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Projects I'm building a steam powered Model A

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by wafflemaster, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. 55chevr
    Joined: Jul 12, 2008
    Posts: 915

    55chevr
    Member

    35 chain is a lightweight. The crotch rockets use 530 or 535 chain ... easily handle 600 HP on turbo bikes that leave hard.

    Joe
     
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  2. raven
    Joined: Aug 19, 2002
    Posts: 3,717

    raven
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    "Here, hold my beer..."
    r
     
    Tman likes this.
  3. Interesting thread. I currently have one of those toy steam engines .and had one when I was ten years old left it cooling on the front porch and someone stole it. Now Ive generated lots of steam lots of times. I decided during the winter that a hot water heater on my wood stove would be a good idea. So I simply put a hot water heater tank on top of my outside wood stove. And it backed hot water up into the cold water. So I installed a check valve on the inlet. And It would often blow the pop off valve and shake and rumble and thump and blow a great amount of steam for about twenty minutes. The thing is you cant remove the heat source when its in a fire box. The OP does have the advantage of turning the burner off on his setup. Ive been thinking of building a steam powered tractor so this thread is interesting to me. Ok I have a diesel fired hot water high pressure washer. and it has steel pipe coils. And it will get hot and start spitting steam. All I need to do is turn the burner off and it cools off quickly. The high pressure pump Quickly cools it off. Possibly the OP needs a high pressure high volume crankshaft driven pump to feed his broiler?
     
  4. Go look at a snapper lawn mower. And see how the speed is changed and direction is reversed. Its one wheel that is driven by a flat disk 90 degrees to it. In the very center is neutral and either direction makes it move. I once owned a American Sawmill with that type of friction drive to move the log carrage back and forth. The speed was infinetly variable. I believe this type drive would work very good with a steam engine.
     
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  5. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Progress!

    I've been busy with the project and I keep forgetting to come here and post about it. Sorry! Since the last time I posted, I have:
    • Mostly completed my firebox/insulation jacket for the boilers
    • Mounted the propane tanks properly
    • Fabricated a seat mount
    • Sourced a couple bomber-style seats from Jegs
    • Started working on my throttle mechanism
    • Taught my 10 year old daughter to use a plasma torch
    • Drove it around the building
    • Broke axle/rear end number 1
    • Built a new rear end using a golf cart diff
    • Drove it around the building again
    • Broke axle/diff/rear end number 2
    • Started fabrication on axle/diff / rear end number 3
    • And a bunch of other stuff. Check my instagram for all the gory details :)
    Anyway, here are a couple shots of the firebox. I love how it came out, and it serves its purpose very well. Here's part of the design/fab process. The parts were designed in CAD, cut on my Torchmate CNC plasma and then bent using my cheapo Woodward fab 3-in-1 machine.
    [​IMG]
    The firebox is mostly riveted with copper rivets, and then I used bolts to hold the two halves together so easier removal for boiler inspection.

    [​IMG]

    I didn't really want to hide all my work on the boilers, so I added a couple "windows" to each side of the firebox. The glass is a ceramic high-strength, high-temperature glass used in incinerators. To prevent glass scattering if it breaks, I covered it in some welded wire cloth, the stuff they use in prison visitation windows or something. Kinda cool.

    [​IMG]

    New propane mounts --
    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot after fixing a few things and getting ready to test again. Firebox not installed yet.
    [​IMG]

    (Mostly) Completed firebox:
    [​IMG]

    Here's what I had for version 2.0 of the rear end. The "live axle" idea turned out to be a bad one. I ended up having too much weight over the rear axle so it took a lot of hp to overcome the scrubbing during turns. I ended up breaking my retaining pins every time I drove the car. I figured a 1" diff from a go kart or golf cart would work nicely since all my bearings, sprockets etc were already 1". So I sourced this gem from Northern Tool. Supposedly rated to 15hp or something.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the jackshaft arrangement. I wanted to run chains from both sides of the crank to help balance the rotational forces on the crank. It's not the most rigid thing in the world. So the setup is 2 chains from the engine to the jackshaft, then a single chain to the diff. You'll notice I upgraded to #60, 3/4" chain. The old kart chain never failed on me, but this stuff looks WAY better. More "correct" for the car I think. (Only one engine chain is connected in this photo)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. gatz
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 1,104

    gatz
    Member

    The single bearing on each side of the differential is what's giving you problems.
    The ones you have are "self aligning" and will only keep the axles straight within the play of the parts that make up the differential.
    Eventually, as you've found out, the differential will fail.

    There should be additional bearings (pillow block or flange) farther out on each axle....perhaps on the larger diameter portion. That way, it can still be assembled/taken apart easily. They need to be lined up with the existing bearings.
    A piece of rectangular tubing could be positioned where the rear seat (?) bracket is now for mounting them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
    Poh, turboroadster and wraymen like this.
  7. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Yep, that was the problem. I need to get this thing back on the scales and see how much it weighs. I keep thinking it's "light"...but probably not anymore. 190lbs of me on the axle isn't helping either.

