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Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor


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  #1  
Old 04-21-2014, 08:16:38 AM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

So I've come across yet another somewhat larger piece of iron of which I know there were many bretheren, but I've been vexed, surprised, and intrigued that such a device exists, yet, such little published information exists on the net...

So if nobody else will... I'll start the thread on it, and anyone who knows anything else about 'em, can join in and throw in their knowledge to add...

And everyone else can live vicariously through, and laugh at, my experiences.

The subject of the thread, is a Worthington horizontal double-acting air compressor with 6" bore, 5" stroke. It's built basically the same as a double-acting steam engine, with an enclosed and lubricated crosshead, a 34" diameter drive sheave, and advertised as 'feather' valves (probably reed-type) on top and bottom. The outlet is a 2" iron pipe coming out the bottom, to a short segment of flexible hose wrapped in stainless braiding. The whole mess sits on a nice bedwork of light I-beam segments.

It's ID tag says nothing of model number, but from everything I HAVE found, I'm THINKING these were referred to as a model VBB.

I rescued it from a scrap-sorting facility somewhere along the interstate in Spokane several years ago, along with a Hercules QX-series engine for nothing more than scrap iron price, and to this day, I'm still impressed with the folks at the sorting facility- that they had the decency to photograph and post such things on Craigslist, just in case there happened to be a better home for 'em somewhere.

The Worthington was stuck... but it's exterior condition was very nice, and the air intake had been covered well with tape and plastic. Looks like mebbie it was taken out of service, but someone recognized that it was of further utility and value, so they attempted to protect it. Only other thing I noticed, was that the mechanical automatic lubricator had a link disconnected, but this may have occurred amidst handling it around.

Pictures and story to follow!
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:35:16 AM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

My buddy has a couple of that style compressor, not sure if they are Worthington. His plan was to use one to power a big steam engine for show purposes, but never got it finished up. Used a smaller wertical Quincy belted to a MM Z to roll the steam engine over for the show. Unfortunately, the show is no longer, so the big comp will sit unfinished, I guess...
I think the mines here in Colorado used a lot of those big horizontal compressors back in the day...
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:32:36 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Photo Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

Sorry to be tardy... here's the porn:
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:36:25 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

And that is incredibly aggrivating. I took the photo in rotated orientation, and apparently saved in it's ____-data that the camera was rotated, so when I look at the thumbnail and picture on my computer, it's rotated to correct orientation, but when it posts here, it's sideways, and for some silly reason, I can't change it. Sorry...

Last edited by dkamp; 04-21-2014 at 10:37:20 PM. Reason: Now why doesn't it like the word M eta data?
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:49:01 PM
Marshall Henderson Marshall Henderson is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

3 out of 4 is good!
If I get 2 out of 4 on anything, I consider it a day and go home.

Should be a great compressor.
Very curious how the rod packings have fared.
Keep the cast iron compressor porn updated.

Marshall
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:13:05 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

So here's the details:

The Worthington is a horizontally-situated single-cylinder double-acting compressor that is, considering it's kin, somewhat of a runt, but at 6" bore by 5" stroke, with a 1.25" rod, a steam-engine type crosshead, a forged crank, a water-cooling jacket around the cylinder, and a 30" diameter 3-groove sheave, a 2" flexible braided-steel outlet hose, and a sitting-on-ground weight of oh... mebbie 2000lbs WITHOUT a motor, it's somewhat large for an average workshop. I'm thinkin' this one swung at around 150rpm or so.

ID Tag says:
Worthington
Worthington PUmp and Machinery Corporation
Buffalo Works, Buffalo NY, USA
Size 6 x 5
No. L-48745

And on the cylinder:
THIS CYLINDER FITTED WITH
FEATHER VALVES
Patent Nos 1,341,145 & 1,916,685
Other Patents Pending

I rescued it from a scrapyard in Spokane, along with a Hercules engine that just happened to be a perfect match for a buddy's Hough Payloader... think I gave the guy $50 for it... stuck tight, they were gonna send it to China, but put it on Craigslist just in case someone wanted rustic yard-art. I'd say RUSTY, but the paint was actually incredibly nice. Well, but it's stuck, so obviously, it's junk, right? Yeah, sure.

I brought it back oh... two years ago or so... but it was late in the summer, so I didn't get anything done with it before winter, and nothing last summer... but I got the forklift over and pulled it out of the weeds last weekend, and this weekend, pulled it around to the driveway, so I could knock over my hardware and tool box onto concrete, rather than gravel and weeds.

Got the end of the cylinder head off... and it looked kinda yucky, but not bad. I loosened up some fasteners and the crosshead cover, got the back end of the cylinder loose enough so that I could see if the crank and crosshead would actually move (the cylinder is removable 'cause it's double-acting)... and after figuring out that it was indeed the piston stuck, I got the shop-vac, some spray penetrant, a block of wood, 4lb hammer, and rosebud to work. I started by vacuuming out all the loose crud, then scraping the obvious stuff with a gasket scraper, vacuumed some more, 'till I had a fairly clean cylinder. Hosed it down with penetrant, then visited it with wood-block and hammer. Shattered my wood block.

