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This guide is a short edited extract from MAINSTEAM MODELS "The Complete guide to Miniature Steam" which is now available on CDrom or internet download. It is written with the beginner in mind and covers many essential principles for sucessful running of miniature steam engines, locomotives, traction engines & steam boats.

The following notes are based on my many years of playing with miniature steam engines. Coal firing a model boiler is the nearest you will get to the "full size" feel, not to mention the smell!.

Here is how to do it:

Firstly, to raise steam, you require a forced draught, model chimneys do not create any natural draught as do the full sized article. A suitable "blower" (which is really a sucker" will be needed. This is usually in the form of an elecrtic rotary fan which sits in the top of the chimney. Another way to do it, is to buy a cheap 12 volt compressor - like you see in car accessory shops for blowing up tyres. Cut off the tyre adaptor & using a suitable flexible pipe, connect it to into the boiler's blower directly. The blower is often fitted to the chimney on a stationary boiler which makes it easy.

Lighting up:

Make sure that the boiler is at least half full of water, then using either small pieces of charcoal or wood, soaked in paraffin or white spirit, place a good quantity of this material through the firehole & onto the firebars. When you feel that there is sufficient in there, light a splinter, introduce it into the firehole to light the contents therein. At the same time, as soon as the fire is lit, start the "blower". At this point it is a good idea to spend a little time oiling up your engine & checking that you  have a good feedwater supply at hand.

Don't forget that once steam is raised, the blower is using the steam, so the water level will drop - keep your eye on the water level at all times. When the pressure hits 50psi, it is time to pump some water in so that the water level rises to the top of the gauge.

If all is well, the engine should be running merrily, the water level should be near the top of the gauge glass & the whole thing should be smelling pretty good!

I hope you have found this guide useful - please give it a "helpful" vote. Thanks for looking.

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