World Studies Project on Steam Power

I'm doing a project for school on Steam power... It's origins, it's applications, the reason it died out, the future...Blah blah blah. Along with that, I will be building some small working models, a hero engine, and a piutt putt boat. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for a beginner that would look nice and actually move? I have minimal building skills and funds, so i'm really looking for simple ideas. Thanks, James P.S. Any one realize the projectile potential of steam power? Real simple... Empty wine bottle, bit of water in bottle, cork it off...Need something more than tea candles i'd imagine...Could be fun! (I'm scaring my history teacher:D)

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its a lion10 years ago
i watched a history of the steam engine one day and they said that the ancient greeks invented it and it was used as a toy. it was a central tank with two "arms" coming off of it that the steam came out of. this caused it to spin on the supports that held it up. i drew a bad picture in paint kind of showing it. the arrows show the direction it would go and the little squiggly lines are the steam coming out. i forgot the fire, but there should be one under it. not sure if you can call it a "steam engine" however it is what they said the earliest account of using steam to power something.
steam engine.JPG
musicalbee2003 (author)  its a lion10 years ago
Something like this? It is called ane Aeolipile, and is the first recorded steam engine. Kiteman gave a link on how to make a simple one.
C:\Documents and Settings\James\My Documents\My Pictures\Aeolipile.bmp
i didnt read kitemans posts so sorry i missed it. yeah thats what i was talking about.
Kiteman10 years ago
If you're googling, early steam engines were sometimes called fire engines. One of the earliest steam engines had no moving parts other than hand-controlled valves - it was used to pump water out of mines. A metal vessel was filled with steam, then cooled to create a vacuum which drew water up from the mine... Savery's Miners' Friend.

Early versions had no external boiler, they just heated the vessel directly. With a little planning, it should be possible to recreate a model that will pump water from a low bucket to a high bucket.
Kiteman Kiteman10 years ago
musicalbee2003 (author)  Kiteman10 years ago
I have already contacted Dr. Bindon (inventer of the Micro steam car), and I am trying to figure out how to make my own without a kit. If all else fails, should make an interesting "DON'T DO THAT" project (My history teacher has several on display already!), and a cooler instructable ;). I have already made the Aeliopile, and will use Goodhart's link to improve it. The last one would be great to mention, as My teacher and I were discussing ways to prove the "greeness" of steam! Thanks!
NachoMahma10 years ago
> the reason it died out
. But it's still alive and well. Most of the electricity in the world is produced by steam - water is heated by coal/natural gas/nuclear reaction/&c and the steam drives a turbine which drives a generator.
> any ideas for a beginner
. Lots of stuff on the 'Net already. At least on iBle on the subject.
> Empty wine bottle
. I would not recommend glass for any DIY steam projects. Never apply direct flame to glass that is not specifically designed for such use. IIRC, water expands something like 300x when turning into vapor - a LOT of pressure can be built up in a short time.
musicalbee2003 (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
Really! That definately helps...Although I'm looking more for machines...Steam engines and the like. Stuff like Crabfu's machaines, only much bigger (never actually built, but the potential was there...)
And here's an example of the future
Thank you very much for your input
. Wow! The steam spider is cool. Looks like something from the Wild, Wild West movie.
NachoMahma10 years ago
. Oh! One of the main reasons steam is not in use by the general public is Economies of Scale. It's not very economical on a small scale. Maintenance costs alone on a steam turbine are high, even for a home/car-sized unit.
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