Ilmarinen, the first steamboat in Finland

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Already for many years I have been interested about Ilmarinen, which was the first steamboat in Finland. She was a side wheeler, length x beam 26,2 x 4,0 metres and built 1833 in Puhos, Eastern Finland.
For many years Finland had been supplying timber into St Petersburg (Finland was part of Russia those days). Normally this was achieved with sailships, and journey from eastern Finland into St. Petersburg could last several weeks. At the beginning of 1800 however information about steam powered ships reached Finland too, and a young sawmill owner Nils Ludwig Arppe made decision to have such a boat built locally to shorten considerably the time of transportation.
So in 1833 a new ship was built. She was equipped with a side lever steam engine producing 34 hp and made by Alexandrowski mechanical workshop in St. Petersburg according to plans and instructions of Mr Matthew Clarke from England. She had an open hull so that the boiler and steam engine were easily visible.

Unfortunately not much information has been remained about her, after many studies I found only a few paintings but not enough to start building:

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But then, when trying to find more information of her, I contacted the Naval History Society of Finland asking possible drawings for Ilmarinen, and it was a big surprise that they had quite nice drawings of the ship and it`s machinery. So finally the build could be started.

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My intention was to build the model in 1/24 scale. So I took the drawings into professional photoshop and asked them to print the drawings in this scale. That went well and in a couple of days I had beautifully printed drawings and the build could be started.
The main idea is to build a radio controlled model of her. Because the steam boiler & engine are very well visible at the ship`s hull, I plan to build her a working engine, powered not with steam but with an electric motor which will be hiding in ship`s construction so that it looks like the steam engine is powering the sidewheels. I hope this main idea will be successful. That we will see in the future.

Anyway the build was started in a usual manner by first preparing a steady base out of thick plywood. Bulkheads were cut of balsa plywood and attached into base, and planking made with strips sawn of aspen.

Making templates for bulkheads of cardboard and using an illuminated desk:

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Bulkheads attached into the baseplate:

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Thanks for watching Ondras and Jim!

A small update:
As I wrote earlier, planking was made using strips of aspen. I bought a big lump of roughly sawn aspen and made my own strips first with a big bench saw and then smaller with my Proxxon table saw. Final planks are 2 x 6 mm.

Planking started. I don`t want holes in my planks so this is why I am using these self made small clips to keep planks pressed against bulkheads until glue has set. Normal PVA glue is used.

Because her hull is quite open, the bulkheads must be removed after planking is made. This is why all bulkheads are sawn with a jeweler`s saw almost away, so that only small parts are left to keep them one piece. You might see this from the bulkheads.

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Hull planked, gaps filled with filler made of microballons and epoxy. First sanding made....

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....and released from baseplate. Bulkheads were attached to baseplate with screws so dismantling was easy to do:

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Thank you Badras and Jan. I am glad that people are watching my log and have comments. It gives a lot more motivation to continue.

#Badras, I am not quite sure about glasfibre, maybe only some varnish and black paint. Anyway I am going to apply a mixture of milled glasfibre and epoxy inside the hull to make it stronger before I remove the bulkheads.
 
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Before removing bulkheads I applied a mixture of milled glassfibre and epoxy inside the hull to make it stronger and watertight. Depending of the amount of glassfibre this stuff is like gel and fills very nicely all grooves and holes without dripping.

After it had cured the hull proved to be very strong, so it was time to remove the main parts of the bulkheads:

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With empty hull it was time to install also the shaft for sidewheels. This was made of 5 mm silver steel, and a crank for the steam engine was attached into the middle of the shaft. Bearings were made of 2 mm brass plate and glued at both sides of the hull with epoxy:
20200313_082702.jpg
 
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After a relatively dull building of a hull, now something more exciting: Building of the side wheels. Each of the two wheels consist of 4 pcs rings and 16 pcs spokes, which all have to be very accurate and similar to be sure that the wheel is symmetrical and rotates nicely. The only way to achieve this is to produce the parts machinally, either by cutting them with a laser or a cnc router.
My first idea was to let them be cut professionally out of brass with a laser. This is why I drew the parts with CAD and sent the drawings to laser cutting companies for offer. But after receiving the offers I noticed that prices are so high that the only possibility for an elderly retired hobbyist is to make them by myself.

So, I had good quality 1 mm aeroplane plywood at home, and my good old trusted cnc router had nothing else to do, so I started the production. Here the router is cutting parts for a wheel. The milling cutter used has 1 mm diameter:

20200313_103121_001.jpg


Central part of the wheel is made of brass tube which can be slided on the 5 mm silver steel shaft. Hubs for wheels are turned of Sikablock. It is very nice material for this kind of work, machinable plastics almost like hard wood but no grain. Wheels were assembled on a jig using PVA glue for plywood parts and epoxy for Sikablock:

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To strengthen the joints and give some authentic look for wheels small plastic bolts were glued onto holes drilled for them:

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Ready made wheels were treated again with a mix of milled fiberglass & epoxy, to give them more strength and make them water resistant.

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And finally the wheels were installed on the shaft with "dog clutches" by drilling 2 mm crossholes to the shafts where small pieces of 2 mm steel bar were pushed. These correspond to the grooves milled into the wheel hubs. 3 mm bolts keep the wheels at their position:

20200319_100353.jpg
 
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Thank you all who have followed my log and commented & gave "likes".

Now that the hull is quite open, it is time to start fabricating the power transmission from motor to the side wheel shaft. I was wondering should it be based on timing belts & pulleys or roller chains, but I couldn`t find anywhere narrow enough pulleys, so I ordered 6 mm wide roller chain and four wheels for it.
Motor for the system is a gearmotor, 12 V 130 rpm and it is situated under the fore deck. Chain from motor to sidewheel shaft is hiding under side decks.

Chain and wheel on the sidewheel shaft:

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Gearmotor under the coming foredeck:

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Chain tensioning system:

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Chain from motor to the tensioning system and up to the sidewheel shaft:

20200326_103606.jpg
 
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Heinrich

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Dear Moxis. This is some of the most incredible work I have ever seen. The planking is superb and the general woodwork re the decks and interior are incredibly neat. But those wheels ... and the manufacturing that went into those is mind-blowing. Daniel is right when he says it is inspiring! Also the mechanical side is no less superb. The chain method is ingenious and because of the size chain should last a lifetime. Now if only you could find a Stuart Turner Sun steam engine!
 
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Thank you very much Heinrich for your kind and inspiring words. My intention is to build a model of a side lever steam engine as the original ship had, and power it not with steam but using the electric gearmotor shown with this chain drive. In this way it looks like the steam engine is rotating the sidewheels.

A few years ago I built a real steam engine, a two cylinder Marcher, for which I bought a set of castings & drawings from UK. This engine is used to power my previous project Lempi, a build log of which can be seen here on SoS too: https://shipsofscale.com/sosforums/...launch-built-in-1877-in-warkaus-finland.3126/

Here some pictures of the engine:

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Heinrich

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Now that is equally as beautiful. I just love steam engines and with all the potential steam-powered builds going on at the moment, it's time I devise a plan!
 

Jimsky

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Hello Moti, I can underline everything Heinrich said! This is not the first of your projects that triggers my WOW factor! I have first inspired with the LeCerf model and the way you build her (self-made clamps, various jigs) and obviously the outcome model. I continue amazed how much engineering skills you have and you happily use them in your builds. Please keep up the great job inspiring\teaching us. Many thanks. Thumbs-Up
 
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