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Using a brake cylinder

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Nathan Sharpe24/07/2019 23:15:18
149 forum posts

Just a general question. Has anyone used or thought of using a vehicle brake cylinder in their modelling? Nathan.

Mike Poole24/07/2019 23:34:03
2607 forum posts
63 photos

What did you have in mind?


peak424/07/2019 23:41:29
1105 forum posts
127 photos

I used a Landrover one as a universal head to hold end mills for sharpening on my Clarkson..

A bit rough and ready, but sufficed for several years.

Next plan, when I get round to it, is to source a slightly larger clutch slave cylinder to make some top hat bushes to allow the use of my ex-brake slave cylinder end-mill collets with my larger proper universal head.




Edited By peak4 on 24/07/2019 23:44:21

Nathan Sharpe25/07/2019 00:04:56
149 forum posts

Mike, I was thinking about a traction/steam cylinder. Much modification but is it possible? N

Howard Lewis25/07/2019 12:12:38
3370 forum posts
2 photos

A clutch slave cylinder will have a blank end and an inlet port at the other end. There may be enough "meat" to drill for ports to the valve face / bore at the other end. A drum brake slave cylinder is likely to be open at both ends with a central inlet port.

Hopefully, the material will be cast iron, rather than light alloy.

The material should be capable of withstanding far higher pressures than those seen in a model loco, or road engine.


John MC25/07/2019 12:33:09
292 forum posts
38 photos

Was there a design for a Robinson type hot air engine using a car brake cylinder described in ME some years ago?

May have used a beer can for the displacer, (I could be wrong about that).


Ian S C25/07/2019 15:46:57
7468 forum posts
230 photos

According to James G, Rizzo, there is a brand of drink in UK that uses a stainless steel can this is used in at least one of his engines that was featured in Model Engineer. Aluminium cans are far from ideal for use as displacers.
I have a brake cylinder somewhere in the workshop waiting for a motor to need a cylinder, I have decided that to make the best use of it, I will turn the outer diameter, and use it as a cylinder liner. I was looking at a (full size) cylinder liner in the junk box the other day, I think that if I cut it in half I might make a Ross Yoke type ALPHA motor with about a 4" bore. The liner needs reboring (that's why I'v got it).

Ian S C

DiodeDick27/07/2019 11:27:59
5 forum posts
2 photos

I used a cast iron double-ended rear brake cylinder from a Hillman Avenger as the body for a baby VDH for my Norfolk (nee Flexispeed Meteor) 2" x 12" lathe. I had to cut off the bit that takes the brake pipe and bleed nipple and fix the rest to a piece of 1/4" plate from below. There might have been some packing to get the centre height right. I made a shouldered bush for the mandrel nose end to support a 1/2" mandrel and a double ended one, like a stud coupling with no threads, to support the index plunger at the other end.

That little lathe was also fitted up with a Cowell screw-cutting kit and a back-gear using gears from a scrap damper actuator. It did a lot of good work for me. All that stuff went when I traded up to a Myford.

I sometimes wish that I had kept it for the mantelpiece.


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