The Steam Powered Generator

A Mike Brown one horsepower horizontal mill engine and a Beckmann 1 HP VFT-5 Boiler were purchased. A Teel bronze gear pump was added to supply the boiler with a constant stream of water while the engine is running. A cart was welded together to permit mobility for the generator. A system of gears and pulleys was then constructed to turn a 1/4 horsepower 12 volt DC motor, which generates electricity. This rig was originally propane fired using a 50,000 BTU burner. I now fire it with coal and wood (more heat!) A box with an ammeter and voltmeter keeps track of the output. A 4' stack extension was later added and exausted steam was routed up the stack (a "blower"). This modification caused a twofold increase in power!
Note: This project is not practical for generating power for a home or business. The components are too expensive, the unit requires too much maintenance, the horsepower ouput is low for the size of the unit, and the unit needs to be watched constantly when it is running to prevent an explosion. I do not have any plans for constructing this system. A much more practical and less expensive solution for generating power from solid fuel would be to build a gasifier and use the wood gas to run a gasoline engine. More about this at:

The best step-by-step book for building your own gasifier is "CONSTRUCTION OF A SIMPLIFIED WOOD GAS GENERATOR" available at:

See more photos of the generator in action here!
Here is a closeup of the Beckmann Boiler
Here are some photos of the old rig with the homemade boiler

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