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Old 10-05-2011, 09:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Ruby Beginner question

My two questions may already be addressed elsewhere; if so, if anybody can point me in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.

I'm building a Ruby kit and I've run into a couple of hiccups. First, when running the model on air (~5-10 psi), air does leak around the gaskets between the cylinders and valves. I've tried tightening down the valves as best I can (philips screws aren't very cooperative in this regard), removed the valve blocks, re-cleaned the faces and gaskets and reset them; all with no success. Actually, I made the problem worse. The amount of air isn't very much, but nonetheless I'd be happier if all the air/steam were going to the cylinders instead of some being lost between the valves and cylinders. Is this typical? Has anybody else run into this? Any recommendations? Should I even be concerned with this?

The second issue is really more just a point I need clarified. I've been following Dave Hottmann's guide for tuning the Ruby, but I'm unclear on how to identify an early or late admission. All I have to go by are the scribed lines around the valves; where should they be for the start of an admission event? Or, is there something else I should be looking at? How do I tell when an admission is happening? I must be missing something in the instructions but I've read and re-read them... anyway, a little help here would really be appreciated.
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Old 10-05-2011, 09:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

Regarding the leaks... Have you coated the gaskets with steam oil? The more the better if truth be told. The gaskets should swell with oil and seal better than dry gaskets.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

Hi Allan,
Welcome to this group.
I am sure that you 'should' find the answers to your questions here.
OR get so much conflicting advice you will be even more confused.
Firstly, I know nothing about the Ruby!
That said, my question to you, is 'do you understand the principles involved in a steam locomotive?'
That is, why there are valves, where the steam has to go to make the pistons work etc..
With this basic knowledge, you should be able to follow things through and make logic out of any instructions.
Without it, you may not fully understand why your locomotive is doing things!
Again, welcome, and good luck with the Ruby.
All the best,
David Leech, Delta, Canada
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

Alan,

In addition to the above oil advice: The leak situation may ease when you run on steam with a full oil reservoir. I had a similar experience with the Phillips screws on my mogul. They were hard to tighten because of the angle of the screwdriver. I replaced them with Du-Bro metric screws (from a nearby Hobbytown) that use a tiny allan wrench. That wrench can be trimmed down so it fits closely against the smokebox, so the screws could be tightened equally. I got a dollar's worth of gasket material and using a copier I photocopied the old gasket image on to the new material so I could get precise hole alignment. The mogul runs like a champ.

cheers
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

The valve should be all the way in (that is - to the line) when the crank is at the top. This allows the steam to push or pull the piston when the crank is in the position to do the most good. I found adjusting the valve to the line a bit fiddly and needed my reading glasses or a magnifying glass to really see what is going on.

To truely check the timing, you can remove the "E" clip from the crank where the main rod attaches to the rear wheel. set the reverser valve to forward. apply air to the engine and slowy rotate the wheels. the piston should move back and forth by air pressure controlled by the valve as you rotate the wheels. The piston should start to move in and out with a given angle of crank rotation. if you rotate the wheel forward, the piston should move in when the crank rises above the centerline and move back out when you rotate down past the centerline in front. the distance above and below should be the same. when you rotate the wheel backwards, the piston should start to move at that same distance above/below the centerline...

Gee its hard to explain...You want the piston to do the same amount of work when the crank is at the top verses when it is below the center of the wheel. try it an see what happens.

If the valve is set at the line when it is all the way in and the eccentric set so that all the way in happens when the crank is straight up (12 o'clock) it should all work out perfectly. if the piston moves over more angle more at the top then the valve is set too far in, more at the bottom, too far out. if the piston moves over the same angle above vs below but the distance is not the same rotating forward vs reverse, the angle of the eccentric may need adjusting.

Question to scratch buildiers....Am I correct in saying that you can use brown paper (from a grocery bag) as gasket material? Just saturate in steam oil before installing it. I had heard something of the sort somewhere.

I have in the past used the label from Levy's jeans as a gasket where a thicker gasket is needed, with great success.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

cleaned the faces and gaskets and reset them; all with no success. Actually, I made the problem worse
Allan,

One way to clean and polish the faces is to use polishing compound (auto store) on a really, really flat surface - thick plate glass, or similar. If you put the item face down and rub it into the compound on the glass, you should see the face uniformly polished - the high spots will shine better than the low ones!
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

Thank you all for your responses! I guess I should have included more information in my original post. I actually have a pretty solid understanding of the mechanics and thermodynamics of steam engines. What I was looking for was a visible reference that indicates exactly when each admission event occurs. To sort out the timing, in a perfect world I'd be adjusting the valves to begin a specified admission event (based on some visual reference, like the line scribed around the circumference of the valve) with the driver at a certain angle before/after front (or rear) dead center. I can work with the guides suggested above. If I find some measurable combination of adjustments that work ideally (to me) I'll be sure to share them here.

As for the gaskets, they were liberally oiled with 3 in 1 oil as recommended by Accucraft when I first installed them, and I re-oiled them when I re-installed them afterwards. I really like the idea of finding screws with Allen key heads - philips head screws to me are just a bad idea. I'll try that, so I can torque the valve block down a bit tighter (without mangling the screw head or driver), and if that doesn't work, I'll give a slightly thicker gasket material a try. I'd like to avoid polishing the faces except as a last resort, but it is out there as a possibility. It is encouraging to hear that the gaskets should seal better with steam (or heat, anyway), so if I can't get get it perfect I may still complete the assembly to test it under steam.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

I had the very same problem with my Ruby. I'll offer two suggestions. First is the use of a dollar bill for gasket material. Find a semi crisp bill and cut out a new one. On bill will supply quite a few gaskets and is far cheaper than buying gasket material. They work quite well. Secondly when it come to tightening those horrible phillips heads, support the bottom of the cylinder with a block so that it lifts the wheels of the ground a bit. having done that you will now be able to put substantially more down ward pressure when tightening without worrying about slipping off and ruining the screw. I did these two things on mine and cured the steam leak.

As for the timing issues it can be tricky. There was a great thread about it with lots of pictures in the archives but they were recently deleted. Dose any one out there still have access to it? It even included great info on how to set your Ruby to inside admission for smother forward running. Keep us posted on how it works out.
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

There was a great thread about it with lots of pictures in the archives but they were recently deleted. Dose any one out there still have access to it? It even included great info on how to set your Ruby to inside admission for smother forward running.


With many thanks to Dwight Ennis I can tell you that in the Informative Threads Index is this PDF containing a huge amount of information on setting and tuning a Ruby

http://www.santacruzlumberco.com/MLS...uningARuby.pdf
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default RE: Ruby Beginner question

Thanks for coming to the rescue on that one Larry!

The one i was thinking of had lots of info on putting the kit together but had some of those photos later on. I'm so glad to have that cut away photo of the cylinders again. I want to add drain cocks to mine and that helps visualize things. I ordered a set of the 5/32 ones from Maidstone Engineering, And hope to do it this winter.
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