Hey LeChat, What Are You Working On?

Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Oct 02, 2007 5:09 pm

Jeez... it is pervy now that you mention it that way.

i wonder if you use an old air-compressor for the piston.


Actually, there was a guy I was talking to at The Burn who'd done just that for his wagon wheeled trike. it worked great and was made from "junk" parts. I think he said he had less than $100 in the whole engine. He used an boiler from a steam carpet cleaner and piped it to a single cylinder compressor pump.

This is more or less my approach for the time being, though I'd like a horizontal boiler, rather than a vertical one like the carpet cleaner job. Purely for aesthetic reasons, but I'm still researching, so this may change.

And I'm currently trying to track the gent down who made the steam trike, so if anybody knows him...
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Postby Valkyrie » Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:48 pm

You know, one of the things that I've become fascinated by lately is solar steam. Basically, you have a parabolic focus on a tube with oil circulating between that and the heat exchanger that they used to generate the steam. They augmented the exchange with traditional fuels when it wasn't quite hot enough.

The site I was looking at used troughs, but that was for a farm. I keep thinking that if you mount a pole with a bunch of round parabolics on a pole, you could get a pretty addition to any vehicle. You'd have to have a tracking control system, though, so I don't know what kind of efficiency you could get whilst moving. I suppose the troughs mounted vertically would still probably be more efficient, but I can't help but think about how round parabolics would look more like some sort of space-age flowers.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:04 pm

I've been passingly interested in solar steam too, but not specifically for The Contraption. I like the idea and think it really could be a viable form of green energy. Don't they use a form of fuel that boils at a much lower temperature and in a closed loop?

I wonder if one could set up a solar steam grey water pump for an evap system?
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Postby unjonharley » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:30 pm

dragonfly is working on a solor evap system.. he gave me and idea of a different approch..

use the solor to heat the bottom of a large pan.. then leak your grey water into the pan.. that way your system would not become cloged with waste and dust.. it would end up dry dust to sweep up between runs.. little to no filtering needed..

was looking at water heater pans.. the escaping vaper could be recaptured as distilled water..

now my head hurt from thinking
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Postby LeChatNoir » Wed Oct 03, 2007 7:39 pm

Solar Death Ray Camp was using a large parabolic to cook hotdogs. Said they were getting over 700 degrees F at the focal point.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Thu Oct 04, 2007 2:55 am

One of our guys did a pressure vessel using solar. The heatiing element was a solar oven.

Too bad it wasn't intentional. But the theory works. TIme is the problem, as you need to concentrate a lot of area of solar radiation into a small spot to get a flash boil like you need for motive power.

What ya thinking of for a condenser? Honeycomb radiators, while expensive, gove you more surface area than tube systems, tho I always thought of a multistage along that line - start with a water bubbler, to a honeycomb with forced air draft, to a tube radiator. Water bubbler would pre-heat your water tank for a faster flash boil, too...

The hard part is to reuse as much water as possible, also using as little fuel as possible.
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Postby Valkyrie » Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:12 pm

It's my understanding they were using a substance with a much higher boiling point than water so it's liquid all the way through, then use it to boil the water for the turbine. They say it typically runs at about 400 deg

Solar Electricity Generating Systems

You gotta admit the solar-net efficiency ratings of 20% are pretty hot, considering ordinary photovoltaics only get a peak of about 8%.
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Postby spectabillis » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:35 pm

LeChatNoir wrote:J... but I'm still researching, so this may change. And I'm currently trying to track the gent down who made the steam trike, so if anybody knows him...

would also like to hear his story. been researching it a bit so i think i have a grasp of the basics. air compressor sounds do'able if the seals and diaphram can take the heat, a propane boiler with a bunch of coiled copper tubing would be time consuming but work. whats catching me is how to pump water into the coil since its superheated pressure, i can only guess a small hydraulic pump driven by some mechanical attachment to the compressor wheel.. somehow.

ed: oh wait.. i guess the pump could be a brake master cylinder since those come in different shapes and sizes with different linkages!
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:19 am

When I saw it on playa, it was working quite well. He said he could get it up to about 20 mph, but I didn't see that for myself. I'm not for sure if the head on the pump was stock or perhaps modified. i didn't know what to look for at that time and so... well... didn't look for that. The bottom of the crankcase had either been removed or cut off, to show the crank and bottom of the piston rod. Easier to oil I suspect. And I’m most positive that he had an inline oiler to keep the piston lubed up.

