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I took 2 days off because I knew this was going to be fun.
because the 1/16th rivets I ordered were only .060 instead of .0625 I had to crimp a dent into the side of everyone before holding it with tweezers and driving it in. it took about 20 seconds per rivet once I got going but there are 580 of them to do so far. I cannot foresee another project involving rivets in my near future.
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My wife and I stopped by the Sugar Mill today while we were out flea-marketing. You must have done hundreds of hours of research just to get started with it and I can't imagine how many hours you have in the project now. You are truly a dedicated master machinist.
my first piece was the cylinder, it doesn't look too complicated but it has an internal passage that goes around the center from top to bottom so It had to be sleeved. at the time I started I had never used a lathe of mill much so It wasn't just a matter of figuring out how to make the parts but also how to do the setups and use the tools. If you look close you can see the work improves as you move out away from the cylinder. some parts I'm going to remake now. I took very good photos and used photographic measuring software to accurately measure the parts I needed to make and scale them down.
half the mill is missing so to figure out what went where I did months of research about late 1840's to early 1850's mill engines. I located and measured every mounting hole in the frames and from that information I figured out what was where and the type of setup it was. there are no 2 Steam Engines alike unless they were ordered as a pair, I have looked at thousands of old pictures. the technology was advancing so fast. these engine were the space shuttles of their time and sent people running away when they started them. at this time the south had almost no railroads and the owner of this mill David Levi Yulee also built the first railroad across Florida saving the ships a trip around the keys to deliver goods to New Orleans. the company that built the mill was the
Novelty Iron Works in New York they built ship engines and complete ships. They set world records including the first steam Atlantic crossing. Their contribution in the Civil War among other things was the armor plating on the northern ship the Monitor with it's turret, the first iron clad to battle another iron clad the Virginia or Meramec it's also called. fought to a tie no damage to either.
I still research to make things like the plumbing to see what was used then and how it looked.
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not being able to sleep long made me productive last night and today... I finally finished all of the pipe fittings and Valves. there is one thing missing but I'm not sure I'm going to add it. there should be a manual pump out in front of the big gear on the ground but I don't think anyone would notice it missing.
next I have to make the conveyor chutes, 4 drive pulleys and the rollers for the conveyer. I don't have room on this board for the entire conveyor system so I'll just have the drive rollers turning with no belts on them.
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I started making parts for the conveyor on the roller mill. I contact cemented the metal to plywood to cut it out, then I removed it with a heat gun. I also made the flat belt pulleys and installed them on the ends of the rollers. I have never found any good information as to what they would have used for conveyor belting in the late 1840's early 1850's
I made 2 rollers for the conveyor belts today. all the wood on my model is salvaged teak from a sunken dive platform.
I need to add detail to the sheet metal to make it look like cast plates, they didn't have sheet metal yet as far as I can see.
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I think I'm going to try to power it with a small ac compressor from a small air conditioner or fridge. I want to try to hook the compressor to the exhaust and pressure side so it is closed loop system. It should work if I let the suction side intake more than just the engines exhaust so it will build pressure on the high side to the regulator. it only needs 5psI to run at the speed I want it to run at. the other up side to this is the engine will stay oiled internally. I'll use a momentary switch so by holding the button it runs?
sugar cane looks like bamboo and was harvested in the fall, stripped of its leaves then run through the roller press. the sweet liquid that was pressed from the cane was heated in a series of massive kettles until almost all of the water was removed and the sugar would begin to crystalize in a thick syrup called molasses. the molasses was fermented and used to make rum or used for cooking in its natural form. the cane sugar a brown colored crystal remained and was filtered out of the liquid.
The plantation this mill was located at was 5100 acres and during the civil war had 1000 slaves operating it. the boiler to operate the cane press was fired by the stalks that remained after being crushed.
The Yulee Sugar mill on the Margaritaplantation closed at the end of the Civil war and David Yulee's home was destroyed by Northern gunboats. the steam engine and mill were only in use for 13 years so this engine was only started and run 13 times at harvest time in October/November each year then sat idle waiting for the next harvest.
The sugar cane is far different from the giant cane growing on river banks.
While the stem of a giant cane can be easily crushed, even if large, the sugar cane is very hard, and to cut it is not at all an easy job.
