Bought a Stuart S50 off eBay
Bought a Stuart 9 off eBay
Dismantled the 9 and ordered replacement parts from Stuart
S50 runs very well after a serious oiling. Base plate and cylinder cover needs repainting and a better base is needed.
Repainted at S50
Preparing base for Chiltern boiler. More painting the 9 sole plate. Trying the new belt sander.
Chiltern boiler test connected to the S50 and works really well. Quick to steam and burner not too noisy. Boiler needs 350ml water to reach half way mark on gauge.
Air test of 9 - runs ok at about 40psi, but lumpy when running slowly. Should run with less air pressure than that I think?
20th April 2018Bought tickets for Intermodallbau in Dortmund!
New baseboard for the S50/10V/Chiltern boiler steam plant completed. Chiltern boiler clad in 5mm x 1mm mahogany strips.
17th May 2018Added brass bands to Chiltern boiler. Bought a shed!
Lots of rubbing down, painting, and rubbing down again. Repeated endlessly. I might be getting better at this, but it's slow going. The panels and castings for the 500 boiler are complete. Dismanteled the doggy Stuart beam engine. This will need a good clean before thinking about anything else. I would also like to measure the components I have and compare those with the Stuart drawings.
Shed base finally down! Shed is due to be installed this coming Friday.
3rd June 2018Bought a small 3l ultrasonic cleaner. Assembled the 500 boiler. Looks very smart. I deliberated painting the side panels a dark green, but decided to stick with satin black. I am planning to use this boiler with the Stuart beam on a new steam plant.
7th June 2018Vintage car event near Petersfield - bought some Aluminium stock, some 26 tpi taps & dies, and also a vintage elecro-mechanical fruit machine mechanism.
8th and 9th June 2018Shed arrived and built! Spent the rest of the day putting the floor in and planning the insulation of lining of the walls.
10th June 2018Putting in insulation panels, some plywood lining, and spending hours in B & Q
15th June 2018The lathe is christened! Enough shed built to enable me to put the lathe into position and turn some metal!
16th June 2018Back from work! Desk and drill stand is in place, so I took the opportunity to mark and drill the holes in my 50V PSU for the fruit machine solenoids.
17th June 2018More insulation and plywood panels fitted. Consumer unit and first dbl 13A socket fitted.
24th June 2018So I get all the plywood and insulation out into the garden ready to start, and of course it starts to pour down with rain. Perfect. Quite a bit done, but this is beginning to drag and I am seriously fed up with it.
30th June 2018All the internal conduit and boxes are in place, so is the Consumer unit. Been a busy museum weekend, so I didn't get around to installing the SWA cable - that will have to wait until next weekend.I did manage to do some work on the fruit machine - loads of fun!
1st July 2018Completed electrical 2nd fix in the shed - see Building a Workshop for more details.Stripped redundant wiring from the drum plates in the fruit machineMade a 50V AC Power pack for the fruit machine.(Made me smile: at 7:30 this morning the phone popped up a message saying the traffic to B&Q was light at the moment. Sad that I am so predictable, but I was just about to go to B&Q - again!)
(Still managed to put off installing the SWA cable.)
6th July 2018Playing with the fruit machine, and updates are on that page. A short video of it running also uploaded.I want a milling machine. Full stop. But I have this worrying thought that I ought to go for CNC straight away. I could buy a manual mill now without too much effort, and I would use it. The concern is somehow being behind the curve when everyone else is moving to CNC. That said, CNC is more expensive of course. The computer side doesn't worry me, so no huge concerns about setting up the s/w. There is a Sieg CNC mill on eBay right now that is sorely temping - it is five years old, but already setup, includes Mach3 CAM and PC, and obviously works. Really wish I had bought a bigger shed!
12th July 2018Finally decided and I have bought a mill. A Warco WM14 with DRO. Warco will fit the DRO and deliver in a couple of weeks.Reassembled the fruit machine and wired up the motor and the solenoids. Much smoother operation now and a new video posted on the fruit machine page.
13th July 2018Warco rang as they are just starting on my mill. Agreed with them that a 2-axis DRO is a better option. Should be ready for delivery in one week or so.
14th July 2018SWA cable installed from main house comsumer unit, through wall, under path, down the garden fence, through shed wall, up to shed consumer unit, then terminated and tails left in shed CU. Not as difficult as I imagined it would be, but still hard work! Light fitting installed in shed as well.
20th July 2018Last bits of electrical installation complete. Now arranging Jim the electrician to come and connect up feed to the shed and test.
1st August 2018Electrical supply connected and installation signed off without any issues! Jim was happy with what I had done and tested everything and sent me the certificates that same day.Chinesium mini-lathe is a disaster. Often it starts and just as often emits a long bang and flash and blows all the circuit breakers. Had enough and I have not enough patience - so now on sale with eBay for spares. Bought a Warco lathe instead.
3rd August 2018Day two of a milling course in Axminster. So far produced a small block of mild steel 24.00mm x 24.00mm x 40.00mm Today we cut slots in the side and a V in the top. Spending some 90% of the time measuring and clamping work, and just 10% cutting metal. Being made to calculate cutting speeds rather than just guessing as I normally would! Real precision stuff. Also forced to use non-digital micrometer for the first time.Job completed and very pleased. The 90(degree sign) V is spot on.
