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Member postings for Ramon Wilson

Here is a list of all the postings Ramon Wilson has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
26/02/2021 22:49:50

Hi Noel,

Thanks for the suggestion but no, I don't have a copy and it's a very long time since I saw one - early model engineering and 'library sourced' days I think. What memory I do have of it was that it was mainly traction engine builders so was surprised by your comment.

Late this afternoon I suddenly remembered I had a quite old telephone directory hidden away. Had a look and there was a listing for my old friend Morris who is the curator mentioned previously. Gave it a ring and caught up with him. Obviously the Lydia Eva drifter is affected by lockdown restraints but he assures me the cylinder drain valves simply vent in the 'sump' below the engine and then down into the bilge which is pumped out at regular intervals and removed when the engine is running. As he remarked though, in its former working days that would have been straight over the side! Incidentally Morris was the guy interviewed by Neil Oliver when the vessel featured on the BBC's Coast program.

I guess there's no need to be any different then so I'll run the pipes 'below'


Thread: Stuart D10 Metric Plans
26/02/2021 14:38:23

When I began machining for a living my first two workplaces were jobbing shops . It was the norm to be faced, on a daily basis with a variety of drawings (metric v imperial) from a variety of sources and a variety of machines to work with (metric v imperial) Sods law almost guaranteed that you would be working an imperial machine with a metric drawing or vice versa. Needless to say one did not round up nor down!

It quickly became the norm to convert - either way depending on machine set up - and work to the resulting dimension ie no rounding up or down as such (see next para) just the given dimension in it's 'opposite' form for the machine being used .

Still do that to this day. All metric machine movements save down feed on Linley mill. Current drawings being worked from are in fractions - e.g. 23 divided by 64 on a calculator gives .359375 x 25.4 = 9.128 (9.13 working dimension) No rounding to stock size either - just work to that dimension. Metric dimensions on imperial machine - just reverse that.

I usually begin a project, if it requires it, by sitting down with the drawings and a calculator and convert all dimensions anotating the drawing with red ink with the converted measurments.

A benefit of this is that sometimes errors are seen before machining.

As always it's horses for courses - it is not something I even give thought to anymore just do the conversions and start machining.

Of course if you have say a 3/8th reamed hole called then you ream it 3/8th but you make the part to fit 9.52mm.

Threads are a different matter - it's then down to individual choice - I still prefer to use BA and ME but there are occasions that metric are a suitable alternative.

Just my thoughts on this - I really don't see this as a problem as such - just work to the machine dials but of course you need to have both forms of measuring kit wink

Regards - Tug

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
26/02/2021 09:28:15

Thanks Jason and John

Yes I had noticed the HP inlet drain and having had a fresh look found the two lower drains on the passageways. Doesn't show anything on the GA or for the top of the cylinders though - easily done however.

John - Understood on the 'receiver' - I'lI look into this further. I can see the logic of not providing areas for potential leaks but on an engine in an engine room the drain must have gone to somewhere specific. Although this is not a scale model per se I would like to make it and it's features as fair to the full size as I can if possible so though this does not have to be 100% it would be nice to follow full size where possible. It's more important (to me) that it's there in more or less the correct manner than it's potential working effectiveness.

We have close by where I live the 'Lydia Eva' the last remaining steam powered Drifter. It has a triple I believe so may be worth a visit once restrictions lift. That said I do know one of the curators - all I need is to find how to contact him.

Sun's shining, garden's calling - I'll give the black stuff a rest - well for the morning at least wink

Regards - Ramon (Tug)

26/02/2021 08:14:31

Morning guys, more good stuff, thanks as always yes

10Ba - I pondered over which way to look at this at first but came to the conclusion this would be looking at it from astern - a RH prop would be turning clockwise which John (Olsen) now confirms. That is how I will do with this model then with the HP leading the LP in that direction.

Simpling valve - I am aware of what it is for and when it would be used but no other knowlege. I've never fitted one to a model so far. I was under the impression however that this allowed steam (air on this model) at inlet pressure to be diverted direct into either cylinder. John mentions 'the reciever' so now a bit unsure how this is set up.

That brings me to another question - Nearing the end of the main cylinder parts I realised that the engine as designed has no drain valves. Easy enough to deal with that by fitting the usual side bosses for take off but it lead me to thinking where do marine engine drain points actually drain to. Is it to atmosphere somwhere external to the engine room or into a collector or indeed to the condenser itself. Some full size 'marine' knowlege would be helpful here for sure so if anyone can comment further on the last two points it would be appreciated.

Began machining the parts for the piston valve block yesterday - all going well and no further mishaps. I'll make sure there are pics of the relevant parts before the JBW goes into action

Regards - Tug


Edited By Ramon Wilson on 26/02/2021 08:15:48

Thread: A milling anomaly
25/02/2021 19:04:37

Thanks for the further input guys - all grist to the mill yes

Gray - I've been milling all day - 12mm end mill - so have not been able to check your suggestion but from the inspection by feel yesterday I don't think it's loose however its make up. I will check though once I'm finished.

Martin (Blowlamp) - your thoughts on vibration are my own and as Gray says milling with a ball end cutter is not so smooth as with a conventional slot drill. I do think that was the root cause but as said it does not explain how the cutter can unwind against the cutter rotation aqnd no I was not in reverse!

Peak4 - As said from the outset I've been using a screw in type chuck for many years - I do it exactly as Martin describes and as I was taught how forty odd years ago. The amount of times I have changed cutters in Autolok and similar chucks must run into thousands. That doesn't mean I didn't fail to do it properly but having done it twice I think its fair to say this is one instance that I can be sure 'I'm' not at fault from that perspective.

As also said it is very rare indeed that I use a 1/4" or 6mm shank cutter in the screw type chuck always prefering to use FC3 cutter instead.

Obviously there must be a reason why this occurred - and certainly the second time when everything was double checked but I'm buggered if I can explain it

Had a good days milling - plenty of the black stuff today wink

Thanks again guys - apreciated


Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
25/02/2021 07:56:30


From what I can see in the limited references on marine engines I have there is no reference to cranks at 180 degrees. All engravings and images show them to be at 90 degrees so I can only assume that is the convention.

The previous comment on direction of rotation is still an open one - which cylinder leads the other for instance - again I assume it's the HP to LP in forward motion but don't actually know - I will keep looking for some indication that that has relevance but not able to find anything so far.


Thread: Condenser Cooling water flow
24/02/2021 23:07:58
Posted by Nigel Graham 2 on 24/02/2021 16:44:43:

I'm sure it will do as intended, but as a general point it can be worth keeping eyes open for old engineering text-books as guides to typical design practices contemporary with the machines we are replicating.

Many show not only the machine's principles like steam-engine valve-gears; but also common details like proportions of parts, based on various manufacturers' drawings.

Topical as just this very minute I found and ordered this


It has to be worth £3.90 to find out if it's what it says it is


Thread: A milling anomaly
24/02/2021 21:34:49

Hello guys - first off many thanks for all those interested enough to comment - all much appreciated.yes

This wasn't so much how do I prevent this problem as to one of interest. I did think immediately that 'Swarf Maker' may have had the answer in that the point had gone inside the chuck but no, not so. It is not of 'Clarkson' quality but never the less has proved perfect for my needs since bought ( about five years or so) Recently it has had a lot of use mainly on 10, 12 and 16 mm shanks. This is the first time I have used the smallest collet however - usually I use an FC3 cutter in a holder but as the cutter was a screw shank went for this method of drive instead. I am totally satisfied that there is nothing wrong with the chuck, the collet threads are fine and a close fit on the cutter (now deceased) and that the cutter was of good quality. Of Clarkson make, probably a hang over from working days and thus well over twenty years old so made in the UK and laying in the drawer waiting a use for it.

I am well familiar with fitting cutters to this type of chuck and whilst I considered I may have been a bit hasty the first time through familiarity I certainly wasn't the second.

Dave Halford says there is no way this could have happened if the cutter had been screwed home and he collet tightened accordingly - I totally agree David, in fact I phoned a good friend of mine who has a lifetime of machining experience. "What would you say if I said I've just had a cutter pull itself into the work from an Autolock type chuck" I asked him - "Not possible" was his instant reply and were it the question had been levied at me is exactly the same answer I would have given

I have to say I can only conclude it must have been due to vibration - I still can't reconcile myself to the fact however that in order to mill itself into the work piece so deeply the cutter had to unscrew itself outwards in direct opposition to the cutting forces trying to screw it back in.

I called this an anomaly which it is but maybe that should have been engima!

Everything is fine though, the small divots left after final cuts will fill with JBW and not be seen and the part is now finish machined with the steam ways ready to fit.

Alls well that ends well - happy days eh !

My thanks again for the response - I thought that it would be of interest if a bit mystifying.

Regards - Tug

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
24/02/2021 16:11:12

I'm not sure it would Jason but it definitely wouldn't if the cranks were at 180 so you are potentially right it would not be 'self starting' but near enough - save that one position

Isn't a simpling valve something that would be fitted as standard on a compound/ triple? One is not shown on this drawing but could easily be so

Thread: A milling anomaly
24/02/2021 16:01:27

Hi, I thought some might find this unusal situation of interest.

When I began my machining career some forty odd years ago one of the very early things I was shown was the correct way in how to place a cutter in an autolock screw type milling chuck. I have contiued to do that since safe in the knowlege that any cutting forces that were trying to 'pull' the cutter out of the chuck due to the helix would infact screw the cutter tighter into it's thread and subsquently push the collet into the nose piece tightening itself in the process - a state of equilibrium if you like. In all that time I have never seen a cutter move outwards from such a chuck. In fact until yesterday I would have said it was impossible but yesterday I had it happen not once but twice!

I was step milling a concave radius in cast iron using a fresh long series Clarkson 1/4 dia ball nose slot drill. Step over was 2mm at the depth required from an initial 10.7 mm depth. At around 1000 rpm the cutter was chattering - it sounded as if it was almost plucking at the material but did not appear to being stressed. I was climb milling to ease the pressure on the cutter and the surface finish was not great but I put that down to the long series cutter and the longish side cut with that fair amount of overhang I had. Feed was by hand and steady for the situation - ie not being forced or rushed

On a cut on the hidden side the noise slowly increased so stopped only to find the cutter had pulled into the work and was loose in the collet. The nose piece itself had tightened substantially on the chuck but the cutter was removed by hand. I put this down to possible carelessness on my part in putting the cutter in and not tightening sufficiently so reset every thing paying particular attention to that and continued in the hope that I would be able to use the part if the score was not too deep. Obviously approched this the second time with caution but within another cut on the other side and back again for the next on the hidden side the same thing occured again but with a vengeance. - this is the resultmarine compound (41).jpg

marine compound (42).jpg

It wasn't until I took it out of the vise to photograph that I noticed the run off (bottom corner) and began to think this was definitely due to cutter deflection and vibration but it didn't explain how a cutter can unscrew itself from an auto lock type chuck and penetrate the work - yes, the quill was very firmly clamped and no, the head did not move.

I reset everything again and continued but this time milling conventionally - a slight improvement but no pull out - until that is the cutter snapped - this wasn't my bloody day. I found a standard cutter I didn't know I had which performed much better and managed to clean it up considerably so part saved.

marine compound (43).jpg

But the mystery remains - how does a threaded cutter pull itself into the work from a screw in collet chuck.

If I had't witnessed this nyself I would have said it was not possible but the proof was right there.

Any thoughts?

Hope that's of interest - Tug.

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
24/02/2021 15:16:35

Ha - how did you guess Chris laugh A lot more work to do on that yet but yes that's whats intended.

I have read bits here and there of the text but found the practices describd not relevant to how I had planned so haven't ploughed through it all as such as yet.

I did note from the outset the 180 degree cranks but decided I would do them at 90 degrees - they simply don't look right never mind the potential for stopping on dead centre. Only later did I notice in the text he mentions that option. My plan is a composite affair using Loctite and pinning. The eccentrics will be separate for individual movement.

You raise a good question on what way does a marine engine rotate for forwards motion. With a stationary engine the answer is well known but for a marine engine? Anyone know if there is a defined direction for forwards motion?

Gardening over for the day I'm now off to mill some more of the valve face

Regards - Tug

Thread: Condenser Cooling water flow
24/02/2021 13:16:07

Chris, Just had another look at this drawing - there is no indication of any internal plates to act as you say. I agree though that that would be the likely effect if the incoming cooling water did not fill the inlet chamber fully

I do note now though that the outflow has a tube that rises to the top of the outlet chamber end which would be drawing water from the top of that end chamber.

I have little knowledge of condensing per se other than the models made - the jet condenser on the corliss and now this one. Despite the claim this is made to full size specifications there are no baffle plates shown.

I'll leave this to those who do have and learn something from them yes

Tony has had some good input that's for sure

Regards - Tug

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
23/02/2021 22:39:14

Hi Guys,

Despite the weather and garden distraction I have been able to get a bit more done. I have added some more images to the album but here's one of the current state of play as of this evening

marine compound (44).jpg

I experienced a totally unexpected cutter movement and serious pull in while milling that concave face - a cutter pulling out of an 'Autolock' type chuck. Forty odd years of milling and never seen that before. Perhaps a bit more on that later as it's getting late and tiredness is rapidly setting in.

Just a few more bits to mill though and the head can be assembled

Regards - Tug

Thread: Condenser Cooling water flow
23/02/2021 22:18:47

Hello Tony,

On the compound marine condensing engine I'm currently building the drawing shows the circulating pump connected to the condenser lower flange position and shows the cooling water 'outlet' at a top positioned flange at the other end. The author of the article states that the engine is based on full size practice so can only assume this is correct - for this engine.

However, in the newly arrived Reeds 'Yacht Trawler and Launch Engines' book it shows just one surface condenser and it is shown with the sea water inlet at one end and the circulating pump - extracting - at the other, both of which enter and leave the condenser at the bottom.

I think Jeffs point about thermal shock has a resonance and with the condensate lying in the bottom of the condenser possibly the reason behind a low inlet position.

Not a defined answer but perhaps helpful in some measure

Regards - Tug

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
21/02/2021 22:31:51

Thanks Jason, I was surprised to find such a long thread - must have completely missed that one.

Julius has to be complimented on such a tour de force - something there for everyone whatever stage you are at, Some really nice projects there. Personally I like the way he does his drawings - certainly very characteristic. I did have thoughts of his version of Chucks Maudsley Oscillator, using mainly in brass but whether that ever sees light of day remains to be seen.

Chris - don't read anything untoward in not visiting MEM as in the past - just that I find theres only time for one (for me) and I've found the variety on here of far more interest. Never fails to amze me the number of threads covered on a daily basis.

Dave I worked offshore for several years - one of the rigs was a drill ship converted from an ore carrier. It had two four cylinder triple expansion engines and a steam draw works. I was never on board when the vessel moved location so in just over four years never did see the engines running.

Good to see you here Doc - keep an eye out for the JB Weld wink

Had a near disaster to day - began machining the bottom plate of the cylinder having predrilled three holes on the centre line of the work piece. Having profiled most of one side suddenly dawned that the centre line on the bottom plate, unlike the top, was offset by 3 mm or so. With that gut wrenching feeling that it was a return to start situation I measured it to find I had just .15 mm left to clean up on the offset side - Phewwweeee!

Not much done as the weather has made it 'garden time' - more soon though


Thread: Engineering / Modelling Books for Winter Evenings?
21/02/2021 21:01:52

That's a really nice restoration Doc and a lovely book to treasure  and not only for the personal reasons. Got me thinking - if I could only keep one book which would it be

A difficult decison for sure





Edited By Ramon Wilson on 21/02/2021 21:02:26

Thread: RR Merlin Scale Models
20/02/2021 09:17:55

Well I wouldn't say hijacked exactly Martyn but it has suffered from the usual tangents and straying gently off topic. Something that affects most if not all threads at some stage.

You asked a basic question - those of us who read your post and had some knowlege of the engine at the time you describe had no idea of it's current whereabouts.

Because your question has not been answered positively is no justification for closing the thread - someone may come along who knows the answer - you just need to be a bit more understanding of the situation and perhaps just exercise a little patience and show consideration of fellow members.

Regards - Ramon

Thread: Paper under vices.
20/02/2021 08:59:10

Hi David,

I would agree with all - there should be no need to put paper under a vise unless the surfaces are extremely poor - usually unlikely

I use a slip of copy paper a lot to aid grip from a clampiing perspective but have never had need to put it under a vise.

Ramon (Tug)

Thread: A Marine Condensing Engine
20/02/2021 08:35:18

Ah yes - that's the company Jason - didn't realise there was a build log on MEM, don't visit there so much these days.

Interesting to hear Julius has drawn a version, I wasn't aware that he had but no surprise as he's so prolific. Is it on MEM? and do you have the link for the build on MEM?

19/02/2021 22:39:14

Hi Rod - well I'd certainly like the facility but don't think it's worth pursuing now. I certainly agree - two differing skill sets but both providing their challenges. Jason has certainly taken the requirements on board and come up with the business for sure. Being able to machine oval spokes on a flywheel is very desirable but not enough to take on board now.

Chris - both sides of the bed plate have been hollowed out - the front is pocketed but the rear was milled along it's length - the addition of the well pump base providing the 'pockets' at the rear.

marine compound (24).jpg

I originally intended to mill the underside right through and make the webs to drawing but felt that that might be just a bit too weak. I changed the shape underneath and milled it all from solid

marine compound (26).jpg

The standards are located by pockets on the front side of the condeser. There is one 8BA screw going up from the inside into the central web and two c'sunk 8BA screws in from the front. Theheads of these were not fully home but milled off when the faces were milled square to the base. These screws are more for pulling the standard into place than for anything structural.

marine compound (35).jpg

I made the bearing caps from two parts for cosmetic reasons and it's much easier to mill the angles on the base part as well as making the radiused ends easier to machine.

I don't want to get drawn into a full build log scenario as it does eat up a lot of time but I will post pics of relevant machining ops where I can.

Pat J - I think the castings were possibly done by an American company?. There is some info on the net but there is nothing currently available as far as I'm aware.

Regards - Tug

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