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Mike Boucher

Squanacook Engine Works

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Hi folks,

YEARS ago, I acquired a set of castings for a reasonably large horizontal stationary steam engine.  1.5 bore x 3.5" stroke cylinder.  The flywheel is about 11" diameter.  The base casting is almost 24" long.  I had been working on it for a while, but then stopped.  One of the problems is that the plans were rather poor.  Badly photocopied copies of hand-drawn sketches with missing dimensions and a lot of "to be determined at assembly".

A few years ago, I had some medical issues, and my immune system was seriously compromised.  I wasn't allowed to do any modeling.   Couldn't work in my shop (possible mold in basement).  Couldn't use solvent glues or paints (fumes might cause respiratory issues).  No woodworking (mold/spores in the wood, sawdust).  It was seriously annoying.

What I decided to do was some model engineering design work.  I took the bad drawings, the castings, and measuring tools, and started working out what I needed to do.  At the same time, I downloaded a free 2D software package, Draftsight, and started learning how to use it.  Over the next year or so, I worked out a set of drawings that would allow me to complete the engine.  For example, here's the cylinder...




Once I recovered, I decided that I would focus on getting this engine "up and running".  I made a "New Years Resolution" to get it running by my local model engineering club's annual show.  Well, I missed last year, but the show this year is Feb 16th, and I should have it running, but not all the finish work done.  I'm just about done, but I recently decided to start a thread on it.  So, First a summary, then you'll see more of the "finishing" work.  Once this is done, I'll continue the thread with my next project(s)...

Here's what the set of castings looked like when I picked up work on it.  Most of the castings to basic dimensions, but a long way to go!




After machining the cylinder, here's the valve surface.



The crosshead and steam chest was fun.  In my basement shop, I have a 7" shaper.  If I need a mill, I have to go to my father's shop.  So, I made these parts using the shaper...

Here's machining the crosshead...




And the steam chest.



The latest, and last major part I worked on was the connecting rod.  I wanted to make "marine style" ends, but didn't really need to.  So I semi-cheated and used a solid (not split) bearing, and then made the rest.  The gib and key, and the slot for them, was definitely a lot of slow and careful work.


So, now to start assembly.   Like I said, I'll still need to do a lot of finish work, but I should be running soon.

  • Like 3
  • Craftsmanship/clever 1

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