Open tube Boiler done.

Gunfighter14e2

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So I finally completed the open tube boiler for my hot water/steam project. The tubes are all welded but there are also 35 threaded pipe connections. Now I've threaded an tapped a few NTP's in my day but for years upon years I have not had to deal with off the shelf pipe per say. So when I first made up all the connections I used Teflon tape,... huge mistake. Interesting that I can cut an tap NPT's an almost hand screw them together an put 100psi on them a they will not leak. Every connection of this store bought shit pipe, put together with a pipe wrench leaked at 30psi. Had to take all that shit apart then used ultra copper silicone (which is good to 700* F BTW) while putting it all back together. No leaks this time at 200psi. The level switches I ordered from gaybay were supposed to be 1/2" NTP, that proved not to be the case either, so we had to correct that B/S as well.

Had a used but serviceable Cummins 855 cylinder liner, honed her up an have ordered a 3/4" X 6" X 6" plate of aluminum to make the piston out of, an have a 1" X piece of 4130 to make the push rod an connecting rod from.

Hope to be making power from L/P steam, before long.
 

W54/XM-388

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So a steam powered electric generator then?

Then get all fancy and make it into a steam turbine electric generator with vapour and heat recovery?
 

Hobo Hilton

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I'm a retired Steamfitter / Welder... In the trade long enough to remember when the contracts said "Domestic Material" only... Watched as the foreign materials filtered into my work place. Many times when butt welding pipe there would be a loud pop and material next to the weld would explode... 100% X-Ray jobs. The welder's would get blamed for the imperfection when it showed up on the film... We had the same issues with threaded fittings as you are having... We welded or flanged all the connections possible. Expansion and contraction on threaded connections can result in leaks. Installing and maintaining steam pumps was our work..Best of luck with your project.

Hobo
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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Can you post pictures?
When I get it all in operation making power I will. I am making the engine from scratch so it's going to be awhile but I want it done before the middle of August this year. Today I'm starting on the PRV's one for the boiler an one for the feed water tank which will be in the loop an gravity fed to the boiler. The boiler water level being controlled via a control valve from level switches with in the boiler. Max pressure I plan on running is 50 psig as the engine will be a 5"+ bore an almost 9" stroke with power both ways. Only looking for 1.25KW max to pull the DC Generator or the DC alternator depending which one I'm powering at the time. Flywheels will be two 16" tires an wheels for powering the flat belts. Max engine speed will be 150 rpm which will give plenty of gen/alt speed.

The following video is the basic design with a number of different mods I have added to mine, for safety, operation, and as well as stand alone operation.

 

Gunfighter14e2

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I'm a retired Steamfitter / Welder... In the trade long enough to remember when the contracts said "Domestic Material" only... Watched as the foreign materials filtered into my work place. Many times when butt welding pipe there would be a loud pop and material next to the weld would explode... 100% X-Ray jobs. The welder's would get blamed for the imperfection when it showed up on the film... We had the same issues with threaded fittings as you are having... We welded or flanged all the connections possible. Expansion and contraction on threaded connections can result in leaks. Installing and maintaining steam pumps was our work..Best of luck with your project.

Hobo
If I had known how bad some material was today, I'm not sure I would have even started this project. From the pipe, to some brands of welding wire, an all brands of threaded fittings they suck. I went threaded on venting an now wish I had just welded 100% but had most of the threaded on hand. Next time I'll just buy the pipe an thread it myself, but even then I'm finding some that are so far out of spec griping it in a power threading machine won't happen unless you add area to grip it with. This stuff from across the ponds, is pure junk/garbage an not even worth fooling with, even if it's free. I pity the guys using this shit on a paid job site.
 

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Not gonna lie, this would be a a useful boiler to have. I know you said you were going to be building your own engine for it, but have you considered reversing the valve operation in a two or three stage reciprocating air compressor? You might have to reconfigure the piston packing cups and glands to use a higher temp stable elastic compound like viton, but you could save a lot of time and cost on matching a crankcase, shaft, rods, and all that. You can pick up air ends for compressors pretty cheap, everything would already be straight and ready to run, might not have to reinvent the wheel. I know reinventing is half the fun though...
 

