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Building a ceramic burner

6441 Views 129 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  RioGrandeFan
I have been having issues with the ceramic burner supplied with my C-18 locomotive. I haven't reached out to the manufacturer yet. I could be simply experiencing a defective burner that doesn't perform like the rest that were produced. I don't want to make any negative remarks towards the manufacturer for something that could be an anomaly.
Besides steam production, there are many great comments I, and other steamers, make about this engine. Very smooth, self starting, perfectly timed out of the box. Excellent boiler insulation in the design. Just a wonderful engine if I get a good fire. The manual even specifically says a strong fire is needed (from the supplied burner.)

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Since my primary running season is outdoors in Wisconsin winters, I find it obvious that I will require a more capable than stock burner. And because I simply want to build something, I haven't tried before, I am starting this.

The existing burner has a surface area of 2.1 square inches, without modifications to the the rest of the engine I can increase the burner to 3 square inches. A 43% increase in burner surface area. This will also help seal off the bottom of the firebox as I'm told is necessary for a ceramic burner.

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I will be switching to the "hard" ceramic material in this burner.

I am hoping that Bill will weigh in with his insights on ceramic burners.

My design calls for 1 inch wide by 3 inches long and 0.93 inches tall. I will be increasing the length of the jet tube to resemble Bill's design in this post.
This post of Bill's build thread. Is the best I found with details of the burner design. His Blue Comet article in Steam in the Garden also has some details on burner design.

If there are other informative posts for ceramic burner design I would greatly appreciate them.
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I'm following this thread with interest and have already built ceramic burners myself with more or less success.
Among other things, a burner for an Aster 3-cylinder Shay, the Shay has been resold, I still have the burner, it has worked best for me so far, after a while it burns with an orange-red ceramic plate,
I also own a ceramic burner from Regner Aurach, they also burn with an orange-red ceramic plate.

What I found out about the Regner burner, the burner tube goes through the whole brass box to the other end and has slits on the bottom half, these point towards the ground and have been cut with a thin circular saw blade about half the diameter of the burner tube deep. Having seen this on the burner purchased, the burner was built for the Aster-Shay and as described above develops a beautiful orange-red flame.

I hope I expressed myself clearly here, I created the text with a translation program.

There is also an interesting post in a German forum about a self-made ceramic burner, of course everything in German, but with a translation I think you can read some of the builder's experience.

Greetings, Gerald
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