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Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?


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  #1  
Old 03-13-2018, 04:03:59 PM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Hello,

So I have always wanted to get into steam so when I saw this boiler come up for sale within an easy days drive I had to jump on it, well I might have jumped off a cliff lol.

The boiler is an 1950 era wet leg double lap seam Lookout with a total of 48 2" tubes for a total heating surface of 76 sq ft. The spec sheet I got for it states that shell is 1/4 inch steel but the UT reading seem to average around .268 (I did my best to calibrate the meter on metal being tested).

The inside of the boiler seems to be fine, it seems to be coated with a red material and some rust flakes from tubes but once you brush that away seems to be unmolested smooth metal underneath.

From the limited UT I have done so far the mud leg looks to have little to no erosion.

Now for the bad part:

There is some major pitting on outside of shell where ash contaminated rain water was able to run down uncovered chimney and down the side of the boiler. Some of the worst pitting seems to be around the front hand holds and the thinnes part I could measure with a set of needle tipped micrometers was .200 but the average around handholes was .225. I was not able to get UT readings on rougher surfaces away from the handhols with my cheap meter but I might go back out with wire cup brush or some sand paper to see if I can get a reading.

The top tube sheet is also not very pretty, the years of wet ash sitting on top has taken its toll, the spec sheet states that it should be 3/8 sheet but I was only able to get a reading of .283 in the center where it seemed the thinnest and on the seemingly unmolested portion I was getting .389.

I do not have a lot into this boiler I was able to get it at a little over scrap value so I am not above scrapping it I just hate so see that happen.

I have already priced out new tube for it at just under 1000.00 which is high but from what I understand just the cost of steam. I know that to have a new boiler built of this size would be well over 10K so I don't mind putting a fair amount of money back into it as long as I can space it out and I don't get to far upside down in it and most importantly be safe.

I have stared looking around for local welders with R stamp but have not had much luck so far.

So I guess I would appreciate the opinions of much more experienced steam operators on what you think my options are.

I will try and attach some photos for your viewing pleasure.

Thank you in advance,

Shawn



More PICS: http://s669.photobucket.com/user/sha...okout%20Boiler

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  #2  
Old 03-13-2018, 05:37:24 PM
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HHall HHall is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

I can put you in touch with an R stamped shop in Illinois that we have used in the past. The shop would most likely have to furnish the material as it has to be traceable. I'm sure it would be a lot more than $1000.00. You might be able to have the top flue sheet replaced and a repair around the wasted area near the hand holes.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:10:19 PM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

HHall

I would be interested in that info, Thanks!

I was of course hoping it would not be thousands of dollars but if it is it will just take me a little longer to save it up. My only fear is putting more money in that it is worth or start spending serious money and finding a fatal flaw. The $1000 I mentioned was for a new set of 2" tubes.

What I have to figure out is if this boiler is worth it or if it is scrap. If repairs are beyond my financial means but still worth it I can always pass it along to someone that has better resources.

Thanks,

Shawn
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:29:44 PM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

So the exterior shell corrosion has eaten into your joint efficiency?

Looking at your longitudinal joint, with double riveted lap seam you're probably looking at 65 plus percent joint efficiency.

Thus the entire boiler shell was calculated using 65 percent - and thus the ENTIRE SHELL has been built with a 1/0.65 SURPLUS of material.

As in - think of it with corrosion you probably have a local plate efficiency of (say) 75 percent. Providing the joint and the corrosion don't coincide, you get to calculate your MAWP on the lesser efficiency. So 65 percent is the driving limit.

Of course, if the external pitting REALLY bothers you, you can weld it up, bring the plates to full thickness, and even leave the welds "crowned" for extra strength - as in not grind off the bead flush with the surrounding plate. But you're really gilding the lily.

Regarding the head - remember that stress on the circumferential joint is HALF of that of the longitudinal joint. So instead of 1/0.65 you have 2/0.65 for an apparent plate capability.

Regarding any damage to the head, your tube ligaments can be welded back up to full thickness, in fact this sort of repair happens all the time in real life. Or they can be used as is providing your tubes can be expanded in place and hold tight. Thin seats make for difficult re-tubing. Or the tube can be welded in (which is NOT the preferred solution - but many find it acceptable.)

The place you DON'T want to weld is the "turn of the flange radius" which is a annular "no man's land" which extends inwards from the outer diameter of the head a distance of 1-1/2 times the radius of the flange. This area by code is effectively non-repairable by welding. And an area where you hope damage is "local" - or perhaps within that 1-1/2 times as a distance square.

A local inspector will let you weld near to a rivet head up to a distance of the "interval" between adjacent rivets on the local construction. But your inspector or R-stamp repairer will guide you.

