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Author Topic: Steam Engine / Power Idea  (Read 3920 times)

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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2019, 08:00:55 AM »
The mention of the iconic Stanley steamer brings to mind the way they were built .Those flash boilers were wound with piano wire to bind them and hold the high pressure .I think it was a speed run on Daytona Beach ,if memory serves one crashed at something like 150  MPH in 1906-7.The boiler became dislodged and the escaping steam propelled it about a 1/2 mile down the beach .Debris was scattered over 2 miles .The driver lived by some miracle .
The Stanley brothers would only sell to those they felt worthy of owning their automobiles .Rather an arrogant  lot .
All that said steam is not to be taken lightly .At boiling  point 212 F zero pressure one quart of water equals 800 quarts of steam.Think about how much that would be under pressure then multiply it again if you think of just one stage  of super heat . You have the potential of a bomb .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2019, 08:08:36 AM »
Alright already now another story .In the village of New Hampshire Ohio not so long ago a water heater failed ,don't know the cause .The explosion blew the owner into the street,leveled the house and escaped skyward  after going through two floors  and a roof .Where it was later found I have no idea . :o

Offline Don P

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2019, 11:42:58 AM »
Pictures and warnings get written up in builder magazines every so often, usually walls blown away, etc. That is usually a double failure, the thermostat fails and then the TPP valve, the blowoff, is frozen from years of sitting there unchecked. So the advice is to check them every so often, blow a little water and make sure it is free and then make sure it reseats, if in doubt replace it.

Years ago I was working on a restaurant remodel and noticed steam coming out of the kitchen floor drain. They had hard piped the dishwasher boost heater blowoff valve down into that drain and the boost heater thermostat was shot. The valve was working overtime almost constantly blowing off. Aside from the water and power waste the kitchen staff was basically working under a bomb the whole time completely unaware. But they had really well disinfected dishes :D.

I was wandering around on the net last night and came across a Stanley's boiler rebuild. It is a vertical firetube full on boiler and like Al said wrapped in about 3/4 of a mile of high tensile piano wire. If the boiler was made of boilerplate steel it would have needed to be 1" thick plate, much too heavy so the brothers came up with that method borrowed from early artillery cannons that were also wrapped, they then used I think it was 1/4" plate. The 700 or so 1/2" firetubes acted basically as staybolts to reinforce the ends. There has never been a boiler explosion in one of those. They ran at up to 750 psi. Typically they lose a firetube and sure enough the water/steam dumps down onto the fire quenching it, but also cracking the grate. The hydrostatic test on a boiler is holding at 125% of max pressure using water, a non compressible liquid, rather than steam. If it fails it leaks rather than popping like a balloon under steam or air pressure.

I saw another efficiency number saying they ran at 40-60% where an IC engine runs at about 25%.

Apparently Abner Doble, in his late teens at the time, visited the Stanley Brothers in a steam car he had built, it had a condenser so could go long distances between water stops and was heating hot water, was a coiled monotube flash boiler design, could be fired and driven in under a minute, all things the Stanley did not have. They turned him away. I think Al's description of them is probably right on. Not that the Stanley was any slouch, at 5,000 lbs it could pop a wheelie. In that article they said the driver that Al talked about was trying to best his 127 mph clocked speed of the year before. They said he was running close to 180mph when he lost it, with a kingpin suspension, pretty much driving a tractor, I cannot imagine that ride.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2019, 05:41:42 PM »
More to the story and I don't remember the time line .Evidently some rich collector had a totally restored 1927  Stanley he drove coast to coast on 8 dollars worth of kerosene .Even if it were 15 -25 cents a gallon that's pretty good .It might have been an article from Popular Mechanics where I read it .
Steam fascinates me but I know I don't know enough to fool with it .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2019, 05:46:48 PM »
If it's any interest to steam buffs my buddy who has a Case steamer went to see this one under power early this fall .He BTW retubed his  engine this summer.  --Google 150 HP Case road locomotive .

Offline Don P

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2019, 09:25:13 PM »
That thing is a monster :o, fun to watch.

