Bailey Steam
Engineering Designs

Ruston Proctor SD Tractor Project.

"Foreword by Andy Smith"

Ruston Proctor Ltd of Lincoln were well known builders of various forms of tractions, rollers ,tractors and portables etc and in their heyday exported steam engines to all corners of the globe and like many other of the manufactures they entered the steam tractor market around 1904.

Their first attempt was an early example of badge engineering in the form of a 3 ton Tasker tractor badged as a Ruston product classified as number 27741. A picture of this engine exists and it’s somewhat of an ugly duckling to say the least.

Rustons then went on to build three engines of their own before giving up on this small tractor market and concentrating of the more popular 5 ton tractor with the successful SCD “Lincoln Imp” product, a number of which have survived into preservation. The three SD tractors built were numbers 29777, 30472 and 30640 all of 1905, a works photo survives of No 30472.

Works photo of No 30472

The smaller tractors were allocated a SD designation, classed as 3 ½ tons and these were later to become the SR in 6 ton roller version of which one example survives in preservation, this being No 38591 owned by Derek and Sandra Marder since the 1950’s.

Ruston 6 ton roller No 38591

Over the years a number of scale models of the SD tractor have been designed and offered as castings in 2”, 4” and 6” by various suppliers and a 2” version was serialised in the Model Engineer in 1987by the Late John Haining. Around 1997 /98 Valentine Engineering decided to start up Ruston Proctor Northampton with the purpose of building full size versions of the SD tractor. The project was the brainchild of Steve Baldock as he was already offering SD castings and drawings in 4” and 6” scales. Patterns were underway and a front end was assembled for demonstration purposes and several adverts appeared in Old Glory. Engines were offered in castings only, kit and fully built versions. Unfortunately the builders went into liquidation before an engine was finished and I think four kits at various stages were on the books at the time with no engines completed.

The engines then disappeared in storage for a few years before two were acquired by a new owner and were near Eastbourne, the third is near Brighton and the fourth is near Bristol and the build state of these two latter engines is not known. The Eastbourne engine (Rusty#1) was the original demo engine and this has completed boiler and tender and is on its wheels and also (Rusty #2) which is basically the same parts but unassembled.

Rusty #1 with proud new own Colin Dix

Rusty #2 was advertised on the internet and several months of discussion and negotiation resulted in the purchase by myself and shortly afterwards Rusty #1 was offered for sale and this has been bought by my good friend Colin Dix of Bailey Steam Engineering!

A number of additional patterns such as cylinder block and trunk guide had been made by the previous owner. Most of the drawings of the full size engine were available with the engines and work so far has been to a high standard of accuracy to the prototype. This will allow the engines to be completed to create accurate replicas of this long lost engine type.

A number of differences exist between the tractor drawings and the later SR roller but the base engine is the same. Derek and Sandra Marder very kindly allowed me to photograph the roller and even steamed it up It’s clear that the tractor version will be quite lively when completed!

Rusty #2 as delivered

Some background work is underway on research and pattern making and Colin has machined the crankshaft bearings and fitted the crankshaft on Rusty #1 (maybe christened “JULIUS”!). My own engine will have to wait until the Mac is finished but a few bits may be collected along the way and I am sorting out getting the boiler kit assembled into a fully built and tested boiler.

The final picture shows Colin’s engine landing in his back garden next to his workshop!

Ruston Procter SD Class Light Steam Traction engine

Engine Vital Statistics
Bore 5-1/4"
Stroke 9"
Flywheel Diameter 30"
Front Wheel 3ft 1" x 5"
Rear Wheel 41-1/4" x 8"
Height to top of Chimney 8ft, 9"
Height to top of Canopy 8ft, 6"
Wheelbase 6ft, 2"
Width 4ft, 6-3/4"
Working Pressure 150 lbs per Sq inch
Valve Gear Stevenson's Link
Gearing 2 Speed

"Rusty #1"

A newly acquired project for Bailey Steam is the Ruston Procter SD class light Steam Tractor. This is one of four engines, all full size replica's that were started by Valentine Engineering. The engine has passed several owners before we acquired it. Here a build diary will be following progress of the new replica. Three Originals of this Class were manufactured, Taskers built one, followed by two examples by Ruston. None survived in to preservation. We hope to get the Ruston competed and on the Rally field in the near future!

