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Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: March 19, 2012 02:02PM

Bob another question I am curious about is did the 30 HP boiler have the two grid windings under the spiral coils as did the 20 HP boiler. The photo I have does not show them.

Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 4, 2012 05:30PM

Since my last entry several questions have come up regarding the White steam generators that I have been making.
The size of the tubing that I used is hydraulic seamless tube that has 18mm or 0.708 ins OD, 3mm or 0.120 ins wall leaving 11.8mm or 0.470 ID. These are my measurements from an off-cut and not the original written specs which I have temporarily misplaced. Most of the bending is done cold and this avoids collapsing the tube which can easily be done on a tight bend when hot. We gradually got better at knowing when we could and could not use heat and where it was essential; especially on the final adjustments of the tubes.

The bending machine was made from a 2hp thread cutting machine with a large pair of plates between which the coils were wound, being distanced by a motorcycle chain being fed in at the same time giving an 1/2 inch gap. I found that the lower coils which had one coil less could have had a second chain as well but it was much easier doing the coils all the same as opening them by hand was not a problem. The chain is fitted to feed from a wooden spool underneath.
The pipe first had a 90 degree bend put in it 1ft from the end and this came out through the outside plate which has a nut on it to adjust the plates to the width of the pipe. A pair of bearings ran from a tube through the pipe which stopped the plates from spreading where the tube was and another pair where the chain was feeding. The pressure was kept on the pipe by a 4 bearing head on a lever which was operated from behind the motor through a shaft. This originally I set up with an hydraulic jack but I found it too harsh and I ended up just using a hand lever which gave much more control. Anyway having set it up, I am on the lever and friend Michael switches it on and we keep clear. It takes just 24seconds at 4 revs per minute to bend a coil. We managed 3 in the hour with the setting up and taking down. It is very satisfying when the coil comes out very smoothly coiled with just a slight kink at the end of the narrowest bend which I could remove with a bit more fiddling but it makes no odds. We could only get 20ft lengths so any more has to be welded on by my graded friend with a TIG. The rest is quite easily bent by hand with our home made benders.
The bottom “coil” is a double grid, the top running at 90 degrees to the bottom one. I purchased quite a cheap hand bender which I fitted on the end of my coil bender and with an extra jig added we managed to get the bottom coils bent. They are quite a fiddle for the final fit as all the weight of the generator is on the ends. This bender has proved a great help with other jobs such as the brass water pipes.
I will attach some pictures of the coils of the 1908 Model “L” which has one round less on each of the spirals but is otherwise almost the same.
The tube spacers which are 1 inch deep are attached with 1/8inch steel wires for which I used copper coated welding rods. I had a little factory of jigs running with these parts. The Milling machine was set up for cutting the pipe grooves in the 1ins X 1/8ins steel flats and mostly I welded the tail on each of these using 1/2ins X 1/8 ins bar but I ran out of that over the weekend and made the final ones on the 20hp generator by cutting them completely out of the 1inch X 1/8 ins bar as the originals. The result of these being fitted is to have the tubes half an inch all around for the hot gases to flow around and nowhere can you look down through the tubes so the gases always go around the tubes. This is not quite true on the lower spiralled coils as they are almost one inch spaced laterally in the spirals as was done on the original.
When Derrick Mills assembled his coil for his 1910 White which my brother now runs, he threaded all the top joints but he had so many problems with them leaking that he had them all welded. I have the same rather expensive oversized 3/8NPT taps and dies and I find them almost impossible to seal so I am going for all welded joints from the start like my 1908 Model “L” 20hp is at present. It has done more than 20 years service and would go on if I had not to renew it due to it not fitting the new casing and needing all the spacers replacing. This was made before I really understood the system properly. I hope that the new one will give a considerable more power than the old one with less loss of heat through the spaces around the coil which escapes and burns the wood chassis! We are planning on doing this welding the weekend after Easter and the steam generator will be finished ready for its cover to be made.

