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    Model Smoker Build
    by Joe727 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    9 Posts 18 Comments 58 Photos 21 Likes
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    πŸ“ Test
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Today I did a full test of current smoker build, it went very well, nice consistent smoke, very visible. I used just straight a mineral Oil, type sold in Pharmacies. I chose not to use the baby oil again because it had too much of an odor. See video attached.

    I ran it for one hour, it stays consistent and there was no build up of heat, tin stayed cool. Check of the heating element and wick showed no damage, no build up of any kind, very clean.

    When I get a chance, I will put a multimeter on it and test the draw so I can fuse it properly. Thanks for you interest.
    Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Test
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    πŸ’¬ Test
    5 months ago by jacko ( Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class)
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    πŸ“ Fan Surround
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Third update today, make sure you see the two prior to this one.

    Mounted fan and built a styrene plastic enclosure around it. Sealed the edge with some silicone.

    Shown now with stopper inserted. it's ready for a test but I need to add some support legs to keep it vertical as it just rolls over right now.
    Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Fan Surround
    5 months ago by mturpin013 ( Sub-Lieutenant)
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    Joe I admire your persistence with this and it seems to have paid off. Each of your attempts has improved well done.

    I have a question - 1 - is there a chance that the rubber stopper being so close to the heating element could be damaged or melt the rubber?
    Have you considered a metal screw top, you can sometimes get a metal can with a screw cap, glue tins come to mind you could cut the end off and use the screw cap and just solder the end up.
    2 - have you considered adjustable fan speed /element voltage to vary the amount of smoke according to engine speed.
    3 - finally what about a smaller version, can you get smaller fans?
    just a thought, keep up the good work
    Michael

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    πŸ’¬ Fan Surround
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Michael,
    Thank you for your interest and the questions, I appreciate it.

    1. With regard to the rubber stopper, good question. I have not done a lengthy test as yet, but will do. My thinking was that it would not effect the rubber as heat generated seems to be concentrated on the oil. I like the idea of a a metal cap, you have given me an idea, I have some small plumbing pieces that may work. it would be good to eliminate all flammable materials!

    2. Varying the smoker with the engine speed has not been one of my goals, here is my thinking. I plan to use this unit on a steam tug, steam boilers seem to put out a constant smoke as the burning does not vary on a steam engine, the steam is just regulated. Hence, I have not done this, many commercial units offer this.

    I recently purchased a commercial unit for over $100 USD and was not happy with the output, that is why I started this build.

    From my video you can see how the smoke shoots out. I wanted to slow it down so it just puffs. I have experimented with lowering the fan voltage, but it cuts out below 3 volts. The attached sketch shows my experimenting with allowing some of the air from the fan to npbe redirected out. The tin that I soldered up is shown, took a lot of effort, did not work as planned. I did like the fact that it looked like a whiskey still.

    3. Yes, there are smaller fans available on line. I was just using some salvage ones I had - 28mm square. I may experiment with some small fans if budget allows. I am now retired and counting pennies...

    More on the puffing aspect to come...
    Joe

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    πŸ“ Tin Work
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    The tin can that I used is from a small tomato paste sauce from the market. Use whatever tin that you would like or can find. Look at my sketch to see how it needs to function and adjust your design to what enclosure is available to you. Lots of ways to do it, just make sure you have these points covered:
    1. Method of attaching a fan to push air into the unit.
    2. Place for output stack / tube.
    3. Method of mounting a wick with heating element attached that can sit above the fluid level. See sketch in previous post.

    First photo, I cut three holes, each sized to fit the brass tubes and fan opening. This tin is thin and easy to poke holes in. I start by marking the opening locations with a marker, them I use a small sharp awl or pin to stare a hole. With hand tools ( power drill will easy shred the can, be careful) I enlarge the holes with small hand drills or reamer, found files, etc, I rotate the tools slowly in the opening and gradually enlarge it to size needed. Then I cut brass tubing to length with a small hand held hobby razor saw. Our in place, apply flux and solder. Once heated properly the solder flows easily.for the larger fan opening, I then used a dremel tool with sanding drum to make a nice round opening.