I know of the locations of the other Ruston engines that are in construction, one is Bristol based, one is in the south east, the other engine owned by Andy Smith, which we call Rusty 2 is in storage at present due to other build commitments. I'm working with Andy as a joint project to complete these engines, we will share the research and development to allow the engines to be a truly authentic replica of the original. There is one Roller of this class that has survived in to preservation. We have extensively photographed this example and will use these details in combination with the Original works drawings. If the owners of the other two project's would like to make contact we may be able to offer them castings that are unavailable at present. We have commissioned a pattern for the cross head. Later a top fitting for the boiler.

04/06/2006 - Work commences on Rusty 1. Other business projects must come first so I have set a goal to machine or make one part each week for the Ruston as a minimum task to allow the project to move forward. So work started on the Tractor today. I have started to machine the Crankshaft bearings with the aim to get the crank installed. This will allow me to check the shaft centers, then we can design the gear ratio's etc. The original gearing will allow around 6 MPH in High, we would like to get this up to at least 10 MPH for Road Runs etc.

Boring the Crank Bearings

Trial fitting of the Crankshaft

The bearings were originally in 4 parts, front and rear adjusters with a separate top and bottom. One of the previous owners had soldered the bearings together as two. I followed on with this idea to save more work. The bearings are located in the mount with two solid steel plates. These are a nice press fit in to the bearings. I will add two holes in to the top of each of them to allow extraction.

Wheels removed for Vulcanising

12/06/06 - Today I take the wheels to get Rubber tyres fitted. Vulcanised on of course! I have found a new company for this task, this company looks very good indeed! Following that the wheels will be grit blasted clean, the tee ring welds filled, then heavily primed ready for painting.

New cross head castings with pattern

08/07/2006 - Crosshead castings arrive from Foundry. We have now made contact with the Bristol Based Ruston owner. This engine is in build by Mr James Buchan. James will join us obtaining castings and machined parts like gears etc.

MSRVS Memories (photo by Andy Smith)

Well so much for one job per week, I cut my finger off in the gears on HOGWART at the MSRVS Rally, my fault. One of the first things we are taught is never to clean rotating machinery. We have all done it and got away with it. This was my turn to get bit. I guess I have had around 20 mm removed to clean it up and make it heal quickly. So maybe we should visit our safety practices occasionally. Thank you Andy maaattteee for the photo! Ouch!

Valve spindle support castings with pattern

Vulcanised Front Tyres

08/0/2006 - So some progress has happened while I was recovering, I have the wheels back from Vulcanising, quite a good job. Especially the fronts! Also we have castings for the valve spindle guides for all three Ruston's. Alan Davenport made the patterns and arranged the castings! Nice job too. Alan is also making a pattern for the top steam fitting and the Fire door. Were getting quite a collection now. I must start work soon?

Top feed fitting resting on the boiler!

Top feed fitting, Pattern and core box!

We now have delivery of the top feed casting, a photo of the casting and the patterns are shown. Another nice job from Alan.

Andy & I have ordered steel billets for the Crankshaft gears and final drive pinion, we will cut these from solid. The small gear in the foreground is a 6" Mc Laren 14T slow pinion. The long yellow faced billet will be a 14T low speed gear for the Rustons. I can only just manage to lift by hand these pieces due to the weight. The larger blanks are to heavy to lift, they calculate at 110 KGS, Time for the Engine hoist. It's quite a lump to have rotating in front of you in the lathe?

So at last we are on our way to getting a set of machine cut gears for the Rustons.

The 14T and 25T gears will have a square cut in them, the square in this blank (on lathe) will be 2" but with the corners left at 2-3/8" radius. We will have these cut by Wire Erosion.

The Blank diameter is 7.1", this has to be machined to 6.496" for the gear face, the smaller diameter will be turned to 3-7/8" so there is a lot of metal to remove. The bore is a total of 11.5" long, to accurately bore this will be very hard due to tool chatter etc. We plan to machine the major diameter away (as shown) then Pre-drill the bore at 1-3/4 to around 9.5”. Then we turn the blank in the lathe, drill the other end, then cut the gear O/D, bore the 1-5/8” accurate location diameter and face the end square. This will let us have the largest clamping face perpendicular to the bore & Concentric! The concentric bore will be used by the Wire Erosion machine to find the center of the gear. Most wire machines move and touch on at 6 or eight positions to find the center, then cut the material.

We have chosen the following gear ratio's................

Low, 14T x 58T = 0.241:1 - High, 25T x 47T = 0.531:1 - Final drive, 20T x 67T = 0.298:1: This will give us 4 MPH in Low and 8.8 MPH in High gear at 350 RPM. We like the option of a fast speed for road runs without thrashing the engine to death, and retain a sensible low speed for maneuvering around and on the field in Low gear!

