Elliot Bay Steam launch - RC Groups
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Jan 25, 2009, 09:32 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar

Elliot Bay Steam launch

I have been searching for my Midwest Elliot Bay steam launch and steam engine kits. I have been looking for three weeks off and on.

I have been looking in my garage, my shed, and my bedroom closets for the kit. I had not been able to find it.

Looking for it in the garage is no easy task. Because everything is in boxes, stacked up on each other high up in the rafters. In order to get to them, I must move my car, which is on a hoist, out of the garage. Then I have to climb up on a rickety old aluminum step ladder and try to balance myself on the ladder while holding onto a rafter with one hand. This leaves me one free hand to try and move heavy boxes around, drop them down, so that I can open them up and look inside. Or hopefully, just spot the kit box stacked out in the open.

I have done this several times over the past three weeks and never found the Elliot Bay. Until today!

I finally found it, by looking in one spot, that required I get on the top step of the ladder and pull myself through some rafters so that I could move some boxes and look around. So I got the Elliot Bay boat kit. Once it was down I opened the box, hoping the steam engine kit was inside the boat kit box. Wasn't there! Crap!

So I moved the rickety old aluminum step ladder to another part of the garage and climbed up it. As I was trying to get to the top step, the ladder broke............

I could have killed myself. Or broken my neck, or my back, or a leg, or a hip, or a shoulder, etc. because I would have fallen on the hoist ramp which would have been like snapping a branch over your leg.

Luckily, there was one spot on the rafter between the boxes where I could put my hand and I grabbed it, stopping me from falling. Hurt like crap though, because all my weight was now being held up by my left arm. It is very sore right now.

The ladder was all tweaked and catty wampus, and I was looking down wondering where and what I would hit when I let go. But I saw I could still put a foot on the bent ladder and so I did, and slowly let my weight onto it. And then let myself down. The ladder crashed into the Elliot Bay box, too. Crushing one corner of it. Luckily, nothing inside broke.

So after a while I went and bought another ladder. A Gorilla ladder. Much more heavy duty. I went back into the garage and up the new ladder to look in that spot but the steam engine kit was nowhere to be found. Crap!

As a last resort, I looked in my workshop, behind where all my gas motors are, and there it was!

So at last, I finally have the Elliot Bay boat kit and the steam engine kit. And I almost broke my neck getting them.

It better be worth it!

The build will start soon........
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Jan 25, 2009, 09:43 PM
Registered User
charlie eaton's Avatar
If it goes like the hunt for it did, rotsah ruck ferrah!
Jan 25, 2009, 10:27 PM
What is this a center for ants
avidjeepr's Avatar
Dang, be careful,
Rule 1. Don't swim for your boats.
Rule 2. Don't swing from rafters to get a boat.

Glad your O.K.
Last edited by avidjeepr; Jan 26, 2009 at 11:43 AM.
Jan 25, 2009, 11:22 PM
Registered User
Wow Tom. That is a nice looking steam engine. I got the first generation kit years ago. You had to fit and solder all the engine and boiler pieces together. I can see the quality of the engine has improved greatly.

I am looking forward to watching you put this boat together. Are you going to modify the boiler to run on gas or stick with sterno (assuming it still runs on sterno... )
Jan 26, 2009, 12:09 AM
"day ain't over yet-"
der kapitan's Avatar

For all the grief you went through, I'm not all that sure that the kit was worth the effort---.

Big deal, a suck mold hull that they market as a steam launch, tug, fireboat, hey! let's get into the real world---.

How about doing it up as an aircraft carrier too---?

The steam engine is kinda neat, tho, if you have the preassembled one---.
Jan 26, 2009, 12:13 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Andy, I built the kit version steam engine sometime in the 80's and used it strictly as entertainment to watch it run. I still have it. Somewhere......... lost in a sea of boxes.

Karl, what can I say?
Jan 26, 2009, 12:42 AM
If you cant find it Build it!

Sounds like you need to clean house and sell off a few things!
"Ok what do you got?"

Glad to hear your ok thou!
Jan 26, 2009, 02:20 AM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Thanks Jeff.

I have tried to sell a few things but nobody wants to buy anything.

So here is what is inside the Heritage Steam Engine box. They claim it is prebuilt, and in a way it is. But not really. The parts that are pre-built still need to be assembled and turned into a usable, working powerplant.

The manual that comes with the kit is only info about running and maintenance. There is not a single word about constructing the power plant. So the picture on the kit box is what you get to go by.

The engine and boiler will no doubt work as they come in the box. But aesthetically, they must be gone over. The boiler needs some serious cleanup work. The engine will get some minor cleanup and then I'll do a few cosmetic tricks to it to pretty it all up. The mahogany will get stained and varnished. The brass and copper will get polished. Some paint here and there.

BTW, the socket head screw and grub screw on the engine are SAE threads. I think this steam engine is made in America.
Jan 26, 2009, 02:32 AM
Sea Dragon-Lover
Umi_Ryuzuki's Avatar
Glad you're okay Tom.

Now about that steam engine,...
No, it won't go "that" fast...

But it will be fun to watch the build up anyway.
Jan 26, 2009, 02:48 AM
Registered User
steveciambrone's Avatar
There should have been instructions with the steam engine to assemble the boiler. Might try the Midwest website. Actually if you built the older one the boiler shell is the same.

Jan 26, 2009, 04:04 AM
Registered User
Tom, Gotta watch that high altitude work; like the others, glad you're alright.
Jan 26, 2009, 04:57 AM
Registered User
The only thing that I wish that they would come up with for that motor is both a throttle valve and a reversion method of some kind.

Here is a link to the full size Elliot Bay Steam Launch Company ( http://www.steamlaunch.com/ ) here in Portland, you might find some ideas on how to dress your boat up.

I am glad that you did not get hurt in the incident with the ladder.

Portland Oregon
Jan 26, 2009, 10:27 AM
Registered User
charlie eaton's Avatar
Tom, as der kap said the steam launch,fireboat,and tug are the same and all internal parts are the same. Be carefull with the rudder allignment through the hull. The wood support inside the hull for the rudder can be off by up to a 1/4'' or so. Other than that it's an easy build.
Jan 26, 2009, 12:03 PM
woodybob's Avatar
Looks like a neat kit, should be a fun build.
Glad you got a new ladder too. Old, rickety = scary.

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