How to get a mamod steam engine going

How to make a mamod or other steam engine produce steamier steam?


9:17 PM – Jul 28 #11 2021-07-28T21:17

Hi, welcome to the forum, and good luck with the polishing – toothbrush with hot soapy washing up liquid, some very FINE grade steel wool, Autosol car metal polish, Brasso, WD40. Probably in that order..

All the best, and we look forward to seeing a video of your engine steaming away merrily before long !

9:39 PM – Jul 28 #12 2021-07-28T21:39

Welcome to the Forum. I remember seeing still photographs which used cotton wool to replicate steam from the chimney!

Some good advice regarding temperatures and lighting. Some of the Forum Members produce stunning videos.

Looking forward to seeing photos and videos.

10:07 PM – Jul 28 #13 2021-07-28T22:07

Welcome to the Forum. I remember seeing still photographs which used cotton wool to replicate steam from the chimney!

Some good advice regarding temperatures and lighting. Some of the Forum Members produce stunning videos.

Looking forward to seeing photos and videos.

10:57 PM – Jul 28 #14 2021-07-28T22:57

What we refer to a steam, eg the image from John is not steam its tiny droplets of condensate about 0.5 microns in size . Real steam is transparent .

LGMU-1XrdXI4XYgkME1gGa2GeyNGzTDzWW7LcxmpY621A__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJS72YROXJYGYDADA” /> Basically there are 2 energy inputs to produce steam
Firstly Sensible heat which raise the water temperature and secondly Latent heat that makes the liquid change to the gas ( Steam)with no change in temperature
The sensible heat of water is 4.18 joules /gram/K which if you work out for 1 litre of water going from 0 to 100C equates to 0.116 kw of energy
The latent heat is much larger at 2.258 kJoules /gram of water or again for 1 litre of water changing to steam at 100C equates to 0.627kw
This is at sea level and Atmospheric pressure .
This is why real steam burns your skin , the steam is condensing back to water on the surface of your skin and releasing 0.627kW /Kg . If you put your hand into the condensate cloud there is no heat transfer to the skin because the steam has condensed back into water

When real steam is discharged into the air particularly when the air is cold the latent heat is lost quickly and the steam condenses back into droplets . If the humidity of the air is low these droplets are very quickly reabsorbed into the air. ……..this is the whole basis of steam humidifiers, the industry I spent my working life in .

So if you want to get good clouds of Condensate showing you need a cool humid room . so the latent heat energy is lost quickly but because the humidity of the air is high it takes a longer time for the droplets to be reabsorbed . Adding oils to the water has no effect on the condensate formation its pure thermodynamics of air and water

How to get a mamod steam engine going

To help you with the task of painting your Mamod or other steam engine, we have put together some advice which should de-mystify the finding of “correct” paint.

Firstly, there is no “correct” paint for most restoration projects. If you are a purist needing to get a perfect original match, you should really be going off to your local automotive body shop and discussing matching up.

For most people, an approximate similarity is adequate. You can do this quite successfully by popping along to Halfords where you will find a large number of colours or, as we tend to do, nip into B&Q/Homebase and finding a suitable colour there.

In the photograph shown above we obtained them from B&Q, Homebase and our local car parts shop.

So the choice of approach is yours. But, for the semi-purist the following may be helpful:

Red : Ford Rosso red is good.
Green : Apple Green is one of the Mamod well known original colours, then followed by Emerald Green and now British Racing Green.
Black on the firebox must not be gloss but VHT paint with no primer or undercoat. Gloss can catch fire. VHT paint will always have a matt finish.

The following was published on the Mamod forum which you may find more specifically helpful:

As of 2013, the Mamod colours available are as follows;

Cream Ral# 1015 Gloss
Red Ral# 3020 Gloss
Green Ral# 6005 Gloss
Burgundy Ral# 3005 Gloss
Yellow Ral# 1021
Blue Ral# 5015 Satin
Black Ford
Red (Belling) Ral# 3003
Grey Ral# 7043

Mamod Steam Roller


Feb 10, 2011 #1 2011-02-10T20:20

I am the proud owner of a 1975 (I have been told, wouldnt know how to tell!) Mamod Steam roller.

This is my first ever mamod and am after some tips on getting it running.

Obvious things missing were a chimney, a burner, a pipe and a scuttle.

I believe this model has a reverse lever and therefore 3pipes, 2 exhaust and one feed i guess? I think the reversing exhaust is missing.

