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First Steam Engine, Power Question.

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  • First Steam Engine, Power Question.

    I picked up a small steam engine kit. Here is a picture of it:



    I put it together and I have been running it off my compressed air in the shop. I bought this to give as a gift to my Grandfather. I want to make a stand for it and have it setup so he can run it at his house. He does not have an air compressor. What are some simple sources for compresses air you guys have used to power these little engines? I want something easy for him to use, what fun is it to have the engine if you can not run it. I was trying to find something that would not require having a boiler. Has anyone used the little C02 cans for b-b guns? Thank you.

    -James

  • #2
    I built one from scratch years ago and gave it to my grandfather.
    I found that a VW beetle windshield washer reservoir, a nylon tank, was filled with washer fluid and then charged with a tire pump. One of these, without the washer fluid, would run the little engine for several minutes. An adapter to a spare tire would also work for longer run times.
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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    • #3
      You could try a large air pump for fish tanks as they have to have enough pressure to pump against the standing water head, Or one of those small compressors for emergency use that run off 12 volts. Or a spare innertube blown up if you have a compressor outside would work. or a cheap garden sprayer with a fitting on the wand end and short hose section.
      Glen
      Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
      I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
      All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

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      • #4
        An old LPG bottle also makes a good receiver, if you're just using a foot-pump.
        Just got my head together
        now my body's falling apart

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        • #5
          Don't forget that with air, you need to provide differently for lubrication. With steam, a condensation/displacement lubricator works, but obviously not with air.

          It's embarrassing to have a gift engine sieze up........
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

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          • #6
            Harbor Freight, among others, sells (tankless) air brush compressors. I've used one for many years to run small engines at shows and impromptu demonstrations.
            They're very quiet and I don't need to raise my voice to be heard over the sound of the compressor.
            Regards, Marv

            Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
            http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz

            Location: LA, CA, USA

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            • #7
              Try the compressed air canisters they use for airbrushing. With them you can also get a set of a release valve and someairhose with screw-on ends...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mklotz
                Harbor Freight, among others, sells (tankless) air brush compressors. I've used one for many years to run small engines at shows and impromptu demonstrations.
                They're very quiet and I don't need to raise my voice to be heard over the sound of the compressor.
                Ditto on what Marv said. Per his suggestion a few mos ago at our home shop club meeting, I bought an air brush compressor from a local Harbor Freight store. It'll run my small steam engine without any problem. My 2nd steam engine needs a bit of work to loosen it up before it'll run smoothly with that compressor.

                Compressor is cheap at $40-$50 and lightweight. Best bet IMO of all the suggestions so far, no fiddling with tire pumps, canisters, air tanks etc. Get some standard aquarium pump air hose (3/8" plastic tubing) and you'll be set !

                Mike

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                • #9
                  Yep air brush compressor. I have a badger I bought 10 plus years ago originaly for air brushing. It has seen more hours running engines than the air brush. But the price is a whole lot better on the harbor frieght .
                  Tin
                  Ad maiorem dei gloriam - Ad vitam paramus

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