Warmed up piston with rosebud... specifically, a fastener IN the piston... it's a special nut, on account that the pushrod is just a round chrome steel rod that moves in a linear path (the crosshead has a more conventional connecting rod... ) my plan WAS to get that loosened up enough so that I could unthread the funky nut from the top of the piston, and slip the cylinder and piston off of the compressor's crankcase casting, leaving the connecting rod in place... that damned nut was stuck pretty good... I couldn't get a special wrench to stay in there, because the piston was in the down position, and the wrench I made was too heavy for me to hold straight AND turn.

My next step was GONNA be to make a guide plate that'd bolt to the head studs, to hold the special wrench, and THEN... turn the nut... but that wasn't gonna happen at 8pm on a Sunday night, so instead, I gave it another dose of vacuum, then wood block, then rosebud, then penetrant, then rosebud, then wood-block, then vacuum... each time, a little more crud would knock free from around the cylinder walls in the piston's ring-land area. What I was really TRYING to do, is get that demmned nut to loosen up... so after sucking it out clean, I got a flashlight and a drift pin, put it against the nut, and gave it a few whacks just to try and shock the nut loose so it'd back out. Still it wouldn't let go, so I had a big prybar chained and ratchet-strapped to the compressor's drive sheave, I pulled on the bar a little bit, then pushed on it a little bit, with a flashlight in there to see if the nut was shifting at all (I'd heated it up and cooled it down probably eight times now, so it SHOULD be ready to start opening up to suggestion)... but no joy. I gave the bar one more pull, and it MOVED!

I pushed it back up, shined a light, and sure enough, the piston moved! I scrubbed the cylinder wall, vacuumed, sprayed it, then pulled it back down... I had the back end of the cylinder loose enough so I could barely see in behind (was pretty clean), and I'd sprayed it pretty good... so was confident it wouldn't tear the bore up... I just started workin' and sprayin, and within about 5 minutes, had it turning a full 1425 degrees...

DUnno what my next step will be, but I'm thinkin' I might loosen up the rod packing, and disengage the hardware at the bottom of the connecting rod, and slip the piston/rod assembly out (through the packing) and scrub the outside of the piston down, clean the rings so they're free, scotchbrite the cylinder wall slightly, oil it good, pull the 'feather' valves (reed plates, I assume), vacuum out the ports, and clean the packing seals, make new gaskets, and reassemble, then belt it to something and see how it does...

Mebbie... to the Fairbanks-Morse FM-18? it's only about an 8hp engine, but I kinda doubt I'm gonna fling this thing very fast...
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:16:56 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

And here's what the detailed parts lookie like!
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:55:57 PM
Marshall Henderson Marshall Henderson is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

Dave
After studying the pictures, here is how I would proceed.
Since the piston is loose.
I would try to pressurize and send in some oil to the packing.There should be a fitting on the housing that connects to the mechanical oiler mounted on the crankcase.

If you can get some oil in the packing, great.

Loosen the jam nut on the piston rod at the crosshead and then make a spanner wrench that will fit the holes located on the top of the piston. You will need this spanner wrench to adjust end clearance when you reassemble the cylinder/piston/heads.

With the spanner wrench rotate the piston and rod and unscrew the rod from the crosshead. After the rod is loose from the cross head then unbolt the complete cyl assembly from the crankcase and distance piece.

By doing this you can then get better access to the packing canister and also you can clean up the rod with some crocus cloth. Rod really needs to be clean and smooth before you pull the packing canister out of the inner head. After you get canister out then you can take apart the packing assembly. If you just pull the rod out of the canister the threads will catch the packing segments and either destroy them or at the least they will pop out. The segments absolutely need to be kept in the same position when they go back together or they will leak and/or run hot and/or damage the rod. Or all of the above.

Packings are the only item on double acting compressors that are delicate and high dollar. They are probably the only part that would be extremely difficult to reproduce from scratch. Cross heads are close second, but they can be repaired and/or adjusted to run with out to much trouble.

Keep us posted.

Marshall

---------- Post added at 10:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:39 PM ----------

A little more info on the spanner wrench for the piston.
When you reassemble the clearance at each end of the cyl will need to be checked.
They need to be close to being equal, with a touch more clearance when cold on the outside head/piston. This allows for expansion of piston/cyl when they warm up. I would guess that an extra .015" would be about right, this depends on how much clearance there is to start with.

You will use lead solder from a coil inserted into the cyl thru a valve opening. The piston will compress the lead and then you can measure with a mic for the resultant clearance. The spanner wrench is used to rotate the piston/rod in the crosshead during this adjustment phase.

It can be somewhat troublesome to do this, the outer head will need to be put on and taken off several times to get this adjusted.
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  #9  
Old 04-23-2014, 02:33:22 PM
iolaguy iolaguy is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

Marshall. I believe you hit the nail right on the head as far as far as the tear down and assemble. Chicago Pneumatic made the same type compressor . they were called a T type. As far as packing. If its not going to be used on a daily 8 or 16 hour shift I believe a soft graphite packing could be used. I had used that on older CP,S . Once he gets it running ,check an tighten it after running it a few times.
I also would like to add that he please check the piston clearance as you said. I doubt he will like the outcome if not done.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:48:24 PM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: Worthington 6x5 Reciprocating Compressor

Yeah... well, I was thinkin' about that.

So, when you say 'inserting into the port'...

Am I measuring clearance from piston to cylinder? Is the idea, to have the piston 'run over' the lead solder and smash it like... well... plastigauge?

Reason I ask... is because the piston... at least on the non-rod side... doesn't come up to the edge of the valve port... IIRC it's back about 1/8" or so...
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