Phases of the Blue Brake

Discussion in 'Prony Brake' started by Jerry Christiansen, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Amos Rixsmann brought a Prony Brake to Rollag in the 1990's. I could look up an exact date, but for the purpose of this thread, that is close enough. Our Board of Directors decided that WMSTR should have a Prony Brake as one of our permanent displays. As a result of that, Peter Kieffer and I built the Red Brake that is on the grounds between the Assumption Building and the blue water tank.

    Several years ago I thought that Rollag needed another Prony Brake. A smaller one that could go into the trees and run small engines. The Brake should be small enough that it could go into buildings and run stationary engines that are permanently mounted. The Brake would need to be self contained. It would need its own water source and PA system. The tachometer and scale would have to be mechanical or be able to run on 12V. The brake also needed to fit in the back of a pickup. To be more specific it had to fit into a Dodge Dakota because that is what I own.

    With these goals in mind and the help of Peter Kieffer, Mark Kirshenman and Jim Briden the Blue Brake was built.

    [​IMG]

    This the Blue Brake on its maiden voyage, Steam-Up at Larson Welding in April 2006. The 15 gallon barrel provides on board coolant so the Brake can go anywhere. (It turns out that 15 gallons doesn't last long when big horsepower is being pulled!) The blue bar along side the Brake is a tongue that can be attached to pull the brake around.

    The little wheels had a load rating high enough to hold up the brake. They proved to be unsatifactory because they provided a lot of bounce when running loads and as a result of the bouncing, they destroyed themselves.


    [​IMG]

    Here we are belted up to a Case steam engine that had been worked on during the winter at Larson Welding. I don't remember all the specifications of the Case engine. Will someone else tell us more about it please?

    When the Blue Brake arrived for the Steam-Up, we had no idea how much horsepower it could handle. Later that day the 40Hp Avery belted up. We were up near 80Hp when I looked over at the belt and saw that it was about ready to fall off the pulley of the Prony Brake. By that time the Avery crew decided "that was enough fun for one day" and they backed out of the belt.

    At this point I realized we didn't have a "small brake" we had a "portable brake". The decision was made that the little wheel had to go and a different transport system was needed.

    Jerry Christiansen
     
  2. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phase two of the Blue Brake.

    This is a picture of the Blue Brake in Peter's shop between Steam School and the 2006 Show. The Brake had been to Rollag for Steam School weekend and the little wheels had been removed as shown in the picture. The "landing gear" had not been build by Steam School weekend, but was ready for Show weekend. The handle can be removed and then the Brake can be hooked to a drawbar of a tow vehicle. The landing gear is designed only for low speed manuvering on show grounds.

    [​IMG]

    The top rectangular box was assembled by Mark Kirschenman (Mark, did I misspell your name again?). It contains the brains and display for the tachometer and the load cell. We decided to use an electronic scale instead of a mechanical scale because the electronic doesn't get damaged as easily when transported. The Brake now has three feel that sit on the ground.

    During Steam School we had steam engines belted up to both the Red and Blue Brake. We had some excellent firemen that were teaching new engineers how to fire under a load. Anyone that wants some experience should come down by the Red Brake during Steam School and ask to "get on an engine"



    [​IMG]

    Here you can see the Blue Brake at the Makoti show. Jim Todahl is running the Brake and Jerome Schenfisch's Minneapolis is belted up. The rubber tire in the lower left is a front tire of a D John Deere we used as a dead man to anchor the Brake. The only thing holding the Brake in place is the single chain that can be seen wrapped around the frame of the Brake.

    Jerry
     
  3. 40avery

    40avery Mega Poster Super Moderator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Awsome post Jerry.:congrats:
     
  4. JWerner

    JWerner Junior Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Did I miss a frame?
     
  5. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    No, I put this post together before you removed the frames. I need to redo that picture.

    Jerry
     
  6. jasher

    jasher Junior Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Wow-neet story. Do you give lessons to old, overly thumbed geezers, on how to do this stuff? I've written a rough draft on rail moving and I know you took pics.
    jasher
    PS I'm still looking for the gun icon so I can shoot all dem critters!
     
  7. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    If you look back at Phase One and Phase Two you can see one more difference. Phase Two also includes a P.A. system. Some people (the unenlighten :) ) don't always view a microphone in my hand as a good thing.


    We are now working on Phase Three of the Blue Brake. The picture below shows the Brake in Peter's shop coming apart.

    [​IMG]

    The belt pulley, the torque arms and parts of the coolant system have been removed. The main shaft is about to be removed. If you look closely you can see the crown on the wheel. The wheel was orginally on a baler that had a motor on the baler, no PTO shaft was used. Look at the right end of the shaft. We did hook 540rpm PTO tractors to the shaft. The PTO shaft was held on the Prony Brake shaft with a through bolt.

    [​IMG]

    The Brake is as far apart as it has to go. The landing gear is not connected, it is just sitting there to save space in the shop. The boards were white oak planks that have been ripped to width and ready to be cut into the new blocks.