Edited 6 times. Last edit at 04/08/12 03:04AM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: bending spiral coils (Medium).JPG (86kB)   same from above (Medium).JPG (75kB)  
Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 4, 2012 05:36PM

I am adding a few more pictures.
The coils are sitting in Billy with the spacers on but have yet to be trimmed down for the bends to be welded on.The coils on the floor with the casing are all for the 1908 20hp White. We had a lot of problems fitting this bottom coil on this one as one side was slightly long and it upset everything - hence it was not as neat as Billy's!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04/04/12 05:44PM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: DSC_2033 (Medium).JPG (79kB)   DSC_2148 (Medium).JPG (79kB)   DSC_2151 (Medium).JPG (81kB)  
Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 8, 2012 03:30AM

Now that the top joints are fitted but not yet welded, I am adding three more pictures.
As you see Billy's 30hp oils are very similar to Lucy's 20hp coils(previous posting) apart from the extra turn on each spiral.The outside turn adds about 6ft of tube per coil.The lower coils have a turn less giving a bigger space than the top two.
Michael Christopher posing here with the 20hp coil is my ever helpful assitant. On the bench infront of the generator is one of our bending tools.This is used usually with a U shaped tool in the vice. They both have rounded inside corners and grip the tube when pressure is applied.
Making the two generators together took only about one and a half times as long as making one. Each stage needed jigs and setting the workshop kit ready which took much of the time. We gradually became more skilled at knowing how to do each job and just what will bend smoothly and how to fine adjust the coils. We recon that generator number ten should be nearly perfect! Whites made about 10,000.

Sorry,the second picture is the 20hp generator again - I get quite confused with the pictures as they are so alike!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04/08/12 04:42AM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: Michael and the nearly finished generator for Billy (Medium).JPG (41kB)   Billy\'sgenerator almost finished (Medium).JPG (78kB)   Billy\'s coils and superheater (Medium).JPG (51kB)  
Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 8, 2012 04:47AM

Hello Rolly,
As you will see, I have added a lot more about making Billy's and Lucy's generators on the site. If you want more details, please email me and I can send you the complete file of my pictures of making these two generators.

I have had a chat to Basil this morning and we may well alter the site to allow for subjects such as making White steam generators in separate catagories so that people can refer back to them if and when required rather than going through something more obscure like the Whistling Billy forum.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04/08/12 07:53AM by steamcarbob.

Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: April 9, 2012 09:14AM

Bob I sent you a private message.

Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: April 9, 2012 04:54PM

Bob - what a super job. Are the complete coils we see from a single 20 ft length or do they have a weld in them?

I'd like to see the rest of the pictures please and have emailed you.


Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 12, 2012 04:29AM

This is one that should have been in a bit earlier -the original coils for 20hp(top 5 only of the 8) and the full original 30hp generator.
The 20hp generator has
two top coils with 6.6 turns
Five coils with 5.6 turns
One Superheater consisting of a grid on 2 levels

The 30hp generator has
Three coils of 7.6 turns (the top one adjusted to the water entrance over the side)
Two coils of 6.6 turns
two coils of 5.5 turns
One Superheater coil of 2 grids on 2 levels

My Billy coils had to be adjusted to give the water entrance and exits where I needed them for this car which is not quite as the original 30hp.

The strange joints on the top pipes joining the coils over the top of the generator are original White LH/Rh threaded joints.
At the bottom of the 30hp superheater is a strange 90 deg joint to take off the outgoing pipe. There was one on my 1908 White and similar on the earlier cars perhaps because that joint was otherwise liable to crack on the inside with the severe heat treatment that it gets.
The 1906 20hp generator has 11 coils with no separate superheater grid-type coil.

Attachments: 30hp unusual steam exit joint_2173 (Medium).JPG (66kB)   Original LH-RH joints(Medium).JPG (80kB)   original 1906 generator up-side-down(Medium).JPG (80kB)  
Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 12, 2012 04:35AM

These should have been the first three pictures-

The first picture is the top five coils of Francois de Backer's old original 20hp generator from his 1909 model"o" White and beside it is the old original 30hp steam generator (the title as written was reduced and half of it was left out).Note the 30hp has one more full turn on each spiral all the way down.

The second picture is the bottom superheater coil of the 30hp. The unusual looking take off for the steam is completely original and my 1908 White had the same in its original generator.

The third picture shows the reduced number of turns in the lower coils giving more space for the heat to penetrate to the upper coils. As each coil is rotated on the one below, the gases/heat cannot go straight through but winds through the coils.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 04/14/12 04:15PM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: 20hp X fFrancois de Backer(Medium).JPG (84kB)   30hp superheater(Medium).JPG (76kB)   20hp 5th coil (Medium).JPG (82kB)  
Re: Wistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: April 16, 2012 04:27PM

Wow! The new boiler looks fabulous, Bob.

The pipe threader idea makes a real good job of forming the coils.

Thank you for posting the photos.


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