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Running small stationary steam engines

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Howard Sutcliffe13/02/2013 12:02:57
11 forum posts

I've never run my Stuart stationary engines (James Coombes and Victoria) on steam because I'm concerned they'll rust internally with infrequent use. Instead I've used occasionally a small, old, noisy compressor which isn't really up to the job. I'd be grateful for any suggestions regarding compressors from other folk who have used compressed air rather than steam for their engines. Is an air-brush compressor a possibility?

JasonB13/02/2013 12:16:48
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The larger silent type of compressors will work with model engines and being they are not nuch louder than a fridge compressor make playing with your engines a pleasure. Get a decent CFM the smaller compressors have a job to keep up

Jun-air are good as are Bambi and for occasional use the Machine Mart "shhh-air" ones are OK.

J

Howard Sutcliffe13/02/2013 17:40:04
11 forum posts

Thanks for the info Jason. I've had a look on eBay and in Machine Mart. I didn't realise these small compressors were so expensive! I'll keep looking for one of the ones you mention. Thanks again.

Stub Mandrel13/02/2013 19:49:15
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I've run my 10V on steam a dozen times of so, and it shows no signs of rusting. it does have a big displacement lubricator that I fill with steam oil. the engine converts it into something resembling Baileys Irish Cream.

I have a small compressor (looks like one someone posted a picture of a few months ago) that happily runs small engines far too fast, even with a hefty air bleed. Its a diaphragm pump and it can make up to 30psi, I've made an air reservoir (more of a pressure smoother) from an old alloy fire extinguisher (proof test >300psi on that).

Neil

Howard Sutcliffe13/02/2013 21:39:05
11 forum posts

Thanks for the reply. To be honest, I'm not sure of the range of psi required to run these small engines. I guess that there's a minimum psi needed to simply make the piston move - to overcome the inertia of the components plus all friction - and then the cfm dictates the engine's subsequent rpm depending on the volume displaced by the piston - or is this too simplistic?

GaryM13/02/2013 21:44:34
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314 forum posts
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Hi Howard,

How about this one from Axminster

**LINK**

I was thinking of buying one for just the same purpose but haven't done so yet. The noise level is 70db so not as noisy as most other cheaper compressors (~90db) but not as expensive as the Bambi/ssch types. I thought it might do if I ever got into air-brushing.

Gary

JasonB14/02/2013 08:13:10
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The Axi one will still be quite loud, the silent type run at about 45db and if I remember right sound increase is logrithmic.

I know its hard to talk when my very similar compressor is running so won't be a lot different to using your existing compressor.

I tend to run my engines at 10-20psi as I'm not a fan of having them racing away. This is a good example, my big Benson on 15psi should be a nice relaxing thing to watch but drowned out by the compressor though I have got rid of that squeek now

**LINK**

Stewart Hart14/02/2013 08:46:00
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I use a small compressor similar to the Axminster one shown above that I picked up as an Aldi special a few years ago cost about £70. I run it in my shop and wear ear defenders but intend to put it into the next door garage and feed a pipe through the wall. I've done this trick at our clubs shows with my engines in the clubhouse and the compressor outside, the guys at the club drilled a hole through the club house wall to take the feed, it will hapily ran my engines all day.

I like to run my engines at a nice slow speed, as a rule of thumb the lower the pressure an engine will run at the better the design and build quality, running them at slow speed also shows of the workings of the engine better, but small people like too see them running fast, :0)

Stew

 

 

Edited By Stewart Hart on 14/02/2013 08:47:45

Ian S C14/02/2013 10:23:08
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I run a stuart S6, 1.5" bore X 1.5" stroke on an old freezer compressor coupled to an old low pressure aircraft oxygen cylinder (600psi normal pressure). The compressor can maintain about 30 psi with the engine running, at that pressure the govenor is opperating, and holding the revs. I can't run much under 10psi, as the release valve on the water trap opens. My air tank rises vertical from the compressor, and the water trap is at the inlet at the bottom, so no water in the tank. It may have been another thread on this forum, the warning was of rust in the bore because of water in the air, and a cold cylinder causing condensation. Ian S C

Howard Sutcliffe14/02/2013 11:20:09
11 forum posts

Gary, Jason, Stewart - thanks for the replies. It's probably more convenient for me if a compressor is not too far from the engine, so I think that means I'll have to look for one of the "silent" type. I'll keep checking on eBay.

