Shell Engine

Covid Lockdown

With car boot sales being banned I lost my main source of useful junk and so I looked round the workshop for inspiration. A large brass WW2 shell case seemed to be needing attention and looked a bit like a boiler.
Back in 1950, when I was 10, my dad took me to watch a traction engine race between two local farmers and I so well remember standing up on the footplate of one of them and marvelling at the massive crankshaft and flywheel. The whole engine was hot, smokey and oily and I loved it. (See ‘A Wager for Ale’)
And so my Big Boy project began to take shape with many round head screws looking a bit like rivets and even a dummy fire box hole. The chimney had been a boat flagstaff mount and that was fixed on top of an MG piston. The nose cone was donated by Jane but using that shell case to mount the engine workings turned out to be a big mistake, shell cases are tapered. That gives major alignment problems.
I always allow for big adjustments on assembly, an excuse for poor machining, but the more adjustments you allow for the more you have to adjust and those tapers nearly drove me crazy. Nothing was square 😖
As it progressed, the idea of actually putting wheels on emerged, sort of like a vintage farm mobile engine and I found 4 ancient looking ones, painted them with red oxide and fitted them. It looked a bit daft and then I thought a pair of iron lawnmower wheels would look better for the rears, the smaller ones could work for the front steering and perhaps I could actually get it to drive itself.
WAIT! This is beginning to look like a model traction engine and I DO NOT do models.
The wheels went into the bin.

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