Waterwheel

November 15, 2017
Fitting the new sluice gate

Here are Don and David fitting the new sluice gate. Don has designed a rack and pinion system to control the water flow. He has followed traditional practice carving the engineer's name (that's Don) and the year into the front panel. The water is held back by the stop boards further back since the dagger-boards for the new sluice gate haven't been installed yet. Even with low flow rates the fine sheet of water is evident as it flows over the tray it resembles a sheet of black plastic.

November 14, 2017
Testing out the new sluice tray

Bedfordshire drainage board finished dredging the river last week and we were keen to try the new sluice tray. Shifting thirty years of accumulated silt is challenging.  As we lifted the stop boards we were rewarded by a beautiful clean flat sheet of water flowing over the new sluice tray.  

The water is running properly again after a very long time resting. We continue to excavate the tail race by hand and hope to render the waterwheel "dry" ie running with clearance below the buckets rather than flooded which loses efficiency.

November 8, 2017
New sluice tray

The new sluice is made of of Accoya. The tray curves very slightly to direct water into the waterwheel buckets. 

Accoya is a remarkably stable material used extensively in the waterways of the Netherlands. It is is guaranteed to last 25 years submersed in water and 75 years as a cladding material.

October 4, 2017
Trial bucket bolts

Finding the right bolts to hold the new buckets onto the waterwheel has taken some time and a sample or two along the way. Here we have a stainless steel bolt combined with a tapered SG-iron washer that matches the geometry of  the grey cast iron waterwheel flanges the washer ensures that the fixings operate properly.

August 1, 2017
Don preparing the pit wheel
Preparing the pit wheel

Don prepares the end of the main shaft. This is simply a tidying up of the end of the shaft enabling the drive flange to locate on a spigot.  The flange will couple the gearbox to the pit-wheel converting 10rpm to the 1500rpm necessary to match grid electrical frequency.

May 16, 2017
Temporary bearing

The outer plain bearing of the waterwheel needs to be replaced.

This little temporary stand supports the shaft with roller element bearings mounted on a steel and wooden plinth. We can rotate the wheel with the use of a winch. 

July 28, 2016
Buckets 2

The trial of the buckets continues. It was important because we discovered that the bolt spacing is different from one side to the other. This necessitated separate drawings.

July 27, 2016
Trial buckets 1

Here we are trialling prototype buckets on the water wheel they fit one above the other.

August 3, 2013
Removing the buckets

About a third of the buckets have been removed. We freed a log trapped down the side which has made the wheel a little easier to turn but there's plenty more debris to remove before it will rotate without a great deal of force.

August 2, 2013
Scaffolding for the wheel

The scaffoling has been put up alongside the waterwheel ready for renovation to start.

July 2, 2013
Stopping the flow

We've closed the mill gates to stop the flow of water over the waterwheel. Now that the wheel has dried out, we can remove the rusting buckets and start to renovate the wheel, ready for new buckets to be installed. Once the buckets have been removed, we'll be able to inspect the wall behind and remove whatever had stopped the wheel from turning. When the frame has been renovated, we'll install new buckets and then look at renovating the mill gates and mill tray.

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