As a beginner’s step towards the famous Top Gear V8 coffee table, [English Tea] converted a small single cylinder engine into a desk lamp that uses the mechanical actuation of the piston to turn on and off. No able-bodied engines were harmed in the making of this hack as this one was already a corpse — perfect for [Mr. Tea] to prop up and display in his home.
Regrettably lacking a lightsaber, he settled for 30 minutes on a hacksaw to split the cylinder followed by some sandblasting to clean all the rust, paint, and gunk off all the internals. Once it was clean he repainted it himself. Between paint and clearcoats, he figured he added 20 layers onto the metal.
Next he created some wood sections and wet-formed leather over them which he later dyed black. Caring less about a new Walmart lamp than the motor, he vivisected it for its electrical components and wired it up.
Without a crank on the shaft it looks a bit awkward to twist the lamp on or off, but, only enough pressure is needed to poke a latching
momentary pushbutton and it seems to work just fine. For any readers looking to make their own, dead compressors and gas power tools are fairly common and nearly free at the junkyard. Engine-based projects can be intimidating to start if you need a working engine again at the end. Becoming familiar with them on a project like this where you are mostly only using the engine as a building material is an easy way to get your foot in the door.
See the video after the break of the piston bumping the light on and off.
Thanks [Helix] for the tip.
[Updated to fix typo]