I have made the Excel file available that we used for the calculation, Click the link to open, if you adjust the RPM Value it shows you the speed in the speed box, you may save a copy and modify it for your engine to see what you have! Download Gear Data Excel File

I will collect the other flame cut blanks for the final drive and second shaft next week!

The blank has been removed from the chuck turned around, then the length supported with a 3 point steady. Bore, face and gear O/D all cut in one operation. This is now ready for cutting the 14 teeth and Wire Erosion for the square. The gear selector fork slot has deliberately been left out at this stage in case it get's damaged. This will be added when the gear is finished.

25 Teeth blank being loaded

This blank was loaded in the Lathe using the engine hoist. 110 Kg's is to heavy to load by hand. Also it was to large in diameter for the cross slide to pass under the billet. Multiple cuts had to be made before this was possible.

Finally ending up to look more like the final product. I now have two wheel barrows of swarf. The blank will be bored then turned in the Chuck. The O/D of the gear, bore and end face will be turned in one operation. Note the polished finish for the selector fork to operate, the Fork will be case hardened for reliable operation without picking up!

The 25T blank is nw reversed in the jaws, from this setting the bore, end face and diameter are machined to keep everything correct. The blank is now light enough to remove with one hand!

Machining the Final drive Pinion

Plough ground flame cut profiles are used in eN8 for the larger gears. This is the 58T blank mounted on the Webster & Bennett at Allan's workshop. The center hole has been drilled on the radial arm drill, The hard outer skin is removed on this machine, the bore and O/D will be turned in the center lathe.

Final drive profiles waiting to be machined.

Lots of very hot swarf here, there is no coolant on the Webster & Bennett.

Final drive & second shaft gears. Holes will be added to the final drive to secure it to the diff center (right hand side of picture)

Finishing cuts being done on the 2nd Shaft High Speed wheel, I/D & O/D turned to finish size.

Machining the base of the Valve Spindle support Casting. The Valve rod bore will be machined when the casting is mounted on this face.

Slitting the Eccentrics after Facing and Drilling. The stud is there as a support for the side thrust from the Slitting Saw.

Preparing to machine the bolt faces

Cutting the Piston Ring Grooves. Note the strange Spider pattern that appears in the metal, I may have to make this again.

Slotting the Crosshead for the Tapered Wedge. Note the O/D is pre-machined and left a bit oversize. Final cuts will be made when mounted on the Piston rod.

Crosshead mounted on the piston rod for the final size cuts. Also the inner of the crosshead can be bored to the correct size, this is useful to get the cutout central while machining. It's easy to cut out with a mill to the bore diameter. Then every thing is central.

The first thing I get when I looked at this photo was the state of my workbench, Quite a tiring day allowed me to get the crosshead assembly built up. The fit of the Crosshead is still a little tight in the Support. I need to add more Diamond past and give it the works, up & down. It is really heavy work doing this, but it does give a really good fit for the sliding parts. To complete this assembly I need to bore the little end pin hole, make the little end pin, cut out the Oil box and make the lid!

The crosshead pin is a tapered pin, the area that the little end runs on is turned in to the pin as a parallel section. The pin is retained with a washer, nut and split pin. The 1-1/4" washer locates in to a cut out in the pin, this keeps the pin in and stops it from rotating. Interesting method.

Fire Hole Door castings

Boiler feed check valve Castings

Another Delivery of Castings from Alan Davenport, We have boiler feed clack valves & Fire door & Hinge castings.

Valve Spindle support casting machined and trial fitted with the Trunk guide assembly

Valve spindle and Valve gear support. I have decided to make the Valve spindle from Stainless steel, this will be screwed in. This will allow easy replacement if required later, and I can get the steel part case hardened for long life!

Two sets of Large Ruston Gears

The Smaller gears resting on the work top!

Reaming one of the Diff Pinions, I will add some photo's of the Diff assembly soon!

Various stages of machining the Big End Strap

Well, Christmas came and went faster that I had hoped. I managed to get some work done on the Ruston in between the continuous eating & Drinking. The strap for the Con rod, adjusting wedge & bolts. Bored the Eccentric straps, made and fitted bushes to the Diff Pinions. A Visit to Preston Services Open days was interesting too. - Happy New Year!

