design! Sounds like you may be only a few small mods away from a good running engine.

Peter
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 08, 2018 07:18PM
Hi Jamison and all,
Here is a valve cylinder concept that I've been working on for a Steam Engine. I don't want to get into the final design yet. However, this is a method to allow communication of the steam from valve cylinder to the piston cylinder. This might be helpful to a future mini-bike iteration.

Some of these pictures I presented at the Fall SACA meet at Berrien Springs. The one image of what looks like an end view is my 10 HP Stanley block traced on paper. The idea is to use the same foot print for a piston valve design and play with ideas. Maybe try taking the mini-bike engine and trying the same sketch idea. Then pencil in different concepts...just some thoughts.

Kind regards,
Rick


Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 12, 2018 10:08AM
Rick,

I like your designs....I wish I had simplified my piston valve design more and not tried to control all events with a single valve throw. I know I can eventually get it to work....but it has been a real pain to sync everything and even a slight shift in the valve position throws the whole thing off....not to mention the issue with needing a reliable way to keep the lifter seated. I’m getting frustrated and that’s not a good thing because this is supposed to be fun....and that brand new 212 Predator in the box has been calling my name....sooo....I’ve decided to switch gears (again).

Well....this post could appropriately belong in several recent topics brought up recently. All this talk about ICE conversions and the Predator 212 engine, coupled with the issues I’m having getting the double-acting compound w/ reheat engine working...has inspired me to take a break from engine development and do a simpler, double cam conversion of the 212 engine I have. This will give the mini bike a working engine with a tried and true, although not ideal, method and allow the focus to shift to the control systems, feedwater pump, etc. and get it running. I have not given up on the old engine....I believe it has great potential and will continue to develop it...just putting it on the back burner for now.

It took only a few hours to weld and shape the original camshaft for steam use....welding extra lobes on with 312 stainless electrodes and grinding / shaping them to the profile needed for steam admittance and exhaust....but because a stiff spring is needed to keep the admission valve from lifting from the 500+ psi pressure, and the extra friction it puts on the valve train...I decided to Teflon coat the cam and lifter surfaces. After a few days of coating and drying....installed the components back in the engine and set the camshaft for the correct timing. The admission valve rocker arm fulcrum is adjusted so it cracks open just a hair....and just after TDC. The exhaust valve is there more or less for compression relief on the upstroke...it will have uniflow ports installed for the main exhaust. I would like to eventually install adjustable fulcrums for the rocker arms....this would give some cut off and duration control for admission and control of the auxiliary exhaust...including shutting it off entirely and having it pure uniflow. I already figured out how to do this...it’s not terribly complicated....but need to get the basic system working before getting sidetracked on “extras”.

The engine turns freely by hand, but gives a bit more resistance when the admission cam is ramping up...as expected. The resistance feels much, much less compared to the lawn tractor engine....it seems the Teflon coating is making a real difference. It’s still considerably less than when it was an ICE, with its compression stroke. All that’s left to do is drilling the uniflow ports and she’s ready for testing. Actually....it could work right now with just the exhaust valve...but I am fully sold on the benefits of uniflow and it’s not a big deal to install those ports.

The original centrifugal clutch has a different size bore and the chain needs to be longer, so I ordered a new clutch and extra #35 chain from Amazon...should get it in a few days. With the basic steam generator working great and an almost finished ICE conversion...looks like a real test drive is getting close.

Here is a picture of the revamped camshaft....the whitish haze on the cam surfaces is the Teflon coating:

Jamison



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2018 10:08AM by Arch-Tone.


Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 12, 2018 11:59AM
Hi Jamison,
Thanks for your kind words about design. However, as we both know, designs need to be validated. More fun...right?

BTW...your two (2) lobes look wonderful! I can't tell the added to or original lobe. I like the idea of the coating. Again, it's a battle of friction and you seem to have this well in hand.

Kind regards,
Rick H.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 13, 2018 05:45AM
Hi Jamison,

Man, you don't mess around! Already converting a Predator 212! Way to go. I don't even have my stock 212 mounted or test-run yet. As the video shows, it fits right into your model of minibike, and has monster displacement/hp relative to the original engine, plus it's factory-fresh. Nice.

