The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
October 20, 2017, 04:28:21 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Support BrassGoggles! Donate once or $3/mo.
 See details here.
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Real Steam Powered Gadgets  (Read 750 times)
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« on: March 16, 2017, 04:56:22 pm »

Greetings all,

From when I started getting into steampunk, I always wanted to build machines that ran on live steam. Now, I don't mean like the models that people make, but have a real boiler mounted either on my back or a small one for smaller items on my belt.

A few model makers I've talked to have said "I wouldn't want to strap one of these to my body," and I can see their point, as these would make a tremense amount of heat and there is the danger of them blowing up (though the only model boilers I've heard blowing up are badly made boilers).

My idea to mainly deal with the heat would to have say a piece of wood between me and the boiler, or to make a double skinned boiler like some locomotives have (or as I've been told, not much is said in the books I've read) or have the boiler wrapped in wood panels like you would see on early steam engines and locomotives.

Do deal with weight, some sort of exoskeleton that runs down my legs to the ground and takes the weight up for me, or could be assisted by the boiler itself by providing powered lift to either the boiler itself or to the exoskeleton.

For fuel, and depending on what I want to use, I would have a pouch with chunks of charcoal with me that I could drop down a tube into the firebox to keep the heat up or go with gas in a sealed box under said boiler.

And finally for the controls of the steam, which all would depend on the gadget.

That's all that I have figured out and I am in the process of finding someone to teach me how to build boilers. If you know anything that could assist in my endeavour, it would be greatly appreciated.  
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 09:29:09 am by SgtBash96 » Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 09:20:24 am »

Greetings all,

From when I started getting into steampunk, I always wanted to build machines that ran on live steam. Now, I don't mean like the models that people make, but have a real boiler mounted either on my back or a small one for smaller items on my belt.

A few model makers I've talked to have said "I wouldn't want to strap one of these to my body," and I can see their point, as these would make a tremense amount of heat and there is the danger of them blowing up (though the only model boilers I've heard blowing up are badly made boilers).

My idea to mainly deal with the heat would to have say a piece of wood between me and the boiler, or to make a double skinned boiler like some locomotives have (or as I've been told, not much is said in the books I've read) or have the boiler wrapped in wood panels like you would see on early steam engines and locomotives.

Do deal with weight, some sort of exoskeleton that runs down my legs to the ground and takes the weight up for me, or could be assisted by the boiler itself by providing powered lift to either the boiler itself or to the exoskeleton.

For fuel, and depending on what I want to use, I would have a pouch with chunks of charcoal with me that I could drop down a tube into the firebox to keep the heat up or go with gas in a sealed box under said boiler.

And finally for the controls of the steam, which all would depend on the gadget.

That's all that I have figured out and I am in the process of finding someone to teach me how to build boilers. If you know anything that could assist in my endeavour, it would be greatly appreciated. 
Logged
cossoft
Gunner
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2017, 03:32:38 am »

This might be feasible.  In the Berlin Christmas markets, they have guys who go around selling hot drinks and buns that they either cook or warm with body mounted mini stoves.  They have the stove strapped to the front, and a small propane bottle on the rear. So they actually walk around with this thing running.  The bottle is like the small one in this piccy, but might have been Kevlar wrapped for weight:-



I would take exception to your "the only model boilers I've heard blowing up are badly made boilers" statement.  I'm know that I'm one of the world's best drivers and I've never killed anyone.  The point I'm making is that confidence breeds arrogance.  It's a little late remembering that you never checked that last solder joint when the thing's exploded into your belly.  I suggest checking legislation for boiler certification, and what sizes /uses are excluded.  That will give an indication of the relative danger level and help you decide if you're willing to accept it. Review your decision if others are involved as in a show.

My other suggestion would be to not use any form of liquid fuel .  So no meths, gels, paraffin etc.  Nothing spillable.  If  you drop hot coals down your front and you're wearing sufficient natural fibres it wont'd be too bad but will brighten up an otherwise boring day.  You know of course to wear natural fibres doing this sort of thing?  No nylon or polyester. If it's a liquid fuel it could be nasty.  I think that I'd also be hesitant over a propane canister unless you can guarantee not being able to operate it upside down.  Don't laugh of course you won't.  That's silly.  Until you trip over or are hit by a cyclist  :'(

I understand that Australia is becoming somewhat of a fascist autocracy (too strong?), so would the police allow you to go around wearing one of these propane ,steam or otherwise?
Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2017, 05:19:56 am »

Hi, Cossoft

Don't worry, I get that some stuff in Australia is a bit backwards thinking sometimes or just down right stupid, I hear it everyday, but by the time I make this I'll be in Canada, so the rules would be different, and I do apologize for my statement about badly made boilers, a gentleman at a local show said that to me when I asked him the same questions as in this post, so it just stuck with me when I typed this post.

