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My 1910 Mitchell "parts car" project


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9 hours ago, chistech said:

Joe, going to try and stop in withthat motor on Wednesday. I’ve got to go to Chicopee so I’m not sure what time I’ll be getting back by Woonsocket but sometime between 1-3:00 if that works for you.

 

That would be fine... I should be in all day.

 

jp

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43 minutes ago, alsfarms said:

Joe, I am curious, with all of the work you accomplish in one day

 

I am sure Joe has now become a quite a machining expert and plans the work he is going to do before he starts. I have been making 16 x 3/8BSW nuts and I reckon they have taken me nearly two and a bit days! Joe has motivated me and helped my learning of machining enormously with his excellent posts.

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12 hours ago, alsfarms said:

Joe, I am curious, with all of the work you accomplish in one day, do you set a limit on the time you spend in your shop or do you do like most of us do and go until you drop?  I find it hard to quit when I have a good rythym going with minimal intervening math issues!

Al

 

I usually start around 10 and work until 5. Twenty years ago I'd work half the night but I find that after 5 or 6 hours I'm really tired, my back hurts from standing all day and that is when I make most of mistakes. I'm not a tireless worker and the day is broken up with going up to the office to answer my emails and help out with photographs and other jobs related to the magazine we publish and that I am "technical editor" of. It isn't demanding work and largely consists of reading all the articles for technical errors... here's out web site.

 

https://gunandswordcollector.com/magazine/

 

And if that isn't enough there is this story... the gentleman being described here was the late EA Mowbray who trusted me to work on his RR and vintage Bentleys when I was still in my 20s. If you look closely, I'm in several of the pictures albeit 48 years ago.

 

https://gunandswordcollector.com/next-issue-childhood-cannon-memories/

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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That childhood memory and hearing about the weight of the cannon has made me think. How on earth did they manage to get all those cannons onto the decks of the ships in the 16th century? Thanks for the interesting break from old cars and engineering, it has made a pleasant change this morning.

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Ships were easy because they had masts. A derrick would be rigged and the gun slung around. Guns aboard ship had to be lashed down very  firmly. If they came loose during a storm they could go right through the side...hence the expression a "loose cannon,."

 

Invariably, the trunnions are located at the balance point so it is just a matter of rigging a tripod over the gun to lift it with a block & tackle and rest it in it's carriage. All of this required a certain amount of engineering knowledge. This is the reason the artillery had a lower social cache' than the Infantry or Cavalry. Because they were forced to commission officers who had specific knowledge they had to accept some who did have the social status generally preferred for officers. The same was true for the Navy where it was even possible for a pressed man to rise to officer status (this actually happened a few times).

Edited by JV Puleo
typo (see edit history)
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Thanks for the information, it is all very interesting. When I first saw the photos of  'you lot' fitting the cannon to the carriage I thought "Why don't they just lift into position!". Thinking about it and being sensible, I realise now, how heavy the cannon must be, as I have some difficulty with even lifting my 4-jar chuck onto the lathe!

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I think it weighed just about 1/2 a ton and the entire time that elapsed between having the idea and finishing the job was about 2 hours. We didn't have any of the proper equipment even if we'd planned it. What we did have was a lot of teenage - early 20s manpower. Of the folks in those pictures, about half have died and most of the other half are retired. I may be the last one that goes into the office every day but even in my case that is more because I than to than because I have to.

