Machining A Horizontal Stirling Engine

Satisfy your need to view some quality machining by looking through this Stirling engine worklog. We’ve seen these engines used a few other times in creating electricity from solar energy, powering a car, and even built from aluminum cans. [David Morrow] built this rendition to push the limits of his machining skills. We’d say he succeeded. The finished piece should run with the help of a heat source such as a candle. There’s no video of this engine, but we’ve embedded a clip of a similar device after the break in order to give you an idea of how this would work.


[Thanks The Ideanator]

25 thoughts on “Machining A Horizontal Stirling Engine

  1. @phil

    The wikipedia article does a good job of explaining it.

    This looks to be a Beta Sterling.

    Basically the air inside heats up, causing it to expand, moving the piston away. This causes the displacer to move to the hot end, forcing the air to the cool end, where it contracts, bringing the piston back in.

    Or, the black box description, apply heat at end, cold along the sides, and the wheel will spin

  2. Beautiful, really, this was class work. This is one of the best Stirling engines that I have ever seen.

    Coke snorkin’, tinfoil hat wearing, hemp clothed, Marty Feldman eyed, stark raving mad, lunatic fringed morons will be quoting this page forever more, as the answer for the world’s power needs.

  3. Does anyone have a link to plans for a similar engine? Ive been tempted to build my own for some time now, but ive yet to come across a decent set of plans that A) doesn’t cost $$ and B) isnt made from cans.

  4. Makes me wonder if a Stirling motor is more or less efferent than a thermal couple? Add one that runs a generator and have run off the heat of the radiator in a Pirus and maybe one that runs off the AC heat as well. Add a small exhaust turbine hooked to another generator and see just what you can get for mileage in a cost as no option rig.

  5. nick, I think it’s an optical illusion caused by the almost-mirror finish. I believe the brass-colored “axle” is actually a counter-weight appendage to the brass-colored connecting rod. Unfortunately, the site hit a bandwidth limit, so I don’t have alternate POV photos.

  6. alkhaarj: It could be, though it could also run on solar heat — combustion at a distance via radiation — or “waste” heat — including radioactive decay and chemical processes (think: bunnies).

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