Vulcan Beam Engine – 2
In this post I’ll talk a little more about the castings, their preparation and assembly. Unfortunately I did the work before I decided to start this blog, so I don’t have any images of the raw castings to show you.
As I mentioned the castings need a lot of work to make them look reasonable. Before any machining is done I like to get the finish as good as possible and the casting filled and primed. There’s no easy way, it’s a case of settling down with your Dremel, grinding bits and files and fettle away until your satisfied. In the case of the Vulcan it’s not that bad, the castings are Gunmetal which is a much nicer material to work with as opposed to Cast Iron where everything you touch turns black with the dust.
My aim was to only do as much machining as necessary to assemble the ‘framework’, if I get that right then the rest should be fairly straightforward. One of the first jobs was to bore the cylinder which once upon a time I used to find quite daunting, but when you think about it, all your doing is putting a hole through the casting, for all the rest of the machining I use a mandrel so I know everything will be true, (there’s still a lot of work left on the cylinder so you’ll see what I mean). Once that was done the upper and lower cylinder covers were machined and also the cylinder pedestal.
For the base I decided to use Aluminium Plate rather than purchase the cast plate that AJ Reeves offer in addition to the kit, (expensive for what it is). The side frames were machined, as were the shaft bearings and trunnion bearings and all components laid out and fixed on the base. Once all the heights and alignments were checked and adjusted, it was on to fitting the Side Stays, Entablature Frames and Vertical Stay. Nothing too difficult with this, just a lot of patience to get everything to line up. So there we are with around two weeks work in a nutshell, it really is a case of slowly, slowly, but now it’s there I don’t foresee too many problems (famous last words!). If it’s of any interest I did manage to watch all of Narcos 3 on Netflix while working on the castings! Next blog I’ll have a little chat about the Flywheel.