    [​IMG]

    A shot of the inside of the brake band. If you look closely you can see the concave that was cut in the blocks to fit the crown on the wheel. Trying to fit the crown didn't work as well as planned. The gooey black stuff is Prony Brake lube after it has been used.

    The wheel and the shaft were taken to Larson Welding to get the crown cut off the wheel and to have a 540rpm spline cut into the end of the shaft.

    Jerry Christiansen
     
  8. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Working on Phase Three Continued.

    The shaft and the wheel are back from Larson Welding.

    [​IMG]

    We should have cut the crown off when the brake was first built. Now we have a nice, flat face on the wheel to fit blocks to.

    Getting a concave in the block took a bit of thinking. The brake wheel has a 30 inch diameter. The biggest saw blade I have for my saw is a 12 inch and I couldn't find a bit for my router that was big enought either. A few calculations predicted that tipping the radial arm saw to about 68 degrees should make a concave that will fit the brake wheel nicely.

    [​IMG]

    The picture was taken when the saw wasn't running. I didn't let Jane watch this, sometimes she gets worried. I did use a push stick to run the blocks through. All my fingers are still attached and no blood was lost on this step. The two blocks on the left side of the blade have all ready been run through the saw and are ready to be drilled.

    [​IMG]

    A new block and an old block side by side. The holes are drilled for the carriage bolts that hold the block on. Notice the back side (bottom) of the block has also been cut to fit the inside of the brake band. The old block had a concave cut to fit the crown (well, sort of fit) but weren't cut to fit the curve of the wheel.

    [​IMG]

    An end view of a new block. The straight edge indicates how shallow the concave is. The blocks match the curve of the wheel very well. The next step is to change out all the blocks on the brake band. Then the brake can go back together.

    Jerry Christiansen
     
  9. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Phase Three continues . . .

    We had the ability to connect 540 rpm PTO shafts before, but the shaft was held on the brake with a 1/2" through bolt. That was not a desirable method. The bolt holes never wanted to line up for installation. And while running, the edge of the hole usually got a burr on it and that made the shaft came off hard. As long as the brake was all apart, Jim at Larson Welding cut a 540 rpm spline on the end of the shaft.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the new spline installed and ready to go. A sheild needs to be designed and intalled.

    [​IMG]

    The brake band (with the new blocks) is back in place. The torque arms are remounted. The cooling water supply plumbing is lying on the barrel waiting to be remounted. The feet are gone. The frame of the brake is sitting on the floor. Removing the feet dropped the brake about 7". The angle on the PTO shaft will be better because the shaft of the brake is lower.

    [​IMG]

    The tensioning device and the hand wheel are back in place. The coolant discharge pipe is back in place. A little more plumbing will be added to the pipe that goes into the barrel.

    [​IMG]

    The coolant pickup pipe looks a lot the same. We had some trouble getting water out of the brake fast enough. The 3/4" discharge has been replaced with 1" pipe. The addtional 1/4" should provide 1.78X the capacity of the of the old system.

    Things left to do:
    1. In the second and fourth picture a diagonal brace to the display can be seen. Now that the brake sits on the floor, the piece that brace was connected to is gone. The brace will need to be redone.

    2. The coolant supply system needs to be reinstalled.

    3. The coolant discharge pipe needs a bit more plumbing done and the pipe needs to be tied to the brake.

    4. The sheild on the PTO spline needs to be built and installed.

    5. The length of the torque arm needs to be reset.

    6. The "landing gear" needs to be updated because the brake is lower.

    7. The flat belt pulley needs to be installed.

    Stay tuned, more to come.

    Jerry
     
  10. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    I have not paid close enough attention to the brake itself Jerry, though I have had to eat a little crow because of it... but are these improvements being done this winter, or were they done before and your reporting on them here?

    Were they finished at New Rockford last year? I have not paid enough attention! :hide:

    At any rate, it is really looking good :congrats:
     
  11. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Hi Mark and all,

    These changes are taking place this winter. The pictures in my last post were taken on 9 March 2007. I plan on doing more work on Saturday, 10 March.

    Steam Up at Larson Welding will be the first test of the improvements.

    Jerry
     
  12. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Phase Three continued . . .

    Saturday afternoon, 10 March, at 5:00 the Blue Brake is back together and could be run. Here is how it looks sitting in Peter's shop

    [​IMG]

    The big changes are hard to see. One hard to see big change is the crown on the brake wheel is gone. A second big change that is hard to see is the PTO spline on the end of the shaft. A thrid change that is hard to see is the new coolant removal system. The new system is simialr to the old, but is made of larger pipe.

    Some changes are easier to see. The new blocks can be seen. The three feet the Brake used to stand on are gone. Now the frame of brake sits on the ground.

    Two things are left to do:
    1. make a sheild for the PTO shaft

    2. rework the landing gear so the Brake can be rolled in and out of the trailer.

    If need be, we could hook up either a belt or a PTO shaft and run and engine.

