Steam generator for a home-made steam room

i love steam rooms. i want to build one out behind our house in the country in thailand. but it has to be low-tech. i'm thinking i'll make a square wall out of cinderblocks, about 4 feet high. then my shower will stick up from that .we don't have running water. we get water pumped from the well into big jars and use a bowl to splash water on ourselves to wash. but i put a submersible pump in the bottom of the jar, rigged up some PVC pipe and i have a shower of sorts. so if i build a 4 foot high square wall, with a doorway, i can pull a thick piece of foam over the top to cover the top, hang a rubber curtain across the doorway opening, and have an enclosed, outdoor room that i can steam up and sweat the gunk out, then stand up, flip off the insulating cover and shower right there. the steam room will go right behind me and the jars in the shower picture- where you can see a little bit of grass growing. but how do i make a steam generator? commercial ones cost way more dollars (baht) than i need to spend. i can use propane from a tank for fire, or wood, or charcoal. the well water is very hard water with a lot of dissolved minerals in it so my steam generator can't be something that will get clogged up with mineral deposits. anybody got any ideas? the steam generator needs to be cheap, home-build-able with local materials, and safe... don't want anything that can blowup, catch fire, or asphyxiate the users.

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forgesmith9 years ago
It doesn't take much to make one for such a small space. You need a large cooking pot, it should have a smooth level top edge. You need a lid for the pot, you can use a flat piece of metal (steel preferably) that gets placed on top of the pot and held down with some weights, stones will work. Then you will need a long tube, preferably metal, that gets attached to the lid. Make a hole in the lid, stick in tubing, affix tube by brazing, soldering, or metal epoxy, whatever is called for and will work. With a tight-fitting hole affixing may not be necessary, but over time the fit will likely become not-so-tight so it saves a hassle by doing that at the start. The other end of the tube goes into the steam room at the floor level. The tube will need some sort of support, should be easy enough to figure something out. In operation, have a fire set up outside of the steam room. Place pot over fire, fill pot almost full with water, place lid on top, stones on lid. The water boils, makes steam, which is pushed down the tube into steam room. Any water that condenses inside the tube will just drip out. With a good edge on the pot you will have a good enough seal for the pressure to build enough to force the steam down the tube, since being heated of course it'd rather go up than down. If the tube should become blocked, the steam pressure will merely build until the weighted lid moves enough to let some out, there should be no explosions. Have just enough weight on the lid for it to work, it should be safe enough to have a valve in the steam room and even turn it off when you're done steaming and while you're showering. Just don't let the pot boil dry. Since neither microprocessors, lasers, solar cells, radioactive nuclear materials, nor robots are being used, guess the regulars here didn't know what to do thus this has been waiting a bit for answering. Well, hope you can make it work for you. Have fun!
you are missing the 675 off my tribal wars name. forgesmith675
And when the pot cakes up with lime-scale, just hack it out with a screwdriver.

I was going to suggest something more elaborate, involving a fire heating a wall made of corrugated iron and water running down the other side...
Thaikarl (author)  Kiteman8 years ago
boy, do the pots cake up with scale. my wife mother has an aluminum pot that has a bulbous bottom, a bit of a narrowing neck then a funnel shaped upper section. she puts the sticky rice in a cone shaped basket, which drops into the funnel top of the pot to steam the rice. this pot has been used for i don't know how long, boiling water that comes from the well. the white-ish cake on the inside is literally an inch thick. i thought i might clean it out for her, but if she wanted it clean, she would have done it herself. all the other pots are scrubbed clean. you might have an idea there with the corregated iron sheet. if a narrow length of sheeting was bunt into a up-side down "U", and stood up at an angle, with fire (wood, propane burner...) at the bottom, the heat would rise along the length of the sheet, heating it. the sheet could be put in place in a gap in the wall of the steam room, so that the hot side of the sheet would be inside, the fire/smoke/badgas would be on the outside of the room. then an over head water tank could trickle drops of water onto the sheet, vaporizing them to steam- like throwing water on the hot rocks in a swedish sauna. hmmmmm.
I figured they're used to mineral build-up in cooking pots by now. Might happen in the tube despite the steam, but the pressure should keep it open and they can always just dissolve them away with vinegar, like the standard coffeemaker directions of running thru a carafe of vinegar to clean them out. Which I figured they were probably used to by now.
You are a freaking genuis! I would have never thought of that! There are tons of presure cookers at the goodwill.
Thaikarl (author)  forgesmith9 years ago
brilliant! that is simpler than i had some up with yet. i can build a prototype whist i'm still here in the states and work out a few of the bugs, if any. the thais are very DIY. i can have things welded for nearly nothing, and there is a scrap/recycle yard right in our village where i can get pipe. thanks!