Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bimba Too

After building so many engines a person starts to look for something different and unusual. A geared engine seemed to fit the bill. I have only seen one actual model, plus pictures of a couple others. I understand that they were patented by a fellow named Murray in 1908, but I have no knowledge if they were ever manufactured.
The engine employs a planetary gearing system. A point on the pitch line of the small hear generates a perfectly straight line from side to side, this eliminating the need for a cross head and connecting rod. The piston rod connects directly at that point.
This is just one of several model engines that I have built using surplus Bimba Brand pneumatic cylinders, and that is where the name came from. To add interest, it is equipped with a chain driven rotary valve and painted gaudy contrasting colors. Hope you like it.

Watch it in Action.

Paddle Wheel Engine

The reason for building this model is that it has a valve operating mechanism that is a little different than the usual for a steam engine. The cam is forward, operated from linkages fastened to the connecting rod which keeps it out of the splash area of the wheel. Also it incorporates a triangular shaped cam, that provides a rather quick motion to the valve at each end of the stroke. Another peculiar thing about the cam is that it has such a shape that it maintains contact with both sides of the cam follower at all times.
The first 2 pictures show the cams in the process of being machined. The third picture is the finished cams in their followers prior to installation. The forth picture shows the finished model. This is not a scale model of an actual engine, it is just to demonstrate the valve motion.

And here is a little video of it running

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oil Field Pump Video

Oil Field Pump

In this day of high energy costs, I thought it no more that appropriate for me to build an oil field pump, and pump out old cesspools and convert the contents to racing and jet engine fuel. What do you think of that idea?

Friday, August 8, 2008

South Facing Chariot

This afternoon I finished the little Chinese Chariot and everything works just beautiful, so smooth and easy. Just not very accurately. If it headed down a fairly straight road that turned only slightly right and left, it would maintain an accurate pointing of south. But when I designed the gear train I had my brain turned off, and put a 3 to 1 reduction in the gear train thinking they would not have to turn so fast, and that ratio fit real good. Therefore the little pointing man only compensates 1/3rd as much as he should. If the Chariot makes a complete 360 degree turn around, he only turns 120 degrees, so the Chariot would have to turn three complete turns to get him pointing south again. Talk about confusion!
Anyway it makes a good static display and all the principal parts are there. If I wanted it to work accurately, I suppose I could put some 1/3 size wheels on it, but then it would look pretty funny, and probably high center on a rock.
By the way the pointer man is a genuine Chinaman. It says "Made in China" on the bottom of one foot.

Here are some pictures of the build.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ride in the Wind

A long time ago, somewhere around 500 years, some guy by the name of Leonardo was inventing all sorts of unheard of (at that time) things. In his illustrations he used peg toothed gears. They looked so intriguing, and I've wanted to try building some for as long time. I finally got around to doing it a couple weeks ago. For the body I used 3/8" aluminum, and in one I put 1/4" brass pegs and in the other stainless. Dissimilar metals usually wear better. Shown below are the results.

As with all new things, there are things to be learned, and I learned they need to be properly meshed. In some positions they would hardly run against each other, and in other positions they ran almost as smooth as machine cut gears.
The final use for the gears was in another wind sculpture for the yard to amuse people, as can be seen below.

It is simply an assemblage of used parts, painted some gaudy colors. The rotor turns a shaft that extends down and operates the peg gears, that in turn operate the pedals. The head is fastened to the shaft so it turns with the rotor, and it has a face on both sides so it does a lot of looking around. It is not very normal, but then not much else around here is either, so what the heck.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Birk BBQ

A few weeks ago I put up a post about casting aluminum with Birk. Well, he fired up the furnace once again, but for a totally different purpose. Birk heard that one of my 5 year old sons "fun" ideas for summer was to have the whole family visit Birk. Sounds fun to me. So, Birk thought he would invite us over for a little BBQ. He told Max, my son, that he could cook them on the furnace. Max was thrilled and said we could cast stuff and cook hot dogs at the same time. Here are some photos of the fun. The forge was a little hot at first. The dogs were cooking fast-- almost like putting them into a jet engine, but he dialed back the heat and it worked great. If you're looking for a new use for your furnace, I highly recomend it. Maybe next time we'll do rotisserie chicken on the lathe.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day

Here it is Father's Day again. Perhaps You would like to see a picture of my Father's Day Fishing Pole?

It was stuck on the side of the barn, and before long a flying fish got hooked. Now that might sound like a "fish story" but here is a picture to prove it!

