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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/29/2007 4:48:54 PM EST
My friend and I are considering building a 5 to 10 hp steam engine to run a generator head to run our machine shop. External combustion will be useable long after the fuel has dried up!

I may start looking into Diesel because its easier to make fuel for it from plant products, but its also for fuel diversity. We have a couple of gas generators. Having a diesel will just give us more options.

After all the diesel and gas is used up, we will already have the means to continue to work after everyone else is toast. If some one got smart and started bringing coal up from West Virginia, then we could trade for it and be more efficient.

What do you guys think?
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 4:52:18 PM EST
could work. But from what I remember, steam engines use up alot of resources on their own and can/are dangerous to a degree. (course Im thinking locomotives. lol)
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 4:58:43 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2007 5:23:26 PM EST by TomJefferson]
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:00:41 PM EST
High pressure steam is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master..

I'd consider a low pressure 15psi or less, with a BIG piston and a very large flywheel. You'll go thru a tremendous amount of fuel, but if it's firewood or free coal, it's doable.

Research boilers made by Bryan Steam. VERY safe.

Ops
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:06:32 PM EST
Even better, research the Sterling engine.
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:11:22 PM EST
Locally there are steam threshing shows that bring back the steam powered era of agriculture. The machines are huge beasts that belch smoke and make quite a racket. per pound they are immense for the power they produce. A 15-20 hp steam engine weighs tons and moves at a walking pace. They are great for repetitive motions whether it be a flywheel for moving a belt for a thresher or a sawmill blade. The people that operate them are very unique and they enjoy the thrill of making something antique move. As far as a modern system you'd better be a good welder, machinist or mechanic as they are temperamental creatures and require a tremendous amount of TLC to keep them in tune and running well.
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:14:42 PM EST

Originally Posted By FrankSymptoms:
Even better, research the Sterling engine.


While Sterlings are interesting, they have to be gigantic to do the same amount of work as a much smaller steam version.

We will have to do some serious research on low pressure steam engines. Making a very large, aluminum piston would not be hard at all. I really enjoy cool projects and this is one that I could sink my teeth into, even while I am flying around the country.

I am sure that I will get lots of great suggestions for things to research.
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:20:00 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2007 5:23:45 PM EST by batmanacw]

Originally Posted By jp_72:
Locally there are steam threshing shows that bring back the steam powered era of agriculture. The machines are huge beasts that belch smoke and make quite a racket. per pound they are immense for the power they produce. A 15-20 hp steam engine weighs tons and moves at a walking pace. They are great for repetitive motions whether it be a flywheel for moving a belt for a thresher or a sawmill blade. The people that operate them are very unique and they enjoy the thrill of making something antique move. As far as a modern system you'd better be a good welder, machinist or mechanic as they are temperamental creatures and require a tremendous amount of TLC to keep them in tune and running well.


I think that maybe you are misunderstanding our goal. We will build a very modern machine with light weight materials and multiple cylinders. We are not going to recreate some prehistoric beast with drive wheels. This will be a modern engine that will only need to provide power to a single generator head.

We will definitely build in a 3 to 1 safety ratio with safety valves that will vent excess pressures. Infact, we could easily build in a top pressure ceiling that would just vent excess pressure. I could make that in my sleep.


Remember, this is not an attempt to power our shop every day. We have this nifty stuff called electricity to run it every day, as long as we send a check every month!

We already have a couple of gas generators, but what do we do after a couple of weeks and its all gone? This is our idea for a solution. Maybe not the best, but it is 10 times more efficient than the old time belt driven factories as we will not loose any power to friction and belts.
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 5:30:11 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2007 5:31:38 PM EST by fxntime]
You would be far better off to build a wood gas generator setup, and use the gas to power a more modern engine without electronic controls. Not talking about gasoline, but they setup that the french especially used during WW2.

I had a really good writeup floating around somewhere, it basically converted wood to wood gas via charcoal bed and you used to wood gas to run the engine.

Link Posted: 9/29/2007 6:20:20 PM EST
I love to build stuff, but there are two things I stay away from, stuff that blows up, and stuff that could blow up.

