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First question where I one get access to a good set of Ofeldt Boiler plans for a 20" boiler?  Second question, where can you get access to a good set of Ottoway burner plans that can be adaptable to a 20" boiler?  Third question, I am still trying to get my mind around the function and equipment needed for a fuel delivery system.  Anyone that can help, thanks in advance.

Al

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Good Morning Terry,

Thanks for the references and an alert.  I probably should not even look down the "rabbit hole" you referred to!  I have plenty to keep me busy without one more iron in the fire!

Al

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Posted (edited)

Hi Al,

 

It is true that there are several folks that endeavor in to steam cars and seem to experiment for many years, but I think that is their intention, to build something better. That is why it is referred to as a "tinkerer's hobby".

 

As long as a person stays with known fuel system and boiler type and control designs, the success rate is much higher.

 

There are a few different common fuel system types.

- Air pressure over liquid to deliver fuel to the burner (what I use), this is the earliest and most common method, White used this method as well throughout production. As I understand it, Stanley had a patent on their superior system.

- Fuel pressure delivered by a pump to a small accumulator, i.e. Later Stanleys and apparently Mason too. The drawback is the accumulator is small and the pumps only run when the engine does, so at fire up which can be a considerable amount of time, the operator must use a handpump to keep the fuel pressure up, and results in considerable labor. Some use an electric fuel pump to resolve this issue. Once the vehicle is moving, it works great and the main fuel tank is at atmospheric pressure which is inherently safer.

- Fuel atomized with a Beckett style gun burner adapted to run at vehicle voltages. This is by far the easiest, safest and controllable of all three, it's drawback is that is uses considerable current to run the burner, which the vehicle must generate and results in a negative to overall horsepower. Abner Doble used this system on all of his later steamers. There were others that used a gun burner as well. The gun burners are loud. Doble overcame the losses, by simply going bigger, his burners were putting out over a million BTU. My burner is around 300k which is a bit large for Stanhope.

 

Plans for the Ofeldt like in my car don't really exist, I have some work drawings I made up attached here.

 

Burners...

 

The most common is the fuel vaporizing type burner. If you've ever operated a Coleman Stove, they operate the same way. Fuel is boiled to a gas in a vaporizer and delivered to the mixing tube, where it is mixed with air and burnt.

Vaporizing burners come in all different types of configuration, from simply Whitney/Stanley types to those that resemble the combustion chamber of a jet engine. Emitting fuel in a cyclonic flow. Incidentally the Ottoway burner was designed by Herb Ottoway, he was an engineer for the Coleman company - small world.

-The gun burner as mentioned above

-Several different experimental types, from spinning cup type to fuel injectors from modern cars and many more.

They all have their advantages and disadvantages.

 

My opinion, but for a small hobby steamer, the Whitney/Stanley/Locomobile/Baker/Ofeldt/Ottoway and others type burners are the most convenient to use. And too in keeping in credo with 1901 steam car technology, it would be sacrilegious to hang a big old 12 volt battery on to run the burner. I have no electric anything on my car. it is the anti-tesla :)

The air over liquid fuel system is also very easy and reliable for all day operation if set up properly.

Steam Automobile Club of America has plans for the Ottoway in their store.

-Ron

16coilofeldt.7.7.14.jpg

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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Hello Ron,

Should I decide to dive into a steam powered automobile project, I would like to stay with proven convention and appreciate your taking the time to post your above notes.  I did download the very basic plans for the Ottoway burner.  I think it is doable project ........man a thousand little holes to drill, makes my hands tired at the thought.  I think I would set up on a milling machine!  Have you seen the plans posted for sale on the Ofeldt design boiler on the Reliable Steam Engine Co. website?  It is listed to power a steam engine size of 4 to 7 HP.  It is 24" OD and about 24" tall, is that staying in convention?  That should make lots of steam at 200-250 PSI?  The simple drawings for the Ottoway burner gives reference to a Pilot burner made by Ken Maxwell.  Are you familiar with that design?  I suspect that the drawings are very "old" as they still reference using asbestos and not a modern carbon fiber now used in modern boilers.  Thanks again for your time....

Al

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Al, The Ottoway is probably teh best route to go and it looks pretty simple to build, except all those tiny holes in the burner grate which is 321? stainless, I'm thinking they do those with a laser. Don Bourdon, sells these burners ready to go and they work very well. For a first project and lots of unknown territory that is a probably good option. Burners can be very troublesome.

 

The Maxwell pilot works very well and is used by a bunch of people. Cruban is another type. I think the late John Packard had a version of vaporizing pilot also. All work well.

