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Traction engine newbie in south Wales

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Andrew Smith 1619/09/2018 01:13:55
2 forum posts

Hi. I am working towards the construction of a traction engine and will inevitably be posting lots of questions here. Recently acquired the vast majority of castings for the Bassett Lowke 1.5" Burrell but no drawings. Can any of the more experienced people point me in the right direction?

The rear wheel rims are cast in iron but I see that most are now made available in aluminium. Is the iron going to cause me problems? Too brittle when riveting up the strakes? I also need castings for the front wheels and front and rear hubs. Is that likely to be impossible?

First request is for drawing though please. Were they ever included in any ME articles?

Thanks in anticipation.


JasonB19/09/2018 08:05:24
15338 forum posts
1580 photos

Use copper rivits for all the wheel riviting and you won't get problems with the casting as you don't need anywhere near the force to form a copper rivit that you would for steel. Aluminium rivits can be used for the strakes if you can find them the right size and don't show up as much as copper on the bare metal strakes.

No hope of buying off the shelf castings, probably easiest to cut from solid, you may be able to find some thick wall tube for the front rims which will save some swarf. A bit small for rolling and welding which is what is done on larger engines. Hubs cut from solid.

I don't think the engine was ever covered in ME.

3404619/09/2018 08:20:52
395 forum posts
3 photos

Try a WANTED ad as there are members on here who have posted on this engine and who have the drawings

There was a publication by Bassett - Lowke back in the 1960's called How to build a traction engine which described a 3/4 inch scale model which may help.

Tricky19/09/2018 14:31:40
35 forum posts
2 photos


I may be able to help you as I am building one of these that was started by my father about 50 years ago. The design is very old with the plans dated 1949 and there are inconsistencies and errors in the drawings. One of the main problems is that the boiler is shown with integral copper hornplates rivetted and soft soldered.. I drew up, and had professionally built, a new, silver soldered copper boiler with separate steel hornplates which makes for a much better solution.

I also have a pair of machined front wheel castings which I can send to you.

If you send me a Private Message with your email details I will contact you with what I can provide.


Andrew Smith 1619/09/2018 16:11:26
2 forum posts

Wow. A massive thank you to Jason, Bill and Richard for those replies. I confess I am new to any sort of forum discussions and had anticipated having to revisit my queries repeatedly before receiving feedback. To get three truly helpful replies virtually immediately is just great. I think I am going to like it here!

Richard, I will send you a PM re your kind offer. I am especially glad that you have addressed the boiler/hornplate problem. It was going to be a major stumbling block for me.


Maurice19/09/2018 16:50:00
434 forum posts
50 photos

Referring to your cast iron wheel rims; in the dim and distant past, model traction engine wheel rims were made of malleable iron, not cast, so should be ok to rivet.


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