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Andrew Edwards

Unidentifiable Live Steam Engine

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Hi, I have come in to posesion of a O Gauge Live Steam Loco.

It does appear to be scratch built from a Kit, but I have not been able to identify the producer of the original kit.

The loco would appear to have been made by some one with some knolege if Modeling/Engineering, all though their are aspects of it that I know I would have done better my self.

I am planning on trying to get it up and running, but first I wanted to see if I could find out any thing about it.

So if any one recognises the loco, could they please let me know.

Thanks

15558668355891261853043463355341.jpg

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Interesting project; I have no idea what it is but it looks sort of European.  It's very crude and toylike, and I'd imagine it to have been a mass produced item somewhat like the Mamod locos.  I can't see that whoever designed it had ever had much to do with actual steam locos of any sort.  There is what looks like a crankpin on the trailing driving wheel and it may have had a coupling rod at one time.  I'm guessing that there are exhaust steam pipes leading from the cylinders to the chimney, but I'm not sure there's a smokebox in the conventional sense of the word.

 

My attention is drawn to the soldering that fixes the cylinders to the frames.  The cylinders are probably not as long as they look, extended into a tube that acts as slide bars, but they may have been originally oscillating like a Mamod's, and altered to be fixed by someone.  This may have been because the oscillating cylinders made the loco unstable when it was running.

 

Just random thoughts, I'm no expert in this sort of thing.

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Yes, thanks, that is prity much what I thought, the cylinders do oscillate, I know it is hard to work out the technical stuff out, with one photo, it is very much like a Major, but it has been made to a very crude level of ability, soldering is not up to my standard, but who ever build it had a level of engineering ability, as the machining is fair. I found it at a Car Boot and I just liked it, the person I bought it off thought it was a Major Boiler with Mecano frame, but I do not think that it is a Major Boiler or Mecano, it is far to crude for that, I am going to Strip it down, Rebuild it and then see if it will Steam.

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I think I'd be inclined to try to somehow hydraulically test the boiler before firing her up...

 

Given the lack of burnishing on the copper pipes and boiler bands I'm not sure she's ever been steamed.

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5 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Interesting project; I have no idea what it is but it looks sort of European.  It's very crude and toylike, and I'd imagine it to have been a mass produced item somewhat like the Mamod locos.  I can't see that whoever designed it had ever had much to do with actual steam locos of any sort.  There is what looks like a crankpin on the trailing driving wheel and it may have had a coupling rod at one time.  I'm guessing that there are exhaust steam pipes leading from the cylinders to the chimney, but I'm not sure there's a smokebox in the conventional sense of the word.

 

My attention is drawn to the soldering that fixes the cylinders to the frames.  The cylinders are probably not as long as they look, extended into a tube that acts as slide bars, but they may have been originally oscillating like a Mamod's, and altered to be fixed by someone.  This may have been because the oscillating cylinders made the loco unstable when it was running.

 

Just random thoughts, I'm no expert in this sort of thing.

 

They still oscillate, notice the backplate is sitting at an angle to the brass 'frame'. You'll probably find it exhausts straight out under the front running board

 

Clearly the builder had a big box of brass cheesehead screws

 

Richard

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Yes, I do plan to have the boiler tested, I would never try to fire up any thing with out testing the boiler first.

I have no idea why any one would have assembled it with so many Screws.

I would have expected it to be put together with Rivets like the early Mamods.

If I get the boiler sorted out I might look in to sorting out the Screw issue.

All so I am not happy with the pipe work.

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To be honest, if it works I would leave it alone. It is never going to be an accurate representation of anything, so it is what it is

 

No matter how it looks, if it does work whoever built it deserves some respect for making an operating steam engine

 

Richard

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3 hours ago, RLWP said:

 

They still oscillate, notice the backplate is sitting at an angle to the brass 'frame'. You'll probably find it exhausts straight out under the front running board

 

Clearly the builder had a big box of brass cheesehead screws

 

Richard

So it does, well spotted.  This presumably means that both cylinders oscillate in unison with each other.  This sounds disastrous for stability.  

 

It’s an odd little beast altogether, isn’t it, and from such one can often learn unexpected lessons.  And I have to endorse the opinion that it’s designer and creator deserve muchos kudos!

 

If it can be made to work, I’d be at least as inclined as the cylinders to replace what I think might be missing coupling rods, which I think might improve the running and reduce the likelihood of slipping.  I can’t make out on my phone screen if the wheels are flanged, or what gauge (if any) (well it must be some gauge, but you know what I mean) it is, but if it’s LGB it should run on that track. 

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Whoa!

 

That was built by someone with zero engineering knowledge, and has never run, and should be consigned to a shelf labelled 'how not to do it'.

 

How do I know this? Because the leading crankpin will foul the combined cylinder/slide bar. It's junk! (The lack of any readily visible safety valve is a concern too.)

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8 minutes ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

How do I know this? Because the leading crankpin will foul the combined cylinder/slide bar.

 

Are you sure about that? To me it looks like a very long piston running in an even longer cylinder. At the end of the stroke a lot of piston is sticking out of the bore, you can see the change in colour of the materials

 

Not a bad way of getting a big bearing surface for the oscillating piston

 

9 hours ago, The Johnster said:

So it does, well spotted.  This presumably means that both cylinders oscillate in unison with each other.  This sounds disastrous for stability.  

 

It’s an odd little beast altogether, isn’t it, and from such one can often learn unexpected lessons.  And I have to endorse the opinion that it’s designer and creator deserve muchos kudos!

