3. Identifying Steam Plant Components

3. Identifying Steam Plant Components
This note is intended to address the interests of potential users of a “Miniature Steam” steam plant.
Since an engine alone has no purpose but to look beautiful, its operation must be seen in the context of
the components that are required for it to perform its primary function of powering something - in this
case we are highlighting the operation of an engine in an integrated steam plant using “Miniature
Steam” 3” horizontal boiler and Clyde twin cylinder oscillating engine built to power a radio controlled
boat. The descriptions apply generally to any engine/boiler combination.

  STEAM PLANT COMPONENTS:
The engine must be mounted on a firm base – a brass Mounting Tray is used in the illustration. Beware of
mounting the tray on an uneven surface. This could lead to distortion of the Clyde Engine base when
screwed down. In turn this could cause binding of the crankshaft in its bearings leading to poor engine performance
if not actual seizing of the engine. The plywood plate to which the plant is secured in the packaging
is an excellent platform for commissioning the plant on a bench. It may also be useful as a base plate
for mounting the engine in the boat.
The engine is connected to the Boiler by a Steam Pipe with a steam cock (valve) at the boiler for controlling
the steam delivery to the engine. Steam passes through the boiler steam cock, through a displacement
Lubricator before entering the engine. In the case of twin cylinder oscillating engines it passes
through a valve (not identified) that controls the direction of rotation of the engine as well as the power required
from the engine. It directs live steam into the engine and spent steam to the Oil Trap. (Basically,
slide valve engines use the Stephenson's reversing linkage for a similar control function).
The oil trap separates the oil from the exhaust steam and clean steam is passed to the exhaust port (not
shown).
The boiler Burner is powered, through the Gas Pipe from a Refillable Gas Tank. The tank is fitted in a
way that enables easy removal from the tray for refilling, an important safety requirement. Please ensure
you read Guide 10.Gas Basics for guidance on gases that should be used.
Steam pressure is indicated on a Pressure Gauge and a Safety Valve can be adjusted to release steam
if the pressure exceeds a practical working level for the specific boiler.
Water level in the boiler is indicated by a Water Level Glass fitted to the end of the boiler.