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Boiler alternatives for a Stanley

Posted by Burt 
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
December 31, 2020 04:01PM
Your right Chuck it is not an easy task if you do not have the correct bender.

Rod Teel SACA-NE built a beautiful bender that would do the job
It has since been destroyed. Not sure how.

The thing is that most guys don’t realize is there are pipe bending shops around that will sell the pipe all bent to order as cheap or cheaper then you can buy the pipe locally.

Get the best price delivered with mill certs you can then shop the computer-controlled pipe bending shops that will deliver the coils all bent to speck.
In most cases you will find the cost all bent is chipper then you can buy the pipe delivered.

You may need to furnish cad drawings but most likely the bending company will do there own anyway.


Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 02, 2021 08:34AM
Hi Burt,
A couple of things I wanted to cover before rolling out an Ofeldt Design recommendation. First thing is safety and boiler pressure rating. For a condensing Stanley that uses a piano wire wound drum, I suggest we stay within comfortable limits on the drum size. If you want to exceed an eight inch diameter drum, I would suggest going with steel bands welded on the drum much like what's pictured. If you stay with an 8" drum in Schedule 80, I would feel comfortable to say you are rated at 1,000 psi.

Next consideration is fabrication. This is Tom's website where he can wind coils as pictured. He wound Tony Grzyb and Ron Rogers coils using 1/4" Schedule 40 Black Iron Pipe. It comes in 22 foot lengths. I think the black iron pipe absorbs heat and also becomes an emitter of infrared...my opinion. This is an important trait that improves performance.

Tom Kimmel Ofeldt

Also consider Ron Rogers welding technique. This is highly recommended.

Also look and study the factory made Ofeldt. Note that it's center drum is relatively small compared to the coils.

Regarding the Ofeldt design and what's important, I believe that the clover-leaf design is key regarding the hot gas flow over the generating tubes. The design is meant for a gravity burner like a Stanley style. A picture(s) of my Ofeldt burner. If one introduces a spiral hot gas flow, I'm not sure the response will be effective. It could be. However, I don't have any evidence or proven concepts to pull from. A condensing machine is tough because you can't use the exhaust steam to draw the flame.

What does matter on the burner is the mass flow rate of the hot gas. The faster the flow, the better the heat transfer. I recommend the flow to cover a mile a minute or less.

Last is the relative comparison of drum diameter to coil diameter. I'm leaning towards a coil diameter is 3/4 of the drum diameter. This concept considers all aspects including fabrication capabilities.

Picture of Chuk, Tom and helper at Tom's shop. More to come tomorrow.

Very best,

Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 02, 2021 12:35PM

The 10 inch drum should be at least Sch 80 A-106 Not code. For a working pressure of 600 PSI. For the drum to be Code it should be 3.5 times the working pressure. Closer to Sch 100.

Pressure ratings of A-106 steel pipe

Just use the correct weld joints and plate thickness for the ends.
Code requires five full threads for taped holes. Sch 80 - I/2 couplings are fine if you can’t get welderlets.

On 10 inch heads I think you will have to go to one inch thick, might getaway with ¾
Do the end plate deflection math. Code requires PW-31 weld. I used a PW-16-1a weld on my Stanley boiler heads which I believe is less stress on the weld joint. It’s also an approved code weld.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2021 01:42PM by Rolly.

Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 03, 2021 06:54AM
My friend Harry Card moved to Florida from New Hampshire after he retired as a machinist. He liked to build steamboats. He had patterns for a three-inch bore single cylinder engine and liked to build Ofeldt boilers. He had three or four big lathes and one was rigged only for winding the coils. He had taken a large pipe and welded ends on it for fitting the lathe. He had wound several layers of flat stock on top of each other around the pipe for the spacing of winding the tube. One left hand and one right hand.
He always had several old long narrow hulls in the yard for another boat. I’m guessing he built ten or twenty of those boats hear in Florida. His work was very good, great welder and machinist.

I just never liked the Ofeldt boiler, there is two much gas pass space, and the stack temperature runs high. Of course his boilers only ran at the most 150 PSI. and burned wood. His main drum was at the most only six inches or less. If I was going to ten inches I would install some fire tubes so as to keep the head thickness down to a reasonable thickness.

I never told Harry that. He got sick and was on a tube keeping him alive. For several years he walked around the shop with a plastic tube coming from the house. He wound up in a nursing home and finely he just had them pull the tube. Good mind right up to the end, he was just tired of living that way. Was a good friend.

Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 03, 2021 01:14PM
Thank you Rolly...sorry about your good friend. A nice story.

I have a starting point for you. You are welcome to modify from this concept provided you stay within the parameters identified above. I provide a rough calculation of what your expected Hp rating will be. However, I believe that the Ofeldt coil will perform better. I use 5 Sq ft / BoHP as the main value.

