HOME  Steam Collection  REW 

REW Heracles steam crane


This is a small steam crane of the type used in dock yards, goods yards and the like. It is loosely based on Hercules, which was designed and published by Tubal Cain. The last picture on the left shows the Tubal Cain original, taken from the book "Building Simple Model Steam Engines". Heracles uses some major Wilesco parts, along with some Meccano parts (as recommended by Tubal Cain) and some scratch built parts. The scratch built parts closely follow the Tubal Cain design. Actually, the Tubal Cain description is deliberately flexible. He suggests many alternatives and encourages improvisation. There is a blog of the build process here.

The boiler is from a Wilesco D455, similar to the D45. It uses an LPG burner instead of the original tablets. The nickel plated boiler is 65mm diameter x 175mm tall, mounted on a scratch built firebox. It has a long thin water level sight glass, a standard Wilesco spring safety valve and a lever type whistle. The boiler has a central flue with a stainless steel chimney, which carries the burner gasses and the engine exhaust.

Steam is fed via a regulator valve to the reversing valve of the engine. The engine is from a Wilesco D48 marine engine. It is twin cylinder, double acting with Wilesco style slide valves (described by Wilesco as a "piston" valve). They are approx 13mm bore x 16mm stroke. There is a simple lubricator fitted to each valve chest. Reversing is achieved by swapping the inlet and exhaust (unusual for fixed cylinders and would not be possible with traditional slide valves). The reversing lever has been extended for easy access.

The crankshaft is geared down by a train of Meccano gears to a speed suitable for the winch cable drum. The drum is built up from a brass tube and a pair of Meccano flanged wheels. A length of cord from the drum passes up to the end of the scratch built jib, to an adaptable set of pulleys, with two pulleys on the jib and two on the hook, such that a variety of speeds can be chosen.

The whole is mounted on a varnished wood base. Provision has been made to mount the base on a turntable, but I haven't tested that aspect as yet.

Make REW
Model Heracles
Date Made 2020
Description Steam Crane
Cylinders 2
Cylinder Type Double acting reversible
Bore mm 13
Stroke mm 16
Valve Type Piston
Boiler Type Vertical single flue
Boiler Diam mm 65
Boiler length/height mm 175
Fuel LPG
Mechanical Condition Good
Cosmetic Condition Good
Paintwork Original
Purchased 18 July 2020
Purchase cost
Additional spend