View Full Version : Home Brew Boiler/ Steam Engine
08-24-2003, 01:18 AM
Has anyone ever tried/ thought of using a compressor tank for a boiler. . . ie drill weld tubes along the length, weld a fire box at one end and a stack on the other. I'm interested in converting a 5 gal. tank for use with a 20HP motor. Look forward to replies. Thanks.
08-24-2003, 04:47 AM
Don't do this, You will end up killing your self.
Boilers are not something you want to cobble together out of random parts.
08-24-2003, 05:06 PM
08-24-2003, 05:09 PM
A section of an Oxygen or Acetelyene tank would probably be O.K., but I would have second thoughts even about that. Schedule 80 Black Steel pipe like is used in high pressure sprinkler systems is supposed to have the same chemical makeup as "Boiler Plate." I would consider using a piece of that before a compressed air tank.
08-24-2003, 08:43 PM
No indeed not,please,i'm begging you,don't do it.Boiler design envolves lots of variables,such as heat and corrosion,the thickness of an air tank is not nearly enough,for a 20 hp boiler you will need something alot bigger.
08-25-2003, 03:25 AM
Didn't mean to scare you guys. . . I have seen many pictures of destroyed locomotives and boilers on the web due to dry/ fatigued tanks. . . so, you can relax now. I'm not going to get crazy and try anything yet. I am still looking for a means of making a safe boiler though. . . maybe with redundant pressure relief valves http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif. Does anyone know of reasonable plans for this kind of thing. . . maybe a reliable company that fabricates small boiler vessels. Thank you for the feedback.
08-26-2003, 05:07 AM
You can purchase certified boilers out of the yellowpages. A number of companies advertise in The Village Press magazines (Live Steam. HSM, MW).
Any boiler you make, buy, or find must be certified these days or you cannot legally run it anywhere in North America. This is a good thing.
I was just wondering...I used to be pretty involved with antique machinery in PA. Alot of the old timers told me then (about five years ago) that as long as the relief valve was 15 PSI or less, that no certification was needed. Did this change? Just wondering...Thanks!
08-26-2003, 08:02 PM
The quick type boilers, use a spiral wound smaller tube to conduct the heat. A large piece of schedule 80 pipe for the collection tube.
Rolling a piece of tubing this thick is about beyond the home machinist. They use a power roller not like my model 3 bender in the least.
Schedule 80 is the least I would use, put together by a certified boiler welder. (pressure vessel certified)
Tanks stretch, and shrink according to heat input and throughput. A thin air compressor tank would not hold up. After a time, they should not be used for pneumatics either. Note that the small air tanks have to be certified or destroyed. Stretched too many times causes fractures.
08-27-2003, 12:18 AM
No, the entire unit has to be certified for legal operation. This is not just for your and the safety of those near it, but also a liability issue. You don't have a hope in hell of running a steam loco on any track in Canada unless the boiler has the papers.
Boiler explosions are not pretty and never worth the anguish. Take the time to get it properly certified by a professional agency. I have never bothered to run steam in any models I built - I have used compressed air or even CO2/nitrogen. A well made steam engine will run well on compressed air.
Steam is more fun (sniff, sniff) and someday I will build a small boiler for my nephews engines I built.
08-27-2003, 12:29 PM
OK, here's the next question. . . albeit probably silly.
How come I can build a boiler for a small model 1/4 HP without expectation or need for certification. Or, are there requirements for the smaller ones?
By the way, WierdScience. . . is that you Bill Beaty???
Have a look here. BTW, 20hp is a big boiler.
08-27-2003, 08:21 PM
Ya thats alot of boiler,its also alot of feedwater!
08-28-2003, 04:39 AM
Here in Canada even the toys need to be certified although below a certain size I think they will accept hydrostatic testing in lieu of full boiler certification which can include x-raying the equipment and/or ultrasonic testing. We have rather strict standards here - some say far too much government interference, but we don't have boiler explosions here. You may even have to aquire a steam certificate here to operate some boilers - also because of safety issues. Hence, many just use compressed air to run models.
08-29-2003, 08:44 PM
There is a brand new, never been used, Donkey engine and boiler listed for sale on the Chaski List.
09-02-2003, 07:42 PM
You might like this. I met this guy at an electronics seminar. He introduced himself by showing me a quarter that was shrunk using high energy electromagnetic field. . . Lots of neat projects: http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by wierdscience:
Ya thats alot of boiler,its also alot of feedwater!</font>
09-07-2003, 02:08 PM
Just use a flash boiler as described on these pages:
They're a heck of a lot safer to operate than any other type of boiler.