Monday, January 30, 2006

Strange hobbies

I'm sure everyone has some hobbies, like coin collecting, needle point or porn but here is one of mine. Model live steam engines. I say one of them because I also collect coins, fly model rockets, pick locks, collect and repair old Coleman lanterns and I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Yeah that seems like too many things but I'm very curious about everything.

I was a bit bored tonight, a certain someone didn't want to do anything so I was stuck at home, and I really wanted to get out of the house. I was looking at steam engines on ebay but the downside is they are quite expensive. Basic ones are about $100 and the really interesting ones are in the $400-$500 range. Back to point I was depressed at my lack of funds so I dug out the steam engine that I actually own and wanted to fire it up. This actually turned into an adventure because I had to go find some distilled water and I had to go to two places to get it. Superstore has everything except distilled water. I got it at Shoppers of all places and it was cheaper than where I usally get it. Wow I really ramble on sometimes.

Here is a video I took with my digital camera of the engine running.
Click here to watch 'Steam-Engine'
Please be patient Putfile is kinda slow. I'm going to have the google video up soon but their verification process can take quite a while. Also my Canon A70 did a good job, but its mic sucks. The whistle on it is much, much louder than the video lets on. The dog was almost doing back-flips.

In the video you can see me stop the engine and spin it the other way. This steam engine is a double acting engine and can run in reverse but it doesn't have any way to change directions. Its actually a pretty faithful example of how a real steam engine works. The cheaper models are single acting oscillating steam engines and aren't as complex but they don't do a good job of modeling a large steam engine in my opinion.

In case you are wondering it is a Wilesco Model D 365. It does drive itself but I didn't want to make a mess on the kitchen floor. It spews hot steam and steam oil while it runs. I can't imagine running a full sized engine, it would need a huge amount of attention. I guess thats why they are usually given women's names.

I would really like to get one of these but they are about $400. But you can really spend as much money as you want. Jensen Steam Engines out of the US sells their Model 51 for $5000 USD. Here is some really good info about the model 51.

Have a good night
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