LVL1 has a new rocketeering group. This rocket engine testing platform is the first project to come out of the fledgling club. The purpose of the tool is to gather empirical data from model rocket engines. Having reliable numbers on thrust over time will allow the team to get their designs right before the physical build even starts.
The rig uses a pine base, with a PVC frame, threaded bolts, and a PVC cuff for mounting the engine in place. It is set to fire up in the air, directing the thrust down onto a scale. The flex sensor in the scale is monitored by an Arduino, and should be able to hold up to the 5000
pounds grams of thrust max which this type of engines can put out. The data is pushed via USB to a laptop computer where it is stored in a spreadsheet.
Calibration would be an issue here. But as long as they’re always using the same strain sensor the numbers will be accurate enough relative to each other.
What do you do if you’ve got a fully equipped machine shop and you’re tired of taking old beer cans to the recycler? If you’re like [Brock], you’ll probably end up melting those cans down to build an engine.
After gathering 50 pounds of beer cans and melting them down into ingots of various sizes, [Brock] and company had a lot of aluminum and nothing to build. Eventually, someone got the idea to build an internal combustion engine out of these beer can ingots.
So far, the beer can engine crew has built two engines from these beer can ingots. The four-stroke engine started off as a 5-inch aluminum cube, bored and milled into something resembling an engine block. When [Brock] and the beer can engine team completed their four-stroke masterpiece, they had a water-cooled engine displacing 150cc with a single 2″ bore piston. The two-stroke engine is a much simpler affair with a 1 inch bore displacing 19cc.
Even though there’s no information at all covering the pottery kiln foundry used to melt the beer cans into ingots, it’s an amazing piece of work building and engine from the ground up.
You can check out a few videos of both engines after the break.
Continue reading “Melting beer cans and building engines”
Real motorcycle enthusiasts design and mill their own engines. Well, perhaps that’s an overstatement. Certainly it takes to more obsession than enthusiasm to go to these lengths. But this gentleman’s modifications started out simple enough, and managed to make it to the most extreme of hardware fabrications.
The used bike came with a modified camshaft that seemed like a botched job. As he got further into tuning up engine performance the prospect of just replacing the entire thing with his own design started to grow. Using a manually operated milling machine he cut his own molds for the new cylinder head out of wood and sent them off to be forged out of aluminum. They come back in rough shape but he just “filed the cast without mercy” and machined the tolerances to his specifications. Apparently the first test ride had him a bit nervous — he also milled his own brakes for the bike. But after a few times around the block he gained confidence with his work.
The difficulty of rolling a 16-cylinder engine into a motorcycle really boggles the mind. But that’s exactly what [Andreas Georgeades] is doing in his garage. It’s two straight-8 engines sandwiched on top of one another with a custom crankcase connecting them. And get this, those custom parts are being milled by hand, using time-tested techniques rather than modern computer assistance.
So, where does the complexity come in? Well first of all you’ve got to solve all of the problems that go along with combining two engines. It sounds like this isn’t a new concept, as older generations of Formula 1 engines used the technique. But we still think it’s the pinnacle of hardcore when it’s an enthusiast undertaking the challenge. Then there’s the issue of weight. The engine is bulky, but needs to balance in the frame. And you still must find a way for the rider to sit on the thing (even the most bow-legged of people won’t be able to get their hips around the thing).
Seems like something out of a Mario Kart game that should have no chance of being roadworthy. But we’re sure [Andreas] is going to prove us wrong.
[Dan] wanted to learn a bit about solid state ignition in engines; to get started he needed a test subject, so he decided he would upgrade his old 12 horsepower lawnmower.
Originally the lawnmower engine used a magneto coil ignition system, magnetos are simple and very common in lawnmowers. The magneto is designed to produce a high voltage spike when influenced by a magnetic field. A magnet is attached to the engine’s crankshaft to time the voltage spikes, these spikes are fed directly into the spark plugs to cause ignition, this is why you don’t need a battery. [Dan] explains how the solid state ignition works on his site as he goes through the build details. Essentially it uses a hall effect sensor to detect a spinning magnet on the crankshaft for timing, and a transistor and battery to fire the spark plugs for ignition.
Once he got his circuit up and running on a breadboard, he fitted the entire system into a neat plastic box and fixed it to the front of the lawnmower, as if it was meant to be there all along.
Although a V-12 engine is always nice, cramming one into a motorcycle definitely qualifies as an engine hack! [Allen Millyard], wasn’t satisfied with the standard number of cylinders (6!) on his already gigantic Kawasaki KZ1300. Like any reasonable person, he decided to graft two of their powerplants together!
In true engine hacker form, inspiration struck at a classic bikes show when someone said “Suppose you’re going to make a V-12 next, then?” [Allen] replied that it would be impossible, but after this conversation, he reportedly had to build one. By the time the show ended he’d figured out how to do it. Lots of work and two six-cylinder engines later, [Allen] had proven this task to be possible.
Although this may seem like a very extreme motorcycle engine hack, [Allen] has done quite a few motorcycle engine mods, making v-twins out of a pair of single-cylinder engines and a V-eight from two four-cylinder engines. Check out the video of his latest beast after the break! Continue reading “Engine Hacks: The Kawaskai Voyager… V-12?”
This hack seems simple enough:
- 1. Open hatchback
- 2. Insert jet engine
- 3. Profit
Actually, the guy who added a jet engine to a VW Beetle has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford. He claims this is street legal, and even has a snapshot of the police trying to figure out what to charge him with after stopping him on the road. There’s plenty of details and we’re not questioning [Ron Patrick’s] competence, but having the intake for the turbine inside the cab of the vehicle seems a bit insane. He remarks that “it’s a little windy but not unbearable”… yeah.
One the same page you’ll find his dual-jet modified scooter. The starting cost there is considerably less, especially if you build your own ram jets.