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Doug Ayen

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steam show [Jul. 25th, 2009|10:00 pm]
Doug Ayen
I had fun at the show today. It was great chatching up wth some old friends and meeting their 2yo boy, and of course there was the show.

With all the hoopla about Steampunk kicking around the Internet, I'm kind of surprised that there aren't more geeky types hitting these shows. Or maybe they are and I'm just seeing it. Still, being able to hop on an 8-ton, fire and smoke belching traction engine, steam leaking from valves and seals, flywheels spinning, and steam huffing from the exhaust ports is wonderful, and if that isn't the essence of steampunk, I really don't know what is.

These were cutting edge technology in their day, many of them. That multi-ton monstrosity with 6' tall spiked iron wheels generated 15 horsepower when it was brand new -- and still does today over a hundred years later. That's 15 horsepower at any rpm, by the way -- one gentleman was bragging about his later-model 25 horsepower steam traction engine, claiming that his tractor would start a 10-blade gangplow from a dead start with all blades engaged, a feat impossible to achieve with a modern gas or diesel engine. I believe him, as unlike an internal combustion engine, so long as you have steam going into the engine, you can have full power, even at 0 rpm.

In addition, there were the usual hot-ball ignition diesels, several oil-fired half-breed motors, and dozens of engines large and small.

Also, there were vendors. Fewer tool vendors than usual, which is sad, but I still found a few things I wanted. First up was an offset head cutlers' or sawyers' hammer head, a nice heavy one (5lbs at a guess), no markings, some chipping around the edges, but that's easily cleaned up. Next up is a Champion style blower, just the blower unit, not the hand-cranked type (I already have one of those.) I'm going to set up a stand and hook it up to a low-speed motor so I can finally have a quiet blower for the coal forge and any further smelting experiments. Lastly was a nice, thick 26" dia sawblade, prbably l6 or similar. Stock for some projects I have in mind, unless it turns out to be crap.

I may go back tomorrow if things work out.


[User Picture]From: ceo
2009-07-26 03:25 am (UTC)
That was one of the advantages of steam locomotives; they could generate full power at a dead standstill. Of course, the power they could generate fell off rapidly at higher speeds. AC induction motors, which are used on some modern diesel-electric locomotives, can generate full power at 0 rpm and also at 80mph. Of course, they need fancy and expensive electronics to drive them.
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[User Picture]From: gfish
2009-07-26 07:19 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the steampunk community is not about function or real engineering. Disappointing, really.
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[User Picture]From: cz_unit
2009-07-26 10:18 pm (UTC)
*nod* That's part of the reason I like my electric tractor so much: With a shunt motor it will put full torque and HP at stall. Even though it's only a 5hp rated motor, it can easily out-pull a 20hp gas tractor.

I've used it to pull down trees. Steam's the same way.

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[User Picture]From: madbodger
2009-07-27 05:09 pm (UTC)
so long as you have steam going into the engine, you can have full power, even at 0 rpm.

In the sense of friendly technical hairsplitting, you can have full torque at 0 RPM, not full power.

Good seeing you! I went out on Sunday and saw many fine engines, but didn't see you. Possibly because I didn't get out until well after noon.

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