Picture of DeskTop Steam Boiler
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

Picture of 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.
BoolookN9 months ago

great! but why only small amount steam air coming out? how to make much more steam?

Try running pipes through the inside of the can for hot air to pass through, like in steam locomotive boilers.

Raccoon7717 days ago

Try running pipes through the inside of the can for hot air to pass through, like in steam locomotive boilers.

Raccoon7717 days ago

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).

joey.heider.110 months ago
Cool building one my self
mr1vizio2 years ago
What's that tube on the side of the can do

i found this in the comments below.

to quote the author :

The tube on the side of the boiler is a makeshift sight glass that lets you see the water level of the boiler.

itri452 years ago
Is it possible to run a steam engine such as this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Hardware-Store-Steam-Engine-full-instructions/
without having to use some sort of pump?
foggy34 itri451 year ago

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

nsager itri451 year ago
I'm Wondering the same thing..
joshabgvghn2 years ago
Maybe have it nearly all copper tubing but add a small amount of silicone tubing to connect the boiler up
[corosive]2 years ago
will copper pipe cleared to 65 Degrees Celsius work? Does it need to be rated for higher?
mase21502 years ago
how dud you bend your copper tubing did you heat it up or what
jaksjerky3 years ago
Great project! To easily bend copper tubing, fill it with water and freeze. Then bend by hand. Works great.
Click7962923 years ago
How dee do ( ^ ^ )
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.
myakka3 years ago
Hey i was wondering if enclosing a boiler would keep the heat in longer and therfore make it run better?
longwinters3 years ago
I certainly like your project, but I must confess there is not nearly enough potential for injury or death.

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.)

Come on isn't the idea of flaming fuel and metal shards blowing in all directions more exciting than just scalding water and shards?

This concept can be seen in the pop can stoves that heat their own fuel and burn quite well on alcohol.

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.

Don't ya just love after the fact advise? Thanks for posting I love these types of projects.
Confounded Machine (author)  longwinters3 years ago
Haha, many thanks for all the kind words. I completely agree with your comments on danger and destruction :).
Falkenzz3 years ago
I do hope that base wasn't made out of wood...
Falkenzz3 years ago
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.

I usually fill the can about half way and shut the unit down when its nearing the bottom of the slight "glass". 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.
Trooper5553 years ago
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.
Confounded Machine (author)  Trooper5553 years ago
The tube on the side of the boiler is a makeshift sight glass that lets you see the water level of the boiler.

Thanks for the kind words :).
Thanks! I hope you make more Instructables.
cramsey23 years ago
How much did it cost for all the materials?
Confounded Machine (author)  cramsey23 years ago
Going off memory it had to be right around $50 assuming you buy everything pictured.
kingbirdy3 years ago
so has anyone built any kind of "add-on" to theirs? It seems like it should be more than possible with the modular nature of the system.
dbanbery3 years ago
I think its a hydraulic valve or microbore central heating valve
viktorg4 years ago
I have now also build my boiler and it works fine, but it is only the boiler that is ready for now. =)

I have used a solder that is for 235 degreas Celcius, and I hope this is enough?

I haven´t tried the boiler at full capacity jet because I dont want to do this inhouse. I have used a "saftyvalue" 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. :)
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sam D4 years ago
This is a great instructable. I like the 50psi test method - very handy.

A question - what was the wattage of the electrical soldering iron that you mention please?
Confounded Machine (author)  sam D4 years ago
Many thanks!

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.

Baronrc4 years ago
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.
x-tian4 years ago
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.
Confounded Machine (author)  x-tian4 years ago
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.
techno guy4 years ago
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.
mazzas drahcus4 years ago
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.
_Scratch_4 years ago
Try acetone, almost burned down my house with it, but it burns clean and with a nice, small and hot flame.
compgeek864 years ago
I wonder if using a little hobo stove like this one:
would make for a more controlled heat source without too much complexity?
mac774 years ago
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.
famos_amos4 years ago
what size copper tubing did you use for this part, it dosnt look like 1/4"
Confounded Machine (author)  famos_amos4 years ago
All the copper tubing is indeed 1/4". The valve was simply the smallest valve I could find at the hardware store, they sell them with all sorts of connection options and connection angles but a simple inline valve that accepts copper pipe at both ends should work (the one used).
Thanks! Great Instructable, very informative! (even the comments!) I tried my hand at this, and the first time i used too much heat and caught the lining on fire. second time worked like a charm! :) i would also suggest, that when removing the contents, i used a punch to make a second hole and inserted a basketball filler attachment and used a bike pump to "blast" the contents out. it worked a LOT faster than letting it drip, i would also suggest trying a compressor if you have access to one.
Thank-you for the reply! Glad to see you gave it a whirl, the pump idea sounds good as well. I went with the fill and shake till your arm falls off method which seems far less effective then your blast method ;).
famos_amos4 years ago
what kind of valve is that?
Steelsmith14 years ago
While electronis solder will work fine, I have found one of the easiest paste fluxes to make things like this easy is Tinning Paste Flux, I used Oatey brand on a number of things. There is regular and water soluble, and I have used both. Regular seems a little better to me. Basically a zinc chloride paste with solder granules in it. I got it at WalMart for the regular.
HumaKaVoola4 years ago
I was just wondering, could you do the whole project with brass tubing instead of using the model airplane fuel line?

