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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Everyday a Little More Progress

I'm still chipping away at the model steam shovel. I sure don't do much at a time, but every little thing, no matter how trivial is progress.

Some of the piping and a couple control levers are suspended from the roof, so I have started building a cab framework to hold them. Also some of the boiler fittings need to be coordinated with the roof line, so I'm working on the two together, so everything will fit when completed.

Yesterday My entire efforts in the workshop barely made a teaspoonful. The valve bodies for the try cocks for the boiler.

And they are not much more than half finished. They still need stems and valve handles. Oh well, my hobby is my "pass time" and it sure does!

And here they are.


Spark Plug Boot

This is not my invention, I read about it a number of years ago in some publication, but it is so simple and easy and looks good.
Machine a brass cap to snug fit on the spark plug cap and solder your spark plug wire to it. Slip a small O-ring on the wire, and a larger one on the brass cap near the open end. Plug the opening in the cap and dip the thing in that rubber like compound that you dip plier handles into for grips. You can dip a couple times to build up as desired. Then with a knife trim the hardened dip around the plug and and pull it out, you have your very own custom boot.

Pistol Pete

I need to make an opening statement that I'm not a gun nut. What I enjoy about them is that they are mechanical things, and machining parts for them is not different than machining parts for any other metal project, and I can express myself with a bit of art work.
When our son Mark was in high school he worked part time in a little gun store to earn some spending money, and through that experience he acquired the nick name "Pistol Pete". A name that he quite liked. In fact, at age 50 his wife still calls him "Pete". So a while ago, for a project for me, and a memento for him I built him a muzzle loading pistol. The barrel is a remnant from a rifle barrel. Patterns were carved and castings poured out of aluminum bronze. The butt cap is a casting that looks like the face of his little beagle dog. The hammer spring was hand forged out of a pitch fork tine. It has a carving of a moose, and an antelope, both of which Mark has bagged during his lifetime, plus oak and maple leaves. Although it does not show in very well in the pictures, the barrel is engraved with scroll work and the words "Pistol Pete". Ruby garnets are set in the fore end cap, the dragon's eyes and the beagle dog eyes. Although it is fully functional, it is very doubtful that it will ever be fired. It is a show piece.

When I gave the pistol to Mark I was telling him that the hammer was a "Fire Spitting Dragon". His little daughter Shyrel who was about 6 at the time, put her hands on her hips, looked me straight in the eye, and said "No its not Grandpa, Its a baby dragon and it is sucking on the nipple." Oh well, you cannot fool then all the time, and some you cannot fool any of the time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lathe Trade

A few years back when I had to go to work for a living, One of the coworkers named Kip was telling me of going to a yard sale and buying a little metal cutting lathe for $40. He did not know what kind it was, but it sounded intriguing. Kip builds things by welding, but does not have much interest in machining, so I offered to buy it from him to put in my collection. I even got up to where I offered three times what he paid, but it simply was not for sale for money. However he was very willing to trade it for one of my miniature muzzle loading rifles. I don't normally do gun work for people outside my family, but Kip was almost like family and I wanted that lathe, so I agreed.
I failed to take a picture after the rifle was finished, but below is one taken during construction. There is a full size Hawken muzzle loader reproduction that I built for myself leaning against the tool cabinet for size reference. Then a half size one right below it, and the one in the vise under construction is the one that was traded for the lathe.

It took about a hundred hours to build the miniature, because every part has to be hand made from scratch. I finally finished it and delivered it to him, and then he brought the lathe for me the next day, like a mail order bride. That lathe had so much crud on it you could not even tell what it was. But some solvent and a parts washing brush fixed that. I uncovered a decal that said "Craftsman".
It was a model AA109.

Was it a fair trade? You bet! We both got what we wanted. I got more iron, and he might have got more value, but what is a few hours between good friends.
At home Kip had a 4 year old grandson pose with the rifle while they took some pictures and that kid was really "hamming" it up. When the picture taking was finished, Kip went to get the rifle and that was not an option as far as the grandson was concerned. Kip had to pry his fingers off to get it back.
Shortly after I got the AA109 set up on display, my friend George from Brigham City brought me a box of lathe parts that someone had given to him. Apparently someone had taken it apart to paint it and then never reassembled it again. The main parts were there, but so many of the little parts had vanished, like gibs, half nut, handles, etc. etc. that it was no longer serviceable. It was a model 80. Just a newer version of the AA109. Most of the working parts are interchangeable. After sitting in the nurturing atmosphere of my workshop it began to grow those missing parts until it became functional again.

Both lathes are now on display. They would do machining, but not the way my new Jet does, so they can just sit there and amuse our visitors.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Boiler Boring

Several days ago I started work on the boiler for the model steam shovel. It needed to be 5" diameter to be scale size, and I was able to find a piece of 5" seamless tubing down at the plant where I use to work. Real good stuff. Only the wall was so thick it about broke my arm to pick it up. It would probably withstand several thousand pounds per square inch internal pressure which was also a bit more than I needed, so I decided to bore it out until I had a more reasonable wall thickness and get rid of some of the weight. My standard steady rest would not accommodate the 5" diameter so I rigged up a Rube Goldberg type steady rest from some pieces of flat bar stock that was laying around. I did not even cut the pieces to length. For contact supports I used skate board bearings. (Those kids will learn not to leave their skate boards laying around unattended)

The bottom ends of the bars are bolted to a 3/4" plate that is clamped to the bed, but as you can see the upper ends are just clamped together with some sturdy C-clamps. The boring bar was only long enough to reach half way through, and when this picture was taken one end had already been bored out and the boiler tube flipped end for end and a couple passes had been made in the second end. The whole operation went very smoothly from start to finish, and the thing has been tore down and put back on the metals rack.
It is such a simple thing that I hesitate even posting it, but perhaps someone will pick up and idea that they can use sometime.