DIY Small Steam Boiler

Written by phillip woolgar
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DIY Small Steam Boiler
(Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A steam boiler, or steam generator, uses water and a heat source to emit steam. The heat exits a pipe and then travels to another room where it can be utilised to power equipment, clean, heat or complete other functions. Steam boilers are used where sources of steam are required. The boiler comes in mobile form, such as that used for steam trains and other steam-powered vehicles. The boiler is a necessary part of a steam engine.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2 copper base plates about 5 inches long
  • 8-inch metal bolts, 4
  • Mechanical wrench
  • 6-inch metal Phillips-head screws, 4
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Chemical pipe sealant
  • Large pipe wrench
  • Teflon tape
  • 2-inch steel elbows, 2
  • Rubber hosing 3 inches in diameter
  • 1/4-inch stainless steel reduces, 2
  • 4-inch pieces of stainless steel pipe, 2
  • Bronze safety valve
  • Cast iron vessel and chimney

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  1. 1

    Order a heavy duty cast iron vessel and chimney and can from a metal foundry. The chimney and vessel should be manufactured and delivered as separate parts.

  2. 2

    Insert the T-pipe located at the base of your chimney into the inlet valve at the side of the vessel. The inlet valve diameter will be slightly larger than the diameter of the T-pipe. Rub chemical pipe sealant onto the outside of the T-pipe. Push the chimney until your T-pipe is fully inserted into the vessel inlet valve. You might need to rotate the chimney to push the T-pipe fully into its slot.

  3. 3

    Seal the T-pipe with Teflon tape by wrapping it around the attachment area.

  4. 4

    Build your boiler furnace by inserting the bolts into your threaded holes on the inner wall of your furnace compartment with a mechanical wrench. Hand screw the base plates onto the bolts. The base plates will generate heat in the furnace.

  5. 5

    Assemble the drain by applying chemical pipe sealant onto the threaded area of the steel reducer. Screw the steel reducers onto the bottom of your boiler vessel with the pipe wrench. Seal your reducer into place with the Teflon tape. Screw the steel elbow into the reducer with the pipe wrench. Screw a piece of the 4-inch pipe to the elbow with your hands. Seal the attachments with chemical sealant onto the threads. Wrap the Teflon tape to the outside of each attachment area. Screw the 5-inch copper tube to the stainless steel pipe with your hands. Seal the attachment area with the sealant and tape. The tube will carry your excess water from your boiler. The other end of the tube will attach to an outlet pipe or somewhere that the water can be released.

  6. 6

    Attach your bronze safety valve onto the top of your boiler's vessel with the metal screws and your Phillips-head screwdriver. Safety valves can be bought from industrial supply stores.

  7. 7

    Apply the chemical sealant to the threads on the second steel reducer. Screw the reducer onto the valve with the pipe wrench on top of the vessel dome. Seal all new attachments with the Teflon tape. Screw the second elbow onto the reducer with the pipe wrench. Screw an end of the second 4-inch steel pipe to the reducer. Attach the other end onto the building's main heating line. Your pipe will transport steam from your furnace to your heating line. The line will distribute the heat to the radiators. Seal all attachments with your chemical sealant and Teflon tape.

  8. 8

    Screw your rubber hosing to the bottom outlet on your boiler's vessel with your hands. Seal the attachment with Teflon tape and chemical sealant. Run your hose from the furnace to your furnace's water supply.

Tips and warnings

  • Put the furnace close to an electrical socket that is capable of providing power to the base plates.
  • Your rubber hose's length depends on the distance between your boiler and water source. Ensure you buy enough hose to stretch the water supply.
  • Assemble the furnace in a well-ventilated spot. They are often put in poorly ventilated areas, but be aware that the sealant is toxic and emits poisonous fumes. Fan the area to provide circulation if ventilation is poor.
  • Wear safety goggles and long trousers. Close-toed shoes will provide extra protection when dealing with heavy metal.

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