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I meant to add, a three stage engine is really helpful with steam because each stage has a bigger piston area and you can make better use of the lower pressure in each stage of the exhaust as the steam expands and does work, makes better use of your heat source and makes better output .If you used a compressor as the basis you might have to build larger cylinders and pistons but you could use the same crank case and rotating gear which is usually the trickier stuff to get right,Plus you could use existing compressor frames to mount and drive a generator head. This is a cool project. be safe even "low pressure" steam is hard on joints, fittings, seals and welds, and will really do a number on you when it finds a leak. If you use it a lot you might want a water softener on the feed side so you don't build up a bunch of scale on the inside of the tubes.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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I've looked into using old compressors an engines both, but I don't think they will give me the HP at low RPM. I want it to run as slow as I can get it too, but were it will still pull all the load. I hope to cut the cycle times way down as my battery bank is huge an is designed for solar operation. Granted sometimes it is more about the chase, but in this case not so much, as the end product. Hoping to capture the condensate while damping the exhaust noise at the same time, as the feed water will have a boiler corrosion inhibitor in it. I plan on the exhaust discharge to preheat the supply feed tank as well.
Like always it looks good on paper, However I've been down that road on both ends before,...laughing

edit for fat fingers,....again
 
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Rebelirons

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Good to see fellow fitters/welders on the site. Cool project though. We don’t really get to work on much steam here in the Bay Area. Mostly old City systems and the occasional laboratory clean room system
 

Gunfighter14e2

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Should be able to get a few photos up tomorrow of the Boiler, an a few parts of the engine I have made to date. Debating it I want the piston to operate vertical or horizontal? Started with horizontal in mind but now thinking about it, may go vertical, many pros an cons both ways.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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This is the project that started me into the Boiler project.
It's a 12.5 HP cast iron Briggs I picked up at an auction for $7.50 total. it was a basket case, (totally apart in a box). Only thing wrong was someone put the wrong coil on it. However I honed the wall, ringed her, did the valves an carb, before putting her 100% back together. She pulls two 100amp 12Vdc alternators, plus the 45amp combo brush style starter/generator. There is also a 80amp 24Vdc alternator on here as well. The other object is a heat ex-changer for the exhaust gas to heat water that gets fed into a solar tank with an ex-changer in it. A diverter valve on the exhaust pipe dumps the exhaust when the out bound water is 140*F then should the water in the solar tank get over 155*F a temp switch kills the engine. The solar tank feds the normal water heater.
.CIMG0035.JPGCIMG0036.JPGCIMG0037.JPGCIMG0038.JPG
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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These are photos of the Boiler an the start of the steam engine. The bore is 5.125 an stroke is 9.875,...should be plenty of go round for a single 150amp 12Vdc alternator for the battery bank charging, the bank weighs 3200 lbs. The piping is for gravity water flow to the boiler an the discharge condensate will be pumped back into the supply water tank with 2 12Vdc 100psi pumps. The boiler pressure target I think will be around 50-55psi with PRV's set at 95psi. The DC valve on the supply tank will be controlled via the 3 level switches. Output to the engine will be via 3/4 id hose so there should be plenty of flow as well as pressure. The flywheel should weigh out at 400lbs with the driven wheel being somewhere around a 24" radius. That should allow an enough ratio with the engine running between 80-125rpm to ship the DC alt to correct speed for max output as well as for proper cooling. The angle the boiler is setting at is just about the angle it will be operating at. It will be setting on fire brick when working. I have took her to 200psi under working conditions an so far, she runs w/o leaks. However I'll never use none US pipe ever again!!!
.CIMG0022.JPGCIMG0024.JPGCIMG0025.JPGCIMG0027.JPGCIMG0028.JPGCIMG0033.JPG
 

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Gunfighter14e2

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Stuffing box 95% done, drawing up an gathering material for control valve. As it will be separate from the steam chest the plumbing will be interesting.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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Stuffing box. The stuffing is 0.125 square and I planed for 5 rings.

CIMG0040.JPG

CIMG0042.JPG

No packing installed yet as it will be apart many more times before I pack it. The packing slide nuts are nylon locks, to get the proper tension on the packing an hold the slide there. Thought shortly about a adjustable spring device, but went this route. The threads are 10-24. The stuffing box main ring that holds the outer seal Oring are 1/4X28. I allowed for a 26% compression on the 0.138 Oring. Hoping that should be enough as the chest max pressure will never exceed 75psi, but hoping full load can be done with only 30-35psi. That should be enough on the 5.124 bore an with the leverage of the 9 7/8" stroke should be plenty of power for the task it was builtc(well building ) for.

CIMG0045.JPG
 

Gunfighter14e2

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This is the start of the steam chest control valve. It started life as a piece of 3" 4130 Just lacks 0.050 and a clean up pass, plus facing the first 3/4" in. Then we can start boring her out, an making the one removable end cap.