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oh man Joe,  What a fun diversion from the Mitchell to see what else makes our friend Joe "tick"!  Being a High School graduate of 1972 I can most surely relate to the time and state of all your cohorts participating in the cannon event story so nicely told!  You rolled back the time for me!  I can only speak for myself, but I am a gun guy also and am into mostly collector type Military guns, both rifles and pistols. ( I do also have several nice sporting guns).  These guns are almost like "family" with each having a particular story that is recalled with fondness each time I have the gun out for showing, shooting or just out of fondness!  I will short circuit your Mitchell thread for just a moment and share one of my "34 years in the making" stories.  During each year on employment at the Power Generation Station, where I worked, I was awarded a gift card for being a good boy and performing well.  I checked with the issuing business, who was Cabela's.  (I hope readers here are familiar with who they are), where they allowed me to bank roll these gift cards.  When I retired I gathered them all up and with my wife in hand walked into Cabelas's and straight to the gun collection room.  I had my desire set on buying the best German P-38 pistol that I could find.  I was in luck!!!  They had, in a glass cabinet, a near pristine example complete with original holster and all the proper Nazi markings.  I took my new treasure to the counter and watched while the clerk counted and verified my award gift cards.  The moral to the story, be who you are and be your best all the time, small blessings almost certainly with follow in some form as they did for me.  I now have a very nice P-38 keeping company with a nice well used 30 Cal. Mauser Broomhandle and a nice grade 30 Cal. Mauser Bolo.  Both of those , like Paul Harvey would say, are another story.

Now back to the Mitchell

Al 

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Al, if you go to our web site and look under books you'll find The Collector's Guide to Military Pistol Disassembly and Reassembly...a book my friend Stuart (the little kid in the cannon story) and I did a few years ago.

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I think this has been a really productive day. I had a very nice visit with Ted (Christech) of Oldsmobile fame who dropped off the motor and speed controller he offered me. It looks as if it's just the thing. Thanks again Ted!

 

I also started on the thrust bearing that will go in the smaller of the two saddles on the crankcase. This is a piece of bearing bronze - something I bought on ebay because it had a "buy it now" price that was extremely reasonable even though I didn't have anything I needed it for at the moment. It's sure handy to have it in hand now. I thought I'd have to make some special bearings some time.

 

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Drilled and reamed to 3/4"

 

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And the OD turned on a mandrel.

 

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I can't finish this until I've finished with the front saddle and for that I'm waiting on some materials but here it is, on backwards. When finished the flange will provide a thrust surface for the gear that goes on this shaft.

 

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I also made a small piece to improve my measuring device. I learned that the tolerances are so close (probably something like .0001) that the set screw that retained the micrometer head bound up if it was tightened. A look at some other tools showed that it should really be clamped in place so I made a small sleeve and slit it with a .040 saw. This is the smallest saw I've ever used and I have to learn how to to do this well because I will eventually have to split the main bearing shells.

 

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And the piece in place although the reflection prevents seeing the slit which is actually facing the camera.

 

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I will use a clamping set screw collar which should hold the mic without interfering with it's operation.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Wait till you have to do the math on splitting the main shells.............do the math 30 times, and measure it ten times............nailed it on the first try on a Pope Hartford.........it also had the Babbitt poured into the crankcase.........we made the shells. It’s got 8K on it now, so it probably came out ok.

 

PS- it was the first time we ever did anything like that........used an old automobile handbook from 1915 we bought at Hershey in the 80’s, as it came with a bunch of stuff we actually wanted......never figured we would use the “bearing book” that came for free with the pile.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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It was great meeting you and Stuart today. I enjoyed the visit and talking about the many things we discussed. Thanks for the tour of the shop and showing me more of the Mitchell.  I hope the motor and speed control will work for you.  I'm actually glad you are just about an hour away. Close enough to easily visit, far enough that I'm not going to visit too often as I  or you wouldn't be getting  much of our stuff done! LOL It is funny how many old car guys have  a similar appreciation for things like antique firearms, trains, and other like things. Many of us are out of some sort of similar type mold it seems. Today I was at a customer  who had inquired with me about packaging equipment to stretch wrap high quality lumber. I was ogling these long pallets of clear cedar 2x4's and 1x4's and realized how excited I was looking at the cedar because I knew just how nice of  wood it was and what I could do with it. When I commented on myself being a little crazy over wood, the manufacturer's rep who was with me, said that he knew exactly what I meant as it turns out his hobby is making quality furniture.  As I said, it seems people who tend to have the want to be or are craftsman all seem to be out of the same mold,  sometimes enjoying the same,  and sometimes different mediums. 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

Wait till you have to do the math on splitting the main shells.............do the math 30 times, and measure it ten times............nailed it on the first try on a Pope Hartford.........it also had the Babbitt poured into the crankcase.........we made the shells. It’s got 8K on it now, so it probably came out ok.

