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Thread: Waste Oil Burner: Drip vs Siphon

  1. #1

    Waste Oil Burner: Drip vs Siphon

    Hi guys,
    Could you give pros and cons of both systems, and recommendations?


  2. #2
    Administrator Site Admin
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Huatulco, Mexico
    I use two drip style burners, a Lionel Brute and a Lionel Hot Shot. I have used them for years in my bronze foundry. They are elegantly simple, both to build and to use. You can burn any type of oil without any changes. They just plain work.

    The only downside is that they have to be fired up properly or they smoke badly (it's easy once you know how. I posted a video here several years ago of me lighting the Hot Shot burner with no smoke) and they need to be watched. They require a periodic adjustment of the oil feed needle valve.

    My only experience of the other types of more complicated oil burners is the problems people have in getting them to work. Most of the oil burner posts here are about that.

    When I die, Heaven can wait—I want to go to McMaster-Carr.

  3. #3
    I this this has come up a few times, so if you looked through the search, it may pop up.

    I have a siphon type burner, and I love the thing, but using some types of oils tends to gum up my burner where as a drip style burner wouldnt have that issue. I think the drip style is much more simple to build, but you need a pretty good blower where as a siphon burner doesnt really need much of a blower. The siphon burner usually needs an air compressor to run it, which is noisy and eats a bit of power but is pretty easy to start and once you set it, it just runs and you can keep the furnace at any temp you want by controlling the psi from the compressor. The drip style is also decently easy to start, but are extremely loud and if you have neighbors, they'll defenitely hate you for sure, also it seems that you turn it on and it just is at full blast and you control it by the amount of oil you drip into it.

    Ive seen drip style burners eat oil like crazy, like 3-4 gallons per hour, but my siphon one will do the same if I crank it up high enough, but I usually end up going through around a gallon of used motor oil per weekend of casting, which is around 8-9 hours of running.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Buffalo, NY
    Welcome Benjamin,

    Go into the Burner Engineering subforum and in the site settings select show settings for the last year. Everywhere you see siphon, Hago, or Delevan in a thread title you are likely to find plenty of pros and cons. The stickys listed in that forum will show you a good demonstration of the drip.


  5. #5
    Thanks for the speedy replies. Can drip burners produce the temperatures needed for cast iron?

    Pete: I'll take a look and do some reading tonight.

  6. #6
    most cast iron melting furnaces I see use drip style burners, so yea, they easily can. I have a video of one from a fellow member on here using his and pouring it down at soule festival as part of his iron casting booth.

  7. #7
    That's interesting, the ones I've seen videos of all seemed to use a siphon system. But it's good to know that drip style burners can melt cast iron. The drip style would be my preferred option, as I don't have an air compresssor, and it would save having to finely filter all the oil.

  8. #8
    Administrator Site Admin
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Huatulco, Mexico
    A drip style burner will not only melt cast iron, it will melt your furnace if you pump in enough air and oil.

    I use a small shop vac as a blower. That's the only noise. The burner itself makes some, but no more than an equivalent propane burner.

    I am especially happy with the Hot Shot burner, which uses a one inch pipe tube as opposed to The Brute's two inch pipe tube. I am planning to try the Hot Shot in the large furnace (#30 crucible) next time I fire it up and see how it does. I am thinking the smaller tube allows for a more concentrated air blast and better atomization of the oil.

    When I die, Heaven can wait—I want to go to McMaster-Carr.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tobho Mott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by benjaminh View Post
    ...The drip style would be my preferred option, as I don't have an air compresssor, and it would save having to finely filter all the oil.
    Those are excellent reasons for going drip-style!

    A dripper waste oil burner needs a preheated furnace (most often using propane for the preheat, at least the ones we see most often around here), while a spray burner needs better oil filtration, an air compressor, and a special nozzle (or a fuel pump instead of a compressor and a slightly different sort of special nozzle, if I recall correctly). Those are the main differences as I see it.

    I start up my burner as shown in Rasper's furnace lighting method video thread. My Moya burner is not technically a Hot Shot, but it's very similar - in fact Moya's burner is specifically mentioned on Lionel's Hot Shot oil burner pages on BYMC due to this similarity via a broken link.

    Most burner builds require a bit of welding, but I was able to cobble together my almost-a-Moya burner without having access to a welding machine. That and the lack of a compressor are why I went this route. The main difference between mine and Moya's is that I found a plug for the back end that was already threaded, rather than drilling and tapping one. I also did not use that plug as a coupler; the thrift store lamp tube I used for the oil drip tube in the center of the burner came with a threaded section on one end that was long enough to screw all the way through the plug and leave enough thread protruding out the back of the burner to simply screw my oil line onto. Other than drilling and tapping a hole for the gas line, this burner build was a 2-wrenches and a hacksaw affair, easy as anything.

    I guess I don't have many good pix of my burner's innards posted; here is the best "exploded view" I have, I think, before I added the threaded hole for the propane line. It also shows a shorter burner tube than the 12" long black pipe that I really use. There are now also ball valves on both oil and gas lines for quick on/off as well as quick-connect hardware, plus a needle valve on the oil line for fine control of the drip speed.

    Attachment 14201

    Here's the completed burner assembled, with the real tube and fuel line connections added (the needle & ball valve for the oil is attached to the oil line, not the burner) and a sleeve that keeps it centered in my tuyere:

    Attachment 18109

    Pardon my mess!

    I have since stuffed the space between the burner tube and the sleeve with some ceramic fiber blanket scraps I had left over from my furnace build, to keep the flames from blowing back out through the gap and torching my fuel lines & valves.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

    Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy. Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew.

    How I built my oil furnace | My Photo Album | My Videos

  10. #10
    I just finished a siphon /propane/Natural gas hybrid burner. I use a pressurized tank that puts a small amount of pressure on the oil supply so that i don't need to worry about tank location and it just sets on the floor, i use an automotive spin on filter for filtration, if the oil is to thick it also has a heater set at 500 watts that will bring the oil up to 150F, i used that when the oil had some gear case oil in the mix and was pretty thick. the burner is a Hago nozzle, these nozzles can be taken apart and cleaned if they plug. the nozzle is a 1 GpH but if i kick up the compressed air it will fire at 2 to 3 GPH. The reason that i went with a siphon rather then a drip is that the furnace that it is installed in is a tilting melting furnace and the furnace temp stays on the low side so the drip burner would be in and out of start up mode and I felt that it would be harder to keep it running clean. When i open the furnace doors it is basically firing into open air and when closed anywhere from 800F to 2000F. depending on how hot the cylinder heads or the melt pool is.

    Art B

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