    Here's the results of the test drive with rear end 2.0:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a warm up video, before it all broke:


    And some more testing, without seats of course:


    And finally, the inevitable failure and breakdown:


    Luckily, rear end v.3.0 is much more robust. I'm working on the final assembly now. I probably should've started with the 3.0 idea in the first place, but I guess I learn best from trial and error.
     
    Tim_with_a_T, bct, Kume and 4 others like this.
  8. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 14,991

    tfeverfred
    Member

    Speechless..........
     
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  9. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,696

    wicarnut
    Member

    Very Kool, you have skills, thinking you can build anything you choose. Admire your dedication to your concept/project. I don't know anything about steam/safety etc, But I thing I have learned is the desire to accomplish a goal, moves mountains, overcomes all obstacles, noticed fellow HAMB member's offering advice on safety, etc. Which is a good thing, But for myself personally, IF I would have listened to all the experts (business/personal/family/educators) in my lifetime, I would not have accomplished much as most tell you what you can't do and why it will not work. You have thought outside the box, if fact created your own box and for that I salute you. Well Done ! Enjoying following this thread.
     
  10. Not to many people think like the great Americans did back in the 20s-30s and 40s anymore. Back when inventing things was on everyone's mind. You had a vision and built it. I tip my hat to you and your hard work. We need more creation and less talk in today's world. Even if it takes brass balls to climb all over that steam engine when it's going down the street. I'm a fan.
     
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  11. Completely agree with the 2 previous posts.
    Inspiring to say the least
     
    Bandit Billy, Old wolf and wicarnut like this.
  12. The engineers from over a hundred years ago overbuilt everything. Todays engineers most times build to just barely do the job and shave cost wherever they can. All the experts scoffed and ridiculed Eads when he started construction on the first train bridge across the Mississippi river. Eads did the math and Carnagie made the steel. No wrought iron or bulky castings on this bridge. A new kind of steel. He built it and on completion a big crowd gathered to see the impending disaster. Eads got up in the locomotive and highballed the loaded train across that bridge. And today trains still use the Eads bridge at St Louis Mo.
     
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  13. blackout78666
    Joined: Jul 3, 2009
    Posts: 517

    blackout78666
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I think this is awesome. " it's gonna blow up, never work, unsafe , " whatever. Not one to take safety lightly but didn't they say the same about nitro, clutches, hydrazine, rear engine dragsters, North Korean ballistic missles? Well those actually do blow up on launch. Good luck on your project and have fun. Interesting.
     
  14. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    I'm getting ready to install rear end version 3.0. I removed the ring gear from a Model A rear end and then machined/welded/fabricated a 31 tooth sprocket to fit in its place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The chain exits through a couple windows that I made in the center section of the axle housing. This will be connected to the jackshaft, which is driven by the crank via two additional chains. So far so good.

    [​IMG]

    I'm planning on fabricating some axle mounts and then weld them to the axle and bolt the whole thing directly to the chassis. But...I'm starting to have second thoughts about no rear spring. I think I can live with a solid rear end, this is not a high speed car by any means. A little cushion in the seats and I'll be fine. However, maybe I should add a spring to save a little wear and tear? Reduce the chance of breaking stuff? I wouldn't want to allow for too much travel since the chains need to have consistent tension. If I can locate the axle using a 4-link setup, with the radius centered at the jackshaft I should be able to keep the chains tight for the entire arc. Or, I might just solid-weld it to the chassis and call it done.
     
  15. Solid with a suspension seat maybe? Seems like the limited travel of the axle may not make it worth the reward.
    Perhaps a nice seat on a levered spring.
     
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  16. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    I agree. I would probably end up spending a bunch of time on it, only to realize I end up with 1" of stiff travel haha. A spring seat is a good idea, like an old tractor.
     
  17. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,696

    wicarnut
    Member

    All the old hard tail motorcycles had spring suspension seats. Looking good, model A rear looks good.
     
  18. Wayne67vert
    Joined: Feb 23, 2012
    Posts: 62

    Wayne67vert
    Member

  19. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 944

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Take a page out of the Cooper FIII set-up...

    DocImage12.jpg
     
  20. So, when do we get to see the big boom? On second thought, no, I don't want to see you self destruct. HRP and Falcon are right, this thing should not be on the HAMB
     
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  21. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Keep watching! :)
     
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  22. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,589

    Jimmy2car
    Member
    from No. Cal

    I'm glad it's on the Hamb, otherwise, I'd never have known about it.
    And, I think it's great. More, please
     
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  23. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 824

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Pfft...
    While this may not fit into the perfect time-period-snapshot-window that is the HAMB, it sure as hell qualifies as pre-HAMB - way the hell before the HAMB. Maybe even pre-gow-job time. I'm glad you've posted this here, also glad it hasn't been wacked by the mods. BTW, damn nice job on that sprocket. Are you planning on enclosing the chain-drive to run in oil-bath? & I'm liking your re-makes. Nicer n better than the 1st proof-of-sizing versions. When I saw the covers, all I could think of, was: Steam-Punk. :D . Sorry...
    Marcus...
     