Quote
You know of course to wear natural fibres doing this sort of thing?  No nylon or polyester.

Yes, I know all about PPE equipment, I had two years in metal work in highschool, we never built anything steam related mind you because my teacher didn't know much on making them.

I wasn't considering liquid fuels as I know they are rather volatile and with something like this would not be safe, and with using solid fuels, I wouldn't have the firebox on my front, like I said, I'd drop the fuel down a tube into the firebox (a lot of design work, but I think it'd be worth it I think) I'm not so sure on propane gas, I'll do a bit more research into it.

Thank you for your suggestions  
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 05:40:40 am by SgtBash96 » Logged
Peter Brassbeard
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States



« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2017, 06:03:20 am »

I've heard of old style steam engines exploding when the fire was stoked hot enough for film boiling, a layer of steam covering the heat transfer surface.  At that point heat transfer through the steam into the water is impeded, and the wall of the boiler at the firebox can continue to heat without the water cooling it until the wall loses strength.  This failure mode could defeat a pressure safety value.
Logged
SPBrewer
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Sky Pirate Brewer


« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2017, 06:33:05 am »

Hello and welcome aboard SgtBash96,
     I've got ideas for several "Modern" items to run via Steam.  The problem of weight would come from the amount of power your device(s) would need. 
   As far as the problem of explosion is concerned, you may want to build a Steam Generator instead of a Boiler.  Not only is the Generator safer, but I suspect it would be lighter.
One of the first steam powered items I remembered seeing was a steam powered fan.  It was in one of those magazines that the airlines publish and place on their airliners.  This issues
had an article about fan collectors and this one collector had a steam powered fan.  It was used in factories that remained warm year round.  It had  a high pressure stem input line and
a low pressure steam output line.   I've often thought it would be interesting to "Wire" my shop for steam, with the same High and low pressure lines with the  low pressure lines going
a steam condenser to gain water for the steam Boiler (or Generator).   I could then connect various steam powered  tools (and fans) to the system.  Until I get some thermal problems
fixed, I will use steam powered tools in the winter and electric tools in the summer.  Wink   The low pressure steam should be easy to condense in the winter.
   Have you seen the small steam engines of Crab Fu 's?  He has a small steam engine that one could easily carry that pulls his weight around. See:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JJPtUGWJ2g4
If I'm not mistaken he says he gets his boilers on ebay.

The Sky Pirate


Logged

The Sky Pirate
Captain of the "Queen Victoria's Revenge"

SPBrewer
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Sky Pirate Brewer


« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2017, 06:38:25 am »

I'm really tired, its 1:10 AM.  I see I forgot Crab Fu's url.  It's not too hard to guess, it is  www.crabfu.com  Wink
He does FANTASTIC Work!!
But it still seem like I am forgetting something.  I'll re-read tomorrow and see if I can find it.
Stan aka The Sky Pirate.



Logged
cossoft
Gunner
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2017, 06:57:19 am »

Yes, with hindsight and Peter's comments, I'd extent my upside down warning to the steam vessel.  What happens when you move around?  The water level will be all over the place.  If the thing shifts on you , you risk the Peter's localised heating /weakening problem.  You may have to build a special geometry to allow for large attitude changes.  I suggest a quick look at a ship's boiler to see how they solve this issue.

V.Important for future replies so we can visualise a context.  What pressure are you envisaging? What work would the steam do, or is it just a visual gimmick and steam will simply bellow from your ass in a Steampunky way  Smiley ?


P.S. Your OP's last sentence has just clicked for me.  I really hate all the Health & Stupidity stuff, it's stupid as the name suggests.  I think though that I would give very serious consideration to physically wearing my first pressure boiler if you have no experience of building such.
Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2017, 08:02:46 am »

Hi, SPBrewer

I've seen Crab's work before, he is amazing with what he does.

I've never heard of such a system, if you have say other sources for it, it would help me greatly. I'll look into steam generators and see if I can build one myself, if it cuts the weight down from being a normal boiler, then that's one problem solved.

Thank you
Regards
Sarge
Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2017, 08:25:52 am »

Hi guys,

To over come that problem, I wouldn't use horizontal boilers, vertical ones are less likely to lose water against the heated surface when I'm moving around. Though if I was to use a horizontal boiler (which would be the case with a boiler on my belt) I wouldn't use a solid fuel based fire, I'd more likely use a gas burner in a closed casing (I asked my dad who's a trained builder, gas can be used upside down as it pressurized)

As in the steam being just a gimmick, no, it would power the device for real, as say I had a chainsaw device attached to a gauntlet or even a musket rifle, I could power it with steam from the boiler. This is to make it so the device or gadget works off the steam, to make it real.

