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General Category => Maritime Modeling => Topic started by: Les Tindall on July 04, 2021, 08:22:26 AM



Title: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 04, 2021, 08:22:26 AM
The forum always seems to be a fount of knowledge. So here's the question:

On sternwheeler engines (ones with Pitman lever valve gear) are they reversed using a linkage from near the boiler (which can be some distance away) or by levers situated beside the engines (in which case an additional person is required as I am presuming the steam flow to the engines is controlled from valves by the boiler)?   

Les Tindall


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Barney on July 06, 2021, 02:31:48 PM
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ships_Engine_Order_Telegraph.png
Now every one will SAY Im WRONG but Captain Birdseye said the ships telegraph see above link would be used- basically a man on the bridge does the orders and a man in the engine room does the rest some early versions were just a brass trumpet you shouted down it went down a tube to the engine room the steam from the boilers would be also controlled by "the man " down below or at the rear of the ship in this case
Barney
still asleep !!


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Ray Dunakin on July 06, 2021, 11:23:37 PM
I don't know squat about sternwheeler river boats, but perhaps there might be something helpful in this video which was shot aboard the Nachez:

https://youtu.be/kPamW4DzccA (https://youtu.be/kPamW4DzccA)



Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 06, 2021, 11:58:41 PM
These photos are from the City of Portland in Portland, Oregon. The boilers are separate from the engines. The reversing is operated via a quadrant (no picture) at the head of the engines. by the engineer.   


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 07, 2021, 12:06:36 AM
The pilot house


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 07, 2021, 02:24:08 AM
Thanks all, Bill I think your photos may have answered the question with a crew of 2 on the engines.  One - the "boilerman" keeping the fire going and operating the steam inlet valves, to the cylinders and the other (possibly 15 feet away from the boiler by the engines) operating the reversing gear (the drawings I have do not show any steam valves/wheels by the cylinders so must have been operated from the boiler), both having communication with the pilot from the wheelhouse via speaker tubes or telegraph. I suppose wages were cheap in those days (around 1910)!
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 07, 2021, 04:43:45 AM
Been doing some more thinking on this. The "engineer" would have to be pretty nimble, if there was no linkage between the 2 cylinders to reverse them, he would have to run around 10 feet across the engine room (possibly on the early boats full of cargo) and then inform the pilot and boilerman that this had been done and they could allow then steam back into the cylinders.  Good communication was required, reversing one engine before the other is not good for machinery! (ther new boats such as "Natchez" have more modern equipment  and not the rather crude Pitman valve gear. Any further thoughts and comment welcome.
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 07, 2021, 08:07:35 AM
Les, Maybe this will help.  Are you planning on building a model a stern wheeler?


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 07, 2021, 02:01:56 PM
Thanks again Bill, a useful picture.  Barney and I have also been chatting by email with suggestions and ideas. It's coming together.   I have started on the engines for a 1/24th scale sternwheeler workboat with a steam dredger at the front. Outline idea attached.
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 07, 2021, 02:06:39 PM
Oops - vertical paddleboats! 
The Engines look a bit like sewage pipes with lever on top. That is the Pitman lever valve gear, its a slow revving, low pressure engine.  I've still got to figure out where the steam valves go to operate the engines as non of the drawings I have show them.
Les   


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 12, 2021, 03:19:38 PM
A small stern wheeler wood fired boiler single stack.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 12, 2021, 03:25:43 PM
A small stern wheeler similar to what you are trying to design.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 13, 2021, 02:35:55 AM
Thanks Bill, that drawing of the sternwheeler is just about the right size for the one I am think of building. It's also useful as it gives the width versus length ratio. Important to make the boat "look right". I presume the little room at the back (sorry stern) of the boat is the WC (loo, dunny, toilet, heads - whatever you eant to call it).

Les   


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 13, 2021, 08:00:45 AM
Thanks Bill, that drawing of the sternwheeler is just about the right size for the one I am think of building. It's also useful as it gives the width versus length ratio. Important to make the boat "look right". I presume the little room at the back (sorry stern) of the boat is the WC (loo, dunny, toilet, heads - whatever you eant to call it).

