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Boiler Fabrication

Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
I started this thread to document the progress of the boiler I am building for my 26 Advance Straw Burner. I bought this engine in January of 2005 from Norm Stevens of Bellevue, Michigan. I new before I bought the engine that boiler was in need of some major repair. The outside wrapper, under the axle castings, were thin and the firebox sheets were thin around each of the stay bolts. One option would be to replace the firebox and the plate under the axle castings but since I work for a steel fabrication shop that has an ASME “U” stamp I decided to buy the steel to do the entire boiler. I would be able to use the shops machinery to cut the plates, drill the holes for the rivets and stay bolts and form the parts. I want to build a boiler that is as much like the original within reason so I am going to use riveted construction with the exception of the longitudinal seam of the barrel and the steam dome. The firebox will also be of welded construction. A boiler fabricator in Ohio will be doing the welding, riveting and stay bolt installation so that the boiler can receive an “S” stamp.

Now, on to the pictures. This first set is of the engine as it looked after it arrived at my house in Florida.
 

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Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
The first thing I had to do was create drawings of the boiler. Since I work as a draftsman at the steel fabrication shop I work at I did this myself. Because of the size restraints for posting pictures on this message board this image does not look clear at all. If you are interested I can email you better quality full size .jpeg or .pdf files.

Email me at ddonaldson@tampatank.com

In order to create these drawings I had to measure everything on the old boiler. This included removing the grates and crawling inside the firebox. Most boiler shops dismantle the engine before making measurements but I want to keep the engine assembled until the boiler is completed.
 

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Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
The first photo in this set is of the outside and firebox wrappers just after they were cut on the CNC burning machine.

The Second photo shows the firebox back head, the back head and firebox wrapper after the stay-bolt holes have been drilled.

The third and fourth photos show the drilling process. I used two automatic feed, magnetic drills at the same time to speed up the work. It takes 30 seconds to drill a hole which is just enough time to set up the other drill and get it started.
 

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Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
The first picture here is of the water leg being formed in the brake press. The second picture is the firebox wrapper after it was broke in the brake press. In order to get the firebox wrapper in and out of the brake press the crown sheet had to be “back broke”. We are using the plate roll to remove the bend in the crown sheet.
 

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Peter

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11/14/2013
Wow! I wish I could do that. I have an A&T pre-code non-code boiler and wonder at times if this might be financially feasable for the an average guy without access to the heavy fab equipment to have this work done. I assume not and you are lucky to have access to the shop so you can cut your expenses. Look at all the heavy new plate, drool.....

What does it mean to be s-stamp for riveting? I assume the boiler is not asme code and that repairs or fabrication should still be documented and up to some standard? what rules cover this vintage boiler rebuild? is this now covered in the new apendix c, being discussed in other threads? Would it make sense to keep the origional dome, both for cosmetic reasons and you could claim to have repaired the origional boiler? Curious, did you drill the rivet holes undersize prior to rolling? Lots of questions, sorry, its very interesting project to watch.
 

Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
Peter said:
What does it mean to be s-stamp for riveting? I assume the boiler is not asme code and that repairs or fabrication should still be documented and up to some standard? what rules cover this vintage boiler rebuild? is this now covered in the new apendix c, being discussed in other threads? Would it make sense to keep the origional dome, both for cosmetic reasons and you could claim to have repaired the origional boiler? Curious, did you drill the rivet holes undersize prior to rolling? Lots of questions, sorry, its very interesting project to watch.
The "S" stamp is for riveting and welding. It means the the vessel meets the ASME code for fired boilers. If it were a repaired boiler you would want to have it repaired to the National Board appendix C and get an "R" stamp for repair. There are other ASME stamps like the "U" stamp for unfired pressure vessels and many others. My boiler will receive an ASME "S" stamp per the current code and the 1971 code which cover riveted construction. If I were to re-use and portion of the old boiler it would get an "R" stamp.

The rivets holes are drilled to 3/4" dia. and will be reamed to 13/16" dia. before the 3/4" rivets are installed. The stay bolts are also drilled undersize and the each pair of holes will be reamed to line-up with each other and threaded to match the pitch of the stay bolts.

Dan Donaldson
 

Gary Bahre

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Last Subscription Date
12/30/2019
Dan: I want to thank you for sharing the prossess of the making of your boiler. This past spring I was involved in having a new boiler made for our clubs 14 gauge train. It was built in Ohio all 3/8 plate S stamped all welded, Our inspector here in Illinois liked the workman ship of the shop very well. Later this winter we will be taking our Peerless traction engine apart, most likley it will get a new boiler also. I will be posting the work on the American Thresherman's engine as it comes apart. Thanks again for sharing your project. Gary Bahre
 
J

Jim Jake Templin

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Dan,
I am very impressed. FYI welded longitudanal seams aren't as new as a lot of people think. It was a common practice among locomotive builders to gas weld the seam, then rivit butt straps on either side of it. I have also seen gas and forge welded steam domes as well.

Craig Dobbins, the 23 year old R stamp boilermaker from Iowa, is going to rivit together a boiler for an turn of the century NS, and is going to have a welded long seam. He said he was going to put on a fake butt strap, but I told him to just dress the seam and leave it alone and just tell everyone that the seam is on the side opposite the viewer. I think boilers look just fine as long as there is a row of rivits at the throat sheet and smokebox end.

Are you going to do any "cosmetics" on the long seam? IMHO a fake buttstrap on an engine that should have a lap is as incorrect as anything else, and since the seam can only be seen from one side anyway, I advocate just leaving them alone.
 

Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
WildIrishman52 said:
Awesome job Dan, I hope you are doing this on your coffee breaks!!! (G)
Joe Kelley
Coffee breaks, during lunch and several late nights.

This would be a great time to thank my wife for being very understanding on the nights I stay late at the shop playing. She has brought dinner up to the shop for me and the "CREW" on more than one occasion. Thanks darling.

This would also be a great time to thank the "CREW" for the work they have done so far. John Biddle is the man operating the plate roll in the pictures above and Jack Eckerson is the man operating the brake press. Some jobs require the help of professionals.

Dan
 
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Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
Gary Bahre said:
This past spring I was involved in having a new boiler made for our clubs 14 gauge train. It was built in Ohio all 3/8 plate S stamped all welded, Our inspector here in Illinois liked the workman ship of the shop very well.
This must have been the keyhole boiler I saw in Jonas' shop in May. If J S Company does the boiler for the Peerless there is a good chance I will be doing the detail drawings if it is a complete rebuild.

Dan
 

Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
Rev Jim Jake Templin said:
Are you going to do any "cosmetics" on the long seam? IMHO a fake buttstrap on an engine that should have a lap is as incorrect as anything else, and since the seam can only be seen from one side anyway, I advocate just leaving them alone.
This is my thinking as well. I plan to put the weld seam near the bottom and leave it alone.

Dan
 

Dan Donaldson

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11/18/2014
Rev Jim Jake Templin said:
PS

what method of flanging are you going to use?

Last night (Nov. 2nd) I finished grinding the 1" radius on the 2 3/4" thk forming block that I am going to use to flange the back head. Fotunately we found a scrap piece of 2 3/4" plate buried in the dirt behind the shop. It was large enough to cut the forming blocks for the back head, throat sheet and front tube sheet. It is scaled with rust pretty bad but it knocks off with a hammer and chisel fairly easy. I plan to use the forming block to heat bend the flange on the back head within the next couple weeks.
 

AndyG

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01/13/2014
Hey Dan, if you need to clean up your forming block use a needle scaler. The scaler will take care of the flaky rust ASAP.
 

AndyG

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01/13/2014
Needle scalers also work good on that petrified grease/dirt stuff that you have to chisel off of the gears and such. Works good on flaky rust and old paint. Lots and antique equipment restorers swear by needle scalers for all manner of jobs. If you run out of uses fit it you can always use it for its intended use of cleaning slag from a stick weld.
 
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