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Williams ws. Rankin

Posted by Howard Langdon 
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 03:59AM
Considering how much fuel it takes to generate 117,000 lbs of thrust, I can imagine just how loud the owners howl.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 09:01AM
Its like owning a big power boat. If you have to think or ask how much it cost to operate your playing with the wrong kind of toys.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 09:45AM
I hear ya Rollie. I may have to get rid of my racing canoe for exactly that reason. Every time I go to full throttle I find the engine has gotten older, weaker, more feeble; not sure that I can afford to run it any more....
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 10:02AM
I have the same problem building engines and working in the shop. The longer I keep stuff the heaver it gets. I’ve had my 16” four jaw chuck on the lathe so long I don’t think I can lift it off. It was kind of easy when I put it on.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 12:38PM

It seems that the total amount of weight I can lift stays about the same as I get older, as long as I am including my own weight in the equation.

Was moving some of the old electronics out of the garage and upstairs yesterday to make room for steam stuff. It took two of us to lift things I had carried out there myself 8 years ago, or was it ten.

My garage is a two car, about twenty by twenty four ft. Not a lot of room for all the equipment to do test engine experimenting. I am planning to get some of the usual tools such as a good drill press, arc welder, torches and such. Like most of us budget is limited. I am wondering about the trade offs involved in having my own mill and lathe vs farming the machining out? Since I am not a machinist.

Of course for the more accurate parts such as crank shafts, ground pieces and such I would have to hire it done anyway.

Any thoughts on this?

Best --------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 01:08PM
Hi Bill:

It all depends on how good a designer and draftsman you are, how much work you want to do, what quality machining you need to have done and how your cash flow looks over time. Of course, lots of stuff you design will be wrong just because it is a learning experience and 'do overs' mean you pay twice. I'd machine my own crank and just farm out the grinding, balancing and polishing parts, as a side note. Since I am sort of a machinist and know what my annual salary is, and can make a wild guess at shop overhead, I am going to assume that buying a used lathe and mill is the way to go. For the sake of argument assume machine shops are going to charge something approaching $50 an hour for labor (not unreasonable for skilled labor including social security and fringe benefits) and about the same for shop overhead and profit. If you build a simple powertrain from scratch with just a couple hundred hours machining time, that would be doing pretty good. Call it 200 hours, maybe more or less, and yes I'm a hopeless optimist. You are already up to $10,000. Repeat the exercise a few times and the money really starts to accumulate. For $10K you could buy some used machinery in fair condition. Just be careful to really figure out what you need, people assume that buying a mill and a lathe puts them in business, whereas it really means you are now ready to shell out money for cutters, vises, measuring equipment, fixtures and so forth.


Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 19, 2006 08:09PM
Hello Ken,

It sounds as if I go the way of purchasing a lathe and mill that I should be looking for included cutters and auxillary tools with the deal. I don't know much about machining but am a fast learner of things mechanical.

I am wondering about getting the right steels and heat treating for the smaller parts like rockers and cams. Is this something (heat treating) that a garage operation can do for smaller parts? The crank and (rods) are to be roller bearings so would need case hardening.

I am thinking that the heads and valve train even on the test engine could well go through a few iterations before settling upon a final design for the prototype engine.

Does anyone have a list of the basic stuff I would actally need to get started with a lathe and mill? I think that the biggest diameter I would need to turn would be 10"

Thanks again -------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 20, 2006 07:06AM
Hi Bill:

If you don’t have significant machining experience, I think the smart thing to do would be to remedy that before even thinking of buying a mill or a lathe. I kid around that I learned to machine the same way I learned about sex, in a back alley…

My first concern is safety, cutting steel can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. This isn’t something you should try to pick up as you go, but rather something that should be indoctrinated in a safe learning environment. Likewise, there are many tricks to the trade, most can be learned from books but such study is a poor second to more organized instruction. It’s one thing to read about correct feed and speed rates for certain metals, but an entirely different thing to recognize by sound and feel that your moving too fast, that you need lubricant spray or that your cutter is dulling. To give you a feel; I have a BS in Business Admin with minors in Accounting and Economics. I also have a Journeyman’s card as a Metal Model Maker. The latter was about as much effort to obtain as the former except that I paid for the degree through the GI bill and out of my pocket while GM provided the latter.

