Making Miscellaneous Equipment

Referring to the description of the various pieces of ancilliary equipment we will need for the first Steam Balloon flight (which you can read here), the most photogenic one is the water ballast bag. We have achieved a high efficiency here: the bag we made is capable of holding more than 300 kg of water, and it is perfectly robust, yet it only weighs about 2 kg. As you can see from the photos, its potential drain rate is more than adequate:

Through the good offices of Philip Hopes, we obtained an electrically powered blower originally used for inflating bouncy castles. It certainly blows one hell of a blast of air! We equipped it with an air piping system intended for cold inflation of the envelope, as shown below:

At the end of the piping you can see the first version of the "drainage/diffuser contraption" we have made to seal the bottom end of the Steam Balloon. Remember, it is more like a gas balloon than a hot-air balloon - the bottom mustn't be left open, because the steam would escape. Yet it is necessary to drain out the condensed water. This unit allows water to drain out while keeping steam in, and furthermore incorporates a large-diameter connector for filling the envelope with steam in the first place, and a diffuser structure to break up the jet of inrushing steam.

As seen from on top - the arrows show the holes down into which the condensed water drains:

From directly on top - you can see the internal piping for draining the water. The steam supply rushing in through the large connector at the bottom will be diffused by collision with the piping.

As seen from below - the drainage piping comes together to the pipe with the red stop-cock:

We are not actually sure that this unit has great enough draining capacity, and it may not diffuse the incoming steam effectively enough. We may well build a Mark II - watch this space!

The load frame we have made is conventional in concept, if not in appearance.... it looks like something one might use in a black magic ritual; but actually the reinforcement bars are for the sake of strength, not decoration or invocation!

Finally, we haven't yet built the pilot seat; but here is a picture (taken from the Web) of a typical such seat:

When we get round to it, the seat won't take long to make.... or perhaps some well-wisher will contribute one ?.....

Finally you can read here about the experimental flight boiler we are making....

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