Whether you want a motorized model steam engine in kit form or ready assembled, there are loads to pick from like the twin cylindered one above.
This engine is highly suitable as an intricate display piece or as a power source for a model ship, measuring 15 x 7 x 10cm as a packaged unit (that’s 6 x 2.75 x 4 inches in the old language) and comes in at 500gms (just over a pound in weight).
Included with this lovely-looking engine is a reversing lever (seen sitting attached to the horizontal rod near the bottom across the front face), so it can be fitted using a servo on the open water, and it has its own displacement lubricator to provide prolonged usage.
Talking of prolonged usage, this engine is constructed of stainless steel and copper, along with brass, and results in an easy-on-the-eye, appealing engine, almost begging not to be locked away in the gizzards of some ship.
With a stroke of 10mm and a bore of 12mm, this engine would require a good-sized boiler to drive it along at its 3,000rpm maximum, but I am guessing it should propel a 120cm (4-foot boat) easily.
TOO BIG FOR YOU???
Well, no worries. They come in all shapes and sizes, from simple oscillating engines with their own boiler suitable for a small boat, through to multi-cylindered engines as above.
But first, let’s talk about the kit forms of these model steam engines.
Here’s looking at the one Chinese supplier who provides Amazon, where most model engines come from , and try to pronounce the name if you dare…
Deguojilvxingshe is a company who supplies various models through Amazon.co.uk and they appear to aim their products at the model boating fraternity with various sizes of live steam engines and boilers, so we shall cover some below as the full list would go on forever.
There are other suppliers we shall cover soon, but first, here’s the Deguojilvxingshe Model Steam Engine Kits.
Here, you get a ready assembled model steam engine and boiler kit, where the plate at the bottom needs attaching to your vessel. It is a single cylinder oscillating engine provided with its own boiler measuring 17 x 15 x 8cm (near enough 6.7 x 5.9 x 3.15 inches) and weighs 700gm (24.7oz or just over 1.5lbs), so you can see it is a bit of a lump as it is made of durable metal to stand the test of time.
She’s gas-fired and connects to a cylinder very easily and also can be controlled by servos for forward/reverse direction and speed control as a major requirement.
An engine and boiler kit of this size is suitable for a model boat of 30 to 50 cm size and should give around 2,500 revs easily.
If you look carefully, you will see there are a small pressure gauge and displacement lubricator supplied and I’m not sure whether this is a completed kit to drive other model machinery or it perhaps comes partially ready-assembled.
I get the feeling this engine has been used as a display model here – no sign of oil anywhere…
Amazon.co.uk says it is basically an entry-level boiler and engine kit with gears, or perhaps a show-piece with practical usage (perhaps owing to its size and great appearance), but I would guess it could be used easily with a servo aboard a model boat because of the servo linkage and the fact it is set up to use bottled gas from its own container and has its own pre-set relief valve at the top of the cylinder, just for safety’s sake, along with a water level gauge.
I’m guessing, here, but the gas tank is perhaps hidden by the bodywork on the left and the tank at the rear of the boat is more than likely an oil capture unit and condensing tank for used steam., but it appears there’s a plastic tube stuck on the end of the crankshaft to the rear that serves no purpose. Then again, it could be the gas tank with piping running underneath the decking to the front end of the boiler.
For the propellor shaft drive, it should be directly off the crankshaft, which could well be pulleys used with a belt going below deck (just behind the flywheel) onto the shaft, but it is not so obvious in this picture.
Using a servo means you can go to town with it using remote-controlled steering, throttle control, burner (gas) supply, and a water pump if needed, but in a simple state, with a boiler that size, if filled to start with, you should be good for up to 15 to 20 minutes run time from the 100ml boiler, providing it is not run on full blast constantly.
On the other hand, I could be totally wrong as the tank at the rear could well be a gas tank on an unfinished project, but that plastic pipe has me baffled.
Looking for something similar but scaled up a bit to propel a 50 – 100 cm Model Ship???
This live steam single-cylinder engine is aimed at boats up to 100cm long, although with the same bore of 10mm x 12mm stroke offers more power owing to slightly higher pressure from the boiler, with a substantially more powerful engine design with a 3mm output shaft, giving around 3,000 revs per minute.
The boiler itself is bigger, although the footprint is exactly the same with dimensions of 65L x 45W x 85H mm
As can be seen with this image, the engine itself is better built, has a more efficient layout, and is of more sound construction and at 1.1kg (almost 2.5lbs) offers durability from such a small power source.
All other necessities are as the one above, meaning a pressure gauge, water gauge, displacement lubricator, and throttle (steam-flow control), so everything is covered, other than adding a servo to control the rudder direction and throttle.
To give you a better idea of size, this engine has a flywheel diameter of 40mm.
There are many other smaller engine kits available here – all needing their own boiler
So, now we look at independent boilers to either propel your ship or simply to have as a standalone display piece as a boiler/engine unit.
The simplest boilers are usually made from copper sheet, working at low pressure to avoid any steam regulations in your country, as below a certain pressure and size, they are exempt from certain restrictions – they are relatively safe to use for anyone over 14 years without adult supervision.
AND THERE’S LOTS MORE TO COME when I get my finger out…