Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Glass Steam Engine.

Working with glass has always been one of my  favorite pastimes.

And I recently acquired a bottle of UV glue that opened up a whole realm of possibilities in glass work. This is a clear resin that hardens (cures) in minutes when exposed to ultra violet light. Much better than the Hxtal two component glue that I use for composite gemstones. Not stronger  or more clear, but radically a faster cure and simplicity itself.

You simply put a thin layer of resin on one clean surface, press the other together, align and pop under the uv light. Ten minutes later the resin is hard, coming to full strength in 24 hours. Amazing stuff, but I doubt that it will be good for composite stones, because it does not have that freaky hardness that Hxtal has.

Still, if Swarovski uses it, it should be good for ‘ol bright eyes Meevis.…..


First thing is to close up a tube. I had some glass tubing in stock from earlier experiments, but when the Xmas market came to Dusseldorf, there was a stall that had a glass blower.

I bugged him until he sold me a few lengths of glass tubing and between the American sizes that I had and the metric sizes he sold me , the perfect sliding fit was found.No-2

After is was cured, I ground down the excess and polished it.Polish-and-Glue

I found that using 1200 diamond grit on a felt buff works well.I mix my diamond powder with Vaseline as a binder. I put the bottle of resin in the picture just for reference.


I don’t have a dedicated uv light, but one of those black light bulbs works well enough, if somewhat slower.


The cylinder finished. I bent the feed pipe with heat.No-6

The stand and the outer valve tube.No-7The stands for the flywheel. Unlike metal work, these will be glued in their respective positions. This means you better be sure before you harden the resin. There is no way to change your mind afterwards.No-8

I absolutely wanted to have a glass flywheel. So I cut some 6mm glass and drilled a center hole through both.No-9

I just drilled a small block of wood as a support and trimmed the glass round.No-10Polished the edges.No-11

Then I glued the two sides together. The copper cap is there to stop the uv light from gluing the center screw onto the glass. When the two sides are cured, the ‘axel’ will be glued in place.No-12

I had to remake the flywheel supports. The fist ones were not accurate enough. In fact, I had to do everything about three times over. Sort of bungling forward stuff.No-13Drilling holes in the valve. A diamond ball burr with water.No-14

Then the input and output tubes. I set them up with a wax rod, that holds then in place while the resin cures.No-15

Making the ‘piston. Out of two 6mm pieced of offcut glass.No-16

At first I was going to use a 6mm rod of frit as the conrod, but that was a bad idea. It is too weak and brittle and it broke chop chop. Besides, the colour sucks.


So I made another out of clear glass and that worked better. Here the piston is being glued to the conrodNo-18

And then typically of all model builders, I rushed things. Here she was ready to run but actually I just needed to add one part more. But with the wisdom of a four year old I decided to ‘see what would happen.’


What happened is the whole thing popped apart and the conrod and piston landed on the floor. This would be no problem were it made out of metal, but glass?  Shattered. I was seriously pissed off with myself, trust me on this one. I absolutely hate it when there was no problem, and now there is a huge one, simply because I was stupid.

So I made it over. The next day.No-20

The part that was missing ( the bird like looking piece at the left of the picture) held everything nicely in place and it ran very easily.

Slow running.
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