I’d suggest you contact a local community college or school district and see about taking some sort of classes in machine shop practice, particularly those with extensive hands on learning. If you don’t know what it means to ‘tram in a mill’ then you might have problems making one work no matter how much effort you expend. Besides providing proper skills and some minimal experience, the classes should give you enough familiarity with machine shop accoutrements to make more informed purchasing decisions. Between you and me, I’d like to see Mechanical Engineering students take the same classes; they haven’t been a requirement for more than 30 years in many major universities to my certain knowledge. All too often I have run into designs that were generated by someone who obviously didn’t have a lot of practical background in actual fabrication. All kinds of things that look good on paper suddenly lose their luster when some guy with a greasy shop coat asks questions like “How am I supposed to hold this thing to mill it?” or “Where am I supposed to indicate from to get this sucker true?”

As to your question on heat treating, you can do a lot of that yourself with an oxyacetylene torch. Well, maybe you can. I can’t because I am red/green color blind and I just can’t see the metal hit just the proper color. My dad flame hardens mild steel all the time and gets very good wear out of the parts he treats. If this isn’t your bag, there are plenty of people out there who do professional heat treating.


Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 20, 2006 09:41AM
Non-CNC machine tools are fairly cheep. You should get the largest equipment you can afford and in a few years you will want bigger stuff.
Get a good 16” lathe, with a tapering attachment, full set of 5C collets, four jaw chuck, three jar chuck, a large 16” face plate and if you can find it one with keyed slots.
If you can’t afford a mill right now see if you can find a milling attachment for the lathe.
Turning 10 stuff on a 10 inch swing sucks.

open | download - Material.pdf (16.9 KB)
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 20, 2006 10:13AM
Thanks guys,

Good info. There are a lot of good colleges around here so a course or two in machining would be easy to find. I am also thinking that some good contacts toward finding a deal on the equipment I might need and maybe a helpful machine shop for stuff I want to farm out may be found.

So back to college for a few courses, now that I've finally decided what I want to be when I grow up. A steam engine guy, type person.

Thanks ------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 20, 2006 10:36AM
At this point a few loving comments on pipes,,rollers and the incline plane,/// followed w/ words on cumalong and short chain hoist,are in order,,,,riggers cost an arman' 3 legs,, eventually you will look at 3 tons and guess its weight within 20 percent,,Handy to know before loading on trailer,,truck too high,etc,, DON'T PUT FINGERS UNDER, ANNYTHING,, EVEN IF ITS WELL SUPORTED,,,THINGS SLIP...ETC ,,, pipe can easily roll over finger,,,,OH SO FAST,,,DONT GO FAST,,, So much of the country has gone out of business , that ya cant even find old good machinery in the junk yard,,,,the junk yard is out of business,,,, Ben
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 21, 2006 08:30PM
HI Bill taking a mushiness’ korus is a good I deer. Its what I did in 1972 best ting I ever did. And the price of Manu sheens is going down. Ever buddy wants NC
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 21, 2006 10:12PM
Presently, I for one I don't think I need CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machinery in my shop. My DRO (digital read out) machines and my "Machinists Handbook" do well with the one off pieces that I make. Howard is very correct about taking machinists courses. I took my machinists courses in the early 1960's. Everyday I use what I learned from those courses, especially safety habits. (like not leaving a chuck key in a chuck, etc.) I have heard that many CNC machinists don't know how to manually machine a piece. All they know is how to load material and and how to push buttons. And this is progress? Our local high schools don't teach anything anymore in the manual arts, but they have great computer classes though.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/2006 03:39PM by SSsssteamer.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 21, 2006 10:37PM

I am looking at two courses of about 72 hours each. It is the first two before they get into CNC machining. One of the local technical colleges. They are just under $500.00 each just to give an idea of the level of them. It then would be a winter and a spring course. Do you think that will be enough?