I improvised a burner using a (slightly crushed) tea light with cotton wool and meths. Crude, but it works; and a couple of minutes later I was rewarded by a hiss of steam. WOW!

I added some oil also and was rewarded by a couple of revolutions backwards.

I do have some problems however, at first steam was hissing out of everywhere. I replaced the o-ring on the water level plug and on the safety valve and things got better.

I can still hear a pronounced hissing though, hadn’t realised there were two o-rings on the safety valve, the top one under the sprung relief lid (mushroom?) is quiet deteriorated. Is there a way of changing this or is it a new valve?

Any other info people can provide will be much appreciated. I’ve had a quick look around the forum and there are some great projects out there!

Anyway, some pictures.

How to get a mamod steam engine going
How to get a mamod steam engine going

Mamod SE1A?


Sep 15, 2017 #1 2017-09-15T16:43

I bought a Mamod engine on eBay, I think it is a SE1A, but if anyone knows better I’d appreciate the advice (I’ve attached a photo). The burner tray was missing, so I fashioned one from some sheet steel in order to test it out. Unfortunately the soldered joint at the top of the boiler is leaking a little, so I’ll have to re-solder that before it will generate enough pressure to run, but otherwise everything looks okay.

It would be nice to get it running properly as a project with my son (aged 13 next week), is there anything I should look out for? If anyone has a photo of the burner tray that would be much appreciated.

Sep 15, 2017 #2 2017-09-15T20:26

That Looks like a good engine and yes you’re right it’s a SE1A. From looking at it I would say that engine should have a Meths Burner look at the photo I have provided.

jpqI777w__&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJS72YROXJYGYDADA” /> Mamod Meths Burner

Sep 15, 2017 #3 2017-09-15T21:42

Sep 15, 2017 #4 2017-09-15T21:49

Sep 15, 2017 #5 2017-09-15T22:02

Another option I considered was converting it to run on propane. It might be an interesting project, but I suppose there would be a danger of the boiler running dry if fuel was more or less unlimited.

First I need to get the joint where the HP feed meets the boiler soldered – it looks like a simple enough job – and get it running properly. I’ll post another report when that is done.

Sep 16, 2017 #6 2017-09-16T07:54

Sep 16, 2017 #7 2017-09-16T11:09

Sep 16, 2017 #8 2017-09-16T11:19

Sep 16, 2017 #9 2017-09-16T11:54

Sep 16, 2017 #10 2017-09-16T12:12

Gosh, you chaps know so much about these engines!

I don’t know anything of the history of this machine, but from what you say it sounds like someone has had it apart, painted the frame blue, replaced the rivets with screws and fitted a different piston some time in the past. Perhaps that person was also responsible for the slightly leaky solder joint where the pipe meets the boiler?

I was not intending to return this to original condition (I could buy a brand new one for £138, and this one cost just £36 – I suspect a perfect restoration would cost me more that £102). I’m planning to fix the leaky solder joint (it looks like it will be quite a simple repair), lubricate the parts and get it running on hexamine. I suppose changing the screws back to pop rivets would be a trivial job once I have it running, so I might do that as well.

That much will have served its purpose in showing my son how steam engines work – anything else we do with the machine afterwards will be a bonus. I think my son will enjoy having something from my generation (he is constantly amazed that there were no computers and only 3 TV stations when I was his age).

How far can a TE1A go?


4:08 PM – Jul 13 #11 2021-07-13T16:08

6:58 PM – Jul 13 #12 2021-07-13T18:58

Les:- Stay in, stay safe and keep steaming.

7:58 PM – Jul 13 #13 2021-07-13T19:58

8:18 PM – Jul 13 #14 2021-07-13T20:18

@ Celsius 100 – not as much as the ‘how slow can an SE3 go’ test will generate!! For two reasons – 1) the SE3 spits oily water all over the place and 2) the good lady wife doesn’t yet know I have bought it!

So the other question for forum members is – how many of you have steam engines hidden away that you haven’t owned up to yet?

8:18 PM – Jul 13 #15 2021-07-13T20:18

8:57 PM – Jul 13 #16 2021-07-13T20:57

Brilliant. Sounds credible to me too. So interesting.

I’d imagine running on a straight line would show a big improvement.

6:24 AM – Jul 14 #17 2021-07-14T06:24

Never forget, assume, makes an ass of u and me,


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*2 cylinders will be required for the Telford and one for the Brunel upgrade. Priced at £24.50 each.*

Discover the new Mamod cylinder upgrade for increased power and performance. This fantastic new addition to our Mamod collection is a great direct upgrade for the popular Mamod locomotives, the Telford and the Brunel.

