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Author The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
grahami

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 11:27:55
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I have just been posted a scan of a most remarkable pair of photographs - a complete Cooke & Hunter tunneler, probably at work in a chamber at Lower Maenofferen (became Cooke's Level) or upper Maenofferen - can't be Abercwmeiddau or Llanberis as the starta is wrong.

The images are courtesy member "seend" to whom much thanks are due for providing them.

I've annotated the images and here is a my first shot at an expanation - any engineering gurus out there, please chip in!

Gate valve R allows water from pipe T to drive turbine A.
This revolves shaft and pulley B, which then drives larger pulley C by means of a twisted flat belt,which can be seen on the lower photo.

Pulley c then drives a gear behind disk D, which may be a clutch or brake. This in turn drives gears E-F, G-H and I.
The shaft of gear I drives a pair of bevel gears J1, J2, which drive the bevel gears K1 and K2 on the ends of the main shafts to the rotating cutters L1, L2.

M1, M1 are the adjusting screws to move the cutters in and out, widthways.
N1, N2 are the guide rollers which position the machine agains the walls of the tunnel it is working in.
The rollers on the ends bear against a timber beam attached to the wall, one of which can be seen at U in the lower photo.

P1, P2 appear to be pipes conveying water to the cutter sides, presumably to wash debris from the cutting slot.

Q appears to be a drive shaft taken via a clutch from the back of bevel gear K2. It is difficult to tell, but this may connect to shaft and gear S. This may possible drive the rear carrying axle and wheels, one of which can be seen at V in the lower photo.

Unfortunately without higher resolution on the lower photo, it is not clear whether there is an additional clutch or other mechanism at the rear of the shaft Q.

There does not seem to be any obvious means of advancing the cutters, so I can only presume this was done by driving the whole carriage forward - perhaps the purpose of gear and shaft S. However, how then was the water feed to the turbine maintained ? If this was the case then the drive to this shaft would need to be reversible, to allow the machine to back out of it's tunnel. There is no obvious reverse gearing, so perhaps the machine was dragged back out of it's tunnel by the chain W on the lower photo.

Where did the discharge water from the turbine go ? Presumably, like Moses Kellow's first drill, it simply discharged from below into the level.

An alternative supposition would be for those massive cutter shafts to actually be hydraulic rams which would advance the cutters, perhaps on splined shafts?
But I can see no evidence of the pipework needed.

Could there be cunning screw mechanisms which both rotated and advanced the head at the same time, and the shaft Q was the necessary reverse mechanism to retract them again. Reversing one shaft would also reverse the other via the J1-J2 shaft, provided the main drive was de-clutched.

Grahami



(click image to open full size image in new window)



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carnkie

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 11:56:48
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Engineering is another world to me but the scans, your explanation and annotations are, to say the very least, extremely impressive. And I'm not easily impressed. Thumbs Up Thumbs Up IP: 88.105.181.11
grahami

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 12:06:49
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Forgot to say, that the original photos must date from the 1860's - certainly by 1871 all the Hunter/Cooke tunneling had finished as far as we know. The C&DH reporter said in 1873 "Starting along the lower level, I noticed that the orifice of the tunnel was very peculiar. In shape it seemed formed by the outline of four circles, the circumferences of which interesected each other. The boring of this was perfectly smooth. Mr Owen explained to me that when commencing the level, they had been induced to try a patent boring machine, whose action was the rotary movement of a circle of knives. I afterwards saw the remains of the ponderous machine, like a huge mammoth cast iron skeleton. After proceeding a few yards it's use had been abandoned, because the cost of working it more than quadrupled the cost of manual labour necessary for the same amount of work. Nor would it bore through granite."

This refers to Cooke's level, of course, which was done with a machine with rather smaller heads than the ones in the phot. The photo looks like 6ft dia heads.

Grahami

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Vanoord

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 12:08:57
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Great Scott! That is a monster!

