SRSMEEBBQ January, '99 Meeting Report

Here are some of the photos taken at our first gathering, this January 9th. It was a most auspicious date to begin: Emperor Norton Day! Despite fog and temperatures in the forties, we had a fairly decent turnout for a first outing: something like 18 people, who made the trek from as far away as Lake Tahoe and Silicon Valley. Those present had backgrounds varying from software engineers to machinist, with hobbies ranging from flying model airplanes to building and operating steamboats. The "culture clash" was most interesting!

Although some were a bit shy when it came to talking about their projects, there were a few individuals who made up for this with show-and-tell items and one incredible demonstration of the power of unleashed steam!

Not the warmest day of the year for a barbecue! Well, it didn't rain and the sun eventually came out. We circled the lawn chairs in a small portion of sunny driveway for the meeting and after that...
Things got really interesting! In this photo Todd Guldenbrein surveys his handiwork, a VFT boiler with a steam pipe connected where a whistle would normally be attached. When the valve is given a "toot", up goes a jet of steam, preceeded by...
...a 2-liter soda bottle! First wrap some teflon tape a foot or so from the end of a length of 1/2" pipe that's connected to a whistle valve, then fill the soda bottle about half-way with a little water (we found that out after this photo was taken) and slip it over the pipe, until the mouth of the bottle snugs up on the teflon tape. Now you've got a steam-powered rocket launcher!
The best shot of the day and my camera wasn't fast enough to catch the "rocket" in flight. With the prevailing breeze most of the soda bottles landed just about where they had taken off.
Here's the rocket that performed best of the lot. Notice Todd's handiwork with the added tape-and-cardstock nosecone and stabilizing tail fins.
SPLAT! Launching was a drenching experience as anyone caught beneath the trajectory could attest. And at barely 55 degrees in what little sun we had... well, Todd was dedicated!
And as long as we had steam up, there were other engines to run. This is a rotary vane pump brought along by Steve Harcourt. As an engine. it made a beautiful turbine-like noise and belched out a wonderful plume of steam, but this reporter suspects it's not terribly efficient in this mode.
Here Wesley Harcourt tinkers with my 1/12 scale model of one of the two compound steam engine-and-generator sets used to produce DC power for lights on board the Titanic.
That's a Maytag ...lawnmower! Somewhat rare, I acquired it recently from Dick Vennerbeck in a swap. Dick couldn't make it this day, but Bart Smaalders did and brought it along for the ride.
Jim and Marion Tangeman drove all the way from Orland, CA. Marion brought a cake which was devoured before I could take a picture of it and Jim brought along this beautiful 3-cylinder Stirling engine of his own design.
Here's a close-up of Jim's propane burner. The flame pipes are just copper tubes, wide open at the ends. There is one small orifice placed in an air-mixing inlet, at the left, near his hand.
Some of the gang take a break from the chilly air to view videos of sub-micro radio control aircraft and cannon shenanigans.