Thanks for sharing your great build with us all!
Confounded Machine (author)  HumaKaVoola4 years ago
Thank-you for the kind words,
I dont see any reason why you couldn't use metal tubing for the whole setup. I just used the silicone tube to make the project a little more simple.
Default1174 years ago
Great idea and interesting build. I may try this myself. I'd hate to be a killjoy but I did however, notice a few hiccups. As you mentioned in the video, the tube pops off when the valve is shut off. Perhaps a three-way valve would remedy this? Second is the boiler container. To prevent corrosion, most cans (including soda cans and cans for canned food) contain an epoxy lining, usually bisphenol A or polyethylene terephthalate. It goes without saying that some pretty nasty stuff could result from burning it.
Confounded Machine (author)  Default1174 years ago
The tube will only pop off if the pressure exceeds 50psi which is WAY more then you'd need to run a small steam engine or turbine, during normal pressure (10-20psi) all tubes remain attached ;).

I completely agree with you on the can lining subject. During soldering I noticed some nasty fumes coming from the can into my fume extraction system, however during boiling the water inside keeps the can around 100C and I havent noticed any of the epoxy burning off.

kleinjahr4 years ago
Full steam ahead!! Watt a nice build. Glad you thought of safety blowoff.
Might be useful to work out a condensate return. hmmmm
For various burner and turbine plans check out the PM Shopnotes 1905-1930. Whistles too. wooohoooo.
Appollo644 years ago
what size can is that?
Confounded Machine (author)  Appollo644 years ago
I cant remember the capacity but its about 2" in diameter and just short of 4" long.
can the steam fuser also work as a heat exchanger to cool off the air for lower tempreture applications?
I'd imagine if you made the cup larger, used more wraps of pipe and kept the inside cool (water, ice, ect) it should work. At the rate the steam runs thru my small coil it has very little chance to cool down and still comes out very hot.

for a more permanent setup i would either run all copper lines and just use the high temp silicone lines as connection fittings.. or maybe cover the silicone with the braided stainless line covers people use for detailing engines. it comes in sizes down to 1/4" found in all big chain auto part stores (pepboys,autozone,etc) .either leave it shiny or just dust it with a matte finish paint and some rust paint, then "tickle" the brass sheet with the torch to get the colors to run. this should give it the old worn look. I'll hit the garage this weekend and see what i have laying around if i get it together i'll post it.
mirza_tz4 years ago
this is so cool
drawe214 years ago
You can touch hot stuff, just don't touch it for long and all is well. You can even walk on hot coals from a fire if you keep going and don't stop to look. ( I have )
powering a micro( "pencil") wood lathe would be pretty epic in itself. then you could burn the shavings.. i've seen the blueprints to build a 1/2 horse monster boiler and a engine to go to it but haven't tried yet.. a boiler that big is a bomb if you don't know what you're doing (i had to watch safety vids when i ran a boiler in the navy, seriously google boiler failure if you want to build a real one... a real boiler is always one step away from a bomb).. it would be awesome to build a micro machine shop run off of a line shaft like the 1800's. this build is nice and it'll look cool on the desk without danger of detonating. the can will die pretty quick with the thermal shifts and pressure but that is fine can's are cheap and a few hours of work to rebuild the whole thing (soldered copper pipe idea is more effective and will live longer but also more of a bomb). most of all if everything goes wahooni shaped all you get here is a pop and a wet table not a bang and shrapnel. all in all great job will have build one for myself... sure does beat the wife's scented oil heater (but don't tell her i said that) may want to run the coil in reverse and have the steam enter at the bottom of the collector can. where it'll bubble up and spread the sent around
Very wise words, thanks for the comment. Running the coil backwards would be pretty sweet and give you a cool bubbly cauldron effect. I also think those old belt drive systems are awesome, that on my desk and a little steam whistle I could fire off at the end of the day :).