If I was you, I would not rsearch how to do it, but research for someone who has done it and knows what is going on. Ask enough people and you will find an old timer who knows what is going on or like someone else said, go to one of those old steam engine shows, and make friends.

They would probably love to teach you what they know as these days all anyone wants to do is play computer games or texted each other.
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 6:47:35 PM EST
How long do you want this to last after TEOTWAWKI?

You are going to need lubrication, where will you get that? What other modern things will you need that you can not make yourself?

WAY COOL project!!!
Link Posted: 9/29/2007 7:02:47 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/29/2007 7:03:13 PM EST by Tommygun45]

Originally Posted By Ops:
High pressure steam is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master..

I'd consider a low pressure 15psi or less, with a BIG piston and a very large flywheel. You'll go thru a tremendous amount of fuel, but if it's firewood or free coal, it's doable.

Research boilers made by Bryan Steam. VERY safe.

Ops


+1
I worked on some steam powerd ships years ago, HP steam is some scarry stuff. we ran 600# for the main turbines. I was told that if a steam line ever leaked it could cut you in half before you realized ther was a leak.
The steam cycle, from memory, is
Boiler, throttle box, HP turbine, LP turbine, Condenser, condensate pump, return to the Boiler
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 1:19:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By TomJefferson:
You can't do that, the Aliens hit us with a ray that takes out all things machinery even chemicals so we have to all go back to riding horses.................whoops, that was a book.

It was a book and I think they spent three chapters on the pseudo-science so the author could have witches, cowboys, and knights on their shiny steeds. Wish I could remember the name?

I personally love steam engines. We've had some great threads on them in the past mainly the low pressure steam engines.

If you pursue your project, I'm sure we'd love to see what you come up with.

In general, I think the day of the large industrial steam engine is pretty much over bypassed by technology. Though a low pressure engine can be made from things you find so can an alternate fuel internal combustion engine that uses fuels like alcohol or natural gas. If you have the means to make an industrial steam engine then you have the means to make more efficient internal combustion engines.

As for boilers in general, I think they are having a major comeback. They never quite went away and are used in industry all the time especially power generation and refining. They are becoming very popular in home heating both steam and hot water systems. They're very efficient way to heat a home.

Tj



I think you mean "Dies the Fire", by S.M. Stirling.


Steve
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 2:35:45 AM EST
You should read Steam Plant Operation by Woodruff,Lammers,Lammers.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 3:28:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2007 3:33:44 AM EST by Tight-group]

Originally Posted By fxntime:
You would be far better off to build a wood gas generator setup, and use the gas to power a more modern engine without electronic controls. Not talking about gasoline, but they setup that the french especially used during WW2.

I had a really good writeup floating around somewhere, it basically converted wood to wood gas via charcoal bed and you used to wood gas to run the engine.



I believe this is a much simpiler

solution for the long run and a much broader application, you could run the oil straight(in a diesel)

with proper preheat and travel work the garden etc. not to mention if you had

heavy equipment how much your services would be in demand.

the glasifer would work with your gas stuff, I bet you could make your own much

cheaper.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 6:46:59 AM EST


This machine has to be driven by something. If there is no electricity, then I would have to drive it with a diesel motor run by the Bio fuel it creates. Then I would be burning up the fuel I need for my generator. Perpetual motion machines of any type don't work. This would litterally be one if it could produce enough to run even itself. How much bio mass does it need to provide its maximum output?

I don't see why burning something in a controlled, insulated container is more difficult than moving litterally tons of organic material a day. I could use just about anything that buns to get steam. Even dried crap or Zombies if I had to!

A large piston engine with a very efficient boiler would be much easier to control and would not be hard to maintain and all I have to do is burn stuff. Low pressure will definitely be the way to go.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 6:49:56 AM EST
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 7:50:25 AM EST
you can make an ineffecient steam endine out of a pressure cooker 12' of 1/4" copper tune and a small 2 cycle engine, just unscrew the spark plug and replae with a fitting for the tube, and connect the other end to the cooker.