    The fan has corner openings for screw mount. Secure with some tiny sheet metal screws. Next I will build an enclosure around the fabpn edge to fit the round can. Might just use silicone caulk.

    Note, I did not open the can with a can opener, left the ends in place and poured the content out thru the holes made, Yes, it's a bit messy and wasted the sauce, but it's a cheap way to get an tin enclosure.

    More to come. Please give me feedback, am I being clear enough? Thanks, Cheers, Joe

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    πŸ“ Sketches finally....
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    The horizontal tin can design worked well, so I decided to do another and describe the build. First photo shows the original smoker, it uses a vertical mount squirrel cage type CPU fan. The majority of CPU fans are horizontal so I will build a new smoker with the more common horizontal fan.

    See sketches attached which are a cut section thru the tin can to show the interior. This explains my design with a stopper that holds the wires and wick.

    Shows the heating element so that it is above the fluid level. The stopper design makes it easy to remove and allow for any maintenance necessary.

    Fill fluid can be through the stack tube or through the stopper opening. I have been using the stack tube on my first smoker so as to disturb the wick and element wiring less.

    Please review the drawing and let me know what questions you have. Next I will take photos as I punch opening in the cans and solder the brass tubes.
    Cheers Joe

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    πŸ“ Rubber stopper wick & element
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    In the previous post in the video, note that a black rubber stopper is inserted into a brass tube soldered to the tin container. Starting with the element again, select proper length of heater wire by applying voltage to lengths as show previous. Crimped wire to one end.

    Next photo shows a rubber stopper, I use my drill press to drill to straight holes to allow the voltage supply wire to pass through it. Then I put together a wick with a brass rod (1/16") to provide support and to secure it to the stopper. Brass rod with wick is pushed thru the stopper, drill a pilot hole for the brass rod centered in the stopper. See photos, the supply wires will come thru the stopper at each side of the wick.

    Put one wire through the stopper, then I wrapped the heating element around the wick. This is tricky and took several attempts to get it done cleanly. The supply wire for the end is then fed back through the stopper. This is a weak part of the design as it must run back to the stopper without touching the heater element. it does work, but I will try to improve on this.

    This entire assembly fits into the tin can and is the correct length to just submerge the bottom portion of the wick and not the wires. I forgot to do a sketch showing a section through this, but will try tomorrow.
    Joe

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    πŸ“ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Hello,
    Experiment with a tin can smoker works great, see video!

    I will have to sketch this one up so it's clear on what the pieces are. Uses a little cpu squirrel type fan, two brass tubes, a rubber stopper and a wick. Could not wait to test, will add detail.

    Had to shoot this video under a bathroom exhaust fan to avoid potentially setting off smoke alarms. it works!
    Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by figtree7nts ( Commodore)
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    Great success Joe, What are you using for fuel?

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Thanks, did the video PLAY? it's not showing up on my end.

    For smoke fluid, I used some Baby Oil (mineral oil), and some glycerin. Using an eyedropper I used about 5 eyedropper of baby oil and 1 of glycerin. 5 to 1.

    The Glycerin was purchase from a store that sells cake decorating, it's used in icing, in the states, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, etc. I would think that pharmacies would have as well.

    The baby oil is Johnson's.

    Thanks for the comments,
    Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    One more thing, I did not try just straight Baby Oil, will try that later... Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by mturpin013 ( Sub-Lieutenant)
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    Great result , well done that man, is there any way of putting an electronic safety device to protects against overheating/lack of fluid etc.

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by RNinMunich ( Fleet Admiral)
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    Yep Michael,
    A thermocouple, a capacitive level sensor, an OR Gate, and a transistor driver for a cut-off relay. Calibration and setting the threshold limits are the tricky bits πŸ€”
    😎

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Michael,
    Anything can be done but I strive to keep things simple. Like a dipstick for level and fuses to protect the electronics from getting out of control. I generally end up with double fuse protection as well.

    Best to just get in the habit of keeping an eye on things. The fluid drain is very slow so I don't foresee a real issue with that.

    If an alarm was used, you still need to get it back to shore before it ..........
    Cheers, Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Did the video work for you guys? I still can't see it.... Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by RNinMunich ( Fleet Admiral)
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    Hi Joe,
    When you click on the Media File icon have you ever noticed the [Download] button in the top left corner of the media window!!?? 😲
    Click on that and you are given the choice to Open or Download the file πŸ˜‰
    BTW: to answer your question above -
    No scale railway at all! I intend to use the loco smokers in RC conversions of 1/350 scale plastic navy ships, such as; HMSs Ark Royal, Colossus, King George Fifth, Prince of Wales, Exeter, and KMSs Bismarck and Graf Zeppelin. As well as RMS Titanic and my 1/128 HMS Belfast and Graf Spee. Two more perhaps for my Southampton tug.
    Have used them in the dim and distant past for my 1/72 scale RN destroyer. Built a little RC pulse decoder using CMOS chips followed by a transistor driver to switch a relay supplying the smoker coil. See pics of self etched decoder board. The other three outputs are for various lighting effects and destroyer 'Whoop whoop' siren. 30 years old now and still going 😊
    The smokers work pretty well just using the capillary action of the thin glass feeder tubes. So no wick to come into contact with a a hot wire coil 😊 They were mounted on a bridge across the cap of a large spray can which I used as the oil tank. Exhaust used the chimney effect of a 10mm alu tube running up the funnel.
    I'm also still pondering how to turn the usual white steam/smoke black!
    Cheers, Doug 😎

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by RNinMunich ( Fleet Admiral)
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    Hi Joe,
    "If an alarm was used, you still need to get it back to shore before it .........."
    That's why I suggested a circuit to cut off the power to the heating coil.
    An alarm is only useful if you are 'hanging around on the spot' to do something about it! 😲 Do you have 'the Vision' now? πŸ˜‰
    PS That's also why I made the decoder to make mine RC.

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Doug, Yes, thanks for clarifying the Vision, sound good. I think I will add a monoammonium phosphate fire extinguisher system to mine so I can just keep on sailing.
    Regards, Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Doug, That's a very impressive list of ships!

    I was just thinking yesterday about how to build a smoker without a fan, your chimney effect caught my attention. My experimental builds so far push the smoke out quickly, I would prefer it puffing out. Deleting the fan and adding the proper length of stack could work, I will try.

    Your electronics are impressive, nice skills you have. I'm still working with vacuum tubes, valves.
    Regards, Joe

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by RNinMunich ( Fleet Admiral)
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    Hi Joe πŸ‘
    In the full size ships I worked on we used Co2 injectors to smother fires in our equipment racks! Guess you could try the Co2 capsules for soda siphons. I have a box of those I 'm considering using for torpedo power!
    Carry on innovating ManπŸ‘ Cheers, Doug 😎

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    πŸ’¬ Holy SMOKE !! Video, Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by RNinMunich ( Fleet Admiral)
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    BTW: I grew up with valves (or bottles as we Brits also call 'em) as well.
    I still have a box of several vintage 'bottles' in the cellar, many of them new still in the original boxes. if you ever run out of triodes, pentodes or tetrodes give me a buzz! Think I still have some pristine EL80s - collectors items these days - lots of Oomph 😁
    My next non-model boat electronic project is a pair of digital clocks in 'Art Deco' cases, using bottle decade counters. The forerunners of the fluorescent tubes and then the LED clocks, but much more funπŸ˜‰.
    About forty years ago I spent a year or so servicing and calibrating the radiation monitors around UK nuke power plants using these decade counters. One cosmic radiation click = one jump in the base counter and so on. Never ever saw anything above the basic cosmic radiation background count which is always there. A remnant of the 'Big Bang'. 😲
    Funny where an interest in electronics and radio can getcha 😁
    Look forward to your chimney experiment reportπŸ‘
    My destroyer has two funnels but I found that the little railway smokers were not man enough to feed two funnels via a branched tube. But two working in parallel off the one RC channel did the trick.
    Regarding the chimney effect; Works well at rest or at low speeds, but I also found that instead of a fan some traditional air vent scoops mounted forward of the smoker augmented the effect well at higher speeds. And my long thin destroyer with 2 x 540s on 12V made a lot of 'speed boats' look silly 😁 Have fun, ciao, Doug 😎

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    πŸ“ Tin Can Madness
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Hello,
    Could not resist starting an experiment with an all metal container. This is a small tomato sauce tin can out of the pantry. First time I tried soldering tin to brass and it is very easy, with flux, to do. Will run test on both smokers and publish photos.