techno guy4 years ago
I thought it would be funny if you actually ran the boiler on coal like a train but with smaller features like a small shovel for the coal and a small container for the coal.
While it sounds cool and looks cooler it is difficult to accomplish.. i work with coal in my blacksmithing hobby and the stuff is pretty hard to light and will die out if you don't have enough air flowing through it. (by induced draft or by fan power). also there is the sulphur laden smoke that coal produces. personally i love the smell of fresh coal burning but the soot it leaves on everything is a bit annoying and some people don't feel the way i do about the smell. so unless the train is massive (like 1/8 scale) and used outdoors coal isn't a good choice. it would be more feasible to have it look coal powered and actually use fuel tablets or a small burner of some design. but if you build one i would be interested in seeing it posted here. this design here could probably run a very small engine and turn a small generator to light a led... or maybe run a pencil lathe.. that would be epic!
skrumbah4 years ago
Nice boiler. I went to the cnc site and couldn't find the drawings of the cnc you had made. Am I blind or are they not there?
Confounded Machine (author)  skrumbah4 years ago
Thanks, the DXF files should be in this post:


Explanations of the files follows in post 19:


SimonRawr4 years ago
Would a tea light work as heat source? Is there any other way to heat this besides an open flame like that?
u can try heater coils used in hair dryers or clothes press (irons)
blakllll4 years ago
what song is this on the video
Opcom4 years ago
I can see how the heat must flow up around the corrugated sides of the can inside the shroud to escape. Very thoughtful.

My commet about soldered tin cans is that a small amount of pressure is OK. How small is small? Other comment is that food cans usually have a plastic type of coating inside to seal them. Unknown what excessive heat may do to it.

If you can find it, "The Boys' Book Of Engines, Motors, And Turbines" by Alfred Morgan is intriguing and uses a paint can as the pressure vessel in one of the projects.
Spokehedz4 years ago
You wanted a suggestion on how to make bending the pipe without it kinking, and here it is:

A mixture of 1/3 liquid hand soap to 2/3 water in the tube. Let it freeze solid, and then bend to your hearts delight. You may want to play around with the mixture of soap to water, as you want it to be frozen but not frozen solid like regular ice.

The soap lets the ice 'slip' a little bit in the tube so that when you bend it, it won't fracture and cause unsightly bumps where the ice broke into sharp edges. Plus, it melts cleanly and you can wash it out with regular tap water.

I am very happy to report that this works on tubes from 1/8th of an inch all the way up to 1/2 an inch. I can't bend any larger on my tube bender... So I only suspect it will work on larger diameters.
If you pack it with fine sand that will work as well.
Tubing benders are inexpensive and easy use. There is one type that the tubing is slid into a spring and you bend the tubing by hand, Then you slide the spring off when you have the tubing the shape you desire. Another type uses guides for the tubing to slide into then by squeezing the attached handles you can bend the tubing to the desired shape.
microbike4 years ago
Well done on the boiler but if you want to use it many times get rid of the can. The walls are too thin and the slightest bit of corrosion and you have a pipe bomb!
Please for your next one use some copper or brass for the boiler and add a safety valve. After all a can is not ment to take any pressure.
If you design the whole system to run open then pressure build up is not a problem.
Confounded Machine (author)  microbike4 years ago
I agree...you'll notice in the first picture I actually had 2 copper end caps and a center straight section I planned on soldering together for the main boiler body.

For a higher pressure more rugged unit I would look to an older article from a popular mechanics magazine called the "Hardware store steam boiler". Its built from gas pipe and also includes plans for a homebuilt pressure relief valve. Its a very nice strong unit which will stand up to years of work.

At places that sell cooking tools like 'Kitchen Connection' you can buy tiny funnels that are used for pouring your own hot sauces down those tiny necks of empty hot sauce containers. Stainless, plastic, your choice. It would make the whole process neater, more efficient.

author - lets be honest, fire, steam, copper and brass win hands down.


Great idea.