    More later,

    Jerry Christiansen
     
  13. M Kerkvliet

    M Kerkvliet WMSTR Past President Administrator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Looking good Jerry... so it is ready for a smoke test at the steam-up next month? I think Pete's engine is in Fargo.

    Looking forward to seeing what kind of difference the flat pulley makes.
     
  14. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Hi Mark, and anybody else that looks at this stuff.

    I know the Frick that has been worked on at Larson Welding is ready to go. They steamed up on March 3. I think they have some adjusting to do. That will be a fun engine to run. I am certain we will do a lot of starting, running for a while and then stopping to check things.

    Is the Case sitting along 1st Ave N Pete's engine? What was done to it over winter?

    Jerry
     
  15. 40avery

    40avery Mega Poster Super Moderator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    The talk was on the Frick this weekend in Montana. It will be an engine to watch on the brake during the Steam up. It is a unique engine for this area.
     
  16. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    This is the first time we have made replacement blocks for a Prony Brake, so we finally have blocks we are willing to cut up and inspect.

    These blocks ran one season. We ran the brake for initial testing at Peter's shop, the 2006 Steam-Up, Steam School, a plowing gathering in Richland County, WMSTR, CNDSTR and Makoti. As you can see from the pictures, there is no noticable amount of material worn away.

    [​IMG]

    The two pair of halves on the top came from the bottom of the brake band and the pair on the bottom came from the top of the brake band. Only a Norsky would put the ones from the top of the band on the bottom of the picture!

    The concave in the blocks was not worn in, the blocks were cut to fit the crown the brake wheel had, not the curvature of the wheel. Many of the blocks had areas that had not contacted the brake wheel at all. Not enough of the block wore away to fit the curvature!

    [​IMG]

    This close up shows again that no material has worn off the block. .

    The pictures also show that the lube did not soak into the wood. The dark areas have been discolored by heat. Perhaps the update on the coolant removal system will allow water to get in and out of the brake quicker and keep temperatures down.

    In case anyone wonders, the brake was never run without lube or without coolant inside the brake wheel.

    Tomorrow (Saturday, 24 March) we plan to run the brake using a PTO to loosen it up and see how the updates work.

    Jerry
     
  17. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    Hi to anyone that reads this stuff,

    At this point Phase Three of the Blue Brake is complete. Today the brake was rolled outside of Peter's shop and fresh lube was inserted in between the blocks. We were on the south side of the building on a bright, sunshine filled Saturday, 24 March 2007.

    [​IMG]

    The lube spaces were not packed at tight as usual because we were not going to pull a heavy load for a long time and we didn't want a lot of lube left over.

    An M International was chosen as the test tractor for Phase Three.

    [​IMG]

    Here we are, all set up and ready to go. The garden hoses are in place for water in and water out. The Brake used to stand of feet that were 7 inches tall, now that the frame of the Brake sits on the ground the PTO shaft is nearly horizontal. Hooking up the shaft with the spline on the brake works a lot better than the previous method.

    We ran the brake for an hour or so. We melted some fat and heated some water. The new blocks worked well. The brake ran smooth with very little bounce on the scale read out.

    The M was originally rated at 40Hp. We didn't try to measure the maximum power of the M, because the owner asked us not to. The tractor needs a bit of governor adjustment, the fastest the brake spun was 510rpm. We spend a lot of time in the mid to high 20Hp range with a little bit of time in the low 30's.

    It looks like we are ready for Steam Up.

    Jerry
     
  18. 40avery

    40avery Mega Poster Super Moderator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Great job Jerry. With the project and the posts.
     
  19. Jerry Christiansen

    Jerry Christiansen Mega Poster WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Phases of the Blue Brake

    In an earlier post the Blue Brake was hooked up to an M International for a test run. During that run-up, we didn't have a shield on the PTO shaft. We are now ready for Steam Up next weekend (April 14, 2007) with a shield ready.

    At first I was going to make a flip-up shield that would also serve as a containment device in the event the shaft came loose from the Brake. The more I thought about that, the less I liked the idea. The shield in my mind became a large, klunky, and in the way device. After a bit of thinking and talking with Peter K., we decided to make two interchangable shields.

    The next two pictures show the shield that covers the PTO spline and keeps things from getting wrapped up when doing belt work.

    [​IMG]


    The Brake's frame now sits on the ground. That made lifting it with a forklift pretty difficult. Just behind the bracket that holds the shield, one of the loops to lift the Brake with a sling can be seen.

    [​IMG]


    When a tractor is hooked up with a PTO shaft, the shield shown in the pictures above will be removed and the cage shown in the next two pictures will be put in place.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    In the unlikely event that the universal joint fails or the coupler decides to come off, the shaft should be contained and not come over to visit the Brake operator.

    Later,
    Jerry
     
  20. 40avery

    40avery Mega Poster Super Moderator WMSTR Lifetime Member

    Cool post Jerry. I look forward to seeing it and you at the steam up.
     

Share This Page