    As noted, it is a good idea to add a fuse between the batteries and the powers switch as these heaters tend to draw 2 amps or more, be careful with wire gauge as well. Danger of fire....
    Joe

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    πŸ“ Build
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    The heating elements in the hairdryer had two different wire gauges as elements. I removed the lighter gauge thinking they would probably draw less current. I am attempting to use 6 volts as that is what my boat is.

    1. First Photo: Took a length of element and stretched it out as shown, started with a longer piece about 8". if you are at 12v probably longer. Use some alligator clip jumpers and attached to one end, ran it to negative terminal of my 6v SLA. Took another jumper and attached to a point on the wire, say about 7". JUST TOUCH the other end to the battery positive to see if it glowed, it did not. So just moved about 3/8" at a time till it glowed - See Photo. CAUTION, make certain you have a nonflammable surface to work on, I used a tile scrap. IT GETS HOT FAST AND WILL BURN, DON'T ASK ME HOW I KNOW. That's why I just touch the terminal till it glows then stop, let it cool for a while.

    2. Cut element to length, than take your 16 gauge wire and the crimp tube shown in earlier post. insert both into the tube and crimp it. I used a side cutter and carefully just squeezed enough. Make sure that the element will not pull out. Do the other end. Because I am using only 6 volts, I had flattened out the wire to give me more wraps on the wick. See photo and note.

    3. in the lid of the box, I located the fan at one end, the exhaust stack at the other. Drilled a hole matching the fan opening and secured with two screws, drill small pilot holes so as not to crack the plastic. Drill hole to match brass tube OD, tube is about 1" long or so. Super glued brass tube in place. Excuse the sloppy copper sheet work on the inside of the lid, it was an experiment at the time. I added this a a bit of a heat sheild as the wick and element would sit below this.

    4. Next photos show the interior of the box, not the best photos of the process as this was already built.... The mint tin set inside the plastic box was an idea to do two things; first isolate the heating element from the plastic,and two, provide a smaller vessel for the fluid. You may want to just use a metal container instead of the plastic box, again I was just using what I had on hand.

    The wick is laying in the tin with the element propped up at on end to keep it out of the fluid. Photo shown does not show much fluid in place. This needs some work, but worked for this test. Experiment, just be sure that the lower portion of the wick is in the fluid and the element wire wrap is above the fluid level.

    For the test, I used some mineral oil and a bit of glycerin, smoked very well. it's late so I will run it and photograph tomorrow.
    Cheers, Joe

    (Excuse the Imperial rather than metric)

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    πŸ’¬ Build
    5 months ago by mturpin013 ( Sub-Lieutenant)
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    Thanks for the pics Joe and explanation about the tin, I'm going to have a go at this, I have all the bits now except the wick, Ill report back when I've made some progress.

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    πŸ“ Model Smoker Build
    5 months ago by Joe727 ( Chief Petty Officer 1st Class)
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    Hello,

    Yesterday, I showed a Model Smoker that I built, I have had requests to share details. This blog will walk you through what I did. Please note that this was built from ideas gathered from the web, I did not invent this. Also, anything that has voltage and anything that creates heat can be a hazard, I am not responsible for any damage caused. Again, just sharing information.

    First, I researched the web and saw how others made a smoker, then I just wanted to cobble together one mainly from parts I have. You can see this on a variety of searches and videos.

    First, Collected parts required.
    1. Thrift store hair dryer
    2. Wick lamp or Tiki torch, or similar wick
    3. Wire crimps
    4. 18 GA wire
    5. Box, enclosure, container
    6. 5v -12v fan, direction pushes air into box.
    7. Foil, had copper sheet of aluminum foil
    8. Adhesive, used CA
    9. Mint tin or other

    Since I did not photograph the original, I will put together some build steps and sketches. More to come, see photos for parts used.

    Joe

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