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one tiny boiler to run several tiny engines ?

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BW21/07/2019 10:11:24
245 forum posts
40 photos

I have made 3 tiny engines and working on the 4th.

I've almost finished a tiny Jenny Wren boiler. Steam line out is only approx 2mm diameter.

In Tubal Cain's plans (Building Simple Model Steam Engines Vol. 1) the boiler is committed to serving steam to the one engine.

Could I make a little manifold to run 3 or 4 engines at once off the same tiny boiler or is this simply impossible and silly for reasons that a Newb like myself may not yet comprehend ?

I wouldn't expect all 4 engines to run for very long at the same time, I'd be happy with 20 seconds, would be fun to see them all running at the same time.

If a manifold is impractical how do people avoid committing one boiler to one engine I was thinking that the boiler line could terminate in a small brass block and I could somehow plug and unplug the engines one at a time into that block.

My boilder below and some pictures of finished Jenny Wrens made by other people can be seen here

The one in the palm of the hand gives a good idea of scale.



3404621/07/2019 10:24:38
795 forum posts
6 photos

JW boiler would be too small. I have made the engine and the boiler is man enough for one engine. You may possibly run a second engine of the same proportions.

I made  a large horizontal boiler  with a line to a manifold with a valve for each engine .


Edited By 34046 on 21/07/2019 10:41:26

Paul Lousick21/07/2019 10:31:31
1212 forum posts
502 photos

Running more that 1 little engine could be possibe but would depend on how little they are and what volume of steam they require. It is only a little boiler and I would be surprised if it could run 4 engines. An option would be to make a manifold with an isolation valve on each port. Small valves are available from steam model suppliers if you do not want to make your own. You could then run each engine in turn or possibly more. Worth a try.


not done it yet21/07/2019 10:32:45
3554 forum posts
15 photos

One relatively small air compressor? If running all at the same time is your aim, it would be the simplest solution I would think.

BW21/07/2019 11:19:06
245 forum posts
40 photos
Posted by Paul Lousick on 21/07/2019 10:31:31:

Small valves are available from steam model suppliers if you do not want to make your own. You could then run each engine in turn or possibly more. Worth a try.


Thanks for all of the replies.

Am keen to learn how to make my own little taps, safety valves, manifolds, knick knacks, wattchamacallits etc. Etc.

Is there a book or a web site called "All the little fiddly fittings for newbie steam engineers" ?


BW21/07/2019 11:25:59
245 forum posts
40 photos

...... and ...... if the manifold block is too big and too cold can it instantly absorb all the heat from the steam, condense the steam and turn it back into water and then nothing will run at all just a big puddle forming in the manifold ?

Now that I think about it wouldn't that happen when the first steam hits a cold engine ? Do you get water inside the cylinder ?

Any suggestions for books websites I should be reading to better understand gratefully accepted

So first try with an air compressor then build a bigger boiler.


Edited By BW on 21/07/2019 11:28:03

3404621/07/2019 12:06:28
795 forum posts
6 photos

Manifold - I tend to experiment on things like this as find it a bit of a challenge. I usually learn the hard way.

You could try a piece of square brass tube say 3/4 inch square

Fit you 3 or 4 outlet valves on the top in bushes. Bring steam in one end and on the opposite end fit a blowdown valve to get rid of any condensed water ?

Just a suggestion.


PS I thing the fittings may be in a book by LBSC ? 



Edited By 34046 on 21/07/2019 12:07:49

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