What do you guys think a good type brand and price for a lathe and mill? What else will I need?

Thanks ------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 22, 2006 06:01AM
Hi Bill:

Almost any mill and lathe will be ok if it is large enough and designed for machine shop use and is in reasonable condition. This gets to be a case by case basis rather than a pat answer as it is always possible to have new screws and nuts fitted and have the ways scraped in to recondition a questionable machine. Some of the stuff designed for home shops is pretty problematic, Personally, I'd run as fast as possible if anyone offered me a 'mill/drill'. I'd rather go with a used industrial quality machine than much of the new stuff designed for home machinists. On the other hand, I've used brand new cheap import machine tools that had pretty flaky looking finishes and the dials were tinny, but nonetheless they had good ways and screws, they held tolerance just fine if not pushed too hard. It's a judgement call based on your finances, availability and comfort level.

As for what else you will need....that's the rub. Depends on how serious you are and how complex your demands are. Some of the following you WILL need and some of it you might need, depending.

Calipers, micrometers, mill vice, mill tie down clamps, mill files, boring head, assorted end mills ranging from fine cutters for finish up to cobalt roughing mills, possibly tapered end mills and slitting saws. Drills, taps, reamers, dies, drill chuck, tap handle, die handle, vee blocks, 1-2-3 blocks, machinist's combination square and protractor, height gage and layout table, sine plate,indexing chuck, edge finder, coolant spray, counter sinks, counter bores, indicators, knurling tools, punches, scribe, layout fluid, planer gage and you name it.

The point is that you have to do two things. One, design your parts as simply as possible to minimize tooling requirements. Two, be ready to spend more money on additional hardware if point number one still isn't going to cut it.


Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 22, 2006 06:56AM
Yesterday,,while working with a neighbors boy, I told him to turn the key in the lock clockwise ,, he first turned it left, he didnt have a clue,, 18 yo and will finnish high school this year,, ALL his clocks are digital of course,, Never thought the gap would be this great,,but aparently we will need to deal with it,, Personally, I get along fine with 1880--1950 machines,,but dont forget some old lathes have the graduations on the feed in thou of travel of the crosslide,,NOT the dia' of the work,,,so on these old ones,,a .001 change of the dial will remove .002 on the work,,, And remember on a worn lathe the cutters may spring a bit and give an unwanted result,, Turning valve stems can be real fun,, and a learning experience,, A worn larger lathe will wiggle less,, and in a small job shop probably will have less hours on it,, Dont bother to get excited over a 9 inch lathe,,unless its a second lathe used to polish and make small parts,, I still love my [ 1901] Becker-Braynard Vertical mill wt# 4,000 However if your object is to gain experience relative to modern production, modern machinery may need to be part of the plan , Personally,I'd get the job done,,,then turn the production assasment over to a moderm shop ,, Cheers Ben
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 22, 2006 07:47AM
Dear Bill, Those two courses should get you up to a very comfortable working speed and it would be money well spent. The $1,000 spent for the two couses would be well less than the broken tooling, scrapped projects and personal injuries that you may experience if you do not take the courses. The courses will also give you a good understanding of what machinery that you will be needing and what machinery you do not want. Our subject here is getting a bit off the topic of Williams vs. Rankin. Pat
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 22, 2006 10:36AM
Thanks again Guys,

Ken, one of my concerns is that a lathe or mill might be $4,000 ea and that the other tools and accessories to effectively use it would run more.

