Cycling for health and transportation might seem like a good idea, but it unfortunately has the nasty side effect of making you tired. To ease the suffering, many have turned to electric bicycles. But what if you want to really stand out from the crowd? Well then you should look to [Mark Drake] for inspiration, the creator of the beautifully engineered Ruscombe Gentleman’s Steam Bicycle.
[Mark] wanted to create a steam powered bicycle that’s actually usable, instead of just an awkward novelty. To achieve this he made extensive use of modern tech like spreadsheets to model the steam cycle, and CAD for the mechanical design. The engineering design that went into the project really shows in level of refinement of the end product, which is able to comfortably reach 15 mph. Watch the video after the break to see it in action and get all the details.
Petrol is used a fuel source, which is forced to the vaporising burner via air pressure. The fuel is heated by the burner itself to form a vapour before entering the combustion chamber and igniting. The steam generator is a hybrid design, using both mono tube steam generator coils and a small fire tube boiler. This produces superheated steam at over 300 °C, which [Mark] says is key to the bike’s performance. Mineral oil can’t handle the high temperature, so modern synthetic oil is used for lubrication. The steam generator is so well-built that [Mark] managed to get is certified to industrial standards. For safety, it features both a pressure release valve, and a system that automatically shuts of the fuel supply when the steam exceeds a certain pressure. 130 W of power is provided to the wheels by a single cylinder slide valve engine via modern toothed belt. This also drives the air pump to keep the fuel system pressurised, and an adjustable water pump to feed the boiler. Continue reading “The Ruscombe Gentleman’s Steam Bicycle”
Perhaps Pasadena is a bit too far from home, or maybe you waited a few milliseconds longer than you should have and missed the tickets when they went on sale. Whatever the reason, the fact is that the vast majority of Hackaday readers won’t be able to join us at the 2019 Superconference. But thanks to the magic of the Internet, you’ll still be able to see the incredible talks we’ve got lined up.
Starting at 10 AM Pacific on both Saturday and Sunday, the live stream will allow you to virtually attend the ultimate hardware conference in glorious high definition. Many of the talks this year have a specific focus on FPGAs (and we’ve got an incredible badge to match), but you’ll also see presentations on subjects such as hacking quantum key distribution systems, the creation of free-form circuit sculptures, debugging PCBs with augmented reality, and using Peltier coolers for fermentation. Saturday evening we’ll reveal the winner of the Hackaday Prize live on stage, and come Sunday you can unwind with a look at the best and brightest badge hacks from the weekend.
We won’t lie to you, there’s more going on at Supercon than we can possibly fit into a live video stream. At an event where nearly every flat surface will be playing host to somebody fiddling with a piece of interesting hardware, there’s only so much you can do vicariously. If anyone knows how you can take part in the SMD Soldering Challenge over the Internet, we’re all ears. Whether you’ll be with us in corporeal form or otherwise, don’t forget to join the official 2019 Hackaday Superconference Chat and use the #supercon hashtag on your social media time sink of choice.
At Maker Faire this weekend. tucked in between a building full of homegrown foodstuffs and a rock polishing booth is the Bay Area Garden Railway Society (BAGRS). They’re running a few live steam locomotives, and they’re beautiful works of engineering and modeling. None of these trains are electric; they all move by boiling water with either coal or butane. It’s a true, proper locomotive running on 45mm gauge track.
[David Cole] of BAGRS gave me the walkthrough of their booth. It’s a simple oval track that took a solid day to level out. There are technically three sets of tracks, two G-scale, and another O scale sharing a rail with a G-scale track. Each and every one of these locomotives is powered by steam produced when water is heated by either coal or butane. Butane is the fuel of choice because of its ease of acquisition, but BAGRS had a few coal-fired locomotives with tiny shovels shoveling anthracite into tiny fireboxes. After loading up with water and getting the firebox nice and hot, these locomotives will cruise around the oval track for about half an hour, with the speed of the locomotive controlled by a servos and RC gear.
Maker Faire isn’t the headline event for BAGRS; in July 2016 they’ll be hosting the National Garden Railway Convention in San Francisco. If you’re local to the Faire, it will be a cool event to check out.