Making a steam cleaner

Has anyone made a steam cleaner for jewellery or know of a website
which has a diagram please?

Alan Lewis


This falls under the category of “Don’t try this at home folks”.
This is for serious gizzmologests only. I assume no responsibility
for death or injury. This is for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES

Sorry about all of the legalese Alan, but I live in the US where we
have too many lawyers sitting around like bored teenagers looking for
something to do.

My ex husband and I once made perfectly good steamer from copper
tubing, a copper water line hooked up to our sink, two cut off/on
valves, some gas black pipe, a gas shut of/on valve an old gas stove
burner and a large coffee can.

We built a bracket to hold the whole thing over our work sink. Then
we set the burner on top of it with the gas line and valve. We then
coiled the copper tubing to fit inside the coffee can and hooked that
up to the waterline from the sink with the valves for it. They were
standard toggle valves. We vertically cut the end of the copper
tubing where the steam comes out and hammered and soldered it into a
slight taper. We put the valves at the beginning and near the end of
the coils.We then placed the coffee can with the copper on top of the

To operate we’d turn on the water first and fill the coils with
water with the entry valve open and the valve towards the exit tip
closed. Then we’d light the burner. We’d give it a few seconds to
build up a head of steam and then release the valve. Voila! Steam.

You can do the same with a tea kettle and a cork and some tubing.
Plug the spout of the tea kettle with the cork that has a small piece
of tubing shoved through it. I recommend flaring the tubing on the
inside of the cork so that it doesn’t blow out when you get some
steam going.

Remember kids. This is DANGEROUS STUFF and these devices can NEVER
be left unattended.

It’s really best to find a steamer with the proper safety features.
There are some very affordable small models out there.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer


I’m a fledgling metal smith and economically, I have to make do with
what I have on hand. LOL, here it is… I use my espresso maker.

Sure would love to hear if anyone has an anodizer they’d like to
sell on the low end.

Thanks and good luck to all the other old fledglings on here.


I don’t know how to build one but I know of a good spare replacement.
You can use to steamer part on a Cappuccino machine. Just follow the
instructions for using the frothing or steam part of the machine and
it works great in a pinch until you get one! Good amount of pressure


Since effective cleaning doesn’t take place until something like
60-80 lbs of pressure inside a vessel, you should think of a making
a steamer as making a bomb. Particularly since steam fitters are
required to be licensed you assume not only risk to yourself, but
potentially a liability suit.

Be smart. Buy one or do without. If you injure yourself you may be
out of a career. I like to tinker too, but some things are best left
untinkered with.


There are cheapo units out there for about $100 USD. They’re sold
for home cleaning of jewelry. Try to locate one of those. (There are
a bunch on If you’re really serious about building one,
google “boiler explosion” or “steam explosion” first, and ask
yourself if this is a game you really want to play to save a few
quid. You won’t build a decent one for much less than that anyway. At
least in the States, they all have to be safety rated before they can
be sold.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but the things are bombs if done

Brian Meek.

Has anyone made a steam cleaner for jewellery or know of a website
which has a diagram please? 

Okay so I may be going out on a limb here but ask yourself these
questions first: 1) How much time am I going to take away from
making jewelry by going off on a quixotic attempt to save a little
money (I assume that is why you want to do this) by building my own
steam cleaner? 2) Isn’t it possible that, since I know nothing about
actually building it and probably don’t have much of the necessary
equipment to build it, that it is in fact going to cost me far more
to make my own than to just go purchase one (especially when it
comes to question 1 of how much production time I will lose by doing
it)? 3) And most importantly, why, when I have no previous experience
with something like this, would I want to build a machine that is
inherently dangerous? Steam cleaners operate under high pressure.
High pressure means explosions are possible. Explosions generally
mean loss of eyesight/hearing/limbs/fingers, etc. So if you make
your own steam cleaner and it explodes, who are you going to sue for
the damages? Yourself?

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

Unless you are a trained plumber & boiler-maker, making a traditional
type steamer is NOT a safe option. I guess you could theoretically
make an ‘instant steam’ type steamer that does not actually store
steam under pressure, but even that seems too dangerous for the
slight financial benefit of building it yourself.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers

Get a used expresso machine from Goodwill. Cheaper and safer than
trying to rig one up.


Boy Alan, I’d really recommend against building a steamer, unless
you do it under the direct supervision of a licensed steamfitter.
Steam under pressure can be extremely dangerous. We all are probably
a little more complacent about our steamers than we should be, live
steam is nothing to play around with. The temperatures of live steam
can be far above the boiling point of water and even a short exposure
to a small amount can cause very serious burns. The pressures inside
a boiler can cause a weak fitting to explode with tremendous force,
spraying scalding hot water and steam for many yards, not to mention
shrapnel from flying pieces.

I’m all for experimentation and saving money by building tools, but
a steamer is just too dangerous a piece of equipment to take any kind
of chances with, in my humble opinion.


Has anyone made a steam cleaner for jewellery or know of a website
which has a diagram please? 

No, and if you are wise you will not try. The difference between
building a boiler for a steam cleaner and a bomb is subtle and only
achieved by the understanding and proper application of the
engineering principles of steam. In the US and I assume the UK any
boiler of any size must be approved by the appropriate safety
engineering agency before being put into service. The reason for
this is readily understood if you go back and look at the death and
destruction caused by steam explosions in the early days off the
industrial revolution.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Wow. Note this date on your calendar everybody.

This is the first time in Orchid history that I can recall that
everybody who responded to a thread agreed on something. I didn’t
count the responses, but there must have been about a dozen, and they
all said “not just NO, but hell NO” to the idea of scratchbuilding a

Let it no longer be said that the Orchid list can’t ever agree on