I'm starting to learn more about monotube boilers and think I can make one without any issue. I've yet to quite figure out how to effectively pump water in at a constant rate, but I'm gathering that it involves, firstly, a check valve to insure flow in one direction only. Then as the water turns to steam at the far end of the coiled tube, it rushes out the open end and will make way for more water to come in. At the moment it would seen that only a slight pressure is needed on the feed end. Perhaps even just a hand pumped pressure vessel similar to an old fire extinguisher (stainless or brass version of a garden sprayer). I’m not sure how only slight pressure is needed on one end with 100 psi at the other… but I’ll get to the bottom of it. As I learn it, I’ll post it.

What would you guys think about a new thread for The Contraption 2.0? Seems like a good time to start a new chapter, so to speak.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:47 am

LeChatNoir wrote:When I saw it on playa, it was working quite well. He said he could get it up to about 20 mph, but I didn't see that for myself. I'm not for sure if the head on the pump was stock or perhaps modified. i didn't know what to look for at that time and so... well... didn't look for that. The bottom of the crankcase had either been removed or cut off, to show the crank and bottom of the piston rod. Easier to oil I suspect. And I’m most positive that he had an inline oiler to keep the piston lubed up.

I'm starting to learn more about monotube boilers and think I can make one without any issue. I've yet to quite figure out how to effectively pump water in at a constant rate, but I'm gathering that it involves, firstly, a check valve to insure flow in one direction only. Then as the water turns to steam at the far end of the coiled tube, it rushes out the open end and will make way for more water to come in. At the moment it would seen that only a slight pressure is needed on the feed end. Perhaps even just a hand pumped pressure vessel similar to an old fire extinguisher (stainless or brass version of a garden sprayer). I’m not sure how only slight pressure is needed on one end with 100 psi at the other… but I’ll get to the bottom of it. As I learn it, I’ll post it.

What would you guys think about a new thread for The Contraption 2.0? Seems like a good time to start a new chapter, so to speak.


The problem I've found wiht using a reworked gasoline engine (other than the single action-ness of itself) is you always get steam blowby into the crankcase. Having it open allows that moisture to evaporate rather than collect and rust stuff up - after all, Rust Never Sleeps.

Water? Sheesh... I will look at my resources and see if I can find a level minder or something. Pumping water in is easy, it's keeping the level of it up that's critical. You do NOT want to run a boiler dry.... not EVER!!! But you could (using Spec's really kewl idea of a master cylinder) build something like a driven unit off a gear and cam or crankshaft thing... you could also (theoretically) use a manual fuel pump (like the one off my pld VW) on a cam turned by the motor, mounted off an eccentric-and-lever gig so it could be brought into and out of action as needed.

Look at modern boiler tech - like Stationary engineer stuff. I think WW Grainger or MSC Industrial has steam fitments. Check valves are important.

Actually - here's a road map. I have a couple of these, between Alco and Stanley and Doble. This bookmark is from a Stanley 735 (I think) system, gives you an idea of a real working motive steam plant.

http://www.stanleymotorcarriage.com/GeneralTechnical/images/735PipingDiagram.pdf

Not like I like this stuff, eh?

My thing was always the recovery end - recapturing the steam without having a big ol sludgy mess and a clogged condenser from your 600W or 1000W oil.

Oops, gotta go... more later.

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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:56 am

A new thread would be fine by me. Just don't stick in the theme forum. I tend to ignore that one and missed a lot of this thread as a consequence.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:53 am

Sorry about that, Fishy. Duly noted. I stuck this one in the Theme forum, since the 2007 Art one was not up yet at the time. I noticed, however, that the 2008 Art forum went up very quickly post-Burn, so I'll probably stick it in there.
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Postby unjonharley » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:07 pm

did LaFish just tell you where to stick it?
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:19 pm

unjonharley wrote:did LaFish just tell you where to stick it?


Now that you mention it... I think she just did!