 

If it can be made to work, I’d be at least as inclined as the cylinders to replace what I think might be missing coupling rods, which I think might improve the running and reduce the likelihood of slipping.  I can’t make out on my phone screen if the wheels are flanged, or what gauge (if any) (well it must be some gauge, but you know what I mean) it is, but if it’s LGB it should run on that track. 

 

There's a fundamental problem though. With an oscillator you only get a push from the piston once per revolution. With a two cylinder engine, it makes sense to time the two pistons at 180 degrees to each other to equal the pulses. But you can't 'quarter' connecting rods at 180 degrees, they will overcentre and lock (as I found as a kid dismantling Triang locos)

 

You could quarter the wheels and accept an uneven 'puff'

 

Richard

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I wouldn't be surprised if the boiler had been soft soldered.

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"This presumably means that both cylinders oscillate in unison with each other. "

If it is like the Mamod loco the cylinders are independent of each other.

I agree about the lack of a safety valve - perhaps it was originally fitted in place of the whistle.

 

Gordon A

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I actually like it. 

 

It could well be a school or college  exercise in metalworking made by someone or a small group as a first attempt to create something that worked and learn some basic techniques along the way. Who knows, perhaps the builders went on to be top class model engineers?  Looking back I made similar things at school to that kind of standard, we all have to start somewhere. 

 

The whistle looks well made, some model engineering suppliers make combination whistle/safely valves. Just a thought. 

 

 

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The whistle is a Wilesco part.

 

The rest looks home made.

 

On this loco the lack of a safety valve is not as dangerous as it appears. Some oscillators ran with the principle that if the pressure got too high, it would simply lift the cylinders away from the port faces and release the steam that way. However, it means that you cannot have any valve between boiler and cylinders, so your only control of speed is how hot the fire is or how long a train you hang on it. It also means that you should not add anything in to the steam line without adding a safety valve first, and that you should not over tighten or replace the springs that hold the cylinders on, in case this takes the boiler over its safe limit. This could be tempting if the port faces leak, but the best solution is to lap them so that they are reasonably steam tight in the first place.

 

If you want advice then this is probably the best place to look:

 

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/modelsteam/locomotives-and-railways-f6/?sid=6bc9be8d96b70d8ce2e38c578b28ea30

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I know what it's meant to be. A Krauss narrow gauge locomotive.

 

They came in all shapes and sizes but generally looked like this.

 

640px-Krauss_Locomotive_2092.jpg

 

 

Jason

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On ‎23‎/‎04‎/‎2019 at 09:16, RLWP said:

 

Are you sure about that? To me it looks like a very long piston running in an even longer cylinder. At the end of the stroke a lot of piston is sticking out of the bore, you can see the change in colour of the materials

 

Not a bad way of getting a big bearing surface for the oscillating piston...

If that's what it is, it is an awful way of doing things, as it will 'gum up' with lubricant residue very swiftly. (If the owner would roll the model through half a wheel turn and post a picture we would get proof of the elongated piston.)


And it hasn't run, for a start the wheels are painted and not a mark on them.

 

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Thanks for all the commentts about the Engine, I should say that I was involved with a Model Engineering group about 30 years ago and them I was in Engineering (Aviation) for about 20 years, I only purchased the Engine as their was some thing I liked about it, despite its numerous issues, I was worried about the lack of a presher release valve, but I be live that it should release presher (if it ever gets up presher) at the cylinders, their is No form of speed controle and the cylinders are oscilate independent independently,  I think it is some sort coppy of a Mamod.

15561305079081451259784364287725.jpg

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2 hours ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

If that's what it is, it is an awful way of doing things, as it will 'gum up' with lubricant residue very swiftly. (If the owner would roll the model through half a wheel turn and post a picture we would get proof of the elongated piston.)


And it hasn't run, for a start the wheels are painted and not a mark on them.

 

 

Well, there you go - long pistons in long cylinders

 

And red plastic wheels by the look of it

 

Richard

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Completely bizarre. When you think that better than this was devised well over 200 years ago it is laughable. I propose a title similar to 'steam punk' to describe this: 'steam doofus'.

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Plastic wheels are quite common on live steam traction engines.

 

Don't forget it's not collecting electricity and was probably built as a garden plaything.

 

 

 

Jason

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6 minutes ago, Steamport Southport said:

Plastic wheels are quite common on live steam traction engines.

 

Don't forget it's not collecting electricity and was probably built as a garden plaything.

 

 

 

Jason

 

It may even have been built to run along the floor. I haven't worked out how it was fired yet

 

Richard

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Hi, I can see why the wheels look plastic, but I can assure you they are cast.

It is a strange/bizzar machine, but still their is some thing about it that I find that I like and would like to see if I can get her to steam, even if it is just on her own (Not pulling any thing).

As for the idea of it running along the carpet, I think that idea would be a major house fire, i would never try or suggest to any one that they try to fire up any live steam unit in a house.

As for it being soft or hard soldered, I think that only time will tell.

I am not expecting to get much out of her.

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Well there WERE Live steam floor toys made and sold back in the day, usually spiraling in a circle while you hope it doesnt catch on the curtains. 

So live steam indoors isnt unheard of, nor particularly dangerous if youre careful about it.  

 

As for firing it, is there room under the boiler for a solid fuel burner to slide in?

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Running will be fun; it’ll probably have enough friction to overcome that it’ll have 2 speeds, stop and escape velocity.  My prediction is that it’ll only manage a short distance before the combination of the rigid chassis and oscillating cylinders will bounce it off whatever it’s running on, turning into an unguided missile full of boiling water and steam under pressure, with lit fuel to add to the mix, and the outcome, depending on what it hits, will be somewhere within the range of hysterical laughter, personal injury, or something that results in emergency service attendance. 

 

I’d give it a lot of room and stand well back!

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