A friend of mine brought me a sample of sugar cane from Cuba, ~ 2" diameter, and it was impossible to cut it with a normal kitchen knife, as shown in the films: I had to use a metal saw…
there were two pieces of linkage for the steam box on the engine I have wanted to redo for a long time. the outside lever was made by soldering 4 pieces together because at the time I started on the mill I really didn't know how to use a rotary table and the one I have made was not really accurate. It looked ok but I had broken it when I tried to tighten it. the other part was the link in between the steam box and the linkage It was just made really fast to see if the engine even ran and I had planned to get back to making something nicer looking at a later time. so today I remade these 2 parts and tuned the engine.
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Thank you Phil
I got into casting and cast most of the aluminum parts (rough cast ) then machined them out, but reaching the temperatures to melt the brass was a lot higher and made me a bit nervous. I did make a mold and tried it with poor results then I found these castings from PM research they were perfect. they even have them pre-machined. http://www.pmmodelengines.com/product-category/pipe-fittings/unmachined/
the information about when the sugar cane harvest took place came from a state website about the mill and the plantation. There is no sugar cane growing in our area now and I have never seen the actual plant up close. these plantations have disappeared into the swamps again and the only clue of their existence is this old chimney and mill next to a local road.
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I soldered the adjusters for the conveyer to the sheet metal today. One of the hardest things for me to learn was how to solder tiny parts together without burning them up or just gooping on the solder. I learned with practice to use tiny dots of solder on one part, flux everything, then clamp together and heat, a quick rubbing with the flux on a brush while hot spreads the solder evenly and very little more is needed. if I do need to add more I put on a tiny dot and spread it out with the brush again. the solder normally flows in the direction of the heat source.
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today I made mounting brackets for the conveyor and pivots for the chutes that go in between the rollers and conveyors. I'm finally seeing an end to this tunnel an far as making mechanical parts. I think I have 2 chain sprockets, 2 flat pulleys and an exhaust mount for the tube under the cylinder then I start on the compressor lines and electrical to operate the engine on a closed systems. the 1/4" exhaust elbows will need to be opened up so they complete the exhaust passage back to the compressor. I'm hoping that using the suction and pressure side of the compressor I can use a much smaller, quieter compressor.
Today I made the sprockets and pulleys for the conveyor and test ran them on rubber bands. I have a local leather shop I'm hoping to get some soft leather flat belts made.
I will be so happy to get this finished!
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Today I was working in reverse, I had to take the cylinder off to machine a few areas. the 4 mounting pads that stuck out of the cylinder were not level and cocked the nuts when tightened. when I first made the cylinder a lot of people thought it was cast in its shape, I'm not good at mold making. The cylinder was cast and machined ( or in my case, at that time, "carved" ) out of a solid block. The cylinder was bored and an internal grove was cut inside in the center to move the exhaust from the valve on top to the bottom of the motor. A sleeve was then pressed in to make the bore. the piston is made from nylon. I never thought I would be putting exhaust on the engine when I built it and now that I'm going to use a closed loop system to run it I had to machine the exhaust port and install a fitting.
My first photographs of the build were all lost because of a virus the kids got on my pc downloading free games. no one has ever seen the machine work on the cylinder and valve parts and really how inexperienced I was 6 years ago when I started this project. Look close you can see where I turned the handles the wrong way. DUHHHH... So while the cylinder was all apart I took a lot of photographs to add to my build thread. All of the housings look like castings because I milled them free handed, by rotating cutting and rotating again. After machining I hand sanded most of the marks out. I cast and built a rotary table to do this and a crude tail stock.
The original engine had all square nuts And I was not able to find them when I first assembled it. ( I don't believe from what I have found, hex nuts were being used yet in the late 1840's ) Now I have machined some and I'm slowly replacing the hex nuts. I won't be able to replace all of the Allen cap screws, just the 4-40 ones with studs and nuts.
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maybe I'll do an Album and title it "Obsession".
my shop was originally a drafty shed.
This project started because my son and I were in a museum after visiting the original mill on a trip to Homosassa Florida, and I commented how " It would be nice to show how it originally looked and build a model of it". To which my son replied " Ya, Right Dad !! not in a million years " .
I have cut that time down to 6+ years without knowing how to do anything when I started. I purchased a lathe and small HF mill in 2009 but really never learned to use them, just shafts and spacers as needed. I can honestly say that for the most part this model is responsible for almost everything I have learned about machine work, designing and cnc. and 90 percent of the money I have spent in the last 6 years.
So my new shop, all the thousands of dollars worth of tooling and equipment and having to learn design and build my own CnC machines was just to prove to that "Little Smart As_ " I could do it.
if that's not obsessive behavior what is?
At least you learned to make spacers ) and also you worked to preserve an important historical heritage.
Think to the guys who buy something like this, and don't even have the satisfaction of have it made with their own hands!