Your mention of Teflon-coating the cams reminded me of a post on this forum many years ago: an IC engine rebuilder stated that when he re-bored a gas engine that had been run a considerable time with "Slick 50" or one of the other PTFE-containing engine oil additives, he found slivers of Teflon in the machining chips. This, he said, showed that the additive really did "plate" the internal engine parts with Teflon, as the additive maker claimed. If this was accurate, then maybe alls you need is to run the engine with some Teflon oil additive, to plate the cams and everything else? This would also maintain the coating after installation, if the cams were pre-coated. The only problem would be if the additive also contained detergent. That would lead to oil & water producing "mayo". As they say in sandwich shops, "hold the mayo". All that, and a bag of [Teflon] chips.

Even if it did "mayo", you could leave the oil plugs off, maybe fit the holes with hoses to catch any mayo-splosion, and just run it for a short time for a Teflon plating/treatment. Then drain mayo and refill with non-detergent oil.

Another idea: check out McMaster p/n 1155k24. It's a dry-film PTFE/Teflon lubricant. Spray it on, and the suspension liquid evaporates, leaving a dry film of Teflon powder. This may be the same stuff which you already used to coat your cams. I wonder if this could be sprayed into the oil, then heat oil [outdoors] to evaporate the suspension liquid, or spray it onto a [glass?] surface, let dry, then scrape off the powder/dust into ND engine oil? Result: Teflon-compounded engine oil with no detergent.

Does the Predator crankcase have room enough to add a length of exhaust-steam tubing down in the oil, to heat oil and prevent water build-up? That is an idea which Jim Crank mentioned many times, and said it was very successful at keeping the crankcases of single-acting steam engines hot and dry, so that bearings, rings, etc don't rust. He said that it only required a short straight length of metal tubing, or a small loop, not some big tube coil. One of the oil plugs could be fitted with a vent to let steam blow-by and evaporation out of the case, with some kind of breather to catch/return any oil that might try to exit. That vent/breather could be fitted to a small condenser coil to condense any steam coming out of it, and return the water to the tank. I haven't checked my 212 for a crankcase breather; it might not be necessary to use an oil plug for that, just hook it up to an existing crankcase vent.

Hmm, engine cc displacement/name is 212. 212F is boiling point of water at 1 atmosphere. Coincidence? I think not! LOL

Peter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2018 06:00AM by Peter Brow.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 13, 2018 11:18AM
Peter,

I use Lucas oil stabilizer, undiluted, in a displacement oiler on the steam line going into the engine. I vent my steam exhaust directly into the crankcase via the uniflow ports. The oil drain plug is removed and the water / wet steam is “pumped” out by the crankcase pressure / vacuum created by the moving piston....with a check valve on an air vent at the top of the crankcase and another check valve at the oil drain plug....to control the flow direction. This ensures that no water sits in the bottom of the engine, and the beauty of using the Lucas stabilizer is that it sticks to and coats every metal part inside the engine....and moisture beads off it like a ducks back. There is some emulsified “mayo”....very little, though.....and that usually gets pumped out with the water, easily separated by oil absorbing “lipophilic” sponges placed in the water tank.

Look at the end of my B & S engine conversion video...I remove the crankcase cover after running the engine on steam....to show how well it sticks to metal and displaces water....and hot steam does not strip it off. The only issue I’ve had was insufficient lubrication to the conrod bearing. This bearing typically gets its lubrication by dipping into the oil in these type of engines, and it’s oil passageways are engineered for that purpose. To circumvent this, I’ve directed the steam / oil that vents into the crankcase directly over the conrod bearing pathway...like how some vintage ICE would pump a stream of oil in the bearing path. That way it gets a steady and more concentrated supply of lubricant it needs to survive. I will closely monitor and regularly inspect this to be sure it’s working.

Getting back to Teflon / PTFE, Peter....your post got me thinking about what might be an ideal recipe for steam engine lubrication....about 80-90% Lucas oil stabilizer, 10-20% Slick 50 and a sprinkling of graphite powder in the mix. The Lucas provides a super thick, adhering base that doesn’t get too thin and stripped away by hot steam...the Slick 50 adds the PTFE, actually its called “Cerflon”; a type of reinforced PTFE they use in the new stuff they have now....and the graphite for added lubrication and it’s thermal stability. I plan on picking up some of that new Slick 50 “classic formula” today, and plan on using that recipe in the converted 212 engine when I test it on live steam....probably (hopefully) by this evening. I will make a video, if this happens, and post the link here.

