This classic “Single Column Beam Engine” design dates back to the earliest days of steam technology. Thomas Newcomen is generally credited with first applying a “piston-in-cylinder” around 1712.
However, in the 1780’s the brilliant designer and engineer James Watt applied these principles to a crank, thus creating rotary motion from fluid pressure. The firm Boulton and Watt became the leader in the field, and Watt’s invention of the Separate Condenser is considered the single most important development in the evolution of steam power technology.
The Beam Engine was popular from the early 1800’s until around 1890, and some are in use today. A very simple and robust design, they were often quite elegant and always well maintained. The most important feature of the Beam Engine is the application of the famous “Watt’s Parallel Motion” to translate the straight-line motion of the piston to the large reciprocal “beam”, and thence to the crank and flywheel. The Parallel Motion resulted from many years of difficult design and testing by Watt until it was perfected.
They were used most often to power small factories and textile plants, pumping plants, and small machine shops. They ran slowly and gracefully, and were especially quiet in operation.
My Beam Engine CAD model is modeled at 1/8th Scale (1.5'=12') in SolidWorks™ as one of my projects in the field of Industrial Archeology (IA). It was reverse engineered from many sources, drawings and photographs, and is an accurate representation of the most common designs of the era.
It is a highly detailed 846,548 poly model suitable for extreme close-ups, and is ideal for inclusion into period scenes and shop environments from the mid 1800’s to early 1920’s. All parts are modeled to allow for easy animation. Certain parts, such as the parallel links, are actually one “part” to represent a rather complex assembly. All appropriate parts and surfaces are UV mapped.
Converted from SolidWorks™ to .obj using SimLab Composer. Preview renderings created in KeyShot2 from Luxion.
Please see also my other projects by clicking on the Gould Studios link at the top of the page.