All you fathers and prospective fathers have a good Father's Day, OK.

Day of casting

One of my nephews and my kids and I got to visit Birk the other day and he showed us the ropes of casting aluminum. It was a great afternoon. Here are some photos and video of the day.

Thanks Birk!!

You can also see the final results of one of the castings here:

Out of work

Yesterday I completed an automaton of a little shoemaker, so now I'm out of work AGAIN! That is the hard part of life, thinking up something new to do.

The helical cam that moves the arms and head back and forth, was machined using my homemade helical attachment.

Here he is in action.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wrong Color

After taking a year, the model Bucyrus steam shovel finally took it's display place in the showroom this weekend. I'm almost certain it is the wrong color, but at least it is photogenic. I would suspect that the originals were dull black or something like that, but I'm not worried because there are not too many people around that can remember that far back.
Several days ago my little friend, Max, "Kactiguy's" 5 year old son, was here visiting. He told me that I should put pieces of candy and brass in the bucket, so when he came I could pull the trip rope and dump them out for him. Even at his age he knows that brass is good material to build neat things out of. Who said that the younger generation is not taking an interest in our hobby?

And yes I do have some candy and brass in the bucket for the next time Max comes to visit!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Antique Clock Replica

Sooner or later it seems that most hobby machinists have to fulfill a need to build a clock. Not because they need one, but because need to satisfy the desire to prove to themselves that they can do it.
Over the years I had accumulated numerous plans that were available, but somehow I do not get much satisfaction from building something from someone else's plan, I'd rather do my own thing. That is not saying that I do not glean ideas from others, because I do that a lot, and sometimes modify them to fit my own needs.
For the clock, I finally went to the library and got a book on old clocks. I picked a small one with a picture that showed a good representation of the working parts and went from there.

There was no way of telling what size it was so I just guessed. It was pretty easy to estimate how many teeth in the gears, etc. so it was not all that difficult to make a scale drawing. According to the book the clock was built about 500 years ago, and perhaps that is before they had invented screws, because there are none in it. Everything is either riveted or fastened with tapered pins. At first I thought "how awkward", but it turned out to be every bit as easy as using screws.

There are a few changes in the design of my clock and the original. Mine has a little dragon rather than a bird to support the foliot or balance that controls the speed, which hangs by a thread. It keeps fairly accurate time, except it is different that modern clocks. There is only one hand, that takes two hours to make a revolution. My only guess is that 500 years ago they were still using hour glasses, and perhaps they had not standardized on the 12 hour dial as we now know.
Anyway it turned out to be a very satisfying project.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mowing Season

Can you believe that after a long cold winter we are fast approaching the lawn mowing season. I have been so envious of those people with riding lawn mowers. Riding lawn mowers are expensive, however I have the skills that I used to build my own "Self Powered Riding Lawn Mower".

Now, I am the envy of all those "push mower" people.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Most people as they grow older go through a period called a second childhood, But not me, I do not have to worry about anything like that. I have not grown out of my first childhood yet. When my body was little I had a toy elevator that was lots of fun, but it was cheaply built out of tin can type material and did not last. I was longing for that toy, so recently I constructed a replacement as near as I could recall. It is not exactly the same, as 70 years is a long time to remember something. The original used large glass marbles. I think they were called a taw. The reproduction uses 3/4" steel ball bearings. A release mechanism releases one at a time into the elevator car which travels to the bottom and is dumped out. Then it returns to the top for another one. There is a propeller on the pulley shaft powered by a one way clutch out of a computer printer that adds a little commotion.

It will keep running as long as there are balls on the feed chute, so it is a lot of fun for kids to keep putting them back up there.
The problem I have with it is that whenever our great-grand kids come to visit, they always want to play with the elevator, and they do not want to let me have "my" turn!

Oh, and by the way I got a corrugated roof formed and shaped for the steam shovel yesterday, although it is not fastened down yet.

I do not know if roofs were to provide protection from sun or storm, but either way I'm almost ready.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Corrugated Roofing

The steam shovel model has progressed to a point where it could have its corrugated roofing installed. But where do you find "scale" roofing?
Make it of course.

Forming roll dies were machined for a hand cranked Chinese built beading machine with an 18" throat. At first it would not work very well because it was not rigid enough and flexed. However machining some of the ridges off the rolls it works much better, as can be seen by the sample tested.