Thanks again,

Howard

GaryM14/02/2013 12:03:22
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314 forum posts
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Howard,

You could consider an aquarium air pump. I have no experience of using one but I've seen them suggested before. Someone else might have more knowledge they can add.

Gary

Howard Sutcliffe14/02/2013 12:05:21
11 forum posts

Ian - thanks for the info about water / rust in the bore, even on air - I must say, I hadn't thought of that .

I guess a compressor that can maintain up to about 30 psi should be quite adequate for the purpose.

Howard

Geoff Theasby14/02/2013 12:33:29
613 forum posts
17 photos

I tried an aquarium air pump, it wasn't strong enough for even one engine, and I have four!

Regards

Geoff

Clive Foster14/02/2013 14:03:45
2389 forum posts
77 photos

Another one to look out for is the baby Hydrovane device made for Binks Bullows (?) as part of a portable paint spraying set-up. Curvy finned bottom bit, sort of sphere with bits chopped off at top and bottom shape, about a foot across with three legs barely long enough to keep it off the deck . Driven by an old style 1 hp or so single phase motor sat on top with the shaft vertical. Couple or three cubic ft per minute at 40 psi I think. I've heard noisier electric motors running on their own. Heavy for its size being, apparently, built to run for about half an hour shy of forever! Mine cost me £5 at a boot fair. Seller didn't have a clue what it was, neither did I but at the price .... E-Bay varies from near enough nowt to just plain silly. Also found with a Vincent Firefly(?) two stroke engine but that won't be quiet, even if it runs.

Clive

Howard Sutcliffe14/02/2013 16:24:14
11 forum posts

Gary, Geoff, Thanks for the replies.

I did try an old aquarium air pump. It was most impressive doing its original job, but - as Geoff found - it wouldn't even start either Stuart engine!

Clive, Thanks. That's another name to look out for on eBay. Fingers crossed one turns up for collection that's local.

Michael, Thanks. To be honest, I've never heard of a Mamod oscillator - I'll read up about them.

Howard

KWIL14/02/2013 17:39:07
3309 forum posts
63 photos

I have a Binks Bullows Hydrovane, very silent, dentists used them because they were quiet. Home and Workshop Machinery had 2 when I was last in there, but they look as though they have been sold. Give them a call.

Stub Mandrel14/02/2013 21:18:39
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My (all rather small) engines run happily on very low pressures. I have one that runs at 60 rpm on 1.4 psi. I've since found that a similar prototype operates at 50 rpm.

You need a decent volume of air, not very high pressures, although more pressure is needed to facilitat running in.

I'll start another thread with pictures of my pressure gauge, as it's rather nice.

Neil

Ian S C15/02/2013 09:20:46
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I tried running the Stuart S6 with a cheap battery opperated car tire pump, not a show, a small air tank, and it ran for about 10 seconds Ian S C

Stub Mandrel15/02/2013 21:58:22
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4311 forum posts
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My stepson has a two-outlet pump - one for tyres, one high volume low pressure for blowing up paddling pools and the like.

Mi diaphragm pump stalls above 30psi, but it blows plenty of air at 10-12psi. ideal for an airbrush or small engines.

Neil

Windy16/02/2013 00:53:04
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792 forum posts
153 photos

I built a compresor using an old small twin piston fridge compressor connected to a tank and compared to my Aldi compressor is very quiet.

Cars have been sprayed with it using a low pressue gun and also run my flash steam engine with it.

Paul

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