212 also being the boiling point of water at sea level?...so that’s why that number seemed so familiar to me. I didn’t make the connection before. We will see if it lives up to this association....so far lt looks like it would make a great and affordable steam conversion....Ken (“frustrated”) has it’s big sister on the bench....a 22hp, 670cc v-twin Predator that could be a real steam monster, once converted. I’m very interested to see what he does with that thing....

Here is a link to my engine test video from last year, with the crankcase inspection towards the end (about the 7:50 mark):

[youtu.be]

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 12:45AM
Hi Jamison,

Ah, a dry sump crankcase! Peter Barrett used a similar idea in his later steam-converted IC engines. This eliminates a lot of the mayo, because you don't have a pool of oil with cranks & rods churning water into it like a kitchen blender. Except Barrett did not run oily exhaust steam through the crankcase. Which is definitely a faster and simpler way to heat the entire block, crankcase, & mechanism above water-condensing temperature than an exhaust-steam tube. I just watched your video, and yep, looks like everything gets nicely oiled with thick oil that stays put and coats surfaces against corrosion. The crank journals may be fine with the oily steam; if any problems arise you could just pump a solid stream of oil at them, maybe with a peristaltic pump or even a small simple centrifugal [Tesla?} pump run by O-ring belt like Barrett used for his centrifugal oil/water separator. If Teflon plates the steel journals etc, that plating may also help to prevent rust. Throttling auxiliary exhaust valve outlet to control residual-steam recompression, that may have some future development potential. It could be automatically controlled in reference to pressures, rpm, etc as needed. Lots of unaflow engines were equipped with auxiliary exhaust valves back in the day. Keep expansion ratio up, inlet pressure/temp reasonable, and exhaust steam temp low [in fully-warmed IC block temp range], and nothing gets cooked; big displacement and 2x the power strokes per revolution [relative to IC] compensates for the lower MEP, and perhaps for lower rpm to avoid busting valve stems with early cutoff. Heavy inlet valve spring to keep stock IC valve closed against inlet steam pressure, double-lobed cams with stock IC camshaft drive, unaflow exhaust ports feeding directly into crankcase via pushrod tubes, even air-pumping to scavenge steam, oil, and condensate from crankcase, all around very wild stuff. You might be onto something here, solving a lot of [all?] the old problems with steam-converted IC engines. And with relatively simple/minimal modification of dirt-cheap brand-new engines, and incredibly fast R&D work too. Years ago, I never would have thought it possible. Really amazing. Looking forward to durability and water rate test results. Best of luck with this; keep up the good work.

Peter



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2018 01:05AM by Peter Brow.
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 09:01AM
Peter,

Wow....thanks smiling smiley. Yeah....blow-by is inevitable with ICE steam conversions, so lubrication and corrosion issues have been stumbling blocks. I really like the ingenious simplicity of small 2 cycle (weed wacker type) gas engines....they have no oil in the crankcase and get their lubrication from oil mixed in with the gasoline. relying on a steady mist of atomized oil that’s drawn into the crankcase (with the gas) by the upstroke vacuum. They have no real valves, pumps, etc....just uses the movement of the piston to suck in the fuel and oil and expose ports when exhausting. In my experience....these lil’ workhorses need hardly any maintenance and last a long, long time despite usually being ran wide open at high rpms. So my thinking was...ya gonna get steam / condensate in the crankcase anyways....might as well put it to good use and not fight it. Use the crankcase pressure changes to naturally pump out the heavier water at the bottom.....ICE crankcases make great condensers, btw, at least until fully heated. At about the midpoint of that B & S engine conversion video, you can see water actually pouring out of the crankcase oil drain port. Plumb that water / wet steam through a small heat exchanger mounted in front of the engines original cooling fan....you now have a relatively easy condensing system. Despite the utter failure of my steam generator at the last fall meet....that method of condensing proved to be a success...condensing almost all of the steam generated by the (very hot) Mark 2 shop boiler.