The metal being formed was salvaged from the side of a discarded clothes drier. That is a good source of material. I use it all the time. Now I can proceed and form the roof, and the machine has enough throat that I believe I can do it in one piece if I start at the center and work both ways.
After I showed the sample piece to a friend, he suggested that I could start manufacturing scrubbing boards. That is real good advice, except 100 years too late.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Last week on April 1st we took a little trip about 100 miles north to Brigham City so that we could visit with friends from Idaho who came down to pick up an almost completed melting furnace from another friend, George. For some reason when we get together we always exchange little gifts with each other. On this trip Ira brought me an antique valve grinding machine to put in my collection.

It is pretty unique, I have never seen one like it before. It has gears inside the housing that rotate the valve as it is being ground.
Upon getting it home, it sort of became like the straw that broke the camel's back. I simply did not have a space in either of my display buildings to put it. I had already had thoughts about doing it, but that triggered a rearranging frenzy. A bunch of the smaller models were moved from the buildings and put on display in our family room. Since our family has grown and moved away the room has not been needed much, so this put it back to good use again.

The whole change was for the better. It separated the models from the antiques. The family room is a much better environment for the models. There is a space for the old valve grinder out in the buildings, and the other things could be spread out a little for better viewing. A couple models were placed on service carts. On the second shelf are a few sample wood casting patterns for show and tell, and on the bottom are back issues of some of the modeling magazines. The extra weight down there made the carts more stable, and it freed up some shelf space in my library for more books. Oh, and I have one more cart, and space for it to display the model steam shovel if and when it ever gets completed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bucyrus Erie Model 22W

The city where I live gets the majority if its water from wells, and the growing population requires more wells. Several years ago the city let a contract to drill a well in the corner of a city park just a little more than a block from our home. I have this problem of being attracted to machinery like iron to a magnet, so I had to go investigate the ruckus. It only took one trip to become acquainted with the owner operator Robert Perry. He worked alone and enjoyed having visitors like myself come every day to check the progress and chat for a while. Not only did I make a good friend, but I received one heck of an education on well drilling.
Then I have this second problem of wanting to build a model of every kind of old machine I see. So I started looking closely at the workings of the machine. Robert could see my interest, and suggested that rather than building a model of the #36-L machine that he was using that I build a model of a Bucyrus Erie #22-W, because he claimed they were the most popular well drilling machines in the world. Robert loaned me some operators manuals and parts books, and furnished me a key to his yard over in Spanish Fork City where he stored his fleet which included three 22-W machines, so that I could go measure and photograph as needed.
About 10 months later, the model was finished. That may sound quick, but you need to know that back then I did not limit myself to 8 hours a day or 5 days per week.

Right and left side views as it looks today.

Here is a view showing it erected in the driveway right after it was completed.

And another closeup looking down into the workings. The model has all the parts and functions of a full size machine. The only difference is that it is equipped with a variable speed electric motor rather than a gasoline engine. It will do everything the full size one will do. It would probably even drill a well, except the drill stem is so light it would be pretty slow going.

Oh, I need to tell you that when building the model I made double of everything and ended up with two models, one of which was given to Robert. Here is a picture of his little rig, set up next to his much bigger Bucyrus Erie #36-L that he was using to drill the well for the city.

A few pointers on the well he drilled: He started with a 30 inch casing and went down as far as he could drive it, then kept stepping down in sizes as he needed too. They stopped just short of 800 feet. It took about two years although that had not originally planned on that much time. Provo sets in the basin of lake Bonneville. An ancient lake at least equal in size to the great lakes today. Where he was drilling was close to the mountain and the material that he was going through was mostly silty stuff that over time, had washed down off the mountain into the lake. One day as I was visiting, he pulled up a soil sample from 300 feet and when he opened the sampler there was a perfect snail shell about as big as your thumb nail, except it was as soft as drywall mud. The formation had water in it, but being so fine it did not flow very fast. About all they could pump was 500 gallons per minute. So he put a 16 inch screen down the hole and started to develop it. The screen was a stainless steel pipe with very narrow slits, that would let silt through but not course sand. He put a rubber head on his drill stem that acted like a piston. It can be seen in the picture with his model. He spent several months pumping that thing up and down in the hole pushing water out and drawing silt in, and then bailing out the silt. This produced a cavern down in the hole, which provided more surface area for water to seep from. In order to keep the cavern from collapsing in he kept dumping a special processed course sand down around the screen. Would you believe three 18 wheel semi truck loads?. When he finished the well would produce 3500 gallons per minute. Just as a point of interest, the city figures they need a capacity of one gallon per minute per household. So that well should take care of 3500 homes.