David from cali
flamekiller4 years ago
Ah, nothing like good ol' circuitous functionality. Kind of like the government, but much more awesome!
Confounded Machine (author)  flamekiller4 years ago
I think you hit the nail on the head there :).
SimonRawr4 years ago
Is the sight glass tube necessary? And where did you get your silicone tubing?
jgraznak4 years ago
Clever mounting method, I think I would use it even if I did inlet the base. A lower tech method for routing might also be a Dremel drill press. Again, not everyone has access to one, but they are under $50 new. I love mine and use it as a router stand more than about anything, although it does a great job on getting precise holes on curved surfaces. By marking, drilling a starter hole and going slow and/or with a quicky homemade fence, I've carved some pretty complex inletting.
jgraznak4 years ago
You could also check for tightness by just submersing the whole assembly in a sink or bathtub and looking for bubbles. A dot or two of dish soap in the water makes them easier to see.
fozzy134 years ago
Such an awesome project!! I hope we get to see a steam turbine eventually.
Confounded Machine (author)  fozzy134 years ago
I hope to as well! I plan to CNC myself a small turbine wheel and couple it to an electric dynamo to generate power. What would really be fun would be to run it thru a 5volt regulator and turn it into a steam powered cell phone charger!

Just curious how you plan to build a turbine on a CNC. Unless its a 5 axis. If you know how to make a turbine on a 3 axis CNC let me see the code, I would love to recreate this at school!
Confounded Machine (author)  scubaru4 years ago
You wouldn't cut it in one go! You would mill the platters then 2 halves of the enclosure (if were talking telsa turbine). For a regular turbine blade I would mill the top, drill position marks, flip and mill the bottom. I've done full on 3D cuts with my machine you just need to get a little crafty with the hold downs and work your planes correctly.

Now I must say my knowledge of CNC is minimal, I'm only in my first year of the major. With that said, my mind has been wondering for weeks on what to build, possible rigs to build it.

As for a true turbine, I was thinking of using an indexing head to have the mill cut one segment, then rotate to the next degree and run the program till you are completely around the part.
That would be amazing!! I've had nearly the same idea in my head at one point or another, I'd love to see it. And your avatar shows an arc reactor t-shirt, like the one I made this past Halloween.. We're practically related : )..
Confounded Machine (author)  fozzy134 years ago
Thanks! I think all geeks are into steam and iron man...its like a right of passage.

Hi Counfounded Machine!

How about using a Tesla Turbine instead of a "regular" one? You can find some in here (Instructables) or over the Internet...

Best Regards


My Only niggle is the alcohol (?) open flames. I would have preferred a alcohol lamp, maybe a heat source from some crushed charcoal briquets or something of the like. Those open flames make me a bit jittery.

Otherwise a ver nice idea and very good execution.
You can buy a small dynamo for $2-3 dollars off of deal extreme that's integrated with the 5volt dc usb output. It's not super exciting, but the make-work would be in the turbine anyway.
nax4 years ago
Another fuel to try: hand cleaner gel.
Celesmeh4 years ago
Can you use a tealight candle?
Wickedly funny and just the perfect desktop project! I look forward to the later versions of this, ought to be a hoot!
xtreker154 years ago
Looks a bit more like a desktop still.
Confounded Machine (author)  xtreker154 years ago
If it wasn't for the leaded solder and brass fittings it would probably make a very nice still ;).
I don't know if I should say this , but ...... just use silver solder for your still . This is so small it would take a month for one shot glass anyway . Nice idea , I was was just looking for a reasonable way to power a small stm engine .
wakojako4 years ago
This is really clever but could you post a video by any chance?
Confounded Machine (author)  wakojako4 years ago
I do have a video but must have imbedded it incorrectly...the link should be up now. :) Thanks!

itsthatsguy4 years ago
to 60 celsius, did you mispeak? thats 140 F thats a lethal tempurature....
bpappin4 years ago
One suggestion.

You can reduce the amount of "flameout" and improve the efficiency by providing a wick of some sort that gives a more even evaporation of the fuel.

