Alternate Smoke Generator animation

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TimberSurf
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Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:14 pm

I guess its time for me to start a workbench thread! I mostly post in lectrics and layouts, but my next project doesn't fit, so I'll put it here :)
I was trawling the web and amongst some rail electronics I noticed a link to smoke. Intrigued, my investigation led me to the "idea" of using E-Cigarettes as smoke generators (I don't profess to coming up with the idea) and making my own version.
Several Chinese orders later, the appropriate parts were in my hands (weeks later :( ). A quick bit of construction and soldering this afternoon, yielded some excellent results, so I wanted to share and prepped up the vid camera for the show!
Seconds before clicking the shutter, it all ended in tears. Nuclear meltdown had occurred and the photo shoot was cancelled :oops:
I will explain the construction and its demise and the fix for 'Version 2'

The element in an E-cigarette is ideal, it just needs some power and suck to produce "Smoke". Obviously suck is no good, but blowing does the same thing from the other side. So powering just the element from a 3v source heats it it, a small air pump (oxygen generator for fish) furnishes the blow. The element normally screws into the live casing and the bottom touches the battery tip, this is not possible without metal parts, so a plastic case/tank is used and wires soldered to the element. I glued the element into a hole in the case (that holds the liquid) and drilled a hole in the top for the outlet and connected the pump to the inlet.
The result is a large amount of smoke! Too much! Might be great for a factory chimney, but is still too fast. I then started tinkering with bleeding air from the pump side to reduce the air flow with some success. I also drilled some holes in the chimneys of a house and split the out feed pipe across them to give multi chimneys. Also successful!

It will need some adjustments for flow and mayby a second PSU or PWM to feed the element separately from the pump, but looks very doable.

It was at this point that the pressure dropped and liquid spewed everywhere. Diagnosis, heating elements get hot! Holt melt glue melts!

So, version 2 will now have to have the element glued into the case with araldite, thus the element will not melt the glue! :o
I will also tweak the element voltage to reduce the smoke/liquid usage rate and play with the air flow
It strikes me this is a bit of a pig and although much fun to play with, the smoke condenses in the tubes and may well clog things up, this may be better as a very occasional use "house on fire" type animation rather than an everyday occurrence. Or just use a seuthe! Pics to follow and video once version 2 is complete.
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TimberSurf
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:19 pm

The contraption

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The whole thing rigged up to two chimneys in the house

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Bufferstop
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Oct 30, 2016 11:36 pm

Your experiences today are similar but different to mine. We have a very expensive and very unreliable flame effect fire. It uses a "mister" or "fogger" unit which uses ultra sonic vibrations to create a mist above the surface of a trough of water. A small fan (like a CPU fan) blows the mist across a row of quartz halogen firelight bulbs creating rising mist lit from below that looks like small flames. Simples. I've used the spare parts we need to keep it working, to rig up a demo one in the kitchen sink, but this thing has a microprocessor board with some sort of frequency generator locked by a crystal, opto isolators and lord know what else, and repeatedly locks up and stops generating, needing a traditional IT person cure. Switch the blighter off and back on again. Needless to say it's going to get some radical simplification. All it would appear to need are the various different voltage supplies for lamps, fan and fogger plus a timer circuit to delay the start of the fan to allow the mist cloud to build up. Get out the soldering iron and cutters somethings about to get a downgrade. But it produces copious amounts of "smoke" when it's working.
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flying scotsman123
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby flying scotsman123 » Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:01 pm

I was only looking into this the other day, so I'm glad someone has had a go! I came to the conclusion some time ago that sound didn't do it for me, it was smoke I wanted! As you say, a seuthe is the alternative and at some point I'd like to fit out my locos with them, but for use in chimneys on building this might be feasible for me. How much did the whole unit cost you in the end? If you reckon the amount of smoke or the "whoosh" is too much, have you experimented in alternating the voltage for either the element or the blower?
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TimberSurf
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:16 pm

There is no question about loco's, only one proven method. My issue is say a factory chimney, the signal box chimney, terrace houses, bonfires, braziers, the engine shed, the station building, pretty much every building!
So we have smoke round the railway but not from the statics? No problem, just put a seuthe in each location! Hmmm, £20 a pop and I want 20 of them!
Methinks there is a cheaper alternative and divide it by 20!

Soft plastic hose £1.00
Tank atomiser coil £2.99
Servo leads £0.30
Min air pump £2.09
Adjustable Buck Converter £2.00
Y connector £0.21 (three bootlace ferrules holt melt glued together)
Plastic container
12v supply
Nicotine free Liquid
Bucket full of ingenuity
scraps of wood and a rubber band :lol:
It will also need a timer to limit/control use

The motor is 6v and is way too powerful and noisy, it happily runs at 3V but not much less.
The element is designed for 3.7V at 2A! (I picked 2ohm but might be better with different resistance)
At full voltage the element produces way too much smoke, so as I was feeding both off one supply, I tried 2.5V, but get little smoke and motor is almost at stall. I tried 3v and smoke is good and blow is still to strong, so was experimenting 'venting' excess air before the tank. I have a second Adjustable Buck Converter coming so I can experiment with independent voltages. (On rebuild version 2!)
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Bufferstop
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:42 pm