4th August 2018Lathe and Mill delivered! Unpacked and on the bench. They each arrived bolted to a small pallet with a plywood box built around the machine, and then strapped to a larger pallet - so unpacking was quite a task. Needless to say they are both heavy and it was a struggle getting them on to the bench.
5th August 2018Both machines power up! Not connected the DROs yet. I do need to strenghen the bench supports front and back, so off to B&Q to buy timber. Pictures on the workshop page. New 44mm square timber supports for the bench - through the shed floor to the concrete base. Lathe and its tray now bolted to the bench. Cut some metal! Much better than the old crap chinesium one - lovely feel and all works as it should.
27th August 2018Workshop complete! A short video tour is on the Workshop page. Now need to do some work!
2nd September 2018Big gap since last post as work has been getting in the way, but some useful work done this weekend. I machined flat the base of the casting for the MyfordBoy steam engine using the chinese face mill and it's turned out very well. As my angle plate has now arrived, I could also drill through the hole for the crankshaft. Sole plate for the S50 casting cleaned up manually and base is now flat and straight. Milled the cylinder mounting parts and the cross slide mounting. Using the angle plate again I also drilled through the holes for the crankshaft. Drilled using a 1/4" drill - which leaves a hole of generally more than 1/4" I next need to ream this out to 5/16" and turn the brass bushes.Slight aside: I also built a geiger counter. Simple circuit using a Russian GM tube. And it works - just about one click per second on average from general background radiation. I thought I had some Uranium glass but can't find it. I have ordered a small sample of pitchblende from ebay - it will interesting to see if it makes it through customs! I should also try the counter near my granite surface plate. The brass GM tube is sensitive to just gamma and beta.
7th September 2018Two days in the workshop! As a practice session I machined another V Block very similar to the one produced on the Axminster course. It turned out very well, but (having bought the wrong slitting saw) I will need to finish it this coming weekend. Producing a new V Block without a reference V Block is hard work! Also started a toolmaker's clamp using Tubalcain's drawings. One quick lesson: Cut the 1/2" square rod as close as you can using the hacksaw because milling off 10mm takes ages. Also be careful about buying stock - I called in to Chronos on the way home and bought 2 x 12" of 1/2" free cutting BMS, but quite what it actually was I am not sure! It milled ok, but when I came to drill it I thought the first drill bit was either broken or very blunt, then wondered whether the mill was running backwards (it can't BTW), but pressed on. The surface of this seems to be hardened and it took ages and a lot of force to get through the top couple of thou, but then the drill went through the rest without any problems.The clamps have two holes drilled, and tapped. Bit of a mixture of units, but I tapped them to M7 - that worked well. Turning the round rod down to the M7 major diameter of 6.9? mm took some time and I went a little too far. I used a die to tap this - again to M7 - which was easy, but mostly because the major diameter was a little too small. Very shallow thread, but it fits into my tapped holes. I will need to do this again but watch the size of the rod more frequently as I approach the required size.
16th September 2018Slight re-arrangement of web site heading and a structure to allow space for projects. Saw and arbor have arrived, so I can finish the V Block. New (better?) mild steel for the toolmaker's clamps is also here, so I will start those again. I plan to use the previous attempt for testing a black oxide solution to finish the clamps. More later...
7th October 2018New V Block is finished, but I made the same mistake with the slitting saw as before. I am at that stage where everything takes three goes before I produce the finished article. The same applies to my toolmaker's clamp. It's finished now, but that was the third attempt. Some things are getting easier with practice, but the list of cockups grows: Not measuring carefully enough, not fully understanding the drawings, forgetting to zero the DRO, experimenting with cuttings speed, and generally learning new techniques such as threading and knurling. Under the projects heading is more more information about the toolmaker's clamp and about blackening steel.Blocked off the windows in the shed to make space for more shelves.
14th October 2018Almost a month with no updates! I have done some work on the fruit machine and a new video is uploaded of the controller working. More to do still of course. Most of the little other spare time is spent on learning techniques - cutting speeds when turning and facing aluminium, brass or mild steel. How to thread rod and taps holes with less trauma. How to cut square holes in project boxes. I have to say die-cast boxes are wonderful - easy to drill, mill and file. The latest is more indexer - the code is complete, but I now need to assemble it in a proper box with its own power supply. This project has certainly one way of understanding more about stepper motors. It's very easy to hook a little one up to an Arduino and have it move. It gets a little more complicated when precisely driving a bigger one!
19th October 2018Completed the Cotswold Perseus Engine and it runs! A little rough at the moment and needs a proper base board. I plan to take the boiler from the current steam plant and include it with this engine in a new steam plant. The older plant with the S50 and 10V will instead have a Stuart boiler which is more in keeping.Arduino based indexer is also complete - ish. I can't get everything in the planned enclosure, so awaiting a slightly bigger one. Should be complete next weekend.Started playing with an Arduino based GRBL controller and three (X, Y, Z) stepper motors. GRBL installed and I can talk to it, but no movement of the stepper motors at this stage.
21st October 2018Midlands Model Engineering show. Great time and lots to see. Good lecture on silver soldering. Managed to buy a casting set for a Stuart 10V, and a kit to build the Chiltern Steam beam engine.
Completed the Arduino based stepper motor indexer. More details on that page.Finished the Perseus steam engine and after some running in and a little timing tuning it's running very well. Pleased with this little engine. Video on Steam Engines | Perseus page.