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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-16-2020, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default Need some help please

A bit of background first. Been interested in steam power for around 50 years. It is pretty fascinating. Even the largest marine engines have been scaled down and can still be ran on steam. Or small model engines can be scaled up, and used to propel boats, or whatever. Many of you will be aware of small oscillating, one cylinder steam engines - well the old Clyde Puffer freight boats used the same design engine, but enlarged considerably. And while it takes a lot of skill, and high dollar machinery to make even a one cylinder gas engine in your garage, you can basically make a working steam engine with only basic tools in your garage. And even if the engine you make leaks steam out of everywhere, it can still run. Heck, you can even covert a gas engine to run on steam with minimal effort.


Anyway, been interested in making a steam powered boat for a lonnng time, and a few years back decided to go for it. So started designing a boat. Not finished with the boat design yet because just want to make the one, but keep finding boats with some part I want to use or change, so keep making changes. But steam power is a given. At first thought a prop driven boat, most people who make hobby steam boats go that route. But then saw a sidewheel boat, and decided I like that a lot more. Things went along, then awhile back found a picture of a quarterwheel hobby steamboat, named Rattlesnake, in one of my books, and loved the design. A sidewheel or sternwheel steamboat is pretty much self explanatory. A quarterwheeler has its wheels mounted on the side of the boat, as a sidewheeler does. However, the wheels are not mounted in the center of the sides, but at the rear of the boat. This allows the manuverability of sidewheels, but has protection that a sternwheeler does not have. Explanatory photos below.

At about the same time found model engine plans in one of my model steam engine books. It is definitely different. The 3 cylinders are mounted pointed down, and attached at the top/bottom of the cylinders, so they swing back and forth, but do not oscillate. the piston rods are connected to the crankshaft, which is above the cylinders. I think I could make something somewhat similar to this, maybe. But the exaust and intake are extremely unlike anything I have ever seen. I can' recall who designed this, if I could might have been able to fine the design.

I've looking for both books but haven't found them yet, and been looking for a few months now. There are only 2 places they should be, but they aren't. If I could get the names of the books the are in I would likely be able to buy them. I don't know how many books on boats and boat making, steam engines, steam boats, etc., but I've gone thru all of them, some twice.

I have one book with a different hobby quarterwheel steamboat, but the quality is horrible, and the pictures I took were even worse. So no really close photo of what I am after.

I would really appreciate if one of you can provide me with book names, or designer's name, I would really, really, appreciate it. A batch of tools seemed to follow my younger son when he moved out, but I'm pretty sure he had no interest in any of my books

Crap. Just thought of a search phrase I hadn't used before. That showed a few books I'd never ran across before, and want. It also showed me 2 or 3 other books that I have and forgotten about, but haven't found those either. I do sell books on occasion, but do NOT sell my boat or steam books. I misplace a book once in awhile, and have to search it out. But 4 or 5? Hopefully it is one of the Small Gods just playing tricks on me and the will show up soon.
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"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 09:23 AM
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Sorry I can't help you Theo with your question other than to wish you good luck. This is a very ambitious project that would stretch my patience it its limit.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 10:05 AM
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Sounds like a fun project Theo wish I could help. I bet your books are hiding in plain sight. Happens to me all the time. When you are not looking I bet you will find them.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, the only really ambitious part of this is finding my books again. There are only two libraries where they should be - the bookshelves along the hallway, and the bookshelf in the bathroom. Driving me nuts.

The boat itself will be relatively simple compared to what most people want to build (huge Phil Bolger fan - he was a marine architect and designed a LOT of boats, mostly plywood, flat bottoms, and straight sides). So that is how it will be, flat bottom, pretty much straight sides, and straight up and down sides. That way all frames would be identical, or almost. Nothing major in making the wheels. If I can't find the engine plans I will most likely just convert a small one cylinder engine to steam (VERY simple conversion), simple monotube boiler, and thats most of it.

