Boiler costs ?

A special section just for steam engines and boilers, as without these you may as well fit a sail.
ianrichards
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Boiler costs ?

Post by ianrichards » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:32 pm

Having researched and put together a specification for my proposed project, a Selway Fisher Rose the main outstanding item is the boiler.
I fancy the idea of a non-condensing type, but rather naively thought that I could source one for about £1500.
I appreciate that budgets need to be flexible and have always advised people that they take twice as long and cost twice as much as you originally intended.
This could be another one of those "My worse fear in life is that when I die my wife selling all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it ! " instances.
What would be a more realistic budget and solution to my boiler problem?
I know it makes sense to buy a completed vessel secondhand, but that's just not what I'm after.
TIA
Ian
Last edited by ianrichards on Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ron parola
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by ron parola » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:58 am

Well I've got more than that in just metal for the one I just built,and that doesn't account for welding gas, rods, electricity, fittings insulation, and just general stuff. It's not a cheap endeavor, and unless you live in an industrial area, I DON'T, but we've got great wine!, finding good used stuff is pretty tough. Commercially built boilers are expensive but all the work is done AND should be to code, good luck!! Cheers Ron p
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by Ethelred » Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:43 pm

If you're looking at a 2 year project, then you could spread the costs over that period.
Decide on your design. There is much conflicting advice with pros and cons for each. As you intend a relatively small boat then weight and centre of gravity is an issue so keep an eye on that.
The pressure vessel is the first step. Accumulate the necessary metal over a period of time, retaining all the certificates of material conformance as your boiler inspector won't certificate your boiler without them, and then off to the engineers to get it built.
The firebox, grate, firedoor, smokebox, funnel, insulation and outer cladding can be added as funds permit. You can do this part yourself. A bit of basic welding will probably be required. Anyone can use a MIG welder, point and squirt. It's just practise. Costs rise with bling levels. Brass and copper are very expensive compared to stainless steel.
The fittings, numerous valves, gauges and pipework can then be added. These mount up to a tidy sum on their own.
You'll learn a bit about metallurgy, thermodynamics (a truly black art) and gain new skills, which is always enjoyable.
It's as big a project as building the hull and there are a lot less books on the subject, but there are a few good YouTube videos and threads on this and other forums. This is well with the capabilities of someone who can build as nice a sailing boat as you've already done.
You'll end up with a brand new boiler which, looked after with care, will last for many many years.
Rob Lemon
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by ianrichards » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:37 pm

Excellent, thanks for the encouragement.
I contacted my old engineering lecturer from college this morning and it turns out that 40 years ago he built a Stuart 5A and only LAST WEEK he thought that he'd start building a boiler for it !
Not only does he live less than 10 miles from me, but he is a guru of all things to do with steam traction engines.
I reckon that got to be a good omen :-)


Ethelred wrote:If you're looking at a 2 year project, then you could spread the costs over that period.
Decide on your design. There is much conflicting advice with pros and cons for each. As you intend a relatively small boat then weight and centre of gravity is an issue so keep an eye on that.
The pressure vessel is the first step. Accumulate the necessary metal over a period of time, retaining all the certificates of material conformance as your boiler inspector won't certificate your boiler without them, and then off to the engineers to get it built.
The firebox, grate, firedoor, smokebox, funnel, insulation and outer cladding can be added as funds permit. You can do this part yourself. A bit of basic welding will probably be required. Anyone can use a MIG welder, point and squirt. It's just practise. Costs rise with bling levels. Brass and copper are very expensive compared to stainless steel.
The fittings, numerous valves, gauges and pipework can then be added. These mount up to a tidy sum on their own.
You'll learn a bit about metallurgy, thermodynamics (a truly black art) and gain new skills, which is always enjoyable.
It's as big a project as building the hull and there are a lot less books on the subject, but there are a few good YouTube videos and threads on this and other forums. This is well with the capabilities of someone who can build as nice a sailing boat as you've already done.
You'll end up with a brand new boiler which, looked after with care, will last for many many years.
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by Ethelred » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:04 pm

Some things are just meant to happen. A very promising omen.
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by fredrosse » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:25 pm

Be sure to go through the FAQ section of this forum, some basic data. Note that stainless steel is almost strictly prohibited for any "wetted parts" of a boiler pressure vessel (at least in the USA). There are some special alloys that are permitted, but these alloys are far from the standard stainless steel often used by amateurs, where they often think they are doing a wonderful thing by building in stainless.

MIG welding, while easy to master, is not proper for pressure vessel fabrication. There have been discussions previously on this forum about these issues.

Not to be discouraging, building a steam launch is a very rewarding process, something about lighting a fire, and making power without the need for refined fuels, electronics, etc. Many of your questions can be well answered here.
ianrichards
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by ianrichards » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:21 am

Once again, many thanks as any advice is greatly appreciated.
The whole boiler issue is going to be "challenging" but not insurmountable.
If it was too easy, where would the fun be?
I'm TOTALLY with you on the "fire to power" concept.
Off to Nepal for two months as of tomorrow, just hope there's room in my rucksack for a steam book or two ;-)
Best wishes from Cornwall.
Ian
fredrosse wrote:Be sure to go through the FAQ section of this forum, some basic data. Note that stainless steel is almost strictly prohibited for any "wetted parts" of a boiler pressure vessel (at least in the USA). There are some special alloys that are permitted, but these alloys are far from the standard stainless steel often used by amateurs, where they often think they are doing a wonderful thing by building in stainless.

MIG welding, while easy to master, is not proper for pressure vessel fabrication. There have been discussions previously on this forum about these issues.

Not to be discouraging, building a steam launch is a very rewarding process, something about lighting a fire, and making power without the need for refined fuels, electronics, etc. Many of your questions can be well answered here.
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by Mike Cole » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:28 pm

Hi Ian
there is a suitable boiler for sale on the SBA website. It needs finishing but the main pressure vessel is there. It is the same as i just fitted in my boat. Makes lots of steam and I also use a ST5a.
Boilers for sale come along if you wait there may be none for a year then 3 or 4 within a short time.
Mike Cole
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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by Mike Rometer » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:32 pm

Mike Cole wrote:
Boilers for sale come along if you wait there may be none for a year then 3 or 4 within a short time.
A bit like busses really! :lol: :lol:
Retirement is about doing what floats your boat!

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Re: Boiler costs ?

Post by TahoeSteam » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:00 pm

Have a safe and fun trip in Nepal! I wonder how many internet cafes there are? haha
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