This is an instructable for my small sized steam boiler.  I wanted a solid boiler that I could use to run small steam engines, turbines or in this case a "steamfuser" which is a heated aluminum container that lets a scented liquid vaporize and be carried into the air with the rising steam...there are store bought units that will do this much more safely with flicking lights and scent infused paper, but lets be honest, fire, steam, copper and brass win hands down.

The unit was built entirely in my apartment with a hand drill and a rotary tool.  I used a small soup can for the boiler and some various hardware store fittings to plumb the system.  If your looking to make a little, attractive looking boiler to steampunk up your place read on!

Step 1: Parts

The main parts you'll need for this build can be changed wildly depending on your available materials.  I picked up most of my parts from my local hardware store and a couple items from a hobby shop.  The main things you need are a soup can for the boiler body, some heat resistant tubing to carry the steam around (I used model airplane fuel line), and a little bit of sheet metal to form the boiler housing (I used brass sheet) and some 1/4" copper tube to make a few connection points and the heating coil.  A torch and solder are also needed to make a few connections...the one pictured is massive and while it did work I used a small handheld one for most of the connections.

Note : The vinyl tubing picture DOES NOT work which I soon found out.  Silicone is the way to go for the high heat resistance.
Try filling a section of copper pipe with water and seal it on both end and place it in a freezer. Bend the tubing when the water is frozen! The tube wont crush or flatten if your careful, and it drains out when you're done. This works for me!
<p>I recently watched a U-Tube video on how to bend PVC. He capped one end, preheated some sand with a propane torch, poured it in-- to make it soft/pliable enough to bend it. My point is, &quot;maybe&quot; just putting unheated sand in the tubing would make it bendable without kinking. Interesting project, but like someone mentioned, I'd consider making something move--as in a piston or gears or??? Juss thinkin! </p>
<p>Very interesting.</p><p>The concern about not having a pop-off valve for pressure is very valid. While the hose popping of at 50 PSI is good, don't let this lead you to a false sense of security. 50 PSI is still a lot of pressure and under bad conditions easily exceed this quickly. Most model steam engines are set lower than this.</p><p>Consider adding a pop off to ensure safety as it could prevent injury. Steam explosions are nothing to be laughed at. </p>
<p>Be sure to burn off the plastic coating inside the can prior to use, or else you will have awful-smelling steam and possible spontaneous fires/explosions. A way around this is to use a pineapple can (they don't have the internal coating due to pineapple's acidity).</p>
<p>Wouldn't the plastic internal coating be more important for the acidic stuff, not for the non-acidic stuff? Plastics are typically acid resistant more than metals. <br><br>Theoretically the tank should not get drastically higher than 100C (i mean, depending on what pressure you get.) So that is well below typical combustion temperatures for liner-plastics. But below melting temperatures or glass transitions, though.</p>
<p>great! but why only small amount steam air coming out? how to make much more steam?</p>
<p>Try running pipes through the inside of the can for hot air to pass through, like in steam locomotive boilers.</p>
<p>Try running pipes through the inside of the can for hot air to pass through, like in steam locomotive boilers.</p>
Cool building one my self
What's that tube on the side of the can do
<p>i found this in the comments below.</p><p>to quote the author :</p><p>The tube on the side of the boiler is a makeshift sight glass that lets you see the water level of the boiler.</p>
Is it possible to run a steam engine such as this: https://www.instructables.com/id/Hardware-Store-Steam-Engine-full-instructions/ <br>without having to use some sort of pump?
<p>not sure what u mean by pump, but all you would have to do is run the output (step 7 above) to one of the inputs on the link you mentioned. ask if you need more explanation. foggy34</p>
I'm Wondering the same thing.. <br>
Maybe have it nearly all copper tubing but add a small amount of silicone tubing to connect the boiler up
will copper pipe cleared to 65 Degrees Celsius work? Does it need to be rated for higher?
how dud you bend your copper tubing did you heat it up or what
Great project! To easily bend copper tubing, fill it with water and freeze. Then bend by hand. Works great.
How dee do ( ^ ^ ) <br>I was browsing the internet for good steam projects and man, this one caught my eye. I'm afraid that I may not have any of the materials for this project in my current possession, so naturally being new to this, I wanted to know if you had an estimate to how much this project would cost all together. Where I live we have quite a few hardware stores and hobby shops, but I wanted an idea of how much cash I should have in my wallet before I go running around.
Hey i was wondering if enclosing a boiler would keep the heat in longer and therfore make it run better?
