Something new and kinda sorta 100 years old looking

Discussion in 'Motorized Cruiser Bicycles' started by fishguts, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Fire in the hole! I hooked up the propane today and lit it off - fired up real nice. Now I have to get water flowing.


    I had to make my own adapter to fit a 1/4" copper tube compression fitting on a 3/8" flared male fitting. I used a 3/8" cap. drilled it out and tapped it to 1/8" pipe thread and screwed in a 1/8" MPT X 1/4" compression fitting.
    [​IMG]


    The gas bottle sits on a wood bracket and fits nicely in the small piece of luggage.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    The steam bike has officially moved out of the basement. It did see its shadow but it's still staying where it is. It's getting too heavy to lug up and down the steps anyway.

    [​IMG]


    It's a snug fit, but here are the power components mounted in the bigger piece of luggage. I had to make a plywood bottom for the box because all that was there was glorified cardboard. Both pieces of luggage are secured with screws through the support frame. I had to pony up for a deep cycle battery since there is no generator and it will have to be recharged frequently. The 100 psi pump in on the right and the solenoid that controls when water is sent to the boiler is next to it.

    Next comes making the last two water lines and hooking up the electronics. Then I need to make a new steam feed line and mount the oiler. That should be about it.

    [​IMG]
     
    #402 fishguts, May 2, 2011
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  3. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Finished the water lines and the new steam feed line and drilled out a plug and tapped it to 4-40 (!) thread and installed the oiler. I put oil in the crankcase and steam oil in the oiler and no leaks ... yet. Water is next.

    [​IMG]


    When's the last time you saw a sediment bowl on the bottom of a piece of luggage?
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Poopyboogin420

    Poopyboogin420 New Member

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    I am literally (s)teeming with suspense.
     
  5. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Me too, but night is falling and although I'm really close I don't want to try to fire it up for the first time in the dark. Tomorrow's another day and my schedule is light (no meetings until 6:30PM), so I'll call it a half vacation day or something and see if I can get this thing running. I'll be doing a pressure test with the 100psi water pump first, which is to say, I might be spending half the day chasing down leaks before I fire it up. If I have a leak in the boiler, I might bag it until next week because I have other things that need my attention before the weekend steampunk show ... and I do have a job that requires me to show up ...
     
  6. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Made steam today! Real quick, too. This thing can get up a head of steam in about 60 seconds. That was a big surprise. Everything checks out pretty good, but engine isn't running yet. Here's the list of issues that need resolved:

    1) Still has a leak at the sediment bowl and a small one at the pump. No big deal, but I need to tend to those.
    2) Head leaks out the back, not a big surprise since it was milled with a hand file! But I do believe I can seal the head with some form-a-gasket as it probably won't go over 300 degrees.
    3) It appears my water shut-off solenoid is not doing its job, so I'll have to trouble shoot that. Maybe I need a better water level sensor or something, not sure yet. The nice thing is, the 100 psi water pump puts out well over 100psi and is an excellent cold water pressure check for the entire system. The bad thing is, it's setting off my pop-off safety valve which means something isn't right because the level sensor is supposed to trigger the solenoid to close when the level gets halfway up the boiler.
    4) Now here's a real head scratcher for you. I can spin the motor over easy by hand with the flywheel and can turn it through several revolutions to clear water out of the cylinder in anticipation of steam, but as soon as I get a little steam going (and things really aren't heated up much yet), something inside the engine stops it dead. I can reverse the flywheel maybe 90 degrees and it hits solid again. It feels like a dropped valve. But after I turn everything off and the pressure is dropping, I can spin the engine freely again. Weird. Well, I'm going to pull it apart anyway, but anyone want to hazard a guess as to what would cause it to do that?

    For now, I'll just mop up the oil and water and take it to the steampunk show this weekend as part of our display. next week, I'll pull the head off and have a look.

    [​IMG]
     
    #406 fishguts, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  7. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Can't wait to see this thing run. What beautiful craftsmanship! Hydro lock stopping the motor mebbe dunno?
     
  8. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    I just googled it and hydrolock might be the issue. I might be trapping water at the top of the cylinder. Maybe I need a petcock to drain off the water on warm-up until I have pure steam. I was thinking just rotate it until the water clears out, but I may well be inadvertently trapping water when I do that. That would give the dead stop effect for sure. Thanks for the insight.
     
  9. BrokenVeloMan

    BrokenVeloMan New Member

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    Is there an issue with the compression ring being pushed out from the steam pressure (not sure if they are keystone rings in these little motors) and that is snagging on one of the ports in the cylinder barrel?
     
  10. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Can't imagine that would be it as the cylinder bore would keep the rings in proper alignment as they pass a port, the opening being but a small part of the total circumference and the pressure being so low compared to an ICE at combustion. I have about 100psi in the cylinder on the power stroke where an ICE will have something like 400psi+ I believe (V8's run 600+ and some diesels can be 2,000psi+).
     
    #410 fishguts, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  11. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Had a great time at the steampunk fair and there was a lot of interest in the bike. A lot of what one sees in the steampunk world is a facsimile of steam power, so people were excited to see something that is genuinely steam driven. I'll have a photo up as soon as I can get it off my wife's camera.

