Model Steam Engine Air Supply Question

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Chugga_Chugga, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Chugga_Chugga

    Chugga_Chugga New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm a first time model steam engine builder, and this is my first post so be nice! :wave:

    I received a small Graham Industries Gage VR1A single cylinder steam engine kit for Christmas. I would like to connect it to an air source to run it. What's a good way to go? Would a small airbrush compressor with regulator work? Should I get something larger? Or perhaps a small 5 gallon air tank that I can fill at the gas station with compressed air then plumb it up to the engine with clear 1/8" vinyl tubing? The engine is only 4" high and requires 30 psi max but I'd like to run it closer to 5-10 psi for slower operation. I currently live in an apartment and would like something quiet so the steam engine can run on my desk. With the compressors I've looked at on the internet, some boast "quiet operation". Well I know that's quite a relative term. Any suggestions?

    Sault Ste. Marie
    Ontario Canada

    P.S. Ideally I'd like to get a boiler down the road, however most that I've seen require considerable machining experience, of which I have none. :oops:
  2. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    Hi Eric,
    Welcome to The Gauge.
    I would use a compressor with an air reservoir and regulator.
    I tried to run an HO steam locomotive chassis I built from a compressor and it didn't put out enough volume to run the locomotive. I was able to run it from an air tank charged by the same compressor.
    My dad used to run a stationary steam engine he built on steam generated in a tea kettle on the stove. The kettle had a rubber stopper with a hose connected to the engine.
    The stopper also acted as a safety valve. (Don't try this at home.)

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