 

 

I'm in luck there. A prominent restorer, who must remain nameless, gave me his formula. I'll experiment first in any case and, if I have a problem, I also have a backup plan. What's the title of the bearing book? Perhaps I should look for a copy for my library.

 

 

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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49 minutes ago, chistech said:

It was great meeting you and Stuart today. I enjoyed the visit and talking about the many things we discussed. Thanks for the tour of the shop and showing me more of the Mitchell.  I hope the motor and speed control will work for you.  I'm actually glad you are just about an hour away. Close enough to easily visit, far enough that I'm not going to visit too often as I  or you wouldn't be getting  much of our stuff done! LOL It is funny how many old car guys have  a similar appreciation for things like antique firearms, trains, and other like things. Many of us are out of some sort of similar type mold it seems. Today I was at a customer  who had inquired with me about packaging equipment to stretch wrap high quality lumber. I was ogling these long pallets of clear cedar 2x4's and 1x4's and realized how excited I was looking at the cedar because I knew just how nice of  wood it was and what I could do with it. When I commented on myself being a little crazy over wood, the manufacturer's rep who was with me, said that he knew exactly what I meant as it turns out his hobby is making quality furniture.  As I said, it seems people who tend to have the want to be or are craftsman all seem to be out of the same mold,  sometimes enjoying the same,  and sometimes different mediums. 

 

You are welcome any time...the great advantage to not working for the trade is that I don't mind interruptions, especially when accompanied by interesting conversation.

 

jp

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11 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

 I may be the last one that goes into the office every day but even in my case that is more because I than to than because I have to.

 

Ooops... I have to take that back. One of those guys is Paul Zangari (owner of an unrestored 1931 Chrysler CM6 roadster) - one of my oldest friends and the afternoon news anchor on a local radio station. so... at least one of us still has gainful employment. Paul, and his brother John (both of whom are in the pictures) have a Saturday morning "car talk" radio program that has been running for something like 20 years now. In fact, I do the show with them a few times every year and sometimes fill in for one or the other if he can't be there.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

 

I'm in luck there. A prominent restorer, who must remain nameless, gave me his formula. I'll experiment first in any case and, if I have a problem, I also have a backup plan. What's the title of the bearing book? Perhaps I should look for a copy for my library.

 

 

 

It was a Dykes Automobile Bearing book, It was all rather involved.....not impossible, but not a picnic. I’ll see if I can find the book next time I am up north, but it will be March at the earliest.

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While I wait for some aluminum bar I need, I'm tying up a few loose ends. Today I made this little piece for the big boring bar micrometer. The original mic - which I have - has an odd size barrel and isn't interchangeable with the 10ths reading B&S micrometer head I have. Rather than make another device like I made for the 3/4" boring bar I made this new piece that will attach to the original holder and allow me to use the 10ths reading head.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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This is the micrometer holder with the 10ths reading mic fitted. I had to run out for a screw... with thousands of them around the shop I didn't have the right one.

 

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The material I needed also came in so I started on the tool I designed to finish the front side of the small saddle. A great deal of this will end up as chips on the floor.

 

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You can see here what I'm dealing with. The casting isn't really round and it doesn't line up perfectly. This is to be expected with a sand casting but I need this to be round because the housing that covers the gears is attached by clamping it around this piece and the corresponding piece on the timing gear. It uses a square rope seal which ought to work just fine if the surface it clamps to is both round and flat. As it isn't it would probably leak like a sieve.

 

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The aluminum bar drilled and reamed to 3/4" to be attached to the boring bar and then counterbored 2" to fit over the end of the saddle. I'll be mounting a cutting tool on this that I hope wil turn the saddle round and face the ears of the cap off perfectly flush.