Health and Safety isn't all stupid, it has its places, whats missing is peoples commonsense to think to think that something is dangerous and not doing anything, but thinking "I've filled out the paper work, I'm safe," yeah, no, it doesn't work like that.
Logged
Madasasteamfish
A clanger waiting to be dropped......
Board Moderator
Rogue Ætherlord
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


09madasafish
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 02:15:14 pm »

*Mod Hat on*

Topics merged

*Mod hat off*
Logged

I made a note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says; "Bugger!"

"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH."
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 03:05:28 pm »

Thanks for that Madasasteamfish, I couldn't find the delete button to remove the first one after I realized I put it in the wrong spot
Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2017, 08:13:41 pm »

Compressed air tanks would be safer to carry on your back than a steam boiler.

But here's a really crazy and undoubtedly dangerous idea that I don't think anyone has tried before: carry a tank of rocket fuel grade hydrogen peroxide on your back. When exposed to a silver catalyst, it instantaneously breaks down into steam and oxygen. The amount of steam produced relative to the fuel consumed is huge. This is what they use to power rocket packs.

Check web resources for hobbyists that build their own rocket packs; The rocket packs use compressed nitrogen to push the liquid fuel into a reaction chamber that contains the silver mesh catalyst, and that's where the steam is produced. You will need a custom-build valve to control the flow of fuel into the catalytic chamber; the rocket pack valves are usually made from anodized aluminum that is harder than some steel. Aside from the materials being slightly exotic, the apparatus is fairly simple.
Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2017, 04:01:05 pm »

Compressed air would be for more of if I wanted to use it if I was going to a normal convention where steam wouldn't be allowed, of course.

That form of steam...I think is to high pressured to use on gadgets, I've seen what those rocket packs can do. If it creates enough thrust to lift a human and the pack, it's way to much power for what I want to use it for.

Its a nice idea, but I think it has to much power to it.
Logged
RJBowman
Zeppelin Captain
*****


« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2017, 05:57:10 pm »

That form of steam...I think is to high pressured to use on gadgets, I've seen what those rocket packs can do. If it creates enough thrust to lift a human and the pack, it's way to much power for what I want to use it for.

Rocket packs burn up four liters of fuel in 20 seconds. I was not suggesting that you use that much fuel to power small hand-held devices. You would build a miniature version of the pack's reaction chamber, and use just a few drops of fuel at a time to produce the slight steam pressure needed to power whatever it is that you want to power.
Logged
Lord Pentecost
Snr. Officer
****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2017, 08:39:16 pm »

To avoid problems with volatile fuels, would it be possible to heat the water electrically? My thoughts would be 12v battery running the element from a travel kettle at the bottom of a vertical boiler. Being electrical it should be relatively easy to add overheat protection, kill switches and even a high pressure cut off if you want. I am no expert on this, just sharing an idea.
Logged

"A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to" - Banksy
cossoft
Gunner
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2017, 12:01:23 am »

No.  Unfortunately you're doubly screwed with water.  It's heat capacity is the highest of any typical material, as is it's vaporisation latent heat.  That means it takes huge amounts of energy to raise it's temperature.  It then takes huger amounts of energy to vaporise it.  Add in the fact that the best battery technology can only offer 1/30th of the energy density of coal, deeper screwage ensues. 

High energy density can be had from hexamine fuel tablets.  Hexamine can be a bit interesting, but it's brilliant for heat generation.  And being tablets, they're very handy and safe (excepting the cancer thing).  Used by the army and in survival kits.  Extremely easy to light, even when wet.  Only thing is it's much dearer than coal, but that's what I'd recommend if you decide against propane.  I'd also suggest small bits of rubber mixed in to create the smoke effect, but I'm not sure as rubber melts and you shouldn't have any flammable liquids in your apparatus.  Maybe small bits thrown in time to time.
Logged
SgtBash96
Deck Hand
*
Australia Australia


« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2017, 04:00:10 pm »

Hello again, guys

Quote
Rocket packs burn up four liters of fuel in 20 seconds. I was not suggesting that you use that much fuel to power small hand-held devices. You would build a miniature version of the pack's reaction chamber, and use just a few drops of fuel at a time to produce the slight steam pressure needed to power whatever it is that you want to power.

That is possible, I'll look more into this method, but if it does prove costly, I might not use it. No harm in giving it a try though.

