A Wooden Engine Powered By Compressed Air

You may have seen an air powered engine at some point, but most are made out of some sort of metal. This engine, however, is made entirely out of wood (and fasteners). One might wonder how a design like this was conceived, but this may be explained by [Woodgears.ca’s] tagline: “An engineer’s approach to woodworking.”  It should also be noted that this is actually [Matthias’] sequel to  “Wooden Air Engine 1.

The engine itself is a neat device in that it uses power from compressed air (or suction from a vacuum cleaner) to make the piston and connecting rod cycle back and forth to spin a flywheel.  The other connecting rod is used to switch which side of the “clyinder” received air pressure (or vacuum).  A really neat mechanical assembly, and one that took a good amount of skill to make out of wood.  Check out the video after the break to see how it all works!

If you’d like your woodworking to be more automatic, check out this post about how to set up a CNC router for your personal use.

20 thoughts on “A Wooden Engine Powered By Compressed Air

  1. Nice work, Matthias! I suppose if you cranked it up fast enough, you’d have yourself a pretty impressive one-time-use fire starter :)

    1. I was wondering the same thing, how do you deal with friction in a totally wooden machine, is it lubricated, how long can you run it before it goes totally boy scout weenie roaster?

      1. Just don’t run it too fast. It’ll be fine. It would have to get really, really hot for it to combust. Well, I suppose you’d have a different type of engine then… Get it? A combustion engine?

  2. This woodgear guy has been making a new video on his website about wood working machines made from wood for several years now.

    Several of his contraptions are pretty amazing and I am happy to see him in the spotlights here on hackaday.

      1. touché (actually have in my shop) – but…from the build pics it kinda looked like he didn’t…and just drilled and cut square, obviously the end result still worked out for him

  3. Darn impressive! ^_^

    Between this and the glass one from another master craftsman are very impressive of the makers skills!

      1. It would be more interesting if he made it to work on some other air source that doesn’t use a million times more power.

        Could you, for example generate enough draft with a solar collector or a chimney to run something useful?

  4. A pedant writes: the correct technical term for “the other connecting rod” is “valve rod”. There is an enormous amount of technical literature available on the best way to drive the valves of this sort of engine, but this is the simplest solution other than having an oscillating cylinder.

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