 

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This is very experimental but I think it will work. I also had a very nice visit today from Gary Ash of the '32 Studebaker Indy car...a project that would be over my head.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Yes, I had a good visit with Joe for a couple of hours, saw the shop full of tools and serious machinery, the pieces of the Mitchell around the shop.  Joe is a charming, erudite fellow and skilled machinist!  I'm hoping he'll pay a visit to my garage.  I'm sure recreating his Mitchell is tougher in many ways than my Indy car replica.  At least I can buy all the engine parts, bearings, and other mechanical bits.  Keep up the good work, Joe!  

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The next, and most tedious step is turning most of the tool down to 1-1/2".

 

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Several hours, and a large pile of chips later....

 

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And tried on the engine. The idea is to mount a cutting tool so that it will turn the OD of the saddle and face off the ears... I certainly hope it works as planned!

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I continued on making this tool today. First, milling a slot for the cutter.

 

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Then a notch so I can access the slot for some set screws.

 

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I stopped in the middle of this to grind this tool. I'm not certain it will work and I confess that tool grinding is not a strong point with me but I think it's ok. We'll know soon enough.

 

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Then drilled and tapped two holes for the set screws that will hold the cutter. I also drilled and tapped two holes for soft point 5/16-18 set screws to secure the tool to the boring bar.

 

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This is the finished product.

 

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I was tempted to stay late and try it when I discovered I'd failed to take into consideration an anchor for the boring bar gearbox to pull against. Since I'm working from the opposite side, and the rack is on the left, it's on the engine side rather than the outside. I'll have to make something for this but by the end of the day my thinking is muddy at best.

 

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I went home last night pondering how to anchor the gear box...came up with an idea and discovered it wouldn't work. But, I was able to come up with a Rube Goldberg contraption that works. I'd make something but as this is the only time I'll do this it doesn't seem worth the effort.

 

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I set the cutter as low as I dared and took the first cut. Thankfully, it seemed to work ok.

 

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I then stopped to make 2 aluminum discs, 2" in diameter with a 3/4" hole in the center. One will take the place of the water pump when I face off the split bushing and the other will be my gauge for the turning tool.

 

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The idea is to turn to the desired diameter and then use it to set the tool.

 

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I'm going down from a nominal 2" to 1-3/4" with .025 cuts.

 

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After each cut you have to disassemble everything, turn the gauge down, reset the cutting tool and put everything back together. This took most of the day.

 

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But I got down to the last cut which, in this case will probably be about .010. I decided it was best to leave that for tomorrow when I'll be a bit more energetic. when this is done, it will get a sleeve over the end to bring the diameter back to 2" but it will now be round. It looks crooked but will be mechanically straight.

 

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Actually, I don't think it will even be noticeable on the finished engine...

the remnants of the original Babbitt fell out too but this saddle will get faced off almost 1/4" to make room for the thrust face of the bearing that is going in this hole.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I made the final cut this morning. It came out a little too small...but I never thought I could hit the desired size right on. There are too many parts to the cutting tool and it's too imprecise to be accurate to the thousandth. In all, I'm satisfied with this.

 

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Next I faced off the saddle both to get the new cap and exactly in line with the old casting and to reduce the length to make room for the thrust bearing.

 

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I also turned down the diameter of the thrust flange to match the eengine.

 

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Then I faced off the split bushing. It was too wide and, to work properly has to be flush with the cap on both ends.

 

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Last, I reduced the thickness of the thrust flange. The gear that drives the water pump and magneto will go here and it has to align with the timing gear. The inside of the thick piece of aluminum is flush with the front of the holder for the timing gear bearing so I carefully reduced the thickness of the flange until they aligned.

 

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And this is what I ended up with. I now have to fit the timing adjustment gizmo I made...

 

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I will have to make a ring to slip over the end of the saddle to return the OD to 2" so that I can attach the cover for the gears.

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I finished up last night and tried to go home, only to get stuck in a traffic jam for an hour - with the serpentine belt on my truck screaming...so I went back to the shop. It was dark and cold outside but that is where most of the tools are. I'd thought something was coming apart and had to look...it turns out it was just the belt but I decided to work a while to wait for the accident to be cleared up. I cleaned up the mill and the lathe and filed of the ridge the facing tool had made in the big saddle. I'll repeat what christech had to say about good files... I rarely use files and only recently someone gave me a pair of excellent Nicholson's...what an eye-opener. This went very well.

 

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I decided to recut the face on the rear of the small saddle to get the bearing and the saddle itself perfectly flush. This is how I make a facing tool. It's just a piece of 1/4" tool bit ground to an angle. I got this little fixture with a pile of miscellaneous stuff I bought from a defunct machine shop, not knowing if I'd have a use for it. It puts a slight rake on one side of the tool.

 

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It works pretty well but I wouldn't be able to do it without the surface grinder.

 

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Then I milled down the notches on the small cap being careful not to hit the faced part. When I got within about .005 I stopped and finished it with my excellent files.

 

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I had to stop in the middle of this to change the belt on the truck but when that was done I machined a groove in the bearing. This will be for oil. I'll put a little Gits oiler in the cap so I can give it a drop of oil occasionally and it will be transferred to the rotating shaft.

 

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It also got 4 holes at 90-degree angles...

 

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Here it is in place...

 

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So, aside from  putting the oiler in and finishing the cap with slightly counterbored holes and rounding the edges, this part is done.

 

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While you can see the different parts, if you run your finger over the pieces you can't feel the seams at all. Since you can easily "feel" .003 I think this is about as good as it gets.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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15 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

I'll repeat what christech had to say about good files... I rarely use files and only recently someone gave me a pair of excellent Nicholson's...what an eye-opener.

 

I better read that post. I have never thought about the quality of files before. I shall make a metal note about the good file makers names for future reference. Filing is just one of those jobs that I have only carried out if I really have to.

 

I am still enjoying and learning a lot from your posts, keep up the great work.

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Now it's time to fit the timing adjuster. The first step was to reduce the diameter of one of the hubs. I discovered that it didn't fit inside the heads of the screws that hold the plate on the end of the water pump.

 

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I also reduced the length by .040...

 

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And attached the water pump to get some final measurements.

 

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After going back and forth to the lathe to make some final, very small cuts...

 

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There is just a tiny bit of binding when I rotate it by hand. I'm guessing the bushings inside the water pump are not in perfect alignment with the front saddle but the difference is very small...probably in the area of .001. I may hone the water pump bushings a little to loosen them up but given that I'm using stressproof ground stock for the shafts and there are many parts here that all have to align, the fact that it is this close is practically an act of God. I think the best thing about this is that it looks as if the the timing adjuster was intended to go in this space.

 

Tomorrow I'll have to broach some keyways and cut a key seat in the water pump shaft.

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Overnight I mulled over how to address the tightness in the rotation of the water pump shaft. The thought occurred to me to set it up on the engine and lap it using the boring bar. I tried that and the bar wouldn't go through both bushings inside the pump which tells me they were very slightly out of line with each other. Since the pump worked, it can't be very much. I removed the center of the pump, and the seals, and set the two ends up to lap the bushings together.

 

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As I suspected, it took very little to get to a point where a piece of 3/4 shaft passed through both bushings easily.

I then attached it to the engine and lapped the water pump and the front saddle with the boring bar.

 

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With both holes lapped I installed the timing adjuster.

 

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When I tightened up the screws that hold it together, it was no longer easy to turn. I took it out and put it on a separate piece of 3/4 shafting and tightened them up. As they got tight, the shaft no longer turned easily in the hole so either the two faces are not perfectly flat or the holes around the edges are not perfectly placed. The first thing I tried was lapping the two plates to each other while they were on a piece of shafting. I didn't quite finish that but it made a definite improvement. I may still open the holes up a few thousandths as that will have no effect on how it works once the screws are tightened but I'll have to find a drill or reamer that is slightly oversize... (actually, now that I think of it I may have one).

