No time for beer in Munich-- there's a real Imbert gasifier here
Posted 28 October 2010 - 01:14 AM
in the transportation building, there is an original imbert holzsvergasser mounted on a 1938 adler diplomat. this is the first actual real imbert brand gasifier i've ever seen. here's the pictures so far (until i got caught removing too many caps to take pictures of the insides. museum curators just don't understand what's at stake here.)
the first and lasting impressing is these things were really rough. there is so much mythology about this machine, and really, and really, mike la rosa could give it a good run for the fabricating money . . .;-) i. somewhat like the saturn V rocket at johnson space center- just basic steel and surprisingly mediocore welding. it was funny to see so many of the same problems and needs solved on the imbert in the same hack manner many of us still do with a welder and a hammer. i saw little lost knowledge to rediscover. i saw lots of expedience, simplicity, and band aids.
still, it was completely fascinating. the base was still full of charcoal, likely from the last time the vehicle was run over a half century ago. (note to biochar enthusiasts- charcoal does not degrade at least in 70years).
i got one of the side ports off and could see the houglass hearth, air preheating circle tube, and char sitting up around the bell. i got a bit dirty, spilled some char/ash on the floor, and felt right at home.
can't get under the hood yet to see the carb and reheating parts. i'm trying to ask for permission (now that i've asked for forgiveness) to get more access to the unit. i've been given the contact info for the director of the transportation museum. hopefully i can talk my way under a few more caps tomorrow, with proper oversight and assistance. we'll see.
until then, enjoy the pictures. its a real treat to see and touch the details of how the ancients solved the same problems we suffer today trying to build these things.
Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:20 PM
On Thu, Oct 28, 2010 at 7:43 AM, <the director @deutsches-museum.de> wrote:
Our stuff told me, that you have already opened this device. I hope you will understand, that we are not happy about this. Normally it is not allowed to touch our objects. We have to save them from a loss for the next generations.
In special cases we offer the possibiltiy to have a look inside. For that reason we will allow you to open the ports, but only supervised by our stuff. Please come tomorrow afternoon (1 till 3 PM) to the front desk and ask for Mr. Klügel. He will assist you by your research.
Please note that it is not possible to deconstruct the whole device.
Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum
and my note with the request to visit.
Am 28.10.2010 11:39, schrieb jim mason:
The staff at the front desk gave me your address to write to request
closer access to inspect an exhibit.
I have made a special trip to Munich to see the Imbert holzvergasser
in the Verkehrszentrum. I am an engineer working in biomass
gasification in the United States, and the opportunity to see one of
the historic gasifier units is deeply educational. More generally,
your museum is stunning (which i'm sure you know). The scale and
scope rises to a Louvre of industrial engineering. I had no idea the
extent of the collection before this visit. The most complete
physical encyclopedia of industry i've ever seen. I've extended my
trip so i can continue my education for a couple more days. Thank you
for making such learning possible.
I am wondering if it might be possible that under the supervision of a
staff member, i could open some of the caps on the imbert unit. I
have attached a pictures to clarify which exhibit I am referring to.
There are several big screw plugs and the fuel hopper that i
would like to be able to open and look inside. You can see them at
the bottom of the attached pictures. This does not involve any
disassembly of the unit. These are just the existing access ports
people used to fill the unit and empty the ash back in the day. They
are the equivalent of opening the door on a car so you can get in and
I can only stay in Munich through Friday, so if possible, I would like
to do this today or tomorrow. I can be available at any hour, at the
convenience of your staff. The closer inspection will take about 15
You can learn more information about me and my biomass gasification
work in the United States on our website here: www.gekgasifier.com. I
have also attached a brochure for the contemporary gasification unit
we manufacture in the United States.
Thank you for considering this late request. The easiest way to
contact me today or tomorrow will be via email. And thank you again
for making such deep learning possible for contemporary industrial
Director, ALL Power Labs.
