Steam Boiler Build...
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Steam Boiler Build...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have built over 130 of these boilers over the last 20 years. These boilers are used in custom built steam boats, and to power steam generators, as well as various other applications.

    Typically, my customers send me a drawing of what they need, and I build it.

    I usually cut metal using a shear, ironworker, bandsaw, or I order burnouts from my steel supplier.

    I try to use semi-modern techniques, but once in a while I build these steam boilers for a customer of mine that builds small, custom steam boats.

    This job requires me to get back to a few down-and-dirty fabbing techniques, lots of hand grinding, etc. Pounds of grinding dust, all over everything, if you know what I mean!

    I want the boilers to be respectable, but I don't go crazy, trying to obtain the prettiest welds that I can. I don't clean all the welds, or remove the spatter. The customer does all that, then he sand blasts them, as well as paints them.

    The thing that I focus on with the welding is to make sure that they're GOOD, STRONG, WELDS! They get tested with 250 lbs./sq. in. of pressure! There can't be any leaks. So, I overlap all my restarts and stops.

    I've built quite a few of these boilers (as well as other designs, and sizes of them), but have never taken any photo's of the progress. This time I did.

    To some of you, this will just be "old hat", but hopefully, some of you will enjoy it.

    Here are the tube plates, with the tubes tacked in...











    to be continued...
    Last edited by steelsurgeon; 10-10-2015 at 09:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Next, I make the door coaming, out of 8" sch. 40 pipe. It gets squashed to fit the cast iron door...







    to be continued...

  3. #3
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    May 2015
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Then, the ashpit door gets built...







    to be continued...

  4. #4
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    May 2015
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Then, they get fishmouthed to fit the large tubes that they will eventually get welded to...



    Here's the outer tube, 18" pipe...



    ...and the firebox (inner tube), 16 in. pipe...



    Layouts for cutting out for the door coaming, and ashpit door...



    ...and the cutouts...



    to be continued...

  5. #5
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    May 2015
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Time to wrap a length of 1/2" square bar around the bottom edge of the firebox, to act as a filler piece, for later on...







    I tig weld this piece, because I don't want any weld above flush...





    to be continued...

  6. #6
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    May 2015
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    The tube assembly gets set upon the firebox...



    ...then welded...





    It gets flipped upside down, to weld the inside...





    to be continued...

  7. #7
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    All the couplings get welded in...





    So, here is the inside assembly, and the outside assembly...



    Time to join them...



    Slide it down inside, until the door cutouts line up...then tack in the door coaming...



    to be continued...

  8. #8
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Welding the door coaming to the firebox tube is pretty challenging, just because...





    The 1/2" square bar filler gets welded to the inside of the outer tube...





    Tabs that support the grate get welded in...



    to be continued...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Livingston, New Jersey, United States
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    1,074

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Really looking good did you weld the tubes or roll them?
    John

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    The door coaming gets welded to the outer tube...



    Here's a pic of 1 of the 2 pieces of grating inside the firebox. Wood is burned to make the heat to create the steam...



    Prepping the door, to hang it...



    The door cradle...





    to be continued...

  11. #11
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    The hinge components...



    Components, welded on...





    The door is hung...




    Ashpit door, ready to weld on...



    to be continued...

  12. #12
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    More ashpit door...







    to be continued...

  13. #13
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    May 2015
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    Saunderstown, RI
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Finishing it up...











    The boiler is done!! As far as my part goes....

    to be continued...

  14. #14
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    May 2015
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Shearing the hood's bottom lip piece...

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    These are the pieces that will become the hood...

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    Here's the cone part, tacked together...

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    Rolling up the bottom lip..

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    ...and the top rim...

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    to be continued...

  15. #15
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Here's the hood, tacked together...

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    ...and, welded up...

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    ...on the boiler. Later, a 3' tall stack will be attached, by the customer.

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    Setting up my home made circle cutting attachment for my plasma cutter, to start cutting the baseplate...

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    The base plate...

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    to be continued...

  16. #16
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Here we go!

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    Rolled up the bottom lip. These pieces make up the base.

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    to be continued...

  17. #17
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Tacked up...

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    And, finished.

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    The End

    Rich

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Texas
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Man Rich that is one impressive build! Can tell that's not your first one to build! Roughly how much time do you have in it? Thanks for sharing!

