Author Topic: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)  (Read 638 times)

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« on: September 08, 2019, 10:50:35 AM »
Hi!

First, the disclaimer: this thread will develop very slowly. I have a serious habit of starting new projects and have a whole bunch of others on the go (some steam-related, some not), all of which are vying for my attention. So this project will develop in fits and starts on a possibly geological timescale, and these will be documented here when they occur.

For the burner, I have ordered a nice looking vintage brass blowlamp on ebay, and will post pictures of it when it arrives. The rest exists only in my head at this point.

As a beginner,I asked a few questions on George's (K.B.C.) excellent thread 'Flash Steam Engine and Steam Coil', and received helpful responses from George, MJM460, Admiral_dk (Per) and Old School. Hopefully the conversation continues here...

First of all, on the water feed to the boiler: I am not yet at the skill level where I'd want to integrate an engine-driven pump into the system, although I'm sure that would be the ideal. Instead, I'm thinking of a hand-pumped pressure vessel as it will (I think) be easier at this stage. A driven pump could always be a future upgrade. MJM460 has been very helpful with many ideas, including thoughts about a system with two pressure vessels. I'd welcome further thoughts on that (and perhaps the Benson and Rayman book which is on its way will also enlighten me), but meanwhile my tentative plan is to build something like this example from Edgar Westbury's book 'Flash Steam' (not meaning to breach any copyrights, and I encourage anyone interested to purchase this classic book from Tee Publishing):



It seems fairly simple, and I can already see my blowlamp in there   :)

Your thoughts will be welcome.

Old School mentioned a pressurized coke bottle fed system somewhere online. I wonder if it's this one from the highly inventive JohnnyQ90, to whom I subscribe on youtube:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWoJCzTqU0Y" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWoJCzTqU0Y</a>

The principle is similar to what I have in mind, though I'll probably want to use something blingier than a coke bottle...

Well, that's as far as it has got so far. Feel free to comment, question, advise...

Pictures of the blowlamp to follow (OK, it's just a blowlamp. But it's a nice one  ;))

Cheers!

gary

Online Jo

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2019, 10:57:44 AM »
Interesting, I'll watch this develop  :thinking:

First, the disclaimer: this thread will develop very slowly. I have a serious habit of starting new projects and have a whole bunch of others on the go (some steam-related, some not), all of which are vying for my attention.

There are a few of us here with that affliction  ::)

Jo
Usus est optimum magister

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2019, 11:01:03 AM »
I'll bet!   :)

Thanks for your interest Jo.

Offline MJM460

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2019, 12:28:09 PM »
Hi Gary, Iím glad you got on with starting the new thread while the ideas are fresh.

That Fig 37 is the general idea, but instead of letting the water in the accumulator be depleted, with consequent loss of air pressure, if you use your hand pump to keep replacing the water to maintain the level, by pumping water into that vessel, the air pressure will be maintained and you should be able to run as long as you want, or at least as long as you are willing to keep up the pumping.  The second vessel I was talking about is an open tank from which the pump takes the water, the fuel tank is a third if you like. 

I think you will be able to keep up the water pumping, just as you do with your vertical boiler.  It will depend on how much heat that blowlamp puts out, and how efficient your coils are at absorbing the heat.  Ultimately, I think you will want to include an engine driven pump, but no reason that cannot be at a later stage of the project.  Certainly two fierce blow lamps would need more water than I would want to pump for long.

Interesting little turbine in the video, certainly a curious novel item.  It shows the same startup technique as explained by Old school, that is, getting the tubes hot, then admitting the water.  Obviously I am overthinking the issue there.   

When the coils are hot, Old school started pumping with the engine driven pump by spinning the engine with that pull cord, the little turbine needs the stop valve to keep water in the bottle while the air pressure is applied.  However, if Westbury says the check valve is necessary, I would probably include one.  It is always easy to try without it by removing the ball.  The start up procedure would vary slightly but I think it can be made to work either way.  The vessel in the water circuit gives you time to draw breath on the pumping, and not usually provided on a system with an engine driven pump.

Also interesting that the micro plant uses pencil burners.  I have wondered it one of those would do for a steam plant, but the ones available here are way smaller in output than my little meths burners, so I donít think that even two of them would be enough, unless you are into making a very small engine.  And I am not sure that such an engine would drive a pump.  But I am happy to be proven wrong.

I suffer the same affliction as so many others, and despite having the book for many years, itís still only number four on my list.  And that is real ďdonít hold your breathĒ territory.  Others can easily get in the way.  You are tempting me to break my self imposed rule not to start another until I finish one of the three underway.  Still, rules are made to be broken.

Thank you for the pictures and that video.

MJM460

The more I learn, the more I find that I still have to learn!

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2019, 03:14:52 PM »
Ah... yes, now I get it.

Instead of pumping air into the pressure vessel, you'd be pumping in water with the air forming a 'cushion' of pressure inside the vessel.. Keeps up the pressure, and has the added benefit of maintaining the amount of water in the system. Nice!

Will certainly give that some serious thought. Thanks.

I think that heating the tubes till they're pretty hot before admitting water is more or less standard - it makes the steam really 'flash', I believe...