 

I have those plans for the Ofeldt boiler from Reliable. it would be difficult to build and it's tall. That is an issue with these steamers, has to be short enough to fit in the body under the seat and still have chain clearance. I think it uses 3/4" pipe for coils too, very difficult to form up. The body height is only like 17" and there needs to room for an exhaust plenum with insulation, so that limits the boiler height to about 14". Speaking of coils , there is a guy in Southern Minnesota that has a coil winder. he's a real nice guy and he would probably wind them for you. When you're sure you want to do this, I will get you his contact info and you can ask him. Also, the vice President of Steam car club in Western Michigan can wind coils also.

 

Attached is a picture of my Ofeldt

-Ron

 

 

IMG_3496 (Medium).JPG

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Hello Ron,

Thanks for the thoughts and information relevant to your Ofeldt boiler.  The picture is deceiving.  It appear to be larger dimensionally than what the outside measurements would infer.  I am guessing that your boiler is a 20" boiler?  I am making an assumption, the coiled boiler tubes are not supposed to be in contact with each other?  (Or if they touch, it is not a big issue)?  I certainly am also guessing that you have a copy of all the materials cert's. used in this fabrication?  Does the Michigan boiler code, for this type of boiler, suggest any hold points for inspection during the fabrication process?  Or are you just required to complete the end testing?  I need to check with the State of Utah and see what boiler code I need to follow, should I get into the boiler building business.

Al

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Al,

 

It must be the picture? It is 19" diameter, same as the burner and the center drum is 14" long. The drawing dimensions are near exact for the coils, and exact for the center drum. I had the coils wound before I did the layout and I took measurements right off of them.

 

The coils can touch, it would be better if they didn't as you know as an abrading precaution. The coils don't move much at all with thermal expansion, and there is no shock as there would be with a pump.

 

I have a certification on the center drum, it is ASTM A106 schedule 80 seamless pipe, but it doesn't really have to be. since the drum is small and the hoop stresses are low, most people simply use A53 welded seam pipe. My coils are A53 1/4" welded seam. I've never had any issue with them, going on year six?.  A dirty little secret about pipe is the majority of 1/4" pipe is still made in the USA. 1/2" ans 3/4" sch 40 is all Chinese. People freak out about the coils and the material, a total failure of a coil, clean break is extremely unlikely, even if it did, it would simply be like opening a steam valve. It's all inside of an enclosure, startling, yes, catastrophic, no. With 250 psi on and considering the cross sectional area of the pipe, there is only about 40 pounds of force trying to push it out of the shell, and it's welded in. You've worked in the industry, how many times have you seen pipes just break for no reason?

All the components mentioned above are being used at about 1/10 of the suggested working pressures.

The Ofeldt boiler is very safe. My opinion, with all things considered, the Ofeldt is the best boiler design anyone ever came up with.

 

-Ron

 

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Hello Ron,

Thanks again for your good responses!  They give me information needed to make a good decision about whether to dive into a steam project of hold off.   Having worked as a boiler welder on a huge B & W  coal fired boiler with a power output of 950 Meg.  I do understand some of the theory of a small system like we are speaking about here.  I am most interested in giving a try to building an Ofeldt boiler and also the Ottoway burner.  Your explanation of the fuel delivery system being similar to a Coleman camp stove was also very helpful.  Do you use a hand pump in order to pressurize your fuel tank prior to starting?  Once running, I assume the air pump, that is on a Mason steam engine, provides the air pressure to keep the fuel system under pressure and running.  The use of an "automatic" would be the component that would keep a timely supply of fuel to the burner?

Al

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The SACA, Steam Automobile Club of America, people use to have drawings on making a Locomobile/Mobile body and some sketches on the frame.  Just add a little water for steam and you are ready to go, I'm sure.

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Hello Ben....

If only it were that easy. ........

Al

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Posted (edited)

Al,

 

Here is a diagram of the fuel system we are discussing. No pumping required. just fill the fuel tanks and pop a hundred er so psi in the air tank and it's good until it needs to be refueled. Yes the steam automatic controls the burner and works off the steam pressure. I carry a 12 volt motorcycle battery and 12 volt compressor that will make 100 psi with me in a gym bag to the shows. it's a very easy way of doing the fuel system.

 

The early cars didn't use the regulator, so the fuel pressure was continually dropping. I'm not quite sure how they handled the pilot fuel pressure, they may have just ran it off of the same pressure as the main fuel, the first Locomobiles had no pilot light, it was just high and low burner. The burners are a bit sensitive to fuel pressure, this method keeps the fuel pressure constant until the tank is empty. On 3 gallons of fuel, I can go about 50 miles. So plenty of fuel for all day running around at a show etc. I just fuel up every morning.

 

The pilot is situated under the vaporizer for starting up and igniting the burner. Once going the burner which is also under the vaporizer, heats it as well. The pilot has it's own J-tube shaped vaporizer and must be heated with a propane torch to get it going, only takes a few minutes though.

