Machining A Reciprocating Solenoid Engine

The reciprocating engine has been all the rage for at least three centuries. The first widely adopted engine of this type was the steam engine with a piston translating linear motion into rotational motion, but the much more common version today is found in the internal combustion engine. Heat engines aren’t the only ways of performing this translation, though. While there are few practical reasons for building them, solenoid engines can still do this job as well and, like this design from [Maciej Nowak Projects], are worth building just for the aesthetics alone.

The solenoid engine is built almost completely from metal stock shaped in a machine shop, including the solenoids themselves. The build starts by making them out of aluminum rod and then winding them with the help of a drill. The next step is making the frame to hold the solenoids and the bearings for the crankshaft. To handle engine timing a custom brass shutter mechanism was made to allow a set of infrared emitter/detector pairs to send signals that control each of the solenoids. With this in place on the crankshaft and the connecting rods attached the engine is ready to run.

Even though this solenoid engine is more of a project made for its own sake, solenoid engines are quite capable of doing useful work like this engine fitted into a small car. We’ve seen some other impressive solenoid engine builds as well like this V8 from [Emiel] that was the final iteration of a series of builds from him that progressively added more solenoid pistons to an original design.

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