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Burrell Cylinder

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Alan Wilkinson 118/10/2018 11:45:23
31 forum posts

Hi I am building a Burrell to 1 ½ scale I am now looking at making the cylinder And was hoping somebody had done one before, I am doing it from scratch no casting I was thinking of setting up on the face plate and turning the radius to suit the boiler tube, face back to give me a flange, then taking face plate from lath and setting on Mill to mill top and side faces valve openings etc. Anybody with hindsight any better ideas please.

PS I am using a piece of 3india x 3 in dia. PB

ATB Alan

Nigel McBurney 118/10/2018 13:23:00
579 forum posts
3 photos

I would not choose PB ,a lump of cast bronze(gun Metal) would be more suitable and a lot easier to machine

Alan Wilkinson 119/10/2018 21:37:32
31 forum posts

well that wasnt a lot of help I was looking for confirmation of squence of operation rather than what material to use I allready have the materisl

Paul Kemp19/10/2018 23:39:41
285 forum posts
9 photos


Bit of a difficult question as there are many ways to 'skin a cat', all depends on machinery available and the tooling you have to go in it. I am currently machining the cylinder for a 6" Savage, a casting (iron) and rather bigger but the principles are the same I would say. My plan of attack has been to mount the casting on the table of my mill (it has horizontal and vertical spindles) so at one setting I was able to machine the top face and the steam chest face. Translating that to your lump of bronze if you machine two flats at 90 degrees you then have datum faces to step off for the bore and the saddle radius and two flat surfaces for clamping. My current stage is now mounting it on a horizontal borer to machine the bore for the cylinder liner and then I can use the coordinate scales on the machine to step off to the centre of the saddle radius and machine that. I will then return it to the mill to machine the valve face, drill off the ports and the stud holes for the end covers and saddle.

Couple of things to consider - when you do the saddle radius you want to consider not only the diameter of the boiler but the thickness of any joint you may intend to use between the boiler and the cylinder. When you drill the stud holes in the flange make them a reasonable clearance - as you pull down on the joint any compression will result in slight movement at the extremities of the saddle. Too tight a clearance on the holes and the studs may bind and the joint may not seal.

I guess you don't have a horizontal borer but it can all be done on the mill as yours is quite a small cylinder, would help if you have a boring and facing head for the spindle though (rather than just a boring head). You can do it without but the facing function makes life a bit easier.


Alan Wilkinson 120/10/2018 13:21:51
31 forum posts

Thank you thats what I wanted .

JasonB20/10/2018 13:38:49
15740 forum posts
1646 photos
1 articles

On the Minnie a rough hole is put through the block and this is used to mount the cylinder onto the faceplate so the underside can be machined to the required radius. A piece of bar is then used as a dummy boiler to mount the cylinder between ctrs so the top of the saddle can be done at either end turning the lathe by hand due to the imbalance. A couple of screws up into what will become the cavity at the bottom of the cylinder can be tapped for fixings.

You could also do similar with a rotary table on the mill using a vertically mounted "boiler" to fix the cylinder to for milling the ends and then mount horizontally for the top of the saddle along the sides.

Alan Wilkinson 121/10/2018 12:32:08
31 forum posts

Thanks, I was thinking of doing it on the lathe because I was a turner, I was going to make two together so in balance and then I can accuratly messure the radius. Face down the front and leave a shoulder IE a flange then part down the back and make the back flange then take the face plate off and set it up on the mill the face plate making it easier to set square any thoughts?

Edited By Alan Wilkinson 1 on 21/10/2018 12:35:54

Paul Kemp22/10/2018 01:16:13
285 forum posts
9 photos


A bit difficult for me to visualise how leaving it on the faceplate to transfer to the mill will help. I would have thought it may restrict access to get the cutter in to where you need it especially if you are holding the cutter in some kind of chuck (auto lock, ER etc). Only you can really know what you have in mind and where you need to machine. Jason's idea of a 'dummy boiler' on the rotary table sounds a reasonable plan especially if you can mount your table both flat and vertical, that should allow you to rotate the block wherever you need it.

I am a time served fitter / turner from many years ago but haven't worked as a machinist professionally for years, all my hands on machining is on my own kit in my own time! I tend to go my 'own way' in terms of setting stuff up and machining sequences. All I can advise is spend a bit of time thinking through every stage of the job from start to finish according to the facilities you have available and then work through your mental plan bit by bit. Don't be afraid to think out of the box or be unconventional!


Alan Wilkinson 122/10/2018 12:57:48
31 forum posts

thank you I will think again and again yes the dummy cylinder sounds a good one, my round table is both planes.

Alan Wilkinson 116/01/2019 16:52:39
31 forum posts

Thanks all for the thoughts I have now got started I set up both blocks on the milling table and machined the saddle radius with a Boreing head moved over and baored the cylinnder bore at the same setting to maintane paralell then set on round table and machined the radius on the outer flangs of saddle radius I did this by turnig a bung to size of saddle radius with a boss to fit centre of table then it was easiy to get radius to match, Then made a bung to suit bore put block on this a machined around the make boss dia as per a casting, so all going a lot better than expected, now for the valve chamber a nd drillings.

Paul Kemp16/01/2019 22:30:59
285 forum posts
9 photos


Well done. Good to hear you are making progress, don't forget to take some pictures!


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