Re: Something new and kinda sorta 100 years old looking
OK, decided just to move on to plan "B".
What I'll be doing is reconfiguring the engine to be more along the lines of a traditional steam engine. I had to go down the road with my first idea far enough to get it in my thick head that there's a good reason why traditional steam engines don't have closed crankcases - a lot of steam blows by the piston and inevitably turns the oil into foam (you can see it on the ground in my YouTube clip). So, forget having oil in a closed case. I'll drain out what's in there and cut a "window" in the front of the case. This will give me access to the crank and wrist pin bearings so I can squirt some oil on them before running the engine. I can put a cover over this to keep crud out (I still have the upper vent and the case drain). To oil the shaft bearings I think I'll use a syringe oiler (from my slot car days) to shoot some oil in right through the seals. You can't get to these bearings from a window in the case because they are behind the counterweights. This is not an engine that will be running for hours on end, so this should work fine.
bchowk suggested a steam whistle valve on the feed line, run off a cam on the shaft, to time the steam inlet. I had also been thinking of this approach, so concurred and ordered a whistle valve today.
I'll post some pics when I start making the modifications.