I'm not sure how to describe the theory of operation but as the piston moves up past the port the pressure rises, as it passes tdc it is even higher with the net result of tourqe as the piston moves past the port the pressure drops to 0 ai the head but there is still some pressure at the boiler due to the restriction of the 1/4" tube.

I made one of these in hs and the instructor couldn't figure out how it worked.[ used commpressed air tho]
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 9:01:51 AM EST

At the local steam show there is more then just the big steam tractors. They have all sorts of small steam engines. Many workshops long ago used to have a small steam engine. They used belts to switch from powering drills or saws. Also many of the small steam engines (type that powered workshops) were for sale. Ever notice that many old houses have the garage seperate from the house. They considered internal combustion engines very dangerous back then. Steam engines were first made with low pressure and with time and better technologues got to higher and higher pressures. As for it taking so much fuel, people still use firewood for heat. We are not talking about hundreds of milions of steam engines. There will be enough fuel.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 9:15:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By Waldo:

Better brush up on your backyard skin grafting skills.


Your funny! Whanna come help?
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:24:03 PM EST

It was a book and I think they spent three chapters on the pseudo-science so the author could have witches, cowboys, and knights on their shiny steeds. Wish I could remember the name?



dies in a fire! Im on the 3rd book now lol,. its actually pretty good.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:24:48 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/30/2007 12:30:39 PM EST by aaron_fsp]




I believe this is a much simpiler

solution for the long run and a much broader application, you could run the oil straight(in a diesel)

with proper preheat and travel work the garden etc.


I visited the link, and was looking at the wood gasification generator,
(which has the longest URL in history) located here: cgi.ebay.com/NEW-PRODUCER-GAS-KIT-DIESEL-GAS-FUEL-GASOLINE-REMOTE_W0QQitemZ110173460666QQihZ001QQcategoryZ1269Q­QcmdZViewItem

This seller has a sense of humor...here is what I saw reading the specs:

Specifications

1)Gas output is about 5 CFM

2)Gasification efficiency is about 70%

3)The continuous power output from the gas is about 7-9 HP

4)THE USER UNDERSTANDS THAT COMBUSTIBLE GASES CAN BE LETHAL, AND IF HE OR SHE IS UNSURE AS TO SAFETY, THEY UNDERSTAND THAT THEY SHOULD NOT OPERATE THE UNIT, AND SHOULD USE IT ONLY FOR STATIC DIPLAY PURPOSES.

5)The user also understands that metal parts can cut, fire can burn, and wood pellets and chips, etc, can be harmful if chewed or ingested, and if they are uncertain as to whether they can be safe, they should seal the unit in a suitable thick material such as clear plexiglass, or have it sealed by a trained professional, and use it only as a display "under plastic".

6)The user also is reminded that the lifting of heavy weights can cause troubles, such as muscle strains, ruptures, herniation, and if there is any question as to any lifting, they should hire professionals.

7) The user also understands that, since this unit was assembled in a remote location, there could be problems with germs, etc, and that if there is any question as to the safety of the user(s), they should wear full sterile gear to prevent contamination, or hire professionals for this purpose.

8) The seller HIGHLY RECOMMENDS THAT NO ONE EVER ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING DANGEROUS, OR THAT IS POSSIBLY DANGEROUS, AND REMEMBER THAT THE SAFEST COURSE OF ACTION IS TO DO NOTHING AT ALL!!!


9) This unit can be very easily assembled, but we are calling it a kit so YOU have the responsibility for safely running it!!!

Customers are always welcome to get their own shipping quotes, or we are glad to help.
More shipping info is listed below.

Please email me, sawyer335@gmail.com for any questions.

Fair warning, we have a VERY limited supply...




Here is a PDF file "How-to" for a wood gasification generator which
was connected to a small tractor during an Oak Ridge Natl Lab project
for FEMA.

www.webpal.org/webpal/b_recovery/3_alternate_energy/woodgas/fema_wood_gas_generator.pdf

Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:28:09 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:30:04 PM EST
Steam engine... tree's and burnable fuels are ABUNDANT!!! unless your in the desert...
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:39:20 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:42:06 PM EST
batmanacw,

For safety purposes, a stirling engine is much better than a steam engine. It is also more efficient, especially for small scale applications.