I'd try a piece of steel wool stuffed in the cup, but you can also use the wick material used in naphtha lamps.
drakers0074 years ago
Winna-Winna-Chicken-Dinna !!! I like it a lot ~ Flames, Steam and alcohol ~ I was expecting the plastic tubes to melt but for a prototype excelent work.... Looks like your on the right track and a turbine that spins a wheel or pumps a piston must be on the agenda. Thanks for putting your work out for all of us to enjoy.
harry884 years ago
you should make all the tubing copper or the plastic might melt and if you do also add a pressure relief because with the copper it might not let the copper tubing pop off as easily as the plastic
*In fact, I think he uses silicon tubing not plastic
Silicon wouldn't melt, and silicon tubing is softer than copper. I think his method works well because plastic is unlikely the melt with steam.
MrRedBeard4 years ago
In the video.... Who did the remake of the Pixies song?
emily browning -wow- stars and sings several songs in the SuckerPunch soundtrack
FELON5004 years ago
How much alcohol will this distil in an hour?
knolo144 years ago
Dam, I made it in about 5 hours but when i go and test it... 5 minutes later melted tube:(
techno guy4 years ago
What is the infuser? Is it necessary? What is the difference without it?
The infuser is the heated aluminum container that lets a scented liquid vaporize and be carried into the air with the rising steam. It is not necessary and you could hook up a turbine or steam engine instead.
thegreat584 years ago
Couple of ideas, 1. you can get springs in various sizes especially for bending copper pipe, as with a flaring tool, insert the tubing inside and bend, no kinking. 2. if you used a short legnth of 1 1/2 copper or brass pipe for holding your fuel, with a cap soldered on one end and another cap with small holes drilled in it, similar to a gas burner, you could put the fuel in put on the drilled cap. light the vapor coming out of the holes, the result would be a more intense controlled flame, with less chance of accidently getting burned. Very cool instructable.
dalesql4 years ago
Bending copper tubing in the home for small projects like this. Fill the tubing with water and temporarily seal the ends with corks or putty or whatever. Stick the tubing in the freezer overnight. Bend the tubing around your form while the ice is still frozen. The ice in the bending sections will fracture and partially melt, the still intact ice at each end of the tube acts as a really good stopper keeping the pressure inside to keep the tube at full diameter.

That's how they bend things like french horns and trumpets out of tubing without them kinking.
Confounded Machine (author)  dalesql4 years ago

Thats 2 people that have recommended the ice method. Nice time I will try that. Thanks!

techno guy4 years ago
Is silicone tubing fire proof or something? Is airplane fuel line made of silicone?
Confounded Machine (author)  techno guy4 years ago
Yes its the same tubing used for model airplane fuel line. I used the 2nd largest diameter (Large). Its not fire proof but it dose have a high heat resistance.

The infuser is just an interesting way to transfer heat into another medium (in this case a scented liquid). Its not needed to run the boiler...you could have just as easily place a small steam engine on the output.

techno guy4 years ago
I watched the video of the boiler and wouldn't the flames start to burn the tubing because it was just sitting in the flames?
venecha4 years ago
For shaping the copper tubing, maybe can try to cork one end, add water, cork the other end and freeze before shaping? I remember that on some of the How It's Made shows (I love those!) they use that method for shaping tubing for brass instruments. When you are done, you can remove the corks, let it melt and maybe use some air from an air compressor to blow out the extra water.
Confounded Machine (author)  venecha4 years ago
Hmm, interesting idea. I know we do some cold/hot tube bending here at work and use a really fine silt in place of sand...I like the ice idea assuming it wont rupture the pipe when freezing.

PS - I second the how its made, something very mesmerizing about watching all those automated tasks.

lavothas4 years ago
Cool idea, but you should probably find a way to contain the flame from the alcohol because you're going to burn your house down with the flames going like that
Confounded Machine (author)  lavothas4 years ago
Thanks, usually I run it off much tamer fuel which keeps the flames under the boiler but fashioning up a nice little brass flame guard would be a nice little addition for when I want more wow factor.
puzka4 years ago
Ha ha , love the video. maybe a tea light would have been a better option after all :-) Still worth 5 stars, though. Very nice instructable.
Confounded Machine (author)  puzka4 years ago
Hehe Thanks,
Just this evening I tried running the unit with 2 tea lights and it will just barley run with a 3/4 full boiler, the steam output is quite anemic tho. So far cheap drugstore rubbing alcohol burns the cleanest and has almost no flame outs...naphtha is absolutely insane and was to scary to run for any length of time.

You could try the stuff they use in commercial bain maries (chafing dishes). It's a blue gel in a tin, you just take the lid off and light it. It gives a pretty stable flame.
chaosrob4 years ago
WAY kool. It's on my 'to-do' list.
Kaelessin4 years ago
I've been keeping my eyes peeled whenever i'm at the store hoping to see one of these that I actually like . . .problem solved! Great build.