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Brian does Ridders flame eater

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  • Brian does Ridders flame eater

    I ordered up the newest Jan Ridder flame-eater design, and have modeled it all this morning. I have changed metric plate and shaft sizes to the nearest imperial (inch") size that is available and commonly used. This involved juggling a few parts around to compensate for minor differences in dimensions. This is the new design using a stainless cylinder and graphite piston and internal valve. These flame eater engines are notoriously dirty due to soot in the flame being sucked into the cylinder and resulting condensation. I am not in any great hurry to make this engine, but I know how that has worked out in the past. The amount of time I spend in my machine shop is in direct proportion to how much "real" work I have in any given week. ---Brian

    Brian Rupnow
    Design engineer
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada

  • #2
    I know you've mentioned the soot and condensation thing before. I guess it's best if they are treated a bit like a black powder firearm and stick with the idea of "clean after each use". With that in mind would some way of rapidly and toollessly (I just made that word up and the spell checker thinks it's OK... How'bout that! ) removing the piston and conrod be a desirable modification for any of these flame licker engines? Or perhaps some way of easily removing the whole cylinder and valve unit for cleaning separately? This second option might prove to be easier and tidier to do for the cleaning. But likely more tricky for the machining details.

    And a custom made brush that sits in a holder off the engine base sort of like the cleaning and ramming tools with the old field artillery pieces?
    Chilliwack BC, Canada

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    • #3
      I have an atmospheric engine based from a J Howell design. It has literally hours of run time. I've never had an issue with soot or condensate. For a quick run when people wounder "what that engine does", I grab the propane and fire it. (Brian, here's your opportunity to conquer your propane fear!) But at shows I use alcohol.
      It has a stainless sleeve and graphite piston.

      Jan's designs are very nice. You should be able to follow them.

      Sid

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      • #4
        I built Phil Duclos's fire eater from 1990 Live Steam magazine and its a great runner. I have no idea of Jan's design, but I found there is some advantage in "tuning" to having the flame position adjustable. My innovation for the engine was to epoxy a rare earth magnet in the bottom of the fuel tank, and then mill out a pocket in the AL base and epoxy in a steel plate. It lets you put the fuel tank where you want it but its still fixed enough that its not about to fall off or move about:

        https://imgur.com/VwZb4eC

        Other notes, like a Sterling they have very little power. Keep moving parts light - super thin piston wall etc. Also go for a very high quality finish on the bore and piston (I lapped mine) so its very smooth and that nice fit of no interference for easy sliding but also no excess gap to sap the power

        PS, I use alcohol (methyl hydrate) and haven't notice any dirtiness at all.
        Last edited by Mcgyver; 02-15-2018, 08:22 AM.
        in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
          I am not in any great hurry to make this engine, but I know how that has worked out in the past. The amount of time I spend in my machine shop is in direct proportion to how much "real" work I have in any given week. ---Brian
          Brian, I do believe that the worst thing that could be done to you would be to have nothing for you to do. You are a machine when it comes to cranking out these builds, and it's always a joy to watch over your shoulder as you do.

          J

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          • #6
            Check out Gunter Bettinger's site, which includes stirling, vacuum and flame-eater motors. The site is in German, but the pictures are intriguing:

            http://bettigue.blogspot.de/

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            • #7
              Read the thread title and thought Brian had joined the circus...
              Len

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              • #8
                Originally posted by QSIMDO View Post
                Read the thread title and thought Brian had joined the circus...
                I read Sid's post and thought he drank at shows.

                Looking foreword to the build Brian!
                Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
                Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

                Location: British Columbia

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                • #9
                  Achtanelion--I wish I could just be a couch potato. I've been driven this way all of my life. I can not, for the life of me, set around and do nothing. This wasn't so bad when I had to work every day to make a living. Now though, that I only work part time, I have so much energy to burn off that it makes me crazy. I don't care much for television, and I average a book or two each week of recreational reading, but that still leaves an awful lot of time to fill up. I'm not sure if I do so much because I want to, or because I have to.---Brian
                  Brian Rupnow
                  Design engineer
                  Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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                  • #10
                    I would like to see a "top view" of the model. Am looking to confirm the tank and cylinder are as "aesthetic" to the eye as is practical.

                    It is, of course, probably too late to do that as history tells us that Brian will already be cutting metal.

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                    • #11
                      Towards addressing what has been suggested re movable tank ... Perhaps the flame generator stack could be threaded somehow to adjust for height; or a sliding tube design. There could be an angled (horizontal) section at the top of the stack that is adjustable for distance to the intake hole in cylinder.

                      This may also allow the tank to be further from the cylinder ... more aesthetics.

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                      • #12
                        Brian, taking about yourself in the third person is not a good sign. Maybe you need a few days off work.
                        The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                        Bluewater Model Engineering Society at https://sites.google.com/site/bluewatermes/

                        Southwestern Ontario. Canada

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                        • #13
                          One surprising thing about this engine is how few parts it actually has. I have never worked with machineable graphite, in fact right at the moment I don't even know where to get it, but like everything else, I will find out as I go along.
                          Brian Rupnow
                          Design engineer
                          Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by brian Rupnow View Post
                            One surprising thing about this engine is how few parts it actually has. I have never worked with machineable graphite, in fact right at the moment I don't even know where to get it, but like everything else, I will find out as I go along.
                            Go to a shop in your area that does plunge EDM work. They should have a piece for your piston. Take along one of your engines that's done to get them interested in what your doing and what you need the graphite for.

                            Sid

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                            • #15
                              Thank you, Sid. I may do that.---Brian
                              Brian Rupnow
                              Design engineer
                              Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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