Walking Beam Sidewheel Steamer

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FREDROSSE

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New to the forum, a great place for information. I want to show off the American Walking Beam Steam Engine that I built for a 20 foot long sidewheeler. I love this machinery because I get to watch all the parts rocking and rolling while leisurely underway on the water. It turns at 50 - 60 RPM, slow enough to see what is going on. Been running on the water for 5 years now, and have done nothing but replace a couple of bushings on the walking beam, and some valve stem packing.

This type of engine was popular on USA excursion steamers for about 100 years, far after it was an obsolete engine design, because the passengers wanted to see the rocking beam in action, it was almost always visible protruding above the upper deck of these steamers. The pictured engine is 3-1/4 bore x 5-1/4 stroke, with Marshall-Bremme valve gear. On Youtube, look up "Sidewheel Steamboat" for some video of this boat in action if you like WalkingBeamEngineSmaller02.jpg .
 

Patrick

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Awesome Fredrosse, great workmanship, I'll bet it gets alot of looks when running. Something sure to be proud of

Patrick
 

kvt

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That looks good, That looks like it is fun to play with.
 
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f350ca

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Beautiful work Fred.
Im involved with building a 28 foot side wheeler right now. Would love to see more photos of your paddles, drive and boiler.
Thanks
Greg
 

kd4gij

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Nice work :applause:Would love to see a vidio of it in action on the water. :penny:
 

FREDROSSE

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OK Greg, some additional pictures of the boiler being built. I chose a simple "Stanley Steamer" type of boiler for ease of construction. "Ease of construction" being a relative term. This boiler is 16 inch OD x 18 inches long, with 20 square feet heat transfer surface area. Tubes are 1-1/4 OD x 0.095 wall.

Boiler Loaded for Welding.jpg Rolling Tubes.jpg TS Welds ASME Boiler.jpg
 

FREDROSSE

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The paddlewheels were originally made from a pair of steel farm implement wheels I found at a yard sale, bought for $10, with good hubs. That was in 1978, and at the time I knew exactly what I would use them for, although it took more than 30 years to realize the actual boat. The floats (paddles) are made from 12 x 16 fiberglass lunch trays (cut in half), so they will break if the wheel strikes a rock or floating debris on the water. These wheels worked very well, but not as efficient as the more modern "feathering" wheels that became popular in the last half of the 19th century.

Paddlewheel.jpg
 

FREDROSSE

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Always needing a new project, I decided to make "feathering" paddlewheels, where there is an eccentric mounted outboard of the wheel, with links that continuously change the angle at which the floats enter and leave the water. This reduces the wasted energy found with the older non-articulated wheels, although now I have 72 swinging joints in the water, and very much labor to make the new wheels. The wheels are from a Ford ranger, the other parts are all fabricated weldments. Performance is improved about 15-20% with these new wheels. The white bolts are 5/8 inch diameter, Nylon, making all of the pivoting joints, running in steel nuts that are welded to the fabrication. wheelsnew.jpg wheelsfinal.jpg
 
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f350ca

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Thats a thing of beauty Fred, thanks for posting. We're building a replica of a side wheeler that was used for logging in this general area. Certainly won't be as pretty a craft as yours, ours is a flat bottomed barge. The feathering mechanism is pretty neat, how did you determine the increase in efficiency ? Line pressure while running?
Thanks for posting.

Greg
 

jumps4

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that looks like it would be fun to run around in
Steve
 

bpratl

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What a great and interesting project, it must be real rewarding to run it.
 

JPigg55

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Hi Fred,
Your Youtube video was one of few that hooked me on steam engines.
Although I've found tons of info on the engines, very little I've found is available on the boilers.
Did you build yours or purchase it ?
 

WDG

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I can only dream of making something this beautiful.
 

WDG

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While living in Cincinnati, I had occasion to use the barges that took cars from one side of the Ohio to the other. There were two barges but one in particular had a side wheeler on it that was on a pivot. When it came in to unload the cars it did not have to turn around to go to the other side. The wheel was on a pivot and they would just swing it around 180 and it would run back across the river. I used it several times as I always like to ride the ferry across the Ohio. If I remember right it was just down the hill from the Cincinnati air port right across the interstate down a winding road. Many times I would be coming down the hill and see the ferry about full and start honking the horn to let them know I was coming and they would wait. At rush hour times they had two ferries to handle the traffic but would only use one during the rest of the day. They didn't run at night. Been 15 years but may still be there.
 

wagnmkr

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I can't imagine how much fun it would be to run that on the water.

A job very well done.

Tom
 
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