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Completed Projects Show and Shine...Show us what your finished project looks like! Bragging rights!


Completed Projects Show and Shine...Show us what your finished project looks like! Bragging rights!

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  #1  
Old 12-31-2009, 08:02 PM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Construction of a Hobby Steam Boiler

Hi.

I'm a self-employed, industrial metal fabricator (since 1986), but have been welding since 1974.

Typically, my customers send me a drawing of what they need, and I build it.

I usually cut metal using a shear, ironworker, bandsaw, or I order burnouts from my steel supplier.

I try to use semi-modern techniques, but once in a while, I build these steam boilers, for a customer of mine that builds small, custom steam boats.

This job requires me to get back to a few down-and-dirty fabbing techniques, lots of hand grinding, etc. Pounds of grinding dust, all over everything, if you know what I mean!

I want the boilers to be respectable, but I don't go crazy, trying to obtain the prettiest welds that I can. I don't clean all the welds, or remove the spatter. The customer does all that, then he sand blasts them, as well as paints them.

The thing that I focus on with the welding is to make sure that they're GOOD, STRONG, WELDS! They get tested with 250 lbs./sq. in. of pressure! There can't be any leaks. So, I overlap all my restarts and stops.

I've built quite a few of these boilers (as well as other designs, and sizes of them), but have never taken any photo's of the progress. This time I did.

To some of you, this will just be "old hat", but hopefully, some of you will enjoy it.

Here are the tube plates, with the tubes tacked in...









Here they are, welded up...



Next, I make the door coaming, out of 8" sch. 40 pipe. It gets squashed to fit the cast iron door...







Then, the ashpit door gets built...







Then, they get fishmouthed to fit the large tubes that they will eventually get welded to...



Here's the outer tube, 18" pipe...



...and the firebox (inner tube), 16 in. pipe...



Layouts for cutting out for the door coaming, and ashpit door...



...and the cutouts...



Time to wrap a length of 1/2" square bar around the bottom edge of the firebox, to act as a filler piece, for later on...







I tig weld this piece, because I don't want any weld above flush...





The tube assembly gets set upon the firebox...



...then welded...





It gets flipped upside down, to weld the inside...





All the couplings get welded in...





So, here is the inside assembly, and the outside assembly...



Time to join them...



Slide it down inside, until the door cutouts line up...then tack in the door coaming...



Welding the door coaming to the firebox tube is pretty challenging, just because...





The 1/2" square bar filler gets welded to the inside of the outer tube...





Tabs that support the grate get welded in...



The door coaming gets welded to the outer tube...



Here's a pic of 1 of the 2 pieces of grating inside the firebox. Wood is burned to make the heat to create the steam...



Prepping the door, to hang it...



The door cradle...





The hinge components...



Components, welded on...





The door is hung...



Ashpit door, ready to weld on...





Ashpit door, and mounting tabs, welded on...





The tube assembly gets welded to the outer tube...





The job is done!!...there are about 150 welds that can't leak!



Well, almost done. I still have to build a base, and a hood for the boiler. I'll post pics, when they're done.

Rich

Last edited by rixcj; 01-15-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-31-2009, 08:36 PM
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gipperz gipperz is offline
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Looks like a fire tube boiler. I run a 100 hp fire tube at work for heating the building. I find steam very impressing. I even go to thrashing shows just to see the old steam tractors. Nice build, thanks for sharing. gipperz
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  #3  
Old 12-31-2009, 08:39 PM
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Wholy smokes thats alot of welding.

I myself really don't know the science of what your doing but it sure looks like you do. Looks good from here!
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  #4  
Old 12-31-2009, 09:14 PM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gipperz View Post
Looks like a fire tube boiler. I run a 100 hp fire tube at work for heating the building. I find steam very impressing. I even go to thrashing shows just to see the old steam tractors. Nice build, thanks for sharing. gipperz
That's exactly what it is...a fire tube boiler. It's much smaller than yours..about 5 horsepower.

Rich
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  #5  
Old 12-31-2009, 09:39 PM
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FrogDog FrogDog is offline
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Thanx for posting that .. It's always great to see other fabbers worx, I do the odd thing myself and pretty much old skool.. figure at my age by the time I learn new tech, I would of built it and got payed... LOL

r'z Bro.... with .. have a good new year...



Ohh, I can tell your havn't had a fire lately.. the extinguisher hasn't been touched ... LOL


Dog....
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  #6  
Old 12-31-2009, 10:28 PM
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oregonTJ oregonTJ is offline
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could you explain to me how the steam works to produce power like that? Im kinda interested in that it looks strange to me. I can figure the basics of it but it has me at a loss. And BTW even if i dont know what it is i can see quality in it. Nice work
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  #7  
Old 12-31-2009, 10:29 PM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogDog View Post
Thanx for posting that .. It's always great to see other fabbers worx, I do the odd thing myself and pretty much old skool.. figure at my age by the time I learn new tech, I would of built it and got payed... LOL

r'z Bro.... with .. have a good new year...



Ohh, I can tell your havn't had a fire lately.. the extinguisher hasn't been touched ... LOL


Dog....
Thanks, FrogDog

Yeah, that extinguisher's at least 20 years old...god only knows what would shoot out, if the trigger was pulled...probably mud!

