I received a number of enquiries for plans for that engine, but the design for that air engine

wasn't really one that lent itself to building from plans. So I came up with a better design for my air engine 2. My original air engine was made mostly from solid maple. Over the course of many years, some of the pieces in the valve assembly and cylinder warped just slightly, and I had to sand them down a bit to get the engine to run freely again. For this engine, I made the cylinder and valve assembly out of baltic birch plywood - the kind of plywood that is made of layers of birch throughout. One of the trickiest bits of the engine is making the crankshaft. The main crank for the engine is actually directly off the flywheel, but a secondary crank is needed to actuate the sliding valve assembly. This secondary crank only has a 6 mm throw to it, so I could make it by gluing another piece of dowel to the main shaft. The second piece of dowel is carved to a crescent shaped cross section to allow it to fit neatly against the shaft. After that, I cut away part of the main shaft. The initial cut away was made with a band saw, but the rest I carefully carved out by hand.

I made a guide to check how

much to cut away. The guide is made by drilling a hole on the edge of a piece of plywood, then cutting away half of the hole. I used this to check how much I still needed to cut away as I was whittling the main part of the shaft down.

By pressing my guide firmly against the carved away section. I made these by drilling two 5/8" holes with centers 6 mm apart. I cut out a small rectangle around the holes. and turning back and forth. After drilling the holes. I could always see the glossy sections where my guide had rubbed against the shaft. Gluing the pieces on was a simple matter of sliding it on from the ends of the crank. and used that as a guide for where to remove material. The finished crankshaft (after varnishing) . Once I was satisfied that the middle part of my crankshaft was sufficiently round. I made two reinforcing plates to glue on either side of it. and glued it on to the crank.

. I clamped the two halves of the bearing together. After drilling the holes. To make sure the holes were all lined up perfectly.The crankshaft bearings blocks are made of two pieces. the one of my 5/8" drills that seems to drill 5/8" holes that fits 5/8" dowels the loosest. so it's a tiny bit over 5/8". and then drilled the screw holes through them. I used my biggest 5/8" drill. After screwing the top part of the bearing block on. I drilled the shaft hole through both parts. That is. I finally cut out the whole bearing block with a band saw. and rounded the corners on it.

then drill a hole in the assembled connecting rod. so that when I'd put a few drops of oil on them. but I doubt I would have been able to make it very accurately. Also. hopefully the oil would not soak into the wood too much. I had to do this again after I varnished all the parts. To make them round would perhaps look more realistic. which would then be subject to slight warping over the years. by carving out a very thin layer from the insides with a carving knife. The "cylinder" and piston are simply made square. I would have had to use a piece of solid wood to cut it out of. .I used the same approach for making the holes in the connecting rod for the valve slider. as the varnish added a little bit of thickness everywhere. But I wanted to varnish even the bearing surfaces. First screw the pieces together. I did end up tweaking the bearings just a little bit.

there is much less leakage around the cover than there is around the piston. so it's not critical. I just roughed these out with a big forstner bit the cavities are not visible with the engine assembled.1 mm. so there is quite a bit of "blow by". But this engine is not designed to be very powerful or efficient. A bit of light sanding was required after all was done as well . All the pieces of the valve assembly are varnished. In the previous photo. I scraped the varnish between coats. but the valve assembly needs the inlets together. To keep the varnish smooth and level. the engine will run in the opposite direction. and then sanded it to fit. by carving a cavity out of the plywood.certainly. The air inlets for the piston need to be towards the ends of the piston. on the order of about 0. There are no gaskets in the assembly. This photos shows all the pieces of the piston and valve assembly. so an internal channel is formed between two plywood parts. The two holes in the front-most piece of plywood are the air inlet and exhaust. so it's OK. By changing which inlet one blows (or sucks) on. there would be a slight gap around the piston to reduce friction. In fact. This was an iterative process. I cut the piston to have no clearance at all.There are no piston rings or seals around the piston. you can see holes in the back of the cylinder. ideally. Just screwing the pieces together closes the gap sufficiently to reduce leakage to acceptable levels . which are for the air inlets.

For the bearing on the crank.to get the valves sliding easily again.5" long screw with a shank with no thread on it. which would mean that the connecting rod would have a little bit of play on the shank. allowing the connecting rod to pivot freely on the pin. The piston end of the connecting rod is joined to the piston shaft with a simple steel pin. I had to cut the end of the screw off so it would not stick out of the other side of the flywheel by too far. Newer screws have a shank that is just thinner than the thread. I used a 1. which is just a cut off nail. 38 screws in all. . The holes to the connecting rod are slightly oversized. I actual found an old style wood screw with a thicker shank in my collection (screw on the bottom). The whole assembly is put together with 3/4" #4 wood screws. The hole in the piston shaft is drilled slightly undersize so that the pin sits firmly in the piston shaft.

it's much easier to get it clean again. so I just made multiple cuts with a skillsaw blade in the plywood to carve out the cavity.The whole engine mounts on a piece of plywood. I made the flywheel as large as I could for this engine. there is an expectation that it would get handled a fair bit. Varnishing the engine necessitated further tweaking to get the engine to run smoothly again. and just cranking the spinning blade up into the plywood. when I realized that my flywheel was just a little smaller than a skillsaw blade. Also. I built the whole engine. . I made these cuts by clamping a block to the fence to keep the plywood from sliding backwards. The photo at left shows the pieces drying after I brushed on the final coat. I was about to start chiseling the slot for the flywheel in the base plate. which required cutting a slot out of the mounting plate for it to protrude into. and so if it's varnished. so it should make the engine run more easily. and made sure it ran smoothly before varnishing all the pieces. the varnish I used is fairly slippery. But with this engine essentially being a toy.

to keep it from squeaking. which should make it much easier to build such an engine if you wish to do so. and I ended up oiling the crankshaft a little bit.The varnish itself however was not quite slippery enough. but the whole thing is a bit messy. I have drawn up some very detailed plans for this engine. In my previous air engine. This made them run really smoothly. I used axle grease on the bearings and no varnish. The 3 in one household oil is much cleaner. .

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful