Custom Mini 4WD Runs On Steam

Tamiya’s Mini 4WD toy line primarily consists of small 1:32 scale toy cars powered by AA batteries, which have no remote control and are guided around a plastic track by horizontally oriented drive guide wheels. Tuning and racing these cars is popular in many parts of the world, but this build is a little different.

After initial experiments with a modified Tamiya chassis are unsuccessful, a fresh build using a bespoke aluminium chassis is begun. A sturdy boiler is created, feeding into a piston which is used to drive all four wheels through a series of driveshafts.

It’s interesting to watch the iterative design process solve various problems such as piston wear and gearing. Performance is underwhelming for those used to the immense speed of the electric toys, but we’d love to see a competition series using steam powered racers.

We don’t see a whole lot of steam hacks around here, but the Hudspith steam bicycle is something to marvel at. Video after the break.

13 thoughts on “Custom Mini 4WD Runs On Steam

    1. There probably is a significant amount of heat flowing to the sides, but it does add to the weight. A better improvement would be a wider cup to heat the entirety of the base and a finer grated heatsink on the bottom.

      1. When it’s stationary, those heatsinks may help, but once it’s moving, they are just cooling that boiler faster. Wind shields / air channels for hot air would help immensely.

  1. I wish there was a translation because this seems like he was running through some iterations from a rather basic steam turbine to a plastic piston steam engine, then adding metal parts and a flywheel.
    But I wish it was more clear what process is going on here for those of us who can’t read Japanese.

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