combination engine

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reubenT
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Location: Spencer TN USA

combination engine

Post by reubenT » Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:41 am

I've been thinking about what I wanna make for practical use around the place, probably in the next 2-3 years. I think a 10-20 Hp engine would be good. But I'd like it to be both hit n miss capable on gas (wood gas or hydroxy from water electrolysis) or liquid fuel, and easily switched over to steam power with minimal changeover of parts. Some old IC engines had cross slides and 2 piece cranks, some were even double acting. If double acting in IC mode isn't easy to maintain it could run single acting in IC and double acting on steam. I know that steam is slow starting up, it would be nice to have one that would start up immediately, but if desired change over a few parts in a few minutes and plug into a boiler. Even though the original IC engines were patterned very much after the steam engines of the time, I don't recall ever seeing one made for quick changeover.

It'd be a plan of make my own patterns, pour them using cupola furnace charcoal melted cast iron, machine them on the antique lathes and milling machine, assemble and use it to drive a 4x4 truck as an off road vehicle to run firewood processing, haul firewood, as well as haul produce from orchard and whatever else needs moved or run around the place it can do. Even run a sawmill perhaps. I have a band mill with traveling overhead arm to carry hydraulic hoses from the power unit to the side lift. A long drive shaft with multiple flex joints could transfer power directly from an outboard power source to drive the blade. Currently runs on a 20 HP onan engine, but it'd be nice to run it on steam power and burn sawmill slabs instead of having to buy gas.

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Bill Shields
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Re: combination engine

Post by Bill Shields » Tue Oct 29, 2019 8:41 pm

Have you ever done any foundry work?

How old are you?

Sounds more like a 2-3 DECADE project instead of 2-3 years (at least for me) - after you have an actual working design in your hands.
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

OddDuck
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Re: combination engine

Post by OddDuck » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:18 am

Perhaps look at Doble or Stanley steam designs, and run a flash boiler off of your chosen heat source. It would be easier to figure out a double heat source. One major consideration internally in the actual engine (and for those who are more knowledgeable than me, correct me if I'm wrong) is that lubrication for a steam engine is different than an IC engine.
The Doble and Stanley made plenty of power, in a fairly small package.
"If you took the bones out they wouldn't be crunchy!" -Monty Python's Flying Circus

reubenT
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Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:42 am

Yup. Got a junk yard and a foundry in my shop, as well as two old lathes and 3 milling machines, a press for making keyways with a broach set and a large bandsaw, + a metal chop saw. I could go small commercial scale easily with the furnace size. up to maybe 500 lb melts someday if I want a casting that large. Over the years I've collected all the old engine design manuals I could find for steam engines. I learned auto mechanics 30 years ago working with a neighbor, on 60's and 70's vehicles, I just don't do these modern computerized things. Other than that I could make just about anything I decide to make, just a matter of deciding what I want to create and finding the time. Once I decide to go for it, it'd be full time at it for awhile and it wouldn't take too many weeks I don't think. But this winter I'm looking at building a 5000 sq ft greenhouse, a home made version of a $24,000 commercial mowing machine, (got enough parts laying around to put one together) and clear some more land to plant a bunch of apple trees. I want several acres of orchard eventually, custom equipment to maintain it, wood fired steam power for backup at least. But don't mind liquid fueled for it's convenience and less work to run. Greenhouses for winter production, I'll have to hire some help to maintain things and the shop will be my half time occupation making interesting machines to do real work in the woods and orchard. My brother will help manage the agriculture side, so I could in time devote more time to the shop. It's just him and me on 80 acres and we need to make it productive. Neither of us have families, don't know if we ever will. My dad died last spring at 92 and mother is here yet, we keep her cared for best we can. She used to be the innovator and researcher. I'm gettin an addition built on the shop for my steam truck to get it out of the way, and a little more moving of stuff around to get things arranged better an I could start playing with the little cupola. The large one isn't large by commercial standards but it's 13" bore and about 12 ft tall, got stairs and platform beside it to charge it, hot blast arrangement on it. A gas engine powered blower and a 3 phase electric blower, one was a street sweeper from a small engine repairman, and the other a restaurant ventilation blower from a junk yard. Just take my pick on which one I wanna use. Ended up finding a driveway leaf blower in a trash pile at the end of a country dead end road that'd work good for the little furnace, it's too much blast for it but it can be slowed down, an old push blower on wheels that was broken up and the blower cracked, but still works good. When I tried it with a wood fire it threatened to blow the whole fire up the stack charcoal wood and all when I started to turn it up. The molding bench is waiting and the sand muller ready to use. The sand I've been using works very nice. Just quarry sand (hauled in my own with a dump truck) and bentonite from a well driller supply. I tried to be a truck driver for awhile but it didn't work out, just got too boring on the road, my mind going crazy with all the things I want to do. I discovered I need to be in research and development of things for practical use for someones benefit. Like production of fresh healthy food. But theres always a better way to do it than anyone has yet done. No end to where we can go with nutrient dense fertility. And making my own tractors and trucks and processing machines just makes it more interesting, more reliable if hard times hit.

