View Full Version : I want to build a boiler

02-19-2005, 03:59 PM
For the air engines I've built, it is my understanding they can be run on steam as well. Is this advisable?
Any comments or advice welcome, now there is a switch. LOL

Allan Waterfall
02-19-2005, 04:12 PM
You should be able to,just watch out for any soft soldered joints.Oil em well afterwards.


02-19-2005, 04:15 PM
If you've never built a boiler I would strongly advise that you buy a kit for
your first experience. Doing this will guarantee that you have the proper
materials and a proven design to minimize the chance of a dangerous accident.

My first boiler was a kit from PM Research,


It was relatively easy to assemble and easy to pressure test using the hand
feed pump that I bought as a kit from PMR.

Insert standard disclaimer here.

Regards, Marv

Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things

02-19-2005, 04:16 PM
Neato ones I have saw the insides of?

They have rows of 3/4" Schedule 80 pipe wound into a spiral connected to condensate tanks in a triangle type arrangement. (3 condensate tanks) this is then plumbed with exhaust through the spirals to "quick heat" the water. Refractory is cast around the tubes to slow thier burnout.

Licenses? Someone else like the steam engine guy from Idaho? Knowes a lot more about this.

The most effiecient steam engine was the triple expansion model that uses the same steam in 3 cylinders each time getting "push" off it reducing it to lower pressure. Largest bore is last, each piston develops same mechanical forward pressure to crankshaft.

If they had just developed that just a tad further we'd be driving them down the road today.

Steam? I can make you all you want with out a boiler. See my previous posts on Hydrogen peroxide rockets. Just do away with the nozzle and capture heat/steam for use. Of course it'll take some instruments and pressure cells to make it work with a CPU of some kind.

The good steam site is on my other computer.. This Linux box don't have the good links.

Steam? I know a guy who thought his house had been bombed, they had put a pipe plug into the relief valve on the water heater, it developed enough pressure to blow a wall out, some ceiling joists and propel it'self about a block away. My buddy woke up scalded and thinking a bomb had went off.

Seems to be a easy way there, just remove the pressure relief and redo the thermostat. May god be with you if the relief fails. There is one of theses in each house in America.


02-20-2005, 01:29 PM
I would run them on air and forget it. A boiler has to be certified in most parts of North America and may require x-ray inspection before they will allow it to pass. A new air compressor is much cheaper.

02-20-2005, 06:25 PM
Perhaps I wasnt clear, I an talking about a scale size boiler 10 " long at most.Marv had the right Idea, thanx to all, mostly you thrud for watching out for my well being,considering the ass I've been to you,thanx again.

charlie coghill
02-20-2005, 10:52 PM
IOWOLF I want to build a model boiler sometime and I was thinking of using a hotwater heater element and a pressure sw. for controll. I have not checked into this far enough so dont know that the heating element is the way to go, just thinking about it. The shell will be 6 inch schedual 40 pipe. Coles Power model has the small water level glass and fittings. You will need a relief valve which Coles also have.(I am not connected in any way).

02-21-2005, 11:56 AM

that is what I had in mind.Thanx to all

charlie coghill
02-21-2005, 07:52 PM
IOWOLF That is one that I believe that I would shy away from.

02-21-2005, 07:55 PM

02-21-2005, 08:13 PM
Friend... ya know I been thinking..

I got this autoclave sitting here.. It makes dry steam.. Look into that..

a simple pressure cooker would work, just leave the green beans and canning jars out.. (he he he..)


[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 02-21-2005).]

02-21-2005, 08:37 PM
DAVID, use that autoclave for lobster and shrimp in baggies,Mmmmmmmmmmm good.

02-21-2005, 08:40 PM
what about a steamer for steaming milk? SOmething like http://www.espressozone.com/milk-steamer-5295.html It's got your safety valve built in, all you'd have to do is fashion a way to hook it up to your engine. The only problem is that the safety valve's release pressure might be too low. What kind of pressure do you need for one of your engines?


[This message has been edited by jburstein (edited 02-21-2005).]

[This message has been edited by jburstein (edited 02-21-2005).]

02-21-2005, 08:47 PM
My old mentor said autoclaves were good for steaming clams.

I was there one day when a pretty young, very angry girl came in with her whole leg red, stripes going up it.

I kept some of my tattoo equipment. Since my eyes are still bothering me I might not ever tattoo again. Kinda like losing a leg..

I could throw some clean tubes, small power supply and inks in my saddlebags and go anywhere without cash in my pocket.

Yeah, I think a pressure cooker would be great, just dress it up a tad.. your engines run on what? 20lbs? Have you calculated that yet?

Steam is much more powerful than comparable air pressure due to the expansion properties. Once you cool it thou, you don have pressure.
I've always heard due to the density of steam versus air, a steam whistle does not even make the same sound on air.

02-21-2005, 10:03 PM
I had seen one once made from a section of copper pipe,3" I think it was with a heater element and a dead wieght safty valve,just like a pressure cooker relief.Looked doable to me,plus you could forget the solder and tig weld the copper with an argon purge.

Heck even go as far as insulating the whole thing for max efficency.

02-22-2005, 03:12 AM
I don't think you understand what I am saying - according to the law in most provinces and states a boiler is a boiler is a boiler and has to be certified. If you make one and then an accident occurs in your home the insurance company will ask to see the papers certify the boiler if it was the cause of the damage - now if anyone in the public is hurt - you are in deep, deep **** -- especially in the US (you can't sue anyone here unless you have too much money already).

So before you decide to buy a kit or build one from scratch I suggest tyou contact your state authority and find out any requirments first - as I say, it may not be worth you time or the moeny spent.

That being said, you can build one anyway and take your chances, but air is much safer - that is why I cautioned aginst the steam boiler.

The Village Press "Steam and Sterling Engines you can build Volume 2" book has a great article on an electric boiler by D.E. Johnson (page 174). This one has all the bells & Whistles you ned and should be able to pass inspection if required.

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 02-22-2005).]

02-22-2005, 07:33 AM
Go to www.calslivesteam.org (http://www.calslivesteam.org) and read the Maryland boiler code link. Maryland's rules are probably the strictest in the US.

You can use a length of copper pipe or steel pipe to build a boiler. Buy a book on model boiler making. I got mine from Amazon. Take some care in designing it and have it welded or silversoldered (if copper)by somebody who knows what they are doing. It will need to be hydrostatically tested annually.

Good luck,

Andy Pullen