I can both understand why such a thing would have been conceived and also why it may not have been ultimately successful!

I shall have a closer look later and wrap a damp towel round my head in order to aid concentration, but there's certainly a question about how water supply could be maintained - there must have been some way to do this as the machine was moved forwards.

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Vanoord

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 12:19:50
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grahami wrote:

Starting along the lower level, I noticed that the orifice of the tunnel was very peculiar. In shape it seemed formed by the outline of four circles, the circumferences of which interesected each other. The boring of this was perfectly smooth. Mr Owen explained to me that when commencing the level, they had been induced to try a patent boring machine, whose action was the rotary movement of a circle of knives. I afterwards saw the remains of the ponderous machine, like a huge mammoth cast iron skeleton. After proceeding a few yards it's use had been abandoned, because the cost of working it more than quadrupled the cost of manual labour necessary for the same amount of work. Nor would it bore through granite."


Cooke's is merely a twin bore isn't it? I don't think a quadruple-bore tunnel exists anywhere these days, but I'd be happy to stand corrected.

Mind you, some nineteenth century sources can be a bit on the odd side - whilst reading up on the Pwll Fanog slate ship, I found a tale of a sea serpent that had boarded a ship and wrapped itself around the mast before being repelled by the brave crew. I suspect some artistic licence may have been employed... Roll Eyes

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IP: 217.39.127.209 Edited: 08/07/2008 12:20:26 by Vanoord
grahami

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 12:35:39
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Tut tut Vanoord you should not automatically dismiss even Victorian reporters...- here is Cooke's level in 1981 - observer the quadruple bore in the foreground changing to twin in the distance. The tale we heard was that the small twin borer could not hold to a line and tended to work upwards, especially if it hit different rock starta.



(click image to open full size image in new window)



(click image to open full size image in new window)

On the outside shot note the tunnel off to the left - into Votty. Curiously, Cooke's Level is actually in Votty, but I won't try to explain that at the moment.

Grahami
Grahami

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JohnnearCfon

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 12:50:50
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Those photos are stunning. I am totally gobsmacked!

Thank you very much Seend for sharing them, and to Graham for annotating them.

I am lost for further words.

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hymac580c

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 08/07/2008 21:36:52
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Fascinating machine, took some engineering skills to design that. Must be extremely heavy with all the cast metal parts. I can imagine it would be a task and a half to get it into its working place and set it up. I wonder if it was reliable when working, or was there possibly many breakdowns as there are many moving parts in the machine and plenty of teeth to shear off. Just imagine the effort needed to get things going if the cutters got jammed or stuck in the slate face.

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Gwyn

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 10:19:51
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Amazing!! Thank you very much! Thumbs Up IP: 92.0.200.145
Gwyn

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 11:35:07
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It is very interesting to compare the above photographs and C&DH report to the extracts from Cooke's paper read to the Royal Society of Arts. Who was fooling who? IP: 92.0.200.145
grahami

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 12:12:02
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Gwyn wrote:

It is very interesting to compare the above photographs and C&DH report to the extracts from Cooke's paper read to the Royal Society of Arts. Who was fooling who?


My guess is that Cooke's level and the trial bores above floor2 1/2 and below the winder at Maenofferen, together with the "binoculars" at Abercwmeiddau represent the greatest amount of work done by the tunnellers. The twin tunneler of the photograph (obviously very different from the machine which worked in the upper parts of Maenofferen or the 4-bore of Cooke's level) and which may have been transferred to Abercwmeiddau, is specifically mentioned in the RSA paper:

"One form includes in its construction two parallel
borers, cutting two tunnels each 5ft 4in in diameter, side by side, and freeing more than two tons each at
every cut. The slab of slate, still marked at its ends by the cutting tools, indicates the size of the pieces of
slate that may be won by it. From one core, and that one the first ever cut by that machine, 23 slabs of
more than one ton in weight were made, besides a considerable number of slates. Its rate of progress in
cutting is eight inches per hour and the depth of cut allowed by the cutting blades is twenty-one inches
forward. This machine has penetrated many yards into the solid slate bed, and is destined, I fully believe,
to revolutionise the present system of quarrying that valuable material."