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NP317
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Re: combination engine

Post by NP317 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:36 pm

Reuben:
Fun to hear of your situation and experience. Thanks for sharing.
I expect to hear interesting things from you as ideas bear fruit.
RussN

reubenT
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Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:17 pm

I could use different engines for different jobs. One might be a portable to run things like log splitter and sorghum press, One might run a 4x4 big tired work truck. I sure could use a good one to get around our property to get work done, haul firewood and logs out of rough places, and mud season lasts a good 6 months every year. Then there will be fruit picking and hauling when the fruit trees grow and start producing good. I would hire pickers. Need my old fork lift fixed up to handle fruit boxes, I powered it with an old 1978 subaru engine, but it was getting pretty iffy on running when it last ran, and now it's been stationary for several years. I could use a custom home made engine on it, and weight is no issue, it needs weight to counter the load. But first I'd better get that greenhouse built and start production of something. Then I'd feel free to spend more time on engine building. Have an income and a source of healthy food established. Have to pay attention to my own health so I can feel good and keep working a lot longer. Life in woods field and shop is just too interesting to let myself feel crappy and not feel like working.

spro
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Re: combination engine

Post by spro » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:56 pm

Germany had problems with acquiring fuel for civilian use. The folks over there built fire boxes which didn't just put out steam. They distilled the steam into usable petrol. Cool old pics and info on the net.

reubenT
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Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:48 pm

That's wood gas. Or producer gas, anything that will burn good works, I built one several years ago, a down draft gasifier, ran my truck on it a little, but decided it wasn't what I wanted for reliable long term use. Although if I get a flywheel stationary engine going I just might put the thing back together and try it out again. It's a little weak on BTU's, reduces the HP of the engine running on it down to 1/2, or 2/3 if the ignition is advanced, since it's a very slow burning gas.

reubenT
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Spencer TN USA

Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:13 am

It's something I can't get out of my mind. It's just a little challenge to my mind that can't be avoided. I suppose the only way to rid myself of the idea is to build it, it would be useful, although by far not the most important thing to do, so it'll have to be done on the side of the main jobs of life. At least until those main jobs are far enough along that I can afford to devote less time to them.