Well....didn’t get to run the 212 on live steam yet. I did manage to test it on compressed air....although it was late at night and couldn’t run the compressor motor or I would wake up the fam. I had to use just what was stored in the tank, starting at about 60 psi and dropping rapidly. I managed to take a short video of it running on air and will post it on my YouTube channel soon. I also took some stills of it mounted on the bike....man....it actually looks like a proper motorcycle engine! I hate the idea of having to remove the cooling fins for aesthetic reasons....or do I have too? Perhaps leaving them in place could help keep the aluminum head / block from cookin’ if my steam temps get too high, although it would definitely hurt efficiency, especially at startup. If anyone has input on the whole cooling fin issue...it would be appreciated. If leaving the fins on doesn’t make a big, noticeable difference....then perhaps I will.

Here are some pictures of the 212 engine installed on the bike....centrifugal clutch and stainless steel #35 roller chain has been ordered and will receive it on Friday. Looks like I could actually be riding this thing by this weekend, but still need to insulate the seat area from the torch heat that’s directly beneath it. Perhaps a pair of those “thermal shorts” could do the trick....

Jamison


Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 10:37AM
Almost forgot....here are some pictures of the uniflow ports I drilled....the pushrod passageway is narrow in this engine and there was only room for a single 3/8” port there. I found a spot in the corner that I could install two more ports that could connect the bottom of the cylinder at BDC directly to the crankcase. I could install some fittings and tubing to connect more ports to the case....but I found that just three, 3/8” ports are sufficient. That’s the same size / number ports the lawn tractor engine used , and it is more than twice the displacement of the 212. Interestingly...when testing the 212 on air last night...I blocked the aux exhaust port while it was running and it would immediately stall. I figured sense this engine is new and has tight compression....the >60 psi air pressure was not enough force to overcome it, when running with only uniflow exhaust. That is a good problem to have and I can’t wait to test this thing at 500+ psi! It’s looking like that’s gonna happen by tomorrow or Friday....video will be made and the link posted here for sure.

Jamison



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2018 10:40AM by Arch-Tone.


Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 11:53AM
Arch-Tone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
I also took some stills of it
> mounted on the bike....man....it actually looks
> like a proper motorcycle engine! I hate the idea
> of having to remove the cooling fins for aesthetic
> reasons....or do I have too? Perhaps leaving them
> in place could help keep the aluminum head / block
> from cookin’ if my steam temps get too high,
> although it would definitely hurt efficiency,
> especially at startup. If anyone has input on the
> whole cooling fin issue...it would be appreciated.
> If leaving the fins on doesn’t make a big,
> noticeable difference....then perhaps I will.
>

>
> Jamison

Hi Jamison (Buddy),
Leave the cooling fins alone! Stay focused my friend!

After running on steam (500psi X 500dF), you're going to see some areas that need to be improved to provide reliable performance. That's what you need to work on. Perhaps, from experience at the Fall Meet, work on ball bearing on the connect rod, lessening the lift on the valves and any valve spring improvement.

I just want to have some competition at the Spring Meet at Berrien Springs, May 19-20! Don't get me wrong, you're doing some really innovative work...keep up the good work!

Kind regards,
Rick
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 12:43PM
Rick,

I hear ya...once I test it on steam, will take off crankcase cover and inspect the engine...especially the bearing points., looking for signs of insufficient lubricaton or any other issue.

60 psi cold air is one thing.....500 psi of hot steam is a whole notha’ ball game!

Jamison
Re: Steam Powered Mini Bike
March 14, 2018 12:43PM
Jamison,
On the cooling fin issue.... For now, a quick move would to be wrap the cooling fins just with insulation. Hot steam entering a cooled cylinder measurably kills the steam expansion. On our Stanley engines, the difference between a lagged cylinder and one without any insulation at all would be about an 8% difference in the work that the steam actually gets does. If we had the aluminum cooling fins on our Stanley engines, the loss of work that the steam would done, would be even greater. After you get your bike sorted out and running, then go that extra step of removing all of the cooling fins and lagging the bare cylinder with insulation. Wrapping everything that is supposed to retain heat makes a big difference too. Especially for the operator, that's when his bare skin touches a hot steam line. Until our Stanley engines get their engine heat up, the Stanley can't even reach a good road speed. After a few miles of hard use, our non condensing Stanleys go like a bullet.. Fast. When we first hit the freeway, 60 MPH is a chore to achieve. After a few miles, 70 MPH is possible to achieve, but not wise to do so.
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