Ben, My garage floor is about 3-1/2" concrete so I don't want to overload it. I do agree that I don't need any cnc machines and would turn any production over to someone else. I am not learning this to get a job. Wear and runout is a concern. Rolly said that he likes at least a 16 inch swing, makes sense.

Pat, thanks for your appraisal, I will get signed up for the courses.

I hear what you are all saying about safety, getting wrapped up in a running lathe or having something thrown at me would be no fun. I am familiar with wood working machinery though so I've been through that, back when I could duck faster.

We are getting a bit off topic so maybe I'll do a page or two on High Compression Unaflow vs. counterflow.

Best Regards to All ---------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 22, 2006 01:52PM
Hi Bill

You can likely find a good Bridgeport mill for under $3000. I got a Clausing 15" lathe for 2500. But it needs a bit of work. It runs and is usable. You need to know what you are doing to move these around. If I remember right the Mill weighs around 2800 pounds. I got it cheap because it had been converted to NC and the controler didn't work anymore. Have made new computer controler for it. Had to update the steppers as the old ones are not supported by off the shelf drivers. I origionally made controlers for the old 5 wire motors. Had to many problems with prototype wire wrap boards. Virbration and enviorment kept breaking conections. Any I just bought new Geko controlers and am happy with them. But had to switch to new motors. Better anyway. Got a double shaft moter on the X axis so I can have a manual crank there now.

Anyway. Besides the chuck key worning I would say don't ware loose clothing and be carful of fans even with tight clothing. I once had my T-short grabed by a lathe part I was working on. The fellow I was working for moved a fan while I was working on the lathe. The air from the fan cought my shirt and blew it into the lathe part. Lucky I was strong enough to keep from being pulled into the lathe. I was a gymnest and very strong back then. Doubt I could do that now. The shirt wasn't loose fitting either.

The nice thing about NCC is that there are CAD programes like Pro-Engineer that can output G code directly from your designs.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 24, 2006 08:25PM
HI Bill you should waste to by your machines Intel your are will in to your corps. You will have a better idea bout vim. Flat belt msheens will do the job bit vary are sloe
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 24, 2006 09:34PM
Hello Howard and Andy,

I will be waiting untill the courses are over to buy much of anything as I am hoping to make some connections with people who know of deals. I Like most of us am also saving up for them and clearing and arranging space.

Still plenty of design work to do, I'll be busy.

Howard, when they test the Williams engine at full throttle, do you think we could get a cylinder wall temperature reading to find the real temperature the oil is working at?

Best ------- Bill G.
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
November 29, 2006 07:56PM
HI Bill I Will sees what can be dun about cylinder temperature. The Williams engine and the boiler are at lee hi university now. Get gayer today.

Re: Williams ws. Rankin
December 15, 2006 08:33PM
HI Guys up date on lee hi Williams’s tests. The e quit met is being set up in testing lab.bot not much will happen ant tell the and of January
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 13, 2007 08:16PM
HI Guys what do you think about a exhorts steam ejector on an oil fired boiler in a boat in fresh water. Why work great wniv Cole why not on an oil-fired boiler with a variable fryer
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 14, 2007 11:10AM
Hi Howard
donot think you need it. There is off the shelf burners that are better
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 14, 2007 07:15PM
HI Harry thanks for your input. Steam burners war off the shelf but vay may not be now
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 15, 2007 08:05AM
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 15, 2007 09:33PM
HI Bem and Harry Jon was a good steam man. Harry we are having the big is snowstorm of the year. So I didn’t get the U.S mail will triy later in the week
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
January 16, 2007 06:34PM
HI Harry I got your package. I got home 10after 5 P.M its 0and it will go to 18 below by morning
Re: Williams ws. Rankin
March 25, 2007 08:21PM
HI Guys it seems vat testing labs cant deal with non-code boilers. We have the problem under con troll. Work has start it on hooking up the hard
Ware. For the test
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ThrottlingTurnDown.pdf 58.1 KB open | download Andy 11/22/2005 Read message
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