I still have the site open, although I have converted it to more of a website for steam engine information.
It is not really a forum per se.
I tried to be all things to all people with the forum thing, and now I realize how impossible that task is.
I got discouraged and started to close the site, but I have never found anything like it anywhere else online, so I have kept the historical information on the site, with some new information on 3D modeling, steam engine design, etc.
So now I am focused exclusively on designing (in 3D modeling) and reproducing full-sized small authentic steam engines poured in gray cast iron.
My story is that I built a steam engine and boiler as a 12th grade science project (photos below), and got hooked on steam engines.
The engine below was built in 1975 with a great deal of help from my dad, and it is a single-action engine which uses a Briggs and Stratton lawnmower piston, an old pully, and the remaining parts scratch-built. The boiler I built was round, about 16" dia., about 48" tall, with welded steel fire tubes.
My science-project engine produced a fractional amount of horsepower, and was enough to get me a passing grade in science class, but since 1976, I have had the dream of building a functional and authentic double-acting steam engine.
In 2009 I got interested in my dad's hobby of building model steam engines, but I kept going back to the idea of building an authentic steam engine on a larger scale; not a model.
I bought some bar stock for a twin marine engine with a 3" bore, and started hacking on that.
Then I started looking at casting aluminum, then brass/bronze, and in 2011 I got the bug to pour a steam engine in gray cast iron.
I have completed two iron pours to date, both failures to some extent, but not failures from the standpoint of teaching me how to pour cast iron in the backyard. I am preparing for a third iron pour in the next few weeks, and hope to have the knowledge I need to sucessfully make that pour.
Here is a video of my iron pours No.1 and 2.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To5tepT4yD4http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KOlUxyfvbk
I will try to post a video of my third pour if all goes well.
If I succeed with the upcoming pour I will start working in earnest on the patterns for a full sized bottle engine similar in size to a Donegan & Swift, except without the outboard bearing (freestanding engine); 3" bore, cast iron with cast passages.
I run my own business, and work keeps getting in the way of my dreams. As my wife says "You can't eat dreams; food requires money"; harsh but a reflection of reality.
But perhaps this will be the year when I can realize my lifelong dreams about building authentic iron steam engines.