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Member postings for Fred Graham

Here is a list of all the postings Fred Graham has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Mechanical lubrication
15/09/2015 19:48:13

Hi Keith,

Thank you very much for your response and the data you have included, it is most helpful.

As it happens some time ago I found an article in a very old Model engineer Magazine entitled 'Model Marine notes' from the 1920's or 30's (I don't recall exactly) and based on the authors engine size, the oil pump size and gear ratio used, the amount of oil you have calculated corresponds closely with the figure which I calculated from his data. The author described the oil delivery as, 'more than adequate.'

The article was my reason for canvassing comment from others such as yourself

Once again thank you and it may well be that such data will help others to determine the oil demands for their engines. Model loco fans may well have such data as they usually pump oil into their engines so it may also be a source of pertinent data.

All the best and happy steaming, Fred Graham

14/09/2015 15:20:36

Hi Folks,

I have not been active on the site for a while but keep busy despite age 74.

I was wondering if anyone had any clever ideas as to how much 'pumped' oil would be required to maintain a smooth friction free engine when running at high speed or pushing a heavy load.

I note that there are exponents who race round poles with flash boats ( e.g. Bob Kirtley and Paul Windross) and they are very concerned about good lubrication.

I have not seen any enlightening articles which describe how to determine the pump size and how much it should deliver over a given time span.

I have had a go at calculating an amount based on surface area of swept volume and film thickness but data is scant on steam engines big or small

I realise that it is more common to use displacement lubricators although I believe the flash men use hydrostatic lube systems.

Someone is bound to be able to point me to a load of data for which I would be grateful especially if it is not full of differential equations and lots of mathematical and flow complexities.

Cheers, and happy steaming Fred Graham

Thread: Fire Monitor
04/12/2014 21:19:05

Hi Andy,

Looks like I'll have to wait for them to sort things out. Thanks for the update. I can assemble all the bits of the fire monitor but the diagram enclosed in the box is far from clear so I'm hoping that they publish something more helpful.

Thanks again, Fred

04/12/2014 11:08:33

Hi All,

I am a new member and could use a bit of guidance. My password seems to need resetting every time I try to log in and I am offered some odd looking sets of characters. How do I reset it to something memorable as I cannot locate the icon or option box anywhere.

My query is has anyone been able to make contact with Robbe. I am looking for assembly instructions for their fire monitor I think it is called 'dolly'

Thanks, Fred Graham

Thread: Water Pumps
11/06/2010 21:00:51
Hi Phil,
Thanks for your comments and It is interesting that you have run at engine speed and geared. I presume that the volume of the pump for an ungeared set up would be smaller.
Did you keep the valves and ram the same size and shorten the stroke. Making the ram smaller would probably have meant reducing the ball valve diameter all of which makes for more fiddly seats etc.
As you will have gathered I asked the question because I see that Monahan in particular have apump with the valves arranged horizontally across the top of a vertical ram. There is a U_tube video showing the plant running and water being delivered into a collecting vessel. I wonder how it performs against boiler pressure.
Thanks again for your interest, Best regards, Fred Graham
03/06/2010 19:52:28
Hi Folks,
I have noticed that on some commercial engines (E.G. Hemmens & Monahan) they have a water pump which is directly driven off the crank shaft and have the ram operating vertically and the valve boxes disposed horizontally.
In all the model plant descriptions I have seen over the years, pumps are normally geared down by 4 or 5 to 1 and the valve chambers are arranged in a vertical attitude.
I have always thought that pumps were run at a lower speed to improve their perfomance and that valve boxes were arranged in the vertical plane to 'gravity assist ' seating.
If anyone has experience with such a plant having a water pump arranged as described, Is it reliable and does it work efficiently.
All the best,  Fred Graham
Thread: Website Editorial
25/03/2010 15:41:21
I have been trying to look through some of the back numbers without much success.
Double clicking on the picture of the edition required will bring the magazine up but it does take long time to load and some pages are missing.
I only want to see the contents list so that I can view articles which specifically interest me (steam for instance)
To save loading time, would it not be advantageous to load the index pages initially and if there is not an article in the magazine about the desired subject further browsing could be done  through other indexes with less delays?
Or am I missing some technical point!
Any comment?, Regards, Fred Graham
Thread: Gas jets
12/08/2008 19:39:00

Hi Eddie,

Yes thanks, I have a copy and it makes good reading. You will notice that one of the the pictures on this lot of posts in the forum has my boiler with a vaporising coil in the centre flue entry, just as Peter says in his articles. I can vouch for his idea and it works very well, although Peter needs no endorsement from me.

You may have noticed that in his opening sentence in the 'Background',  he mentions that I had asked the editor to request both Martin Ranson and Peter Arnott to update their earlier articleson boiler firing. They have now both done so and they are a most welcome addition to the fund of information on LPG which I think steam fans will find very helpful.

Since the articles were published I have made contact with Martin Ranson both at Harrogate Exhibition and by phone and letter. I have not had any contact with Peter Arnott but he seems like a man to get to know.

Thanks for the 'flag up' 

All the best, Fred Graham

11/08/2008 19:45:00

Hi Eric,

I have no problem with that but it will be difficult to send them without your address.  I would send it by ordinary mail if that suits you as I have found scanning and attaching to email can prove a little dodgy. I will try email if you let me know  your email via this site.

All the best, Fred Graham

Thread: Gas Cartridge suppliers
10/08/2008 10:36:00

Hi Gerald,

I have found Polly Models a good suplier, but thanks anyway.

Best Regards, Fred Graham

Thread: Gas jets
31/07/2008 10:31:00

Hi Eddie,

I have sent you copies of my drawing in dxf format and they seemed to be getting to you. You addressed yourself as but I preumed you intended to use '@' rather than AT.

If you have not received them let me know and perhaps ordinary mail will be more apprpriate. Ther could be some incompatibility inthe drawing exchange format.

By the way, in an earlier note you said 'gas tests of 150 PSI'. It is a bit more than that you will need to test at 320 - 330 PSI according to the MPBA rules

All the best, Fred Graham

29/07/2008 19:43:00

Hi Eddie,

I bought my gauge from a company in Birmingham who also do calibration testing so that you can maintain the gauge in specification.

Internet address is  ;     www.miniature

                                         Email  ;   info@miniaturepressuregauge .com

                                            52-54 Hylton Street, Birmingham B18 6HN England

                                       Tel.      0121-551 9910

My contact at this outfit is Mr J Scott who recently recalibrated my 600 psi and my 400 psi gauges and they also provide a calibration certificate. I use one rig for hydraulic testing of LPG tanks and the other for boiler testing to twice working pressure. There are actually testing regulations with which to conform and most clubs can supply you with the key criteria so that you know what is needed

The pressure regulator to which you are referring in your note is similar to one made by a guy called Roy Darlington who is an expert on 'Hot Air engines' and who is sometimes featured in Model Engineer Mags. He attends many of the exhibitions despite his advanced age (over 80 years) and at one exhibition he gave me a sketch of his regulator. I use a CAD system at home called TURBOCAD so I drew it up and sent him a copy. If you want a copy let me know.

 All the best, Fred Graham

29/07/2008 17:29:00

Hi Eddie,

Don't forget, if you are stuck, I have copies and if you let me know you're address I will send you them.

Incidentally you may wish to have look at my just finished LPG test rig and the LPG tank with three valves as I described based on Ranson & Arnott(See Pics)

All the best, Fred Graham

28/07/2008 21:23:00

Hi Eddie,

The company who will probably be able to supply any back numbers of Model Engineer or Model Boats (ie the one I could not remember in my last note to you) is TEE Publishing, if you are unable to get them from the original supplier.

All the best, Fred Graham

28/07/2008 18:59:00

Hi Eddie,

Peter Arnott has published a series of articles on the subject of burners and vaporising. The article was part of a long set of articles which were about the building of a Vee four oscillating engine.

As it happens I have the full series but they may still be available as back numbers from Model Boats or failing that you can get them from one of the back number specialists, I can't remember the name at the moment but I got a Model Engineer mag. recently from them so I'll find the name and pass it on to you.

The articles ran from February to December in 1993 and the specific articles relating to burners and tanks are parts 8 and 9 (ie September and November)

If you have trouble in getting hold of them I can send you copies of the relevant ones if you let me know your address.

Let me know how you get on, I know these developments can be frustrating and take a long time to get done so I find that any help that speeds things up is always useful.

I have just spent the last week or so making a test rig for hydraulic testing of LPG tanks which demand pressure tests over 300 psi and it can be a long job making all the plumbing bits and pieces.

Anyway, keep up the good work and all the best, Fred Graham

27/07/2008 21:10:00

Hi Eddie,

You will probably find that most suppliers have tanks which have one valve for feeding the burner and a filler valve which is very similar if not identical to lighter filler valves. Although many people use these successfully I am not very impressed with them. I find it very difficult to ensure that I have filled the tank and fuel seems to spurt from the filler nozzle before the tank is full.

Many people do use standard gas cylinders and a special connector is available to screw on to the top of these cans. The connector has a valve for control of the gas to the burner. Suppliers such as Forest_Classics and Maccsteam will supply these and they are on the internet

Martin Ranson has written an article which describes his method of filling which is much more reliable but he makes his own tanks. He advocates three valves on his tanks, one for filling and on for venting when filling. A third valve is used for the burner supply but this means making your own valves. I have made my own based on Martins designs and they work fine. My own tank has a supply valve which allows neat fuel to be fed to the burner by having a tube reach to the bottom of the tank. This is based on Peter Arnott's design and also works well but requires a vaporising coil to ensure acceptable burning.

Martin also believes that a pressure gauge is desirable in the supply pipe as this can be very useful to see what is happening when the burner is working.

Martin has written an article in a recent Model Boats mag. (July 2008) so you can see his designs for your own interest. My own boiler is shown in this forum (Steam) under LPG burners where a picture of the boiler with a vaporising coil is featured.

If you are interested in using this method I can advise you further but Martin Ranson has detailed his method of the heat shunt in his article which may suit you better. You mentioned 'cans in the sun' and 'over pressure' resulting from this. The suppliers suggest that cans are kept out of very sunny places such as in cars. Tanks which are made up by amateurs should also have the filler pipe made such that a space is left into which the fluid can expand and Martins tanks embody this safety arrangement. You would be well advised to use his design to avoid excessive pressure. You may not know but the fluid expands to 250 times its liquid volume when it turns into gas!

You must realise that experimentation with LPG has its own dangers so you must work with scrupulous accuracy when making the tanks and all the fittings and tank testing should be done to regulation pressure. Since making my first tank  I have had another tank made by a professional supplier called Maccsteam and you can find him on the internet. His tanks come with a test certificate and are made to stringent standards. I have no personal connection other than as a satisfied customer.

I hope I have covered the points you asked about and I must assure you that I am no expert in these matters. What I will tell you is what I have actually done myself and any experience I have had with it together with any sources of useful guidance I have found in the modelling press. I believe it is important that you make your own assessment of each new thing you do and be careful as you do it.

All the best, Fred Graham


27/07/2008 15:34:00

Hi Eddie,

You probably feel like you've worked a miracle. It's a great feeling when it comes together and Martin Ranson has produced some great articles, but in the end, trial and error is a great teacher. Keep notes as you will/may forget what improved things and what did not.

You may find the next issue to deal with is the 'cooling can' problem. When you burn LPG, as it is drawn off the can, depending on how fast you use it, the can will cool and boiler performance will drop.

Martin has written some good articles on avoiding this problem using heat shunts to keep the fuel tank warm. I, myself, have successfully used a vaporising coil wrapped roung the entrance to the centre flue so that the heated zone warms the gas enough to vaporise it. It then burns as normal

You need a tank with two valves, one which feeds gas until the flue is heated and one which feeds liquid fuel taking it from the bottom of the tank. This is an idea of Peter Arnott, and not my originality I hasten to add.

When I first started my own experiments I had litle to go on, but perseverence got me there in the end.

Anyway well done with your own trials, not many folk try doing this kind of thing these days, or if they do they seldom burst into print with their experiences.

All the best, Fred Graham

Thread: Miniature springs
20/07/2008 09:38:00

Hi Folks,

I have found a great supplier from whom I can obtain exactly what I need. The company is called Lee Springs ( and it is a UK company in Wokingham, Berkshire (Tel. 0118 978 1800).

Unfortunately each spring is not cheap ( about £1.20)  the min order quantity is 5 off and the min order value is £25.00  so you have to want each spring very much to spend this much!

Thanks for all your help, all the best, Fred Graham

13/07/2008 17:31:00

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your response, I have the catalogue and I will order a set from them and see what they contain. I had not noticed them before.

Cheers, Fred

13/07/2008 15:45:00

Hi folks,

I have been playing about with small non return valves for lubrication applications and I am trying to find a supplier of very small compression springs. The purpose is to hold stainless balls on their seats when the amount of flow is very small.

In pumps the balls are sucked or squeezed onto the seats because the rate of flow is reasonably large and continuous. When the flow is slow and discontinuous the ball needs to held on the seat.

I do not need a large quantity  so I expect it will be a retailer but there does not seem to be any on the internet.

Typically they will be less than 1/4" diameter and probably 0.010" wire and about 1/4"-3/8" long as the balls are 5/32" and smaller.

Any ideas?

Thanks very much, Fred Graham 

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