  24. Nocero
    Joined: May 16, 2002
    Posts: 460

    Nocero
    Member

  25. RMR&C
    Joined: Dec 26, 2009
    Posts: 2,175

    RMR&C
    Member
    from NW Montana

    This is a great project! Nice to see someone build something using their imagination instead of just their credit card....
     
  26. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    Thanks! When I first posted the project all I knew was that the HAMB was one of my favorite boards, full of cool, talented people. I didn't realize that some people freak out if a build doesn't fit in a certain mold. I think that when the car is more complete it'll look a little more HAMB-ish and pacify everyone hahaha.

    For lubing the rear end, I'm going to rely on sticky chain lube, heavy grease and regular maintenance. I'm running a "total loss" oiling system on the engine, so I might as well use that theory everywhere else. Maybe I can teach my 7 year old son to climb around the car with an oil can and lube everything while we're driving. I could install a catwalk, or at least tie a rope around his waist :)
     
  27. Falcon H
    Joined: Mar 11, 2015
    Posts: 108

    Falcon H
    Member
    from Waco Texas

    This is amazing! Congratulations on your progress and good luck with the rest!
     
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  28. frank spittle
    Joined: Jan 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,331

    frank spittle
    Member

    When you posted your project I thought it was borderline and would be closed even though it was interesting. But the further along you get to completion the more I personally believe it fits here.
     
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  29. wafflemaster
    Joined: Jan 10, 2014
    Posts: 56

    wafflemaster
    Member
    from Reno, NV

    New rear end is fitted, tacked and ready for finish welding. First I made the primary brackets on the CNC plasma table and welded them up. I designed in some big slots to allow fore-aft movement for chain tension.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is with 16' of chain, 6 sprockets and some axle trusses/gussets to keep everything held together:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Next on the list:
    • Fabricate chain tensioner mechanism for the engine-mounted chains. I'll do this by moving the entire engine fore-aft an inch or so.
    • Finish welding up the trusses and axle mounts.
    • Make a couple covers for the chain windows on the pumpkin.
    • Jack it up off the ground, fire it up and let the sprockets self-center a little, then lock them in place.
    • Drive it!
     
  30. Jay Evans
    Joined: May 6, 2017
    Posts: 4

    Jay Evans

    I've been watching your build and have not responded yet because you weren't quite ready to drive it yet. I have been involved with steam traction engines for many years. I am appreciative your passion for the hobby and your unswerving dedication to getting your project completed. I only have two thoughts.
    1. I don't think you are really aware of how quickly things can go wrong with steam, and the power it posses when they do. I get that you have many failure points and that it should fail slowly, and that makes sense to me. I have boiler tubes develops pinhole leaks and it isn't a disaster. But it is the unknown failure that is the dangerous one. In the early days of steam tractors there were many, many failures. Most were cause by the human, not by the materials or engineering. Getting certified to drive a steam tractor is easy, inexpensive and fun. You might consider it.
    2. The only thing that really jumps out to me about your build is that your propane is not a "dead man" supply. Meaning you should need to be depressing a pedal or squeezing a lever the entire time to make the propane flow. I say this because even with all the faults the Medina steam tractor had, it might not have exploded if it had not been converted to propane. When the operator left the engine to argue with the police officer about his conduct, he neglected to turn off the propane heat, which was on full to generate the steam he needed to operate. Had he not converted it to propane, the fire would have died down as he argued and the flue sheet likely would not have been exposed. ( It is a bit more complicated than this, but I just want to make the comparison). For example. should you develop a small leak, and are suddenly enveloped in a cloud if 220 degree steam, your instinct is to get away from it. It would be a shame if the propane continued to boil the water because the valve stayed on...
    I think you are going to have a lot of attention when you operate this and there is the potential for the same kind of distraction. Have the propane revert to a pilot light unless the dead man is depressed.
    I would urge you not operate around others until you have some large number of safe operation hours under your belt, much like a pilot cannot carry passengers until he has his certificate, but he can still fly solo. I know it travels at a modest speed, but so does a steam tractor. Steam takes full time managing, and your environment isn't sterile. Most steam tractors have an engineer and fireman on board when in public. You would be surprised how helpful this is!
    There are a lot of regulations regarding the use of steam boilers in public. On your own property, most don't apply, but they are designed at reducing the chances of your hurting someone else.
    This is a VCP (very cool project), I think you are going to have a lot of fun with it!!!
    Oh, one final thing!! You should run out of propane before you run out of water!!!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
    slv63, tb33anda3rd, warbird1 and 3 others like this.

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