3D Printed Engine Chugs Away on Balloon Power

So often, 3D printer owners buy their machines with the promise of freeing themselves from the shackles of commercial manufactured items, and making all sorts of wonderful and useful things to improve their lives. Then they proceed to print a menagerie of good luck cats and toy elephants, that little tugboat, and a host of other pretty but ultimately useless items in garishly colored filament.

Perhaps this is an unfair assessment, but if you have the sneaking feeling that it might just describe you then could we point you at something that while it still has little use is at least interesting to play with. [Gzumwalt]’s single cylinder air engine is as its name suggests, a piston engine that runs on compressed air. You don’t need a shop compressor though, your lungs or an inflated balloon will suffice.

It’s a simple enough design, but it does incorporate two connecting rods, one of which drives a sliding valve. All the files are available for download, and there is a video we’ve placed below the break showing it chugging away nicely from a balloon. It might not be the most useful of engines and it may not bring you good luck, but it beats a plastic menagerie in the interest stakes.

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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.