“Are you wondering how you will be able to maintain a model steam engine? Read the article to find out more.”
If you are the owner of a model steam engine and concerned about it correct maintenance then here are a few basic procedures you can follow to insure its longevity and smooth operation. The maintenance is not complicated and is usually just plain common sense, like all machines they require a degree of regular care and attention.
Most model steam engine manufacturers will give information and guidance on the maintenance of the steam engine at time of purchase. These engines can be an expensive investment and it makes sense to look after them and care for them correctly. There is basic guidance given in this article.
Gathering Basic Tools
It does not require an extensive range of tools to clean and engine, an oily rag is usually all that is required with the addition of items like Q-tips, old tooth brushes, wooden cocktail sticks to get into those more inaccessible areas to remove oil and debris. A suitable metal polish may also be required to clean and polish brass components, care should be taken when using metal polishes as most contain a mild abrasive and it would not be good practice to get this into any mechanism as it may result in excessive wear. Finally hot water and a suitable detergent can be used to if you wish to clean more thoroughly.
Don't be tempted to dismantle the engine at all unless you know exactly what you are doing, quite often disassembly will cause more problems than it will solve. Engines can be wiped down with an oily rag in the first instance to remove any excess oil and dirt, having said this it is important to maintain a film of oil over the various components to prevent the onset of corrosion.
For more stubborn or widespread dirt and oil hot water and detergent can be used in conjunction with a soft brush, if using this method it is important to re-lubricate the various components afterwards as detergent will remove oil and leave parts vulnerable to corrosion. Do not be tempted to use solvents to clean engine whilst these may do a good job in the first instance some aggressive solvents my adversely affect any painted surfaces also they can ingress into seals and "O" rings used to make steam tight joints and destroy the seals.
Lubrication is fundamental to the care of a steam engine, lubrication points on steam engines are normally fairly self evident in the form of oil cups, small containers or may be as simple as just a hole to allow oil into a bearing. It is important to re-lubricate after cleaning to insure all parts are protected against corrosion, as a maxim there is not such a thing as too much oil.
When considering a model steam engine for sale there are a number of factors you need to consider. First and foremost is what are you planning to do with it as model steam engines and boilers come in all shapes and sizes, will it be purely for display purposes? Would you want to ride on it as in a locomotive of traction engine? Is it something you wish to fit to a model boat? These applications have very different requirements not only in the type of engine you require but also where you are able to use it as with a boat or locomotive for instance, it is likely that you will need to be able to transport it easily to the place where you intend to use it which maybe a consideration.
How much do you wish to spend? You may well have set yourself a budget for the purchase of you engine, as a rule of thumb when purchasing steam engines the quality of the engine is normally linked to the price in as much as the higher the price the better the quality. Steam engines can be purchased new from known manufactures or by auction the danger with the latter is that unless you know the engines history you could run into problems with no one to turn to for advice and assistance.
These are just a few very basic guidelines in buying and maintaining steam engines. Find a reputable dealer and find and engine which suites you requirements and taste.
Martin is a noted engineer and designer of Model steam engines and boilers and is associated with Model steam engine manufacturers. Read his articles before purchasing Model steam engines for sale.