Category Archives: Steam Plant

Building the Engine and Boiler
Below are posts related to the building of Arthur Leak’s marine compound steam engine as originally described in Model Engineer magazine and more recently provided via Camden Books (drawings, manual and castings). It will also include the construction of a oil-fired Yarrow watertube boiler, to designs from John King from the SBA (see links on right of home page)

This is the engine that will power SY-Befur, it is expected to produce 10-14HP. These post cover all the construction from Camden’s castings and the addition of pump and alternator assemblies for our particular installation.

Getting to the end of the worklist

I’m falling behind! No progress update since January – sorry.

We have been working hard to get her ready for re-entering the water… This winter’s workslist has turned into quite a major refit.

The list below shows the work we are undertaking, and all is completed except installing the engine and the work on mast and rigging.

Maintenance

  • Varnish anchor chocks
  • Varnish side decks and tiller
  • Fill & re-paint the various dings & dents in paint work
  • Check / remake lower rudder pintle
  • Re-coat antifoul
  • Adjust masthead block locations
  • Inspect/fix paint bubbles at waterline
  • Complete inspection and maintenance of engine

Improvements

Engine & Boiler

  • Remove Worthing Simpson duplex circulating pump.
  • Fit new Jabsco circulating  pump.
  • Fit Alfa-Laval plate condenser.
  • Calibrate Vac gauge.
  • Make new LP Valve to fix timing.
  • Remake HP valve to fix timing and cure leaks.
  • Reset eccentrics, to fix timing.
  • Cross-head re-fit to correct clearances.
  • Re-furbish feed-pump seals & slow gearing.
  • Replace & improve scotch-crank pump drive.
  • Improve & tidy feed-pump plumbing.
  • Replace boiler clacks. (inspect and paint boiler drum internals).
  • Inspect and refit Air Pump piston & seal.
  • Install ancillary steam lines & valves for ejector, whistle, re-heater & kettle
  • Make improved oil filters for hotwell.

Electrical Systems

  • Add secondary battery and split charge relay
  • Install wiring for the circulating pump with fuse and switching from driving position.
  • Add electrical noise filter for NASA depth sounder.

Hull & Sail

Picture of new plate condenser & circulating pump

New bulkhead, plate condenser and circulating pump.

 

  • Install a new bulkhead on starboard side.
  • Make & fit Windermere Kettle to condenser brackets.
  • Add a Tack Line and cabin rood fixing.
  • Tidy Tack Parrel.
  • Fit Windex to masthead.
  • Adjust ballast towards the stern.
  • Fit guard around compass.
  • Fit Cam Cleat for sheets.
  • Improve sheetlet attachment to battens.

Comparing old and new valve timing

As a last post on the subject of correcting the valve timing on the Leak  Compound in Befur (prior to “sea trials” later in the year), here we will look at the results from the static (blowing) valve timing tests, and compare to the results prior to rebuild. But first a video of it running on air with the new timing…

I just updated this post to improve the pictures and ordering to allow simpler comparisons between old and new timing data.

Continue reading

Valve Setting on a Leak Compound

This time we are looking at how to fix the problems with the Leak’s valve gear design. This is now part of our Leak Hints and Tips section on the known errors or problems with Leak design……

As we get to the end of January 2022, the tuning/rebuild/shopping of Befur’s engine continues, once this is complete we can get on with the list of hull and fittings-related work. But it seems we should at least explain what work the last few months have contained…

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Progress – a new scotch crank pump drive

A last quick post for the day, then it’s back to the cold workshop….

The pump drive on Befur has been an on-going source of angst and failure… So we redesigned and rebuilt it!

This appears to be much better, and pending final cleaning, plating etc. here is a video of it in action on the bench!

A Digital Engine Indicator

The Digital Engine Indicator

The Digital Engine Indicator

As my first job was working as an Instrument Technician for Shell Research in the Applied Physics department, I became interested in the measurement of physical systems… thus I was interested in Engine Indicators as a tool for evaluating engine performance, and measuring valve events and gas-flow in steam and very large marine diesels.

 

An Engine Indicator – Wikipedia Commons Image

Given my later life in computing I concluded that a digital version of one of these instruments could be made to evaluate the performance of Befur’s engine.

I penned an article for The SBA’s Funnel magazine, but the publication of this has been delayed, so I am publishing it here for those interested.

It’s still a prototype, and in need of further development, but it has provided some interesting data – which at least prompted further analysis and investigations into what happens inside Befur’e engine…

I have attached to this post a PDF describing the Digital Engine Indicator, which you can read and download here

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Engine Rebuild – Valve timing analysis

As you may have seen from earlier posts, and here we are embarking on a major winter “shopping” of Befur, to address a number of problems.

Measuring the valve timing on the bench

One of these tasks is to analyse and reset the valve timing of the engine to improve efficiency and performance. Continue reading

Winter Work (some progress)

 

 

Well, we have been working on the list we made in the last post, and have some positive news, and some better understanding of the problems…

Wear

I spent a couple of days with the engine on the bench and a dial indicator attempting to find and measure the wear or absence of same…. We have a page or two of measurements…

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Winter Work

Befur home for winter work

Befur home for winter work

Well, Befur is back in the fells for some winter work.

The pull-out and trip home was uneventful, thanks to Simon and Dean’s help, and the garage finally finding and fixing the leak in the Land Rover’s turbo pipes! Much less smoke and much more go!

Work to do

We have a tentative list of work we want to do, and the game plan is to try to get back into the water before Heggerscale freezes (the lake is a milder climate to over winter in)! However, as I write this post, and document the work, it seems questionable if we will finish the work in 2022!!!

The work falls into several groups, some just inspection/maintenance and some fixing/improving: Continue reading

On Condensers – what a lot of water!

The hunt for the vacuum

Regular readers will recognise that we have been searching for the fabled 20+ inches of vacuum that our fellow  stem boaters claim to achieve…. We, meanwhile, have only ever seen 5 to 10 inches at best 😦

Well, over the last few weeks, I think we have been edging towards an answer, and I think there is some valuable information for other steam plant operators, that can be gleaned from our experiences…

The Clues

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