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Air Cooled Hot Air Engine

Air Cooled Hot Air Engine

|Views: 1,893|Likes:
Published by Jim
How to build a hot air engine. This is a great introductory model to explore the Stirling engine.
How to build a hot air engine. This is a great introductory model to explore the Stirling engine.

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Published by: Jim on Apr 22, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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By Harry Walton
UST 15 seconds after you light up,this little engine chugs into action.It will keep going as long as it hasfuel—at a lively 1,000 r.p.m. runninglight, or plugging away hard under anyload short of stalling it.You'll fire it up to mystify friends or just to see it go. Its rocker-arm actionis fascinating to watch.Dating back to 1816, the hot-air engineis also one of the latest subjects of re-search. It could be fueled by nuclearheat, and a highly sophisticated design,to be powered by solar heat, is proposedfor generating electricity aboard spacesatellites.This simple one, fueled by alcohol,will drive small models, pump water, spina display turntable, or turn a fan. It re-quires no castings, and involves some in-teresting but not difficult lathe work. Funto build and operate, it's a conversationpiece for your den or workshop, or a safebut exciting gift for any youngster whocan be trusted with matches.
Steps in machining the parts for the air-cooled hot-air engine
A LTHOUGH not hard to build, thisengine won't forgive bad workman-ship. Mechanical freedom and airtight-ness are essential. It should both turneasily and bounce back against compres-sion. Metallic auto-body putty, thinnedwith lacquer thinner, should be used onall joints to seal against pinhole leaks.
The frame.
This is two pieces of 1/2"dural bolted together. Lay out the cyl-inder standard first. Transfer the centerof the upper (displacer) recess to the op-posite face by drilling it through No. 60.In the four-jaw chuck, first center thelower (power-cylinder) recess. Bore it1/4" deep and .044" smaller than the out-side cylinder diameter; then thread it 40threads per inch. Reverse the work withthe displacer recess centered. Bore thisalso undersize by double the threaddepth, and 5/16" deep. It will overlap andbreak through the other recess, the holeforming the transfer port.If your lathe doesn't cut threads, bothrecesses may be smooth-bored, the cyl-inders turned to push fits, and seatedwith auto-body putty.With the standard still chucked, drilland countersink for the 1/4"-20 brass boltthat forms the gland. Insert the bolt witha smear of sealer under its head, andtighten a nut on the other side. Do notremove the piece from the chuck to dothis; unscrew the chuck from the latheif necessary.Remount it to centerdrill the bolt head.Run a No. 43 drill through. Follow witha new No. 42 or a 3/32" reamer to makea free-sliding, absolutely shakeless fit forthe displacer-piston rod. A reamer canbe made from a piece of the rod stock by filing a long flat taper on it andstoning the flat smooth.
 Bearing plate and housing
Clamp theplate to the standard with bottom andside flush. Spot holes to be tapped byrunning a drill through those in thestandard. In the lathe, turn out the 3/16"deep step or shoulder; then bore throughto 3/4
diameter. The 1" hole is for ap-pearance only, and optional. Saw andfile the top radius to shape and the slotin line with the bearing center.For the bearing housing, chuck 1"aluminum and turn the shoulder to apress fit in the plate. Drill the throughhole; then bore for the inboard ball bear-ing. Reverse the piece, centering it care-fully, and bore the seat for the outboardbearing. If you prefer a plain brass orbronze sleeve bearing, drill an oil holeafter pressing it in. Press the housingcarefully into the bearing plate so thatthe shoulder seats squarely. Do not pushin the ball bearings as yet.
 Displacer cylinder and piston
As airmust be alternately heated and cooled inthe cylinder at every revolution, it mustbe thin-walled. Twist 1" steel conduitonto a tight-fitting arbor centerdrilled fortailstock support. Turn the outside toleave a wall about .010" thick up to 1/4
of one end. Thread this end to fit therecess and cut to 3-1/2" length.Silver-solder or braze a domed coppercap into the unthreaded end. Test for air

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