CIMG0048.JPG
 

Sean the Nailer

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Looking forward to this up and running. You WILL have a controlled number of 'drips' per minute coming through that gland. You don't want "none" as that means you're too tight and will burn-through the sealing effect too quickly. Its leakage IS its lubricant which prolongs its life.

I'm sure you knew that already. Not intending to lecture.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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Yep, one of the reasons I went with the ability to stack 5 vs 3 or 4. I can run less pressure on the packing as well as being able to throttle to the correct leakage. As this is a closed loop system and I will be recovering the chest discharge into a heat ex-changer the biggest water treatment loss will be the stuffing boxes, chest an control valve. The additive package will be the only cost consumable save the wood for the fire. However wood & water are none issues here. Be glad to get it running, as I am planning a totally different style of Wood Gasifier for a follow on project. This one will have interchangeable throats so it can be used on my F350 as well as a 4KW Onan. That said most of the time I'll have it set up to supply a compressor to compress the gas into holding devices. Have used large plastic bags for test runs long ago an that proved out. I had read about "Gas Bags" being used but wanted to get a feel for cradle to grave operation myself. Biggest issue was snagging a bag while moving one, so thinking I'll do a few old 500 gallon LP tanks to have the home gen-set (25KW) able to run for hrs before having to crank up the gasifier. A cook stove an water heater does not use that much but the home EPG unit moves the NG meter right along at full load,....an as W/G does not have the BTU content of N/G, I'll need lots of compressable storage space. Oh well nothing is free,....
 

Gunfighter14e2

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That’s a dang work of art!
Not really, most of the metal started life with me as drops from my local welding shop. In fact all the metal for this whole project was traded for a single full wave bridge rectifier I had, that I fixed the auto down feed on their huge Wilton drill press with. It was hit by lightening 6 years ago an no one that tinkered with it could find the issue. All that was wrong was the bridge was toast. When I went to get the metal the first time they found out I tinker with electric an electronics an said they would trade the metal for the repair in the drill/press. Yea,... I'm all about that, they had the prints so it only took 3-4 minutes to locate the issue, an when I pulled it out Tony ask where could we get one of those things? Laughing I said out of by back shed, so I went home got it. Installed that little 5 dollar part an she was working. He stood there in assessment, for 6 years it had not worked an in less than 30 minutes an a 5 buck part it was working. The auto down feed is a huge, time an drill bit saver. Plus that machine has auto tapping which is now working as will. Now ever time I go in they won't take any money we just trade it out for other repairs on shit not working, I really like that an they do as well. They have a auto feed cutoff saw that the feed is not working on. As soon as they dig it out of storage they want to get it fixed as well. Hope shit keeps tearing up, as I will need lots of shit for the Gasifier which is the next project.
I feel bad as they are getting the short end of the stick to me and I offer an am more than willing to pay for what I get. However they will not take a penny, stating they prefer, having me being in their pocket over money. Being in someones pocket can be good an bad, so far it's been all good. If bad comes Oh well, we shook hands an one has to live their words after a hand shake.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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Well a minor set back.
The piston rings I wanted to use (35mm from a chainsaw) will not be here for another few days. W/O them in hand to measure for internal bore fit & ring gap that I want, I'm stopped dead in my tracks. Looks like the finished bore will be somewhere around 1.377. Until I know the final bore I can't run the slot numbers to get the O/D of the outer dimension an length, to make sure the supply & discharge spacing size an count will produce the CFM flow numbers I'm looking for. The control valve at this point is about 50% harder to design an build than the steam chest an stuffing box. I hope all this B/S is worth it in the long run,...LOL
 
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biffj

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Always neat to see someone working on steam power. I built a lot of model steam engines years back and had lots of fun. Amazing how much torque you can get out of even a small model engine on steam. There was a company called Tiny Power near Branson missouri back in the dark ages that had plans and casting kits for a lot of different engined. They had a couple 2 and 3 cylinder compound engines that were of a useful size to actually make power or run steam boats.. The company now belongs to Rappahannok Boat works and they still list some plans and casting sets. The model W is the one they say is a workhorse. 3HP at 100psi but low RPM and lots of torque.



I like the boiler setup. Been thinking about a steam tube boiler for a couple project engines here. Keep up the good work and posts on how its going.

Frank
 

Sean the Nailer

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Just an adage that I remember Jay Leno saying, when he was giving a tour of his Stanley Steamer. That thing produced so much torque that it would spin the rims right inside the tires. That's saying something.

