One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

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neanderman
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by neanderman » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:43 am

Thanks for sharing this, Harold. Please keep us apprised of your progress!
Ed

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Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:56 am

ctwo wrote:If you have a cell phone, you can usually get a decent "scan" by taking a photo, of a photo. Sounds crazy?
Heh! It's a matter of what you consider a cell phone. We have one---a simple tracfone. It not only does NOT take pictures, it doesn't work from our home, as we live in a shadow. Good idea, though! 8) Thanks for sharing.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 12:59 am

neanderman wrote:Thanks for sharing this, Harold. Please keep us apprised of your progress!
I hope to do that! The whole adventure has been strange, including how I ended up with the furnace, to say nothing of having the good fortune to locate the power supply. I'll comment, too, on the degree of cooperation I have received from those who have shown in interest in helping me achieve my goal. Really restores one's faith in their fellow man to see such gracious and willing help.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:20 am

Atkinson_Railroad wrote:The motor generator being the heart of the power supply should be inspected and considered for recondition.
While that isn't bad advice, a few things that are apparent might help you understand why I won't get too deeply involved. For starters, the hour meter shows only 1,200 hours of operation. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the potential life of the instrument. Had it been procured before it was allowed to "season" in the brutal Utah summers and winters, it would have been considered in excellent condition.
Because it’s of vertical design, the bearing fits are likely still in good condition, “but” the bearings should be
replaced noting that the unit has sat dormant and outside for the length of time you’ve reported.
The bearings are certainly one of my concerns, especially since it was handled without unloading the thrust bearing. Once in my possession and I understood the need, that was accomplished, so the travel from Utah to Washington State was in such a manner that it shouldn't have sustained any damage. I won't know until it is first operated, and that's a ways off at this point. I'll talk more about that in other posts. Mean time, it might help you to understand that the compartment which houses the generator/motor appears to have been spared getting wet. It is gasketed, and the interior shows no signs of having been wet, very unlike the other compartments. I am hoping a bullet was dodged. We shall see.
A competent electrical apparatus repair shop could perform the work best because they would also be able
to confirm the integrity of the winding(s) insulation. From your photo, one of two lifting eyes can be seen
indicating the unit is possibly removed through the top of the cabinet.
And there is the problem. We live in a large county with sparse population. While there are some services offered near us (up to 30 miles distant), finding a firm capable of providing such an inspection would most likely not be possible, although there is a motor rewinding service not far from Patio's location. The problem is, the weight of the generator makes it virtually impossible for any maintenance to be provided. Having to replace bearings may well spell the end of my project, in spite of the fact that the manual gives explicit instructions on how it is achieved.
Definitely a fun looking project. Do you have access to an operator’s manual for the power supply?
Ajax Magnethermic was kind enough to provide me with manuals, as well as multiple blue prints, so I could make missing components. They did this free of charge, which is a testament to the great management under their roof. In today's greedy society, one does not expect much cooperation unless money is changing hands. They wanted nothing in return, and paid for shipping of everything they provided. I have the highest of regard for that corporation.

Back to the manuals, unfortunately they are not specific to my machine, and that most likely would have been difficult, as each machine is built to order, each having features that others may or may not share. However, having read through them, I am of the opinion that there is enough information for me to get the machine operational. They go in to fine detail on the patented controls that are included in the machine, so I have a good understanding of how they work. I have already dismantled and rebuilt the capacitor control, which is a rather interesting device. I had to replace five steel balls, but otherwise it was just a matter of cleaning and polishing a few components, so they would function once again. This device was one thing that had been rendered inoperable due to light rusting of a shaft. It cleaned up beautifully, however, and operates exactly as it should. Even the micro-switches function. While it got wet, it wasn't subjected to continuous exposure to water, for which I'm thankful.

Thanks for your comments, John.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:27 am

tornitore45 wrote:What a story of passion and determination. My question: what you plan to do with ingots of malleable iron?
A good question, Mauro.
My original plan was to build a faithful model of UP's 833 Northern. I still have interest, but I didn't anticipate the 20 years of lost time in building our shop and house. That said, I still have an interest, be it in building a steam loco, or other items. Having the ability to cast ductile iron opens doors that might otherwise not be opened. Induction melting, more or less, assures success, as the chemistry of the alloy in question is not altered by melting. One can make ductile from scrap steel, simply by inoculation.

I've had a keen interest in foundry work since I was a young lad---although not keen enough to do it for a living. I hope to attempt casting required items, striving for high precision from sand molds. I know it can be done, as I've seen such work. So then, the furnace project can simply be stated as something I needed for my soul. I have no real objective in mind at this point, but I want to make castings, just to prove I can. That is part of the reason why I chose the title of insanity. What sane person spends that kind of money (in five figures) for something that may never bear fruit? Still, I'm happy!

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:34 am

John Hasler wrote:So the capacitors were leaking?
I will never know exactly why the system was taken out of service, but by the time it was mine, yes, the caps were leaking.
They had been subjected to freezing weather, and had not been properly drained and protected. They are water cooled, so once frozen, the PCB's could flow to the water cavity.

