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Old 11-19-2010, 04:30 PM
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fishguts fishguts is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: southeastern MA
Posts: 313
Default Re: Something new and kinda sorta 100 years old looking

Originally Posted by corgi1 View Post
is this a hot water or a steam boiler,do you have the site that you read up on this,I would like to read it's imfo,if its steam or water,I am very interested.
It's steam. I mean it goes in as water and comes out as steam so I guess it's a 50% water boiler and a 50% steam boiler -

It takes steam to provide enough psi to drive a piston. At 125 psi it will be a pretty mild system, but there still have to be a lot of safeguards as steam is wicked dangerous.

It also isn't exactly cheap. I do all my own work, but the proper pressure relief valve will be $100 as will the water pump. I have $100 in the boiler. Then there's a motorcycle battery, check valves, the motor, throttle valve and gauges, etc. It will probably run over $500 in parts.

I can't point you to any particular web site because what I've learned about doing this I've taken from all over the place, including working on a steam saw mill way back. There's a lot on the web in terms of steam history and theory and there's even a steam powered car site, but not much of it applies exactly to this because of the scale. For instance, I was reading on the steam car site recently and they were going through the details of building a 4200 lb. vehicle. Well, the basic concept applies but not much else. Fully dressed, this bike will still probably weigh under 50 lbs. So I assume it has more in common with what is called "live steam" which is those neat table top model steam engines. There are a couple references on the web to steam bikes (maybe two or three) but I couldn't find any real details. The one I saw the most of is from the 19th century and it's a traditional boiler job. The boiler on my bike (modeled somewhat on a larger boiler I found on a green energy site) is what's called "monotube" because it doesn't have a reservoir of hot water/steam in it, just a coil. It's supposed to be a lot safer. Traditional boilers require a boiler inspection by some official agency, but I read somewhere this type of boiler doesn't require it. Not sure about that, but I'll find out.

What I'm saying is you're going to have to do your own research since as far as I know there just isn't a single source out there with all the answers. There's a fair amount of guess work with what I'm doing and there's no guarantee it's even going to work. Like I said earlier, if it hisses and makes clouds of steam I'll be thrilled. If it actually powers the bike it will be a plus.

I did get the initial idea for converting a 2-stroke to steam from some clips on YouTube, but most of these guys are running motors on compressed air and there are some important differences (particularly ideal operating cylinder temp.). You can also Google "steam 2-stroke" and find a couple functional steam converted 2-stroke motors. But I didn't find anyone who took what they were working on much beyond the bench mounted research stage. In some places, development abruptly stopped altogether. I assume those guys probably blew up in a cloud of steam and cast iron shrapnel!

Follow along and see if this one works out and start surfing the net a bunch and going to the library. That this isn't exactly a popular conversion should tell you something. I'd say the likelihood of it being anywhere close to practical is pretty remote. But it is a bunch of fun figuring out how to put it together. I enjoy this a lot more than owning things, so when this bike is done, I'll probably sell it and build another one.

Do your homework and be sure you're building something safe.

Last edited by fishguts; 11-19-2010 at 05:38 PM.
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