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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

Real Boiler solutions


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  #1  
Old 09-23-2006, 03:49:52 PM
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KG1584 KG1584 is offline
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Default Real Boiler solutions

I am starting this thread in hopes qualified people(I am not one of them) could give some insight on what it does/would take to build new code boilers. I have heard some things about the process. Not necessarilly true costs, as that is boiler dependent, but how they figure costs for various points in the boiler construction. We have beat the ASME credibility horse to death and it is time to look forward, not behind

Hopefully people like LundMachineWorks, Bob Oliver, Dan Donaldson can help out here and provide some insight for the future

How do you figure costs for each step

1. - Design/calculations
2. - Inspector Approval/sign off
3. - materials/labor
4. - Final Approval/Stamping

I feel this would provide much more value to us who want to have an engine last for another 100 years.

I realize all it takes is money but I "think" once a design is approved the building is the easy part. I have said in a earlier post, getting together to have multiple boiler made brings the costs/boiler down.

Maybe if all us 20 horse KG owners can get together and make a run

Please make this a useful thread and not bash the ASME, codes, inspectors etc

Thanks

Doug
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2006, 03:57:58 PM
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

I once looked into the possibility of making code model boilers. I quickly realized that the cost of the appropriate stamps and insurance requirements would be MUCH more than I could reasonably hope to ever earn in a 1 man shop.
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Old 09-23-2006, 06:45:39 PM
Brad Kelley Brad Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

The company I work for has a U and R stamp, and although I'm pretty green both as an engineer and working with the code, here are some of my observations and opinions.

1. From the work I have done and seen on our U stamp vessels, I would imagine that for a locomotive style tracion engine boiler, the design and calculations are by far the easiest part of the job. The design is obviously going to depend on whether you want a cheap, functional, all welded, non flanged, replacement boiler, or one of the more expensive flanged, fake or real riveted, functional replica boilers. But the calculations for all of them will likely be pretty cut and dry, plug and chug. Just plug in your desired pressure, vessel dimensions, loadings, and hit enter to verify that your material thickness meets the requirements. It may be different for S stamp calculations, but I'd imagine once you've done a calculation for 1 boiler you have a template for all.

2. & 4. This is pretty much an unavoidable expense. When we do a U vessel we have the Authorized Inspector come once to approve the calculations, a second time to observe fit up before welding and check the material certs, I'm not sure if he comes out a third time to witness the radiograph tests which are pricey as well, but possibly again a fourth time to witness the hydro test and sign off on the data sheets. If I recall correctly, the AI charges a minimum of 4 hours for each visit, no matter how long he stays. We then have to file the paperwork with the National Board and they charge depenging on the volume of the vessel.

3. The materials and labor are surely the most expensive part. That's where our company makes our money, machining time and welding are pretty expensive. Steel isn't very cheap these days either.


The way Dan Donaldson is doing it should save him some money, but not many people have access to the machinery he does.

Buying in bulk would probably be the only real way to save money, but you'd only be saving on the multiple AI visits. The only savings you'd probably see in fabrication would be in setup time and fixtures. Unfortunately for such a pricey item, it'd probably be pretty hard to find a couple people who are all preparted to buy a new boiler at the same time.

One thing that we could try here on the Stak is to start an "official boiler group buy" thread. I've seen this done a lot on some of the car forums I frequent and it seems to work well. Start an online signup sheet of people who are seriously ready to purchase a new boiler. Advertise the list at all the steam shows, post adds in Steam Traction and some of the other mags to get the word out. Then get a quote from the boiler shops on building a couple boilers at the same time and hopefully save some time and money doing it!!
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:17:00 PM
LAKnox LAKnox is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Kelley View Post
One thing that we could try here on the Stak is to start an "official boiler group buy" thread. I've seen this done a lot on some of the car forums I frequent and it seems to work well. Start an online signup sheet of people who are seriously ready to purchase a new boiler. Advertise the list at all the steam shows, post adds in Steam Traction and some of the other mags to get the word out. Then get a quote from the boiler shops on building a couple boilers at the same time and hopefully save some time and money doing it!!
This is a brilliant idea. Get a few shells in production and, at each step, make sure the inspector actually =earns= his 4 hrs. minimum fee. :-) Scales of economy should also be a major factor since you could buy tons more steel than just what you need to build one shell. You could then have standard options prices for each style boiler. Going to have a jacket and don't need a faux seam? Go welded. Don't want/need a jacket? $X for a 4-row faux butt strap, $Y for a 4-row lap, etc.