What steam gives you is more power. It is difficult to scale up the stirling engine.

Stirling engines are also easier to maintain than steam engines, and they don't have a required temperature. A stirling engine will give you power based on the tempure you give it, where as the steam engine needs to reach boiling temperature to start working.

Given these considerations, in a TEOWAWKI situation, an array of stirling engines is more optimal than a steam engine.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 12:51:06 PM EST
I think that there is alot of misconceptions about modern steam power. I can make it as safe as any gasoline engine. That is not the problem.

Sterling cannot even come close to running a generator head unless it was gigantic. The power to weight ratio is astonishing. A sterling that made enough power to put out 5 hp would be the size of a car or bigger. I can't even afford the materials. It just won't get it done.

My friend is looking into designs, but we will probably be flash heating the steam so we won't be storing a huge amount of steam. I don't have all the details right now, but as soon as I get them I will share them.

The boiler will be about the size of a 55 gallon drum.
Link Posted: 9/30/2007 5:05:54 PM EST

My friend is looking into designs, but we will probably be flash heating the steam so we won't be storing a huge amount of steam. I don't have all the details right now, but as soon as I get them I will share them.


As far as I remember Flash steam requires a vaccuum to opperate. At least that is how our Flash evap unit worked.
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 2:41:11 PM EST
Stirling engines have promise for low tech bio-mass work generation ( water pumping, dc power, home heating, etc )

www.stirling-tech.com/stirlingengine.htm



There is also a solar driven stirling engine power generation system that is being produced in Arizona. It is producing about 25kw on a 38 foot dia dish...that is more than enough power for a few homes if used properly.



www.stirlingenergy.com/

There are many options out there....just not easy to obtain ones....

Link Posted: 10/4/2007 6:40:53 PM EST
http://www.stirlingenergy.com/images/RJM54s.jpg

Solar Powered Directed Energy Weapons! Gotta' get one!
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 6:44:08 PM EST
If I remember correctly, the Tweetsie Railroad locomotive was running a boiler pressure of 170 lbs and it was pulling quite a few cars the day my family visited. My home air conditioner runs about 275 head pressure on a hot day and I don't think about it blowing up. Most commerical power plants and warships run 600 lbs plus of steam pressure to get the best power output per lb of machinery. It takes high tech pipe welding and presure vessels to keep that in place. But if petroleum fuels become unavailable, the reciprocating steam engine is usable as an equipment power source by running it on firewood. It can also be built using less than high tech machinery too as most recips used leather top seals on the pistons. Steam turbines require precision tolerances, high speed seals, and pressure lubed bearings. Possibly too impractical to assemble in a TEOTWAWKI scenerio.

RS
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 7:34:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By batmanacw:

This machine has to be driven by something. If there is no electricity, then I would have to drive it with a diesel motor run by the Bio fuel it creates. Then I would be burning up the fuel I need for my generator. Perpetual motion machines of any type don't work. This would litterally be one if it could produce enough to run even itself. How much bio mass does it need to provide its maximum output?
....
....


I don't think you are thinking about this correctly, a diesel powered oil generator is not a perpetual motion machine. You can make far more fuel then you need to power the press.

Where does the energy come from?... The sun + water + earth -> photosynthesis -> oil plants -> oil. The plants are harvesting the energy of the sun.


Gallons per day yield will be 300-900/day

On a lister engine I bet it's 75gal per gal or running fuel. Thats if you can grow 6 tons of rapeseed.