Power to ya, Guns. I'm looking forward to how this works out.
 

Gunfighter14e2

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With a 5.125 bore an 9.875 stroke she will have lots of ass at low pressure. At 35 psi the piston will put out 722lb of force - sliding friction which I have measured at less than a single pound. At max (75 lbs of steam) operating pressure she would have 1,547 lb's of force in each stroke one way, then add the stroke leverage to that an I have no doubt she will get the job done.
 
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Gunfighter14e2

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Well the control valve design I used was a bust, it would not flow the cfm required, fast enough. Building a heavily modified slide style that will be overkill but that's OK, as I may add a second steam chest, later. Got side tracked on some solar stuff for folks just getting up to speed an late to party. Added another 600watt PSW inverter for the two new mini frigs w/ separate freezers. Now on the hunt for a two burner kerosene butterfly store w/ the oven adder.
 
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biffj

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Look at solenoid operated poppet valves. Easy to make and with todays electronics it should be easy to set up a plc with a program that would optimize inlet and outlet opening for rpm and load. No need for mechancally connected valve gear anymore. . .

Frank
 

Gunfighter14e2

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I've looked at that real hard, but decided against it as I want this system to be bullet proof as it will be the last resort for making power plus hot water, in bad weather.
 

Hobo Hilton

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If I had known how bad some material was today, I'm not sure I would have even started this project. From the pipe, to some brands of welding wire, an all brands of threaded fittings they suck. I went threaded on venting an now wish I had just welded 100% but had most of the threaded on hand. Next time I'll just buy the pipe an thread it myself, but even then I'm finding some that are so far out of spec griping it in a power threading machine won't happen unless you add area to grip it with. This stuff from across the ponds, is pure junk/garbage an not even worth fooling with, even if it's free. I pity the guys using this shit on a paid job site.
Things got really scary back in the late 70's when "Package Boilers" started showing up in public schools. We tied in on some and got to looking inside of their welded joints.... Lack of penetration, cold lap, pinholes, etc... and some of these Chinese boilers were right next to a class room full of children... A boiler explosion is not a pretty sight. Relief valves serve a purpose.

Hobo
 

biffj

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I built a model twin cylinder uniflow engine many years back that used poppet valves operated by an eccentric like other valve types. It had rocking arms with adjustable tappets to push the valves open. The connecting rod between the front and rear valves was adjustable to for changing lead. I ran pretty high pressure in that engine and the valves worked really well. I'll try to find some pictures. For a toy engine it put out a lot of torque on steam and was pretty good even on air.

Frank
 

Gunfighter14e2

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The way I have designed the latest valve I remove the rear cover plate an see the ports. Total movement is 2." as the port openings are 1"with discharge in the middle. It's operating rod will be a 3/8' of 4140 that has an adjustable right hand with the opp rod from the eccentric being a left hand thread so I can nail the timing almost perfect. Plan on running it on air to get the timing as close as I can then steam to finish tuning. Have many ways to measure flywheel RPM, but thinking of using the hertz count off the DC alternator. That should be in the 8-900 range at target speed, plus i can load it up an look to see what minor changes produce.

PRV's, are king on any boiler with me. Mine has a spray bar for the PRV discharge that will spray water directly into the fire anytime either PRV trip's. I've seen/worked the after effects of large boilers exploding, that was enough to convince me to over do the safety devices. One in Fla back in the early 90's exploded at a hospital, an 5KV open frame switch gear was in the same room. Needless to say it was ugly, very ugly, even more so for the patients. We got there an had about 15 gensets running to get the hospital back up as when it went to shit it trashed the backup ATS's for their normal backup. Had cables running thru windows, down hallways, ect. Went she blew it even took major runs of 750 mcm under ground with it. Had Gray Bar an an another supply house there with trucks loaded with wire, an they had to call for more before we were done. I never want to go thru shit like that again. The stories about what went on inside do to total loss of,.... all power,.... would break your heart,... The amount of service trucks, people we had there was almost over whelming. It took them 2 weeks of 24/7 work by every trade, before we started pulling our gensets off rent. They ranged from 100 to 1500kW. Don't know what the total bill was but just our tab was right at 350K. That was for rental, fuel, freight, labor an all the electrical supplies just used by us. I would guess the total back to normal operation was around 1-1.25 mil,... Boilers are not something to mess with, an placing them next to open or even closed frame switch gear, is a FUBAR waiting to happen.
 
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