This cylinder is larger in size than the standard found as stock on the Telford and Brunel locomotives. Its increased size allows for a greater surface area for the steam to act upon, resulting in a a higher performance at a lower pressure.

By upgrading, you will enjoy an increased running time with your live steam engine. Due to its increased performance at a lower operating steam pressure, your engine will run for longer between boiler refills. Get more steam time with each run of your favourite locomotive with this great new upgrade.

It is easy to assemble by simply removing the nuts and washers from the original cylinder and disconnecting the bolt from the jaw. Slide it off the studs and remove the original gasket. Using the same process in reverse, fit your new upgraded cylinder. Always check that the piston is centralised by looking through the cylinder holes. If it needs adjusting simply loosen the nuts, hold the jaw and turn the piston rod in the required direction until the throw is even. Once satisfied, tighten the bolt and jaw and refit the washes and nuts. Be careful not to over tighten as this may strip the threads.

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Since the 1930s Mamod has been producing a range of model steam engines and continues to innovate to this very day.

For years it has created a multitude of steam toys for its customer base satisfying all tastes. One of the products that made Mamod the company it is today is the SE4. This stationary model was one of the first ever to come off the Mamod production line and remains popular throughout the decades. While mobile engines will always be in the heart of many collectors, stationary engines are Mamod’s bread and butter.

In full flow stationary engines are a sight to behold and generate a significant amount of power depending on the specific product purchased. Mamod makes a plethora of stationary models all with varying degrees of capability. They can form the basis of a workshop which collectors can put together and then spend hours perfecting.

So how can you get started with building your own workshop? Here is a guide to setting one up yourself.

Which engines should I choose for my stationary workshop?

Mamod has a range of engines that would be perfect for powering a workshop. Engines such as the SP8, SP6, SP5, SP5D and SP4 will all do a good job at running the workshop but if you want to go something more impressive then consider either the Showman’s or Showman’s Special engine.

The Showman’s has long been a favourite for Mamod collectors and is a trusted option when setting up a workshop. The bigger piston and cylinder makes it simple for the engine to run and both of these can be be increased for 8mm to 9mm to help increase power.

For those of you wanting an upgrade on the Showman’s then why not try the Showman’s Special? This is the perfect engine for running a workshop however the flywheel on this engine only has one groove. This means that it is only capable of running one drive band at a time, either the dynamo or the workshop.

While any of these engines would be perfect for running a workshop, this capability is simply beyond the SP2 which does not have the power to operate a workshop.

What do I need for setting up a stationary workshop?

There are numerous workshop tools available through Mamod which you can pick up to get started. The company stocks grinders (£63), hammers (£63), polishing mops (£63) and power presses (£63) while full Mamod workshop are priced at £114.75. You can also opt for ferris wheels and fairground items, pulleys and cranes and even musical instruments.

But how do you put all these parts together?

With many Mamod workshops the parts come pre-assembled so there is no need for screwdrivers, all you’ll need is a sturdy, wooden board which is not too thick. Mark out a base then screw straight through board so the screws are protruding through the top of the board. Then place the board over the top of the screw which will secure it in place, making it flexible and easy to store.

Each workshop will come with two drive bands which will have tapered and non-tapered ends. Twisting them in different directions and then connecting together will result in one long drive band. Thread this through the flywheel then hook the drive band on to the pulley. Make sure there is sufficient distance between the steam engine and the workshop, too much tension or slack will prevent the engine from working.

Firing up the workshop

So everything is in place, how do you get the workshop going? As with every other Mamod product, make sure the boiler is filled up to the appropriate marker with distilled water and that all moving parts are sufficiently oiled.

Let the boiler pressure rise to operating levels then remove the drive band from the flywheel and flick it to get it spinning. Once this has got going pull the drive band back over the moving flywheel and release it into place, watch you don’t get your fingers caught on.

What to avoid

There are a number of common mistakes made by people setting up a workshop. First of all, make sure you have the drive band in the right place and that they have the right level of tension otherwise the workshop simply won’t work. There can also be problems if the drive band is not placed around the workshop before joining the last two ends together.

Oiling is an absolute necessity and should be done prior to every use. You should never fire up without oiling. The same can be said for not letting the boiler getting up to pressure before trying to run it.

Remember, never to try and run the workshop in reverse. It only works one way and the hammer could jam if it is run in reverse.