Les   
Could be the head but probably had a holding tank below. [I can just imagine turds etc. sticking to the paddle wheel blades] I suggest you have a squared off bow like a barge. Looks like a fun project.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 13, 2021, 08:15:09 AM
Oops - vertical paddleboats! 
The Engines look a bit like sewage pipes with lever on top. That is the Pitman lever valve gear, its a slow revving, low pressure engine.  I've still got to figure out where the steam valves go to operate the engines as non of the drawings I have show them.
Les   
The engines should have a long stroke. alleys say your boat is 90 feet long: it would require two engines w/ 8" diameter cylinder X 42" stroke. It would consume 4 1/2 cords per hour. I hope you can read the chart attached.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 13, 2021, 08:25:17 AM
I don't know if you can find a copy now but I am getting my information from The marine Iron Works of Chicago U.S.A.  It is a reprint off a 1902 catalogue. ISBN 0-948885-00-9.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 14, 2021, 01:48:36 AM
Hi Bill, amused by the thought of turds flying around the sternwheel!  Thanks again for the info.  My boat will have a squared-off bow as it will have the (Erie or Bucyrus) "clam shell" dredger fitted.   Looking at the engine size chart you posted the boat will be a little overpowered as I am nearing completion of the engines.  Mine are 10" bore with 4ft stroke, but then the extra power would be useful with that flat front. I'll post some photos when the engines are done.
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 19, 2021, 12:32:53 PM
Well the two engines are almost complete (as far as can be before mounting on the support beams which will include the main transmission beam).  The reversing gear will then be added.  The attached photo shows them in my usual dark grey before final painting with steel, silver, etc. to highlight the detail.   Some of the bits were rather fideley (scale is 1/24th) especially the springs on top of the valve levers (very fine plastic rod wrapped around a larger piece of rodding) plus lots of nbw's (from Historex Agents here in the UK).
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 19, 2021, 12:56:34 PM
Looks believable.  Nice job.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Chuck Doan on July 19, 2021, 08:01:12 PM
Just catching up...nice work Les! Interesting project.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: finescalerr on July 20, 2021, 01:28:59 AM
I like it. -- Russ


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 20, 2021, 02:31:47 AM
Thanks for the comments.  Just spotted a couple or errors,  a rather "blobby" look on the end of the front cylinder and a nut missing on the back one.   Now rectified.  Its amazing what you can spot in a photo and not in "real life"!   
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Barney on July 20, 2021, 03:56:00 AM
Another superb piece of plastic engineering  - great stuff  Les
Barney


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Bill Gill on July 20, 2021, 08:51:55 AM
Les,  the engines are looking good. What did you print them in?
Whatever you call it  (head, loo...) I'm sure it wouldn't have anything remotely like a holding tank.

Lot of good information in general in this thread. I want to make an 18 foot HO scale steam launch.
I have a hull but haven't found anything I can use as an engine. Anyone have ideas?


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Les Tindall on July 20, 2021, 09:43:51 AM
Hi Bill, the engines are scratch built in styrene (tube, strip, angle, etc), lots of fiddley bits but reasonable happy with the result.   I've been thinking about the head (loo) and decided a couple of buckets (suitably "weathered!") would be about right - keep it BASIC.  At the end of the day it is a work boat.
Your thoughts about a small steam launch sound interesting.  It would say a small vertical boiler, nicely clad in wood and lots of brasswork, coupled to a small single cylinder engime would look about right.  Very Victorian. Perhaps take a look at the film "African Queen" for ideas.
Les


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Bill Gill on July 20, 2021, 04:20:38 PM
Thanks, Les. Somehow I got it in my sieve of a head that you 3D printed the engines. They look really good.

Yes, I have a few photos of steam launches, new and restored, taken at a museum, and your description of details to feature are spot on.
I'm not that good to be able model the engine in HO scale, but have been looking at possibly kitbashing an HO Woodland Scenics Rural Sawmill engine and boiler that a friend gave me, although the castings are very rough. I think the molds have passed their prime.
Here's what the kit looks like built as intended.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: 5thwheel on July 20, 2021, 08:32:56 PM
Thanks, Les. Somehow I got it in my sieve of a head that you 3D printed the engines. They look really good.

Yes, I have a few photos of steam launches, new and restored, taken at a museum, and your description of details to feature are spot on.
I'm not that good to be able model the engine in HO scale, but have been looking at possibly kitbashing an HO Woodland Scenics Rural Sawmill engine and boiler that a friend gave me, although the castings are very rough. I think the molds have passed their prime.
Here's what the kit looks like built as intended.

I would suggest that you turn the engine 90 and run the prop shaft directly off the flywheel rather than by belt.


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Ray Dunakin on July 21, 2021, 12:15:39 AM
Well the two engines are almost complete (as far as can be before mounting on the support beams which will include the main transmission beam).  The reversing gear will then be added.  The attached photo shows them in my usual dark grey before final painting with steel, silver, etc. to highlight the detail.   Some of the bits were rather fideley (scale is 1/24th) especially the springs on top of the valve levers (very fine plastic rod wrapped around a larger piece of rodding) plus lots of nbw's (from Historex Agents here in the UK).
Les

Wow! Those look fantastic!


Title: Re: Sternwheel engines
Post by: Bill Gill on July 21, 2021, 05:30:03 AM
Bill (5th Wheel), Thanks, that's what I've been looking at doing. I don't like the plumbing up high, the flywheel is too big and the boiler firebox is awkward, but I think I can make it work.

Les, sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread.