Richard Kell Sundials and Handtools

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Design Gallery 4


I only ever made one of these reliquaries, a loose copy of typical medieval work. Constructed of 1/8 inch copper sheet, flashed with a few microns of gold, height 4-1/2 inches tall, I hand burnished the gold surface with the traditional polished agate burnisher. The stones include agate, amethyst, garnet, quartz, rutile and tigers eye. It is surprising how many man-hours this project consumed, though I particularly enjoyed making the stone settings. There are excellent examples of mediaeval metalwork at the Cluny Museum, Paris, one of my favourite museums and well worth a visit, the entrance courtyard is wonderfully atmospheric. Images 1 and 2 below.

Steeple Engine

I made this working model steam Murdoch Aitken Steeple Engine when I was about twenty years old, the original appeared in Blackies 'Engineers and Machinists Assistant' of around 1841, I made this so long ago am unsure of the detail. It is probably  one inch to the foot scale and is a popular prototype among model engineers. The commercially supplied drawings left a bit to be desired, a good  practical engineer should never let himself down with poor draughting and incorrect dimensions.  Yet however a sound workable engine resulted, lots of authentic detaiI such as gib and cotter big ends, fish bellied connecting rods and split bearings wherever possible. The governor and governing mechanism worked, though at the time I hand finished the homemade bevel gears which transmitted the drive so it didn’t run as sweetly as it should have. The procedure there should have been to produce completely the finished tooth profile by means of cutters, eliminating handwork; Martin Cleeve wrote some good articles in mid 60’s M.E. on the subject. I unfortunately soon sold the engine at Christies in order to raise money for a deposit on a house, what a stupid thing to do! See images 3 and 4 below.

Marine Steam Engine

I made a model marine steam engine around 1985/87 based upon the Edgar T. Westbury design for his 'Diagonal Paddle Engine' as published in the' Model Engineer' magazine of circa 1956. Business wasn't too busy in the mid 1980's so I had the crazy idea to make a batch of five! A first class design with lots of atmosphere without too much endless detail.  You will see on my model paddle wheel page I am/was able to offer the paddle wheel components in kit form to other model engineers.

The diagonal paddle engine as illustrated here in its uncompleted form incorporates several constructional changes, I cannot help but 'improve' ... I was taught to think at Hardys ! The main mod being frames of 1/8 inch brass sheet thereby providing me with an accurate and flat datum to build the engines up from, no way could I work from the aluminium frames as supplied by the castings people. I suppose that's the toolmaker in me, again its my training. All motion pins in this version are hardened and tempered silver steel, with hindsight I would use case hardened mild steel. I am pleased with the eccentric rods, which look very 'dainty' and I also made an effort to make a better looking bearing keep than is usually fitted. I'm very keen on fitting the appropriate studding and nuts as would be typical full size practice, I doubt you'll ever see many slotted screws in any of my model engineering projects. I even made the recommended silver steel three bladed milling cutter to machine all three cylinder ports in one go. See my model paddle wheel page for kits of parts to construct the matching paddle wheels. See image 5 below

Following the construction of my own Edgar T. Westbury ‘ Diagonal Paddle Engine’ to his 1956 design I no longer have kits of parts to offer to fellow model engineers for the  paddle wheel components, which had enabled you to build the correct ‘feathering’ paddle wheel and eliminating some of the drudgery. Feathering action articulates the paddles to achieve maximum tractive effect and minimises drag as the paddle enters and exits the water. In actual reality for a model of this size the real reason is that it produces an interesting mechanism. Being a toolmaker I have produced blanking tools to take the hard work out of making some of these multiple parts. The first kit comprises sixteen paddles (with attached drilled and reamed brackets), fourteen articulated rods, and some 16g brass sheet for you to make the master rod for the correct feathering action. The photograph here illustrates these parts before I’ve riveted the paddle units together. The second kit is four very nicely machined circular paddle frames produced on my Bridgeport milling machine using a 12inch rotary table and this second kit includes the 1inch diameter central hub. As per the instructions the circular frames are made to accommodate eight feathering paddles per unit. The third kit includes all custom made brass screws to complete the project, ie 32off 6BA x 3/16 and 30off 6BA x 3/32 off (plus some spares). In addition the third kit also includes the frame stretcher rods machined from the correct riveting grade brass (not free machining grade as this will not cold form correctly). See image 6 below

Reliquary Front

Reliquary Front

Reliquary Back

Model steam Murdoch Aitken Steeple Engine

Model steam Murdoch Aitken Steeple Engine

Model Marine steam engine

Paddle Wheel Parts

Access keys 2 3 4 5 6 & 7.

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