Now judging by the problems of that hydraulic pipe etc. one wonders just how far it actually moved, (apart from how!)

It begs a lot of questions.

Grahami

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Vanoord

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 12:38:30
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Presumably the quad-bore at Cooke's was done by a twin-head machine which cut a long twin tunnel, then was put back again at a lower level to double the height?

The deeper section of the tunnel seems to show the binocular section on top and a blasted (square) section in the middle, whereas the outer was a quad-bore:



(click image to open full size image in new window)

Hmmmm - in the picture of the tunneler, the vein drops to the right in the direction of forwards travel.

However, at Cooke's as you look in, the vein drops to the left iirc?

Thus, the tunneler would be set up to drill 'out' in the picture, which seems a bit odd to me.

Of the quad-bore section, the upper 'binocular' is full-length, whereas the lower 'binocular' only goes in as far as the door (see pic above) and thus must have been tunneled from the outside.

I wonder if there's any trace on the upper 'binocular' to work out which way the tunneler was traveling?

The 'test' bore in the open quarry has, if I remember correctly, a slight corkscrew effect on the walls, which indicates which way the machine was rotating.

Given that the lower 'binocular' must have been tunneled from the outside, if there is enough of it left to exhibit the corkscrew pattern, then this can be compared to the upper one to see if they were bored in the same direction.

I can't help but suspect that both upper and lower 'binoculars' were bored from the outside, though!




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Gwyn

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 14:25:47
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mmm! Questions, questions!
A Hunter saw stopped by a bit of "granite" in slate! What the Hunter's didn't know about granite....
I'm with Hapgood on this one! " With variations, the story was repeated around the globe, year after year, for the next century: an enormously challenging project, a brilliant engineer, an impressive piece of machinery, admiring visitors, enthusiastic speeches about human progress, and finally disappointment"
Fascinating!
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hymac580c

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 17:02:53
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Does anyone know if any examples of the Cook's boring machines survive today? Would be interesting to see one.

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JohnnearCfon

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 17:32:55
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To be honest, I was suprised even a photograph (or 2!) even existed!

I think Vanoord is right about the slate vein being "wrong way" for Cookes level.

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IP: 89.241.193.225 Edited: 09/07/2008 19:45:27 by JohnnearCfon
Gwyn

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 19:14:33
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I've spent hours on this......my brain...Cooke, Wheatstone, Ricardo, Brunel..etc...
Hunter used rubber inserts for the teeth on his saws (see previous). Were Cooke and Hunter playing with high pressure, rubber/fabric, flexible, hydraulic tubing? just a thought....
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Gwyn

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 21:06:07
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Can we please link/connect this on-going thread with the last which was "Second form of Cooke & Hunter's tunneller, 1866 patent"..? Please?...fascinating...fascinating... IP: 92.0.200.145
hcd563

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 22:12:24
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The bores at Abercwmmeiddau are a good 7ft or so in diameter. Also in the "binocular" one bore is a lot deeper than the other (there is also a single bore higher up the face) Could we be looking at the work of three different machines ? The pictures are superb, well done.

Martin
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JohnnearCfon

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 22:45:37
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The bores at MO are of differing diameters too!

Don't see any reason to link the two threads together myself although here are links to :-

Second form of Tunneller 1866
[web link]

Abercwmeiddaw
[web link]

Hunter's Tunneller 1864
[web link]



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JohnnearCfon

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The Hunter Tunneler Returns!
Posted: 09/07/2008 23:04:10
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I have just realised I overlooked a word in Graham's original post on this thread.

can't be Abercwmeiddau or Llanberis as the strata is wrong.

Where is (was) there a bored tunnel at Llanberis please?


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