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VERY low-budget steam cleaner


#1

Here’s one to chew on, everyone:

Has anybody ever tried (or thought of trying) a relatively
low-cost expresso machine as a budget steam cleaner for bench use?

I just happened to get a copy of Gesswein’s new sale flyer and
see an inside-cover teaser for a “benchtop steam cleaner”, the
picture shows someone with a torch-like device cleaning a ring.
Having lusted after a steamer, but also strangling on the price; I
eagerly turned to the catalog page to discover…it’s an
attachment to a standard steam cleaner with a long hose,
and…well, you get the picture. Got me to thinking, though – why
wouldn’t an expresso maker steam generator work? And, make you
coffee at the same time!

Any thoughts?

Regards,
Bob Edwards
Chromis Designs
Annapolis, Md.


#2

Bob,Try this… call every jeweler in your local directory, for
say, a fifty mile range. Chances are one has an older steamer that
leaks sitting in the back somewhere. Any steamer is easily
repaired with parts from a house such as Gesswein (ask Elaine in
technical support at Gesswein anything, she is a GENIUS and a
national treasure). Any offer of more than $100 is usually looked
upon with disbelief, start at $50. If you need the release valve
they are available from Davis Supply in Ft. Myers Florida (941 334
1997) for about $70, and they are the only part that ususally fails
except the sight glass and washers which run around $25 a set. If
you feel a need to be obsessive and rebuild as new, the inside of
the pressure vessel can be sandblasted (local source in a yellow
pages) for around $10 and it will give you an as new surface
inside… It rarely calls for this as the best steamer flush
(Prestone radiator flush, it s FAR superior to vinegar or any more
expensive product tailor-made for the purpose and is used by the
steamer companies themselves), is usually sufficient. The elements
if burned out are almost always simple water heater elelments
availible from Home Depot, or some home discounter, for about $15.

Most jewelers do not care properly for their steamers.

1.) Always blow down once a week by opening the drain after a
shutdown when the pressure has dropped to about 20 p.s.i. BE
CAREFUL! Use a garden hose only if it is a commercial quality and
not more than 5 feet in length, as the hot water will swell and
burst anything else. Put the end of the hose under a few inches
of water in a large bucket BEFORE releasing the pressure.

2.) ALWAYS refill each evening to the top of the level mark!!!
AFTER allowing the steamer to cool and depressurize of course!!!
This will prevent oxidation of the tank, and so many do the
opposite and leave the tank empty…which promotes scale and rust.
#.) Never fill a steamer that is hot until it has about ten
minutes to cool. the rush of cold water can wrinkle and damage the
copper of the heating element.

L. Michael Flynn
L. Michael Flynn, Platinumsmith
lmflynn@platinumsmith.com
3727 Palm Drive
Punta Gorda, Fl
33950-2900
941-575-1913


#3

Hello Bob:

I wonder if it could stand the pressure of being on all day, every
day. Or would you do all your steaming at one time? I know that
steamers are big dollars. I am not sure I would want to work next
to a hissing espresso maker all day. There are tools we improvise
and tools we don’t. Remember a steam cleaner is amoung the most
dangerous equipment in your shop.

Michael Mathews Victoria,Texas USA


#4

Bravo, Flynn!!!

Kudos for most original post of the year. I am getting on the
phone on Monday.

Roy (Jess)