I'm going to pretty much tear the house apart, until I find my books. But, just in case, may buy copies, if I can find them at reasonable prices - at least one of my Phil Bolger is listed used at something over $300 last I checked, I paid around $5 for it. Several others are listed used at $200+. Not buying many books at those prices. But I'll shop around, some years back wanted a book, but was $200+, so about 6 months of searching, and wound up with 2, both for about $50 each. Then found out the book did not contain the info people said it did. So sold them for around $70 each. Found out there is a 3d book out on model Stirling and steam engine making for around $48, I have the first 2 so definitely will be searching for a fair price on that one.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 12:34 PM
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Modern steam driven machines are usually turbine driven. This solves a lot of mechanical problems, achieves greater velocities, and wears less. Old steam drive engines were usually a piston and the movement was changed to rotary through a Pitman arm attached to a wheel or crankshaft. I'd have to go back through my power engineering texts to make sure but I think you had to inject some oil into the steam flow to keep from wearing out the cylinder prematurely. I don't know that the splash oil system in a converted one cylinder engine would be enough. In an inverted design the oil injection would be mandatory for certain and the old horizontal design common to locomotives I believe had to have injection too. You also might need to add a heavy flywheel to the system too. It seems to me the old piston system may have been a two stroke type design and you would be converting a 4 stroke engine which would only exhaust the steam if there were enough momentum to get to the exhaust stroke and carry over to the intake stroke.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 12:57 PM
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Theo- shoot me a PM in a couple of weeks. I can see what I can find at home. For many years I made jr. Machinists and Engineers make little engines as practical exercises on the lathes and Mills. I have a handful of plans I downloaded at home, maybe something will be valuable

I love steam power, and am very happy I have sailed on 5 different steam ships over the years. We still use steam even on the motor ships, but I hope it makes a comeback for main propulsion.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Modern steam driven machines are usually turbine driven.
I think you had to inject some oil into the steam flow to keep from wearing out the cylinder prematurely. I don't know that the splash oil system in a converted one cylinder engine would be enough.
You also might need to add a heavy flywheel to the system too.
It seems to me the old piston system may have been a two stroke type design and you would be converting a 4 stroke engine which would only exhaust the steam if there were enough momentum to get to the exhaust stroke and carry over to the intake stroke.
Don't want no turbine. I want an engine that squirts the used steam out, in puffs. A condenser would likely be a bit more efficient, but I don't care. Won't have to worry about reserve water, because I'd be floating on thousands upon thousands of reserve water. Would set up a water filter system like the old Mississippi steamers used to have.
Steam oil, it will be used.
A flywheel, whether it will be needed or not, altho likely will be needed.
From everything I have read about converting a 4 stroke to steam (can do 2 stroke also, but 4 stroke I think easier, and for me 4 stroke is more readily available) exhaust is no problem.

I actually was thinking seriously about either a walking beam or grasshopper engine, but when I saw the plans for that 3 cylinder engine, decided on that instead. I could still go with a walking beam or grasshopper, but figure if I don't find the plans, will go with a converted gas engine, and when I do find the plans, it will be easier to swap one of those in.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kp91 View Post
Theo- shoot me a PM in a couple of weeks. I can see what I can find at home. For many years I made jr. Machinists and Engineers make little engines as practical exercises on the lathes and Mills. I have a handful of plans I downloaded at home, maybe something will be valuable

I love steam power, and am very happy I have sailed on 5 different steam ships over the years. We still use steam even on the motor ships, but I hope it makes a comeback for main propulsion.
Thanks, I'll try to remember that. J have a lot of plans saved, besides the books with plans, but have never seen any engine even remotely resembling the one I am after.

Steam power is just plain fascinating. Not too many years ago I read that 50% of all freighters were still steam powered. And the Mississippi sternwheel steam boats are steam powered, altho they do have diesel engines also, for just in case. Hell, popcorn pops because the moisture turns to steam. Steam is still used everyday, in various ways, and I believe it will always be used. Fuel can be anything that burns. Personally, I think a car, with a steam engine powering a generator, to provide electricity for an electric motor, would be an excellent hybrid auto mobile. Hook some solar panels in on the roof, and wind up with huge mile range, and can stop at any drug store or grocery store for liwuid fuel that will burn. Lot of hobbyiest are doing steam powered small craft nowadays.

"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 03:10 PM
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Hi Theo

I'd suggest looking for a model engineering society in your area, those guys have a lot of experience with steam engines and while some societies appear to be focused on trains you will usually find some members playing with steam powered boats, both model and full size.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-17-2020, 04:04 PM
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