Remember the boiler?

Here’s an update on Sabino’s new boiler.
When we last saw the old boiler in the boat, shel looked like this.

The white blobby material is insulation on the steam drum.

She was brought out of the boat by crane, and carried over to the machine shop with our trusty old Caterpillar fork truck.

Once in the machine shop, her outer covering was removed, exposing the network of piping that surrounds her fire box. The white insulation has been removed from the steam drum, and you can see how all the feeder pipes are led into the drum.

Unfortunately, the old girl was ready to be retired, so the search began for a company that could design and build a new boiler that would fit the tight confines of Sabino, as well as pass the specialized regulations governing a steam operated vessel. It wasn’t easy.

The museum has been steadily fundraising for a new boiler over the past year.  We’d been seeking bids from boiler makers for a while, and eventually settled on the folks at Potts Welding and Boiler Repair.  Their design passed Coast Guard review, and once enough capital had been raised, they started moving forward building her.

Fast forward to this January, and work has begun in earnest.

This is the new steam drum, that large cylinder on top of the boiler. It’s clamped to the bed of a machine that is precisely milling the ends of the drum. You can see how shiny the edge is on this end.

The other end of the drum. The blurry squiggle near the center of the photo is a curly steel shaving produced by the milling machine.

The steam drum is now mounted on a CNC (computer controlled) milling machine that will drill a series of precise holes to accept the steam tubes.

The ends have been milled for the steam drum.

The drilling and chamfering of the steam drum holes proceeding nicely.

Milling larger holes in the steam drum.

Completed steam drum!

These are the steam pipes that are heated by the coal fire in the boiler. The water in these pipes will turn to steam and collect in the steam drum.

Whereas the old boiler’s tubing was made with separate straight sections and couplings, the new boiler tubes are single pieces that have been bent to shape.

Fewer joints means fewer places where the pipe could potentially fail.

And now it all starts to come together.

The lower pipes paralleling the steam drum are called the mud drums by the way. Not sure why, but you could probably impress someone at a party with that knowledge.

All of the steam pipes are welded to their respective drums.

We’re very excited about how nicely this is all coming along!