Posted 28 October 2010 - 05:22 PM
today no gasifiers. just steam power from beginning to end (walking beam piston engines through multistage turbines). then water power of all types (bucket wheel through francis spiral turbine, kaplan rotor, banki double hit flow through and all the rest). tried to finally really learn all of it in a manner that is actually understood, retained and readily available in the mental toolbox for later. more than just "wow" and walk on. thus i only got through two sections and now i'm wiped.
well, i also ran through the machine shop rooms (from overhead belt driven shops to cnc production lines). they have three complete shops set up, one for each of the "eras". i love the smell of machine oil in the afternoon. also, the creak of the wood plank floors in the dimly lit belt drive shop is a nice touch. did you know that early wood turning was done by pulling strings to spin the work, with your foot and big toe pit as the tool rest? be careful not to stall that tool bit!
ok, so i also looked at the all shaft sealing solutions exhibit in great detail (as this is a persistent problem on gasifiers), and a bit of the kinematic mechanism survey, including all gear types and drive reduction boxes. skimmed the lock mechanisms, as never been too interested. still can't pick them unfortunately.
but that's it. no gasifiers. no internal combustion engines. no jets or rockets today. haven't even seen the mine yet that all of you keep talking about. the petroleum and natural gas room is still untouched. i think there's also a computer room, but that's too easy for us moderns.
the steam rooms are really too much to digest in one pass. watt's original engine is as big as a building. early boilermakers were fearless. and copper tube signal distribution to liquid filled gauges looks way better than wires and LCDs. i need to go reread all the wikipedia articles tonight on all the major steam development steps, then go through it again.
but even after that, a walking beam engine is still likely to be a terrible idea. didn't they have the sliding head solution early on? why would one make a walking beam and not just go straight to the crank, via the sliding head? it seems a giant amount of hassle, despite the impressive aesthetics for the effort. these must follow from the early pump machines and the form carried over to the early shaft drive machines. all the early piston pumps were driven vertically up only, then fell back down by gravity. the "drive the piston both ways" idea was fairly late. you have to have this idea before the horizontal piston is a thinkable thought. and you pretty much need the horizontal piston idea before you are going to go direct drive from piston to crank, lest you end up with a machine more than one building tall. maybe this is why we had walking beams early on. still, it's a pretty bad idea that hung around for a long time.
well, saw all the pump solutions too. very interesting hydraulic ram pump i'd never seen. pump water uphill to much higher than water flowing downhill via simple inertial impulse switch. makes a nice clicking sound like metronome.
tomorrow it's gasifiers again. back in the comfort zone.
Posted 31 October 2010 - 03:47 AM
i'm going to need to write this up in a series of reports, going component by component. i have pictures of everything, as well as complete dimensions that i can translate into cad files for the entire system. in the interim, here's a portrait of the researcher at work . . .
also, there turned out to be another vehicle with an imbert gasifier in the vehicle part of the museum. this one was a ford truck with behind cab unit. same basic architecture and components, but some significant differences in execution.
i didn't get to spelunk the ford gasifier. i only got to dig through the one on the adler. but fortunately i got to dig all i wanted. three hours worth. i was rather wonderful, in a somewhat disturbingly geeky way. the musuem staff was excited that someone actually cared about this. the docents wanted to learn lots of details of why and how, as they gives tours of this machine regularly.
reports will start soon.
Posted 31 October 2010 - 05:01 PM
really glad to hear the DM thing worked out.
hope to talk to you soon.
Posted 31 October 2010 - 08:23 PM
there turned out to be another vehicle with an imbert gasifier in the vehicle part of the museum. this one was a ford truck with behind cab unit. same basic architecture and components, but some significant differences in execution.
here's page i found online about the imbert ford truck in the deutsches museum. this is from an enthusiasts group of vehicles produced at the ford cologne factory- pre, during and post wwII. ford has a large history in germany. they were 50% of the truck market in the late 30s.
this page has a picture of the truck, showing the paint burned off the bottom of the holzvergaser, and good info on the german ford truck production history.
there is also a interesting page on imbert's life story on the same site. it fills in a bit on why he was in germany, and how he got into gasification in general. see here:
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