Pressurized steam cleaner?

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Swordmaker15

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Hi all, I've got myself in a pickle it seems. My boy wants to do a steam engine for his science project this year. So I say, "sure we can do that!" Of course what father wouldn't say yes at his boy wanting to learn something you enjoy. However, problem is I do not actually own a boiler. Nor do I really want to take one around children. I don't have an air compressor small enough to run it unobtrusively for demonstration. Would a small handheld pressurized steam cleaner (50 psi) be adequate to run a small wobbler for short bursts? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

XD351

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Do you have a mig or tig welder ? If yes just use the gas bottle off that to run it ( through the regulator and flow meter of course ) . I would be wary of modifying the steam cleaner . Are you able to borrow a small compressor ?
 

Swordmaker15

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Do you have a mig or tig welder ? If yes just use the gas bottle off that to run it ( through the regulator and flow meter of course ) . I would be wary of modifying the steam cleaner . Are you able to borrow a small compressor ?
Unfortunately no I don't. That does give me an idea though. What about a CO2 tank for a paintball gun? I wasn't going to modify the cleaner. I'm pretty wary of that sort of thing.
 

XD351

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You would have to sort out a regulator for the bottle , if you are going to run the engine at the school - ie a public place home made devices to reduce the extremely high bottle pressure and flow may not be permitted or good idea . You don't need a lot of pressure or flow for small wobbler engines , i have seen a few that only required one to stick a tube in the mouth and blow . I have run some small engines off a decent sized fish tank airator but the engine sealed well and was very free running .
It also depends on what scientific principle you are trying to show with the project , probably the easiest is the stirling type of engine as it shows how heating , cooling expansion and contraction can be made to do work and doesn't need any sort of pressure vessel .
 

Swordmaker15

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You would have to sort out a regulator for the bottle , if you are going to run the engine at the school - ie a public place home made devices to reduce the extremely high bottle pressure and flow may not be permitted or good idea . You don't need a lot of pressure or flow for small wobbler engines , i have seen a few that only required one to stick a tube in the mouth and blow . I have run some small engines off a decent sized fish tank airator but the engine sealed well and was very free running .
It also depends on what scientific principle you are trying to show with the project , probably the easiest is the stirling type of engine as it shows how heating , cooling expansion and contraction can be made to do work and doesn't need any sort of pressure vessel .
We may just end up blowing in a tube. Safety is the highest priority.
 

JOHN DUNCKER

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As long as you only need a few minutes run time on a small engine you can use a car tire as the source. Badger [ airbrush ] still sell the bits you need.
 

XD351

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Damned good idea that !
 

kennycrawford

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An Idea. If you can make a small air engine why not build a small air compressor that could be hand cranked. Basically would be a cylinder and piston, crank and a couple reed valves (feeler gauge blades). Geared crank or belt? A small accumulator tank to smooth things out. You could be showcasing a variety of principles all at once. May be getting a little elaborate but sounds like fun.

Kenny
 

Swordmaker15

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An Idea. If you can make a small air engine why not build a small air compressor that could be hand cranked. Basically would be a cylinder and piston, crank and a couple reed valves (feeler gauge blades). Geared crank or belt? A small accumulator tank to smooth things out. You could be showcasing a variety of principles all at once. May be getting a little elaborate but sounds like fun.

Kenny
That's sounds like a really fun project. I'm going to try an aquarium aerator first ( if I can find mine). I'll post some pictures when I get something rigged up. Your idea would be a great solution for small demonstrations and it would put on a show too.
 

goldstar31

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Well, there used to be a tire inflator that worked by replacing a car plug. Seriously!
With the bits from what used to be called a Flit gun, I resprayed the scratched door on an original mini cooper.

Perhaps it was 1963 or 64 and the alternative was the spray bit from a ladies scent spray.

If you think that this is all hot air, the Flit guns were made by the MetalBox Company. I was a shareholder for a while.

Norman
 

eifion

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Not sure an aquarium aerator will have much 'puff' or pressure. 12v tyre inflators are quite cheap on a well known auction site. When I've used my (not very cheap one) it wasn't that enthusiastic when just running off the battery but with the engine running it went well. PC power supplies have 12v outputs but some experimentation would be required - don't know if they will give the amperage required.
 

peter2uat

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You could - without ANY problems - run the steam cleaner - 50 psi (=3,4 bar) is quite nice for a 0.5"x0.5" engine, a light dimmer might help reduce the power output of the steam cleaner (depending on the wattage of the steam cleaner use a dimmer of factor 1.5 higher). I used a 1 kw drop-in heater for a russian samowar and an adequate regulator for a twin double acting wobbler of 6/8"x6/8" and it runs beautifully.
Another idea I realized was to take the compressor from a defunct household fridge - mostly only the temperature sensor is defect and the compressor is in good order to run a quite a few years longer - 50 psi is what can be expected, but without a (small - alt least one gallon) tank the air flow will be pulsating. BUT DON'T SAW the copper tubes unless you want to filter all the oil in the tank!
In both cases - have someone in the know help with the wiring.
 
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Swordmaker15

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You could - without ANY problems - run the steam cleaner - 50 psi (=3,4 bar) is quite nice for a 0.5"x0.5" engine, a light dimmer might help reduce the power output of the steam cleaner (depending on the wattage of the steam cleaner use a dimmer of factor 1.5 higher). I used a 1 kw drop-in heater for a russian samowar and an adequate regulator for a twin double acting wobbler of 6/8"x6/8" and it runs beautifully.
Another idea I realized was to take the compressor from a defunct household fridge - mostly only the temperature sensor is defect and the compressor is in good order to run a quite a few years longer - 50 psi is what can be expected, but without a (small - alt least one gallon) tank the air flow will be pulsating. BUT DON'T SAW the copper tubes unless you want to filter all the oil in the tank!
In both cases - have someone in the know help with the wiring.
I don't quite trust myself with the wiring but I may try the steam cleaner in the end. Worst case I dont use it and end up cleaning my car or something.
 

JC54

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I use a car tyre inflator (12v) to run my little wobbler when we are at rallies. At a stall at a model engineering exhibition one trade stand were using a handpump to power a little beam engine. The sort that you get to pump up air mattresses etc.
 

Swordmaker15

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I did find a small super quiet air compressor for use with cake decorating air brushes. Maybe I can dress it up as a "boiler" and power it that way.
 

deverett

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... what used to be called a Flit gun,
If you think that this is all hot air, the Flit guns were made by the MetalBox Company.
Norman
I remember Flit guns well. They used to be used for spraying cockroaches in India (in my case). The 'roaches didn't die from the insecticide but were usually drowned, such was the quantity that had to be used against them.

Dave
The Emerald Isle
 

cheepo45

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I have a garden sprayer (new) that I set up with the correct fittings to run my air engines. A few minutes of pumping will run them for about 10 minutes.
 
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