Questions about a steam powered Stearnwheeler.

Home Model Engine Machinist Forum

Help Support Home Model Engine Machinist Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Active Member
Jan 10, 2021
Reaction score
Bainbridge NY
I am new to steam engines, but have a bit of experience in model building . I am thinking of building a rc sternwheeler and would like some input on the ideas running about in my head. First to describe the tentative project. I am thinking of a rather large model. about 6 feet long and 2ish wide. The drive would be two double acting cylinders through a crosshead to the sternwheel. [although I may have to go to a flywheel first to smooth out the timing] I have on hand some pneumatic cylinders that are aluminum bore and piston . They have a 1-1/2 inch bore and a 8 inch stroke. The pistons have a double "o" ring that may be a problem. If so I can turn out some aluminum [or brass] pistons to replace the existing ones. I see a online video of a model called "The Liberty Belle" that looks something like what I am thinking of building. It is shown running on less than 30 lbs of steam pressure. I realize that I still have valving, and of course the boiler, all the plumbing, fueling, and on to plan . So the first question is has anyone tried using pneumatic cylinders for steam power?
Thank you for the advise, I thought that the seals and o-rings would have to be changed out. I have visited the Elmers site before, quite interesting stuff there. The boat I am thinking on, has the drive cylinders attached almost directly, to the paddle wheel. One cylinder on each side of the craft , relatively slow rpm. The valving on the model , " The Liberty Belle" seems rather extensive , I do not think I will be getting that complicated, but time will tell. It will be a few months out before I get started, hopefully by then There will be some more good advise from the forum, and some warmer weather.