It's always tempting to start new projects. Joan Miro said 'I work like a gardener', which I took to mean that he would move around his studio between different paintings, doing bits here and there and watching it all grow. And it means never having to be bored! But then, there's always the danger of the avoidance of difficult or onerous tasks by flitting over to something else. I'm sure we all know that one too...  ;)


Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2019, 10:10:58 PM »
The blowtorch arrived. Monitor 134:



It's a beauty - small but heavy and solid. Oozes quality.

But will it work?

It's of the self-pressurizing type - no plunger. It says on the reservoir 'benzolene and petrol only'. There's a spirit cup to preheat the burner. Scary...  :Mad:

I suppose I'd better try it out at some point. Will report back here...



 :)

gary


Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2019, 12:20:03 AM »
Disassembled the blowtorch tonight. It looks to be in pretty good condition. I gave the parts a clean in kerosene and replaced one perished fibre washer with an o-ring. Overall it's a lovely bit of kit and as long as the wick - which I didn't remove - is in ok condition I can see no reason why it shouldn't work.

Also ordered a cheap plastic jerry can from Amazon so as soon as that arrives I'll go along to the garage, get some petrol, and try the torch out.

Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2019, 12:20:46 PM »
Hi Gary.

That's a nice lamp, I've been a collector in the past but with more interest in lighting, Tilley etc.

It is indeed a spirit lamp and will run well on the unleaded fuel available today. For a clean start use Methylated spirit in the cup and only fill the tank to between 2/3 and 3/4 full.

Light the Meths and let it heat up until most has gone before gently opening the control valve whereupon the vaporised fuel should ignite and burn quite cleanly.

From experience and stories I'd suggest an outside area, clear of combustible items to test your lamp. Point it away from anything that can be caught up to six feet from it because if the fuel hasn't quite vapourised a burning stream of fuel could very quickly change the title of your thread....   :)

Cheers Graham.

Post script.

I've attached a picture of one of my rarest Tilley lamps, an IL33. ( Doughnut tank ) These were used to illuminate without casting a shadow. It was recommended by Tilley that 3 should be used to fully illuminate a Billiard table. They hold a large volume of Paraffin and were pressurised by the use of a bicycle pump.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2019, 02:04:22 PM by Alyn Foundry »

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2019, 02:30:23 PM »
 
Quote
... a burning stream of fuel could very quickly change the title of your thread....   :) 

Yes indeed!   :Lol:

Thanks for your thoughts, Graham.

I had most of the bases that you mention covered apart from how much petrol to put in, so thanks for that.

However I do have a couple of other questions:

 Do I put the fuel in the safety valve/butterfly nut opening at the top, or does it go into the opening at the bottom (I suspect the latter but don't actually know)? Or is either ok?

Also, when I take the bottom cap off, the opening seems to be totally occluded by a fibrous material which I assume is the bottom of the wick. Is it normal for it to close off the hole like this? And will the petrol soak into it easily despite it being pretty dense?

Other than that, I think I'm fairly clear about it.

Cheers,

gary

 :ThumbsUp:

Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 03:02:29 PM »
Hi Gary.

Yes, you fill it from the top. I'm not really sure what the plug fitted underneath was for, never found a lamp that came with instructions. Possibly to drain water, who knows?

Now, before I forget. The main reason these lamps got removed from service virtually everywhere was the fact that many who'd used Paraffin lamps had the habit of turning them off by releasing the pressure at the filler. With a Petrol version this practice is disastrous!! It results in a " fireball " not good at all.

Be safe, cheers Graham.

Offline Jasonb

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2019, 03:32:05 PM »
Yes best to play outside, This is Windy from ME forum with his flash steam hydro testing before another record attempt.


Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2019, 06:19:10 PM »
@ Graham - ok, from the top it is. Am grateful that you told me not to loosen the filler to turn it off. That's probably exactly what I would have done, as I'm used to the kerosene equivalent!

@ Jason - I'm sure my other half will agree with you - outside it is, and far, far away from her.   :Mad:
I'm pretty sure I have that issue of MEW - will dig it out if I can find it and take a look.

Thanks Guys.

gary

Offline steamboatmodel

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2019, 12:34:52 AM »
Other then Naphtha camping equipment most of my burners have been modified Butane/Propane camping equipment. Even with them I now do all testing and running outside, this was mandated by my wife when she walked by my work bench while I was testing a new burned. I had been changing nozzle sizes in the burner and instead of getting the six inch flame I got a 36" flame.
Gerald.
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors--and miss. Lazarus Long

Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2019, 12:51:45 AM »
Yes... I have tested a couple of burners converted from stoves. In pursuit of the perfect flame...

It can become pretty much an obssession in its own right. But not for my nearest and dearest nor yours, by the sounds of it!


Offline gary.a.ayres

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Re: Flash Steam Generator (slow burning thread...)
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2019, 12:51:54 AM »
I have just ordered 25 feet of 3/16 22 gauge copper brake pipe.

If it's good enough for Synthpunk...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbHPvIuwMcE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbHPvIuwMcE</a>

...it's good enough for me.