Lyle
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Old 09-23-2006, 11:45:41 PM
JLee JLee is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

What are some of the ways to cut costs?Is there such a thing as a "universal boiler" that could be adapted to several engines?Do boilers need flanging on the throat and backsheets?That looks like an incredible amount of labor and money.I guess I would rather see an engine run again that isn't a 100 point restoration, than be parted out or made a static display.JLee
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Old 09-24-2006, 01:14:33 AM
LAKnox LAKnox is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

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Originally Posted by JLee View Post
What are some of the ways to cut costs?Is there such a thing as a "universal boiler" that could be adapted to several engines?Do boilers need flanging on the throat and backsheets?That looks like an incredible amount of labor and money.I guess I would rather see an engine run again that isn't a 100 point restoration, than be parted out or made a static display.JLee
Not a bad idea. A basic boiler, with a basic engine bed that can be adapted to several different models. Be interesting to see how few actual boilers need be built to accomodate as many engines as possible.

As as side note; does anybody here have any half-way accurate information on how many new boilers have been built over the past few years to replace historic (and/or model) boilers?

Lyle
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:23:17 AM
George B. George B. is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

Lyle. I would be curious what percentage of the operating traction engines today are still operating with there more or less original boiler and what percent have had total replacement or major work? As you know our 65 case needs some help. George B
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Old 09-24-2006, 08:03:21 AM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

I don't know any numbers, but I'm making a guess here:

1) Probably 50% of the existing operating engines have their original boiler and need minor to major boiler work due to age and wastage. These may be operating at reduced pressures.

2) Probably 30% of the engines have had major overhaul work done to their original boiler, and are working at full boiler pressure safely.

3) Probably 20% (maybe fewer) have had boiler replacements.

I'm guessing folks, don't shoot me!

Mark J.
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Old 09-24-2006, 06:44:53 PM
G Willikers G Willikers is online now
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

What has happened here? Are you guys giving up? I mean no disrespect to the companies who are making welded boilers for "antique" engines, as they are just trying to make a living. But what is wrong with preserving an engine with its original boiler for the sake of the historical value of it? If you have a generic new boiler on which you can fit different makes of engine castings, etc, what do you really have? Are you still preservers, or is it something like a Ford T with a 350 Chevy in it, not the same thing as a true antique car?
I was running an engine today and at around 100 psi (it is certified for 175). It still sounded like a steam engine, ran like a steam engine and did all the things a steam engine is supposed to do, even at 100 psi. I have catalogues for earlier engines that state they than well, threshed, sawed wood, etc at 75 or 80 psi. Have run engines at 150 or 175 psi and can't really say it made me feel any better at the end of the day? I guess if you were going to be plowing all day; but at most shows, you are only working your engine for short periods anyway.
As far as "preserving the steam experience for future generations", at what cost? The vast majority of people who go to our shows are just on a day outing. They could just as happily take the kids to the mall, or an amusement park. The only experience they want is to get the snotty nosed little kids out of the house for a day. All the rest is just sugar coating. Do we really want to destroy our industrial and agricultural heritage to please the mickey mouse crowd?
Sorry to rant and ramble, but that is just the way I feel. I guess, what people do with their own engines, property or money is their business, but .....
.......?
G.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:02:41 PM
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

If you have one original part off the boiler you can construct the rest under an R stamp as a repair. The AI and the chief of the jurisdiction will have to approve of this before you start it. I'm guessing they won't like it either.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:12:57 PM
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

I have heard of using one part of the boiler on the new one and calling it a R type repair. I think that the boiler on the Frick in the auction this spring in Ky was one such type repair, do not know for sure. It would be easier cost wise for what I understand it is a little cheaper to obtain a R stamp than an S stamp. One question I had was the dome was welded on on the new boiler where it was riveted on the old one. It seems to me that you would have to attach the part to the boiler in the same manner as it was attached previously to call it a repair. But then again I am not a boiler repairman or a expert on the code.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:20:48 PM
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

Gee, what I think many people are thinking about when they discuss these type of repairs is that there are some that are in need of total rebuilds. And then there are the lap seams that owners are having such problems with jurisdictions limiting them or banning them altogether. If I owned a lap seam that needed a lot of work in some of these places, I would have to think long and hard about total boiler replacement rather than putting a lot of work and money into a boiler that would not be able to be licensed.....

