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Steam powered go kart update

Posted by Arch-Tone 
Steam powered go kart update
February 01, 2019 04:20PM
Hey everyone. It’s been a while since I posted an update on the go kart I’ve been working on...so here is the latest: I reconfigured the boiler to a top fired Doble F type, installed the early 1900s era steam engine, replaced the rear-end with a lawn tractor transaxle...including it’s big knobby tires...and fabricated a homemade Stanley water automatic to control the feed water and trigger recirculation. The boiler used the same tubing and drum as the previous “double drum” design...but as a more straightforward monotube with a single drum at the end of the circuit. The boiler leaked too much and didn’t perform a whole lot better than before, so I am in the process of building a center drum Ofeldt to replace it. It will have a 3” (nominal) drum of mild steel and the coils are 3/8” stainless steel tubing. It will use my burner, on the tangent...like how Rick H suggested. I might incorporate Ron’s idea of using multiple burners as well. Although I love experimenting and trying new ideas...it’s time I have something that can generate a reliable flow of steam. The rest of the go kart project is ready to go, and I even took a few short rides with it with the old system. I can’t wait to install a tried and true Ofeldt on this thing and be able to travel further then the end of my driveway! The old steam engine and lawn tractor transaxle are a great match....it’s a six speed with neutral and reverse. Here are some recent pictures of the kart:


Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 02, 2019 05:01AM
Jamison...that's awesome! I just have a plastic bucket with the tool caddy around it and my tool box available to work. I'd like to come down and help you turn a wrench? Don't know if I can get away from the job, we'll see. Anyway, got to be warmer there in GA than Upstate NY eye popping smiley

Can't wait to see this at the Spring Meet!
Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 03, 2019 02:48PM

Thanks, buddy. Your welcome to visit anytime. Right now I’m working on fabricating a coil winder for the Ofeldt. Once this is built, winding the coils for this and future projects should be quick and easy. I will post pictures of the rig once it’s completed...hopefully by this evening.

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 03, 2019 07:32PM
Here are some pictures of the winder and a coil I made with it today:

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 05, 2019 08:49AM
Made two more yesterday....a lefty and another righty. Only 9 more coils to go!

Like I said....quick and easy with the winder smiling smiley. The tubing is cut to length (8’) then filled with sand before they are wound.

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 05, 2019 11:32AM
Good start my Friend!
Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 06, 2019 01:43PM
Another thought, once you have all these coils, make sure your fastening method to the drum or manifold is bullet proof. I think we talked about this. However, just to be sure, perform the coupling connection to the drum/manifold. Then the tube to the coupling and then the connection of the tube-sheets or end-caps.

Take your time and don't rush the assembly. It is a real pain to have to fill the tube with sand and coil more tubes. Chances are you will scrap the tube after a failed weld or assembly. Also note that the high temp JB (600 Deg F) Weld will work on the inside (water side) connection of the coupling to the drum/manifold.

Please keep us posted?
Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 06, 2019 04:47PM
One thing to keep in mind with an Ofeldt or any boiler with similar water volume capacity is the possibility of running out of water is very high. build it to withstand temperatures in the 3000 degree range. I've ran mine completely out of water about three times, luckily it's all steel and all welded with 7018 rod and it was not damaged. Copper tubes and silver soldering etc, it's doubtful it would tolerate that sort of abuse. I just waited for it to cool off (very important) then refilled it, refired and all was well. Tony has that one Ofeldt with copper coils and he admits that if it ever runs out of water, it's toast, that is why he fires it up very rarely.

It is very easy to run out of water, with only a gallon and normal carriage type driving. there is only about 5 to 10 minutes run time. Watch that gauge glass!

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 09, 2019 08:54AM
Steel melts at 2500 degrees F.
Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 09, 2019 09:48AM
Peter Brow Wrote:
> Steel melts at 2500 degrees F.

Okay build it to withstand temperatures of 2499 degrees. smiling smiley

Just to be even more pedantic, steel melts at 2750 degrees F smiling smiley (Which is pretty close to the "3000 degree range"winking smiley


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2019 09:49AM by IronChief.
Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 10, 2019 09:51PM
Ron and Peter,

OK....I get it. Don't melt the boiler components hot smiley

My boiler has stainless steel coils so it will be able to handle some overheating if the water gets too low. The Stanley type water automatic I built should keep the level in the drum consistent. It will also have a sight glass attached to keep an eye on things. I thought about installing that high pressure float switch I have to turn on a LED warning light and/or buzzer if the level dips to low....or get fancy and have it activate a solenoid bypass valve to control feed water...but I'm trying to keep everything mechanical on this thing. Here is a picture of the water automatic installed on my old boiler:


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2019 10:03PM by Arch-Tone.

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 10, 2019 10:20PM
Excellent, Jamison! That should make boiler burnouts much less likely than with manual feed water control. I like the way you built the Feed Water Automatic; looks solid and simple. I will be starting a new thread on those things in a minute.

Another possibility to practically eliminate any chance of a scorched boiler is to build another expansion tube, located closer to the bottom of the drum or tube array, but set it up to operate a fuel-shutoff valve like in Stanleys. IE, a Low Water Automatic Shutoff.

Re: Steam powered go kart update
February 11, 2019 08:36AM

The “valve” end of the automatic I built is an all stainless steel safety valve that uses a 7/8” SS ball. The spring is removed and replaced with a 1/4” stainless rod that holds the ball over its seat. A graphite / inconel wire packing on the rod keeps it water tight, and the coupling nut at the end of the rod allows for tweaking the clearance. The expansion tube is a schedule 80 red brass (gunmetal) 3/8” pipe. Eventually I will replace the hose clamps with better mounts, but it works great as it is. I like the idea of an additional expansion tube controller for fuel shutoff if the water is about to run out.

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