Monday, October 18, 2010


The Ensley type mixer will actually be part of my Bessemer Plant, however, I've decided to describe it's construction under a separate heading as this machine is fairly unique.   It's uniqueness will make it difficult to scratchbuild.   The core of the mixer is a cylinder,  but all simplicity ends there with partial conical ends and a clipped top.  See Photo of Prototype.  Additionally, both spouts are complex curved shapes, and not the same.  Finally, the structural reinforcing and bearing rails are all curved shapes.   As I find with these type of projects, solve one problem at a time.   A word of warning too - if you follow in my footsteps, the only scale drawing I have to work off is about the size of a penny in total, so most of my measurements are approximations or eyeball take-offs.  
The mixer body is about 24' in diameter - perfect for once again using the Rix Water Tank sections.  I glued two courses wide and four or five sections each - no need for a complete ring as it will be cut down later.  The next step is the sides - these are basically conical sections with about a third removed at the top.  Vacuum forming seemed the only way to make duplicate sides so I turned a block of pine in the lathe, creating the gentle curve of the side.  I used this as the master in my homemade vacuum forming machine.  I think I used .030 plastic to form the sides but it could have been .040.  I trimmed the finished sides along the edge and they fit perfectly onto the Rix core.   Now, to create that arched top of the sides I drew a crosshairs on the side of the round side piece and then marked about two feet up from the centerline on each side.  Then, using a compass with it's point at the base  of the vertical line and the pencil on the 2' mark I drew an arc.  The result was pretty close to the prototype so I cut the plastic along the line and then sanded the curve right too the line.   The one photo shows the result.

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