Then we get into the discussion of historical correctness vs ability to operate.
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Old 09-24-2006, 09:04:51 PM
LAKnox LAKnox is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

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Originally Posted by George B. View Post
Lyle. I would be curious what percentage of the operating traction engines today are still operating with there more or less original boiler and what percent have had total replacement or major work? As you know our 65 case needs some help. George B
"Help"? That's putting it mildly. Have you heard anything lately? I haven't.

Lyle
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Old 09-24-2006, 10:27:36 PM
George B. George B. is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

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Originally Posted by laknox View Post
"Help"? That's putting it mildly. Have you heard anything lately? I haven't.

Lyle
Lyle im waiting for an estimate from a local R stamp shop. But I am not ruling out the possibility of taking the engine out of state for repairs.Please feel free to pm me if you have any questions I need to get the rest of the steam crews email addys so i can update them.
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Old 09-25-2006, 12:54:54 PM
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

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Originally Posted by Brad Kelley View Post
The way Dan Donaldson is doing it should save him some money, but not many people have access to the machinery he does.
Brad hit the nail on the head for my situation. There is no way I would have started my project without having access to the tools I have at work and the experience I have had doing work for J S Company. The last time I added up the shop hours it would have come to $24,000 so far if I had hired an "S" stamp shop to do the work. I can afford that kind of time but not that kind of money. My wife will disagree with me about the time though. She will be glad when I am finished so I can spend more time at home.

Dan
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:50:10 PM
Mike McKnight Mike McKnight is offline
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Default Re: Real Boiler solutions

Gents,
A few thoughts of my own to add to this already interesting discussion:

I do not think a "Universal" boiler for several engines would work; they're just too darn different in size, length, etc. I work for a firm that designs/fabs/installs projects, and I think we usually figure only about 5% of the total price for engineering. Your engineering is going to be your cheapest part of the project. If you could get an engineer/designer/drafter familiar with the codes and calculations, it might not take as long as you think to whip out a good modern design to meet code.

What might work, if you gents want to pool resources and cut your costs, would be for something like four owners of 65 HP Case engines to get them built at the same time. You might could do this with more common engines such as the good ol' 65, but some of the engines out there only have a few remaining examples (sometimes only 1!!!!) and the chances of all of them needing boilers at the same time would be slim-to-none.

I personally think a lot of boilers, with some minor repairs from time to time, and an operator to make darn sure to take GREAT care of them should last a lot longer. Yeah, they're old, but if they've always been taken care of, and are only used a few days out of the year, why should they go downhill at such an astronomical rate?

I'd almost be willing to say at least 75% of the traction engines out there steaming in the states & Canada have had at least SOME boiler work done on them in the past. Of the four I own, all four of them have had at least partial front tube sheet replacements in the past; two have had new crownsheets put in (one needs a firebox!), two have had the bottom of the fire box replaced, one has had some work done on the barrel, yadda-yadda.....I think the "pristine" boiler that is able to be steamed and has not had any work done (besides flue replacement) is going to become a thing of the past more and more as time goes on.......I would say the percentage of old engines running with brand new, welded boilers is a small percentage, but will probably be more of the percentage as time goes on.

I have been told by a boiler-maker that you can build all of a brand new boiler with the exception of a small square piece of metal which has to be used from the old boiler, and it's considered an "R" repair. Now, of course, the next time the boiler is worked on, the small square can be replaced, and it's still considered an "R" repair! (Good ol' rules of "Always-Sometimes-Maybe-Except"!!!!!) Since you have to pay additional money (above and beyond the astronomical price already paid for the "R" stamp) to obtain an "S" stamp, unless the shop did a major portion of their business building NEW boilers, it might not really pay off immediately to have the "S" stamp, when the vast majority of their works is only in repairs anyway, and there are loopholes such as I described above.

I know we've all discussed the pitfalls of "inspections" and how they relate to our engines, shows, etc....let's not forget the other "i-n-s" word; "INSURANCE". If there is another repeat or two of the Medina incident, a lot of insurance companies that insure our shows are either going to deny us coverage at any amount, or make it cost-prohibitive for our clubs to afford for a show for a few days. I haven't seen any dicussion on that, and it kinda "derails" the thread a little, but we all need to keep this in mind also.

Sorry for rambling, I hear the ZZZZZ's out there now!!!!

Mike McKnight
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