If you haven't had any experience dealing with PCB's (I have, on two occasions), it may not make a lot of sense to you, but it is exceedingly expensive to dispose of such waste. And, they are critical of what is submitted, right down to not wanting even a paper towel included if it hasn't been approved. I had to wipe out the right hand enclosure, where the caps were installed, as there were signs of PCB's in many areas (I'll never know how much of it had already been lost on the ground). Anything that touched the waste was included in the barrel (built expressly for such use, and has a sealing lid), which I had to explain to the disposal plant.

H
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Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:40 am

NP317 wrote:Wow! Quite a project. I hope to read of your success very soon.
Well, don't hold your breath. I have many problems to overcome, including a cooling system. I'll remain dedicated, but there are other things that will require my attention. I need to get some concrete poured while we have dry weather. We shall see!
I wonder where that furnace and power supply ended up???
I can't help but wonder if, maybe, that's the unit some fellow in Olympia owned a few years back. I can't remember his name, but he picked up a furnace from a like source. I seem to recall he had offered it for sale some time ago, so it may no longer be around. I can't say, as I've lost touch with this individual.

Owning an induction furnace is one thing. Getting it operational is quite another. For starters, one requires a larger three phase service, which most individuals are not willing to buy. Mine is 400 amps, delta, 240 volts.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:46 am

John Hasler wrote:Do you have schematics? I'd be interested seeing the design.
Yes, although I don't know if they are complete. We'll come to know that when I start working on the interior. That won't be until it is painted, as I have removed many of the components so I could clean up the panels. That said, what I was provided are C size prints, apparently made from microfiche. Takes more than one sheet for some of them.

The basic design is pretty simple. What makes this machine different is how they deal with shifting capacitors, and that one can alter furnace voltage easily. The capacitor device is patented. Simple, yet complex (ingenious).

H
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Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:49 am

SteveHGraham wrote: Not ready to quibble about the "insane" part, however.
No need! How else could one describe the pursuit? It makes no sense, but it's worth it to me. It is a Goliath I will concur, or die trying. :lol:

H
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:01 am

rrnut-2 wrote:Does the unit have a closed water cooling system internally? If it does, make sure that you use only distilled water in it.
I expect the answer to this question will be no, as you can clearly see, on the right hand side, several discharge spouts. They dump to a catch vessel (removed, but I have it), so one can visually ensure that all components are receiving water.
Also, it will have a deionized water filter which will need to be changed before you put the distilled water in. Normally, we would check the conductivity with a micromoh meter.
I hope to lean on you for guidance in this matter, Jim. I have NO means of cooling right now, and my well provides only about six gallons/minute. The furnace demands about 10, so a recirculating and cooling system is most likely going to be mandatory. I may have to turn to a cooling tower, but I'd prefer a closed system.

I also would like the readers to know that you and your lovely wife, Liz, were kind enough to deliver to my doorstep*, a second furnace, one that is, for all practical purposes, complete, although in bad need of rebuilding. That will solve the missing legs riddle for me, as well as provide a method of tilting the furnace, as the one you delivered has a hydraulic tilt system that I expect can be salvaged with a little work.

*The drive to my door step was about 3,000 miles. I'll talk more about this in the future, and will include some photos, so it makes sense.
Motor bearings I wouldn't get to worried about unless they saw water. Once you bump the motor to check direction, you will be able to tell their condition.
That's pretty much my thoughts, too, Jim. My one concern is the old grease. I have complete instructions for semi-annual greasing, including the type of grease to be used. That, however, won't address the grease that has been sitting idle for at least 22 years, if not more like 25. I may be able to keep adding until it discharges clean grease, which I will explore in due time.
Make sure the capacitor contactor contacts are clean and free. If they are not, they tend to burn up quickly. Make sure all connections to the furnace are tight. Again, if they are not, they will burn quickly. It's amazing what can happen around an induction furnace!
Thanks for those comments. I didn't think about how I'd go about this, but I now think I will undo and redo each connection, cleaning each to ensure they are low resistance. Fortunately, as you likely know, almost all connections are copper alloy, so they are not oxidized such as to be rendered useless. A good cleaning, which I'm more than willing to do, should put them back in good condition.

Thanks again, Jim. You have been invaluable in my quest to own a functioning induction furnace.

H
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Harold_V
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by Harold_V » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:05 am

Patio wrote:Harold, I am glad you have decided to post pictures this adventure. :)
I'm quite pleased, too, Patio. I'll be even more pleased if you and I achieve the end goal, the one of having a functioning furnace.

To be clear, I really appreciate the interest the readers have shown in my insane project. I may have to post on a few other things I've pursued recently, including the completion of my 1290-D Sunnen hone. It, too, had been subjected to outside storage, although you'd never know it now! 8)

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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neanderman
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Re: One man's insanity---the story of an induction furnace

Post by neanderman » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:43 am

Harold_V wrote: I have no real objective in mind at this point, but I want to make castings, just to prove I can. That is part of the reason why I chose the title of insanity. What sane person spends that kind of money (in five figures) for something that may never bear fruit? Still, I'm happy!
Harold, you are a man after my own heart.
Ed

Le Blond Dual Drive
US-Burke Millrite MVI
Atlas 618
Files, snips and cold chisels

Proud denizen of the former "Machine Tool Capitol of the World"

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