No announcement yet.

Boiler Clock - project

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Boiler Clock - project

    Seen this French Industrial clock that looked like a boiler with steam engine at the 2012 GEARS show. The owner told me that if you opened the fire box door you could put in a key and wind it up and the steam engine would run.
    I thought it looked neat and took some pictures and decided later to have a go at making something like it.

    Getting started. Didn't have any brass tube but had a nice brass sheet that was just enough to make the main tube, the top and two cross tubes. Rolled the brass for the tube about 6" in diameter and 12" tall. Wasn't sure how to fit the top with a lap joint so decided for a silver brazed butt joint. Wired tube joint tight with soft wire and some wire for going the long way to keep wire going around the tube off at the joint. Wasn't sure if joint would stay in alignment at the edges so drilled and tapped. Inserted some brass 2-56 screws.

    Silver brazed joint turned out "good 'nuff" some little flaws but can live with.

    Last edited by gary hart; 04-22-2013, 01:05 AM.

  • #2
    Had some unknown type of cast resin that was the right size to use for a form for the top. Turned the resin to size to allow the formed top to fit inside the brass tube. Put a slight crown on the top. Cut a blank disk about the right size plus a little for trimming.
    Put the resin form in hydraulic press with the annealed brass disk centered on top and then a steel disk about right size on top that. Squeezed the works in the press and worked way around with wood hammer forming the edge down on the form. Edge formed great but didn't get domed top. Too much pressure from the press flattened out the resin. This was a stroke of good luck as brackets that mount to top could be flat on bottom instead of having to match a radius.

    Starting on the fly-ball governor. Using ball turner made from cheap boring head mounted in tool post turn couple brass balls.

    Brass balls are drilled and tapped. The other connections are either silver brazed or riveted.


    • #3
      Using a CAD program drew out a evenly spaced row of rivets. Printed it out and used a little white wood glue and glued to top rim of brass "boiler" shell. Using a little high speed drill press to drill the hole centers and then followed with drill for the rivet size.

      Studying the picture of the original that am trying to copy it shows 3 bolts evenly spaced between the rivets. So seems that the top could be removed which made sense to me. So the holes were given a little chamfer on inside. Rivets were squeezed a little to hold them in place and then ground flush on the inside. Three of the holes were drilled and tapped for bolts to do the actual holding of the top on.

      Make up a dummy steam cylinder to get a feel of sizes and ideas how to go about getting started on making the steam engine.
      Last edited by gary hart; 04-22-2013, 01:08 AM.


      • #4
        Had some 1" brass rod so that determines outside size of steam engine. Flute the brass and make top and bottom parts.

        Bead blast lagging and make couple of brass bands, polish and force on. A little screw up, to mount the engine to the boiler shell the engine has to be taken apart to get access to the mounting screws. Oh well, going to live with that.

        I liked the simple cross head and for this application it seems to be working good.


        • #5
          Bearing holders for crankshaft have needle bearing inserts. Gear to drive governor on crankshaft and roughed out stand for crankshaft.

          governor mount and gear installed.

          Turning groove inside eccentric strap.

          Eccentric with strap for valve installed. Dang threaded wrong half, will have to put nuts on to make look little better.


          • #6
            Thats great (so far)... you have quite the eye for detail.
            Thanks for sharing.
            ~ What was once an Opinion, became a Fact, to be later proven Wrong ~


            • #7
              Wow! Steam Punk comes to HSM! Very nice, Gary. That had to be fun.


              • #8
                Could you show a few more pictures of the tool used in the boring bar?


                • #9
                  My god it's like Willy Wonka had a baby with Jules Verne,,,

                  that thing is awesome - great attention to detail but we need to see a Vid of it running!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gary hart View Post
                    Eccentric with strap for valve installed. Dang threaded wrong half, will have to put nuts on to make look little better.
                    No worries, just turn it into a stud and put the nut on the other side, almost like you planned it :-)


                    • #11
                      Boring bar cutter is just a round carbide milling insert silver brazed on end of mild steel rod.

                      Better shot of the engine

                      Blank for flywheel cut out of 1/4" brass on little cnc.


                      • #12
                        Roughing off corners

                        Sanding, shoe polish style

                        Boring out center for hub and truing up OD.

                        Roll brass for flywheel rim and file for length and good butt joint.


                        • #13
                          Turned some pipe to hold rim while silver brazing.

                          Silver brazed butt joint.

                          finished flywheel

                          Hammer formed piece of brass tubing for flange on chimney.


                          • #14
                            Bushing for connecting plumbing to boiler shell.

                            Pipe connection to boiler. Bushing is tapped and screw from inside boiler screws into bushing to hold it. Pipe can be held in by light press fit and Loctite or a few are threaded into boiler if that works.

                            Pair of safety valves.


                            • #15
                              Governor linkage.

                              Turnbuckle for adjusting governor linkage to steam control valve.

                              Bronze bushing that will screw in top from the bottom. This gear will drive the crankshaft and the gear on the crankshaft will drive the governor.

                              Drive gear installed in boiler top.