The Water Gauge Frames that came with the engine had the flanges cut off? I guess there may have been two options why this was done, to thread them direct in to the steam manifold or maybe the flanges were too large? Anyway, I had to make some new flanges, drill them and secure them safely. The flanges and Water gauge parts were machined and threaded with an M25 x 1.5 mm thread. This would secure them mechanically. Then the parts were coated with flux and silver soldered to seal the threads and to add extra strength. I always enjoy silver soldering, I like to see the solder run around the part when touched with the solder. In this case the solder went full depth on the threads and with a nice radius fillet on each joint! . It should be very strong! The last photo is after soldering & pickling in Acid & Cleaning with wire wool. Now I have the other grubby bits to clean?

The Low speed pinion's are now back from the Wire Erosion company, a little fettling and care using a micrometer and files allow the gear to fit nicely over the crankshaft square. The radius in the square is accurate too. Whoever machined the Crankshaft made a good job of the square, the wire erosion is usually good to 0.001". Andy has collected his gear set, he will get both of the Fast Pinion's square's Wire Cut. When I get mine back I will cut the square on to the slow pinion's for it to slide on!

Andy & I decided to buy a new replica Foster Lubricator for our Rustons. They are the two large cast iron box versions in the background. I posted this photo to illustrate the differing scale of the same item. The other gunmetal lubricators are a 6" ( for Andy's Mc Laren) and a 4" & 3" from his stock. The 12" were supplied by these nice chaps at Live Steam Models at Derby. I guess the smaller ones were from there too. Very nice indeed!

Final Drive Diff Assembly nearing completion. I need to add the pins, oiling system and it's ready to fit!

All set and ready to machine the square on the small crank gear. The angle plate is supporting the rear of the part during machining, also a small screw jack. Three clamp hold the pinion to the rotary table. A threaded stud is through the center to give as much support as possible!

First and Second gears fitted to the crankshaft!

This is the first steps in manufacturing a lifting link. A solid block of steel 2" thick. Holes are added in the correct positions, these holes will become radii on the finished part. Also it is easier to mill slots if there is a hole each end.

The lifting link is now cross drilled and the excess parts cut off. It is easier now to see how the holes become part of the shape of the part.
Machining the inner radii blend, this radius disappears in a lot of different directions. The inner hole is used as a location in to the rotary table. Again the pin in the table is using one of the pre-drilled centers to allow concentric machining
Cutting the sides away
Adding the Radii to the small end
And finally the complete part!

Low speed Pinion

High Speed pinion

Final Drive Gears

I have had the drive gears for many months now, I have finally fitted them to the engine to check the centres. All is good. The result is very pleasing.

07/09/2008 Ruston Moves to new home.

Off she goes, on a set of old Gun carriage wheels

At long last I have made another start on the Ruston Project. It has stalled for quite some time now. I have made most of the valve gear,winch drum etc. re-built the tender floor, grit blasted it all over, painted it etc. More of that to come later. So I got fed up with the engine under a blue sheetaround the back of the house. Every thing rusts, and has to be removed at the end of each day. Also any gunmetal parts etc could get lost in the night? So I have moved the Ruston around in to the Garage. More later when I start fitting the parts.

Rusty 1's new home!

22/12/2008 - update

Andy & Brad called by on Saturday after a whistle stop tour of several counties, their tour included some super 6" lamps soon to be available as kits, Mclaren 1295 under a test boiler steaming, and collected some Great Tasker castings. Andy kindly took some photos of Rusty-1, so here are some for the update, - Thanks Andy!




I have started to mount the many parts that I have manufactured over the last year. It is starting to look like a Steam Tractor now!

Photos from Andy's visit on 14/02/2009

New Coal plate Riveted in to the Tender

Brake shaft waiting for more Castings from Alan to complete!

Gear Change Levers

Gear Change Levers

Full size Print of what the New Ruston Transfers will look like

More work required here


New Waterlifter Hose Casting from Mr Alan Davenport's great patterns.

Reversing lever nearly complete, new Water cut stainless parts arrived today

Safety Valve Assembly, I must finish of the Studs.

A photo is worth a thousand words, so the latest photos from Andy show the engine is coming along at a good pace. At present I'm machining the Gunmetal Cylinder Glands. I hope to complete the valve gear assembly, then time the valves etc, to check that everything works out alright. The I will drill and mount the Cylinder block to the boiler. The next task is to make and fit the gear guards. Some work is still required to complete the Cylinder block, this can be done before I fit the Gasket. I will Hydraulic the Boiler, block assembly and get a new 10 certificate test certificate.


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