...or at least inferred it by telling me where not to stick it.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:38 pm

fishstick?

ditto on the check valve for the feed. at first i thought having one on the exaust side of the compressor to keep backflow from whatever resevoir/condenser, but i think that would keep a bit of residual pressure on the compressor when its turned off. probably not good to settle into water inside of the compressor.

thanks for that diagram sue! lot more involved than what i sketched out but i looks like thats because of the fuel system that gets pressurized. also looks like things that would be overkill but i dont know.. a feed water heater.. is that to pre-heat the water?
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Postby Lassen Forge » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:09 am

Yeah, it's a strange system, but designed to re-use as much water as possible (the main killer of steam cars back then was the need to refill the water system)...

The exhaust is vented to a multiple stage condenser system which then eeds the former steam but now cool water to the tank. There (as I remember) is a way to separate oil from this as well... um... will look. But this allows you to recapture your heat transfer media (steam) for re-use.

The other half of the problem, tho, is that by having cold water feed into the boiler, you have two issues - one is that you have a delay between the introduction of (now cold) water into the boiler and that water reaching it's superheat stage where it's used as live steam, meaning you are both sub-optimal for temperature/pressure (inefficient) and you are buring more fuel to get the water to that superheat steam stage you need.

The second issue is the introduction of thermal shock. Dump cold water on hot metal enough, and you start to have metal fatiuge issues. Enough fatiuge, and guess what - you develop microcracks in your steam system, leading to... you got it... premature kablewie.

To alleviate it, you need some method of pre-heating your source water (now nice and cool from your big-assed condenser needed to reclaim as much steam as possible) so you use less fuel to flash your steam from your boiler, keeping your head of steam up and recouping that head faster, and reduce the shock of that cold water hitting the hot metal of your boiler.

My idea (and I actually played with it when I was a kid - yes, I was into this stuff long before it was kewl, had a couple boilers and a few different engines) was to run a pre-condenser in your source water tank - the exhaust steam either runs through a large-bore coil in your water tank, or even "bubbling" it in the tank (tho there were issues at feed and recapture) , but in addition to warming your cold water it also gave your condenser a head start in chilling your water.

OH - Condensers. Wow - I can go on forever about this. IF you can source a "honeycomb" or hybrid honeycomb/tube radiator, you will get far more cooling than the current full flat tube automotive radiator - something Stanley, White, and Doble all found out. The problem with Honeycomb radiators/condensers is they're horribly time-consuming to produce as compared to a tube set-up (they can't be mass produced and instead have to be hand built - ug!) and if the scale or oil up and start clogging they are a *real* nasty SOB to try to de-clog, ergo one has to *really* watch the steam that's coming off their exhaust stack.

There *are* people (mainly in the old car thing) that do said things, but you need to e heavy of wallet to achieve one. But the reclamation of water is leaps and bounds above.

Now - if you could combine the 2 - a Honeycomb stack followed by a modern flat tube and fin stack, you would (in theory) have the best of both worlds... Unfortunately, I don't have a radiator shop and small fortune to build such a beast. But the idea would work...

(If you've made it this far, then wake up those who fell asleep 2 or 3 paragraphs ago!!)

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Postby spectabillis » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:26 am

yeah, i think i know what you mean because i read something similar but didnt catch it. i am now reading the project link which is a good overview, but half of it includes construction of the actual vehicle and not just the engine and it includes overkill things like machining your own valves. i am also going off the following general figures to produce 3hp.

- 3hp monotube
- 76000 btu burner
- boiler the size of a 15 gal container
- 150-200 psi steam pressure

http://www.firedragon.com/~kap/Educator/

Speed Buggy primarily to demonstrate practical light steam power on a scale at which it would not only be achievable by the able amateur, but in a way that it would, by doing, teach the builder a great deal about the practical points of operating a steam power system.
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Re: Hey LeChat, What Are You Working On?

Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:08 pm

Wow, thanks for the bump of an old thread, but...

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Re: Hey LeChat, What Are You Working On?

Postby jella » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:10 pm

I went out to get a bigger swatter they have run amuck with the place :(
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Re: Hey LeChat, What Are You Working On?

Postby LeChatNoir » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:14 pm

I know...

Still sort of cool that they at least resurrected a fun thread that brings back memories.
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Re: Hey LeChat, What Are You Working On?

Postby jella » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:17 pm

soooooo now that we've broached the subject,,,whatcha workin on these days hehe
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