I come by the inclination to make things quite naturally.
My great great grand father and his brother built one of the first existing floating dredges to clean up Indiana rivers for navigation. Even got contracted by Russia to dredge the Moskva river, but I heard they went broke on that job. Their family was farming an area of Indiana that needed swamps drained for farming, and I guess they started with that and progressed into one that would float. But they lived right beside the Tippecanoe river, that probably helped. I've seen the two farm houses they built, (140 years ago) large brick houses on the edge of Buffalo Indiana almost identical, one on each side of the road. It's a state highway now, would have been a dirt wagon trail when they were there. But that was 23 years ago I was there, don't know if they still are. (just checked google satellite view and they are both gone, a telephone co-op building on one side and subdivision on the other. But the name of one of the streets in the sub division is their last name.) There was also a draft horse barn behind one of them with an elevated heavy plank floor. The front part was missing, probably rotted away long before. I wouldn't be surprised if the barn was made of lumber my great grandfather sawed on his steam sawmill. He went into steam powered saw milling, with a portable rig. My grandmother told about growing up with that. Living in a tent on the job, driving a team dragging logs as soon as she was old enough to handle the lines. She was always making things out of whatever was handy. Her brother became a mechanical engineer on his own, didn't go to school to get it. But passed the testing to get the degree. I only met him once when he was very old sitting in a wheel chair in his daughters house, not long before he died. My mother was his niece, she was a constant researcher of many things. I kind of followed that trend and have researched and learned a lot about a lot of things. But all of it will do any good only as it gets applied to something of benefit to someone. I want to attempt to kind of duplicate what Li Ching Yuen did if I can in health and longevity. I have pretty good idea how he did it and maybe I can even do it better in some ways. But in the doing of it I can turn it into a business that helps others with heath and longevity as well. I've come to realize a whole lot more is possible than what most anyone realizes. In nutrient rich fertility, growing really high quality fresh food, and the heath it can impart eating it. My machine development can help out with the application on the land in maintaining orchards and gardens. Processing great quantities of firewood from tree to charcoal, grinding it up to add to the soil for biochar.

spro
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Re: combination engine

Post by spro » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:32 pm

I hadn't read this before my compliment in another thread. Please calm a tad, people blow a vessel sometimes. I certainly don't want to lose you.
This is grand. This is more than grand.

reubenT
Posts: 103
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Location: Spencer TN USA

Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:42 pm

I hope my vessels are in decent shape, I wouldn't want to blow one.

It gets dark early nowdays, I come in and don't have anything better to do than kill time on the puter. Been watching youtube iron foundry videos. At least I got the roof on the shop addition today. next gotta move things around and make room to drag the big I beams in for the lift. I ordered 3 I beam trollies to use on them. 1 ton rated. Don't think I need to lift any more than half a ton.

There are so many interesting things to learn and do I don't know how anyone could get bored with life. Only time I got bored was when driving semi truck cross country. Sitting there thinking through all the stuff I wanted to be doing at home and stuck in the truck an can't do a thing but steer down the road hour after hour, day after day. That bores me crazy, couldn't take that for long. Some people like it, I guess they don't think like I do.

reubenT
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Spencer TN USA

Re: combination engine

Post by reubenT » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:19 pm

Looks like I'm gonna have to do a V twin steam engine first. After moving my steam truck again I decided the westinghouse engine really isn't suitable for it. So I need a replacement engine better suited to driving the truck without dumping oil with a little end tilt. The old engine needs to run stationary, so I'll use it with plug in steam line from the truck boiler to power stationary equipment. The boiler works fine, really gets going with it's forebox blower and easily keeps pace with the old westinghouse engine which is a 2 cy single acting with 5x5 bore/stroke.
The beams for the overhead shop lift/crane are going in easy enough. Rigged a little electric winch to pull em up along with a hand winch. I like the setup to get an easy overhead lift for iron ladles. Other than the track loader repair job, the land clearing and fence building and tree planting, plenty of firewood to get, (the greenhouse will probably get delayed a few months) I want to get that steam truck nicely usable. I'd just feel more comfortable if it's ready to use regular when it's needed. The combo engine I really like the idea of, but it'll have to be the second engine build.
The steam engine needs to peak out at about 40 HP to match the boiler, and be strong enough to move the truck around under load without slowing to a snails pace. Think I'll make it with same cy dia as the old engine but double up on the power with double acting action, and lengthen the stroke by an inch. Making it variable cut off so it will run light on steam when maximum power is not needed.

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