1,200 hours of work results in the smallest v12 engine

[José Manuel Hermo Barreiro] has spent many many hours crafting these tiny engines from hand. Every single piece is custom made specifically for the engine it is going onto. He has created aircraft engines, car engines, and marine engines that all actually run and are the smallest of their kind in the world.

At one point in this video he stands in a room with several engines lined up, all running smoothly and considers that there are possibly over 15,000 hours of work right there in front of him.

Here’s a video specifically about the 12 cylinder construction.

[Thanks Staskazz]



  1. Per Jensen says:

    Yeah, it’s very nice made, but saying that it runs is s bit of a stretch. It rotates…

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      yeah, I guess they are being powered by compressed air. This means they do have compression though, they’re just missing an ignition and fuel delivery system.

    • Gary. says:

      Hey Per you’re so right, but you forgot to give a link to your video of your working heavy oil Vee12. I can’t wait to see that.

      • funkytaco says:

        I agree with your point that it is very nice. I love looking at these. The favorite part of my trip to the Science Museum in London was looking at the Steam Engines created by James Watt. They even spent decades disassembling his work shed and putting it back together in the condition he left it in. It was pretty amazing.

  2. Mithrandir says:

    “my biggest thrill would’ve been to make an engine room for a transatlantic ship; [...] …but it’s too late now.” – sorry, but this statement got my eyes wet…

  3. Auraelius says:

    Sure, one guy spends 15,000 hours and achieves mastery that only comes from sustained and focused effort, and some casual observer spends a minute or two only to disparage the work for what it does NOT do. And the structure of this web page gives them equal voice. And all the rest of us have to be subjected to this trivialization of excellence. Please redesign your page so that I don’t have be subjected to this banality if I don’t want “Everyman’s” opinion.

  4. six677 says:

    It may not be actual internal combustion but that is one amazing piece of engineering. Truly awesome work.

  5. Willaim says:

    Well, it is one of the coolest things i’ve ever seen. Perhaps that other guy means a comment voting system ‘if [he doesn't] want “Everyman’s” opinion.’ or maybe a way to disable comments, who knows to be honest.

  6. Kevin says:

    They’re not disparaging the work for what it does not do; they’re disparaging the author of the article for exaggerating.

  7. Zac says:

    It’d be great if he made himself an RC car using that as the engine (with a few more parts for ignition and fuel delivery), and a real automatic transmission. But either way, damn nice.

  8. Ray Johnson says:

    A charming man to say the least. And, his engines speak for themselves. Truly remarkable.

  9. Nick says:

    Per’s not criticizing [José Manuel Hermo Barreiro]; he’s criticizing Caleb Kraft.

    That’s fair, I think. And, based on his response, it seems Caleb thinks so too.

  10. Bill says:

    My impression is that these are modeled after maritime engines. As such, they’re steam engines, and aren’t supposed to be internal combustion.

  11. macona says:

    Not to disparage this guys work, and it is great work, but these things run off of air. There are people who make engines the same size or smaller and run off fuel, real IC. There are shows across the US and UK where people gather to show off, like the GEARS show in Portland. This is some video I filmed the show before last.

  12. soundman98 says:

    for anyone interested in small powered motors, there’s a whole forum devoted to it


  13. KSHI says:

    Thank you very much for posting this. This made my day. Absolutely amazing.

  14. john says:

    I personally find Auraelius’s comment far more annoying than a minor yet relevant error correction.

  15. Wow, just…wow. :D

    Just making something like that is crazy enough, but the idea that he did all the design work by hand, too…

    I need to level up my lathe/mill skills so I can one day start working on model engines as a hobby. That would be so cool.

    For a while now, I’ve wanted to have a small radial engine model as a desk display, with the internals partially visible. ‘Functional’, but manually-powered, i.e. the internals move by me turning a crank. Neat display piece, but also something to hold in my hands and fiddle about with while I’m thinking.

    Here’s one of my favorite videos of someone machining a model engine:

  16. dougm says:

    it doesn’t have an active lubrication system so trying to run it on any sort of fuel would destroy it. It is a beautiful piece of work. As a hobby machinist I am in awe.

  17. ursussiara says:

    I Think anything that someone takes the time to craft with soul is cool. Even if it’s not my gig, I can always appreciate a persons dedication to their passions.

    The links and vids were awesome. Thanks.

    I had also intended to offer an opinion concerning the validity of comments made on this thread suggesting that a rating or even content based system of censure should be implemented to, what was it? To save all of us from the banality of Everyone’s (Pardon, Every man’s) thoughts and opinions.
    This was to extend to dissenters, critics or visitors/new members joining the conversation for first time. Because only by protecting popular views (as calculated scientifically by counting the up or down key strokes of the first few people to read them) could ensure the “quality” of the free interchange of ideas on this open forum that is so sorely needed.

    But I realized that I was going say that


    So I decided not to.



    *(Hopelessly Retarded)
    **(Among the Stupidest Fucking Suggestions That I Have Ever Heard)

  18. Murtaugh says:


  19. Robby says:

    Beautifully made video, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

    A man with a quiet sense of whats trully important.
    Sometimes watching the dedication of a human being to create and craft something unique and wonderful and who’s words reflect upon some of our society’s thoughtlessness is as powerful as any politicians.

    I hope he goes on to build lots more for a long time.


  20. Pat says:

    Awesome work. Wish I had this guys skills.

    Small engine … is he compensating for being well endowed?

  21. mch says:

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