I certainly like your project, but I must confess there is not nearly enough potential for injury or death.<br><br>When I saw the steam coming out I thought of a superheated fuel reheating the boiler and the excess being used for a mantel lamp or stove, in other words put fuel in the boiler and use half to heat it, and the other half to cook or produce light.( never mind the fact that that defeats the purpose of driving a turbine.)<br><br>Come on isn't the idea of flaming fuel and metal shards blowing in all directions more exciting than just scalding water and shards?<br><br>This concept can be seen in the pop can stoves that heat their own fuel and burn quite well on alcohol.<br><br>Your soldering seems quite talented so why not but in a smoke stack up the middle and get rid of the wandering flames, maybe a peice of 1/2 copper.<br><br>Don't ya just love after the fact advise? Thanks for posting I love these types of projects.
Haha, many thanks for all the kind words. I completely agree with your comments on danger and destruction :).
I do hope that base wasn't made out of wood...
I think this creation calls for some random gears to be glued onto the side!
This might be a dumb question, but how much water is recommended in the can?
Never a dumb question. <br><br>I usually fill the can about half way and shut the unit down when its nearing the bottom of the slight &quot;glass&quot;. Filling it more then half will just lead to a longer boil time...no damage is going to ensue if you fill er up, might just get some water coming thru the steam lines if you reach a rapid boil and possibly a smaller area for a good head of steam to build.
I still dont understand what is the tube on the side of the boiler for? is it really nessasary? i still love this design, I'm just curious. <br>
The tube on the side of the boiler is a makeshift sight glass that lets you see the water level of the boiler.<br><br>Thanks for the kind words :).
Thanks! I hope you make more Instructables.
How much did it cost for all the materials?
Going off memory it had to be right around $50 assuming you buy everything pictured.
so has anyone built any kind of &quot;add-on&quot; to theirs? It seems like it should be more than possible with the modular nature of the system.
I think its a hydraulic valve or microbore central heating valve
I have now also build my boiler and it works fine, but it is only the boiler that is ready for now. =)<br> <br> I have used a solder that is for 235 degreas Celcius, and I hope this is enough?<br> <br> I haven&acute;t tried the boiler at full capacity jet because I dont want to do this inhouse. I have used a &quot;saftyvalue&quot; that is orginaly used on Wilesco toy steam engines. I have built it with my multi-knife, and mini-burner when I had all the tools in the boat.. but it worked well. :)
This is a great instructable. I like the 50psi test method - very handy.<br><br>A question - what was the wattage of the electrical soldering iron that you mention please?
Many thanks!<br><br>I actually only used a butane torch for the soldering work on this boiler. The soldering station pictured in the background of the parts photograph is one I use for electronic work and its the weller WESD51.<br><br>
i love this little boiler! I have been thinking of building a basic steam engine for my son, a little father-and-son project. I was thinking of a wheel/turbine that's rotated by a jet of pressurized steam. I think your boiler is perfect for my needs.
wow! i like this. it's very simpel! i think i am gonna make this.
Many thanks, my goal was to keep is simple for everyone to construct.
Rubber tubes mostly don't like fire, so you might want to put a small copper tube between the boiler and the rubber, to keep it out of the flames.
Actually the tubing is silicon tubing which can handle much higher temperatures then rubber or vinyl tubing can. However a length of copper tubing would probably look better at the expensive of being a little more difficult to connect.
Where can I get alcohol to use as fuel? Can I get it at a store because I will not buy online.
you can buy it at the super market.
You can buy the 91% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) from the store, if you prefer the grocery store or pharmacy over the hardware store. It's not quite as clean burning as denatured ethanol or methanol (HEET), but at around $2 for a quart bottle, it's inexpensive and does work. Like those lighter alcohols, it will burn without a wick, but you'll get a cleaner, more concentrated flame if you build a burner with a piece of cotton clothesline or similar for a wick.
Most hardware stores carry denatured alcohol that burns well enough. I've used it to run jet turbines before.
I'm guessing that a Sterno can would work nicely.
I use gas line anti-freeze/water remover sold in the US under the brandname of HEET, in my backpacking beer can stoves. Under $1 a bottle on sale, nearly pure methol alcohol. Easy to find, easy pour bottles, cheap and clean burning.
Try acetone, almost burned down my house with it, but it burns clean and with a nice, small and hot flame.
I wonder if using a little hobo stove like this one:<br>https://www.instructables.com/id/Cool-Little-Miniature-Stove!/<br>would make for a more controlled heat source without too much complexity?
you can put several pieces of fishing line through the pipe until it is in tight and then bend the pipe. if the fishing line does not come out easy you can heat the pipe and melt it out.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a electronic engineering tech with massive love for DIY building, and tools that make tools.
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