I've been googling around, I think every kid of every age has secretly dreamed at some time of running on steam :D. Mars, go to youtube and search for LynxSteam and get on his channel, boilerwise he's basically done what you are describing I think. His rig is producing ~150 watts from what I could tell, it looks like it would top out at about 500 watts. The pressures I've seen him playing with are around 20-40 psi and he's running a model steam engine that is about 1/4 hp which turns a homemade alternator.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline 51cub

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2019, 09:57:36 PM »
If it's any interest to steam buffs my buddy who has a Case steamer went to see this one under power early this fall .He BTW retubed his  engine this summer.  --Google 150 HP Case road locomotive .
He did an amazing job with that engine! I've been following him in one of the magazines I get. The research and the physical work makes for great reading

That thing is a monster :o, fun to watch.

I've been googling around, I think every kid of every age has secretly dreamed at some time of running on steam :D. Mars, go to youtube and search for LynxSteam and get on his channel, boilerwise he's basically done what you are describing I think. His rig is producing ~150 watts from what I could tell, it looks like it would top out at about 500 watts. The pressures I've seen him playing with are around 20-40 psi and he's running a model steam engine that is about 1/4 hp which turns a homemade alternator.
Thank you for another steam channel. I never thought David Richards would have any competition on you tube on my computer and yet here we are

I believe in the hereafter, because every time I take two steps into the tool crib to get something I wonder " what did I come in here after"

If nothing else I'm always a good last resort or the guy to hold up as a bad example

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2019, 08:09:37 AM »
You can find just about anything on the internet if you can find the right search parameters .Which often is not all that easy  .On the subject of steam power about everything from a Case steamers ,triplex marine engines to steam turbines in a coal fired power plant.In my life time I've seen them all in addition to serving on US navy nuke submarines which are amazing but duty and honor  bound I can't talk about them .
I will say only this comparing a nuke U-boat to a big nuke power house is like comparing a Piper Cub to a Boeing 747 .Worked on one of those on the shores of Lake Erie---huge .

Offline sharp edge

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2019, 04:30:47 PM »
On my next go around I'm going to make a steam engine as safe as a v8.

Here how I will do it.
   Get a wood boiler, fill it with oil. take it to 300f-400f

   Find a old hot water heater and take the side iron off.

   Get a high pressure washer.

   Hook up one side of the side iron to the oil, the other side to the high pressure washer and a pipe to a new intake manifold on the escort engine with a one to one timing chain.


After the cut stop the blade, back it up, then make the next cut. Lot safer this way.

The reason they didn't make the steam engine this way, the first  time , they didn't have high pressure washers,   8) 8) 8)

SE
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Offline Don P

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2019, 07:18:59 PM »
 ;D I had a similar idea one time, using a setup sort of like that to save some spoiled corn.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2019, 08:47:38 PM »
They had pressure washers of a sort .Same deal as hydraulic mining .Water is 44  PSI per 100 foot of head  .Start 800-1500  feet above the monitor with an 8" pipe go 200 feet then neck it down to 6" then another and a 5" then a 3" etc ..as the diameter decreases the velocity and resulting pressure  increases.It would blow a stream of high pressure water 200 feet and move boulders .Killed people and washed a bunch of California right down the hill ---but it wasn't portable .
I'm not certain exactly how the calculations are derived but they claim the monitor pressures could reach 5000 psi --trivia ,means nothing to a steam engine .--more next post---

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2019, 08:56:48 PM »
Moving along this use of high pressure water done by gravity was used some time ago by a group in W Virginia .They started up in the mountains with a big pipe taking water from a mountain stream and necking it down ,about 800 feet of fall .The end was an undershot Pelton water turbine with a 2" nozzle at about 200 psi connected to a 75 HP 3 phase motor . They'd spin it up via the power company and over speed it above slip frequency and it became an induction generator and sold it back to the power company at reduced rates of course . --more trivia still no steam engine-- ;D 

Offline retiredmechanic

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2020, 04:49:11 PM »
my first question would be abt the "air drill" are you talking about something like an impact wrench type drill ? if so using steam would quickly deteriorate the drill by dissolving the rubber seals. next question would be what would the electricity be used for? an automotive alternator produces 12 vdc or 24 vdc and that will charge a battery very easy but it takes about 45 min. at rpm above 2k to charge an almost dead 12v battery  how much wood would it take to keep the water in steam format for 45 min. and how much water would it take for the steam period. 