Happy New Year to you, and everyone else, too!

Rich
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  #8  
Old 01-01-2010, 12:35 AM
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dedmetal dedmetal is offline
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Beautiful
Looks like the prep work takes longer than assembly all grinder or ?.
As a kid my dad would take us all over looking at steam engines (trains) so I have always had an appreciation of anything steam related.
I would love to see the boat that these go in
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2010, 06:23 AM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonTJ View Post
could you explain to me how the steam works to produce power like that? Im kinda interested in that it looks strange to me. I can figure the basics of it but it has me at a loss. And BTW even if i dont know what it is i can see quality in it. Nice work
There's a lot of plumbing that goes into this. That explains all the fittings welded to the outer shell.

This boiler is basically a double walled tube, that is filled with water.

Then a wood fire is lit inside the firebox. Because this is a closed system, the fire heats up the water, creating steam.

This boiler is connected to an engine. The pressure of the steam trying to escape, moves the rotating assembly of the engine.

The engine powers the boat.

Here's a link to my customers' website...

http://www.steamboating.net/page7.html

Rich
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  #10  
Old 01-01-2010, 06:29 PM
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oregonTJ oregonTJ is offline
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Ok that makes sense thanks for explaining it a little bit.
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  #11  
Old 01-01-2010, 11:54 PM
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Nice work! I'm hoping to help out my dad in building a boiler for his new steam engine in the next few years. It'll be for a Shay locomotive. He's been taking his sweet time on it so far and has started on making the 3 cylinder engine.
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  #12  
Old 01-02-2010, 10:04 AM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDR View Post
Nice work! I'm hoping to help out my dad in building a boiler for his new steam engine in the next few years. It'll be for a Shay locomotive. He's been taking his sweet time on it so far and has started on making the 3 cylinder engine.
I never realized how many people are into steam engines! It'a a very popular hobby.

Have you started on the boiler, yet? Do you hace a set of plans to follow?

Take lots of pics, and share with us! Have fun!

Rich
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  #13  
Old 01-02-2010, 10:47 AM
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8Ball 8Ball is offline
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Very Cool!!!
I worked on boilers while I was in the Navy... BIG ones. We had 2 1200 PSI Westinghouse "D" types
Are the systems used on the boats a closed loop?
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  #14  
Old 01-02-2010, 11:57 AM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8Ball View Post
Very Cool!!!
I worked on boilers while I was in the Navy... BIG ones. We had 2 1200 PSI Westinghouse "D" types
Are the systems used on the boats a closed loop?
I don't know about the closed loop thing, as a matter of fact, I'm by no means an expert about these boilers, or many of the things that I build for my customers.

If you click on the link in post #9, perhaps it will answer your question.

Rich
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  #15  
Old 01-02-2010, 12:08 PM
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Yeah I looked at that post but couldn't tell from the pics.
Closed loop just means that it heats the water to steam then cools it back to water before heating it to steam again.
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  #16  
Old 01-02-2010, 01:08 PM
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gipperz gipperz is offline
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I dont think its a closed loop system, youd have some sort of trap and return tank. Is this is a low pressure which meens its less then 15 psi? Does he have his hobbiest liscence for steam? Just wondering, steam is just neat. gipperz
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  #17  
Old 01-02-2010, 05:15 PM
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Captainfab Captainfab is offline
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Very interesting. I've been intrigued with steam engines since I was a kid. I never got to build one though. Very nice fab work. Aprox how many hours do you get into one of these? I look forward to the finished pics
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  #18  
Old 01-03-2010, 01:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixcj View Post
I never realized how many people are into steam engines! It'a a very popular hobby.

Have you started on the boiler, yet? Do you hace a set of plans to follow?

Take lots of pics, and share with us! Have fun!

Rich
Nope, haven't got to the boiler yet, still a long ways off. Yep, he does have a set of plans, copies of the originals plus a set of drawings someone did. He's turned the wheels from the castings, made all the axles, made all the u-joints and driveshafts, drilled the two side frames for all the rivet holes, made some parts for the 3 cylinder engine itself and has made a power reverser. This is the locomotive he's building in 1.5" scale.



Here's one he built 35 years ago which is now collecting dust in a local museum. Really isn't any place local to run it. The guy who owned the track in the picture there passed away a few years ago and the track is gone now.

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  #19  
Old 01-04-2010, 09:49 PM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Wow! That's some real talent there! It's too bad that the track is gone...

Rich
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  #20  
Old 01-04-2010, 10:08 PM
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rixcj rixcj is offline
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Well, I finished the hood, and the base, today.

Here are some pics...

Shearing the hood's bottom lip piece...



These are the pieces that will become the hood...



Here's the cone part, tacked together...



Rolling up the bottom lip...



...and the top rim...



Here's the hood, tacked together...



...and, welded up...



...on the boiler. Later, a 3' tall stack will be attached, by the customer.



Setting up my home made circle cutting attachment for my plasma cutter, to start cutting the baseplate...



The base plate...



Here we go!







Rolled up the bottom lip. These pieces make up the base.



Tacked up...





And, finished.





I'm getting all the parts for another boiler, to build, tomorrow. See ya!

Rich
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