Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Any steam Cooking /Distilling Device

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Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby FuelMaker » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:33 pm

Had an idea for a steam vacuum breaker that should be simple and bulletproof but I wanted to bounce it off the collective.

Take a 3/4" copper pipe, cut it an inch long and cap off the end. Fill the cap with 1/8"-1/4" of solder & heat it up until its molten then drop a marble in ,center the marble and let it cool.

After cooling drill out a 1/8" or so hole up through the cap and pop out the marble. Since the original marble probably just got scratched up put a new one in its place.

Then attach the pipe/marble assembly to the bottom of a horizontal tee and put it inline with your steam line. Normal steam pressure should keep the marble seated but as soon as there is a slight vacuum in the line atmospheric pressure should pop the marble up out of its seat and release the vacuum. I did some back-of-the-envelope calcs and a 5/8" glass marble with a 1/8" hole under it should release at around .08 psi pressure differential. Low enough to keep from sucking gunk back into your steam wand.

Anybody see any problems? I'm thinking the marble might leak a drip or two without a perfect seat, or initally covering the marble in a thin coating of silicone before dunking it in the solder so it doesnt stick, the silicone would be cleaned out after it all cooled. My crappy paint drawing isnt quite to the scale I'm describing but should get the idea across.

Thoughts?
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby Hank Reardon » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:01 pm

FuelMaker wrote:
Thoughts?


The concept works for folks moving fluid and vapor all the time. You can search the inter-web for steam check valve and find a lot of examples. There are a few designs in addition to yours.

I'm not sure you would get the glass marble to seat to a full seal though. In addition, I would prefer to not use glass if there is an alternative...but that is my personal choice.

For my injector, I have a hand valve I open before reducing heat to the boiler. It works well for me.

Good luck with your project.
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby FuelMaker » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:33 am

You're right, I was just being cheap. The ball-and-seat vacuum breakers I'm seeing online are about $80 or so. Compared to the overall cost of my build, 80 bucks is nothing.

I should just get a commercially made one so I dont have a steam leak. Especially at the steam temps I'll be working at.
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby Brutal » Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:04 am

Seems like with a stainless ball bearing it would be a good plan. You could install a light SS spring above it to hold it in place, but it would have to be a light one. Would be even more sweet if you could use an SS bearing in a press to imprint it's shape right into the copper. Then just drill a hole and polish. Maybe press the bearing into the inside of the cap with a socket just a little smaller under it.
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby DeepSouth » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:18 pm

This is the model vacuum relief that I use on my still and mash cooker steam jacket.

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Zurn-12-VR10XL-1-2-VR10-Vacuum-Relief-Valve-MNPTLead-Free
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby shadylane » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:55 pm

FuelMaker Just a thought
A food grade sealant would probably be Ok to use if there's only steam and not any alcohol vapor.
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby FuelMaker » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:01 pm

DeepSouth wrote:This is the model vacuum relief that I use on my still and mash cooker steam jacket.

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Zurn-12-VR10XL-1-2-VR10-Vacuum-Relief-Valve-MNPTLead-Free


Thanks! Thats half the price of the ones I've found so far. They're out of stock right now but I'm in no rush, I'm still working on making a shallow cone bottom for my boiler.

shadylane wrote:FuelMaker Just a thought
A food grade sealant would probably be Ok to use if there's only steam and not any alcohol vapor.


I dunno, I can see the sealant sticking to the ball and coming up with it at vacuum release and then interfering with. I'm thinking metal to metal contact is the way to go. Unless the entire seat is made of silicone.
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby Hank Reardon » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:03 pm

Brutal wrote:Seems like with a stainless ball bearing it would be a good plan. You could install a light SS spring above it to hold it in place, but it would have to be a light one. Would be even more sweet if you could use an SS bearing in a press to imprint it's shape right into the copper. Then just drill a hole and polish. Maybe press the bearing into the inside of the cap with a socket just a little smaller under it.


I'm a fan of the press and SS bearing. Smart stuff there. :)
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby jedneck » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:19 am

research manometer. works as a over pressure and vacuum break. can be made for a few dollars
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby FuelMaker » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:40 am

jedneck wrote:research manometer. works as a over pressure and vacuum break. can be made for a few dollars


The the trouble with a manometer is that one tall enough to handle even a small overpressure like 5 PSI would be way more than enough to let gunk get sucked in the wand and all the way back to the steam generator.

The more I think about it the more I'm sure that it'd be almost impossible to get a leak free seal with just a drilled hole, even if it was pressed into a copper cap. The precision you'd need far exceeds what you could do with a drill press.

The only way I think a homebrew solution would work would be if you pressed a SS ball into a cap, drilled the hole, roughed up the pressed cone with 120 grit sandpaper, put a film of high temp silicone (permatex) in the cone, coated your SS ball with thin film of vaseline, dropped it in and let it cure. By curing in place around the ball it'd give you the precision needed to get a leak free seal.

BTW, a pack of 10 1/2 inch stainless balls can be found on Amazon for about $7.80 (just looked)
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Re: Easy DIY steam vacuum breaker

Postby shadylane » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:15 pm

There's a trick I learned from working on Harley Davidson oil pumps.
You can make a tool for lapping a hole by Gluing or brazing a steel ball to a short piece of rod.
Or you could use an automotive push rod http://www.bigboyzheadporting.com/showthread.php?t=87
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