very interesting project to play around with though, but in my opinion the gain wouldnt be worth the effort for a reliable power source to live by, I had a neighbor that did a similar project only no steam he had a battery bank built a fire used the heat of the fire funneled through a chimney that slowly turned a sml turbine charging the batteries that powered his yard lights for his parties  and the fire doubled as his firepit he was a tinkerer 
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Offline Cjross73

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2020, 07:13:07 PM »
I'm sure glad to hear I'm not the only one that has these type thoughts,  sometimes I think my lack of time to try them is the Lords way of saving me from myself. I love the idea of a steam powered generator,  i feel like it can work but will take someone smarter than me to figure it out 
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #34 on: May 12, 2020, 09:08:15 AM »
Another thought on steam .I'm not certain where this happened or when .This was an example of a novice operating a steam traction engine .Rolled a big steamer over a low ditch and with a full head of steam .Gravity caused the water to roll off the crown sheet exposing it  and when it leveled out gravity caused it to be covered again .Of course by then it was red hot and the steam pressure went bonkers .It exploded and killed a couple of people .Shortly after that a new law was passed concerning steam engine shows in that state .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #35 on: May 13, 2020, 10:48:44 AM »
Still another thought .The standard pressure cooker has a weighted pressure relief that limits the pressure to 15 PSI which equates to 250 degrees of heat .
On rare occasion those weights would fall off throwing themselves right through the roof and blowing the contents of the cooking device right behind them.That's only a small device at 15 PSI .Imagine what could happen had it been a large steam engine at 75 PSI . 

Offline Erik A

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2021, 07:50:26 PM »
I know not the same as you are proposing but the best mythbuster episode was them blowing up a hot water heater ( search youtube) 

Maybe a type of pelton wheel and skip the air drill.

I read something like that using a flat plate mounted to the alt. with luvers in it

Offline peakbagger

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #37 on: January 12, 2021, 06:14:43 AM »
The Cog railroad in NH still has a few home built steam engines running to the summit of the mountain. They are coal fired. Most of their rolling stock has been switched to Diesel electric rigs (also hand built using purchased diesels) they mix in a bit of pure biodiesel with their dyno diesel to make it sound green. They switched to the Diesel rigs as they can run more passengers to the top but run the steamers in the mornings for steam buffs. Look around on You Tube and there are lots of videos. The news rigs are equipped with camouflage to make them look sort of like and old steam engine. Pre Covid they had a steam day where all sorts of steam powered equipment showed up.

Its not that hard to make a steam turbine but its hard to get them efficient. Several sawmills in Maine put in steam turbines about 10 or 15 years ago I know of three of them and at least two never meet their performance guarantee.

If you want to do the math, the maximum efficiency of a steam cycle is a pretty simple formula. eff- 1-(T cold/T heat). T cold is the exhaust temperature, T hot is the steam temperature going in. Its called the Carnot cycle efficiency. This is the absolute best highest efficiency irregardless of friction leaks and losses.

Maine Wood Pellets put in an Organic Rankine Cycle power plant several years ago. These plants are real popular in Europe pellet mills. Instead of boiling water they use refrigerant that boils at lower temperature.

Online moodnacreek

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #38 on: January 12, 2021, 07:24:37 PM »
Tinkering with alternate energy is a great hobby. People have been fooling around with steam for a long time. Then there is water power. One problem is that most of us where born with a switch and a meter on the side of the house. How many hours a day do you want to work to make power and clean up the mess at the end of the day?

Offline Don P

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Re: Steam Engine / Power Idea
« Reply #39 on: January 12, 2021, 09:54:38 PM »
How many hours a day do you want to work to make power and clean up the mess at the end of the day?


It sure makes you realize what is involved in the tremendous amount of power at our fingertips that we take for granted. I just finished watching a course on Greek and Roman technology and it is amazing what they did with so little available power. They utilized just 4 sources of power. Animal, Man, water and wind. Wind was used exclusively for sailing, water almost exclusively for grinding grain. Which left animal and human, which is only capable of about 1/10 hp sustained. And yet look at the things they built and did.

Hero of Alexandria did invent what is commonly called the first steam "engine", late 200's AD. It is the spinning sphere connected over a kettle of boiling water with 2 angled exhaust jets often shown in drawings. Unfortunately the museum of Alexandria, a great think tank of the regions greatest minds that had operated for several hundred years was burned down and those men were scattered during that period and his work was never advanced for about 1500 years, what a loss!
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester


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