Take a look at a mini-fogger. I was critical of the way it was used in my fire, but depending on the size of your layout you might get enough "smoke/mist" from 1. Might need a larger diameter distribution tube, but they chuck out an enormous amount on full power. The mist doesn't seem to condense and leave moisture.
http://www.eachbuyer.com/ultrasonic-mist-maker-fogger-humidifier-water-fountain-pond-dc-24v-p327167.html?currency=GBP&from=pla&gclid=CjwKEAjw19vABRCY2YmkpO2OzTsSJAAzEt8sYPLKLAdVspvuOI8uaAn3Vrykgdr0AevwGkrHzmYgtRoCxgPw_wcB
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TimberSurf
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:45 pm

Got version 2 up and running tonight! No melt down, so able to share the video!
Don't pan it too much, it's my first ever video! :oops:
Smaller pump on order and still waiting for the second voltage reducer to turn up, then I can play with the voltages and air flow separately

https://youtu.be/IaNAG6fLTe0
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Buggleskelly » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:19 am

TimberSurf wrote:Got version 2 up and running tonight! No melt down, so able to share the video!
Don't pan it too much, it's my first ever video! :oops:
Smaller pump on order and still waiting for the second voltage reducer to turn up, then I can play with the voltages and air flow separately

https://youtu.be/IaNAG6fLTe0


Video came out fine !.
Seems to produce enough smoke at 3.7v. What about a reservoir to control the flow of smoke. Would a 2 litre tank made from a coke bottle work, in that respect. You used to be able to get manifolds/valves in tropical fish supplies for the type of tubing you are using.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:35 am

I'd say you need a higher volume collector, to reduce the pressure. The shorter the length and the grreater the cross section of the final pipe the lower the speed of the expelled smoke. I think you had enough there for a cooling tower :D
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b308
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby b308 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 11:24 am

Might I add a note of caution... Two observations, based on your comment that you are using the liquid that is sold for e-cigarettes...

Firstly it's normally illegal to use e-cigarettes indoors in public places, so it would be illegal to use it at, say, an exhibition...

Secondly there is plenty of evidence that the emissions from e-cigarettes are harmful to passive bystanders so be careful if you are using it in a confined space such as a loft... For the record I've had asthma all my life and never smoked and I can tell if someone is using/used one of those things and it DOES affect my breathing so they are not safe...

I'd try and find something less harmful if I were you.

Please don't take this as criticism, I am all for ingenuity, but when it can potentially harm my health as a bystander I feel I have to say something! :)

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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:08 pm

Buggleskelly wrote: What about a reservoir to control the flow of smoke.

Adding volume simply means it takes ages to build up smoke then there is an unrealistic long ramp down after turn off. I actually had long tubes on version 1 and reduced to minimum length for Version 2 to get better control (and stop condensation in the tubes)

Buggleskelly wrote: You used to be able to get manifolds/valves in tropical fish supplies for the type of tubing you are using.

50 x three way 4mm tee's on order (£1.39 but from china)


Bufferstop wrote:I'd say you need a higher volume collector, to reduce the pressure. The shorter the length and the grreater the cross section of the final pipe the lower the speed of the expelled smoke. I think you had enough there for a cooling tower :D
As above re collector. Cross section is certainly a factor, as a function of aperture size of outlets. I did try a single open end in a factory chimney with some success (the three house chimneys are just 2mm holes, hence the jet effect)

b308 wrote:Might I add a note of caution... :)

OMG the H&S brigade have got involved! {hurriedly sticking up healthy Warning labels on Railway room}
:D I never thought of that! As a hardened smoker, I am not concerned for my health. I never intended to start marketing it as a product, just wanted to share with fellow enthusiasts!
poisinhale.png
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WARNING
INHALING VAPOURS MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO HEALTH
ALWAYS CARRY OUT COSHH RISK ASSESSMENT BEFORE ACCESSING UNKNOWN MODEL RAILWAYS
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b308
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby b308 » Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:22 pm

You rightly put if forward as an idea, and I think with the right liquid it IS a good idea, however with the stuff you are using it is only right to point out some facts about their use... Fine, I have no issues about you using it at home but other people may think it's a good idea without thinking it through... That's the only reason I commented, it would be daft for someone to get themselves in trouble at a show for using it!! Nowt whatsoever to do with H&S... ;) :)

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Forfarian
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Forfarian » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:18 am

A small fan with speed control may be better than the air pump I
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TimberSurf
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby TimberSurf » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:17 pm

My thoughts too, need to finish investigations with smaller pumps before going on to ultrasonic vapour making and fans. it will either need a ducted fan or mount the fan on the side of a box and duct from that.
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Re: Alternate Smoke Generator animation

Postby Bufferstop » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:20 pm

I know I banged on a bit about ultra sonic vibrators, but I'm putting my money where my mouth is. Here's a scheme to do it with relatively cheap items and not at all toxic. The working medium is water and air. Dimensions would determine the quality of the flow but pressures are low so air should rise.
Forgive the atrocious quality of the image, something screwed up in the export process.
ultra.jpg
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It's fairly simple, the poly box has enough water to cover the ultrasonic transducer (a cheap one)
the computer cooling fan (tangential type) blows into the airspace above the water,
the lamps are directed at the air immediately below the funnel to promote rise.
As the pressure is low it would be advisable to have distributor pipes of fairly large diameter ending in smaller risers through the buildings and up to the chimneys.
I offer it to anyone brave or daft enough to try .
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