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.


  1. jc says:

    I love the part when he unscrews those wooden screws. They look pretty nifty.

  2. Wifiguy says:
  3. Darkknight512 says:

    Haha, very cool

  4. MisterPG says:

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

    • Hirudinea says:

      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?

      • Pilotgeek says:

        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?

  5. peter says:

    Everyone should check out his other videos on youtube. Not only interesting, but also entertaining.

  6. Roberto says:

    Lawyer smurf eyes the potential smurfy-IP suit.

  7. paul says:

    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.

  8. steve eh says:

    looks Awesome, also looks like he could have a real use for the square hole drill rig from a few days back

  9. Nightstar says:

    Darn impressive! ^_^

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

  10. Dave says:

    He should try his motor with a leaf blower as the air source. Much More Volume than the shop vac.

  11. Forest Pines says:

    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.

  12. krishna says:

    skill is the theme i guess

  13. pls give me a abstract for this engine ……

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