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Western River Steamboat Heroine by ggrieco - Scale 1:24 - 1838 as she appeared before hitting a snag in the Red River. - Finished

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Hello Everyone,


Several years after the excavation, we think we have enough information to attempt the reconstruction model of this early steamboat.  The excavation provided some wonderful information about the hull up to and including the deck and Dr. Kevin Crisman's research has provided the details of the appearance and arrangement of the upper works.


I've already started on two 1:24 waterline models for the Oklahoma Historical Society.  The finished models will be complete reconstructions with cutaways highlighting the machinery and other artifacts recovered during the excavation on the hull.


The next couple of months I will be focusing on the engine and boilers.  The research is ongoing and I'd love input from anyone interested in steamboats and steam engines.  


Although we have a good idea about the overall appearance and layout of the vessel, there is very little info out there about construction details, joinery etc.  I would like to make these detailed and accurate as possible so any ideas that anyone has would be greatly appreciated.




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    Welcome aboard.  I have followed a couple of Dr. Crisman's projects and actually had an opportunity to hear him speak at an SMA Conference many years ago.  Maybe we can get him to speak at an upcoming NRG Conference.  :rolleyes:    I am also enamored with riverboats...mostly the off-Mississippi versions of the Mississippi boats (like the Missouri boats). 


    Currently there is an ongoing build of Steamboat Bertrand by Cathead that may be helpful to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Machining the engine parts so far





Engine valves and flywheel flanges





Paddlewheel flanges





Valve cams, Sole plates for engine, buttress plates for sole plates and bearings and crossheads and packing glands for the piston




Engine cylinders and feedwater pumps (minus the flanges)




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Welcome aboard and thank you for showing us your build of Heroine.  She was of such interesting design.  A side wheeler with the wheels within the hull instead of outside like in later boats and a single poppet type engine, mainly used later on sternwheelers.  I will gladly follow along.



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  • 2 weeks later...

The mill has been running non-stop and I had forgotten how many pieces this engine has. 

i have finally gotten around to a little bit of assembly of the parts.  I'm hoping to complete the engine in November and then move onto the boilers in December. 




The nine pieces that make up the feedwater pump


The nine pieces soldered together awaiting clean-up and blackening



The six pieces that make up the Starboard Flywheel



The completed fdlywheel awaiting clean-up and blackening



Completed flywheels for the two models.  The differences in the styles of the port and starboard flywheels can be seen.  Evidence of a possible repair during her life on the river.



Checking the fit of the engine cylinder to the sole plate before the plate is let into the top of the cylinder timber.


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Hi Glenn,


very interesting model and impressive metal parts as well. Will love to see when you get to mounting the steam engine and Boiler. Wish you all the best with your steam riverboat. The large scale will give you lots of space for finest details



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Thanks PriceMachine&Design, John, druxey,Keith and Nils,


I got a little sloppy with the hubs for the flywheels and didn't realize my end mill had lost a flute. I quickly jogged the x axis and reran the program after each part without inspecting the finish. It will require a little more file work before finishing. I appreciate the positive comments.

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Hello Keith,


Thank you for your kind words.  I am using a TAIG cnc  mill from TAIG tools.




I have two of the mills, one for home and one for the office, and it seems like they are always running.  You'll find no end of uses for them.  I use AutoCAD to design my parts and an old version of BobCAD to create my mill routines.  If I have to create a more organic shape such as a figure, MeshLab works pretty well.  The mills comes with everything you need except the design program.

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Thanks Kurt,


I had a great time at the conference and am really enjoying being back in touch again. This site is a wonderful asset to have. In the past I never had much opportunity to get on-line but I got a new iPad and it makes it so much easier to keep up with everything. I'm really looking forward to getting to know everyone.



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Not a lot of visible progress this week.  I spent most of my time finishing the hull planking on the second model.  I was able to start milling the sixteen bearings that will be needed for the flywheel and paddlewheel shafts.


Roughing cuts on the main flywheel bearing



Last few passes of the finishing cuts.  Used a 10% stepover, probably should have used 5%



Bearings and buttress plates before drilling the bolt holes.



Bearings before being notched into cylinder timbers.  The buttress plates were mounted forward and aft of both the main flywheel bearing and the engine sole plate.  The sole plate, bearings and buttresses were all notched into and bolted directly to the cylinder timber and wedges were driven into the notches in the buttresses.  An interesting feature of this wreck was that the buttresses were only fitted on the bearing and sole plate on the starboard side of the vessel.  Kevin an I were curious to know if this was typical for steam engines.  If anyone has an idea about this arrangement, we would love to hear it.


Edited by ggrieco
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