I have done this sort of evaluation now on 3 boilers - and I'm still here to talk about it. Another may take an interest - namely Joe Michaels - and may even work with you to do calculation. Joe normally resides over at the Practical Machinist web board - but has surfaced here on occasion. He would be the man I would contact if I myself had any questions or doubted my evaluation.

There is a tendency even here on this board to view boilers as a sort of "black art" - and an engineering realm where only the most trepid walk. I have not found this so entirely. Rather it is all mechanics - and algebra. And an understanding of what, and why one is seeing.

And a fair measure of common sense. Maybe more than a fair measure.

Good luck. This boiler is relatively new as these things go - and is probably worth saving.

Joe K
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:01:35 PM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Joe k, thank you for your response.

Let me make sure I am understanding the first part of your post, you are saying that until I get belowe 65% of my original plate thickness that the lap seam is still the limiting factor. So that would mean that I would be ok all the way down to .163?

Thanks,

Shawn
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  #6  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:55:49 PM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Quote:
So that would mean that I would be ok all the way down to .163?
Yes. One of the old-timers I associate with calls this the "corrosion allowance" - which is why boilers of this ilk can be severely corroded - and still be perfectly safe.

There are limits, of course.

See my story of a boiler I ultimately condemned after finding the bottom of the waterleg severely corroded. https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showp...28&postcount=7 More in this thread on resurrecting a boiler.

Joe K
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:07:57 AM
LundMachineWorks LundMachineWorks is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Nope, the thinnest spot become the thickness used in the calculation at 65%, or whatever the joint efficiency may be.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe K View Post
So the exterior shell corrosion has eaten into your joint efficiency?

Looking at your longitudinal joint, with double riveted lap seam you're probably looking at 65 plus percent joint efficiency.

Thus the entire boiler shell was calculated using 65 percent - and thus the ENTIRE SHELL has been built with a 1/0.65 SURPLUS of material.

As in - think of it with corrosion you probably have a local plate efficiency of (say) 75 percent. Providing the joint and the corrosion don't coincide, you get to calculate your MAWP on the lesser efficiency. So 65 percent is the driving limit.

Of course, if the external pitting REALLY bothers you, you can weld it up, bring the plates to full thickness, and even leave the welds "crowned" for extra strength - as in not grind off the bead flush with the surrounding plate. But you're really gilding the lily. There are limits to how high those welds can be.

Regarding the head - remember that stress on the circumferential joint is HALF of that of the longitudinal joint. So instead of 1/0.65 you have 2/0.65 for an apparent plate capability.
Circ. stress is not calculated in a boiler, just pressure vessels


The place you DON'T want to weld is the "turn of the flange radius" which is a annular "no man's land" which extends inwards from the outer diameter of the head a distance of 1-1/2 times the radius of the flange. This area by code is effectively non-repairable by welding. And an area where you hope damage is "local" - or perhaps within that 1-1/2 times as a distance square.
You can weld weld in the knuckle but it requires gamma radiation treatment. (X-ray)

A local inspector will let you weld near to a rivet head up to a distance of the "interval" between adjacent rivets on the local construction. But your inspector or R-stamp repairer will guide you. Most R-certificate holders know nothing about rivets


Joe K
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  #8  
Old 03-14-2018, 07:17:46 AM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

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Originally Posted by LundMachineWorks View Post
Nope, the thinnest spot become the thickness used in the calculation at 65%, or whatever the joint efficiency may be.
Why? If the weak spots don't coincide, how can a cumulative weakness "add?"

We're talking a localized deficiency in this case of corrosion damage - not an overall weakness such as you would design for on actual "corrosion allowance" such as how welded boilers are designed.

BIG difference on corrosion allowance between a riveted boiler (with upwards of 40 plus percent additional material added as compensation for joint efficiency and no appreciable design consideration of corrosion) and the 15 percent or so added to welded construction (and pipe) to compensate for general corrosion occurring during life.

Joe K

Edit: The rest of your comments are accurate - I didn't get into thickness/stress relieving/radiograph requirements or other more advanced constructional techniques which the repair methodology may impose - he'll discover these soon enough.

The days of "fill the water leg with cement and keep steaming" are long gone - thankfully.

Last edited by Joe K; 03-14-2018 at 08:03:45 AM.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:22:22 AM
Odin Odin is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

The state inspectors tend to be very paranoid when it comes to calculating weakness, and anything even remotely troublesome can be justification for a fix it order or a condemned boiler. It is their job after all to identify risks to public safety, and many see your boiler as a ticking steam bomb that must have it risks reduced to a minimum.

NY inspectors at least have a real vendetta against lap seam anything, if you have one you are sentenced to 100 PSI or less unless they can find a reason to condemn it outright. They also dislike real rivets, as these are perceived as a dying arcane art with a lot of additional math and risk that only preservationists are willing to deal with.

Before going any further with this boiler, I would spend the money to have an official UT done on it. Your state inspector will then be able to recommend corrective actions based on the results, or tell you that this boiler is beyond salvage.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:32:27 AM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

I would want any boiler I operated to be safe in any inspectors/knowledgeable persons mind, I would be using this boiler around family and friends and if I had any doubt in it's safety even if just barely passed by inspector it would ruin the experience for me.

Is it common for the spec sheet to say 1/4" shell and be getting thicker readings with UT and Micrometer?

I am also curious how much you think it would cost to have ether the top sheet cut out and replaced or to have it built back up?

Thanks again for all the responses,

Shawn
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:54:32 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

With what UT readings I have taken it is not uncommon to have areas that are thicker than the specs on the original build sheets. What I have found is some of the early sheets were thicker in the center than the edges probably due to the rolls being worn some or springing a little when the steel was rolled.

I believe Illinois has adopted the NBIC inspection code along with some other states for historical boilers and Yes you do have to use the minimum thickness and then apply the joint efficiency to it. There is an allowance for small pitted areas less than a 3 inch circle or grooving less that 2 inches. Until the National Board changes this we will have continue to do so.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:33:11 AM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Well the thin spot I talked about was under and inch in diameter and everything else seems to be at .250 or greater but I think I might have another problem.

Unless I am doing something wrong I cannot get a MAWP above 67.65 with a safety factor of 5. I am using 55000 tensile strength, .250 for thickness, %73.8 seam efficiency and 30 inch for the inside diameter all of this comes from the spec sheet. The boiler is stamped for 100 PSI but I guess they used a lower safety factor(but they list shell bursting pressure as 669).

I was wanting to be able to at lease have a working presser around 100 so i could do some work with the engines I would run.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:31:51 AM
GreasyIron GreasyIron is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

It looks like you're using diameter instead of radius. With an even 73% joint efficiency, their burst pressure works out.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:42:07 AM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Whoops, that would make a difference.

Thanks!!!
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Old 03-15-2018, 09:20:08 AM
Joe K Joe K is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

And you talk about an inch defect? Look at every handhole in the boiler. Most are 2-1/2 x 3-1/2. Generally any defect smaller than this is inconsequential providing it is not near a joint, a rivet, or that "turn of the head" mentioned earlier.

One of the advantages of a severe overdesign forced by riveted joint efficiency is that it allows you to place or relocate handholes without "reinforcement." A welded steel boiler will have only that 15 percent surplus - which may or may not be enough additional to prevent that hole from becoming a stress riser. Welded boilers tend to resort to reinforcement for the handholes - usually by additional thickness or other reinforcement.

Joe K
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Old 03-15-2018, 10:52:20 AM
GreasyIron GreasyIron is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

I cannot be certain of Ken's intent, but I read it not as a point of safety, so much as the Illinois interpretation of NBIC.

My understanding is that at least one state was considering applying efficiency only at the seam thickness. Have any, or NBIC itself, adopted or clarified this approach?

Undoubtedly, the difference can come into play quickly on some configurations. A riveted seam locomotive style boiler, where material around a seam on the side might be at or near original, while some degradation has occurred at the bottom, would be an easy example.
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Old 07-05-2019, 06:08:08 AM
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Howdy Shawn. I have the same exact boiler. How's your fairing?
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:06:32 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

It looks like your boiler was built in 1957. A factor of safety of 4 may be correct for that era. I'll have to check.

Regarding the plate thickness and seam efficiency, the NBIC Historic Boilers subgroup uses the thinnest spot in the shell, no matter where it is, then implies the seam efficiency.

The NBIC Locomotive Boilers subgroup uses the thickness at / near the seam to imply the seam efficiency, and a thin spot not near the seam is not used in the calculation regarding the efficiency.

The Historic subgroup refused the Locomotive subgroup methodology, and referenced that the firebox (of a locomotive type boiler) would often be the limiting factor before the shell would.

It is simply a difference in evaluation of the boiler by two groups of people within the NBIC.
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Old 07-26-2019, 04:16:19 PM
sharab85 sharab85 is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

Not to good, it has fallen to the back burner I have another small lookout boiler that might be in the same boat, I have a knack for finding boilers that need work.

Do you have any pics of yours, and what kind of shape is it in?
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Old 07-26-2019, 08:02:01 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Is This Lookout Boiler Salvageable?

three thoughts
one, is it a code/stamped boiler?
two, if so, does it have a state inspection # on it?
three, if so, does that boiler record with the state have something in it that would come back to haunt you?
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