Improving the Burrell Engine Flywheel

Improving the Burrell Engine Flywheel from the original heavy design to a thinner elegant long spoked thin rim to match the 1890 drawing. I roughed out a flywheel yesterday, but then Steve (SGSengineering) rightly commented that the rim was heavy. So back to the workshop after some pondering of the design and options I had to improve it.

Lighter Flywheel Rim

flywheel versus plan drawing

In the previous post I machined the flywheel. However, Steve’s comment on the weight of the rim, along with a drawing of another traction engine flywheel for reference, made me think again. This made me realise the flywheel did look too heavy. Also, the drawing showed the section of the flywheel and it had a subtle chamfer on the inner edge of the rim. A way to make it look thinner, but at the same time keep some of the weight.

I pondered the design over night, looking at images of different Burrell traction engines to get some ideas,

flywheel in warco lathe machining chamfer

The flywheel goes back into the Warco lathe. The new Soba 3 jaw chuck is running very true and so an easy setup.

I machined the rim down to a thickness of 3.5mm and then added a chamfer at 20°. The image shows the tool angled over and creating the chamfer.

Smooth Spokes

The flywheel process beginning to end is shown in this short video.

Step by step process narrated by me
flywheel rim detail for the Burrell

A close up of the flywheel shows the profile of the rim. This chamfer creates a thinner look.

The spokes are now rounded and transition smoothly from hub to rim. This was done using my hand belt sanding (shown in the video). Lots of care needed to repeat the sanding multiple times on all of the spokes to get a consistent finish. What I’m saying is don’t rush this stage.

Burrell flywheel

This flywheel is quite small with a diameter of 72mm and thickness of 9mm.

I was concerned that in thinning the rim down I would reduce the rotational inertia too much. This will give me problems with low speed running of the steam engine. However, I will have to test and try to establish if it is ok.

finished burrell flywheel on original drawing
Burrell flywheel and tender

I finally had to pose the flywheel and tender together. Still lots to do though on this 1/20th scale Burrell traction engine.

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