 

-Ron

 

image.thumb.jpeg.1b09cf2cbfe5833c738c208c95af5318.jpeg

Edited by Locomobile (see edit history)
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That is a nice sketch.  I may be missing something, why does the pilot look to run on White gas or Coleman fuel, kerosene and the burner appears to run on gasoline?

Al

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White fuel burns much cleaner. The reason they use it in Coleman stoves. The burner has a larger jet and can operate with a fuel that may make carbon. And of course at 11 dollars a gallon t would be expensive to burn only white gas as a main fuel.

 

-Ron

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Hello Ron,  According to your sketch of the fuel delivery systems, what is the optimum diameter for the Pilot tank and for the main fuel tank?  To stand up to the pressures that you suggest, I am guessing that you must use some form of air receiver tank for each?  Also, does modern unleaded gasoline work in the pilot system?  I use unleadeed gas in my Coleman camp stove with no bad side effects.

Al

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Hi Al,

 

In the drawing, that is all there is to the fuel system. A few shut off valves and jet/orifice on the end of the delivery tube are not shown, but that is essentially the complete fuel system. It is air over liquid delivery. Study it a bit and it will make sense.

 

The fuel tanks can be any size as long as they can withstand the pressure. On a small carriage, 3 gallons for main fuel, half gallon for pilot fuel. It is very simple to do hydrostatic testing of the tanks with a small hand piston pump.

 

Yeah, standard pump gas will work in a pilot light, but white fuel works better, it has no ethanol, no dyes, no additives etc.

 

Took the Locomobile to a car show today and won a trophy. Headed out to another one tomorrow.

 

-Ron

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Good Morning Ron,

I hope you have a good time at the show.  Post a picture or two of your Locomobile and back drop of the car show.  It will be nice to see what is going on in your neck of the woods.  Do you plumb your fuel system with 1/4" copper?

Al

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Al,

 

I do not use any copper fuel lines. I use only 1/4" high pressure stainless steel braided lines. Copper fuel lines are illegal per the DOT, and for good reason, copper can work harden and fracture quite easily.

 

-Ron

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Hello Ron or any other steam smart soul,

What is the best and most suitable sized boiler to work with a Model "C" Mason engine.  I suppose that the Mason "C" has been used as a replacement  for the original Locomobile steam engine.

Al

 

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Hi Al,

 

The Ofeldt I posted would work, or a firetube type of about 14" diameter and up would also work. My friend has an Ofeldt with only 12 coils vs 16 of mine and his performs well with the Mason Model C. My boiler was modeled after his with several changes.

 

-Ron

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Hello Ron,

I wish I had 1/2 the information and experience that you have and I would be reasonably well learned on steam engineering.

Al 

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Al,

 

It is a lot to know and I still don't know as much I need sometimes, I still have to ask around for advice and do research occasionally. But, I will share what I have figured out. I've been playing with steam for close to 50 years, my first boilers that I cobbled together now make me cringe to think about, how foolish I was and lucky I was to not be injured or killed. I won't elaborate to prevent anyone from trying those methods.

 

One issue I'm working through right now:

Just as Fred Marriot stated when when asked what was the most troublesome thing about a steam car he provided a one word answer "burner". I can attest to the accuracy of that answer. The only trouble I have is the fire. The burner operates, but I am having fuel issues. I burn kerosene and something has changed recently with it. I was doing some research and it appears that the EPA has mandated that all diesel fuel have a very low sulfur content or "Ultra low sulfur diesel" ULSD. From what I understand, they have gotten the sulfur content so low in No1 diesel at 400ppm, it is now being sold as Kerosene at most gas stations that sell it. When in fact it is not K1 kerosene and my burner doesn't like it. So, now it looks like I'm going to start getting JET-A /JP4 fuel from the airport which is highly refined kerosene K1. I could simply go to pump gasoline and avoid all this and I may do it. If it wasn't for the fuel issue I'm having, my car would be just about trouble free.

 

I was at a show on Sunday and someone had an original 1903 Oldsmobile and I watched it run around and thought to myself, man that is a lot easier to get along with. Then they shut it off and couldn't get it restarted., and then it sat for the rest of the day, I was talking with the owner and they have to run special high octane racing fuel in it to keep it going.  It is what it is, these early cars are problematic. What prompted the old song from that era :"He had to get under, get out and get under, to fix his little machine..."

 

 

-Ron

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hmmmm, get out and get under.  That is a fun tune for sure.
Al

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What is the funnest thing you have done in your Locomobile Steamer or simply being near a Locomobile Steamer?  Post here with any pictures you may have so we can all enjoy.

Al

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