January to May 2006
Reliant Paddle Tug, Side-Lever Engine
Work has continued on restoring the paddle feathering mechanism. A fabricated steel structure has been made, onto which is mounted the hub of the feathering arms. The whole assembly has now been placed in position at the side of the paddle wheel (originally the hub would have been attached to the side if the paddle sponson or paddle box).
The next stage was to design and and construct an arrangement to be able to alter the centre of the feathering hub relative to the centre of the paddle wheel. This would allow us to demostrate the paddles in feathering and non-feathering mode (this would not have been a feature on the tug, the paddles would have been fixed in feathering mode).
This is now operational and works quite well.
May to September 2006
A new big end bearing and bearing block has been made and fitted. The connecting rod has been coupled up and fitted to the side levers, which now rise and fall as the paddle wheel is turned.
The existing piston rod, minus the piston, and the cross-head assembly has been assembled and bolted in position above the steam cylinder.
Because of costs and other factors, (such as new piston, piston rod, valve, valve mechanism and eccentric strap required) it has been decided, for the time being, not to restore the engine for steaming. Instead it will continue to be turned over using the electric motor and wheel arrangement, which still gives a good visible effect.