Quote
To avoid problems with volatile fuels, would it be possible to heat the water electrically? My thoughts would be 12v battery running the element from a travel kettle at the bottom of a vertical boiler. Being electrical it should be relatively easy to add overheat protection, kill switches and even a high pressure cut off if you want. I am no expert on this, just sharing an idea.

Doing that is a very likely one if using a solid fuel doesn't work out, though I know nothing on electronics at the moment, easy enough to learn I think. I dunno if a 12v battery will be enough power for your stranded kettle, but again, got no knowledge on electronics.

Quote
High energy density can be had from hexamine fuel tablets.  Hexamine can be a bit interesting, but it's brilliant for heat generation.  And being tablets, they're very handy and safe (excepting the cancer thing).  Used by the army and in survival kits.  Extremely easy to light, even when wet.  Only thing is it's much dearer than coal, but that's what I'd recommend if you decide against propane.  I'd also suggest small bits of rubber mixed in to create the smoke effect, but I'm not sure as rubber melts and you shouldn't have any flammable liquids in your apparatus.  Maybe small bits thrown in time to time.

I was in the Army Cadet's for three years and I've no idea how I forgot about Hexy tabs. Using Hexy's is a definite possibility, though they would work best for smaller devices, yes, on larger boilers, I don't think that would be possible, Hexy's are designed to only work on small vessels. I'll test it when I eventurally make this, but its perfect for smaller items
Logged
Lord Pentecost
Snr. Officer
****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2017, 08:36:38 pm »


Quote
To avoid problems with volatile fuels, would it be possible to heat the water electrically? My thoughts would be 12v battery running the element from a travel kettle at the bottom of a vertical boiler. Being electrical it should be relatively easy to add overheat protection, kill switches and even a high pressure cut off if you want. I am no expert on this, just sharing an idea.

Doing that is a very likely one if using a solid fuel doesn't work out, though I know nothing on electronics at the moment, easy enough to learn I think. I dunno if a 12v battery will be enough power for your stranded kettle, but again, got no knowledge on electronics.


I would suggest one of these rather than a full size element
Logged
cossoft
Gunner
**
United Kingdom United Kingdom


« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2017, 01:05:31 am »

No.  Sorry   :'(

I wasn't making up that crap I wrote about latent heat of vaporisation.  It's real and will prevent you doing this.  Water is virtually the hardest liquid to boil off.  So I'll give you numbers:-

Your car heater is rated at 120W.  That's 10 amps.
Imagine a block of water a little less than 5cm in size.  That's 100 ml.
It will take 30 minutes to boil off 100 ml of water at 100 oC.  I'm excluding getting it to 100 oC.
That's 0.05 ml of water /s.
That's the size of a rain drop.
Using the gas laws you'll be able to calculate the volume of steam produced at 1 atmosphere, but I'm not going to do that as you can see where this is  unfortunately going.
100 ml is a similar volume to the size of the actual spiral heating element.
So you'll need much more charge to cover the elements during the 30 minutes otherwise the energy transfer will be impeded.
You will require 1.5 kg of lead acid battery run to full discharge.
What work can you possibly do with that amount of steam that takes 1/2 hour to generate from 100 ml of charge?
What will happen is that the pressure will build up (if at all) until the static friction of your device is over come, it will go (perhaps) for a few seconds and then stop as the steam expands again loosing pressure (unfortunately expansion also cools it).

Anecdote 1.  Have you ever used on of these?  They don't boil the coffee.  They kinda warm it up so it's not cold.  And if you don't believe me, read reviews of this product.  They also allegedly have a tendency to catch fire, and if it's on your belt then what about your man parts?
Anecdote 2.  The closest equivalent is a working model steam engine.  Look them up on 'Tube and see what they can (not) do.  This is is a good one.   It runs 12 minutes but is precision engineered with very good bearings.  Most importantly though, it seems to run off fuel tables (Hexy?).  They have nearly 200 times the energy density of a lead acid battery and can deliver it very much faster.

I really like the idea, but God beat you to it and decided not to let you.  He only likes electricity in the form of thunderbolts  Angry

« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 12:44:12 am by cossoft » Logged
Lord Pentecost
Snr. Officer
****
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2017, 09:03:05 pm »

I take on-board your comments on latent heat, however it is possible to electrically heat to produce steam. Hornby did it several years ago with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okk1f0EG-3A not sure if it would be possible to build something similar yourself OR if it could be battery powered. It all depends on how much steam you need (volume of water to heat), what it will be doing (high or low pressure) etc. This may not be something you can build yourself or be at all practical.

I believe Hornby's system ran on 17 volt DC from a transformer, I'm sure the technical spec is available somewhere I found quiet a few forums discussing these models relatively quickly.

Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.076 seconds with 16 queries.