  19. #19
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnrbauer View Post
    Really looking good did you weld the tubes or roll them?
    John

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
    If you're asking about the 16" and 18" tubes, they were purchased as tube stock.

    Rich

  20. #20
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Quote Originally Posted by kuzineddie View Post
    Man Rich that is one impressive build! Can tell that's not your first one to build! Roughly how much time do you have in it? Thanks for sharing!
    I got faster at these, over the years. In the end, I could build the boiler in about 20 hrs. (not counting the hood and base...) In the beginning....quite a bit longer...

    Rich
    Last edited by steelsurgeon; 10-10-2015 at 09:46 PM.

  21. #21
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    Nov 2013
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    Livingston, New Jersey, United States
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Yes I answered my own question you welded them in. They weren't rolled like a lot of big boilers.
    John

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    3,229

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    I'm greatly impressed with your fab skills!

    I'm interested in the design....Looks like the firebox is surrounded by a pipe-in-pipe water jacket with about an inch spacing between them, so that should add efficiency.

    Being a vertical single pass firetube design, do they intend to operate with the waterline below the upper tube sheet, or with tube nest flooded and waterline maintained in separate steam drum above boiler?

    I'm also trying to identify the purpose of many of those 'connectors' or nozzles welded around the upper shell above the water leg surrounding the firebox.

    On the lower water jacket/water leg, those two larger nozzles must be one for feed water and the other blow down? Or if with separate steam drum, are those two large nozzles intended for downcomer tubes with feed being supplied to drum?

    Also, where did you obtain the design calculations and materials specs, or were those provided by the owners?

    Last question: What is the intended max operating pressure?

    Tanks for the GREAT thread!!!

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Barre Town, VT
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    871

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Great job! I've always been fond of steam engines and always wondered if people still made boilers for them.
    My "collection":

    Homemade Stick Welder
    Victor O/A Torch
    AC 225
    Ideal Arc 250

    HF 90 Amp Flux Core
    HF Mig 170
    Solar 2020 Plasma Cutter
    Power i-Mig 140E
    Harris O/A torch
    HF Dual Mig 131
    140ST
    Alpha Tig 200x

  24. #24
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    Jan 2008
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    Lansing, MI
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    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    You totally rock Rich!

  25. #25
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    May 2015
    Location
    Saunderstown, RI
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    534

    Re: Steam Boiler Build...

    Quote Originally Posted by wornoutoldwelder View Post
    I'm greatly impressed with your fab skills!

    I'm interested in the design....Looks like the firebox is surrounded by a pipe-in-pipe water jacket with about an inch spacing between them, so that should add efficiency.

    Being a vertical single pass firetube design, do they intend to operate with the waterline below the upper tube sheet, or with tube nest flooded and waterline maintained in separate steam drum above boiler? I believe that the water is only between the tube sheets

    I'm also trying to identify the purpose of many of those 'connectors' or nozzles welded around the upper shell above the water leg surrounding the firebox. I only know what a few of the fittings are for...

    On the lower water jacket/water leg, those two larger nozzles must be one for feed water and the other blow down? Or if with separate steam drum, are those two large nozzles intended for downcomer tubes with feed being supplied to drum?

    Also, where did you obtain the design calculations and materials specs, or were those provided by the owners?

    Last question: What is the intended max operating pressure?

    Tanks for the GREAT thread!!!
    I should explain here...I am provided with most of the materials by the customer. The pieces are all cut to size, and the tube holes are drilled out . I "just" cut, grind, fit, and weld the rest of it together. I was provided with a set of drawings, way back in the day.

    So...I don't have an answer to a lot of your questions...sorry...

    I have NO input in the engineering and design of these boilers. I do what I do, they go back to the customer. He hydro tests them, blasts and paints them, and installs them into his boats. Some are sold and installed by someone else ( all over the USA, and outside of the USA...).

    Quote Originally Posted by Iain P View Post
    Great job! I've always been fond of steam engines and always wondered if people still made boilers for them.
    Yes we do! As a matter of fact, in 1999, when there was the fear of the "Y2K crash", we built 15 of these for a generator dealer in VT. He sold them along with generators that ran on steam. Needless to say...

    Quote Originally Posted by 7A749 View Post
    You totally rock Rich!
    You make me blush......but THANKS for sayin' so!

    Rich

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