Using Live Steam Gel in your Model Steam Engine

Using Live Steam Gel in your Model Steam Engine

April 2024 Categories: News

The following safety information and instructions have been produced for users of the Milbury Model Company's 'Live Steam Gel', available to purchase in 50ml or 250ml pouches. 

Our Live Steam Gel has been specially formulated as an alternative to the recently regulated hexamine solid fuel tablets used with Mamod steam engines.

Unfortunately, we are not yet recommending the use of Live Steam Gel for Wilesco live steam engines however tests are ongoing and will remain so until a solution is provided.

Safety Information:

This product consumes fuel through combustion or consumption of oxygen and gives off certain substances and gas which could be dangerous, such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, clear gas that can cause flu like symptoms, sickness, illness and possibly death if produced inside enclosed areas without adequate ventilation.

  • Steam gel has a much higher safety aspect than methylated spirits or alcohol gel. It benefits from being unregulated unlike hexamine.
  • It is classified as a combustible material rather than a flammable one. It is safe to store in hot environments (max. 80C).
  • Spillages do not present a hazard but should be washed away with water.
  • The gel is non-toxic but not suitable for human or animal consumption.
  • Spillages on the skin or eyes should be washed away with water immediately.
  • It must only be used on non-flammable/combustible surfaces. We recommend firing on patios, bricks or similar.
  • Do not overfill the burner tray.
  • Avoid removing the tray when in steam to limit the chance of an accidental spillage. We have made the gel as thick as possible which limits the chance of a spillage occurring but, as with any product designed to burn, care must be taken when in use.
  • Always use with adult supervision.

Instructions for use in a steam model burner tray:

  1. Squeeze a suitable amount of Steam Gel into the fuel burner tray, we recommend approx. 1/3 of a 50ml pouch for a standard Mamod-style burner tray (see photo below). Replace cap after use.
  2. Ignite the gel by holding a flame against it for 20 seconds. The flames may initially be invisible so check if you can feel any heat coming off.
  3. After use, ensure the flame has extinguished. The white ash that remains is non-hazardous and can be discarded.
  4. Suitable for the following type of tray -

Top tips and notes...

  • For our customers who have previously used Hexamine based fuel tablets, you will notice a few differences which are expected and normal:
    • The energy density of our specialist gel is lower meaning it may take slightly longer to ‘raise steam’. Once in steam, the run time is usually similar.
    • You will have a larger amount of leftover ‘ash’ remaining in the burner tray. This is normal; it is a safe powder (the same chemical composition as sand!) which can be disposed of in usual waste.
    • Steam gel is a thixotropic – this means it is neither liquid nor solid. For this reason, it is significantly safer than traditional fuels (like methylated spirits) as it is very unlikely to spill. It is designed to hold its shape and not spread or change its shape when burning.
  • Struggling to light it? It takes around 20 seconds to ignite however some customers find using a small blowtorch (either a lighter style mini blowtorch or a cooking blowtorch) makes it easier to get it going.
  • We recommend using preheated water in the boiler to give you more time enjoying the model and less time waiting for it to warm up.


Live Steam Gel is not classified as a hazardous chemical, however there is an MSDS sheet available on request.