Tag Archives: leak compound steam

Steamboat Crankshafts – Lessons & Manufacture Pt#2

This post continues/concludes the story of manufacturing a new crank for Befur from the last post.

Here we can see the re-assembled engine with new crank. We are still to install all the ancillaries (reversing gear, lubrication, condenser and feed/air pump & alternator drive.)

It took 6-man days from receiving the crank back from the grinders to reach this stage.

Once we have tested it on air, we will reinstall it on the boat and undertake this year’s boiler test and check all is as it should be.

Machining Crank Pins

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Steamboat Crankshafts – Lessons & Manufacture Pt#1

Introduction

Those of you who have been following Befur’s progress will know that our first year in the water was marred by the failure of the crankshaft in the Leak Compound engine I built.

This post deals with the manufacture of a replacement, and the results of my research/experience into the approaches to building cranks for “small” (<20HP) marine steam plants.

Methods of Manufacture

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End of Season Work and a Blowy Day

Just a note to say that Befur is out on the hard now, so we can commence the over-winter work.

We made about 5 or 6 trips on the lake in the season, and spend quite a few days on the mooring spannering the various issues we had into submission.

However, just before we fetched her out the first named Storm of the year “Ali” produced some impressive weather, with gusts of over 70mph on Ullswater. We stopped by to see how she was doing on her mooring – here is a video…

Work List

The main task is to find the source of all the knocking and rumbling (which I still think is most likely a fractured crank) and then tackle some other outstanding issues. This list is to remind me what is to be done:

  • Inspect/fix/remake the Crank
  • Cure the leaks between HP cylinder and Valve Chest
  • Make some Gauge Cocks (to damp the pressure surges in the gauges)
  • Tidy up the fittings for the stern-tube cooling feed
  • Re-paint antifouling (as quite a lot fell off!)
  • Inspect/test all the vacuum side for leaks as it’s still quite low (~10-15 inches hg)
  • Make a new ball-cock valve for hotwell (plug-cock type)
  • Maybe make some drawers for the galley
  • Fit a stern light
  • Think about remaking the cockpit sole to improve access to stern-gland etc.
  • Fit a seacock to the blow-down line (to allow the flexible hose to be removed when afloat)
  • Install a skin-fitting for the bilge ejector…
  • Make a whistle that whistles!
  • Attend a VHF course, to get my license 🙂

Yesterday I stripped down the plant ready to have the engine lifted out next week. I also took some pictures to remind us how it all goes back together!

Rebuilding picture

Rebuilding Pictures

Onwards…. 🙂

Are we having fun yet?

As Lou explained (as I sat in the land-rover feeling quite defeated) “It’s like when you built the racing bikes/cars – you can’t expect to show up at the circuit and have it all work perfectly the first time you race it. There is always going to be development work.

…and I guess she is right!

This post firstly relates the trips we have made so far, and secondly attempts to provide a balanced view of the successes and failures to date – to help other builders.

Trials (and tribulations)

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Engine Meets Hull

Just a note to commemorate another milestone. Yesterday we (neighbour Mike and I) lifted the engine into the boat! Hurrah!

We had spent a deal of time debating how best to do this, with the hydraulic bucket on the tractor being the initial option – but in the end we both felt a bit “windy” about working under the engine held up by an ageing tractor, and instead opted for the “trusty” Chinese chain-hoist strapped to an RSJ in the roof of Mike’s barn. We then picked the engine up, and manoeuvred the boat under the engine. To make it more interesting, we really don’t know how heavy it is – but the two of us could not lift it by hand to get it to the engine crane to put on a trailer for the trip to the barn (200yd push in light snow!)

The decision as to installation was to epoxy four M10 studs into the engine bearers and then use nuts on the studs to secure the engine bed down. Continue reading

Three Months and Counting!

We are feeling like the end (of the first phase) of “project Befur” is in sight – we have set a goal of having her on the water in April – the remaining 90 days appear to be passing at some speed.

This time I wanted to document the final work to get the engine and boiler ready for installation in the boat, the electrical system and Louise’s work on fitting out. Continue reading

A final video: Everything running on the bench

First Fix the Bugs!

Following on from the Boiler test, and a quick trial we identified just over 20 items that needed some attention. So a week later, with all these items fixed (from leaking valves to painting and plating valve gear components), we are ready to try again. Continue reading