-JTP
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 7:35:55 PM EST
Do you stay out of Starbucks because they have 'Dangerous' espresso machines? I have a great deal of experience rebuilding espresso machines and steam IS dangerous...but EVERYTHING these days is dangerous. The advantage to steam I can see is multiple ways to fire a boiler. Natural Gas will be big soon. I persoanlly think it's a good idea, as long as you are prepared to deal with extreme safety precautions - ie: teaching operators about high-pressure steam. I was burnt once from water leaking off an espresso machine - worst burn I ever had. Having said that, I would have a steam-powered car if they made them.
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 7:36:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By radioshooter:
If I remember correctly, the Tweetsie Railroad locomotive was running a boiler pressure of 170 lbs and it was pulling quite a few cars the day my family visited. My home air conditioner runs about 275 head pressure on a hot day and I don't think about it blowing up. Most commerical power plants and warships run 600 lbs plus of steam pressure to get the best power output per lb of machinery. It takes high tech pipe welding and presure vessels to keep that in place. But if petroleum fuels become unavailable, the reciprocating steam engine is usable as an equipment power source by running it on firewood. It can also be built using less than high tech machinery too as most recips used leather top seals on the pistons. Steam turbines require precision tolerances, high speed seals, and pressure lubed bearings. Possibly too impractical to assemble in a TEOTWAWKI scenerio.

RS



A steam turbine would be way too complicated and need way too high pressure. A very simple piston driven steam engine would suffice. It won't be a big smoke belcher or anything dangerous. I don't know what pressure will be required, but it will be safe for sure.

Did anyone see the size of the sterling engine posted above? There is no freakin way I am building a super monstrosity! This steam engine will be small enough to pick up with two people if you don't include the boiler.

The boiler will be high heat, but not high pressure.

This engine will be running a generator head and thats it! Maybe a circulation pump as well. We will see when my friend gets the plans together.

I will keep you guys posted on the details.
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 7:50:31 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/4/2007 7:51:33 PM EST by Morg308]
The problem with steam-powered piston plants is bleed-by on the rings. crankcase oil becomes contaminated very quickly with H2O if a ring goes bad. Same thing applies to compressor heads however, although there isn't as much moisture. Check out compressor heads in McMaster -Carr & Grainger catalogues. CFM is something to keep in mind too. They used large flywheels and 'slip' on belt-driven pulleys because the early steam engines needed to build up torque IIRC. The 'advantage' electric 'runabouts' had back then was instant torque. Funny, but I look at those old, light buggy-bodied horseless carriages with electric motors, running on bicycle wheels, and I think 'the perfect TEOTWAWKI vehicle! (If you have a way to charge it. Windmills coming to mind...)
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 8:46:50 PM EST
Steam power is viable but can be expensive to set up. There are a number of home made steam plants for boats. On Lake Union in Seattle there is a steam launch named Puffin, at the Center for Wooden Boats. There was another across the sound which was run on compressed bricks of junk mail. There are kits and plans available for exactly the kind of plant you want. I'll look around for a title. I think the most difficulty you're going to have with the generator is speed. The jets can be manually adjusted but you will still need a governor. You need to keep the alternator running at a speed matching the windings to make electricity at 60 hertz. With the electrical load changing all the time, and it will, you'll need something to keep the boiler pressures and temps balanced. You can run a steam plant without automation, but it will need to be manned. Steam plants are not dangerous if you know what you're doing and that's not very difficult. Steam leaks are common and aren't fatal. You'll see the condensate before the steam gets you unless you run around blind like an idiot. All kinds of fuel can make steam.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 9:36:31 PM EST
staff.washington.edu/sbtroy/turbine/turbine.html

A tesla turbine could be made in a home shop and run at 5- 15 psi with a pressure cooker to charge batteries, you could reclaim the heat and drink the condensate.
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 9:52:20 PM EST
A lot of people seem to be scared of steam engines.

Personally, I've been around them all my life (my Grandfather worked for Tarmac all his life and bought one of their steam rollers when they got a round to scrapping them - my Dad's into scale steam (model steam locomotives that can pull 12-15 people)).

The most common failure point on boilers is the seams. However, if you use a piece of extruded tube (and big pieces of copper tube are available if you hunt) then you have something far stronger than anything pre-industrial revolution.


The biggest problem I see with using a steam engine to power the workshop is that if a part fails then you no longer have the means to make a replacement - got to have a backup system (maybe just build 2 - one for the shop, one for the house?)
Link Posted: 10/5/2007 10:14:19 PM EST
Since the OP stated that this is to generate power to run Machine tools....

