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3 The Importance Of Lubrication In Keeping Your Model Steam Engine In Good Health
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If you are considering buying a model steam engine then there are some factors you need to consider, price, quality, appearance and functionality. You also need to look at the application that you are planning on using the engine for, might be a static display or maybe a marine engine for use in a model boat, there are then more mobile engines such as locomotives and traction engines, although these can all be very different in appearance and size the basic principles and maintenance requirements are much the same.
The day to day maintenance of model steam engines is generally a fairly simple affair usually consisting of cleaning and lubrication. Cleaning regularly particularly after use will help maintain the appearance of the engine, not only this but may well alert you to any potential problems that are developing. Lubrication largely speaks for itself as like any mechanical mechanism steam engines require regular lubrication to enable them to function correctly.
Lubrication when pertaining to steam engines comes in a number of forms which we will cover in more detail below, generally lubrication points are pretty much self evident but it is always advisable to consult the manufactures notes on which types of oil to use and where. Some areas of steam engines will get very hot and others will be operating at a much lower temperature so may well require different oils and lubrication. Internal lubrication will be different again as the components are operating in and environment that is exposed to steam at both high pressure and high temperature.
So, here I am going to discuss the different types of lubrication so that you find it easy. Take a look.
This is a simplistic method which is used to introduce lubricating oil into the steam flow to the cylinders, it is quite commonly used on model boat steam engines, the principle is very simple. Steam oil is stored in a small sealed container with the steam pipe passing through the top of it, inside the container this pipe has a small hole in it, the idea being that as steam passes through the pipe some of the steam will pass into the lubricator, this steam will then condense into water in the cooler environment and will then sink to the bottom of the container. This has the affect of displacing oil upwards which then migrates through the small hole into the steam pipe and thus into the steam flow providing lubrication for the internal components, hence its name "displacement lubricator"
Larger engines tend to have more sophisticated lubrication systems for lubrication which may include an oil pump, the pump may force small quantities of steam oil into the steam flow and also provide forced lubrication for the major components such as bearings and glands. There could also be various metering devices and taps in the system which enable the user to more accurately control the flow and amount of oil each component is receiving.
Using steam oil
If you are worried about the other areas of the engine and its lubrication, then there is nothing to worry about. It is relatively an easier process to take care of it manually. You will be able to find small cups or holes to pour the oil that will help the engine to stay in the right state. When you are purchasing Model steam engines for sale, make sure you get the proper guideline where the manufacturer states everything that is necessary.
So finally, when you have made up your mind to buy the model steam engine and thinking about the maintenance, make sure you know about these basic things of the engine and its lubrication. Surely it plays quite an important role in maintaining the health and shine of the engine.
Attention should also be drawn to the difference between steam oil and for instance general motor oil, steam oil contains additives which enable it to deal more easily with an environment where it is exposed to high temperature and pressure steam. These additives allow it to effectively lubricate in these conditions, it may also contain additives which help to keep the internal workings of the engine clean. Steam oil is usually very viscous and becomes more fluid at temperature, in addition there are various grades available depending on the operational temperatures and pressures.
So when considering model steam engines for sale it is important to understand what is required in the way of lubrication, if you can obtain the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines all the better. Good lubrication will extend the life of your purchase, help to insure good running and will prevent corrosion so it is therefore something that you need to pay attention too.
Martin is a noted engineer and designer of model boat steam engines and is associated with the manufacturing of model steam engines. Read his articles before purchasing Model steam engines for sale.
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