What do you do, when you move into a shared apartment and find only one socket is available among four electric toothbrushes? Revert to an old-style manual brush? If you’re [luisengineering], not a bit of it. He’s modified an electric toothbrush with the only sensible power plant, a three-horsepower twin cylinder four-stroke gasoline motor. You’ll need to turn on translated subtitles from the original German to watch it, but we hope you’ll agree it’s worth it.
After explaining the problem, the video below the break continues with the assembly of the motor, a model unit available through the usual online suppliers. This alone is interesting, for no doubt many of us have seen these motors for sale and retain some curiosity about them. We expected him to retain the electric drive for the toothbrush and use a generator, but instead, he hooks up the motor via a shaft directly to the input gear. With three horsepower behind the brush, this will surely shift that stubborn plaque! Astoundingly as you can see in the video below the break the contraption works, and both he and a friends perform their dental ablutions with it.
We like the blend of craziness and engineering embodied by this project, and we commend it to you on that basis. If you’re short of electric toothbrush modding ideas, how about an engraving tool?
When we think of a typical four stroke internal combustion engine, we think of metal. And for any type of longevity or performance, that’s certainly the right choice. But [Integza] wanted to see what happens inside a 4 stroke engine, and it wasn’t enough to see it from a transparent cylinder head. No, he wanted to see it in the cylinder itself. Thanks to advances in material sciences, he got his wish as seen in the video below the break.
While researching possible transparent materials to use as a cylinder on his model engine, he learned about resin polishing. Combining his newly learned resin polishing knowledge with his knowledge of 3D printing, [Integza] printed a new cylinder and polished the resin until it was transparent. The engine ran, but misfired terribly.
The experiment progressed into trying different fuels and learning the differences between them, as well as uncovering a new-to-him mystery: Why was the engine misfiring, and why did the different fuels act so dramatically different? Indeed, more learning and more experimenting is needed. But if you want to see the great sight of watching combustion take place in slo-mo, you have to check out the video below.
It’s a dedicated hacker who has the patience to build an engine from scratch. And it’s a borderline obsessed hacker who does it twice. [Meanwhile In the Garage] is of the second ilk, and in the video below the break, he takes a failed engine design and musters up the oomph to get it running.
The whole build began with an idea for a different kind of intake and exhaust valve. [Meanwhile In the Garage] dreamed up a design that does away with the traditional poppet valve. Instead of valves that open by being pushed away from their seat by a camshaft, this design uses a cylinder that is scooped so that as it rotates, its ports are exposed to either the intake or the exhaust.
During the compression stroke, the valve cylinder becomes part of the combustion chamber, with both ports facing away from the piston. If you read the comments, you’ll find that multiple people have come up with the idea through the years. With his mill, lathe, and know-how, [Meanwhile In the Garage] made it happen. But not without some trouble.
The first iteration resisted all valiant attempts at getting it started. The hour-long video preceding this one ended up in a no-start. Despite his beautiful machine work and a well thought out design, it wasn’t to be. Fire came from the engine either through the exhaust or the carburetor, but it never ran. In this version, several parts have been re-worked and the effect is immediate! The engine fired up nicely and even seems to rev up pretty well. Being a first-generation prototype, it lacks seals and other fancy parts to keep oil out of the combustion chamber. Normal engine oil has been added to the fuel as a precaution as well. The fact that it smokes quite badly isn’t a surprise and only proves that the design will benefit from another iteration. Isn’t that true for most prototypes, though?
Home-grown engines aren’t a new thing at Hackaday, and one of This Author’s favorite jet turbines used a toilet paper holder. Yes, really. Thanks to [Keith] for the Tip!
If you’re running an army, chances are good that you need a lot of portable power for everything from communications to weapons control systems. When it comes to your generators, every ounce counts. The smaller and lighter you can get them, the better.
Co-founder and CEO Alex Schkolnik describes the design as a combination of the best parts of the Otto and Atkinson cycle engines, the Diesel, and the Wankel rotary while solving the big problems of the latter two. That sounds impressive, but it doesn’t mean much unless you understand how each of these engines work and what their various advantages and disadvantages are. So let’s take a look under the hood, shall we?
The diesel engine was, like many things, born of necessity. The main engine types of the day—hot bulb oil, steam, coal gas, and gasoline—were not so thermally efficient or ideal for doing heavy-duty work like driving large-scale electrical generators. But how did the diesel engine come about? Settle in and watch the 1952 documentary “The Diesel Story“, produced by Shell Oil.
The diesel engine is founded on the principle of internal combustion. Throughout the Industrial Age, technology was developing at breakneck pace. While steam power was a great boon to many burgeoning industries, engineers wanted to get away from using boilers. The atmospheric gas engine fit the bill, but it simply wasn’t powerful enough to replace the steam engine.
By 1877, [Nikolaus Otto] had completed work on his coal gas engine built on four-stroke theory. This was the first really useful internal combustion engine and the precursor of modern four-stroke engines. It was eventually adapted for transportation with gasoline fuel. In 1890, the hot bulb oil engine was developed under the name Hornsby-Akroyd and primarily used in stationary power plants. Their flywheels had to be started manually, but once the engine was going, the bulb that drove combustion required no further heating.