You will need to build this unit yourself. I would use a 4 piston flat opposed config (like a old VW engine) such that each cylinder has nearly double the capacity of the prior cylinder. By having the steam expand more in each progressive cylinder before being exhausted into a condenser you will extract the maximum thermal to kinetic energy.

The small cylinder might be only a 1" bore and work up from there. Proper timing will allow for minimal flywheel mass. Target running rpm should be 600-900 rpm using a 3:1 or 2:1 belt drive to turn a 3phase generator with a designed running speed of 1800 rpm.

Engines like the above are used in cars driven by compressed air.

This means that a solar powered steam generator might produce enough continuous pressure to run your 3ph generator a good portion of the day.
Link Posted: 10/6/2007 3:29:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By ProfGAB101:
Since the OP stated that this is to generate power to run Machine tools....

You will need to build this unit yourself. I would use a 4 piston flat opposed config (like a old VW engine) such that each cylinder has nearly double the capacity of the prior cylinder. By having the steam expand more in each progressive cylinder before being exhausted into a condenser you will extract the maximum thermal to kinetic energy.

The small cylinder might be only a 1" bore and work up from there. Proper timing will allow for minimal flywheel mass. Target running rpm should be 600-900 rpm using a 3:1 or 2:1 belt drive to turn a 3phase generator with a designed running speed of 1800 rpm.

Engines like the above are used in cars driven by compressed air.

This means that a solar powered steam generator might produce enough continuous pressure to run your 3ph generator a good portion of the day.


This is interesting information and I will look into it. My generator will be single phase as all of my equipment is single phase already. Its running on regular power now.

As far as back up, which is a good point, I will have two gas generators that I would run instead of the steam as long as I could. Once the gas was gone, then I would have to build another steam engine for a back up.

My shop is surrounded by woods so using a windmill would not be possible either.
Link Posted: 10/6/2007 9:53:55 AM EST
I drew up a design in college that would run a VW flat-four on compressed air and everyone told me I was crazy. Same thing when I conceived a 'surfboard for snow'. I really need to STOP listening to my friends.
Link Posted: 10/7/2007 8:19:07 PM EST
I would suggest starting off with a small, simple system. A wood-fired, 1 HP unit driving a car alternator to put out 12VDC. Use it to keep a bank of batteries charged. The batteries would then be used for running a variety of 12v goodies, from ham radios to 12v fluorescents to battery chargers. All the smaller loads you have to deal with when the power goes out. Rely on the batteries to handle load fluctuation, and run the engine/genny on a daily schedule to replace daily consumption.

Then move on to Big Bertha.

For folks scared of steam, you could locate the boiler and engine in a cinder block outbuilding. Its kind strange that folks are all worked up about how dangerous steam used to be, but 100-120 years ago natural gas was blowing up houses and apartment buildings rather frequently but gas appliances don't scare people these days. Worry more about the halfwits on the freeway than a runaway boiler.
Link Posted: 10/7/2007 9:03:43 PM EST
Most people have a hazard under the hood of their car,
but dont seem to afraid. Ever wonder why the radiator
cap has a warning not to open when hot? My future pipe
dream (no pun intended) incorporates a 12vdc alternator
concept as well. They will be readily available when
cars have no gasoline available to operate. If you plan
to use steam, START LEARNING NOW. A mistake with
steam post SHTF such as a third degree burn could
prove fatal.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 7:24:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/9/2007 9:38:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By ROOSTER15:
You should read Steam Plant Operation by Woodruff,Lammers,Lammers.


Big +1 on that. It's the bible about boilers. (You go to Ranken?) I still have mine. Lots of things to consider, feed water, corrosion treatment, electrolytic corrosion control, oxygen scavengers, water hardness....

Not to discourage you, just realize there's a lot more than meets the eye that goes on behind the scenes to ensure A) it's safe, and B) stays safe, and C) it lasts for more than just a couple of months without rusting away to useless junk
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