By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Allendale Nov 29

Making a stationary steam engine

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Leszek Delag11/07/2018 22:44:00
13 forum posts

Hello all,

Please don't throw up your hands in horror but I have always liked small engines ever since owning a basic, horizontal boilered Mamod model, just post war and would now like to design and make my own, entirely from scratch.

My 'workshop' equipment to date, consists of a 1954 Myford (rather worn) for which I have recently bought an 'Amolco' milling attachment. I also have a 1967 electric drill stand, a small surface plate, sundry tools and drills and a 'Turbo 90' brazing torch.

I do realize that live steam-particularly if superheated-is not something to fool around with nor ever to be taken lightly, nevertheless, would like to have a try. Some 20 years ago I rescued two pieces of thrown out tubing and feel that one of these might well be made into a steam boiler. The first piece is from a pneumatic cylinder, of seamless brass, 18" long, 2.750" outside diameter with a wall thickness of 0.125". The second piece is seamless copper tube, 8" long, 3.125" outside diameter with a wall thickness of 0.070".

I also have several lengths of 316 Stainless tubing, 0.250" o/d of substantial wall thickness which might possibly become boiler tubing..

I do not know very much about the various gauges , valves and water injector needed for boiler construction so would greatly appreciate some solid advice and guidance, particularly if you could recommend a good book explaining what everything does and all what would be needed for small boiler design.

I have not considered the cylinder layout yet, but am inclined toward a horizontal single. The important thing is to first design and build the actual pressure vessel-the boiler-and so all practical reading and advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in advance,


Hopper12/07/2018 00:35:35
3144 forum posts
52 photos

The book "Making Model Steam Engines" by Stan Bray might be a good starting point.

Also, if you Google search for two books by K.N. Harris, "Model Boilers" and "Model Steam Engines" you might find PDF versions available more economically, although these books are a bit dated now but the basics are there.

Your piece of copper tube sounds ideal for a small boiler. I woiuld think copper tubes would work better than stainless due to better heat transfer etc. Although, for a simple, low pressure, demonstration model that is not powering a boat etc, a plain boiler with no tubes will work, as the likes of Mamod did for many years.

BOB BLACKSHAW12/07/2018 04:49:35
153 forum posts
21 photos

The lost technology series, Model Engine Construction by J Alexander, first published in 1894 with over 322 pages.

This book is a great read,amazing what the engineer of that time could make with a basic lathe and tools.

Ian S C12/07/2018 11:09:48
7190 forum posts
227 photos

Heres a little one that I had in a little tin boat, it could manage a trip up and back on the lake at the local recreation centre. The boiler was a 40 mm dia bit of copper tube about 60 mm long, just as it got to the end of the voyage, the solder holding the steam pipe from the top of the boiler melted, boiler dry. It got sailed a number o times after that. Ian S C001.jpg

Bandersnatch12/07/2018 17:08:21
1103 forum posts
38 photos

The Tubal Cain books "Building Simple Model Steam Engines" Vols 1 & 2 have a lot of stuff on small model steam boilers.

Chuck Pickering12/07/2018 17:41:18
36 forum posts
2 photos

Here's a link to download a pdf of the book referenced by Bob B.:


Michael Gilligan12/07/2018 18:28:54
12524 forum posts
544 photos
Posted by Chuck Pickering on 12/07/2018 17:41:18:

Here's a link to download a pdf of the book referenced by Bob B.:



Thanks for that, Chuck


Leszek Delag12/07/2018 22:51:30
13 forum posts

Many thanks to all for your reading recommendations..

I think the best plan will be to now make a good study of everything first and see what the best practical design will be after that.

Thank you all once again.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Eccentric Engineering
Eccentric July 5 2018
Allendale Electronics
TRANSWAVE Converters
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest