Miniature Engine Model Made Of Paper

You can make a lot of stuff out of paper, but a single-stroke engine model less than an inch across? That’s a new one, courtesy of Russian hacker [Aliaksei Zholner], who built a quite remarkable model of a single-stroke engine out of paper (in Russian, translated version via Google Translate). Measuring less than an inch across, it is driven by compressed air and accurately models the rotary action of a single-stroke engine, where a piston in the cylinder drives a flywheel that creates the engine cycle.

The creator has managed to run it at up to about 60 revolutions per second, or about 3600rpm. That’s an impressive speed for a few bits of paper and glue, and there is even an input restrictor that can control the airflow that drives the model.  We’ve featured some interesting paper creations before, such as this papercraft robot and a Strandbeest, but this one is a step beyond. [Aliaksei] has also made the plans and template for this available, so those with steady hands can go ahead and try to make their own.

18 thoughts on “Miniature Engine Model Made Of Paper

      1. Also known as a rubber band driven propeller for generating the air flow/pressure?
        Likely want to switch to a 3d printed model in order to get the proper stiffness to support enough rubber band windings to make a practical demo.

  1. So what precisely is a “single-stroke engine”?
    Is that supposed to read “single cylinder engine” instead?

    No matter what, it’s one of the most amazing pieces of paper art I’ve ever seen. That took some serious skill to make.

    1. The video says it’s a Stirling engine.

      If it were an Otto-cycle engine it’d be a four-stroke, two-strokes have weird valve arrangement and use back pressure in the crank case as part of their functioning. They’re pretty weird, only really understandable in motion, rather than a four-stroke which has discrete stages.

      The valve looks a teeny bit leaky, but seems like a genuine reciprocating cylinder engine, which is pretty amazing at that size. Amazing too it doesn’t tear apart in operation.

  2. impressive piece of work. Really out-of-the box thinking and well executed. But that is not a Stirling engine, however. A Sterling engine is external combustion so the working fluid (air usually) does not flow into the cylinder and out an exhaust, it exchanges between a hot and cold cylinders, back and forth. This has an intake valve and an exhaust port. More like a steam engine.

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