The attached concepts are using a 8 inch diameter drum (schedule 80) and 6 inch OD coil. One concept is a 1/4" diameter pipe and other is 3/8" both black iron. This will be close to a 22 -24 inch diameter boiler at ~ 14 inch high. If you want to go a larger diameter boiler, then add a -wall, mono-tube. This design would afford you to operate a 600 -700 square machine (pounds pressure, degree F).

I included a general arrangement concept. This one was for LSR. However, it applies here.

If you do decide to go with a larger diameter drum, I would follow Rolly's recommendations. I also agree that it would be cool to add fire-tubes. I attached some pics of my steam fire tubes. My has a very advanced fire-tube design with spiral tubes. The spiral tube doubles the generating surface area.

Good luck and let me know if you have any specific questions. Do keep us a breast of your progress.

Kind regards,

open | download - Ofeldt Design 3-8.pdf (197.8 KB)
open | download - Boiler General Arrangement reduced.tif (405.2 KB)
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 17, 2021 01:17PM
Hi Chuk:

Several shops have already told us they cannot (or don't want to) do what we're asking. We have gotten one quote. Looking for more.

bending 3/4" pipe is clearly out of my league!
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 17, 2021 05:40PM
Hi Rolly, and Happy 2021!

Your comments regarding the bending shops got my attention. Are there any you might recommend? Local to So Cal would be terrific, but by no means necessary, and in the scheme of things the shipping costs are trivial.

The design criteria I had in mind for the boiler were maximum SF heating area that would be more or less the size of a 30 hp Stanley boiler. I thought that 1/4 or 3/8 pipe might be a bit small for the steam production needed to move a 4,000 pound car sprightly, thus I considered 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch pipe (like the Ofeldt boiler that Tom Kimmel has). It turns out that with a coil pitch that optimizes open space between the nested coils and a target of 18" high, that 3/4 pipe will wind to almost exactly 7 1/2 coils. Other sizes don't work out so well, and of course that means fewer coils to get to the next half coil, not more. That also means less heating surface.

I had intended to make the center drum out of sched 160 pipe, or at least, as you pointed out, greater than sched 80. All holes for coil attachment would be chamfered on both sides for maximum strength in welding.

My intention is to put commercial weld-on pipe caps of sched 160. I have yet to figure out what holes I will need for feed water, blow down, level sensing, and the like.

Lastly, my intention is to fire it with a gun burner (or two, if the btu's require). Beckett makes a 12-24vdc burner with up to 770,000 btu output. The car has a 12v electrical system and a 55 amp alternator that's driven a bit faster than the stock unit--about 1,000 rpm per 10 mph. It has a 200-300 rpm cut in.

I also intend to coil the pipe for the feed water heater and the economizer. Can fit many more linear feet of pipe in a shorter overall space and the design should create a turbulent flow of steam and exhaust gas passing over it. I was thinking of 1/4 pipe coiled to about 2.5" OD. 20 ft of pipe coiled thus will be about 2 feet long. Flow through both would be countercurrent. Of course, this all depends on my success finding a pipe bending house!

Thank you!
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 18, 2021 07:22AM
Hi Burt
I was from Massachusetts now in Florida. Twenty-five years ago I designed an ASME code boiler using pipe size material. Mostly ¾ A-106 pipe. Each pipe had a 90 degree bend and an offset. Six different configurations. All the pipe was bought completely bent to my drawing and delivered from a Co in Pennsylvania cheaper then I could buy just the pipe in Mass.
At about the same time my son was building roll cages for racecars, he understood the codes and he found a Co in Boston area that would bend up the Shelby tubing to paper sketches cheaper then he could buy the tubing delivered to the shop.

First make a complete bill of material for your boiler. Then get prices on all the material cut and delivered.

You will have to search the Internet for pipe bending shops, and get many prices. Get prices on them furnishing all the pipe bent to your drawings. If there a production shop most likely the price will be no more then the best price of the just the material. Most buy in forty foot or longer.

I am not a fan of the Ofeldt boiler, two much gas-pass space. The Bolsover in my opinion is a much better design. You can get more tubing in the same space and better heat transfer. Still a round boiler configuration. Of course the Stanley won’t know if the boiler is round or square. The Derr boiler is square and no bent tubing all straight cuts and a good steamer. Four members of SACA-NE had Derr boilers in there Stanley’s. two with oil burners and two with vaporizers.

I have used many 12V controllers on oil burners, I designed my own long before they were commercially available, when I first built my Derr I built a two stage burner starting on two gal per hour then when the pressure was up to 100 psi the second stage of four gal would come on for a total of six GPH. The car could not handle it.