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Edited by JV Puleo
typos (see edit history)
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Lapping the discs to each other did improve the situation but not enough so I decided to open up the holes in the front disc. The idea here is that the sides of the cap screw will not touch the inside of the hole which, given there is probably a small amount of miss-alignment, could cause some binding. I'm using a 9/32 reamer so I'm enlarging the holes by 1/32 of an inch. It will eventually get conventional hex head bolts here.

 

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That made a substantial improvement. There is still a tiny amount of friction when you turn it but it is so small an amount I suspect a little oil will solve it.

 

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With that done, I broached key ways opposite the set screws.

 

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I also lapped the surfaces a little to get them even flatter.

 

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This about finished this part of the job. There are some cosmetic things to be done to the caps but I'll leave those for a day when I'm waiting for materials. I took the pillow block off the engine and put the magneto on it's shelf to see if it aligned - which, I knew it would.

 

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Next up is the cam shaft bearing. I will probably have to order a few things in for that but this time I decided not to start buying materials ahead of time since often enough I change my mind about how to do things and they sit around waiting for a purpose. I've also decided that I really don't like the welding on the water pump  - it simply doesn't look right for the period – and have come up with an elegant solution - something I should have thought of long ago.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I've been working on both the cam shaft bearing and the "new and even more improved water pump"...I'm doing the pump now because I have to make patterns for the end plates and don't want to rush the guys next door. Also, I know I'll have to order some bits to continue with the cam shaft so I can work on the patterns while I wait. The first step was milling a 3" radius on this piece of oak hand rail.

 

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Then I cut some wooden squares, planed them to 5/8", put a 1" hole in the center and turned them round.

 

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I did the same thing again to get a 3" round piece and a 2-1/4" round piece and glued them all together.

 

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The pieces of 1" dowel on the right, with threaded inserts in them, will plug the center hole and give the mold maker a way to pull the pattern out of the sand. These still have to be painted and made as close to glass smooth as possible...which isn't difficult but takes time.

 

For the crankcase, I need to replace this hole. It's 7/16 x 14 in the aluminum. The threads aren't great and my proposed design for the new bearing will need a hole that will allow me to torque the bolt that goes here.

 

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I made the threaded insert first. The internal thread is 1/2-20 and the external thread is 7/8-14. Not having a mandrel that will work with the internal hole, I threaded the inside and then threaded the outside while screwed onto a piece of 1/2-20 threaded rod. This works quite well because the pressure from the threading tool wants to tighten the piece but you have to put something behind it, against the collet, that is smaller than the minor diameter of the thread.

 

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With that done, I put the crank case in the mill and located the center of the hole. I did that by putting a center hole in a 7/16 bolt and screwing it in.

 

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Then it was drilled and bored. The drill size listed on the little chart I keep on the bench is actually wrong... it calls for 13/16 which leaves the threads very shallow. I looked it up in Machinery's Handbook to get the correct size and went for maximum thread engagement.

 

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Then, while still aligned in the mill, I tapped it.

 

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Because I was going for maximum engagement it was tight turning it in. I doubt it even needs the Locktite but I don't have to worry about it coming out and it will now allow me to tighten the bolt without worrying about stripping the threads.

 

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Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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The first water pump was too large and I failed to take into consideration the sub-frame that holds the engine. As it was it was impossible to attach the water lines. The second pump solved those problems but I really don't like the welding. You almost never see welding of any kind on a brass car (I've only seen it once)...and certainly not aluminum welding. Welding was known but it doesn't become a feature of car manufacture until much later. There was also some minor evidence of leaking a little where the parts were screwed together. I'm not making it all over again, just the front and back plates which will now be cast so they can't possibly leak. Really, I only need the back plate but in order to make certain the holes for the screws that hold it together line up perfectly I want to drill both plates together. I should have done this the first time around but a configuration that will work using castings only occurred to me a few days ago. Having invested so much time in this I'm determined to get it to the point where I don't have any apologies to make.

Edited by JV Puleo
typo (see edit history)
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Glad to see I’m not the only guy who uses his vertical mill and engine lathe on wood! I do the majority of my inletting in these wood bodies with the mill. It make perfect mortises and even tenons, especially when you need at tenor or mortise deeper than the table saws capacity.

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