About: Send me a message if you’re step by step instructions of modeling clay for children in Technology or Science Workshops in Flanders, Brussels or the Southern of the Netherlands. Children, from about 6 years old on, can make this real steam propelled boat under adult supervision. This pop-pop or put-put steam boat requires neither soldering nor gluing.
No drilling or puncturing is needed. It does involve an easy to make bending tool. I wanted to make a construction manual for a simple pop-pop kit I am making for some friends and colleagues. So I thought: why not make my first instructable? This instructable is aimed at adults wanting to help children make a pop-pop boat at school, at home or wherever you like. Do take your responsibility in dealing fire and steam and in assessing if and how the children can deal with it safely.
I will not explain how pop-pop steamboats work, as you can find an extensive explanation on The Science Toymaker. Original inspiration for the coil engine came from the Pop-Pop Pages. In the following steps I will explain how to build one real easy. I have been giving creative workshops for children since several years now, mainly at the school my daughter is attending: Leefschool Klavertje Vier. These workshops are open to children from 6 to 12 years old, but as the average age tends to be around seven, I learned to simplify things. My aim is to allow young children to build working things by themselves, with as little help as possible.
Very often that involves a good preparation making templates and such. The pop-pop boat I present here is a culmination of that. 8 inch outside diameter, 2mm inside diameter, 50 cm length. I am not sure the foam type is heat resistant enough. For the optional rudder, you need about one third of an extra aluminium form.
For this rudder you can print and cut out a helpfull template from the drawing added to step 6. For the optional decorating you can use permanent markers, common aluminium foil and some more double sided tape. You can buy the brass tube at modeling shops or at OPITEC. The article number at OPITEC is 813. OPITEC serves Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Hungary.
The water heated in steam is taken from the water the boat sails in. So you need clean water to sail in. You only need about 2 to 3 cm depth. As these boats are very light you can only use them outside when there is no wind. Avoid borders or anything else hanging low over the water surface, because they might be exposed to the flame.
As long as they are not leaning over towards the water, I never had any trouble with fragile border materials, like a vinyl inflatable pool, but do not blame me. The heat comes from a flame. I do not use candles, for several reasons. Putting a double wick in the candle helps quite a lot but not completely. Another reason is the smoke the candle gives and the sooth deposited on the coil, both with one wick or two wicks. This is not only messy, but also diminishes the heat transfer to the coil.