Stay well.

Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
February 07, 2021 01:01PM
Hello Rolly:

I was intrigued by your mention of a two-stage burner for your Derr Boiler. I had been noodling the possibility of two burners for mine, and arranging to operate them similarly to a 3-way light bulb: 1, 2, and 1+2, depending on the steam demand. Having a two-stage burner in a single unit would, I think be a better way to go. How did you accomplish this?
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
February 07, 2021 01:44PM
Hi Burt
First you need a pump that will pump all the oil you need. Then it goes to one nozzle for the first stage burn, the size nozzle limits the burn rate. The air has to be set for the small nozzle. From the out put of the pump the oil also goes to a solenoid valve. The solenoid valve controls the oil to the second nozzle.
The solenoid valve is turned on by a pull switch that is built into a cable something like a chock cable. This cable opens the air to the burner. You need to have the right amount of air for the one nozzle and more air for the second nozzle. I used the largest blower wheel that would fit the burner housing. This took some calculating with the help of my friend at the oil burner supply co.


Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
February 07, 2021 06:49PM
Thank you for the prompt reply, Rolly!! So the two nozzles sit side-by-side in the end of the air tube, and you manually regulate the volume of combustion air? What happens during the changeover, if anything?
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 13, 2023 01:19AM
Hello Rolly.

Gday Rolly. My name is Chris Sorensen from Bundaberg in Queensland Australia

I recently bought a 1898 Tompson steam car , It came to Australia from the USA some 40 years ago where it was in the Wolfpen museum. It is one of three prototypes designed and built by Ejali Tompson the founder of General Electric

The engine is a poppet valve engine and I have had it running on air

Other than the burner which isn’t all there the car is on very good order and mostly completed. I have the patent drawings on the burner which have some detail on how it was constructed

Iit is described as a flash boiler The tubes run in stacks horizontally. Water enters from the pump at the top layer of tubes and is then forced downwards and flashes off. At the bottom of the tube stack the steam is piped back across the firebox as a superheater

The fuel pump and water pump run off a crank from the back axle both can be overridden and manually operated when the vehicle is stopped

From the patent drawings I have on the burner , pressurised fuel enters at the base of the A shaped vaporising tube. The fuel vaporised as it rises up the first leg of the A tube. It then returns as vapour down the second leg of the A tube to the nozzle

Control of the fuel at the nozzle is by a needle valve which is operated by a diaphragm type pressure controller

Gas emitting from the nozzle is deflected by the disk in the centre of the A. Positioned just above the nozzle

The pilot is the tray with the wick in it at the base of the A tube. It seems as if it’s a one shot pilot. ( put the fuel in and light it and when it runs out you rely on the main burner needle control not shutting completely off when full steam pressure activated the needle valve

I have owned a Stanley and presently still have a 1903 Grout and a 1901 Locomobile both running. I have had enough experience with their fire tube type boilers and firebox systems but have no experience with flash boilers

It is for this reason I am writing to you. Even if I could get the existing burner complete and working I am concerned that it may not be ideal both from a safety and operating point of view. I am looking for ideas and suggestions as to building a more suitable burner or maby look to replace the complete boiler and burner unit

I can send you photos and more detail. If you could send me your email address

I look forward to hearing from you

Kind Regards. Chris Sorensen



Sent from my iPhone
Re: Boiler alternatives for a Stanley
January 13, 2023 07:59AM
Hi Chris,
By all means get in contact with Rolly. However, I would love to see pictures of the boiler or flash coils along with their arrangement.

Curious to know if the boiler is a mono-tube as opposed to multi-tubes. The reason I ask, per your description, it sounds like you might have a Derr Boiler arrangement. I have included a pic of a Derr Boiler in one of my friend's steam car. I could be wrong. However, this could be a missing link in steam car development.

If truly a mono-tube, I can put you in touch with a mono-tube guy who has worked out how to control it very well. What's really important is how to control the flash coil. I included a pic of this gentleman's steam motorcycle-mono-tube boiler.

If all else fails, I recommend an Ofeldt. I can help you there. Just let me know. Picture of my Ofeldt attached.

Again, please send pictures.


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File Name File Size   Posted by Date  
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Finished-2.jpg 67.8 KB open | download Rolly 11/14/2019 Read message
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P1010003aa.JPG 62 KB open | download Rolly 11/14/2019 Read message
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IMG_20151126_203604896 reduced.jpg 318.8 KB open | download Rick.H 09/30/2020 Read message
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Burt Generating Tube Calc.jpg 245.8 KB open | download Rick.H 12/28/2020 Read message
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Pipe Bender.JPG 20.9 KB open | download Rolly 12/31/2020 Read message
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