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Compact Steamers?


#1

Its been awhile since my last steamer gave up the ghost and despite
that I hate chasing blown out stones all over the shop, I’m resigned
to the need for another one. Space is always a problem for me so I
was wondering about the small steamers like the green dragons and so
forth. I see that technically they do put out enough pressure but I’d
like input regarding duty cycle. If I’d only get a few seconds of
useable high pressure steam or high pressure but not enough volume I
think I’d reconsider a larger unit. My old full sized units would put
out a constant jet of steam for what seemed like many minutes before
it affected the cleaning power. I don’t need ‘many minutes’ but two
minutes at a clip of constant effective cleaning would probably be
OK with me.

Do these unit really perform in a serious shop?


#2

Hi Neil;

I’ve got one, made by Hoffman, and I’ve been running it pretty much
continuously for 8 years now. The only problem I had was I had to
replace the on-off switch. Cost was under $500 at the time I bought
it from Kassoy. The pressure is adequate, not quite as strong as the
big boiler containing units, and you do have to buy distilled water
for it, but a gallon lasts me a couple weeks or more. You can steam
off a piece of jewelry, by the time you pick up the next, it’s ready
for another blast. But lean on it for a minute and it starts to
fade. It’s a good choice if you can’t afford a bigger unit.

David L. Huffman


#3

Orchidians,

My experience with steamers for years has just been with the big
boiler-type units. Drain out the rusty water from the boiler every
morning, then fill with distilled water, turn on and wait 30 min. or
more to reach temp. They work fantastic for cleaning, lots of
pressure even for extended steam-blasting. No water marks on
finished jewelry. Down side: eventual replacement of gaskets in
water-level viewing glass to avoid leaking, eventual heating element
breakdown, or boiler failure over time. Definately worth the $1200
cost for a production shop, though.

Recently, I got a very slightly used Steam Dragon steamer for $400
from a local supplier. I was hesitant, knowing it was rated for only
65 psi (against the boiler-type steamers 80 psi), and couldn’t steam
for extended periods without pressure fall-off, but the price was
affordable for my new studio.

I was pleasantly surprised! The heat up, from time to turn on to
good-to-steam was about 10 min. or less, and the steam pressure was
impressive! Plenty of pressure and steam to fully clean a complex
piece after polishing. No boiler filled with pressurized hot water.
(Water is injected into an empty super- heated “boiler” as needed,
which comes out as steam, I understand) I mounted mine above my
utility sink on a shelf (the unit is quite light, compared to a
bigger machine) and I drilled a hole through the shelf to put my
added-on 3 ft. of copper tubing through into my sink. I insulated the
tubing length to avoid being burned by the hot tube, and now it works
great. A press on the foot pedal gets an instant extended shot of
high powered steam into my sink. The machine feeds itself from a
plastic tube inserted into a gallon of distilled water. Easy to
check the water level on the gallon jug. So simple, and safe!

Oh, and don’t forget those long handled, plastic- tipped tweezers!

Jay Whaley


#4
I was hesitant, knowing it was rated for only 65 psi (against the
boiler-type steamers 80 psi), 
Plenty of pressure and steam to fully clean a complex piece after
polishing 

Thanks Jay, I usually ran my old big steamers at 60 odd pounds in the
hope that the unit would last longer, which 18 years or so ain’t bad.
I am concerned about the volume of steam, the ‘amps’ so to speak,
which translates into pedal time. I’m glad to have a "had both"
comparison. Space is a prime consideration but without efficacy its
pointless. So I’ll give it a shot.


#5

Hi; so would you say that you would be satisfied with a Dragon? I
need a new steamer and I will probably need to use it twice a week
for one and a half hours at a time, there is about 30 seconds or so
between each 10 second blast. Do you think the Dragon would be ok for
that, seems like it might?

Thanks…frankenstein


#6

Hi Frankenstein-

would you say that you would be satisfied with a Dragon? I need a
new steamer and I will probably need to use it twice a week for
one and a half hours at a time, there is about 30 seconds or so
between each 10 second blast. Do you think the Dragon would be ok
for that, seems like it might? 

My steamer just died- so I replaced it with the Hoffman New Yorker-
which is the same type as the Dragon- it used distilled water- draws
it right from the bottle- so there’s no tank to fill up- no gaskets
to replace- no boiler to worry about. So far I like it better than
the
big 2 gallon steamer we had- the steam is dry- so there’s no drying
time needed. You don’t have to blow it out, and you don’t have to
fill it in the morning. It’s ready to go in about 10 minutes after
turning it on… And it costs about $600 compared to about $1000. We
steam throughout the day, and it’s fine. A good choice if you’re not
polishing and cleaning ONLY all day long.

Rona Fisher
ronafisher.com