Air pump

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Well-Known Member
HMEM Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2011
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Has anyone used an aquarium pump to run a small steam engine? I am talking about something with 3/4" to 1" bore. My daughter teaches middle school and one of the sections that she teaches is the industrial revolution. She wants to show them a couple of examples of running engines and she would like to use one of my small steam engines and a small internal combustion engine. Obviously they do not want to use live steam and the school does not have an air compressor so something like an aquarium pump would be ideal if it could generate enough volume and pressure. I am sure that it would have to be a piston type pump. Any idea if it would work and what I should look for?
Gordon, perhaps a 12v tyre air compressor with do.

I have run a 10mm bore wobbler on an aquarium pump but it was just enough to run. Not enough to start.


Andrew in Melbourne
I have reached the conclusion that an air brush compressor is probably the correct way to go. I have looked at places like Facebook marketplace and there are used unit available. None close by but I will keep looking.
I run my Reeves 'Lady Stephanie', my Reeves 'Trojan' and my Kennion's 'Tina' on an airbrush compressor. The only problem I've had is keeping the pressure low enough to stop the engine racing, had to get a valve to go on the airbrush outlet to control it.
if you have a junk yard near you, alot of cars with the air ride susspension have onboard compressors, i got one cheap along time ago. oldsmobille fe3 susspension car is what it came off of.