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Components

This is a scrapbook page for my steam car components, to be updated as things are completed, or at least when they get finished enough to be of interest and when pictures become available. Designing and building the equipment takes priority over documenting it on webpages, so picture availability will be spotty and will not reflect the current status of the project.


Here is the pilot light for my steam car project, not quite finished when this picture was taken. The design was simplified shortly after this stage was reached, to eliminate the backplate and 2-piece adjustable shelf visible in this jpeg. Note the mixing tube closest to the camera, with its machined flare, and the milled slots on top of the pilot body further away. The fuel/air mix comes up through the slots and burns above the body of the pilot burner.


Here is a picture of me holding the pump frame for the steam car. It is made of 3/8" cold-rolled steel plates held together with 3/8" steel threaded rod. This frame will locate the water, fuel, cylinder oil, and air pump cylinders and various other bits inside the pump box. This picture has previously appeared on the page devoted to the engine/axle mockup, and is still there, with a little more explanation in the light-hearted caption.


Here is a rather fuzzy picture of "Li'l Puffer", the first running steam engine which I designed and built, several years ago. Bore 1/2", stroke 1.25", single-acting valveless oscillating-cylinder type engine, 3 moving parts total. Constructed mostly of brass and copper, with an aluminum base. Boiler is built-in. The flywheel is an off-the-shelf industrial caster wheel, and the main bearing block is also off the shelf. This engine has been run on compressed air at up to 100 pounds per square inch, and will run at a good speed at about 20 psi on steam with a good fire from a propane torch and no load. This is not a steam car component, but is of steam interest. It is a lot of fun to operate, and quite a crowd-pleaser. The tall vertical pipe with valve is for filling the boiler, and next to it is the pressure gauge.

I currently plan to use engines of similar size and type, but of much more rugged cast-iron billet construction, double-acting, and with built-in lube pumps, to run a couple of small auxiliaries on board the steam car. Those engines, of course, will run on steam from the car's boiler, rather than having their own boilers like "Li'l Puffer" here.

It may be of interest that this engine was designed and built from scratch in a few hours, with zero machine tools. It was, however, somewhat rebuilt and improved by my steam buddy (and expert machinist) John Mahler, who also named it. Kudos also to Louis Jacaruso for his excellent silver-solder work and other help with this engine.

This is the simplest type of steam engine possible, and very easy and inexpensive to design and build, which is why I plan to use similar engines in place of small electric motors in a couple of places in the steam car. I believe that that they will be less expensive and more durable than electric motors would have been in the same applications.



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