Project Grandpa's Engine





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  1. #1
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    Default Project Grandpa's Engine

    I've just completed the renovation of a model steam engine my late father-in-law made some time in 1980/81.

    My father-in-law was a fitter & turner at the co-op in Riviersonderend.

    The Villiersdorp Co-op has a Ransomes steam engine that was bought in the early 1920's (the serial no of the engine suggests 1921/1922). This engine was used to generate steam for the 'moskonfyt' plant. In those years there was a huge oversupply of 'stookwyn' (grape juice used to distill as alcohol), and the newly formed co-op started to make moskonfyt (grape juice jam) from the excess 'stookwyn'. Moskonfyt is actaully a concentrate of grape juice, with the alcohol boiled off during the bioling process in making moskonfyt.

    After some years a steam boiler plant was installed, and the old Ransomes engine was relegated as a steam generator for the drying tunnels that the co-op used to produce dried fruit.

    As time went by, the boiler plant was upgraded, and the old steam engine was 'retired' and not used any more. The engine was later moved to an open space, and was to become the branding label for the first fortified Hanepoot jerepigo made, and still used toay, with the wine now having gotten the name "Treintjiewyn".

    I farmed in Villiersdorp up till 1984. One weekend when my in-laws visited, I had to get something fro the co-op, and my FIL went with. On cominhg back, he asked me to stop at the engine, so that he can get some measurements of the mechanism and overall size, as, in his words: "I've always wanted to build a model of a steam engine, but do not have the measurements". The Ransomes was measured up, and his comment was that the bevel gears for the governor will be the biggest challenge, as he does not have access to a milling machine. On our visit to them about 3 months later, a model engine was displayed with pride and joy. His comments: This is a prototype and is not a working model, but all mechanisms are working as it should. The 'boiler' is made from a brass cylinder from a windmill borehole pump. It is just a 'holder' to attach the mechanicals and the wheels. He made 2 other engines afterwards, and they were able to run with 'boilers' using compressed air. They were never built to operate with steam.

    After some years, the 3 engines disappeared, and my enquiries were met with 'some guy nagged me so much, that I gave them all away' Fast forward beginning of 2016, and the prototype engine was returned to me. The years at Kleinbaai's sea air wasn't kind to the engine. I stripped and polished and brought the engine 'back to life'.
    I then also made a display case for the engine, and this is the result of the process. It was also an emotional process for me, as I could see the 'fingerprints' of his workmanship, and attention to detail that personified my FIL.

    The bevel gears for the governor were made by hand, and is 10mm in diameter.

    Some photo's of the mechanical parts:
    Crankshaft, Conrod with big end cap, Steam Piston, Valve piston, Cylinder assembly, All mechanicals assembled, Flywheel view, Cylinder rear end, Governor, Governor showing detail of bevel gears.
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    Thys de Wet
    Jimny 2009

    Ek het nou klaar gewerk, maar ek weet nie of die bank daarvan gaan hou nie...

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Project Grandpa's Engine

    Some more photo's:

    I realized that the flywheel and the smokestack was originally not painted, and the wheels were red, so I had to redo those. The complete engine was then sprayed with about 6 layers of clear lacquer to minimize corrosion.

    The 'boiler', Boiler with mechanicals attached, Boiler with wheels, Completed in black, Completed in red, In the display case, ready for show.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Thys de Wet
    Jimny 2009

    Ek het nou klaar gewerk, maar ek weet nie of die bank daarvan gaan hou nie...

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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Project Grandpa's Engine

    Very nice!!!!
    Alan


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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Project Grandpa's Engine

    A great job Thys

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Project Grandpa's Engine

    Love this!

    I have a basic steam engine my father got when he was a child. It's in the cupboard waiting to be restored on day.
    Anton



    "At the end of the game, the King and the pawn go back into the same box." - Italian Proverb
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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Project Grandpa's Engine

    Wow, very nice. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us.
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