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smoke generation in a live steam system

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My question is how can I make smoke for the funnel of my sternwheeler.  The boiler is propane fired and the exhaust from that goes up and out the smoke stack.  The steam exhaust from the engines is routed to two pipes, one for each engine, that exit at the rear of the boat like the full scale boat it is modeled after.

The water only systems that are sold are neat, but with the high temps in the stack I'll bet the water vapor will be dried up long before it makes it out of the stack.

The heated coil systems use oil, and that might hold up in the hot gases flow if I mix them together.

Can I use the heat of the boiler ( which is alot ) to generate the smoke in some way ?

What have you guys used to get a nice smoke look with live steam.


On some I/C powered model airplanes they pump oil in to the exhaust/muffler where it hot enough to 'smoke'
Perhaps you could do something simular. I'd imagine there'd be info on some of the model plane sites.

looks like some experimenting will be in order.  I dont want to create an oil sheen on the water, that might not be well received.  Still a ways off to try, I am just looking for ideas at this point.  Do the vapor types with the hot coil produce any residual residue ?

The first boiler I made for the Duke of Devonshire, is a water tube boiler. (On longer in the boat) The oil separator is set down in the top of the casing. So the bottom of the separator is heated by the gas burner. It did make smoke, it can be seen in the Duke build. I have now fitted a fire tube boiler, a more difficult problem, as it would have to be fitted in the flue.  Oil must not enter the boiler.

One of our Illawarra Live Steamers club members has built a 5" gauge D55 Class steam engine and just like the original design is oil fired can be slow to get the oil to ignition temperature...and plenty of petrochemical mist is internally sprayed within the boiler firebox prior to actual combustion :ranting.......

I must admit that I prefer the smell of burning coal over the cocktail of light oil and kerosene :nono....burning Derek

From another thread yesterday......

Morning Pete.....when you get time, could you please tell us more about the gas shut off valve & the means of actuating it...

Is it a 90 degree steam valve?
How do you achieve positive shut off?
Are you using a spring controlled servo saver?

With respect to your question on smoke from the stack, oil spray apart from being messy, has the potential to leave a carbon build up on the cross tubes...& this in time becomes an insulator & retards heat transfer from the gas flame

Having said this, all of our club members with 5" gauge steam engines use a coal dust type compressed material termed as also has a small % of clay dust in the mix as a binder.....and we see the cross tubes in the fire box caked with a soot build up however this does not appear to have any serious consequences with heating

So, I have a collection of 1:20 scale timber splits representing boiler feed which is stored on deck, however also have a collection of non split logs which will trial poking 1 or 2 down the chimney ...these will lodge on the cross tubes in the exhaust gas path & hopefully will smoke until they are consumed as or to ash....the logs will actually sit below the height of the condenser steam outlet which is higher up in the chimney relief valve discharge tube is also external to the chimney there is little chance if any of the log being subjected to wet soggy steam........

I hope to do a trial steam up this weekend, in preparation for one of our Club boiler inspectors to recertify my boiler in accordance with the Australian Model Boiler code.... Derek


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