Steam Whistles and Fire Poofers

topic posted Tue, June 17, 2008 - 2:37 PM by  Lunartool
I hooked up a steam whistle to my fire poofer. Other than making a very loud and obnoxious sound (which I love) and pissing off my neighbors, is there any problems with sending propane through an all brass steam whistle?
posted by:
Los Angeles
  • Don't think there would be any problems with your whistle. Plumbers torches are just a brass nozzle on a propane tank. If your just worried about the heat, its not an issue. Where did you find the whistle head?
    • Thanks for the encouragement on the steam whistle! I guess I was wondering if propane might build up in the whislte or the up-pipe.

      I found the whistle on Ebay...
      • one of the nice things about brass is that it doesn't really do much when you f**k with it. It just stays brass until you get it to glowing hot, then it gets a bit saggy. No metal fatigue issues, no strange expansion/contraction issues. It's quite a good material for making things that are subjected to huge variations in temperature...

        like bullet casings.
  • none... I wouldn't keep it running for an hour, but typical poofer usage won't hurt it. Remember, they are designed
    to handle getting blasted w/ 350F steam continuously.

    Remember that your whistle valve should use teflon or Buna N seals....
    • The whistles I've seen, run off a 2" steam line at close to 100 psi. I doubt you could get much sound out of those just hooking straight to a propane tank.

      What was your whistle designed for?
      • I've been looking around in the last few days and the whistles that I've run across say a to run them at 10-120 psi so there you go. Your safe
        • We need to figure out how to make various tones of steam whistles. Any ideas?
          I have a little 1/8th" brass whistle I'm going to run for an hour off a 40gallon accumulator with a heating system.
          I love how reactions change from hey that's kinda cool to 5 minutes later of, Ok thats enough knock it off. I wonder what the feelings will be after 60 minutes. I'm gonna gift out cheap plastic whistles to everyone to fight back with :D
          • A simple steam whistle produces a note that depends on the length of the distance between the inside of the top of the whistle and the top of the gap where the steam comes out...

            Those round whistles that produce chords have divided the space inside the body of the whistle into pie-shaped sections of different lengths.

            Consider a whistle with a movable plug in the top so you can play it...
      • No idea what the whistle was designed for. It has no valve...just a whistle so the ASCO valve is controlling it. It just says "Cleveland" on it and appears to be antique. It does blow on low pressure (my lungs can power it) but with Propane it is pretty loud and basically obnoxious. I'm thinking about adding more whistles to the up-pipe from the accumulator just to see if I can really piss off my neighbors...but I suspect as I add more whistles I'll drop pressure too much so they won't blow. Experimentatiion time...
        • If the whisle is after your valve then pressure on the whistle is not an issue. I have seen propane run through garden hose after the release valve.

          And if there are no seals inside then nothing to get damaged by propane.

          Run multiple pipes out of your accumulator for the different whistles? Instead of putting them in series?

          Martini Steve
          Apokiliptika - Biological and Chemical Weapons Division
  • Hi gang! I'm coming late to the party but here's a little info that might be useful.
    -100-120psi sounds waaay high for propane; i.e. it'll probably work but it would be expensive! I run mine around 70psi as a poofer and, as a calliope, I'll probably use half that, to avoid tone problems.
    -I'm told that propane as a 'working fluid' changes the tone by half a note, but not being terribly musical I don't know which way.
    -Just got my first new, store-bought whistle valve; gotta say the casting is a *lot* more crude than what you'd typically see on an 'antique' but the innards are good and tight. If anything I think I might put a weaker spring in it tho, just to make it easier to poof without bending a long string of pipe.
    -Re: making mulitple pipes for a calliope: there are several ways to go and the path I chose may not have been the best, but I'm committed (or should be!). Here are two a links to some of the stuff I've been doing:
    • I lost my whistle!!! I was happly tooting away on it put it in my pocket, spun a set, then it was gone never to be found again :( So depressing! Was a custom job from ebay that isn't being sold anymore. Motivation to get on with designing a new one!

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