    Next steps:
    1) Disassemble the head and seal with high temp Form-A-Gasket.
    2) Replace the "L" fitting on the head with a "T" fitting and add a valve to allow water to be drained off during start-up.
    3) Check the solenoid water line shut-off, level sensor and delay circuit to see what works and what doesn't and make the necessary repair/replacement.
    4) Check heel clearance between the right pedal and the gas valve.
    5) Replace pressure gauge and add a second one and maybe a temp gauge, too.
    6) Add water level sight gauge to the tank.
    7) Secure copper lines.
    8) Secure the seat.
    9) Secure the luggage better as it tried to rattle loose during transport.
    10) Wire up the head light and tail light.
    11) Hook up the front hand brake.
    12) Add a steam exhaust down pipe.
     
  12. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Disassembled the steam inlet and head, added the T fitting and valve. This should allow me to blow off the water on start up until pure steam flows, then shut the valve and crank over the engine. It will also give me a handy way to dump pressure quickly should I need to.


    BEFORE:
    [​IMG]


    AFTER:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Second attempt at running the engine coming this afternoon .... stay tuned ....

    .xx.
     
  14. SlowBalt

    SlowBalt Member

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    I'll make shure to watch the local news tonight :)
    Good luck man. I love that bike.
     
  15. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Second try today. Hopefully third time is the charm because this ain't it. It just doesn't want to spin past top dead center. These slam valve motors are supposed to work even though the steam starts coming in before top dead center (a simple pushrod lifts the ball in a check valve as the piston comes up and over). I think the deal is the slight delay of incoming steam is overcome by the inertia of the piston. But it ain't quite right yet. I'll partially disassemble this thing again and improve on the steam flow by grooving the tappet I use as a valve actuator and see if that works. If not, I have a plan "B". Oh, it does make steam just fine:

    YouTube - steam bike!.mpg
     
    #415 fishguts, May 17, 2011
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  16. bchowk

    bchowk New Member

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    Smash valve!! Been following this thread with some interest and never quite got my head around how it was going to work on steam...GENIUS!! I must build a steam generator now...COOL.

    Fishguts, from what I saw on the web looks like they all have a big flywheel, need a little push to get started and then slowly gain speed. I'm assuming that you have it out of gear? Is it just stuck if give the flywheel a little nudge?

    You are CLEARLY some kind of mad genius or something I mean no disrespect if my inquiry is too basic, just curious is the 100 psi enough to give it that intial kick to get the inertia rolling without a little nudge.

    Thanks for this AWSOME thread, your opening whole new worlds of imagination to me out here.
     
  17. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    Glad you're getting a kick out of this madness ... I am too, and I'm experimenting and learning as I go. The burner/boiler/water feed works great, although I'm still unsure it works automatically as I intend yet. Adding the dump valve near the engine worked out, too. Now I can drain off excess water until I get pure steam. I'm going to pull off the head an grind down the sides of the tappet shaft that goes up into the check valve. I know I have minimal space around it as it is and that may be limiting the incoming steam. The engine should run on as little as 15psi and I'm running 100psi, so that's not an issue. As a single-action steam engine, it won't be self starting, so yes, I'm spinning the flywheel over (with a stick) to get it to start cycling. I haven't hooked the engine up to the jackshaft yet so it can freewheel, so no restriction there. I just think I need to get a good shot of steam going at the right point and it will go. It acts like it wants to start chugging along, but just can't get past TDC. Now, having said that, I do have a large degree of skepticism and thus, a plan "B". It makes little mechanical sense to me that a slam valve would work very well (although I've seen videos showing it does) in that it opens the steam well before TDC, an equal amount on either side of TDC actually. My only guess is that the inertia of a turning engine beats the incoming steam enough to allow it to overcome the pressure. In the world of real steam engines, you want that steam coming in no more than about 5 degrees BTDC and hanging in there for maybe 3/4 of the power stroke. But I'll give this another go before I rig up an external valve system. The trick is to just keep messing with it until it works.
     
  18. BrokenVeloMan

    BrokenVeloMan New Member

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    Hi Fishguts,
    Are you able to get your cordless drill onto the flywheel shaft? The extra turning speed may help. (what could possibly go wrong introducing power tools into them mix?)
     
  19. bchowk

    bchowk New Member

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    You have quadrupled my understanding of steam in a day (maybe not saying much but thanks anyway) Makes a ton of sense that the valve is opening before TDC. Is it building up enough pressure to stop the piston cold, you think? would explain that metalic clunking noise you described, pistons slamming into an imovable smash valve? Seems like the Dudes online are running larger flywheels at MUCH lower PSI. I wonder if hooking up the jackshaft and getting some momentum on that upstroke would do the trick or dropping the PSI and ramping up slower perhaps?

    Really looking forward to that beautiful thing running....
     
  20. fishguts

    fishguts New Member

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    I like the electric starter/drill idea. Not sure my drill could handle that, though. Also the idea of hooking up the jackshaft, dropping the clutch and spinning the rear wheel sounds good. Yeah, and maybe try kicking it over at lower psi. I'm from the, "if 20psi works, 1,000psi would have to REALLY work" school! Not that that makes any sense. Stanley Steamers ran at 400psi I think.

    Oh, the "clunking" issue is gone. It was hydro lock as someone on here suggested. Once I installed the dump valve at the head I could drain of excess water until pure steam flowed. That took care of it.

    I do appreciate all of the suggestions.
     

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