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Repouring crosshead babbitts?


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  #1  
Old 12-25-2016, 09:42:52 PM
con-rad con-rad is offline
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Default Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Hey all,

As I was shimming the bearings in my 15hp Pattin, i noticed that the cross head slide had a huge amount of play up/down, so I'll have to repour the babbitts. Could anyone give me some guidance as to how to go about that? Do I need to install the piston and rod first to hold the crosshead in alignment? Do I pour the lower bearing first with the upper guides removed and out of my way, or...?

I understand the basic concept of pouring babbitt, but i don't know what the best process is for damming and pouring crosshead slide specifically.

thanks!

connor
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:46:38 AM
W.P.Klein W.P.Klein is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Thanks for asking Connor. I need some pointers on the proper procedure also.
Bill Klein
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:37:34 AM
Old Engineer 1967 Old Engineer 1967 is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Do you have any photo's of your engines?

...There's a couple of slightly different ways which I'll gladly help with, but really need an idea of what your x-heads look like.
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:56:52 AM
Bill Hazzard Bill Hazzard is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

I would take the shoes out and Babbitt them outside of the engine and then machine to fit the guides.
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Old 12-26-2016, 04:19:05 PM
con-rad con-rad is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Here's some photos. the upper slide rail is spaced by a steel chunk spacer, and possibly a fiber shim or two. (what purpose would shims serve here, anyway? I would think the bottom wears faster than the top, and you can't shim the bottom rail up...)

the bottom babbitt seems to be poured within a cavity in the x-head, and the upper babbit seems to be poured right to the edge.

connor
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:46:54 AM
Old Engineer 1967 Old Engineer 1967 is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?



Here's an example of a mould that I made about 30 years ago, which works so well, I still use it! (Apologies for the quality of the old photos)

I made it so that it has about 1/8" all round clearance, on the sides that are metalled....So that you end up with 1/8" metal on the casting as a starting point, then finish machine as appropriate.

Obviously you would need to guesstimate what your original thicknesses were, and allow a bit over.

You can spend a lot of time making a mould, but it pays off, because you have less machining, and in some cases, no machining, just dressing with a file. You don't have to make a precise fitting mould, you can just make a 'box', which you suspend the x-head in, pour it, then machine piles of metal off. Make sure you save your old white metal that you melt off your casting, and any swarf you make as it can all be re-used.

Your x-head casting should be full holes or slots, to key the white metal, and to allow it to flow through, when you pour it, i.e. it was white metalled in one hit.

The idea being is that you would melt off the old white metal.

Hopefully the original tinning will still be present, if not you will need to shot blast the casting so that it can be re-tinned. Either way you will need some flux to either apply fresh tin, or to 'clean' up the old tin, prior to pouring the white metal.

Basically it's made from bits of mild steel, welded up and machined as necessary, remembering to make it slightly oversize in the areas that need white metal.

I made it to clamp onto the sides of the x-head, that don't require white metal. This way I can setup the x-head so that it's 'floating' i.e. it sits midway in the mould, so that the white metal can flow under, and over it.

The x-head, with mould fitted, is clamped onto a steel plate, and any small gaps are sealed with plaster of paris.

The red arrows show 2 cavities where you can pour the metal in one, and watch it fill up at the other end.



This shows the finished item. It's a locomotive x-head, but the same principal. It has white metal top, and bottom, and on the central side thrust faces.

Your shimming is the same principal....The idea is to shim it nicely from new, then it will last longer. If you set it up 'slack' it will wear faster.

If you get stuck, or need more detail on anything, let me know.
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Old 12-27-2016, 06:33:41 PM
con-rad con-rad is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Thanks! So a few questions:

Is it possible to pour the babbitt using the x-head rails as guides/mold? That way the machining post-pouring could be avoided. I know people that could machine it for me, but it would make the job easier. Also, finding a datum on a cross head seems like it would be a little challenging; and measuring what thickness to machine the bearing to (especially the bottom one) seems tricky.

The way it seems to me, only the top bearing surface can be shimmed, even though the bottom bearing would be the one wearing faster (assuming the engine is running in the standard direction). So it seems like shimming a crosshead is a one-time adjustment, unlike a round bearing where shims can be removed as the babbitt wears?

connor
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:20:24 PM
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Photo Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Attachment 271185

Attachment 271186

Attachment 271187After determining the thickness your crosshead pour needs to be. Just make a frame / dam that thickness. most common 1/8" thick and pour to the top of your frame. Level your crosshead all directions and secure it to a table. Plug the holes in the crosshead casting that hold the babbitt in place once it cools. Pour the top then flip it over and remove the dam material out of the holes pour the bottom. If it's good and level your pour will be nice and level. I use something called damtite also have use plaster and sometimes Wv red clay. If your not happy with it you can melt it down and try it again
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:04:34 AM
Old Engineer 1967 Old Engineer 1967 is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by con-rad View Post
The way it seems to me, only the top bearing surface can be shimmed, even though the bottom bearing would be the one wearing faster (assuming the engine is running in the standard direction). So it seems like shimming a crosshead is a one-time adjustment, unlike a round bearing where shims can be removed as the babbitt wears?

connor
Yes, if one, or more of your x-slides are 'fixed' they are the datum, and the shimming is a one time adjustment, up to that datum.

...The x-slide in the photo that I posted has removeable x-slides, so that both sides of the x-head can be re-shimmed multiple times, using the piston rod as the datum.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:02:55 PM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Skidmore,

After those bearings were poured, you had to machine them I assume? How did you determine the thickness needed for the bottom bearing? What did you use for your datum when you were setting it up in the mill?

Is there a reason these bearings couldn't be poured using the ways of the x-head as a mold?

conrad
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Old 12-29-2016, 11:30:57 PM
Kirk Taylor Kirk Taylor is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by con-rad View Post
Skidmore,

After those bearings were poured, you had to machine them I assume? How did you determine the thickness needed for the bottom bearing? What did you use for your datum when you were setting it up in the mill?

Is there a reason these bearings couldn't be poured using the ways of the x-head as a mold?

conrad
They can be poured in situ. You may not get quite as nice of a pour, and it's a painstaking task, but it can be done. I helped set up and pour a 20 hp Bessemer crosshead, and I currently have a 12 hp Bessemer of my own that needs new babbitt. The challenges you will encounter are numerous. One, the damming process is tedious. You need to be certain there is relief on all of the surfaces apart from the slide surface itself. If the babbitt wraps up or down around anything, you'll have a difficult time getting it apart. Two, the molten babbitt is exposed to and must travel a considerable distance across cold cast iron. There is opportunity for the babbitt to chill before it completely fills the slide. Warm the casting a bit before you begin. Run the babbitt as hot as you can without overheating it. Vent the ends of the cavity well. And pour as fast as you possibly can. Clean everything extremely well beforehand. The slightest bit of oil or moisture will create a molten-babbitt volcano. If you've never poured bearings, this may not be a good first attempt. As I said, it can be done, and I'll probably do my 12 hp that way.
Be careful and remember to have fun along the way.

Kirk
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Old 12-30-2016, 12:24:46 AM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

With the cylinder and piston still bolted to the bedplate and the head removed. Level the crosshead area of the bedplate side to side front to back. Unhook the connecting crank rod from the crosshead pull the piston rod back and put a small magnetic level on the piston rod. Measure the gap under your crosshead. Add a little, this will give you the thickness of your pour. To get the top pour reinstall the crosshead bars. Put a 1/16 or more shim under the mounting area for wear later. This will give you the thickness of the top pour. Having the head off you can screw the piston on and off the crosshead easy to do any fine tuning to you Babbitt once poured. No need for expensive milling. Use a flat knife to scrape any high spots off. Imperfections are just good spots to hold oil.
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:03:15 AM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Looking back at some other crosshead pours I have done. This one was very challenging. Top bottom and the sides, notice I used angle iron as my frame / dam. WV yellow Clay as my damming material. BD Tillinghast halfbreed on an Ajax steam bedplate.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:36:03 AM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidmore View Post
Looking back at some other crosshead pours I have done. This one was very challenging. Top bottom and the sides, notice I used angle iron as my frame / dam. WV yellow Clay as my damming material. BD Tillinghast halfbreed on an Ajax steam bedplate.
Thanks for the photos. I can see where setting up with angle iron would be much easier than pouring right on the bed plate. I have a long chunk of plate that I sometimes pour rods on; that would be a perfect platform for doing the Bessemer crosshead. With everything set up on angle iron, the entire assembly is easily dammed and could be heated to get a nice pour with not-so-hot babbitt.
Thanks again for the input.

Kirk
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:43:31 PM
W.P.Klein W.P.Klein is offline
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

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Originally Posted by Skidmore View Post
Having the head off you can screw the piston on and off the crosshead easy to do any fine tuning to you Babbitt once poured.
Thank you for the good info Skid but please elaborate on this quote. Bill Klein
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:00:58 PM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

With the head removed you can use a socket and ratchet to thread the piston and rod into the freshly poured crosshead rather than using a pipe wrench on the rod. That takes forever. Once threaded together you can slide the crosshead back and forth, disassemble and you will see any high or tight spots. Then do a little fine tuning with a new utility knife blade. Scrape away a few thousandths were needed.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:39:10 AM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidmore View Post
No need for expensive milling. Use a flat knife to scrape any high spots off. Imperfections are just good spots to hold oil.
Ok, I think i got you now. So after you assemble the cross head with no babbitt and make measurements, you fabricate your dam exactly to those dimensions. When you pour, the x-head must be perfectly level so the babbitt levels out, and the poured surface is flat enough so that with a little scraping afterward, it is a finished surface. Is that correct?

With that process, there isn't any issue with the top surface of the babbitt caving in a little bit, due to cooling shrinkage? that would ruin the flat surface.

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Old 12-31-2016, 08:31:01 PM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

Yes you got it with a little scraping thats the finished surface. no problems with the top or bottom sinking. It would sink in if you preheated to much and soften your first pour but it takes a lot of heat to melt babbitt.
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Old 01-02-2017, 12:19:10 PM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

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It would sink in if you preheated to much and soften your first pour but it takes a lot of heat to melt babbitt.
Preheated the babbitt too much or the x-head too much?

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Old 01-04-2017, 11:09:55 PM
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Default Re: Repouring crosshead babbitts?

So here's another babbitt bearing question, thought i'd ask here rather than make another thread.

As you can see in the photo, one of my bearing caps is broken so the babbitt needs to be melted out so it can be brazed together again. My question is what is the best way to pour that bearing half? it is best to use a dummy mandrel or use the crankshaft itself? I'd like to use the crank but it seems like damming it would be a challenge. any other wisdom?

Thanks!

connor
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